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Off-Road Unloaded - Letters To The Editor - February 2011

Posted in Features on February 1, 2011
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Letters Of The Month
This month, every letter writer who has a published letter in this issue is getting a copy of Dezert People 8. It's filled with some great action and has some great music from bands like Costello.

Pick up a copy of your very own at

Retraction: Air Shocks Are NOT Emulsion Shocks!
In December 2010's issue, OFF-ROAD ran a story on air shocks. Unfortunately, the story was written after a long day of work-during one of those times where all the information in your head starts to swirl together from exhaustion and sleep deprivation, and our author simply made a small error. Therefore, we tied his feet together and roped him to the rear bumper before hitting a whoops section in Plaster City-we take our mistakes very seriously around here.

Thanks to Chris, at F-O-A shocks, for pointing it out below:
"I'm guessing you've heard about this already, but I just leafed through the latest issue that has the Fox Emulsion shock article in it.

"Air shocks (which is what is in the article) aren't emulsion shocks. There is info on two completely different kinds of shocks.

"Emulsions can't support a vehicle; they are just a regular shock with no oil/air division."

Our author replies:
" are right. I think I went off on a bad tangent one late night and spewed out some misinformation. The article was strictly meant to address air shocks that can alone support the weight of a vehicle using pressurized nitrogen. As you mention, nitrogen-charged emulsion shocks are a different animal and are meant to be used with a separate spring that serves to support the vehicle weight. I apologize for the confusion describing the shock characteristics. Thanks for catching my error."

K5 Queries
I have an '82 Chevy K-5 Blazer and I'm having a hard time with the suspension being extra stiff. I have BFGoodrich AT 35s kept at 50 to 55 psi and a Pro Comp 6-inch lift with dual shocks on the front. The shocks in the front are the Pro Comp ES9000 and the ES1000 on each side with a 6-inch spring on the front and a standard spring with a 2-inch block on the rear. I flipped the shackle on the rear to get an even ride height. I also have a new Pro Comp steering stabilizer, and I installed everything at the same time. With these new suspension upgrades the truck still rides very rough. The smallest potholes make it feel like you just fell in a hole that would make Alice and the white rabbit wish for a parachute, and it pulls hard to that hole. I don't know why the ride is so stiff - maybe you could help. Long-time reader, first-time writer. Love the mag; keep up the good work.
James Holmes
Butte, MT

James, I think your problem is a simple one. Your tires have too much air pressure in them. The 50 to 55 psi might be a good air pressure on a 1-ton truck with Load-E rating tires on it, but it's probably 20 pounds too much in your K5. Try 30 to 35 psi in your tires. On my Blazer, I run about 32 psi in the front and rear. If it's a similar truck (not an SUV), I run 32 psi in the front and 30 psi in the rear since the bed is lighter than the front end. Try this, and I'm sure you'll notice a huge improvement in ride quality, and a minimal drop in fuel economy.

Thanks, OFF-ROAD magazine!
Hello OFF-ROAD magazine,
I want to take a moment and thank you for your article in the November 2010 issue talking about the situation of Oceano Dunes and especially Johnson Valley. The articles were exceptional! I explore the Mojave desert in my Tacoma, and enjoying the many events in our region. From MDR racing, to the Hammers, camping and even going to clean-up events.... There is a camaraderie in the off-road community. The dirt is a place where total strangers will give each other a hand.

So here is a shout-out to all who enjoy the dirt, 4x4, quads, rails, moto x, and racers alike. By speaking up and sending an email or letter, we will be participating in the survival of our hobby and sport. Partnership for Johnson Valley is a place to make a difference out in the dirt !

Here's my ride, an '07 4x4 Tacoma Sport with 3-inch Revtek lift; rear add-a-leaf with a Firestone air ride; bumper guard and sliders by Intense Fabrication; and riding on 17x9 wheels with 32-inch BFG All Terrains. This pic is from El Mirage dry lake in Adelanto.

