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May 2011 Inbox - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on May 1, 2011
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Baja-Ready Apples & Diesel Oranges
I do enjoy reading your mag every month, but the Mar. '11 issue bothered me a bit. I'm sure I'm not the only reader ranting about this, but here it goes.

Your 2011 Pickup Truck of The Year: Really, you guys will do anything to "test" the Raptor, but to put the Raptor up against two diesels and not "test" towing or payload is rather disappointing. I will race a Corvette any day with my Jeep as long as I can pick the track. That's what you guys did with the 2011 Pickup of The Year-you took two HD tow rigs and "tested" them against a Baja-ready race truck.
Joe Culling
Hawthornwoods, IL

Everybody Wants to be an Art Director
What the heck is the deal with the eye charts in your "new" magazine (Mar. '11)? Whatever you changed, it sucks!

Fire the person who approved this new smaller font = dumbass.

Oh, I notice the advertisers' fonts are plenty big enough to read. Hope they buy a lot of magazines, cause until I can actually read your mag again without getting a headache, I'm out.

It's amazing the stupid decisions people make. Have a nice day.
Somewhere in AK

I read the entire magazine from cover to cover, just like I always do. I have to say that I like the new layout very much! The new font and layout of the articles is very similar to that of one of the diesel magazines that I get, so it is very easy for me to transition to the new Four Wheeler. As for the content this month, I have to say that I was a little disappointed. I figured that being the first edition of the new layout, there would be some really, really "Wow!"-type articles in it. I would have to say that the article I enjoyed best was the coverage of the Dustin Chernoh's Jeep. That's one heck of a ride that, as Ken Brubaker said, anyone would be envious of. It's things like that that I love to see in the magazine-the built-up vehicle features-so I can get ideas for the build that I am doing. Be it the subtle curves of an exocage, or a full-on double-triangulated four-link mounting on a Rockwell axle, those are the things I love to see.

When I saw the articles about changing a ring and pinion after reading about that built-up hulk of a Jeep, I just felt like putting the magazine down (to be completely honest!). I know there are many readers out there who can't change a ring and pinion, and that is some serious tech that they would love to see. But for the more experienced off-road enthusiast, it's like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and finding that there is only one piece of everything. Do you catch my drift?

I have sent in a couple of previous emails with my input and suggestions about bringing back the "mega-builds"-something like the Project Mega Titan used to be-a series of articles that go through the buildup of a state-of-the-art wheelin' machine: Something that makes off-road enthusiasts like myself look forward to the next issue as soon as they finish reading the new one. That's something the magazine has been missing since it finished the Mega-Titan and Teal Brute projects. I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I ask for you to bring back times like that.

While I'm sitting here typing this email to you, I have your Top Truck Challenge 2010 on my 60-inch HD screen right now, and I just got off the phone with Stan Pruiett to discuss the build I am doing of the next T-Rex in hopes of bringing a 6x6 to victory in TTC. I watch these DVDs over and over again to study the suspension movement, the snorkel usage, and even the tire types and how they perform in the various events. This is my hobby and my love!
Matt Klouzek
Fruita, CO

It's a funny thing about the magazine business-no matter what you try to do to entertain and enlighten your readers, you're going to bore, bother, annoy, and rub some other readers the wrong way. In our case, one of the reasons we sort of scaled back the mega-builds you mentioned was due to reader complaints that these projects were beyond the skills (and the finances) of the average guy to execute-not "real-world" buildups, in other words. In response, we've emphasized "accessible" daily-driver projects instead of the more radical stuff over the last couple of years; the 'Con Artist JK, Trailhugger H3, and current 4Runner Backcountry are all examples of these.

And yeah, we can see how a basic "how-to" tech article like the one you mentioned can be a little dull for the experienced home wrench. On the other hand, we always try to include something in the magazine each month that might appeal to the new reader who's picking up the magazine for the very first time. Hey, we were all there once.

For the record, we do include towing and payload ratings in our empirical scores, which account for 25 percent of total points in the competition. In addition, one of those diesels was nearly as fast at the dragstrip as the Raptor was, trailing by only .18 second in the quarter-mile. Finally, most of our off-road testing is slower-speed stuff-mountain trail riding, rockcrawling, hill climbs and the like-so the Raptor didn't win our Pickup of the Year award simply based on its go-fast characteristics because, frankly, we don't spend a whole lot of our test time driving fast.

Send us some photos when you finish building T-Rex 2.0, and by all means be sure to enter it for TTC voting whenever you think it's ready to run. For your thoughtful suggestions, we're mailing you a box of FW goodies-sporting the new logo, of course. And if Gary in Alaska writes us back with his mailing address, we'll send him some swag too.

Out of curiosity, readers, what do you think about Matt's request? Should we start up some new mega-builds, or keep our project tech more bolt-on and daily-drivable?

When a Super Wagoneer Isn't
Just got to reading your Mar. '11 issue. I wish to draw your attention to "Jeep: The First 70 Years" on page 46, in which you list (on this page and others) various models of Jeeps including the SJ family-in particular, the "Super Wagoneer."

