Where Are the World Jeeps?
I’m not a wheeler, so I’m not a steady Four Wheeler reader. When I do pick up a copy, many of your articles go right past me, but your July ’11 issue was a standout. The “Bring It Back Alive” feature first caught my eye, since even though I don’t go off-road, I do get stuck in snow and am always concerned about getting out. Learning the ins and outs of winches was interesting, but even more so was the “Budget Cherokee Build,” because if I ever become a wheeler that would be the way I would have to go—no $100-grand FJs for me.
Also interesting was Sean Holman’s column about Jeep “going soft,” which brings me to the reason I’m writing. When I read stories like “Ladoga Trophy 2010” or see movies, news reports, nature treks to the African hinterland, etc., I don’t see Jeeps. There are Toyotas and Land Rovers galore, but no Jeeps. Am I getting a censored view, or is there some global aversion to the vehicle that won World War II?
Berkeley Heights, NJ
What you’ve seen hasn’t been censored. You can find Jeeps overseas—particularly the Liberty, still known abroad as the Cherokee. But their numbers, compared to Toyotas, Suzukis and Land Rovers, have been limited due to a number of factors, including (a) strong-dollar exchange rates that have made Jeeps expensive to purchase in much of the developing world, (b) the lack of a global dealer network to keep their owners supplied and serviced, (c) the lack of economical (i.e., diesel) powerplants, and (d) restrictive import quotas, particularly among some Asian nations. That’s all about to change, however, now that a weaker dollar makes U.S. exports more affordable overseas, and Chrysler now has a global partner (Fiat) with a worldwide dealer network and a stable of small-displacement, fuel-efficient engines that will find their way into the next generation of Jeep vehicles. In addition, the biggest consumer market on the planet (China) dropped its import quotas on U.S.-made cars a few years ago. Chrysler announced recently that they plan to substantially expand its sales presence overseas by marketing Jeep as a global icon, so in the years to come, we expect to see quite a few more Wranglers, Libertys and (eventually) Jeep pickup trucks in our coverage of events overseas.
One-Stop Shop for ’73-’87 Blazers and Jimmys?
Is there a source you all deal with that specializes in aftermarket products for the ’73 GMC Jimmy or Chevrolet Blazer? I know that LMC Truck Parts has everything OEM, but I’m looking for aftermarket brush guards, etc.
There’s no exclusive “all-in-one specialty shop” for aftermarket parts for these trucks that we know of. Luckily for you, just about everybody in the 4x4 aftermarket makes something for these vehicles. Our best advice would be for you to check some of the bigger mail-order sources, like 4-Wheel Parts or Summit Racing, as a starting point. You’re bound to find plenty of goodies for these rigs just about anywhere you look.
Budget Buildup for Older 4Runner
I recently purchased an ’86 Toyota 4Runner for use mainly off road, but not extreme or aggressive. It is factory-stock, and I would like to do some minor modifications to it. I would like to lift it an inch or two, without an all-out lift kit—possibly a leveling-type front end and maybe blocks or a new spring on the back? I’m also interested in a rear locker. I like the idea of the G80 locker on a Chevy, but I am told all aftermarket lockers work differently. Budget is, of course, a concern, but so is dependability. Any ideas?
Rock Spring, WY
There are plenty of options for your vehicle. For a modest 1- to 2-inch lift, we’d suggest taking a look at kits from Old Man Emu or TJM; both are Toyota specialists, and both have the kind of suspension upgrade you’re looking for. There are plenty of choices for locking diffs as well. Eaton doesn’t manufacture a G80 locker for your application, but they do make the legendarily stout Detroit Locker for your Toyota 8-inch rearend; ARB also makes an Air Locker for your truck, Powertrax offers the Lock-Right, and a company called Aussie Locker makes, well, an Aussie Locker. Whichever you choose, know ahead of time that most locking diffs aren’t exactly cheap—you should plan on budgeting several hundred bucks for a (new) quality part, and possibly more for the installation—but once it’s installed, you’ll probably never need another one. As an alternative, ’95-and-later 4Runners were offered from the factory with an electronic locking diff, but it’s our understanding that you need to modify the axlehousing to make it fit in your older truck, and it’s not inexpensive, either.
Wants S-Blazer ZR2 Buildup
Every time I open up your magazine, it seems like I learn something new. The only thing that I haven’t seen in your magazine is a Chevy ZR2 buildup. I own one (well, actually it’s a Sonoma Highrider), and these little devils are awesome. In fact, the only real issue is that there’s never any coverage of them, apparently they aren’t extremely popular. Now I understand that it’s your magazine, and you decide what content goes in it, but really, the ZR2 is an untapped resource for an off-road publication. I mean even just a quick mention would be nice, with maybe a project build being at the other end of the scale. Regardless of your decision, I still love the magazine and hope to hear back from you.
Hey, we agree with you. The ZR2 was a fun little truck to flog in the dirt, with 31x10.50 BFGs, Bilstein shocks, and 4.3L Vortec engine. The problem is that there were enough chassis differences that there was very little aftermarket support. If any of our readers see some built specimens that they think would be look good in this magazine, we hope they’ll let us know.
Antioxidants Aren’t Only for Humans Anymore
Been reading your great magazine for years, and something that I’ve been noticing a lot is pictures of new trucks with their undersides already rusted. For example, in “Heavy-Duty Altitude” (April ’11), I see a rusted axlehousing, driveshaft, etc., on an ’11 Denali HD. There should be no excuse for any truck to have this issue when it’s brand new! It’s a shame that this happens. What will the manufacturers do about the situation? Would love to see a lot more rust prevention done to these vehicles, especially ones in the Rust Belt.
Meriden, CT f
Where To Write
Address your correspondence to:
Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245.
All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.