Hydrostatic Pumps: What's in a Name?
In the July '10 issue, you published an article titled "Hydrostatic Rocker." Please make a correction in your next publication noting that the M46 pumps used in the systems are products of Sauer-Danfoss. Sauer-Sundstrand is the old company name that was changed over 10 years ago.
Duly noted. Thanks for the correction.
Wheeling in the Digital Age: Four Into One?
I am a recent subscriber to Four Wheeler and a new Jeep owner. I have been "shopping" truck magazines for several months. There are lots of them out there, and each one seems to offer something a bit unique. I like 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility, as it seems to focus on travel and adventure, which are my main reasons for buying my Jeep. The rest of it is tech articles and vehicle features. I like Jp, as it is all about Jeeps, though not so much on the JK. Four Wheeler and Petersen's both seem to offer more generalized content covering a bit of everything, and I picked Four Wheeler because I enjoyed it a bit more.
I noticed that all of the magazines I looked at came from the same publisher, which I found odd. Apart from one or two features in each magazine, the rest of the content seems like it could appear in any of your magazines, and it just seems to me like an incredible waste. Your editorial this month talks about the future of magazines in the Internet era (Limited Articulation, July '10). I think the easiest way to survive in the Internet era is to combine all of your little magazines into one fully featured magazine with great photography, 4x4 adventure stories, competition, product reviews, and tech articles.
There's no way I'm going to buy three or four magazines every month to get the content I want. I would, however, pay more every month for one really good magazine with more breadth and depth of coverage.
Another magazine I read regularly is the British publication Car. If you haven't seen it, take a look. It provides a broad view of the automotive world with a smart editorial style and massive amounts of content every month. It would seem to me that by combining the resources of four or five magazines, you could create one truly formidable 4x4 publication, and set yourself up for a profitable Internet age.
We're very familiar with Car. Their former Editor-in-Chief, Angus McKenzie, now occupies a palatial office suite in our building (across the hall from our grubby little boiler-room cubicles) where he now works as the editor of our sister pub Motor Trend.
We dig all of your ideas here, and agree with you that "consolidation" is a likely trend we'll see in the print publishing industry over the next couple of decades. The only complication for the short term is the fact that all of our print magazines still turn a tidy profit right now, so for the foreseeable future, be ready to see multiple 4x4 magazines on the newsstand. And if you can only pick one each month, we naturally hope you'll pick ours.
Where Are the Diesels?
I've been subscribing to your magazine for a good amount of years now and finally started to notice a trend. How come there aren't that many diesels among the vehicles that Top Truck Challenge voters pick? I only counted two this year out of 50. I also don't see too many diesel pickups off-roading in general. Is it because they don't have the immediate response of a gas engine down low?
Far from it-it simply depends on your definition of "response." Nothing beats a diesel engine for stump-pulling torque at super-low rpm levels, which makes it ideal for slow-speed trail duty as well as for towing. Naturally aspirated versions do tend to have a narrower powerband than most gas engines, which can affect their ability to rev freely, and hence accelerate smoothly and quickly (that's why Freightliners run 18-speed trannies), though improvements in turbocharger technology over the years as well as the addition of multi-stage "piezo"-type injectors have improved diesels' go-fast characteristics. Diesel truck enthusiasts nowadays can build fullsize rigs that'll log 13-second quarter-miles at the dragstrip. Do a little math, and you'll figure out how fast that is.
We hate to say it, but "two out of 50" is fairly representative of the diesel-truck public at large. While consumer demand for diesel-powered vehicles has risen appreciably in recent years, it's mostly been on the small-car side (e.g., VW's Jetta TDI), and diesel trucks still only account for some five percent of annual light-truck sales. That number is expected to rise over the next decade, but diesel guys will still be a minority on the trail for some years to come.
Wants to Write for Four Wheeler
I have read Four Wheeler for awhile now, and it is truly one of my favorite car magazines out there.
I wrote an article about Honda's new CRZ that I'd be more than happy to show you if you provide me with an email address to send it to.
Is there any way to get hired as a freelance writer for Four Wheeler? Cars and writing are two of my greatest passions in life, and I am so excited about the possibility of combining the two into a career.
I would be more than happy to provide you with a free sample article (to prove myself) if you give me an assignment.
Santa Monica, CA
Well, we'd probably take a pass on the CRZ review-it's not really relevant to our readership-but freelance submissions are always welcome. It's best to start with a query (i.e., a story idea) first, followed by a written sample of your work, either in print or online. If you're also handy with a digital camera, that improves your chances greatly, as our freelance contributors, like our staff members, are generally expected to pull "double duty" as writers and photographers. You can send email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245.
Looking for Old Cover Truck
I was wondering if I can get a picture of a truck in a previous issue-I believe it was also on the cover. (I don't know the month or year of the issue.) I need this for the design of my tube bed. The pictures were taken in Moab, but the truck was from Arizona. It was a red Ford Power Stroke, I think a 2002, with a red prerunner-style bumper, 44-inch Mickey Thompsons on what look like 589-series Eagle alloys, and a Dynatrac Dana 60 in front. The tube bed was painted red with polished diamond plate and a few cubbies for tools and whatnot. If there is any way I can get the pictures and the article, it would be fantastic. If not, the pictures would be fine.
