Clarion Call for the New H4
Do you know how I would go about petitioning Hummer's new (China) owner to make the H4/HX? I fell in love with it when I saw the first picture of it online a long time ago. I printed the grainy picture and hung it on my toolbox.
I want to urge them to put it into production. But I also want to try to push them into making it a real four-wheeler-not the fluffy bells-and-whistles crap that's being sold today. Do we really need a Swiss Army vehicle? Nope. What we do need is a task-designed, "get me there" 4x4. Give us a tough-as-nails drivetrain, narrowed Dana 60s (for Pete's sake, put one in the front), Atlas transfer case, NV4500 trans, and V-8 motor. Put in the right electronics, real GPS with Topo feature, nice tunes, 15-amp/115-volt outlets, and places to put our gear. If you build it, they will come to your dealerships. (Front and rear winches would be a nice option, too.)
Narrowed Dana 60s and an Atlas transfer case from the factory? Well hey, like we've always said, if you're gonna dream, dream big.
Seriously, we'd love to see a Wrangler-fighter H4 in the future, too, and we suspect that in the future, it will happen. It's going to take some time-as of press time, the Hummer acquisition still had yet to be officially approved by the Chinese government, so it's going to take awhile longer-a year or two, perhaps-for Hummer to reorganize and re-tool before setting out to launch another new vehicle out of the box. But rest assured, we know quite a few of the folks at Hummer, and they take a great deal of pride in manufacturing the kinds of "get you there" vehicles (e.g., the H3 Alpha) you mention, and if they get half a chance, they'll keep on doing it.
The Lowdown on Ford F-150s
I'm new to the wheelin' world, hence I don't know much about how to set up a truck for four-wheeling. I would like some advice on how to set up an old Ford F-150 Custom because my area has few wheelers. It has everything stock on it. Any advice on how to do this? Any price info would much appreciated.
Minor Hill, TN
You live in Tennessee and you can't find any wheelers? Sounds to us like you need to get out more often, son.
When it comes to answering all your questions on how to build an F-150, we'd need a magazine that was the size of a shop manual. Fortunately, some good books on the F-150 are available. One of the most comprehensive volumes we can recommend is the Ford F-Series Owner's Bible by Moses Ludel. It's published by Robert Bentley and available online from Amazon and other e-tailers.
As an alternative for now, log onto fourwheeler.com and read all about our "Fiery Redhead" project, a '92 F-150 that we modified a few years ago for all-around wheeling on a reasonable budget. It was a multi-part series that covered virtually every aspect of the vehicle-from suspension, to wheels and tires, to lockers and gears, to exterior and interior items; we've posted all of the episodes online, and it should at least give you some good ideas about where to start in your own buildup.
All About Old-School J-Trucks
I'm writing to find some info on the 1972 Jeep J-4000 4x4 pickup. Like how many were made? What kind of axles?
The J-4000 came in both "townside" pickup and chassis/cab models, in both 1/2- and 3/4-ton ratings. All pickups came with an 8-foot bed, and GVWRs ranged from 5,000 to 8,000 pounds. All J-4000s came with a Dana 44-1F solid axle up front, and a Dana 60-2 axle in the rear; 3/4-ton versions got a full-floating version of the D60. The standard engine for the 1/2-ton models was the 258ci straight-six, while 3/4-ton models came standard with the 360ci V-8. Production numbers for pre-1974 versions aren't available anymore, but Jeep sold between 15,000 and 20,000 J-trucks a year from '74 to '79. A great resource for all things Jeep Truck that you might want to check out is the International Full Size Jeep Association (www.ifsja.org).
Looking for Ultra-Seal U-Joints
In your article, "Great Gift Ideas For Under $100" (Dec. '08), you included the Ultra Seal U-Joint. The only problem seems to be that it is not available in the U.S. Can you tell me my options for purchasing this product? Why advertise it in the U.S. if it is not available?
Contact Quality Gear (888/452-7979. www.qualitygear.com). They're a Canadian company, but they should be able to ship you the parts you need via UPS through one of their distributors, such as Pat's Driveline or Gear Centre Group.