Every month you guys print a couple of reader complaints about too many wallet jobs, or not enough Studebakers or whatever. Here are my contributions to the whiny reader department. No, I’m not gonna cancel my subscription or anything, but a couple of things stand out lately.
In “10 Best Buys in Aftermarket Parts” (Sept. ’11) you highlighted KC Lights as a best value pick for lighting. Guys, these are $130 a set. Check out Harbor Freight, you can get 100-watt off-road lights (with a dual axis mount) for less than $20. How are KC’s 6½-times as good? I happen to have a set of Daylighters, they are indeed very nice but compared to a set for $20 they are far from an excellent value, especially when you figure that the rock or tree you are gonna smack ’em into won’t care what you paid.
In the Oct. ’11 issue you guys went to a shop to get the flares mounted on your Project ’Con Artist. What?! You had to get a shop to put on a set of fender flares? I don’t expect you all to stoke up the campfire and cast your own gears, but really? If you can’t handle a drill and a couple of nutserts, what are you going to do if you break on the trail? Farming even the simplest tech stuff out to a shop really damages your credibility.
Featuring high-dollar parts as good values and farming out even easy tech stuff reinforces the notion that you guys have way more money that your typical reader, are just bitches for your advertisers, and are seriously out of touch with the regular guys (and gals) who read your magazine.
Lastly, a suggestion, when you feature a part, the actual street price is almost never given. Sometimes an MSRP is mentioned, but those are typically not indicative of what things actually cost. How about this, the next time you feature something why not partner up with an advertiser to offer a deal. For example, if a reader purchases a featured set of curb feelers or whatever from a specific advertiser within a month of publication they get a discount. Perhaps include a code or something in the article for folks to plug into a specific vendors website. You could rotate through your advertisers or feature whichever one offers the best deal to your readers. The readers get to at least know an actual price for the product and get a deal as well if they buy in time. The advertisers get visibility as well as the ability to track the effectiveness of all those free dinners they buy you guys for featuring products through tracking the code given in the article. And me, I get one of each featured item free for a year for coming up with this fine idea.
I have a question about the off-roading community’s use of the term D-ring. It seems people use the term D-ring when referring to what is actually a shackle. It’s not a D-ring shackle, but just a standard shackle. A D-ring is actually exactly what it sounds like, a welded or non-welded piece of steel or formed plastic in the shape of a “D”. Some D-rings are made for actually bearing weight but they are welded or forged and you have to use a shackle to attach to them. I have done stage and industrial rigging for about 14 years now and have never heard anyone in the rigging industry call a shackle a D-ring.
I first heard the term used the wrong way when a co-worker of mine mentioned he wanted to pick up a “D-ring” for his tow strap. I immediately said, “What the hell do you want a D-ring for? That can’t hold any weight whatsoever.” He explained what he was talking about and I told him that it was actually a shackle. So I wrote it off as him simply not knowing. I recently picked up a copy of your magazine because I wanted to see what I could do to my Jeep since it could soon be making the transition from daily driver to weekend toy. I was almost upset at seeing the term D-ring printed so many times in a magazine and only ever saw the word shackle twice.
Where did this mix up first come from?
Funny, I get irritated when people call their wheels “rims.” Rims are on a bike or motorcycle. Others get upset when an engine is called a motor. Ultimately it’s really not all that important when you look at the big picture. The confusion stems from the fact that you are a specialist. That title typically comes with a specific vocabulary. The funny part is that to me a “shackle” is a component that can be found on a leaf spring suspension, and I would never attach a tow strap to it.
Where To Write
Address your correspondence to: Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 or send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.