Reader: Regarding your Hummer H3 long-term test (Dec. '06): My H3 has 54,000 miles now and I'm happy to say that it still performs like new. For the last 13,000 miles, I've towed a 3,000-pound trailer through 16 states for work. OK, the painfully slow acceleration kind of got to me at times, but with the manual transmission and a little bit of an arm workout, it did just fine. I don't have the Adventure or Luxury package, but that may be why my mileage is better (average of 17.25 mpg with towing included); the best I've gotten was 23 mpg through the mountains, of all things (lots of coasting), and if you keep your foot in check, 15 mpg is a good number with a trailer. I'm an absolute car junkie and have owned 33 vehicles in my time (I'm 35), but this was a good replacement for my Jeep Cherokee.
Round Lake Beach, IL
Reader: I've been a reader for about 20 years. In the last year, I have watched your magazine go downhill. Last year's coverage of TTC was terrible. This year there was to be an improvement. I don't know if you guys are just trying to get your readers to buy the video, but I have one of those and the coverage on it sucks as well. Why can't you just go back to the way things used to be? All of this wasted space about how to submit to the magazine is space where an article could be. Sure, change is good, but why not change for the better instead of the worse? Your technical articles are getting better, but if I see one more Jeep suspension install on a TJ, I'm going to puke on your rag and mail it back to you. I know that you guys know there are more out there than just Jeeps.
Also, why do all of the Primedia magazines run the same articles? Why not just combine them all into one magazine? I first saw the "JKs in Africa" story in two other rags before yours. Why do the stories have to be repeated?
OK, now on to the good. The first section I go to every time I open a magazine is "Techline" in the back. How about a bi-monthly publication with nothing but tech letters? I know I would subscribe.
Anyway, I do appreciate you, and know you can do better.
Editor: Your suggestion for yet another 4x4 magazine sounds terrific. Problem is, we don't have any more editors to handle the assignment. Want to be considered for the job? Send us your resume-then be careful what you wish for.
Regarding our Top Truck exposure: Yes, we received lots of complaints about our 2005 coverage, so for 2006 we increased the number of pages dramatically. In fact, we devoted 24 pages to the competitors' rigs (Nov. '06) and another 12 pages to the event itself (Dec. '06), which is exactly the number of pages we used to devote to the event ... back in the good ol' days.
About our Africa test of the JK Wrangler: Are you saying we shouldn't cover this event because 4-Wheel & Off-Road (or, for that matter, Motor Trend) is doing it too? Well shucks, guess that means we'll have to assign the pages to another TJ lift-kit story instead.
OK, we'll admit we've been somewhat Jeep-heavy on tech stories of late, particularly suspension installs. On the other hand, the aftermarket has seen an explosion in recent months of new long-arm and coilover conversion kits for TJs, and our overall tech coverage is going to reflect that trend to some degree. And believe it or not, there is yet another TJ suspension story in this month's issue. Now how much do you love us?
Thanks for writing all the same. We're always appreciative of folks like you who take the time to do so.
Reader: I recently picked up a copy of your December '06 issue at a local newsstand, and while flipping through it, I noticed the article on powdercoating ("Home Cookin'"). One thing that sticks out in my mind is, while doing research online, I kept coming across material saying it's not a good idea to use the kitchen oven as a cure oven. While a kitchen oven would work, it was not recommended to use one as a dual-purpose (cooking and powdercoating) appliance. Most articles I've read suggest buying a used kitchen oven as a dedicated cure oven. Just thought I should bring this up.
Editor: Good catch. After further research, we discovered that Craftsman indeed recommends using a non-cooking oven for this procedure, as well as rubber gloves, goggles, and a dust mask. We happily stand corrected.