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Reader: I just got the Oct. '07 issue and, like usual, I stopped what I was doing to sit down and read it. I have to say I love your mag, but when I got to your "Best Buys in Used 4x4s," I was very disappointed. I don't agree with your fullsize SUV choices at all. First of all, the Bronco should have been ahead of the Blazer, but that's just personal preference. (I have two Broncos-a '79 and a '92.) But my main complaint is that you picked the '80-'96 Broncos. The '78 and '79 are indestructible. Now granted, the 351M and 400 aren't the best engines Ford ever made, but look at the whole driveline. With the C6 or the T-18 trannies, NP205 transfer case, and a solid Dana 44 up front and a 9-inch rear, it is much more capable than the E4OD, IFS Dana 44, and 8.8 rear. I have 33-inch tires on my '79 (stock) and could put 35s on with a tiny lift or trimming; by contrast, 32s are the biggest tire you could put on a stock '92-'96. Also, lifting the second-generation Bronco is a lot easier and cheaper, all because of the solid front axle. Other than that, your mag is awesome. I can never wait for the next issue.
Reader: In your "Best Buys in Used 4x4s," the fullsize Chevy specs are wrong for the '91-'98 C/K vintage. They were IFS trucks and never came from the factory with solid-axle fronts. Also in '91, GM discontinued the 700R4 four-speed tranny and started using the NV4500 five-speed manual and 4L80-E four-speed automatic. It sounds like your tech junky got this info from '73-'87 K-trucks. Just wanted to pass this along and love the mag.
Editor: One of the criteria we took into account when picking our Best Used Buys was availability, and while we'd agree that the older fullsize Bronco is easier to modify in a number of ways, they're also somewhat scarce compared to the later TTB versions. And we really should have caught that Chevy error. Thanks for the catch.
Reader: In your recent tire tests (Sept. '07), the weight spec on the General Grabber AT2 reads 22.8 pounds. I have been considering these tires for my FZJ 80, but am reluctant because the spun weight for the size I need is just over 61 pounds per tire. The article also states the weight for the General Altimax Arctic in the size tested to be 22.5 pounds ... but I kind of doubt that. As weight is related to acceleration and deceleration rates-as well as mpg-it is an important consideration when choosing a tire. I enjoy reading and subscribing to your publication. Please correct these specs, and keep up the good work!
Editor: Well shucks, if we'd only said 22.8 kilos, we'd have been pretty darn close. The Grabber AT2 we tested actually weighs 49 pounds. On the other hand, according to our sources at General Tire, the stated weight for the Altimax Arctic is indeed correct.
Reader: Regarding the article "Case Closed" (Oct. '07), Ken Brubaker mentions that the B-W 13-56 transfer case is an aluminum case. It's not. From the Ford service disk: "The Borg-Warner 13-56 manual-shift transfer case is a three-piece transfer case. The case (PN 7005) is magnesium, except for F-350 applications which have an aluminum front case half and an opening for a power takeoff (PTO)." I also noticed that some transfer-case sections included the weight, but the 13-56 section lacked that info: it's 88 pounds for the non-PTO mechanically shifted version full of ATF. (There was also an electronically shifted version called ESOF.) Considering that it can stand up to a Power Stroke turbodiesel, it probably has the best torque-to-weight ratio of any stock transfer case-and it's cheap and easy to find.