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August 2010 Letters

Posted in Features on August 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 www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

A Convoy Thru the Past & to the Present
Just received the June '10 issue. Loved it. I especially appreciated the "Convoy Thru Time" article.

As a retired Army officer, I have a warm spot in my heart for military vehicles. In fact, I recently purchased a basket-case '82 GMC Jimmy with the 6.2L diesel because it reminds me of the CUCV Blazers that I spent so much time in.

Anyway, as a point of interest for the 1919 journey, one of those officers was a recently promoted major, who along with his friend (a rather reserved and easygoing captain named George Patton) had become enraptured with the potential offered by mechanization. The cross-country trip was in many ways the brainchild of the major. As you noted in the article, the trip was, shall we say, "difficult" in the best of times.

Later, as a general in World War II, he was so impressed by the German Autobahn (especially when compared to the "roads" that the army had to use in the drive across France), that upon returning to the States he was determined to see that the U.S. developed a similar system of high-speed roads.

You should know his name-our interstate highway system was named in his honor: President Dwight David Eisenhower. Not bad for a barefoot boy from Abilene, Kansas, huh?
Quincy Ryan
Captain (Ret.)
U.S. Army
Colorado Springs, CO

Caution: Contains Dana 20-Like Substance
I just finished reading an awesome article about the Dana 20 transfer case in my June 2010 issue.

Have you ever heard the phrase "You get what you pay for"? Mel Wade is probably laughing his shorts off after letting you take apart that Dana 300 and write a story about it.

Just remember that everyone screws up once in a while, but few have the chance to do it in a full-color three-page article. So how about a Dana 300 article next month?
Dan Lightbody
Lincoln, NE

You already read it, smarty pants. See the next letter.

Nice article on Dana 20 transfer case, but all the pictures are of a Dana 300. Dana never made a Model 20 with a round bolt pattern.
Ben Frazier
Via the Internet

Good catch-and yep, for the record, we got our 'cases mixed up. But other than that, it was a pretty great story, no?

Size Doesn't Matter . . . Does It?
After reading your evaluation of the "Big Blue" 2010 Ram 2500 (May '10), I have to say I am very disappointed in it. You had the truck for two weeks, and all you can do is write one page with three photos. I feel that only driving the truck on family outings and commuting to work in it may be what a truck is used for 90 percent of the time. You are a magazine entitled Four Wheeler, yet you never took the truck on anything more than a fire road? Meanwhile, one of your sister publications, Diesel Power, recently tested the same truck. They did a dyno test, mud run, trail excursion, and road test-all within one week. They also did a three-page article and included eight photos of the truck. It's also worth noting that they did a price list, just like you. However, they remembered the $300 2-inch leveling kit that helped clear the 35-inch tires.

My final rant is about the actual magazine itself. While I subscribe to both magazines, I was disappointed to receive only 98 pages with Four Wheeler when my Diesel Power magazine came with 186 pages. That is a ridiculous difference, since for the same price of my Diesel Power subscription I am getting half the magazine with you.
Jeremy D.
Hancock, MD

The actual size of the magazine is dependent on the number of pages of advertising we generate each month. Diesel Power has more pages of advertising, so naturally, it's thicker than ours. Then again, what's really more important-quantity or quality?

We've also tested the same truck in greater detail, and recently. Granted, it wasn't the Moparized version, but we put two versions of the new Ram 2500-a 6.7L diesel and a Hemi Power Wagon-through a rigorous week's worth of on- and off-road testing during our 2010 Pickup Truck of the Year test (Mar. '10). What's more, the Power Wagon won our competition. That's the main reason why we didn't devote more pages to the Mopar-kitted model this time around.

Stuffage Without Signals?
After reading "Stuffage Without Sacrifice" (May '10), I felt the need to contact you. The fenders on my '98 Jeep Wrangler are starting to rust a bit, and I like the looks of the flatfender Jeeps. I was interested and hopeful that I would find an answer to the following question. What's the best fix for replacing the turn signals? Your article did not cover this.
Hal Jensen
Quincy, MI

Robin Stover replies: We believe the best looking solution to the tube fender's missing turn signal is a pair of easy-mount round signal lamps that attach below the factory headlights on the TJ grille. One particular version we like, from Jeep Speed Shop (707/338-3154, www.jeepspeedshop.com), features 10 bright amber LEDs housed in a 31/4-inch billet aluminum housing with either protective clear or tinted diffuser lens. These units are sold in pairs for $190 (at time of print). Hope this helps.

Wants More Toyotas in the Magazine
Hey, I really like reading your magazine, but I think you should feature more Toyota trucks in your features and projects. The Tundra and Tacoma have a huge fan base, and you may earn many more loyal readers if you would feature these great trucks more often.
Will Anderson
San Antonio, TX

We couldn't agree more. And in the coming months, you will be seeing two new Toyota projects debuting in these pages: a 2010 4Runner and an FJ Cruiser. Both are based off the same platform as the Tacoma pickup, and we'll be building each of these vehicles for completely different purposes with different parts and products. So stick around awhile-we think you'll enjoy what we've got in the works.

