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April 2010 Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on April 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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Where To Write
Address your correspondence to: Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. 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 Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

Wants "Immaculate" Truck in Our Magazine
I'm inquiring for my friend about how to possibly enter his truck into your magazine. He has a '79 F-250 that has been fully restored and is in immaculate condition! He has had the truck since high school, and has done all of the work except for a little of the engine work himself. It has been lifted 10 inches and is sitting on 38s. If you are interested, we will get some pictures together to see what you think. You won't be disappointed!
Derek Fisher
Hayward, CA

We always welcome reader submissions. Tell your friend that he can send photos of his truck, and any invitation that he'd like to convey to Four Wheeler, Readers' Rigs, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. Or he can log onto our website,, and post pics of his truck on his own "Readers' Rigs" page.

And We Thought That Port Was Something That Came in a Bottle
With regard to "Earth Roamer 2.0" (Jan. '10): Landlubbers should stick to the dirt stuff and not try to go nautical.

Chris Collard described the luxury of the Earth Roomer's interior, stating that the bench seat, fridge, toilet and shower were on the passenger side. Chris then went on to state that the sink and canvas storage were "to starboard." The right (passenger) side is starboard. The left (driver) side is port. Otherwise, an excellent article.
John A. Malo
San Diego, CA

Wants Info on Old S-10 Blazer/Jimmys
I may be a bit of an oddball to some, but I'm a fan of the old first-gen Chevy and GMC S-trucks. I know a few guys in my area here in central New York who wheel older S-10 Blazers and S-15 Jimmys. These trucks range from bone-stock to nicely built with lifts, bigger tires and V-8 conversions.

In stock form, they seem to do pretty well for what we have here-muddy farm roads, logging roads, and lots of snow. I'd like to know if you guys have ever published any articles about these trucks in past issues, whether it's a "new model review" or a build-up-anything, really.

Also, have you ever heard of the Chevy S-10 "Baja" edition? I have see pics of it, and it came with a bed-mounted light bar with Trophy Truck-style tire carrier, off-road bumpers, cool paint and BFGs of some sort. The one I saw was a black and red '92. I don't know if it has any other goodies, like a higher ride height, but it looks cool.
Canastota, NY

Oh, we do remember that Baja truck, alright. You're right, it looked kinda cool, but the bed-mounted lightbar and spare-tire carrier rendered the bed useless for stowing any gear, the oversized "Chevrolet" windshield sticker impaired forward visibility, and the multicolored bar-graph LED gauges in our '89 tester looked like they'd been designed by Fisher-Price. They weren't too accurate, either-we seem to recall running out of gas, some 20 miles out from Death Valley at midnight, with an eighth of a tank still showing on the gauge and the "low fuel" light not shining. The "Baja" package was also a $3,200 option for a base-model truck that only listed for a little over $11 grand, so it was not inexpensive. But other than that, it was a great little truck.

Of course, in the past we published road and trail tests of the S-10 whenever a new model rolled off the assembly line-but obviously, it's been awhile since that happened. We're in the process of archiving all of our past articles at, so sometime down the road, you'll be able to read our impressions of the old S-10s when the trucks were brand-new models. We'll let everyone know the sooner we get to rolling out our online archive.

Which Toyota FJ-45?
I'm very interested in your retro article about the FJ45V 40-series station wagon ("Old as Dirt," Nov. '09). Here in Australia, we only got a very few FJ45Vs, one of which I now own, but I thought the units sent to the U.S. were FJ45LVs, the left-hand-drive version? Rudy Vandenbroek
Victor Harbor, S.A.

You would be correct. Left-hand-drive FJ-45 wagons were imported into the U.S from 1963 to 1967, and they are extremely rare, with fewer than 50 known to exist in North America at present.

In Search of '67-72 Blazer Top
I just bought a '72 Blazer as a father/son project and my kid's first vehicle. I read a bunch of forums and figured out that everybody is looking for replacement tops. Does anyone make these? Ours is swollen in a bunch of places and looks unfixable. Any info would be greatly appreciated and I hope you see us in your magazine one day.
Rick Shady
Clinton, IA

This is an elusive part, and one we're often asked about. The only company we know that made them went out of business several years ago, so we'd advise looking into a mail-order source such as LMC Truck Parts (800/562-8782, or Manes Truck Parts (816/633-4772, They may have some of these replacement tops in stock, or they may know of another supplier.

Be Careful What You Wish For . . .
I am writing because I am unsure how to go about sending in a resume and/or application to work at Four Wheeler. I saw in a recent reply to one of your letters that you can forward such requests to your Human Resources department. My question would be, what exactly do I have to send you and where would I send it; or would you be able to give me the contact information of the H.R. department?
Eric Chapman
Pensacola, FL

It depends on what you want to do. If you want to work as an editor, some examples of your published work (or even some writing samples) would be nice to send along. Want to be a photographer? How about sending a CD full of your best JPEGS? Otherwise, a simple resume and cover letter will suffice. Like a lot of companies out there, we're not exactly in hiring mode right now, but we're always on the lookout for potential new talent. You can send your resume and cover letter to Four Wheeler, Attn: Human Resources, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245.

