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March 2012 Inbox Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on March 1, 2012
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Brake Advice
I just got the Dec. ’11 issue in the mail, in October. I still haven’t figured that one out. Anyway, great mag, I love the fact that you seem to be scaling back lately and featuring more budget-minded tech articles and simple installs and repairs that the everyday wrench can relate to. That brings me to my point. While reading through the mag, I came across an article (“Stop it!”) which caught my attention. As a technician at a Ford dealership, I know of the brake corrosion problems on this era of well. Many front rotors have come off in pieces. I wanted to address a couple of issues your vehicle seems to have that I’m sure you dealt with but I felt needed bringing up. First off is the swollen front brake hose in photo number three. The swage where the rubber hose meets the metal line is covered with another piece of rubber and this traps moisture and causes the connection to rust and disintegrate. This is a common problem and one good panic stop will let you know about it. Second is the issue with the parking brake shoes. Judging by pictures numbers 15 and 16, I assume that your shoe linings fell out onto the floor upon rotor removal and should have been replaced. I know that these are little things, but they could cause big problems down the road. I hope this was useful and keep up the good work.
Via email

C’mon Man!
The mailman delivered the Dec. ’11 issue of Four Wheeler yesterday, and it almost went the way of unwanted junkmail; into the trash (OK, the USO-bound recycling bin) unopened.

Why? I’ve been meaning to cancel my subscription the past two to three months, but always got sidetracked. Why cancel? First, the usage of “overland” has sickened me. It’s called off-roading or four-wheeling. Though Jeep got there first, Overland is a badge I’d expect to see on an upscale Land Rover. C’mon man!

Then there are the pictures of guys wearing robin nest egg blue GAP sweatshirts and the like. Makes me think someone is going to need to visit their manicurist after their little “foray” is over. C’mon man!

Finally, regarding the packing everything including the kitchen sink when heading out, why no one thought to include a folding bathtub in with their Rodeo Drive trailer is beyond me. What really made me puke was the Campfire In a Can (Boonie Box, Sept. ’11). Say what? If you’re in an area that prohibits campfires, so be it. But to haul a 25-pound combustible can for pure ambience? C’mon man!

So welcome aboard, John. It appears the ships’ owners might have found a captain that’s capable of steering a laid course and swabbing the deck.

With that said, I’m willing to hang around a bit to see how you winch this publication out of the mire.
Robert Tompkins
Via email

Cappa’s an Idiot
Let’s face it, 4x4 magazines are not an accredited course in auto mechanics. These magazines are entertainment. I subscribe to Jp and Four Wheeler, if a person does both it is really cheap, especially if it’s for three years.

Jp is full of people with personalities. Now this new editor, it turns out is a real horse’s ass. When he wrote his “New Captain of The Ship” editorial (Firing Order, Dec. ’11), I thought it was a joke, like an April fools. The guy was going to get tuff and if people weren’t entertaining he was going to grind them to dust. What a moron! Can you imagine beating on people with a whip and saying “Be entertaining!”

I worked at a custom large-equipment manufacturer. One of my friends had worked there about ten years. When we got a new boss we were walking through the plant and he was telling us just how things were going to be. He too was a horse’s ass. My coworker Leo turned and looked him right in the eye and said, “Forget you. You’re number 27.”

The new boss said, “What?”

Leo responded, “We’re not stupid, we know how to do our jobs and you are my 27th boss!” The new boss lasted about a month.

You go, John. Let your people be people. I always find people interesting.
Eric Bell
Arvada, Colorado

Stickin’ Around
As a reader I just wanted to say congrats for your new position as editor of Four Wheeler. I subscribe to most of the off-road magazines and was thinking about cutting back on a few, one of them being Four Wheeler because of the lack of interesting content or just somewhat-duplicated content of other mags. But now that there is someone fresh at the top, I think I’ll stick around to see what you’ll bring. I’ve enjoyed many articles by you. I like your enthusiasm and practical, no-nonsense approach. I’m looking forward to the future of Four Wheeler.
Brien Lumppio
Via email

So Long, Willie Worthy
I am sure you may not like this “Dear John” letter, but here it is.

Having written for Four Wheeler now going on some 40 years, this is a good time to put my keyboard to rest. Yep, it is kind of short notice, but I have mulled it over for quite some time and just this week made the decision.

