New Bodies for Old Jeeps
Q: I'm in the market for a replacement body for an '80 CJ-7. I'm not much on fiberglass and would like to keep the original body lines. Have you used one of these new aluminum tubs? I also wonder if aftermarket steel is worth anything, considering they're all made overseas.
A: Mr. Name, We've seen a number of aluminum tubs installed on trail and competition rigs, and they all seemed to maintain a factory appearance. If you're not into the aluminum look, you can always paint the tub after initial fitting. JP Off Road, (509) 893-1488, www.jpoffroad.com, in Spokane, Washington, makes very clean looking Jeep tubs and competition bodies, and we've witnessed quite a few of these in use. Aftermarket steel tubs are another option. We've used a few replacement body parts to good success, though we've also had the occasional mishap. This was mostly due to unrealistic expectations on our own part, assuming that an item such as replacement floorboards could have been seamlessly welded in place of the most rust-eaten tub floor we'd ever come across. Expanded steel finally did the trick. If you opt to venture the steel-tub route, check out Quadratec, (800) 745-5337, www.quadratec.com. Good luck.
Toyota Load-Sensor Fix
Q: I have an '84 Toyota 4x4. My question is about how to bypass the load-sensing valve that's connected to the rear differential and frame. Would I be able to run a proportioning valve off a two-wheel-drive Toyota without the load-sensing valve, or can I just bypass it? If I can get rid of it, how would it affect my braking, especially while hauling a load? Any help would be appreciated.
A: Ron, the load-sensing proportioning valve (LSPV) is designed to compensate for the payload the truck is supporting and deliver the appropriate amount of fluid pressure to the rear brakes. It's operated by mechanical linkage mounted along the framerail. When you lift your truck, it changes the weight distribution, and depending on the amount of lift, the LSPV may no longer deliver the proper line pressure to the brakes. The easiest fix is to replace the LSPV with a manually adjustable proportioning valve, such as one designed for racing applications. Summit Racing [(800) 230-3030, www.summitracing.com] offers a variety of proportioning valves that should suit your needs.
Q: Hello. I'm getting a GPS, and I was wondering which is the best for off-road use. I would prefer a color screen, but I definitely want topographical and mapping functions. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
A: Steve, We've used a few different GPS units throughout the years, ranging from the bare-bones basics to the in-dash monster-color-screen units. Some were better than others, but we've had consistently good luck with the Garmin GPS units. On the other hand, Associate Editor Kevin McNulty is more partial to his Magellan Meridian (www.magellangps.com), so you can see that there isn't just one tool for the job. Most units produced these days are capable of handling topographical and mapping needs, and color screens almost standard. The latest GPS to grab our eye while skipping around the Garmin Web site (www.garmin.com) was the Garmin eTrex Legend C GPS. It has a color screen with a high-resolution display, is capable of storing 500 waypoints and 50 routes, weighs just 5.6 ounces, runs for as long as 36 hours on two AA batteries, and is waterproof. Oh, and it also has a built-in calendar, with the best fishing and hunting time recommendations. When you're ready for mapping software, check out www.4x4books.com, where you'll find National Geographic Topo software and Backcountry Adventures 4WD Trails software, which should keep you busy for a while. Have fun.