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April 2011 Inbox: Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on April 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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April 2011 Inbox: Letters to the Editor

Bonkers Over B-2-B
Hey guys, I really enjoyed the Border to Border series! Any chance for a book? Keep up the great work!
Tim Planter
Ontario, OH

I was wondering what the wheels were that were used on the Border to Border JK with the 35-inch KM2s.
Morgan Deskins
Bigfork, MT

The rims, believe it or not, are 17-inch Grand Cherokee steel wheels, available through Mopar.

A Border to Border book? We're fairly certain the author, Chris Collard, could fill a book with his experiences, and we'll pass along your idea to him. As we write this, Chris is solo-overlanding the Australian Outback for a month, and we'll have coverage of his adventures as soon as gets back to the States and can write 'em up for us.

Ford 4x4 Conversion Tips
Okay, so I'm reading your February issue when I came across a reader question that was asking about converting a '99 Super Duty to four-wheel drive. The answer was pretty much "Sell your truck and buy a four-wheel drive-it's cheaper." You were comparing it to a '92 Chevy 4x4 conversion. Well, I must say that I thought your staff would have given a better answer than that.

First, when has this sport been about money? Is a custom Dana 60 with lockers cheap? No? Well, maybe this guy likes his current truck. Maybe he's owned it since new, and just built a new engine and doesn't won't someone else's beat-up, worn-out truck that will cost him more to get into shape later.

Second, comparing a Ford swap to a Chevy swap is like comparing night and day. I own a shop and have done both. The Chevy is a major undertaking that involves a lot of fab work. The Ford is all bolt-on-I mean, you don't even have to drill any holes. I did one a while back, the frames are the same (two-wheel and four-wheel drive) in the Super Duty. I picked up a Dana 50, with factory springs and all the factory spring mounts that bolt on, mind you, for $500. It took literally an afternoon in a driveway on jackstands to pull off the two-wheel drive stuff and bolt in the axle, drag link, and sway bar. The calipers are even the same. In the rear, you add the factory 2-inch block, and then you drive to work on Monday. When you're ready, you add your transfer case and you have a 4x4.

A lot of these trucks are in the wrecking yards now, so parts are plentiful. If you do a bit at a time, it is no different than saving to install a lift kit or gears. I can tell you from personal experience it is very doable and affordable, and if you plan it right, you can add your gears and lockers to your axle in the garage and install your lift when you do the swap. Then, when you save up to rebuild your tired transmission, you swap in the 4x4 version. Sorry to be venting, but I just wanted to let you guys know what my thoughts were. Thanks for letting me chew your ear off.
Shawn Mander
Evans, CO

Hey, no worries here. Chew away, please.

Actually, you do raise a good point, and that is that some projects of this type are less complicated than others-and in the case of the Super Duty, like '73-'87 Chevy trucks, the frames are identical, so the suspension and axles usually bolt right up. However, the truck in question was the light-duty version of the F-250 (it was the last model year before it changed over to an F-150HD designation), and to the best of our knowledge, this truck did not share the same chassis with the Super Duty. Sorry if we didn't make that clearer.

Magnolia State Wheeling Spots?
I was wondering where I could find a list of off-road parks in the North Mississippi area. Anything within three to four hours' drive would be preferred, but I would appreciate anything at all. I'm sure this kind of information has been published in this magazine before, but I can't remember which issue.
Joey Treadway
Coldwater, MS

Wheelin' in the Country (www.wheelininthecountry.com), some 40 miles north of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, is the closest wheeling spot we know of to your location. Red Creek Off-Road Park (www.redcreekoffroad.com) is located in Perkinston, Mississippi, but it's near the Gulf Coast and a longer drive. If we've missed a closer venue, perhaps one of our readers will weigh in here. You can also find our nationwide listing of four-wheeling spots, titled "Wheels Across America," archived at www.fourwheeler.com.

33s For Unlifted Wrangler JK?
I have a '10 Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited. I've heard that the largest tires I can put on it are 33 inches without making any modifications to the axles (i.e., replacing the axleshafts or replacing the axles altogether). I'm curious if that's true or not. I was also wondering if it is necessary to change the gears, and if so, what gears should I change them to for the 33-inch tires?
"Patrick"
Chandler, AZ

You can safely run a 255/75R17 (32-inch-tall) tire on your Wrangler; that's what size the Rubicon models run, so your stock axles should hold up fine under a slightly larger tire. Thirty-threes will probably clear the wheelwells, though you might have some slight fender rubbing at full steering lock. Since Wrangler Rubicons come from the factory with 4.10:1 gears, that's the ratio we'd recommend for your 33s too, since the size difference is minimal from stock.

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.

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