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Off-Road Unloaded - Letters To The Editor - July 2010

Letter Of The Month
Jerrod Jones | Writer
Posted July 1, 2010

Letters To The Editor

Is a Manual or Auto Tranny Better Off-Road?
I am thinking of buying a 2010 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and am considering buying this vehicle in an automatic transmission instead of a manual transmission. Do you suggest buying this vehicle in an automatic transmission or a manual transmission. Which is best for off-roading? Thank you for your suggestion.
Joe Casciari
New York City, NY

Joe, this type of thing is really up to you. What do you feel comfortable with? Personally, I really like manual transmissions-so much so that I like manual trannys even in traffic. But all my off-road trucks have autos in them.

Why? Well, I'm not out to prove anything to anyone when I go off-roading; I just go to have fun. When off-road, I am using many more senses and am doing much more (control-wise) with the vehicle than I am on the street. Therefore, I want the minimum amount of controls to mess with when I am in the dirt because I'd rather pay as much attention as I can to traversing the terrain around the vehicle.

There are a lot of hardcore Jeep guys out there who will tell you that "real men drive stick shifts." That's stubborn, old man B.S. Automatic transmissions are good enough to hold up to hardcore off-roading these days, and an auto tranny actually acts as a nice fluid dampener between your engine and the rest of the drivetrain.

I hope some of this helps you when making a decision about which transmission to get. But remember that the best transmission choice is whichever one you like driving with more.

Yeah, I'm That Guy on 44s!
When I recently picked up an issue of your magazine at the store I was surprised to find an article about daily-driven 47s. In your recent March 2010 issue. I was about four lines into the paragraph and just knew I had to write you. The quote being something like, "Who in there right mind would drive on the street with 44s...." or something of that sort.

Well, that someone is me! My daily driver (or ex-daily driver, I should say) is a mid '80s Chevy riding on 44s with 20 inches of lift. I'm glad to see you are featuring a article dedicated to running redonkulous huge meats and what it takes to get the job done, and how you are showcasing all the little problems that arise, such as need for wheel spacers,bigger blocks, etc. Well if I may, I'd like to put in my two cents and back your guys' article by saying that just because a tire is large and bias ply doesn't necessarily mean it won't be decent on the street. My tire of choice on my truck is the Super Swamper Truxus STS bias ply 44x21. The tire runs down the road nicely and is surprisingly quiet for such a tire. But after looking at your article, I must say the 47-inch Pit Bulls will be next for me.

Another thing to note is that the mileage you can get out of these tires is not as bad as the stereotype dictates. Most people think soft rubber compound and largely-spaced lugs equals poor mileage. People underestimate the value of proper inflation and proper rotation! Example: One of my friends somehow kept tread on his Boggers for roughly 75,000 miles from rotating and keeping his pressures in check.

Well, thanks for letting me rant; I could go on about oversized tires all day. My ride is no longer daily-driven thanks to the local CHP and a frame height that's over the legal limit by about a foot. But keep up the good work and keep the rubber side down! Thanks again.
Matt Vanderpool

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