Questions or comments?
Write to us at 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I have an '83 CJ7 with a new 4.0L and Dana 44 rear and Dana 30 front axles with ARBs and 4.10 gears. The suspension is spring over axle leaf springs. I am in need of some new tires but am confused with all the tire talk these days. I want to run 36x12.50R15 Super Swamper TSL's, but some people are telling me these tires are terrible on the street, specifically, that they're loud and they can not be balanced. Some say this tire is too big and will cause too much stress on my Dana 30. Is this true? My rig is used for 75 percent true off-road, 25 percent street, and I don't tow it to where I want to go. Is it a better bet to go with a 35-inch tire such as a BFG or a Goodyear MT/Rs? Thanks.Brad Ficarravia e-mail
A: Brad, in our experience, the tire talk you speak of usually amounts to no more than unsubstantiated gossip, oftentimes related to one's brother-in-law's best friend's uncle who once snagged a sidewall on his kid's tricycle in the driveway. One aspect of these conversations we usually do find to be helpful is the regional element. In our travels to different trails in different States,we've found it very apparent that each region boasts one or two tire brands to be the best for that area. You might take this into consideration when choosing a tire for your vehicle. Hit the local shop and find out what type of trails they run and what terrain they consist of. If it sounds like what you're after, get the recommendation of a brand. As for 36-inch Swampers on your CJ, we've seen it done, seen it work well, and also seen snapped 'shafts as a result. Maybe you'll be one of the ones it works for. Lastly, balance can be an issue, especially when you knock 'em around on the trail. You'll most likely need to make buddies with the tire guy. Oh, and yeah, they're mud tires, of course they're going to be loud on the street. Luckily you'll be putting them on a Jeep though, so that shouldn't matter. 'Wheel on.
Don't Do It Yourself
Q: I have a Dana 18 transfer case with broken intermediate bearings. I'm getting ready to install new ones, and I have never worked on a transfer case before and don't know how to remove the gears or even where to start. Do I need to bring the transfer case to a shop, or can I just work on it without taking it in? I would appreciate any help. Thank you.Rudy HerdezDowney, California
A: Rudy, whenever we wrestle with idea of doing it ourselves, we like to remember that there are people out there who are trained to do just that job. Not that we don't get our hands dirty from time to time, it's just that there's always someone who will be able to do it better, faster, and more accurately. If money is an issue and time isn't, get yourself a manual for that Dana 18 and have a go at it. Keep the number to a good 4x4 shop handy just in case. The shop may or may not be able to offer advice on the subject. You will have to tear down the case and clean it thoroughly, so set aside a good chunk of the weekend to do so. Good luck.
If it Walks Like a Duck. . .
Q: Help me out here. A bunch of bent-up pipe, a GM motor and tranny, a Toyota T-case, Toyota axles (but gonna be a Dana 44), custom suspension, and a Samurai hood make a Zuk? You wish! Don't get me wrong, the machine is a work of art, but a Zuk? Putting a Jaguar emblem on a Yugo don't make it a Jag!Brian LikkelFerndale, Washington
A: Brian, you are right that an emblem "don't make it a Jag." But were that Yugo to be placed atop a Jag frame, well then sir, it would certainly be a Jag. At least that's how vehicle registration works in California. Just like a Hummer-bodied Chevy Suburban is still a Suburban on the papers. Therefore, we stand by our decision to call Casey Boyd's "Little Red Zuk" (December '02 issue) a Suzuki. Also, the Toyota axle mentioned in the article was a misprint. If you refer to the "Specifications" box, you'll see that Boyd's Zuk actually uses Suzuki axles. A portion of the original frame is also present. Were this not utilized, we certainly would have referred to the vehicle as a hybrid. Thanks for reading, Brian.