Hopefully all will go well and you will be able accept some technical or travel stories from me in the future.

It’s been a great experience and a lifetime of memories.
Willie Worthy
Evaro, MT

Hammer Down
John, it is with great excitement that I welcome you to the helm of Four Wheeler! I hope you can save my favorite mag! I am a fellow dirtbag and there are few real men in your industry today. The big corporations don’t understand us! But you, Péwé, and Freiburger are real gearheads and you will probably be able to save my subscription. I look forward to seeing more real trucks built by owners. I’d love to see more fullsize rigs too! Maybe I’ll even send a pic of my truck! Hammer Down!
Mike Towe
Middletown, DE

Damper Semantics
For the first time I find myself possibly in disagreement with Willie Worthy. I just read Willie’s Workbench in the Dec. ’11 issue.

My understanding of how a car suspension works could be wrong, but I believe what we call shock absorbers in America are actually dampers.

On a truck suspension, the springs actually absorb the shock of a bump in the road. To prevent them from resonating (sometimes called “twang”) we use a shock absorber, a.k.a. a damper.

On a truck with worn out shock absorbers, when you hit a bump, you end up bouncing up and down for a long time after.

So I could be wrong, but I would think a steering stabilizer actually serves to keep the front end from resonating, which can cause a dangerous wobble.

But Willie Worthy very clearly says they absorb the shock load to steering components. I was thinking about this, and I would assume that your car’s suspension normally serve the function of absorbing any shock to the steering components. So am I wrong about the purpose of a steering stabilizer?
Edward A. Laag
El Segundo, CA

It sounds like you are simply getting too wrapped up in the semantics of it all. Steering stabilizers (or dampers) can help absorb shock loads to protect steering components from damage, like when you hit a curb or rock at speed. Anything that causes some sort of side load to the steering system. They can also help control any resonating movement in the steering system. Ultimately a steering damper is just a suspension shock absorber. However, unlike a suspension shock absorber, a steering damper (stabilizer) has the same valving on both the compression and rebound sides of the piston.

Wit Branded
Congratulations on taking the helm at Four Wheeler! Your brand of enthusiasm, wit, and wheelin’ will be fun to watch in the coming months and years. I would like to personally wish you well and as an off-roader ask that you continue your “take no prisoners and no s#!t” attitude. Remember, friends are for chumps!
Donnie Roebuck
Via email

Get a Real Job Someday
Hey, read your first editorial yesterday (Firing Order, Dec. ’11), and I’m impressed. Keep that s#!t up and you might get a real job one of these days. I’ll read the rest of that issue today, but I don’t expect any changes at this point.
Jimmy Nylund
Via email

Mega-Mega Suspension
I was reading “Mega-Mega” on and was wondering if there was more information on the build of your ’07 TTC Ram Mega Cab recovery vehicle. I’m looking to fit 46-inch or larger tires on mine and was wondering if Kelderman built the lift package or if it was a one-off? If it was a one-off, what shop did the work?
Sean Momsen
Maryville, TN

The suspension on that particular truck is from Kelderman (

Reader Recovery Assist of the Month
This month we’re sending John Dacy of Sacramento, California, a TJM 29½-foot, 17,000-pound Snatch Strap for the assist in the correction to a blatant error we all here at the magazine somehow missed. Fortunately TJM appears to have a few more checks and balances than us since every tow strap is made in Australia and individually serial-numbered to insure quality. The TJM Snatch Strap is 100-percent nylon and features reinforced eyes as well as eye and seam protectors. The combination of vehicle pull and the tension in the strap creates a snatching effect that can pull a stranded vehicle free from being bogged or unable to move under its own power. Too bad it can’t be used to pull editors’ heads out of their butts.

We Suck!
First, I want to say how much I enjoy Four Wheeler, especially the Top Truck Challenge. As I was reading the tire review (“Maxxis Brovo 771,” Dec. ’11), I was struck by how odd the name of the tire seemed; “Brovo” just seemed strange. Then I looked closely at the image of the tire, and read “BRAVO A/T” on the sidewall. Minor detail, and I’m a nit-picky reader, but I bet Maxxis would appreciate a correction.

Keep up the great work, you really have an excellent magazine. I have been reading your work for quite a while, and look forward to your tenure here.
John Dacy
Sacramento, CA

Where To Write
Address your correspondence to Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 or send an email to 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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