Responsible Wheeling for AllComment: Thank you for the Feb. '07 4Word about being a responsible wheeler and using common sense while out on the trail. I am a member of Friends of the Rubicon, the BlueRibbon Coalition, and two other very involved 4x4 clubs, and I spend many hours working to keep up the Rubicon and other trails. It's good to see and read articles like this. Please keep it up. Thanks again.Jerry B. Sparkmanvia-email
A: Jerry, our pleasure. We're well aware of the importance of being responsible enthusiasts, and we're glad that we're not alone. With the help of people like you and the organizations that you mentioned, we'll have a much better chance of keeping our public lands open for public use. Thanks for doing your part, Jerry. We'll keep doing ours.
Rover ReaderQ: Many thanks for the outstanding article, "Rising Sun Rover," in the Nov. '06 4WD&SU. Before the rivet counters and Rover enthusiasts get after you, I was very impressed with the real-world buildup and application of good ol' American know-how on this truck. I have a similar truck ('71 Land Rover 109 LWB) that began life as an ambulance with the British military, and I've been considering similar modifications. I like the classic lines of my truck (the ambulance body has long since been removed in favor of the civilian version), but I'm not above some functional upgrades where it makes sense. The axles alone need serious attention, as the OEM Rover axles were still produced in 10-spline units for my model year. My wife grenaded an axle just powering up a paved hill in a small country town!
You won't find a tremendous amount of help out there with this type of conversion, as most folks feel that Land Rovers should be built up with Land Rover parts. I really don't understand this, as they aren't exactly rare vehicles in most parts of the world. I'm certain that the mods listed on this truck are extremely functional, and while parts are plentiful for Rovers thanks to the Internet, it would still be nice to drive down the road and hit the local parts shop instead of waiting for stuff to get shipped to you.
While I would have selected a slightly different variation of the same components, I would still be very interested in how the owner went about fabricating the motor and transmission mounts for this project. Was there substantial modification to be done on the bulkhead and firewall to get the tranny to fit? Is there any way that I can get more information on this project? Keep up the great work, and thanks!P. J. Ryanvia e-mail
A: P.J., Land Rover took a nearly 20-year break from exporting its most capable 4x4s to the U.S., and when the Defender 90 was finally offered in the early 1990s, it was so expensive that it seemed like only characters on the television show Beverly Hills, 90210 could afford to buy them. Even the used market for Land Rovers fetches quite a bit higher price tag than Jeep or Toyota 4x4s, so you can see that demand for these vehicles and the push for modified and performance parts isn't as large. That isn't to say that it's nonexistent, but as you pointed out, the local parts store vice is difficult to fulfill. Likely, that's what led the owner of the Rising Sun Rover to utilize Toyota parts in the conversion of his '57 Land Rover Series I. Vehicle owner Matt Stoffregen works at Inchworm Gear [(530) 677-8111, www.inchwormgear.com], which manufactures and sells a good deal of Toyota geartrain parts, so Matt's familiarity with Toyota parts was also a good reason to convert to their use. Similar axle widths are shared by the Toyota and Land Rover axles, so a swap isn't too difficult. Also, the Toyota transmissions aren't so large that they require a great deal of modification for installation.
To answer your more specific questions, you might try getting Matt on the phone at Inchworm, where the company can likely sell you the parts needed for the conversion. Good luck.
GeoStash Coast to Coast?Q: First, I want to say great magazine. I'm a Jeep guy, and my wife is a Jeep girl as are both my daughters. My son-in-law is even a Jeep salesman! To the heart of the matter: I was just wondering where, geographically speaking, most of your readers are located? I know you guys are out west, and it's a lot easier for you to place most of the GeoStash markers closer to home. I wish I could afford to go to all those places out there looking for all of them. But, with job restrictions, etc., it's impossible for me to even consider participating in 95 percent of your contests. It's fun looking through the magazine and finding the ever-elusive coordinates, but when I see that once again they're way out west, it kind of makes you want to quit looking. I would really love to participate, as would most of the guys in my area, but living in Tennessee I guess we're just out of luck.Stevevia e-mail
A: Steve, though we've yet to include your great state of Tennessee in our GeoStash contest, a significant number of our readers do reside and/or recreate in the southeastern United States. So, don't be too surprised if any of the future coordinates strike closer to home. To date, markers have been found in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, Texas, Mississippi, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We plan to include each one of the 50 states in the contest, so please keep participating. Hopefully one or two of the markers will wind up in your area. Thanks for reading.
Little Bang for BuckComment: I had my '03 Jeep Liberty for 50,000 miles and checked gas mileage at each fill-up. I averaged 17 mpg. The Jeep was stock except for an LSD in back and wider (but same diameter) BFGoodrich T/AKO tires. It appears that your intake and exhaust "upgrades" ("Jeep Liberty Intake and Exhaust Upgrades," Jan. '07) cost a lot of time, money, and inconvenience for miniscule results! The other enhancements previously added might be the ones that are robbing all of the efficiency.John S.via e-mail
A: John, the heavier wheel-and-tire package did affect fuel economy in our Liberty; we wouldn't have mentioned it if it was inconsequential. We also mentioned that the Klune-V unit might suck up a bit of the rear-wheel horsepower and torque, which it does. Additionally, both installations were far from inconvenient or a waste a money. Just a few of the standout points of these types of upgrades are the washable/reusable air filter; a throaty exhaust note with a definite, seat-of-your-pants power improvement; and, as noted, improved gas mileage. If you are averaging 17 mpg in your Liberty then you're doing something right (the advertised fuel mileage for your model-year Liberty is 16-20 mpg in the city and 21-24 on the highway). Most Liberty owners that I've talked to bemoan the cruddy fuel mileage of these vehicles and reach nowhere near the 17 mpg you speak of. The 10-15 mpg range is much more common - even for Libertys with stock equipment.
By the way, since your average mpg is higher than most, I wonder if you've accounted for your change in tire size in your calculations. Remember that the speedometer and odometer are metered for the rotation of the stock-size tires and that a change in size can alter the vehicle's actual miles traveled compared to what the odometer displays.
Anyway, we stand by our opinions regarding the MagnaFlow and aFe components installed on our Liberty. The parts were a good fit, and the improvements were enough to make a difference in our daily driving and weekend excursions. Wheel on.
Kid SeatsQ: I'm looking for more info about the seating in David Dahlberg's CJ-8 ("Black Widow," Feb. '07), and I hope you can help. I'd love to see some close-up photos and/or a step-by-step on how he mounted those rear Beard racing seats to the chassis. Also, where can I find Beard racing seats in kids' sizes? I made a couple of calls to local stores that carry Beard and they both claimed they had never heard of kid-size Beard seats.Timvia e-mail
A: Tim, the rear seats in David Dahlberg's CJ-8 ("Black Widow," Feb. '07) are Beard Super Kid seats. They are one-third the size of the company's Super Seat and have four tabs for mounting and can accommodate five-point harnesses. Beard also offers a wide range of seat mounting systems for a variety of vehicles. Beard racing seats are manufactured by RedArt Inc. [(714) 774-9444, www.redart.com] in Anaheim, California.
Unfortunately, we don't have any more detailed information about the mounting of the rear seats in David Dahlberg's CJ-8, but with the basic tab-mount setup of the seats, most 4x4 shops should be able to easily come up with a custom mounting bracket. Some of the available mounting systems from Beard might also do the trick.