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January 2012 Inbox - Letters To The Editor

October 2011 Four Wheeler Cover
John Cappa | Writer
Posted January 1, 2012

Magical Mystery Millitary Rig, Ram MPG, and More!

I was reading Inbox in the Oct. ’11 issue and noticed a letter written by Brian McMahon. He claims that International never used the 392ci engine in a Scout. Well, I had a ’68 Scout that I purchased used right after I graduated high school in 1976 with that engine in it. It was my first 4x4.

I have no idea what the horsepower ratings or the gear ratios of that old Scout were, but I once pulled my uncle’s unloaded 18-wheeler semi truck out of a ditch with it. I miss that old Scout.
Marshall Rice
Rome, GA

The International Scout was never available with a 392ci V-8 from the factory. I’m not saying your Scout didn’t have one, but it was likely swapped in at a later date if it did. The 345ci and 392ci share many components and have the same architecture so it’s not an unreasonable possibility. Your Scout was almost ten years old by the time it came to you, who knows what could have happened.

404 or 406 and More Turtle
I don’t try to point out faults or corrections, but I am a little confused after reading “Upping the Ante” (Oct. ’11). Twice in the article you mention that Robb upgraded his Unimog 404 portal axles to 406’s. And once in a photo you mention them being 406s, yet under “The Details” they are listed as 404s.

I would like to see more FJ stuff, but I do understand that the current demographics are basically Jeeps and big diesels. Please keep doing articles about overlanding and anything with the Turtle V. Keep up the great work.
Mark Brouillard
Kent, WA

Sorry about that. It’s a misprint. Robb’s axles are indeed from a Unimog 406. The 406 axles are substantially larger and beefier than the 404 axles.

You are in luck Mark. Keep your eye out for the 50th Anniversary issue of Four Wheeler (Feb. ’12). Inside you’ll find info and images of all the Turtle vehicles used over the last 42 years!

MPG Mystery
In “2010 Ram Power Wagon”(Oct. ’11), it states your best test tank mpg was 14.05. Television and other ads, tout the Hemi, as getting up to 20 mpg. What’s the story here? Were you towing all the time, or is there much difference between a two-wheel-drive and the Power Wagon?
Rodney Eppes
Mount Holly, NC

The 20 mpg truck that is being touted in recent Ram ads is the Ram 1500 (1⁄2-ton), two-wheel-drive model with the Multi-Displacement System (MDS). When you step up to a 2500 (3⁄4-ton) or 3500 (1-ton), the Hemi is no longer available with the cylinder-deactivating MDS technology. In order to achieve heavy-duty capability, the HD trucks also combine a stouter frame with heavier springs, longer wheelbase, and increased bed lengths on certain models, all of which adds weight. In the case of the Power Wagon, it also comes with an elevated ride height, 4.56 gears and 33-inch tires. All of these improve capability, but at the expense of fuel economy. Currently, any vehicle that exceeds a GVWR of 8,500-pounds (the Power Wagon comes in at 8,510-pounds) is exempt from government fuel economy testing.
Sean P. Holman
Tech Editor, Four Wheeler

Whoa Flashback 1982!
I am a long-time reader. This is my first time writing you. I am looking for contact information for Richard Johnson. I am not sure of any work Richard has done other than the article and photos of “King Kong” in the Oct. ’82 issue of Four Wheeler. Any help on this would be appreciated.
Richard Scott
#1 King Kong Fan
Via email

Wow, I couldn’t even begin to tell you where to find that particular Richard Johnson. But it is a fairly common name so maybe some other one will do! Try Google. Good luck.

How To Tech
How do I send a tech question to Techline and Willie Worthy?
Trotwood, OH

Simple, you can contact Willie by emailing your questions to or snail mailing them to Four Wheeler, C/O John Cappa, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. I’ll make sure Willie gets the questions. Also, don’t forget that you can post up questions on our forums at

Magical Mystery Military Rig
Can someone please help me with some information about a truck I’ve seen for sale? It’s a 1980 AM General M920 8x8, a Desert Storm veteran turned RV.
Ben in Florida

The M920 is actually an 8x6, but either way, if you want a rig that’s virtually unbreakable, and you have a place that’s big enough to store it (it’s 11 feet tall, 26 feet long, and weighs 31,000 pounds), it’s quite a piece of work. It runs a Cummins 14-liter turbodiesel that produces 1,250 lb-ft of torque, a Caterpillar 16-speed tranny, and Rockwell 4-ton axles. Towing capacity is just a hair under 100,000 pounds, and GVW is 75,000. We even featured an M820 in the magazine a few years back; go to, type “M920” in the search box, and you’ll find all this info, and a lot more.

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