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

Posted in Features on December 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

Our letter writers are getting a GB8 LED Glove Box Light! The Smittybilt ( three-way light has a forward-facing LED flashlight, a red laser pointer, and a 16-LED work light on the side. There is even a magnet in the back so you can stick it to your frame, hood, or any ferrous metal to hold it in place. The anodized aluminum housing comes in black, silver, blue, or red.

No JK!

Regarding the October 2010 Rant, I’m with you! Not everyone can or wants to spend $30,000 on a “car” and then spend another $10,000 in dress-up pretties. That’s when you turn into a whiner and cry when it gets a dent. And let’s see: My truck came from the factory with a V-8 and half-ton suspension. And 3/4-ton and - ton axles will go right under it with no kit! Who got the better deal? Depends on what you want I guess. I’ll stay with the old junk myself. How long is it going to be before we start calling Jeeps Pre-Fiat and Post-Fiat? And what’s up with the only-wave-at-other-Jeep-guys thing? If you can’t be friendly with everyone you shouldn’t be in a 4X4. Snub me and see if I loan you that tool you need to fix your Jeep with! They may love their Jeeps but I’ll take my ‘85 K-5 any day!

Terry Boyd


I could not agree more with your Rant in the October ‘12 issue. Are JKs the most capable off road vehicles off the show room floor? Yes. Are JKs easily upgradable to make them even better? Yes. But after watching JK after JK plod along in trail rides I am tired of them too. I am a Jeep guy, too, not a hater. When my old Jeep YJ was worn out and needed a rebuild I sadly got rid of it and after a few years and kids I needed a Jeep with a big backseat for the family.

I picked up this ‘77 FSJ Cherokee and have loved it. It did and still does need a lot of work but it works awesome on the trail and can haul the family plus tons of gear. It has Dana 44s and a V-8, straight from the factory. I have had carb issues, overheating, vapor lock and ignition issues on the trail but I have also learned a lot and met a lot of really good people on some of these trips that ended with my hood up.

I, too, am sometimes a little jealous of the newbie guys in JKs with air conditioning. Ones that don’t even carry tools and go right up all the trails that I have worked so hard to conquer.

But I also like having one of the most unique and usually oldest rigs on the trail too.


Blake Anderson
Currently in Afghanistan

(I’m working as a contractor with the Army, but I can’t wait to get back to upgrading my old FSJ and hitting the best trails in the world in my home state of Utah!)

You Guys are JK Haters!

I cannot fathom your reasons to be a hater. Hating it because it is capable? Because it is popular? Just for the record, I see way more fullsize trucks running big lifts than JKs on the street. On the trail I see a few other JKs, but more Toyotas, buggies, TJs, etc. I bought my JK because it is the only rig that can go doorless and topless. It’s a Jeep Thing.

Jack Givens

Cheap XJ Lifting

What would be the cheapest and easiest way to lift my ’88 Jeep Cherokee XJ? I’d like to fit 33s if possible.

Cory Million

You can actually piece together a pretty cheap and effective kit onto your XJ.

In the front: The stock control arms can handle up to a 3-inch lift without really screwing up everything. Use a Rancho or RockKrawler or Rusty’s or Rubicon Express or Teraflex or Skyjacker or somebody’s 3-inch-taller coil spring. You can usually find a decent pair for under $150. If you want to go even cheaper, you can probably find 2-inch coil spacers for about $80. And just ditch the sway bar for off-road use since you’re being thrifty.

In the rear: Get longer shackles—Skyjacker makes a good pair. They are 2 inches longer and will give a 1-inch lift in the rear. Use the longer shackles with the stock leaf springs and you’ll get more travel out of the rear end, too.

Get four new shocks. Be as cheap (or not) as you want with shocks.

And with only two or three inches of lift, you might be able to get away with stock brake lines, too.

You’ll be able to get on 31s or maybe even 32s, but for 33-inch tires you’ll have to do some fender chopping. Luckily, this is very easy on an XJ and you can find multiple articles on our website regarding this subject.

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