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July 2012 Inbox Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on July 1, 2012
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Be American
When I received the April ’12 issue of Four Wheeler, I began to read it from cover to cover as I always do. Everything was going great until I got to the Inbox section and read a letter from “Name Withheld” saying Samurais and Broncos were two of the worst 4x4s of all time. Really? I can’t say much about the Samurai other than what I hear from people who own them, so I won’t. But I will say that the Ford Bronco is and always will be one of the best factory 4x4s ever. I have owned several and have wheeled the ever-loving s#!t out of ’em with very few problems. I will not sit by and let some Nissan-loving Nancy slander the good name of the Ford Bronco! Obviously Mr. Nissan has not done his homework on the Bronco, and I encourage him to better educate himself on what a good 4x4 really is! However, I do not blame him for his statement, but rather feel sorry for him for making such a bold and incredibly inaccurate allegation. If it were me, I would have left my name out too. Be American, buy American.
Steve Reynolds
Reidsville, GA

Best Issue Ever
I just finished reading the April ’12 issue. I really like what you guys are doing with the magazine. I have been a steady subscriber for 8 years or so, and this is one of the best issues I can remember reading. Being a Ford truck guy I typically skip right through all the Jeep articles and such, but in every issue there is always something informative and interesting to me. It seems most of your negative feedback comes from folks looking for more info on their specific rides and interests. I think you do a great job of providing a little content for all types of wheelers, as well as great general hints and tips. The tire guide in this issue was the absolute best and non-biased that I’ve ever seen. Keep up the good work.
Scott Swann
Riverton, WY

He Gets It
When I started reading Inbox in the April ’12 edition, I was instantly irritated. I’ve been a subscriber to Four Wheeler for more years than I can remember, and will continue to be a loyal subscriber as long as you stick to what you’ve been doing for so many years. With the exception of the Turbo Diesel Register, Four Wheeler is the only automotive periodical I’ve kept over the years. It’s a great balance of everything I’m looking for, and each issue continues to inform, educate, and entertain me. However, I am tiring of reading constant complaints from readers; if they don’t like what they are reading, they can read elsewhere. I for one get tired of constantly hearing the same griping about your magazine not specifically catering to their individual needs.

Addressing David Smith’s Inbox letter (“Random Rant”), perhaps he should do a little research as to why automotive diesels are not fiscally feasible here in the non-mother country (does he assume that every American originated from Ol’ Blighty? What about the rest of the world?). The U.S. EPA measures diesel particulates differently than Euro Tier levels, which is why European diesels won’t meet EPA standards and vice-versa. Convergent standards are still some ways away, and that is contingent upon the different agencies finding common standards to base their targeted measurements of emissions on. Diesel fuel is also taxed differently in the U.S. versus Europe. He is right when he says that U.S. consumers are getting ripped off by the disallowance of European diesel engines in the U.S.; it is not the choice of the “domestic vendors” as he states, but rather the U.S. EPA.

Addressing another David Smith letter (More Military), I disagree with him whole-heartedly. I own a ’75 AM General M35A2C 2½-ton truck, and did some research before buying it. The military vehicles he lists are much more expensive than the military vehicles profiled in “Drab Is Good” (Jan. ’12), and parts are also difficult to find (not to mention expensive when you do find them). That is why there aren’t that many of the vehicles he listed available or in use. I bought my Deuce for $1,500, in spite of no rust and very low miles and hours due to a broken pinion in the forward rear axle. I purchased an excellent take-out replacement axle from a SoCal military vendor for $100 complete; you can’t do this with the Pinzgauers, G-Wagons, or Unimogs. I confirm the validity of the article he takes exception with.

And finally, for Colin Buchanan’s letter (Beef With Bolt-In Beef); I again disagree with his assessment that junkyard axles are superior to factory-new axles and a better choice for consumers. I’ve bought those junkyard axles before, and before long, they ended up costing nearly as much as new axles. By the time I tear them apart and install new seals, bearings, ring-and-pinion, small parts, traction aids, fluids, and brakes, the cost is almost as much as a new one. Yes, I’ve taken used axles and bolted them in untouched and regretted doing so each time. I’ve experienced the overheated/fused bearings, bent axleshafts, foreign debris in the pumpkin, frozen/inoperable brakes, broken ring gears, and other not-so-visible problems enough to make me start tearing them down for complete inspections and rebuilds before use. And now I find that it is cost-effective in the long run to just buy new or rebuilt from reputable firms. The article he specifically mentions (“Bolt-In Beef,” Jan. ’12) is actually an outstanding article and very relevant. The cost of those two Power Wagon axles is a lot less than I thought they would be. It also highlights some of the potential pitfalls and obstacles that must be resolved when installing different axles; these are the type of articles I like to see, as they are very relevant to most wheelers. And what about the driveshafts when the new axles are in? Colin conveniently overlooked that aspect.

Please don’t change anything because of a few morons; keep up the great work, and I love the new format of the magazine. The loss of Willie Worthy does leave huge shoes to fill, and I hope you are able to find a qualified replacement; I often go straight to Willie’s column and then finish reading the rest of the magazine. Ah, just when I finally started to cope with the loss of Jimmy Nylund, does Willie announce his departure.

Best of luck and please keep up the great work!
Warren Willis Jr.
Las Vegas, NV

Cummins Quandary
I was just reading “Chevy S-4BTA,” (Mar. ’12), and I also read another article “Against the Grain” in your sister publication, Jp magazine, about the top 10 dumbest Jeep engine swaps (June ’10). Jp tells a different story of how loud, smoky, and underpowered these engines are. What made this a good idea now opposed to then?
Mike Sutton
Houston, TX

Engine swaps are like women. Some run smooth as silk and others will rattle your noggin if you even look at ’em cross-eyed. Not everyone likes the same kind of women just like not everyone likes the characteristics of a diesel. So, in the end it’s a matter of opinion. The Cummins 4BT is a loud, heavy, low-revving, rough-running motor with a very limited powerband. All of that is fact. Some people don’t mind overlooking these characteristics and relish in the improved fuel economy and low-end torque. Personally, my kind of wheeling includes more than just low-torque rock crawling and slow going. I like dunes, racing across the desert, mud bogs, and more. My 4x4s have to be extremely versatile so the Cummins 4BT isn’t for me. Senior Editor Brubaker, on the other hand, might just give up a kidney for a Cummins-powered 4x4, especially if it’s a Chevy S-10.

Black Is for Tires
Judging by the popularity of black wheels today, I’m sure you will get many complaints about your comments in Firing Order (Apr. ’12).

I agree with your opinion 100 percent! I really smiled as I read thru your editorial. Simple aluminum wheels are where it’s at.

I’ve been a long time reader. I have attached a photo of my ’71 CJ-5.
David Browne
Wichita, KS

Made in the USA
I’m in the market for new tires and found “4x4 Tire Guide” (Apr. ’12) informative and useful. However, I believe a very crucial bit of information has been omitted. Where, specifically, is each tire manufactured? Performance and price are major factors, but with many readers, where it was made is equally important. I believe a follow up next month is appropriate, and will be appreciated. It may also be very eye-opening to learn where these tires come from.
Patrick Fitzgerald
Milwaukee, WI

Great, timely question! However it’s not so simple to answer. There are some tire companies that build all products here in the states and others that build all products overseas. But there is a grey area too. For example, there are some tire models made overseas, however a few specific sizes of that same model may be made here in the states or in a different country. So it can be kind of tricky covering each brand and tire model with a blanket statement like that.

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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