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May 2012 Inbox Letters To The Editor

Posted in Features on May 1, 2012
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Best Issue Ever?
I just wanted to say that the Feb. ’12 issue of Four Wheeler is probably the best issue I’ve ever held in my hands. In the past several years I have subscribed to multiple 4x4 publications and in all that time I’ve never spent as much time with a monthly issue as I have this one. It’s simply awesome. There are great articles that are actually useful to the average guy, great old-school photos that show where we have come from, great info on previous trends in the 4x4 world, just everything is awesome. I like the new format and I love the concentration on projects that the average guy in this economy can really afford to build. Keep up the good work. I could spend hours with my nose in this issue.
Shawn Crowe
Lawrenceburg, KY

Worst Issue Ever?
“Filter Fodder” in the Feb. ’12 issue was absolutely useless. The cover blurb read “Are You Killing Your Engine With a Crappy Filter?” Then the entire article is an absolute dud to support anything regarding the blurb.

Taking filters apart and identifying all of their parts may seem stimulating to all of you, but without any evaluation of how construction specifics affect operation and filtering efficiency, it’s an academic parts-identification process that is worthless. Your magazine evaluates and judges many other products (tires, shocks, brakes, and so on)—why should this be the exception?

I read this article, and wondered why I continue to get your magazine. The issues are getting thinner and thinner with less informative topics. If this latest article on oil filters is an example of your prime reporting, I’m outta here.
Pete Sajdak
Via email

“Of the Year” Complaint
As I was reading the Feb. ’12 issue, I came to “2012 Four Wheeler of the Year” and I was so disappointed. Comparing two off-road SUV’s to a luxury SUV? That’s like comparing a Duramax and a Power Stroke to a Nissan Frontier. All three are trucks and can “do” some similar stuff, but they are in completely different classes. I didn’t need to turn to the last page to see who won because I knew the Infiniti didn’t have a chance. There should have been a few more ratings, like what vehicle would be most suited to take a family of five on long road trip? Or what vehicle would be best to tow a 6,000-pound travel trailer? Maybe the Infiniti would have a chance then. Here’s a thought: Redo this biased comparison and compare one of the Jeeps to a Toyota FJ and a Nissan Xterra. To me, that’s more comparable than what you have here.
Daniel Calvey
Rock Springs, WY

Double Dubs vs. Jeep
You have to be kidding, a 22-inch-wheeled luxury techno turd versus two tired old Jeeps. You should compare the QX56 to the Toyota Land Cruiser! A new V-6 motor and tranny out of another Jeep are not some kind of ground-breaking feat. Big deal. It was about time Jeep did something with this gutless motor and tranny combo. The QX56 is only good for some gang-banging, dark out-windowed thug. Two tired re-hashed Jeeps and now one is Four Wheeler of the Year? Are all you editors on the medical pot program out there? How much does Jeep pay you?
Don Rhodes
Via email

More OTY Hate
I eagerly flipped to page 34 to see who won the Four Wheeler of the Year competition (Feb. ’12). I knew that things were not going to be pretty when I saw that you pitted two Rubicons against a $76,000 Japanese luxury grocery getter. What a cliffhanger!

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Infiniti didn’t win. Is this really the best that you can do? If there was ever a case for you to abandon your arbitrary and ridiculous criteria for consideration in this contest, it has to be the absurd field of vehicles for 2012.

You know, one of the reasons why I read this and other magazines, is to get some supposedly expert opinions on the different new 4WD vehicles on the market. When I plunk down my money, I don’t care if the vehicle is a carryover from last year or not. I want to know how it performs off-road and how it stacks up against the competition—all the competition! Before you take a shot at my comments, please seriously consider making this contest mean something.
Dave Kupfer
Los Angeles, CA

Ultimately, not every SUV is eligible to compete. As the story mentions in the second paragraph, each competing vehicle needs to have had some significant mechanical change made for that model year to be considered. In this case a five-speed automatic transmission and an additional 83hp from the new Pentastar V-6 make the Jeeps eligible. We decided to test the two- and the four-door Jeeps separately, since they cater to two different buyers. It also gave us a chance to experience and compare the five-speed auto to the six-speed manual behind the new V-6 engine.

Sure, the Infiniti shined in other areas and those can be seen in the graph on page 42. Using that graph you can select what capability is most important to you and make your own vehicle selection. You can also compare towing capacity and other specs on page 44.

But most importantly, few people seem to know that thanks to our judging and points system you can rate many of the past competing vehicles with the current competing vehicles. For example, want to know if last year’s winner (Grand Cherokee) would beat out this year’s winner (Wrangler Rubicon)? You can! Compare the scores! That’s why we don’t see a need to test every 4x4 every year. We’ve essentially already done it. You just have to have the back issue with the vehicle in question or you can find the OTY stories at

So how would the ’12 Infiniti matchup against last year’s competitors, the ’11 Grand Cherokee, ’11 Land Rover LR4, and the ’11 Lexus GX 460? Interestingly enough, our 2011 winner, the Grand Cherokee, still would have stepped into the winner’s circle and the Infiniti would only have mustered a Third Place finish. However, the ’12 Wrangler Rubicon would have still walked away with the win by a long ways had you put all six vehicles from 2011 and 2012 in the mix. Four Wheeler is and always has been an off-road specific magazine, so that’s what our evaluation focuses on—off-road capability. If you want a watered down road test of these 4x4s, try a car magazine that knows nothing about off-road capability.

