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4x4 Questions & Answers - 4x Forum

Posted in Features on July 1, 2007
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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

Us And Wrangler Jk Making Friends
Q: I'm writing this e-mail in an attempt to get some information about a vehicle that was featured on the cover of your May '07 issue. The vehicle was a green '07 Jeep Rubicon four-door. There were two articles featuring the vehicle in the tech section of that issue ("PowerPlant Dual Force HP" and "Easy Power for the JK"). I'd like to know what are the specific modifications on that Jeep.

I'm currently deployed to Afghanistan, and my wife just ordered me a four-door Rubicon. I've asked her to get a 4-inch lift, tires, and wheels on the Jeep prior to my redeployment in November. I want to give her the necessary information to get my Jeep set up the way I want, but it's a bit difficult trying to communicate via e-mail and limited phone calls. I really like the way the Jeep was set up and would like as much information about it as you can give me. I'm specifically looking for the type and height of the lift, type and size of the tires, and the manufacturer and model of wheels. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me.

Brian Rarey
via e-mail

A: Brian, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon featured on the May '07 issue's cover is a permanent fixture of the magazine. You can plan on seeing articles about its use and construction for many years to come. To date, modifications and upgrades applied to our '07 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon include front and rear bumpers from PureJeep, the 3-inch Ultimate suspension system from Full-Traction, Off Road Evolution air bumpstops, 4.88 gears from Superior Axle & Gear, 17x8.5 beadlock wheels from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), 35x12.50R17 Pro Comp Xterrain tires, and an AEM high-flow intake system. Future upgrades will include AEV rear body corners, Superior Axle & Gear alloy axleshafts, a roof rack, an onboard welder, and plenty more. Thanks for writing, Brian. We can't wait to see how yours turns out.

Different Like The Liberty
Comment: I just received my copy of the June '07 issue of 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility, and on page 59 I see the ad again for back issues of your mag and the entire background is a giant, awesome photo of a group of KJs exploring the western wilderness. I have to say that is probably one of my favorite photos ever in a magazine. It reminds me of the respect you guys have for the KJ (and the IFS Grand Cherokees for that matter). I can think of another Jeep magazine right offhand that will not hesitate to completely discredit the KJ. You guys are different. You respect and understand the KJ and KJ owners.

I had an '05 KJ CRD with a 2.5-inch lift and 255/70-16 tires that I wheeled pretty often last year. I now have a '92 YJ with quite a few suspension mods and 265/75-16 tires. I can honestly say that my KJ would take me almost anywhere my YJ will - and in much greater comfort. Sometimes I really miss the KJ.

Anyway, the KJ is an excellent vehicle and even with IFS it is still rugged and it is still a Jeep. I wanted to say thank you so much for respecting the KJ and the people who wheel them in your magazine. You can expect a subscription renewal from me when the time comes. As for the other mag: It's great for getting the campfire started.

Shawn Crowe
Lawrenceburg, KY

Jeep will offer a redesigned Liberty in 2008. It will maintain use of its independent front suspension but feature a larger, boxier appearance like the Jeep Cherokee XJ and increased cargo capacity with more passenger comfort.

A: Shawn, we're happy to be different and will continue to do so for your pleasure as much as for our own. The Jeep Liberty KJ has gotten a bad rap from the start due to its independent front suspension as well as its reputation as the replacement for the much-beloved Cherokee XJ. Production of the Cherokee ended in 2001; the Liberty launched in 2002. I spent a lot of years in an '89 Cherokee and more recently acquired a '97, so I can attest to the durability and capability of these vehicles. However, the Liberty KJ has also proven to be a solid rig for many users as well. I've traveled to San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico, in a stock '02 Liberty on multiple occasions, as well as into the Sierra Nevada mountain range, each time without incident. I wasn't tackling anything impossible to most production 4x4s, but the Liberty continues to impress me nonetheless - even in stock form. Bolt on some suspension items and you're looking at a pretty good trail rig. It'll never be a hardcore rockcrawler, but it will rarely hold you back from enjoying the trails you want to explore.

Jeep Liberty fans can expect to see a more upsized Liberty in 2008, as a redesign of this model is being released. It will offer the 3.7L V-6 engine paired with a six-speed manual or four-speed auto trans. Other alterations include a larger, boxier appearance and a unique, fully opening, Sky Slider canvas roof. Cargo capacity also increases, and passengers can expect more seat comfort and added space. Thanks for reading, Shawn. We'll see you on the trail.

Range Rover Air-Suspension Woes
Q: I recently purchased a '98 Range Rover with 72,000 miles on it. Since then, I have had it into the dealership four times to have the air-suspension system repaired. Three times it was still covered under the extended warranty; the fourth time it cost me about $300. It recently went out again and I'm sure it will cost me $200 to $500 (or maybe more) to fix again, and I have no idea how long that repair will last. One of the mechanics at the dealership said that the vehicle could be retrofitted with leaf springs and shocks for $1,500. I think I will go ahead and have it converted, but I wanted to check with you and your readers first. If I am going to do this retrofit on the suspension, I want the best and strongest system I can get - I don't want to have to do this again. I will eventually use this Range Rover as a serious hunting and four-wheeling vehicle, so ground clearance is also important. What parts do you suggest I have them use to get this job done correctly?

Jay Johnson
Centerville, UT

A: Jay, unfortunately your Range Rover is experiencing a common problem among these models, and having the dealership complete repairs each time is sure to add up. Air suspensions can be finicky and problematic even when simply used on the street, so you can likely expect to continue your trips to the dealership as long as yours is still in place. However, completing a "retrofit" to use leaf springs instead is not the best solution. A handful of companies have already addressed this issue with the creation of a coil-spring conversion kit to replace the troublesome air suspension. Arnott Industries [(800) 251-8993,] in Cape Canaveral, Florida, offers a kit for '95-'02 Range Rovers that includes CNC-machined, 6061-T6 aluminum spring seats that bolt directly to the factory suspension brackets, powdercoated variable-rate coil springs, and step-by-step installation instructions with information about how to disarm the EAS alert. Similar kits for the Range Rover and other Land Rover/Range Rover vehicles are also offered by Suncore Industries [(800) 260-5175,] and Strutmasters [(866) 597-2397,]. Good luck.

Where To Get Maxxis Tires?
Q: I read the write-up on the Maxxis Creepy Crawlers and watched them perform in Moab this year. I am interested in buying a set, but I have not been able to locate any dealers or prices for them. Could you direct me to some known dealers? It would be much appreciated. Thanks.

via e-mail

A: Amy, Maxxis tires can be ordered online at the Maxxis International website, You can also contact the company at (800) 4-MAXXIS to find a local dealer. Another good source for Maxxis tires and other tire brands, as well as a huge variety of Jeep parts, is Quadratec [(800) 745-5337,]. Thanks for reading.

What Happened To...?Q: What happened to Project All-American? I recently reread the June '06 issue and it seemed to me it was not finished by a long shot. Thanks for a great magazine.

via e-mail

A: Robert, the Project All-American '42 Willys MB is more finished than it isn't, and I hope to have enough time to get it to the trail in the next few months. It has since moved from my parents' driveway into my one-car garage, and then again to the shop floor at Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California. As soon as the dust settles from our Yellow TJ Brute conversion, I'll continue cracking away at old Project All-American until it's finally complete. Thanks for the kick in the pants. Wheel on.

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