A mild lift (and an intelligent driver) would have prevented this.
Power Wagon Tips And Tech
Reader: Love your magazine, and I want to say thanks for posting that article about fuel-saver add-ons (Nov. '08). I currently own an '05 Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon (really, is there any other truck?), which is perfect for Alaska, and I wanted to make one observation about the fastest, easiest, and-without question-the cheapest fuel-savings modification that was completely overlooked during the test of all your aftermarket products. When driving a truck, drop the tailgate, because less wind resistance equals better fuel economy. It's an old-school trick that works every time, is super-fast to apply, and is as cheap as it gets (that is, unless all your stuff goes flying out the back). Having mentioned that, has anyone actually tested the claims that tonneau covers increase fuel economy? That would have been a nice test in your article as well, as they also seem to create less drag. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it. You guys keep up the good articles and great pictures of trucks, and remember to Tread Lightly!
Reader: Where is the aftermarket for us Power Wagon owners? Snorkels, bolt-on bumpers (that don't require winch relocation), and so forth. We know these trucks don't need much, but come on, show us some love!
Editor: Your ship-er, pickup truck-has just come in. Our long-delayed Power Wagon project buildup will commence within the next couple of months. We don't plan anything radical for this already capable platform-a mild suspension lift, a slightly bigger tire, and some aftermarket bolt-ons to increase form and function. And thanks for the tailgate tip-sometimes, the easiest mods are also the easiest ones to forget about.
Guidelines? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Guidelines
Reader: I was writing to see if I could get some submission requirements for writers. I'm writing a query letter for my English class and chose your magazine because I love four-wheeling and lifted vehicles, and figured it would be easiest for me to write about something in a field where I am knowledgeable. Your help on this would be greatly appreciated.
State College, PA
Editor: Our guidelines are fairly loose, but if you want to submit an article to us, send us a query letter first, explaining the story you're proposing and its intended purpose and audience. If we like the idea, we'll let you know, and we'll send you a writer's agreement that you'll need to fill out and return to us. Text and captions should be composed as unformatted Microsoft Word documents, and photos should be large, high-resolution (i.e., RAW) JPEGs. We prefer submissions to be sent on CD-ROM rather than as e-mail attachments since our Inbox clogs up frequently. You can reach us at 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Hydro Bumpstops: Worth The Investment?
Reader: I am in the middle of a JeepSpeed build on an '04 Wrangler Unlimited, and I'm considering using a set of ACOS Pro hydro bumpstops from JKS Manufacturing. I know Robin Stover used them in his Teal Brute buildup. I would like to get your long-term opinion on your use of them. Have you had any problems with the cap bolts or threads on the main body? Any other thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.
Editor: Robin Stover replies: The ACOS Pros are the best thing going as far as easy-install hydraulic bumps go. That being said, I would not recommend them for a JeepSpeed Racing application. While the threaded cans are quite stout and leave little to be desired for the average Jeep enthusiast, they simply were not intended for desert racing. I have first-hand experience racing in the JeepSpeed series and can say that a better arrangement for you might be a set of Light Racing Jounce shocks.
Light Racing offers several custom mounting solutions for do-it-yourselfers. Not to mention they allow compression and rebound tunability, unlike the Radflo bumps included with the JKS setup. Don't get us wrong, JKS builds one heck of a good product, and the ACOS setup can stand up to some pretty severe use, but flat-out racing has a way of killing equipment.
For the record, I have not had any problems whatsoever with the ACOS Pro kit on the rear of Teal Brute. I recommend them to folks all the time. But racing is racing, so get parts that were designed for it. Hope this helps.
Wants Midsize SUV Tech StoriesReader: Some suggestions for your consideration: More articles about Jeep Libertys, Nissan Xterras, and first- or second-gen Ford Explorers. It would seem they have the basis to be good off-road rigs but are seldom mentioned. How about a buildup of a Liberty?
Some other suggestions:
How about a story about trucks and SUVs that are capable of plowing? Very few are these days, and it would be nice to see which ones can do it without a lot of modifications needed (replacing hubs, airbags, cutting bodywork to clear the plow frame, and so on). Maybe even discuss the differences in blade trip mechanisms.
How about tire tech for winter driving?
And how about some garage shots of real people's garages-messy or not?
Editor: For starters, you can read all about the latest version of the Xterra in this month's Four Wheeler of the Year test starting on page 26.
In the past we have actually discussed a Winter Driving issue with snowplow tech included as part of the package. Thanks for reminding us, and we'll be reviewing the subject later in the year.
As far as "Garage Shots" go, by all means send 'em to us. If we receive enough entries each month, we'll run a monthly column a'la Readers' Rigs.
Seatbelts: An Ounce Of Prevention...
Reader: I was in a really bad off-roading accident in Azusa Canyon, California, a few months ago. I really wanted to tell my story to the readers and really emphasize safety and the importance of having a full rollcage, wearing helmets, and having the best-quality seatbelts with harnesses. I almost lost my life, and I'm alive today to tell my story, so I would like to share it. Please advise me how can I do this for the readers.
You just did. We're glad you survived, and thanks for writing in!