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

Posted in Features on March 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

This month, everyone who had their letter published is getting a combo of Cowboys and Aliens and The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption with Billy Zane! Cowboys and Aliens hits shelves on December 6, and you'll have to wait a bit longer- until January 10- to pick up a copy of The Scorpion King 3.

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Is Gear Swapping Worth It?

I have a 2007 Chevy 2500HD and got a question on gear ratio. My truck has 14-Bolt rear and 9.25 IFS front with 3.73 gears. It also has shorty headers, a K&N cold-air intake, Flex-a-Lite electric fans, and a Flowmaster muffler. I got it custom tuned with a Diablosport trinity for my mods. My tires are 35 inches tall was thinking of putting 4.10 gears in because it has a hard time of staying in sixth gear and would like to get a little more torque. What good and what bad would I get out of this?

Lance Pryor
Canyon Lake, Texas

Lance, nothing bad can come of the gear change you’re thinking of (although I should put an asterisk here—new trucks require a tuner to input a different gear ratio size into the onboard computer if you change gears). Changing gear ratios to accommodate for the change it tire size will make a huge difference in the drivability of your truck, and can even increase fuel economy even though you’ll be spinning higher rpms (the engine won’t be working as hard so it will require less fuel). With 35-inch tires on your Chevy, you’re right on the line between going with 4.10:1 or jumping up to 4.56:1 with your automatic transmission. If you’re looking for the best power, then go with the 4.56 gears, and if you want fuel economy on the highway, then go with 4.10s.
But remember to input the gear change into your tuner so you can tell your truck it has a different gear ratio!

Worst Choices Ever Maybe?!

First, I want to thank you for your great magazine which, month after month, I look forward to receiving. I was pleasantly surprised to find your article about the Big Oly Bronco, being a fan of early off-road vehicles, and this one in particular. The whole concept of transforming this legend into a vehicle that meets modern day Trophy Truck capabilities is awesome.

I also want to respectfully express a different perspective regarding Agustin Jimenez’s piece where he proclaims the Bronco II was the “worst 4X4 ever!” It appears he overlooked one important point, and that is the thousands of owners who happened to like them. He sure gets a little carried away and makes it sound like nobody liked them. I happened to own an ’87 and never had any problems and know others who either had one or wanted one. Granted that the earlier 2.8L carbureted V-6 was “anemic” and were prone to roll. But “sheer ugliness”? “No removable top is what killed it?” I mean, come on!  

I can name a long list of SUVs that don’t have a removable top, then and now. S-10 Blazers, later Ramchargers, 4Runners, FJ cruisers, and on and on. Furthermore, times do change and things wear out. You take it for what it is. Magazines most often are all about upgrades and swaps for those who desire it. My only take on the Bronco II bashing article was that Agustin does not like them, although he does say “we”. I realize that articles are to an extent for entertainment, but to conclusively say that it is the “worst ever” seems misguided. 

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

Timo Kallen
Calexico, California

P.S. Your pick for all four best trucks of the year was right on, though. They are true jewels. Very desirable toys. Take care.

Worst-Vehicle Picks Could Have Been Better

Well, you knew it was coming. I have to take exception to your worst 4x4s ever article. I had and loved an ‘87 Suzuki Samurai. I didn’t throw a ton of parts and money at it as I had neither at the time, but I managed to make a very nice wheeler out of about $5,000, including the price of the vehicle. I started with a Calmini shackle reversal which gives a bonus of 2 inches lift, then added OME springs, 4.89 low-range gears, a locker in the rear, a homemade snorkel, trail-tough front bumper, and some 31-inch retread tires. It went everywhere I ever needed it too, not just on the slow speed rocks, but on the beach and on the road/highway too.I kept the stock motor, tranny, axles and brakes. Heck I didn’t even have to do anything with the steering geometry. It is one of those vehicles I wish I never would have sold.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for the great mag, even if I don’t agree with all your opinions, I still like reading about them.

Douglas Frey
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Doug and Timo,

You guys were both kind and brought great points. And as you pointed it out, it was just for entertainment. We’re stoked to see someone off-roading a Caprice if that’s what they like to take in the dirt.

Funny that not a single reader wrote in to stick up for the CJ-5, though!

Oh, and to let you guys in on a little secret that we didn’t originally include in the story: Agustin Jimenez, the author of the story, actually owns these vehicles and that’s how he got the shots for the story!!!

Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

Dallas Hughes
Via email

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