Q: I am 18 years old and just joined the Navy. I was looking for a cheap 4x4, and I found a '72 Jeep J Series for $500 and I fell in love with it. I've always liked the look of those trucks, but the problem is I've been looking online for parts for them but I can't seem to find anything. The only thing I can find is a 3-inch body lift. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction and if you guys could show some J-Series vehicles in your future issues. Thanks.
A: Jimmy, J-Series Jeeps are definitely very cool, but we don't have any immediate plans to include them in any upcoming tech articles. Your best bet in finding info on these vehicles is to check out the International Full Size Jeep Association website (www.ifsja.org) where you'll find loads of info on fullsize Jeeps and a forum where you can interact with other fullsize Jeep owners. For parts, you can check out BJ's Off-Road in Gig Harbor, Washington [(253) 265-6678, www.bjsoffroad.com]. You also might check out our little sister mag, JP, which often has fullsize Jeep features and also offers fullsize tech advice.
Flat-Towing With Locking Hubs
Q: My question is regarding flat-towing my Jeep behind my RV. I recently had new Dynatrac Pro 60 front and Trail 60 rear axles installed in my '00 TJ. The new front axle has Warn locking hubs, unlike the original Dana 30. The owner's manual states when towing (with original axles) I must put the transfer case in Neutral and the manual gearbox in gear (I use Fifth). Now that I have lockers, I would prefer to not lock in the front hubs. I figure the less moving parts, the less to go wrong. However, I have not been able to get a straight answer from anyone - dealerships, off-road stores, and so on. Their "opinions" range from "you shouldn't have changed axles" to "Dynatrac axles are tough: Just put everthing in Neutral and don't worry about it." However, they cannot explain the logic behind their assertions. Would you please clarify this issue? I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who is confused.
A: Gary, you can flat-tow the TJ with the hubs unlocked. If they are locked, the axleshafts will be spun by the wheels, which will spin the front driveshaft, which will spin the transfer case. When I flat-tow, I leave the hubs unlocked (if the vehicle is so equipped), put the transfer case in Neutral, leave the transmission in Neutral, and leave the key in the ignition to unlock the steering wheel. If I don't have front locking hubs I will often remove the front driveshaft of the vehicle being towed. It's also not a bad idea to tie off the shifters with a bungee or rope to ensure that they don't pop into gear accidentally. Of course, this risk is nonexistent if the driveshafts are removed for towing. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading.
Needs Extension Straps
Q: In the Mar. '07 article, "Tied Down," there's a photo I'm very intrigued by. In the upper lefthand corner of page 88, the tie-down straps are attached to the forward rail of the trailer via some short lengths of strap. What are these little straps? They almost look like miniature tree-savers. I really could use some of these for the exact same purpose. My trailer doesn't have friendly tie-down points, and I've tried to achieve the same thing as depicted in the photo in many jury-rigged ways.
A: Joesph, the straps you saw in the photo are 3-inch by 3-foot extension straps with sewn-in loops that I picked up at a local trailer/agriculture supply store. They do indeed look exactly like tree-saver straps and are usually available in a variety of lengths. Make sure you get straps that are designed for heavy loads and are rated to support the weight of your vehicle. While the straps do work as a remedy, a better solution would be to weld the necessary hooks to the trailer in the appropriate locations. Good luck.
A: Jack, thanks for the props. We like our magazine too. Concerning your Ford Ranger, more than a few aftermarket lift manufacturers cater to this model, so finding a lift kit that meets your criteria should not be a problem. Camburg Engineering [(714) 848-8880, www.camburg.com) in Huntington Beach, California, offers some great Ford Ranger kits. Its Performance Off-Road System is designed to fit 31-inch tires and includes new bent I-beams, custom Heim-joint radius arms, Eibach coil springs, and Bilstein front shocks. The kit can also be paired with a set of custom long-travel Deaver leaf springs and new shackles (for an additional cost).
