After being out of the four-wheeling hobby for more than 25 years, I have found that things have changed a bit. There are more choices of where to wheel, but with more restrictions. Some of the events that I used to go to are no longer around (Sand-O-Rama), while others are-Gravelrama in Cleves, Ohio is still going. And the first and best 4x4 magazine is still there! I was a subscriber then and am now again! I've got a little '84 CJ-7 to rebuild and a local off-road group to help me, and I am just looking forward to the years to come. I do miss Granville King (and Superdawg! Is Granville still with us, or has he passed on to the great trail in the sky?). Keep up the good work. I hope your magazine is around for a long time.
Editor: Granville King passed away in 1990 at the age of 70. We still miss him after all these years-and believe us, if he were still around, we'd keep him busy sending more dispatches from Baja for this magazine. And welcome back to the world of wheeling-glad to have you back in the fold. We've been in business for 45 years now-and with folks like you supporting us, we hope to be around a good deal longer.
Reader: I was very disappointed when reading your July '07 issue and came across a response to a reader's question about an '84 Ranger. The response was sarcastic and not very helpful. If you would have done some homework, you would know that the Toyo-Kogyo five-speed trans used in the early Rangers was notoriously weak and had lower shift-tower issues. Ford issued a service bulletin (TSB 90M70) with a revised part (E7TZ-7210-S) to correct the "sloppy shifter." This part is still available, although it is becoming more rare.
Editor: You're right-we could've droned on at length with plenty of tech specs about those cruddy gearboxes, but hey, you just did it for us. Thanks for the suggested fix, and as a sign of atonement, see the letter below.
Reader: I recently bought a '65 GMC 6500 military truck. This truck has several things on it that I am curious about, and I was hoping that you could help me with a little information. The first thing is the axles. I have an ID Plate that has this information: Rockwell Standard Corporation Model No. G161 NX8-Ratio: 7.20:1, Serial No. 0675677. Can you tell me anything about these axles? The second thing is that it came equipped with a Tulsa Winch on it. The ID plate is difficult to read, but I was able to see the number 20990 on it. Can you give me any help with this? Any help is appreciated.
Quaker City, OH
Editor: Your Rockwell G161 axle, with an optional 7.20:1 ring-and-pinion (6.17:1 was standard), was used by GM in a variety of heavy-duty civilian and military applications for more than 40 years. It's a shade over 39 inches long, is rated at 16,000 pounds, has 4 3/16-inch outer-diameters, requires 21 pints (!) of gear lube, and nobody makes a locker for it. We couldn't track down any information on your winch, but Tulsa PTOs for HD rigs of that vintage generally came with 16,000- to 20,000-pound pull ratings.
Reader: I own an '06 Nissan Frontier Nismo. I, too, have a mystery squeak over bumps and rough roads. As I have not yet heard any word as to what you found to be the problem, I'm pretty sure I have it licked. It would be nice for your project Frontier as well if it were to be silenced. My squeak happens to be the fuel tank, not the suspension. Crawl under and push up on the tank through the factory skidplate about midway (through one of the oval holes). You are sure to hear the mouse with very little pressure.
The solution? Perhaps some kickass aftermarket skidplate, or maybe just some Teflon spray in all the right places. You guys are no strangers to investigation, so I will let you go hard at it. I will check mine out when I have time. I see a lot of washboard roads and am really tired of my truck talking back to me.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Editor: Thanks for the tip. We never did determine the source of our squeaking, and our long-term Frontier test rig had already been returned to Nissan by the time we received your note, but we're including your advice here just in case there are any other Frontiersmen out there with "mystery mice" living under their rigs.