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December 2011 Inbox - Letters To The Editor

Bolt Installation
John Cappa | Writer
Posted December 1, 2011

Bolt Threads, Top Truck, and More!

More About Me!
I was advised to pick up the Aug. ’11 issue of Four Wheeler. I haven’t bought an issue in about 8 years. There have been a couple other 4x4 mags that have covered my interests better. Once in a while I might pick up a copy of your sister mag 4-Wheel & Off-Road if the issue had Toyota articles or something about Michigan four-wheeling. I have always been into four-wheeling but just not the radical rockcrawlers or wannabe monster trucks. I’m into simple vehicles built more for adventure and camping than anything else. It’s what I do. After I got a chance to look through the issue I was quite surprised to see featured vehicles I really liked. Then to top it off there was equipment featured that I would use. In my eyes, you guys hit a homerun with that issue. Keep it up and you may have a subscriber.
Brett Ratell
Bay City, MI

Bolted Wrong?
Perhaps I was in aviation too long, but when I saw the picture in “Zero To Hero” (Sept. ’11) showing the ReadyLift installation, I was surprised. Standard hardware practices dictate that you never put the threads of a bolt in a shear load. The shank of the bolt should protrude through the last shear point and then be secured. I would think this would be especially important in a suspension installation.
Randy Buitendorp
Otsego, MI

Of course you are correct, however in this case (and in most cases on lift kits for 4x4s) the Grade 8 (and sometimes Grade 5) fasteners used are far stronger than what is required, regardless of whether or not the threads are mounted in shear.

He Gets It
Alright, it’s rant time, but I’m with the magazine on this one. I am tired of hearing readers complain about how Four Wheeler only shows Jeeps or why there aren’t more (insert ranter’s ride here). I am also tired of people saying that TTC has become only for the super rich and not relatable to the average reader. To both of those rants I have one answer: You are reading the magazine all wrong. I happen to own four Dodges and have a very limited budget. Do I want to read a magazine all about Dodges or see TTC limited to daily drivers? Nope. I read all the articles, even the ones that don’t apply to me to see if maybe there is some cool trick or new gadget that I could learn and make work for me. Maybe there is some article about an awesome Jeep, but it has a sweet shock setup or maybe some cool rock sliders that I could adapt to my truck. As far as TTC goes, let these guys build these super expensive rigs and go tear them up. That is fine, maybe I can’t do that, but I can look at these rigs and see if the trick suspension setup is actually not that good, or maybe I’ll find out that engine I wanted for my future rig idea wasn’t my best choice. I can actually see how these high-dollar setups work, before I go out and blow my hard-earned dollars on that one modification I have been dreaming about. I might even find one that I want to do more. My suggestion to people who want information that pertains only to them is to go and out take some pictures of your rig, write up an article about it, and mail it to yourself every month.
Justin Magill
Poplar Bluff, MO

Top Truck Hopeful
First of all, I have to say that your live internet coverage of TTC 2011 was awesome! The pictures and videos that were posted on really helped people like me who had friends in the competition, friends judging the competition, and of course friends announcing the competition. Excellent job. I know how phone reception is sketchy in the Hollister area, and I am sure it is a logistical nightmare to get live updates on the net. Still, A-plus coverage.

My next set of questions is directed at Top Truck Challenge. I am in the process of building the T-REX 2 in hopes of getting voted into next year’s TTC 2012. The real thing that I am wondering about is the technical difference between the buggy class and the truck class. I am building my ’97 Ram 1500, (“Rock Ram,” Mar. ’08) into the T-REX 2, and I am wondering about how much of the framerails I can change, if any. I need to try to reshape the front horns and the rear rails for additional clearance for the 6x6 drivetrain. I will still have the majority of the stock framerails, but the front and rear will need to be changed around a good bit, not only for the clearance of the Rockwell axles, but also for the custom cantilever suspension I am adding, and the associated frame strengthening required, and a winch mount.

What tells the difference between the truck and buggy class now? Is it the frame, or the body, or lack thereof, how does it work? I mean if it was the frame, there should not be a single rig out there that would qualify for the truck class. Right?

Anyhow, I am at that point of the build where I really need to find out the basis of a Truck Class build. I want to make sure that I won’t have to worry about the rigs in the Buggy Class, even though I am fairly sure that I would be able to hold my own in either class, I would really like to show again this year that someone who builds their own rig at home, can come out and enter TTC in the truck class, and ultimately have enough points to win both classes!

Finally, I am wondering if there is a possibility of changing the trophy system in TTC. I really like and agree with the Truck Class and the Buggy Class system. Please don’t get me wrong here; getting voted into TTC will be the absolute highlight of my life. I have been dreaming about it for the last 20 years. And now I am finally in a place financially to build the truck I have always dreamed about. My question here is if there is a chance that you will take the highest score out of both classes and give out a trophy to the team that has the highest score, kind of like a Top Truck Challenge - Grand Champion. That would really be an unbelievable accomplishment, and I am sure it has been the dream of many people like me for a very long time. To be declared as the Champion of TTC, to me, means that I was good enough to beat all of the other teams be they truck or buggy.

These are just some sticky points of TTC that I have been thinking about as I purchased all of the parts for my new T-REX 2. I greatly appreciate your time and assistance.
Matt Klouzek
Via email

It’s really something that gets looked at on a case-by-case basis because of the numerous modifications many of the Top Truck Challenge trucks have. If the 4x4 in question has most of the factory framerails and a factory cab, it will more than likely be considered a truck. So in your case it sounds as though you will be fine. The frame can be modified as you have mentioned. However, there is a bit of a curve ball being thrown for the 20-year anniversary of TTC. It’s called the Champions Challenge. You can read all about it at the end of the 2011 TTC coverage in this issue.

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