James Duff Enterprises, headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, [(865) 938-6696, www.jamesduff.com)] is also a good source for Ford Ranger suspension. The company's Stage 3 Ranger kit includes new coil-spring towers and progressive-rate coil springs, dual shock mounts and shocks, long-link radius arms, and new leaf springs to create up to 3 inches of lift.
Lastly, if you still want one of those lifts that only includes lift blocks for the rear, there's nothing stopping you from contacting a company such as Deaver Spring, which can easily build a set of custom leaf packs to measure up to your desired lift height. Thanks for reading.
In the May '07 issue of 4 Wheel Drive & Sport UtilitY magazine, we mentioned in the June '07 issue preview that we would be installing and reviewing a Dana 30 high-steer kit. Unfortunately, due to logistical problems, we weren't able to complete the installation on time. Instead, we will be running the high-steer review in the Aug. '07 issue of 4WD&SU. The staff thanks you for your patience.
Send questions, comments, and suggestions to: 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility MAGAZINE, Attn: Christian Lee, 2400 E. Katella Ave., Ste. 700, Anaheim, CA 92806, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't Cut It!
Q: I recently purchased a '65 Jeep CJ-5A Tuxedo Park Mark IV edition. I want to do some mods such as a different clutch/brake assembly, a mild lift kit, etc. Who makes hydraulic, swinging-type units, and what can I do to upgrade my steering? My buddies say not to touch it because it's a rare model. How's about your take?
A: Bill, while I'm fond of making improvements to not-so-rare, older vehicles to make them better drivers and more comfortable for my needs, altering some vehicles from stock sometimes just seems wrong. And at least for me, your Tuxedo Park Mark IV would fall into that category. If the rig was in pieces and you were starting on a rebuild, I might have a different opinion, but as it is, you might want to save the classic for a restoration and buy a cheap, not-so-rare CJ-5 to meet your trail needs. That said, you paid for the rig - it's yours. So feel free to do what you want. Just be prepared to take heat from the purists you may run across in the process. Mind you, less than 2,000 of these vehicles were produced in 1965. If by chance it's a CJ-6A rather than the 5A, just 115 were produced. Should you still elect to modify it, hydraulic clutch conversion components as well as mechanical upgrade components are available from such companies as Advance Adapters and Novak Conversions. Lift kits for early Jeep vehicles are available from Superlift and others. For more information about Tuxedo Park Jeeps, check out www.earlycj5.com.
Q: I just read the article on the RocZuk and I was wondering what engine was being run in it? Is it the stock 1.3L or a Toyota engine?
A: Cody, the engine in the RocZuk Samurai is the stock Suzuki 1.3L four-cylinder. You'll see more of the RocZuk in an upcoming issue as we install a propane conversion on the 1.3L engine. Thanks for reading.
Q: I was checking out your website and saw a tech article on a Smittybilt rollcage that had been put in a K5 Blazer. I have a fullsize Blazer that I love to take on local trails and power-line roads. I would really like to put the rollcage in my truck but have been unable to find it available anywhere. Where can I find this? I can't afford to have someone bend one up, but I want the safety of a rollcage - plus, it looks wicked cool. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
A: Peter, rollcages do look wicked cool, and they can also save your noodle from some pretty gnarly carnage. From what I could find, however, Smittybilt no longer manufactures weld-in rollcage kits for any vehicles. But I did come across a couple of different Blazer rollcage kits from S&W Race Cars [(800)523-3353, www.swracecars.com)]. The kits are offered in eight-point and ten-point configurations, and an eight-point conversion kit is also available. All of the kits require welding for installation. You'll still have to shell out some bucks for installation, but it will certainly take less labor hours than creating a one-off rollcage for your Blazer.
Ford Ranger Lifts
Q: First off, I just want to say that you have a sweet magazine. I have an '86 Ford Ranger and it runs pretty good. I've been trying to find a lift kit for it that does not use lift blocks. I'd also like to know if there are any companies out there that offer off-road bumpers that will support a winch for my Ranger. Do you have any idea where I could get a lift kit or off-road bumper for it? Thanks very much for the help.