Thanks for the great magazine !
Enjoy the dirt !
Sue Trubovitz

Old-School All The Way!
How's it goin'? I think the old-school trucks from back in the day were bitchin'. In my opinion, who cares if old trucks didn't have back massagers, heated seats, or power windows, because with the off-road enthusiast, they are all going to get tossed out the window, anyway, am I right?

Another good thing is that old trucks are cheap to build whether they have a solid axle or an I-beam set up. Nowadays all these bolt-in coilovers for trucks are nice, but expensive, and where's the fun in that? I mean it's not like you had to fabricate an engine cage for it like you would've for something like an '89 Ford Ranger.

I'm 16 years old and going to be a junior in high school this upcoming school year, and my dream truck would be an old-school Ford F-100. If I were to build it, I would build it to be something similar to like a 1450 truck, just all-out with nothing stopping me and using just the cab and the frame rails.

If we were talking in numbers, I would say anywhere from 18 to 24 inches of travel in the front and 22 to 26 inches of travel in the rear and a 500hp engine pushing it through the desert. The color would probably be white with black Teflon-coated wheels. This is only what I would like, but at this point in time I would take anything from a stripped Ranger with only the cab and frame to a Chevy Blazer in perfect condition. Hell, if they were in a good price range, I'd take them both!

Thanks for taking the time to read this and if this doesn't make the five "chosen ones" it won't matter, because all I care about right now is what's going to be featured next in your awesome magazine! Thanks again.
Thomas Tangedal
Henderson, NV

Thomas, we like your attitude, bud. Even though you weren't one of the "chosen five" in last month's "New Vs. Old" story, we're still going to send you some swag.

Long-Time Reader, Grey-Bar Subscriber
Hi guys, I'm currently receiving your magazine in the Gray Bar Hotel (jail). I have seen your magazine in a movie I've seen here. So I'm like "Wow, can you get that in jail?!" So I checked into it and now I'm receiving OFF-ROAD. So I'd like to say a big thanks for looking out for us inmates and giving us something good to read.

OFF-ROAD is very popular in here-as soon as I get it, I have a list of inmates waiting to read my copy. I have been trying to get your sister magazine, Diesel Power, but for some reason have not received any for eight months now. Still hoping to see it sometime.... After spending just about five years in jail, I'm looking forward to getting out and receiving my pop's old truck (a Ford flair side '91 from the showroom floor at the time). It has a 5.8L engine and 33-inch tires.

New items are a set of manual locking hubs, wiring harness, alternator, and battery. Has 298,089 miles on it and no engine work. I do not know what kind of tranny, axles, or transfer case, but I do know it is an automatic trans with a 3.11 gear ratio in the axle (so I'm told). After looking over your magazine I know there are a lot of things that I can do to upgrade my truck.

Thanks! As for the magazine, great work, I really like the way you do your sections: Hardware, Rides, Long-Term Updates, and Tech sections. I also like the way your art director sets up the pages. The print is large and legible and I absolutely love the photography! I can't leave out the advertisements; if it weren't for them I would not know what to buy and use on my truck when I get out.

So from everyone here, keep up the great work and a huge thanks for getting your magazine to us inmates.
New subscriber Shane Posey
via the Grey Bar Hotel
Lords Valley, P.A.
Soon to be home in Burnsville, W.V.

Shane, we really appreciated your letter. It was one of the nicest we've gotten in a long time, and I'm stoked to hear we'll have some guys on our side if we ever get put on the wrong side of the bars ourselves!

By the way, I think that movie you're referring to is Con Air, but if there's another one with Off-Road Magazine in it, please let us know!

Editor's Note: If you want to say or ask something, email Unloaded at or write:

Off-Road Magazine
1733 Alton Parkway Ste. 100
Irvine, CA 92606

Remember, we're giving away swag every month to the author of our favorite letter(s). Be sure to include your address, so we know where to send your goods. And because we lost our copyeditor, please know that we are not going to be copyediting your letter if you are going to be hating on us, so you better check it over well before sending it our way! Thanks!

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