What the . . . !?@&#*@?!?!???

Was that Super Wagoneer (of which I'm rebuilding my '66, that happens to be the oldest known) the only example you could publish? And where did you get your information-from the owner?

While I may applaud Mr. Marski for saving Buddy Hackett's Super Wagoneer, I am aghast at how inaccurately, if not garishly, it is adorned. If I may: The wheels are wrong; the grille is from a '72; Super Wagoneers did not have leather, nor "full power" nor special paint. The red stripe along the sides covering the OEM aluminum panels-my first thought was that this was a clone.

The interior is nice, save for the modern radio and speakers in the doors. But every part in there, I can get on eBay. (And I have, to rebuild mine.)

Why couldn't you find a photo from the Net? Or better yet, ask for info at

Please forgive the tone of this comment, but I have owned my Super Wagoneer for 20 years, and if ever you need info on '63-'73 SJ-platform Jeeps, give me a ring.
Kenneth Wetherall
Pittsburg, CA

Looks like we're both right, to a degree. According to the reference materials we have, Saginaw power steering and power brakes were indeed a part of the Super Wagoneer package (and were an available option on other Wagoneers of that vintage), though you're correct about the seats-they were vinyl, not leather-and, as we mentioned in the article, the Jeep had in fact been "slightly customized" before its present owner took possession of it. We never stated that every Jeep pictured in this series was an unmolested bone-stock model or a full-on resto, and glancing around the article, we noticed a few other vehicles sporting, for instance, newer aftermarket wheels and tires. Not too surprising, considering the age of some of these rigs.

Blind & Backwards at TTC
Hey, I'm movin' up in the world! My first letter to the editor appeared in the issue I received today (Mar. '11). Woo-hoo!

Seriously, though-two ideas for the "surprise challenge" at your Top Truck Champions' Challenge: First, a blindfolded obstacle course, with the co-driver telling directions to the driver.

Second: Years ago, I attended a Jeep event where a Wrangler was set up to steer backwards from the steering input. It was quite difficult to drive through a simple cone obstacle course, and I imagine it would be a great event.

Got any new-logo Four Wheeler bumper stickers yet? Put me on the list as soon as they come in. I have been a fan ever since the '70s when a Darien Gap expedition was undertaken.
Darren Reitz
Elyria, OH

Our legal department would love you. The park rangers at Hollister, too. We'll take your suggestions under close consideration, and while we're mulling them over, some FW stickers are on their way to your door.

Searching for SuperBurb
What is going on with Project SuperBurb? I haven't heard or seen anything for quite awhile. Is it still in the works, or did the magazine scrap the project? There are a lot of classic Chevy 4x4 owners wanting to see this project through. Tell Stover to get on his horse and get this thing going!
Mark Train
San Jose, CA

Robin Stover replies: Just like a good wine or stinky cheese, the passage of time can have a positive effect on all things. And with our beloved '72 Suburban project, the years of consistent preservation only add to the rig's uniqueness.

However, you are correct-the rig has been stagnant for quite some time now, and we couldn't agree more about the need for an update. Currently, it's with the professional fabricators at Triple X Traction in Seaside, California, awaiting shop time for a front coilover conversion. We'll ask the bossman if he has any page space for such an update in a coming issue. Thanks again for keeping us on our toes.

V-12 Power for 90-Series Land Cruiser?
I have a '96 Land Cruiser with stock motor and want to convert it to a V-12 motor. What transmission could I use for this motor besides the stock transmission?
Luis Zuniga
Casa Grande, AZ

How about the transmission that came attached to the V-12 engine you want to use? Frankly, that's about the only feasible way to pull off a swap like this (as well as having the V-12's computer and complete wiring harness). And this assumes that such a powertrain would even fit in the LC's engine bay. We don't know anyone who has ever attempted such a swap, so we can't answer that question definitively, but we suppose it would be a matter of which 12-cylinder engine/transmission combo you want, and how many modifications/replacements you're willing to make to the hood, motor mounts, firewall, engine/transmission crossmembers, etc., to make everything fit. Then there's the little matter of replacing the Toyota transfer case, driveline and axles, none of which were designed to handle V-12 power, as well as your entire cooling system, which was designed to keep six cylinders, not 12, happy. Oh, and your stock brakes won't last long if you plan on driving your V-12 Cruiser at V-12 road speeds. But hey, it's your money, so have fun with the buildup.

Wants Off-Road-Only Rig in Nevada
I have an '85 Suburban that won't pass Nevada emissions, and want to convert it to off-road only. Does my DMV inspect a conversion like this, and sticker this yearly?
Somewhere in Nevada

We can't say for certain. Nevada only recently (2009) enacted into law an Off-Highway Vehicle registration program. We do know that the state only requires emissions testing for vehicles registered in Clark (Las Vegas) and Washoe (Reno/Sparks) counties. We couldn't find a mention in the Nevada vehicle code of any special "off-road-only" designations or exemptions, but you would have to check with your local authorities to be sure.

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.

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