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October 2012 Inbox Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on October 1, 2012
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Best Ever?
I just got the July ’12 issue and I gotta say it’s the best one issue of any 4x4 mag I have ever read! I have subscribed to Four Wheeler over the years just for Top Truck. I otherwise found the mag rather boring. I subscribed to Jp for many years and I don’t even own a Jeep! I got it for the awesome info (how to narrow an axle at home, for example) and for the entertainment factor. When I read Firing Order, I laughed my tail off. In typical Cappa form, you told it how it is. The slow 350:1-geared Toyota’s is so spot on. Don’t get me wrong, I own a badass Toyota with dual T-cases, 42-inch Irok tires, 4.88 gears, a turbo transmission, a built turbo engine, and so on. I hate crawling, slow is boring. I built my truck for the snow, but the the new ’Yota trend is keepin’ them stupidly-low-geared. Anyway, I was just about to let my subscription run out, but I saw you took over and was pretty sure you would spice up the old mag and I was so right. Keep up the good work, I’m gonna be around awhile longer, thanks to you.
Erik Slye
Via email

Bedliner Question
Love the mag. It’s way more fun than the stuff I publish.

Anyway, I saw an article a while back about bedliners. My wife recycled the mag before I went and got the stuff. I think you tested it on an old white pickup and it held up really well. Do you remember the brand?

Just grabbed the July ’12 issue at the airport. I love that AEV Wrangler pickup. Keep up the good work.
Peter Sanderson
Wakefield, RI

Not sure what bedliner you are referring to, but if it’s a do-it-yourself liner, it might be Al’s Liner ( You can get it in custom colors and textures. The company even offers a low-cost professional series spray gun to lay down a consistent coating.

Disappointed Storm Trooper
I recently picked up the July ’12 issue of Four Wheeler on my trip to Orlando. I have to say, I was disappointed with your guidance advice. I was expecting some sort of cross reference chart where I could see gear size equivalencies between tire size and gears to help in selecting the right gears. Instead, I got general advice that was like, “Duh.”

I recently purchased a two-wheel drive F-150 and installed some 34-inch tires and custom rims. Although I don’t have a 4x4, I was going for the off-road look. Anyway, I noticed my rig dropping out of overdrive when driving at highway speeds. This led me to look into upgrading the rear axle from 3.55 to 4.11 axle gears. I was hoping this issue could have assisted in my decision, but unfortunately, it did not.

On a another note, I also read the Inbox letter titled “Black Is for Tires” in that same issue and wanted to say I feel the same way. That is why I went with custom powdercoated white rims. I attached a picture. I am finding that the powdercoating is easy to care for and maintain. Just thought you would like to know.
Brian Schmidt
Phoenix, AZ

Setting Us Straight
I always give someone credit for admitting a mistake/error, especially if they can joke about it at their own expense. I was hoping you would do the same. You printed my original correspondence in the June ’12 issue regarding the width of the Ford F-150 w/mirrors. In your e-mail reply you pointed out my error and sent me a link to a “free dictionary” that I found to be kind of rude and insulting. Printing my correspondence w/o (see I can use it correctly) my immediate response, and admission of my mistake while reading the statistics, shows me the apparent contempt you have for anyone who would question what is put in print. Hopefully you were just having a bad/stressful day, as I’m sure putting a magazine together every month is draining. I deal with the public constantly and know how much of a pain it can be, especially when dealing with know-it-alls. I am simply a nut for getting correct information disseminated; old wives tales are my pet peeve.

On that note, there were some errors in “Get Busy,” (July ’12), written by Ken Brubaker. These errors are very forgivable, as by my count he had six articles in that issue of Four Wheeler and no one can know everything. First is that the five-speed manual transmission was available in the early 7.3L Power Stroke Super Duty, not just the six-speed.

As far as the Dodge info goes; the Quad Cab replaced the Club Cab in 1998, the Club Cab was not available until 2000 as the article states. Another option that came along with the Quad Cab option was the availability of a short bed in the 2500 HD models. It should also be noted that the 24-valve engine is much less desirable than the older 12-valve. It is more complicated because of its electronics, the lift and injection pumps are less reliable and there is also a version that is known to develop cracks in the block. I agree with Ken that Dodge not having a true Crew Cab option was a huge mistake. Can you imagine how popular a Cummins-powered Crew Cab would have been from 1989-2002! Ford might have actually had some competition. Then when Dodge did bring out Crew Cabs they made one that is too small/short and one that is huge!? Dodge didn’t get it right until a couple of years ago.

