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November 2009 Letters To The Editor

August 2009 Cover
Posted November 1, 2009

Send Us Your Letters

Where To Write
Address your correspondence to:
Four Wheeler
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048.

All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

Mystery Grille On Cherokee Chief
Reader: I would like more information on the 1978 Cherokee Chief that's on the cover of the August '09 issue: specifically, the grille. I have a 1977 Wagoneer that I am working on and have tried with no luck to find a similar grille. Thank you for your time.
Mark Scarborough
Hickory, NC

Editor: One of the coolest things about working for the design division of an OE manufacturer like Jeep has gotta be the access you're likely to have to some hard-to-find and/or rare parts. Technically speaking, that Cherokee on our cover is only a '78 from the A-pillar back; the front clip and "Rhino Chaser" grille were actually designed by Willys and were grafted onto the Cherokee from a first-generation ('63-'65) Wagoneer. Gladiator pickup trucks also used this grille through the 1970 model year, so it's possible that you might be able to locate one at a junkyard or online at eBay or Craigslist. Otherwise, we don't have any suggestions, since we couldn't find anyone out there who sells an NOS replacement grille of this vintage. Readers?

Who's Responsible for Conserving Fuel?
Reader: As you may know, new mandates are again forcing auto manufacturers to increase fuel mileage. The newest legislation will hold trucks to 30 mpg by 2016. I, like many truck enthusiasts I know, are in favor of saving fuel. I simply don't believe forcing the responsibility on the auto industry is the answer. This will only lead to fewer choices for those who want and need real trucks.

My wife and I drive a V-6 4Runner. We keep our truck tuned up (21 to 22 mpg here in flat Virginia), we avoid aggressive acceleration, and we consolidate trips. We drive it less than 10,000 miles a year.

How much gas does an economy car use for those who drive aggressively, don't tune up their car, and travel 30,000 miles in a single year?

We should all share the responsibility to conserve resources, not just the auto industry.
Tommy Christopher
Ashburn, VA

Editor: We couldn't agree more. Federal CAFE standards are great in theory, but there's only one problem. It's like this: You can require the manufacturers to build a truck that gets 45, 55, even 100 mpg, and given enough time and money for research and development, the OE engineers will work out a solution. But what you can't control is the amount of consumer demand for the kind of truck that would likely get that kind of mileage, for the kind of price that the manufacturers will need to charge to recover the vehicle's production cost. Put it another way: Would you pay $80,000 for a Smartcar SUT? We didn't think so, either.

But as you mentioned, there are ways that we can all conserve fuel, including reducing any unnecessary weight, cutting down aerodynamic drag, keeping our engines and gearboxes tuned at regular intervals and filled with fresh fluids, keeping our tires at the proper inflation pressure, and so on. Your state Department of Transportation or DMV is usually a good source of information for mileage-saving tips.

Teal Brute Paint Envy
Reader: I've got a teal Jeep TJ that is in need of being repainted. I'd really like to know how the Teal Brute's teal color came out. Do you have the actual color that was used, or the percentages that were mixed?
Michael Stein
Cleveland, OH

Editor: Robin Stover replies: Thanks for writing in. We used all genuine PPG colors and mixed them by hand until the color looked close to the factory paint. However, once the paint dried, it was off a bit. I think our new teal has a bit less blue in it than the factory color. DC Customs in Ukiah, California (www.dccustoms.net) may be able to help you figure out how to match what we did if you're interested. (They still have some of the paint we used in storage, premixed, just in case we needed to re-shoot anything.)

Wrangler Pickup Conversion?
Reader: I am trying to locate someone that converts Jeep four-door Wranglers into an SUT similar to the Hummer H2 SUT. Remove the portion of the body behind the rear seat and add a short pickup bed. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Steve Skelton
Via the Internet

Editor: No one makes that specific conversion just yet, though AEV Conversions offers the international-market-only J8-based pickup truck in kit form. Perhaps they would be able to advise you on using the J8 body panels to convert your four-door to the pickup truck model. AEV can be contacted at www.aev-conversions.com.

Mopar EFI Kit Costs How Much?
Reader: Regarding your article on the Jeep Mopar fuel injection conversion, you stated a price of $1,900 for the kit. Where might I find a kit at this price? I can only find them in the $2,400 to $2,800 range.
Steve Samaniego
Placerville, CA

Editor: We assume you're referring to a story about the 258ci carb-to-EFI conversion story on a Wrangler YJ-which we wrote several years ago. Over the years, the price of that specific Mopar EFI kit has increased quite a bit. Take any manufacturer list prices we mention in these pages with at least a grain of salt-chances are they'll be a little different by the time you actually get the magazine.

Wants To Work In Vehicle Logistics
Reader: I was wondering if you guys have any contact info on the PCS company that handled the logistics of the Ford Raptor testing. I plan on getting out of the military in the next few years and I'm curious about a position with them.
Channing Green
N. Las Vegas, NV

Editor: Try PCS Incorporated, 1515 Broadway, El Cajon CA 92921, 619/442-7338. Good luck.

New Tundra V-8: Aluminum Or Cast-Iron?
Reader: I just read your review of the 2010 Toyota Tundra (Aug. '09) and it mentions that the new Tundra 4.6L iForce V-8 has a cast-iron block like the 4.7 iForce. Toyota states the 4.6 has an aluminum block. Just curious if you are wrong or Toyota is wrong.
Tom Petrov
Via the Internet

Editor: Toyota didn't get to be the world's biggest automaker by being wrong very often. Does that answer your question?

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