DI or IDI?
I was enjoying the article “Original Overlanders,” (Feb. ’12) when I saw some discrepancies in the tech details. A ’92 F-350 would have had an indirect-injected 7.3L diesel not a direct-injected system. Hydraulically actuated, electronically controlled unit injectors were not used in a Ford truck until 1994, when the Power Stroke debuted. Usually I can ignore slight misinformation in the mag, but being a diesel tech that one really bugged me. Otherwise, great article.
Randy Bosworth
Via email

Daddy Goofed
I just want to congratulate you. Today you made my dad look like a complete fool for the first time. He was horrified after reading the 50th Anniversary issue (Feb. ’12) that there was “no mention of Granville King” and proceeded to write an extremely passionate letter. It was one of the funniest letters I’ve ever read, in fact. He was so upset and wanted nothing more than to make the entire staff at Four Wheeler feel incredibly ashamed. While I began emailing a typed version of his letter, I asked him specifically if he had read the entire magazine and was sure that he hadn’t missed anything. He swore he hadn’t, and I believed him. He is the thorough type—so much so that I refuse to go to a museum with the man because he has to read every single placard on every single artifact.

Anyway, while typing I had a copy of the magazine in my hand and proceeded to open the issue from the back. You can only imagine my delight when I discovered the Trail’s End article featuring Granville. I have never been as happy as the moment I handed it to my dad and all he could say was, “Well I’m a son of a b*tch!”
Megan Decker
Via email

Power Wagon Wondering
I ran, not walked, to my local dealer to order a new Ram Power Wagon to replace my ’08 Power Wagon based on the information in RPM (Feb. ’12). I was excited to read that Ram was going to offer the Power Wagon in the Laramie top trim level. My current ’08 Power Wagon has leather seats, which since ’08 have not been available. So I thought Laramie leather, here I come. Alas, it was not to be, the dealer and the Ram factory representatives that my dealer talked to said that this article is inaccurate and they have no way to order such a vehicle.
James G. Rogers
Brimley, MI

I think maybe you need to go find another dealer. The Power Wagon SL (strippy version) and Laramie (full-leather version) have been on the dealer lots since January of this year.

More Fullsize
My boyfriend has been a subscriber to the magazine for a few years now and we both generally enjoy it. We were looking through the February ’12 issue at the Top Truck Challenge winners over the years (“We Are the Champions”). Nearly all of the winners have been Jeeps; I could count the non-Jeep winners on one hand. What happened to fullsize trucks? It seems like the magazine’s main focus has been Jeeps. What about variety? Something for everyone! This past year nearly all competitors were either Jeeps or buggies, we were honestly disappointed. The average Joe can’t afford to build a buggy, and not everyone prefers Jeeps. We know fullsize trucks aren’t as capable as Jeeps or buggies, so why not put the Jeeps and buggies in one class and give the fullsize trucks their own class? Otherwise, just call it “Top Jeep Challenge.” Just a suggestion!
Ashly Kisner
Via email

Interestingly enough, we have a solution to your issue with Top Truck Challenge. However, it will have to wait till TTC 2013. This year is the 20th anniversary and all the past winners will be competing against each other along with one voted-in reader.

Bumper Objection
I disagree with something in “2012 Four Wheeler of the Year,” (Feb. ’12). Holman, calling a Jeep Wrangler bumper robust is like calling a piece of Styrofoam in a fire robust. OEM Jeep bumpers fall apart if you look at them hard. All they are good for is replacing with a real bumper. Of course, I am referring to your comment on page 40: “Equipped with robust bumpers....” That aside, the article was extremely interesting. I love my ’12 Rubicon and have replaced those “robust” bumpers with real, honest-to-God metal ones. The 3.6L Pentastar engine is really great. People say it and the 3.8L are not as good as the 4.0L off-road, but I think that is BS. In stock form, the 4.0L in the TJ was a turd. Mine put 150 lb-ft to the wheels. I don’t know about the 3.8L, but my 3.6L exceeds that by 30 lb-ft. Now the 4.0L really perks up when you add headers, a larger throttle body, air intake, and a high-flow exhaust system. When I left my TJ at Hesco to be bored and stroked to 4.7L, it was putting advertised horsepower and torque to the wheels. I enjoy all the truck group mags. Y’all really cause me to spend a lot of money on my Jeeps. Keep up the good work.
Jim McCain
Via email

When comparing stock vehicles against other stock vehicles, it is clear that the Jeep does have robust bumpers that are far less fragile than just about anything else on the showroom floor. Not only do they take impacts well, but all it takes to pop out the dents is some heat from a plumber’s torch or heat gun. I’m sure you couldn’t do that with the Infiniti. Now, that being said, all of us who will be using our Wranglers are going to replace the bumpers with something metal, including me. I was so impressed with the ’12 featuring the 3.6L that I went out and bought one.
Sean P. Holman
Tech Editor, Four Wheeler fw

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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