Q: I am looking for a 4x4. Something that is dependable in mud, but can still be used as a daily driver. I would also like something that is fairly easy to work on and will not have super expensive repairs. I have looked at a few Jeep Wranglers and a Toyota 4runner. I would like an SUV, not a truck. Is you could help me out, or give me some tips I would really appreciate it.
A: Alex, you have just described a 1984-2001 Jeep Cherokee. These vehicles are very plentiful and can be acquired very cheaply. Aftermarket parts are also widely available. The earlier models will be the cheapest to purchase however the 1991-and-up models received better and more reliable drivetrain components and are worth looking in to. You also mentioned looking at Toyota 4Runners, which are also good 4x4s for trail use. Pre-1986 models use a solid front axle, which is preferred for its strength, however later models using independent front suspension can also be built to perform rather well. Good luck.
Short-Arm or Long-Arm?
Q: I own a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Limited and plan on having a 4.5 inch BDS lift kit installed and adding BFGoodrich 31x10.50 KM2 Mud Terrain tires. My Jeep is a daily vehicle, and I do enjoy some off-roading, but I do not plan on doing any rock crawling. BDS offers both a long arm and a short arm kit, and I would like your help in deciding on which one to get. I am more concerned with on road performance than off road. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
West Islip, NY
A: Christian, with the 31-inch tire size and the type of use you described you'll be plenty pleased with the performance of the BDS short arm kit. If you desired 33-inch tires or larger and hit the trails regularly I would suggest the long arm kit. This is based on my own experiences in driving both short- and long-arm-equipped Cherokees. While a short arm kit will also work well paired with 33-inch-and-larger tires the long arm system just seems to flex better in the twisty stuff. I've seen both set ups in action and while the short arm equipped rigs would rarely fail at completing the obstacle at hand, the long arm rig almost always completed the same obstacle more quickly and with greater ease. In regards to on-road performance I've found that both set ups work rather well. A good thing about the BDS long arm system is that you can always install the longer arms further down the road as your vehicle needs change or you increase tire size. Good luck.
Sprint Booster JK Gas Pedal Module
Comment: Hello, I love your magazine. I find the articles very helpful to a newbie in the 4x4 world. I bought my first Jeep last January and subscribed to a few magazines in order to get your opinions and ideas for my build. I received the April edition and was reading the 4xForum. I noticed that Roger Kasten had asked about a 3rd party module for the JK (my Jeep is an '08 JK Unlimited). While Superchips and other programmers are great for several different reasons, I believe what he was asking about was the Sprint Booster. Sprint Booster makes a module that does plug into the top of the gas pedal to remove the lag caused by the rheostat. They make these modules for any vehicle that is "drive-by-wire" instead of an actual throttle cable. My JK has a manual transmission, but I am considering one for my Dodge Charger. Again, I love the magazine, keep up the great work. I look forward to getting it each month.
Reply: Mark, thank you much for the info. We're kicking ourselves for missing this one. Among the editorial staff we had not come across the Sprint Booster USA unit for Jeep Wrangler JKs, which the company reports to be their best seller. The Sprint Booster USA unit plugs in to the top of the gas pedal and provides improved pedal response with no lag, increased pedal input sensitivity, and improved off-the-line performance. The unit continuously measures and converts the drive-by-wire digital signal and provides the ECM with a new and altered signal for a much quicker response. It takes just minutes to install and is said to deliver instant response throughout the power band. The Sprint Booster USA unit is available for all current drive-by-wire Jeep models (Compass, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, and Wrangler), as well as for Toyota Tundra, Tacoma, and FJ Cruiser, GM, Ford, and Dodge trucks and SUVs, and many other makes and models of 4x4s and SUVs. The Sprint Booster USA unit is also available for many models equipped with manual transmissions, so don't rule out your JK just yet, Mark. For more information, contact: Sprint Booster USA, (877) 225-5577, www.sprintboosterusa.com. Thanks for writing.