I absolutely agree with you on the super-low gearing issues you brought up in Firing Order in that same issue. I would never buy a Wrangler Rubicon simply because of the 4:1 T-case gearing. In my type of wheeling in Oregon sometimes even a 2.72:1 is too low. Since I’m an NP205 fan anyway, I’m lucky that 2:1 (1.96:1) ends up being just right most of the time.
Jeff Hutchins
Corvallis, OR

According to the Ford press info, only the six-speed manual transmission was available in the early 7.3L Power Stroke Super Duty, not the five-speed manual. But you never know. It could have happened.

Also, in the story we said the Club Cab was discontinued for the 2000 model year, not available until 2000. And according to our research, the Club Cab was available for 1999.
Ken Brubaker
Senior Editor, Midwest Bureau

Brute Double Cab
Picture one states that it starts out as a Wrangler Rubicon. Should it read a Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon?
William Behan
Via email

That’s correct. AEV ( starts with a four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited when building the Brute Double Cab.

Tire Selection
Great magazine. I can’t wait to get every issue. I read it front to back, over and over, and then keep them for reference. You guys are doing a great job. Myself, I am long past the off-road stage of truck ownership and leave it to the younger and richer crowd. But rest assured, in my hey-day I was out there in the mix like you guys are today. My ’80 Bronco had monster Goodyear tires that use to leave tread block stamp prints if you did a U-turn on asphalt. They were huge, crude, and I had underwear that lasted longer. Those were the days. Now, I use my truck as a tow vehicle for my H-D Trike/Trailer, a commuter vehicle, grocery shopping, and so on. I would never think of going off-road in a ’12 anything that costs as much as these new trucks do with all the goodies. Maybe later, we’ll see.

Anyway, in the April ’12 issue, you ran an article on tires (“4x4 Tire Guide”). This has got to be one of the best and most accurate tire guides I have ever seen. I have run a couple of the tires you list and can attest to your findings first hand that in fact you are dead on. But, and here comes that sandwich, you missed the one tire I was really hoping to have info on, the Nitto Terra Grappler. I was really hoping to compare that to the Goodyear DuraTrac. I live in the Northeast, in Northern Harford County, Maryland, near the Pennsylvania line. It is real rural horse country. The state government does an excellent job of removing the snow in the winter, but they can’t hit every road. Right now my ’12 Tundra TRD SR5 has BFG Rugged Trail tires (great tire so far on the street and in the rain) but they won’t last forever (thank God). Since your information was so accurate on four of the other brands I have run I was hoping the Nitto Terra might have just been missed, but you might be able to provide the info anyway. I would really appreciate it if so. Like I said, I will have to eventually replace my tires, and right now I am thinking I need a tire I can use to tow (yes, my truck has the tow package too) and is exceptional on-road in all conditions, including at highway speeds in serious rain and snow, and on inclined asphalt surfaces in snowy, slushy conditions. Occasionally I may go into grassed areas that are wet and clay sub-soils are common in my area. The BFG A/T and Pro Comp Xtreme AT suck at these requirements, as you already know. Well, to be fair, at first they were OK, but in slush, they didn’t work well even when new.

So my next choice(s) would be: Goodyear DuraTrac, Nitto Terra Grappler, Goodyear Silent Armor, BFG Rugged Trail, all in a 275/65R18 (this is the factory size) or a plus 1 size. Oh, I would like to justify having fender flares, so wider would be nice too, but not so much that they compromise the snow traction.
Rob Pettis
Street, MD

Really any of the tire choices you have listed should work well for your application, except in the clay-like mud. A mild all-terrain tire will generally pack up quick and become almost useless in wet clay. But that’s the trade-off, a pure mud tire that would do well in wet clay would perform very poorly in the other conditions that you encounter most of the time.

Letter Of The Month
Just for asking us the exact question we wanted to answer at just the right moment we’re sending Zach Simone his very own Battleship Blu-Ray Combo Pack, each has a Blu-Ray, a digital copy of the video, and a regular DVD! Battleship is the epic-scale action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies, and over land as our planet fights for survival! Starring Liam Neeson and Rhianna, Battleship comes to Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Ultraviolet this August!

Readers’ Rigs
I was wheeling yesterday and got some fairly good photos of my ’98 Jeep Cherokee XJ. I was wondering what it would take for me to get my Jeep in Four Wheeler. I could send you some pictures.
Zach Simone
Via email

Did you know you can load images and info about your 4x4 right on That’s right! There are hundreds of modified 4x4s you can check out, steal ideas from, and look for build tips. Just go to, fill out the simple form, load the photos of your 4x4, and check out others like it!

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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