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February 2012 Inbox - Letters To The Editor

Buggy Front Three Quarter
John Cappa | Writer
Posted February 1, 2012

Airing Down, ATV's, and More

While the rig in “Upping The Ante” (Oct. ’11) is a fantastic ride, I don’t see how it can be called an FJ45. The particular vehicle in the article has nothing on it that is in common with the FJ, aside from the noted vague likeness of the front grille.

At what point does a vehicle veer far enough away from its namesake before it can no longer be identified by that namesake? By the way this vehicle’s list of aftermarket and custom parts reads, I could do the same thing, slap a Bugatti badge on it and call it a Veyron. It wouldn’t be any farther from the truth than calling this rig an FJ45.
Vestal Taylor
Cheyenne, WY

Air-Up Ratio Change?
I would like to comment on and add to what Willie stated in Willie’s Workbench (Nov. ’11). I have been aware of the difference in rolling diameters of different inflation pressures. I have used this to my benefit in situations where there is little traction, like in sand and snow/ice conditions. In these situations, I run a slightly taller rolling diameter (higher tire pressure) in the front than in the rear. This allows the front to pull the rear just slightly. This comes in handy in snowy conditions when cornering since the front tracks outside the rear. If the rolling diameters are the same, then the rear will try to push the front and since it is usually lighter, break loose and cause the vehicle to spin. When in sand, if the front is pulling the rear, particularly when going uphill, the rear will not break traction as much. But if the front plows, the vehicle will have a tendency to bog more. Thank you for your article on the importance of inflation pressures.
Steve Howard
Durham, CA

Ehhh, I’m not buying it. Personally, I feel that the added traction of properly deflated tires at all four corners will far outweigh the benefits of having the front tires filled more than the rear on snow, ice, and sand. For example, on ice, a filled tire will often be crowned causing less tread to be in contact with the road surface. That’s not something you want for your steering tires. And in sand, a filled tire will actually furrow down and push rather than roll over the surface like a properly deflated tire will. Ultimately the actual gear ratio change you would see by running different tire pressures front to rear would be negligible unless you ran the rear tires in the single digits and the fronts at full pressure. And if that’s the case you will see far better performance if you ran all four tires at a reasonable pressure for the terrain you plan to encounter.

Random ATV Rant
The rapid proliferation of ATVs is going to ruin normal Jeep four-wheeling for me. I was in the San Juan Mountains on several occasions the last two summers and the ATVs were everywhere. They tend to run in packs at high speeds. I four-wheel for the challenge of the obstacles, but also for beautiful scenery. Is there a place on earth as neat as the Alpine Loop, Ophir Pass, Imogene, and Black Bear? I have done most of Moab and the Rubicon, less the Sluice, in the last 15 years. It’s great fun, and I’ve met great people. I can see trails being shut down due to excessive ATV activity. They were like ants.
Bob Farrell
Osprey, FL

Who Said Not To?
Here we go, another pissing contest between a reader and Willie’s Workbench (Nov. ’11) about death wobble. Any person putting a lift kit and larger tires or wheels on any vehicle, solid-axle or IFS (that is intended to be driven on the streets), should have every component repaired, replaced, or made sure it is in perfect working order. Otherwise, keep that truck on a trailer and on the trails. We have enough idiots on the streets in unsafe vehicles. Let’s not add to that problem with our 4x4s. The right (wrong) administration might try to outlaw them. Perform the shotgun approach or surgical sniper rifle repair before it hits the streets. My daughter wants me to get home when I leave every night in my big rig on a 500-mile-run so we can go four-wheeling or play golf the next day.
Heath Edwards
Edmond, OK

In your Oct. issue you reviewed a Hankook Maxi Vantage tire that you tried out. I cannot find this tire anywhere and my local dealer cannot get it. Do you have a resource of where to buy this tire?
Little Rock, AR

If you go to you can click on the “Find a Dealer” link to, well, find a dealer.

Shifting Business
I was on and read Sean Holman’s Column Shift about standard transmissions and enjoyed it very much. I learned to drive a stick shift 50 years ago when I was 12. My first vehicles were standard and my new ’12 Rubicon is a standard and loads of fun to drive. I love the control I have with a manual transmission. This is my first one in 4 years. Before that I had a 25-year drought. I didn’t find a single point of disagreement with Sean’s article.
Jim McCain
Shreveport, LA

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