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October 2011 Inbox - Letters to the Editor

Silver Bullet Towing A Trailer
Posted October 1, 2011

More Overlanding, Engines, and More!

More Overlanding, Please
I am a longtime reader of your magazine and really enjoyed the Aug. ’11 edition with all of the overlanding articles and goodies. We do a lot of camping and rockcrawling with our ’86 Bronco II (as a matter of fact, it was one of the rigs in Petersen’s 2010 Ultimate Adventure). We have been slowly scaling back the rockcrawling and doing a bit more expedition-style stuff. While I really enjoyed the articles, I had a comment on the Towering Tundra. You stated that the horsepower/torque numbers were 236/266? We also have an ’07 and use it as our tow rig when pulling the Bronco long distances, and the 5.7L makes 381 horsepower and 400 lb-ft, not the smaller number listed. Again, really enjoyed the magazine this month, and please keep up the excellent work!
Shay Stepp
Barstow, CA

Petersen? Who’s he?
Sorry for the goof on the Tundra’s power numbers. (These things happen in the best of homes.) And just so you know, rest assured that we will be revisiting the subject of overlanding—and specifically, how to build your 4x4 for it—in future issues of the magazine.

Engines: What’s in a Name?
Enjoyed your article about “Engine Names” (June ’10), though I am at odds with one entry: The International Scout “Comanche” slant-four engine.

I had a ’68 Scout 800 which had one of these. The engine was a 196ci four-cylinder. The V-8 block it was half of was an International 392ci truck engine that was never used in Scouts.

Your take on the Comanche slant-four being half the 304 V-8 engine comes out to 152 cubic inches if it were true. However, I doubt that such an engine would ever have 152 horsepower as you indicated. As info and to further blur things, quite a few model 800Bs and Scout IIs had 232- and 258ci six-cylinder engines which were AMC engines.

I hope you take the above as constructive, as some of your entries were priceless in the memory department.
Brian McMahon
Via the Internet

Actually, we’re both right. International Harvester used the “Comanche” nickname to brand its first-generation four-cylinders (pre-’68), which were 152 cubic inches (indeed, half of a 304) as we described; the 196ci version you mention debuted in the Scout for 1968. You’re right about one thing, though—the smaller I-4 only generated around 85 horsepower, not 150.

Buy American! Unless It’s Too Expensive
Just wanted to let you know I thoroughly enjoyed the article about the “Multi-Winch Shootout” (July ’11). It was extremely informative, and I was very glad to see the winner was a company that still makes products in the U.S. It is my opinion that the economy in this country will never recover unless we can get the manufacturers to return to the United States. I don’t mind paying 25 percent more for products that are made in the U.S. Usually, the crap that is made in China never lasts, so in the end you don’t really save any money. Unfortunately, the Warn winch was priced 450 percent more than Engo, the Fourth Place competitor. So until Warn figures out how to lower their price considerably, I won’t be purchasing a winch. Besides, it has been my observation that people who own winches never seem to use them to extract themselves. They only get used and abused to rescue others!
Steve Roones
Clovis, CA

Breaking: Top Truck Officially Sucks
I realize this most likely won’t make it to print, but as an avid reader for the past 20 years, I have to say I am highly disappointed with how Top Truck Challenge has transformed throughout the years. I mean, what happened to the rules of what the trucks had to abide by? Like, it had to be street-legal in the state of origin, and the rig also had to pass a walk-around by the California Highway Patrol. Plus, I highly doubt everyone can afford to build, let alone buy, one of these rigs that have been getting selected. Are 54-inch tires really needed to play in Hollister Hills? Um, no! This competition has turned from the backyard builders putting to the guys with the deepest pockets competing for the title.
Joseph Barrett
San Jose, CA

Nope, you don’t need 54s to wheel at Hollister, or even to win our event. But the generous folks at Mickey Thompson have offered each of our competitors a set of 54-inch Baja Claws for the last three years running, and most of the competitors have decided to take them up on their offer.

About bringing back the street-legal requirement: Sorry to say, that horse was long out of the barn by the time we made the rules change for 2005. Most of the rigs the readers were selecting to compete by that time weren’t built to be driven on pavement at all—and were a liability nightmare-in-waiting when they were driven on pavement—so we altered the emphasis of the event to reflect the changes in the types of vehicles that were coming to compete.

The way we see it is like this: At this point, TTC is sorta like the World Series of four wheeling, where the best and brightest teams battle for supremacy in a grueling Best-of-Seven format. The rest of us, on the other hand, still have our weekly softball league to compete in, and the fact that we’ll never be able to hit a 95 mph fastball like the big boys doesn’t detract from our enjoyment of the game, not one bit. If anything, it makes us more appreciative of how good the major-leaguers really are, and it gives us something to aspire to when we’re hacking away at 40 mph softballs between rounds of beer—er, Gatorade.

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