Ranking Suspension Lift Kits
I'm looking for your opinion on a lift kit for my 2001 Ford F-150 Lariat quad cab. Based on price, I have found a 4- to 5-inch Rough Country kit for my truck, and planning on 35-inch Mickey Thompson tires on 17x9 Mickey Thompson Classic II wheels. Given your experience, how would you rate this lift kit? Have I picked the right wheel size? Hopefully, my truck will make your magazine. I'm planning to start this project, soon so could you send info as soon as you can?
James M Penkala
Webster, MA

Our own experience with Rough Country kits has been positive overall, though we'd be hesitant to "rank" its kits against any other suspension kit(s) due to differences in design and engineering (spring/torsion-bar rates, shock tuning, fastener grades, etc.) that may occur from manufacturer to manufacturer. Regarding wheels, your Ford came with 16x7-inch rims, so since you're going wider, you'll need to make sure your new wheels have the proper offset to relieve any potential stress on the wheel lugs, bearings, spindles and the like. The tech-service department at the wheel manufacturer of your choice should be able to steer you in the right direction. And yes, a 9-inch rim width should work just fine with 35x12.50 tires.

When Is Black Bear Road Not?
My father was a member of the original Mile-Hi Jeep Club back in the late '50s and early '60s. He is now deceased, but as I was going through some of his old stuff, I came across a couple of old issues of Four Wheeler. Specifically, I have two particularly interesting issues (February and May '62). The February issue shows a picture of Jeeps from the now defunct Four Corners Jeep Club of Cortez making the descent down Black Bear Pass into Telluride. Do you have issues that go back this far? I'm also trying to validate the authenticity of a picture that has been circulated recently on a forum showing a vehicle with Washington state plates supposedly somewhere on Black Bear Pass (Colorado).

I believe Warn may have used this in some of their early advertising. I've been over this pass several times as a child back in the '60s, and although I remember it being fiendishly narrow and pretty scary as a kid, I don't remember it being as narrow as the photo depicts. Are you familiar with the photo, and if so, can you shed any light on the origin and authenticity?
Bill Hadden
Arvada, CO

Unless we actually see a copy of the photo you mention, we can't verify anything. We can verify, however, that the very first issue of Four Wheeler (yep, February of '62) did in fact have a photo of those Jeeps on Black Bear Road on the cover. It was taken by a freelance writer named Aileen Maxwell, who contributed to the magazine often in the '60s. And yes, we do have copies (i.e., one) of the issues you mention.

Wants "Most Complete" Lift For F-150
I just purchased a 1995 F-150 Super Cab with the 5.8L for a new toy. I've been looking for a lift kit that is the most inclusive on all the parts I need, but boy, do all these companies have my head spinning about what's included and what's not.

So what's the best bang for my buck if I'm trying to fit 35- or 37-inch tires? Could you please point me to a company that won't make me buy a bunch of parts separately? I know I will have to buy some, but some of these companies are ridiculous.) Also, what would be the best gears for this a somewhat-of-a-daily-driver, more-or-less work truck? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Sgt. Ryan Treadway
Oak Grove, KY

Recommending a lift kit for a 15-year-old truck is an iffy proposition since suspension manufacturers sometimes discontinue older kits to make room in their inventory for lifts for later-model rigs. For what it's worth, however, a 6-inch suspension lift should allow you to clear 35s under your Ford, and possibly 37s with a bit of fender trimming. Rough Country, Skyjacker, Superlift, and Tuff Country all made kits for your truck at one time, though we can't say for sure if these kits are still in stock. Chances are that someone still has some kits available. Our advice would be to peruse the mail-order ads in this magazine and hit up the manufacturers' websites for information.

For The Love Of A Single Inch
I will be helping a friend install a suspension lift on his 2000 Wrangler Sport, and we are trying to decide on a lift. He really likes the Old Man Emu systems because of all the good reviews they get, but they only offer the kit in a 2.5-inch lift. He wants to run 33-inch tires, and the kit is advertised as fitting 32-inch tires max. So we are trying to decide if we should install the lift with 1-inch coil spacers or maybe put a 1-inch body lift on with the suspension lift. Or should we just look at another lift kit that has more height? Tire size wouldn't normally be an issue, but my buddy got a set of good 33-inch BFGs from another friend that he really wants to use. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Daniel Rex Hartman
Shippensburg, PA

If it were up to us, we'd opt for the spacers before the body lift. Then again, maybe you can run the bigger tires with the OME lift at the same time. See the next letter.

Teal-Brute's Trick Fenders
I have been following the Teal J/Teal Brute build for the past couple years. I gotta say that, initially, I hated the Brute conversion. But the more I look at it the more I like it and am actually considering doing that to my own 2001 TJ when I get back from Iraq. One of the things that really strikes me about the Teal Brute is the front fender flares. I have not seen their like before, and I really like the way they look. Where did you guys get them, and are they good for running bigger tires with less lift?
Chris Cilento
Ft. Riley, KS

The fenders on our Brute come courtesy of Metalcloak (916/631-8071, What's cool about them is that they require no custom bodywork while giving you two to three inches of additional fender clearance. So yeah, you can go a bit bigger in tire size without making any suspension mods.

Looking For LJ Unlimited Roof Rack
In regards to your tech article "Long-Armed & Ready to Rock," (May '09), I am trying to find out what was used to put the rack on the hard top of the Jeep you pictured in the story. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Via the Internet

Brute-builder Robin Stover replies: The roof rack installed on the khaki Jeep LJ we used in the story was built by Off-Road Unlimited; it's one of their "Defender" series roof racks. You can find them at

For installation, we utilized the common rubber and brass well-nut fastener. You can find well nuts at virtually any hardware store, usually in the fastener isle. This method works awesome as long as you do not overload the rack. I ran this arrangement on our project Teal-J several years back and found it to work beautifully, even on a trip through the Rubicon Trail. I did add a dab of clear silicon around each exterior surface of the well nuts, but I doubt it made much of a difference. Good luck with your project.


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