New Carolina ORV Park
Just wanted to let you guys know of a (somewhat new) off-road park on the East Coast: Carolina Backwoods. They cater to every kind of rig from ATVs to Jeepers, to mud trucks too. Larry, the proprietor, has put together some 15 miles of mud and rock, and has plans for more in the future. The park is located in Ash, North Carolina, on Little Ash River Road, about 10 minutes from North Myrtle Beach in sunny South Carolina. He also offers cabins for folks who like to wheel into the evening, and if that's not enough, there are ponds on hand as well as a swimming hole (clothing preferred). Also, one of the greater things about the place is No Alcohol Allowed-he will run you off and call police. Their website is www.carolinabackwoods.com.
Jeremy Johnson
Willow Spring, NC

Thanks for the tip! We're always appreciative of folks like you who keep us-and your fellow readers-apprised of new wheeling spots around the country. So for those of you in the North Myrtle Beach area, get out and support your local ORV park.

In Search of Trenz Truck Grillez
I was wondering if you have any information relating to the company called RI Trenz. I purchased a wonderful ABS plastic mesh grille from them and would like to check on a matching bumper grille, or at least try to talk them into producing one if they do not. However, I cannot find any information on contact or even an address. Can you help?
Tim Adams
Petal, MS

Trenz Manufacturing was acquired by Lund International in a 2004 bankruptcy acquisition. If there are any original Trenz grille designs still around, Lund should have 'em. Give 'em a shout at 888/588-6049, www.lundinternational.com.

Leveling Kits: Rough or Tough?
I was reading an article on your website about Tuff Country's 21/2-inch leveling kit with rear 1-inch lift blocks for '04-'08 Ford F-150s. I own a 2007 F-150 and plan to install this kit on my truck. I was curious what tires and wheels you put on that truck. They looked very good as a whole, and I'd like to know where they are available for purchase.
Eli Bullard
Bixby, OK

That was actually a Rough Country kit, and the tires were 35x12.50-18 Dick Cepek FC-IIs on Dick Cepek Torque wheels. Check your local tire store; they should be able to order a set for you.

Jeep AWD Mileage Discrepancies
I was just wondering about the long-term team Patriot you say that you average around 18 mpg. One of my friends has a Patriot 4x4 stripped-down model, and he says he gets around 27 mpg. My wife's Patriot is the front-wheel drive version, and we average around 22 mpg. Is this because of the smaller engine in the two-wheel-drive version?
James Rincon
Albuquerque, NM

To a great extent, yeah. Besides having a bigger, heavier engine, our Patriot Limited test model also came with the upgraded interior, roof rack and Freedom-Drive II package with skidplates and rear drive assembly, all of which add extra weight and/or aerodynamic drag. Also, our tester logged a lot of stop-and-go, in-city street miles in our Los Angeles home base, as well as a fair number of slow-speed trail miles, all of which have affected mileage adversely. You can read our year-end wrap-up on the Patriot on page 86 of the June '10 issue.

No Love for First-Gen Sportages?
I have a '95 Kia Sportage 4x4 with the SOHC four-cylinder and five-speed manual. I was wondering what all is in the market for my vehicle as far as accessories like lift kits, aftermarket bumpers, and that kind of stuff. I've been looking around on the Internet, and so far I haven't found anything and was just wondering if you could help me out since you do deal with four-wheel drives. Any and all help will be appreciated.
George Moore
Reform, AL

Truth to tell, there's not a huge aftermarket for your Sportage, but there are a few glimmmers of hope for you. For starters, we found a place called (yes, for real) Up Your Kia (www.upyourkia.com) that offers a 3- to 4-inch lift kit for first-gen Sportages, though these "kits" actually seem to use a combination of Jeep TJ springs, shock absorbers from a Toyota RAV4, and bumpstops from either a TJ or an aftermarket supplier such as Energy Suspension. Take a look at their home page-they've got some examples of lifted Sportages there, and they look kinda cool to us.

Other stuff? Eaton at one time manufactured a limited-slip (4.77:1 ratio), and while it has been discontinued, it's always possible that a third-party jobber or eBay seller might have some old units laying around; a limited-slip from a 2000-2002 Honda S2000 might also work as it uses the same (Mazda-sourced) rear carrier as the Sportage, and the Kia ring and pinion gears are a popular swap-in for S2000 tuner-dudes who are looking for lower gearing. Shock upgrades are available from KYB, exhaust options can be had from Flowmaster, K&N offers a freer-flowing intake, and you can even get a Class 3 hitch from Curt Manufacturing. But as you might guess from reading this reply, if you're looking for, say a lot of lift, locking diffs, a solid axle swap, or a lot more power, you're going to need to think creatively.

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