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Off-Road Unloaded - Letters to the Editor - February 2012

Posted in Features on February 1, 2012
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Editor’s Note: If you want to say or ask something, email Unloaded at or write:

Unloaded, 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. Be sure to include your address, so we know where to send your goods.

Letters of the Month
Dezert People, the ones who brought you Dezert People 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, are ready to release- you guessed it- Dezert People 9. Our lucky letter writers are going to be come of the first people to see it! You can purchase your copy at

Titan Rear Axles and Front Gears
First, let me start off by saying how refreshing it is to have a mag that seems to have a “tell it like it is” mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I do read some others, but OFF-ROAD is the one I really look forward to getting every month. So a huge thanks to all who help put this thing together!

Now on to my main reason for writing in: Being the Nissan guy I am, I (like many other “burger” enthusiasts) have fairly limited resources for aftermarket support to help build our rigs. With that in mind, it was absolutely awesome to see your write-up on the new bolt-in rear axle from Currie. I have an ’06 Titan that I have run pretty hard and somehow have only gone through one rear end so far, but you can bet that when (not if) my current linebacker breaks another heel (love the reference!), I’ll be calling on Currie.

I also wanted to add that Titan owners do finally have some aftermarket front gearing available from The new front gearsets are available in a few different ratios, up to 4.56:1 ratios. Now if we could only get someone to market an affordable solid-axle swap kit for the Titan! Then I’d really be able to get myself in trouble (with the wife, that is). Thanks again for putting together such a great read and for keeping fans of all brands “in the loop.”

Dan F.
E. Yaphank, NY

Thanks for the head’s up on the front gears, Dan. We’ve also been told that Superior Axle ( and Nitro Gear ( now carry front gears for Nissan Titans.

Ford 6.0L Alternator Problems
In Long-Term Updates in the October 2011 issue, you mention a problem with Ford Alternators. Most people don’t know that at the three-wire connector there is a green-orange wire. If you follow it through the harness it leads back into the main black-orange wire to the alternator. It is usually connected with a solder/hot glue gun installation that the elements sometimes break down in, and usually close to the starter solenoid. Everyone says that you need voltage at the green-orange wire, even the repair manuals. But the green-orange wire turns on the regulator. The voltage at said wire needs to be within 0.04 volts of the battery voltage. That is the one thing nobody tells you. If you have only between 8 and 10 volts at this wire, the alternator will still put out enough juice to run, but it will eventually burn up the regulator in the alternator and you’ll need to replace it. Good Luck.

Rick Walker, Service Manager City Tire
Waterford, CT

Banged Up, but Still Going
I was out at the Hammers earlier this year when my 4Runner suffered a nose-dive rollover. I still need to get the cage fixed, but I do have a new hood on already.

For now I’ll be rolling with no windshield, so it is pretty much just a buggy currently! Check out where it hit near my head—thank God for the good ’cage I put in more than 10 years ago just before the second Ultimate Adventure, or I would have been screwed, or worse…. It came down and bowed the cab about two inches!

Brian Cox

Important Safety Issue
You did not recommend this in your magazine (I read it in another rag), but I thought this was important enough to write to all the off-road magazines regarding the use of chlorinated brake cleaner to degrease/clean parts prior to welding. Do not do it unless you want either an early grave or serious permanent health problems. Luckily chlorinated brake cleaner is banned in many states because it will decompose into phosgene gas/chlorine when exposed to a flame or any other heat source that glows red (heated metal, a cigarette tip, etc.) and that is one of the primary gases that Hitler used in his extermination facilities during WWII (at least that was what I was told while I was in my York 1-ton R-114 unit maintenance classes). That is some scary stuff, the other bad thing about it is that it’s heavier than air, so if you breathe it in it’s not coming right back out and can take an extremely long time to be removed from your respiratory system!

Check out these links to see some real life examples!!?highlight=brake+cleaner+welding

I would hate to see anyone in the off-road community end up in the hospital (or worse) from using brake cleaner prior to welding because they read it in a magazine and didn’t know any better.

Thanks for the great mag, keep up the good work.

Joel Atteberry
Poulsbo, WA

Top Dog of the Desert
In your September 2011 issue you wrote an article comparing bikes versus trucks, deciding the top dog in the desert. The article was very interesting as it included the feedback of the late Jeff “Ox” Kargola. The article compared a Johnny Campbell Racing prepared CRF450X and a Superlite series truck. In the desert, this is like comparing an apple to a tomato. Both are technically classified as fruits, but that is where the similarity ends. Additionally, the test track was Glen Helen raceway? That is some seriously scary desert terrain!

If you really wanted to do a comparison of the heavyweight champs of the desert then take the JCR Honda, any one of the top 10 trophy trucks currently competing in SCORE or BITD, and drop them off on a 200-mile point-to-point desert course somewhere in the continental United States and see who gets to the finish first?


2011 Baja 500 results:

SCORE Trophy Truck (Unlimited Production Trucks)—1. Bryce Menzies; Las Vegas; Ford F-150; 9:04:52 (49.87 miles per hour)

Class 22 (450cc or more)—1. Kendall Norman; Santa Barbara, California/Quinn Cody; Buellton, California/Johnny Campbell; San Clemente, California, Honda CRF450X; 8:47:07 (51.75mph)

2010 BITD Vegas to Reno results:

Trick Truck (BITD Trophy Truck): Rick D. Johnson; Barstow, California; 9:10:42.850; Ford

Open Bike: Cody Quinn; Los Olivos, California; 9:21:18.396; Honda

Seems we have a tie? Maybe Source Interlink Media could contact Sal Fish and put up a $5,000 bonus for the overall winner of the 2011 Baja 1000?

Tony McCollum

I hope I’m not the first to point out that the picture of the Eaton Truetrac on Page 16 of the August 2011 issue is not a Truetrac.

Gary MacFadyen
West Coast Differentials

Thanks much for pointing this one out, Gary. It looks like we accidentally slipped in a picture of an open differential, as that is certainly not a TrueTrac. We’ve included an image of a separated Truetrac—a helical gear limited-slip differential.

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