Generally, we stop reading letters like this at "I don't know the month or the year," (if you don't remember, we probably won't either), but your detailed description rang a bell, and because of that, we're fairly certain you're referring to the truck pictured here, which appeared on the cover of our August 2004 issue. Contact Wright's Reprints at 877/652-5295 to purchase reprints or e-prints, or you can try logging onto www.simbackissues.com to order a back issue of the magazine; there may still be a few copies left over. And sorry to say, we can't provide original copyrighted images free of charge.
Wants Jeep Unlimited Suspension Info
Do you know of any websites that can give me feedback on suspension kits for 2005 Rubicon Unlimiteds? I'm looking for reviews-or maybe you can suggest someone to contact. Thanks for plenty of years of a great magazine also!
Via the Internet
There are plenty of sites dedicated to TJ enthusiasts out there, and a simple Google search will turn up a few of them. We don't know of any sites that are suspension-specific, however, so if we could make a totally self-serving suggestion, how about logging onto fourwheeler.com and starting a thread on the subject in one of our online Tech Forums? Our readers are the smartest guys in the wheeling world, after all. They have to be since they read our magazine each month, just like you. We've also installed a couple of TJ suspension kits on project rigs in recent years, and if you run a search for TJ tech at our website, you'll find the relevant articles.
Building for Mud on a Teen Budget
I've only been subscribing to your magazine for six months now and I love it. I'm new to the four-wheeling scene, and I was wondering what would be the best platform to start from when trying to build a trail/mud rig. I live in northern Michigan, about 30 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge. What tires should I use? What type of rim? Anything like that would be greatly appreciated, especially what vehicle to start with. What are your opinions on the '70s and '80s K5 Blazers? I'm also working on a 16-year-old's budget.
Your last sentence answers a lot of questions right there. A premium set of mud tires in a modest 35x12.50 size, for instance, can easily set you back $1,200 (and the bigger the tire you want, the steeper the price), and a new set of rims can double your cost. So the first thing we'd suggest is to figure out how much money you can afford to spend right away versus how much you will still need to save to build the kind of truck you want. Then peruse the online catalogs of some of the manufacturers and/or mail-order houses, and see what works best for your particular budget. When you get around to purchasing, we'd only recommend you look bias-plys (as opposed to radials) if you're serious about mud-runnin'.
For whatever kind of wheeling you're looking to do, we think that any one of the '73-'87 K-Blazers would be just about ideal for someone on a budget. Their chassis architecture was extremely stout; they're relatively abundant and affordable; nearly everyone in the aftermarket makes parts for them, or did at one time; and a lot of their engines, gearboxes and the like are interchangeable between model years. Also, take a look at our "10 Best Beaters" article from last month's issue for more suggestions on buildable low-dollar trucks.
5.7L Hemi-to-TJ Tranny Swap?
Just wondering if a 5.7L Hemi will hook up with a stock 4.0L Jeep TJ tranny.
Nope. And even if it did, your TJ's stock gearbox and axles (especially the craptastic Dana 35 rear) wouldn't live long behind the 390-plus horsepower the Hemi produces. Besides, you'd also need to swap in a lot of other components besides the Hemi engine to make the swap work correctly. That's why 5.7L Hemi swaps for Jeeps are generally sold in kit form, generally using the 545RFE electronic five-speed automatic along with a complete wiring harness and ECU, transmission and motor mounts, a bigger radiator and so forth. A number of companies, including AEV, Jeep Speed Shop, and Burnsville Off-Road all offer conversions, and while they're not inexpensive (and be ready to swap in beefier axles, along with the motor and tranny), you certainly won't complain that your TJ's down on power again.
Wants "Low-Buck" G-Wagen Buildup
Now that prices of Mercedes G500s have dropped to the mid $20Ks, I'd love to see a buildup with a mild lift and 35-inch tires. There are a few people building them on the M-B forums, but not much support. Considering a Jeep JK only gets 15 mpg, I am contemplating a G500 instead.
Dude, tell us where we can find a G-Wagen (current base price: $112,000) for only $20 grand that's in good running condition and free from rust, and we'll be all over that project like a cheap suit. Or maybe you've got a line on some Euro military-surplus rigs? If so, by all means, let us know.
It's not surprising the G-Class doesn't enjoy much aftermarket support in the States. Mercedes only manufactures a few hundred units for sale in the U.S. each year, so most aftermarket activity is going to be found overseas. As far as suspension goes, we know of one company, Extrem Motorsport GmbH, that manufactures a 3-inch suspension lift for it (which will supposedly allow fitting 33-inch tires), but as they are located in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, your ability to conduct business with them will likely be proportional to your fluency in German (www.extrem-motorsport.de). Then again, with solid axles and coil springs at both ends, three selectable diff-locks and 4.38:1 gears, the G-Class is mighty capable right out of the box.
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.