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December 2012 Inbox Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on November 1, 2012
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Radiator 101
Hey guys, the September ’12 issue is another nice one even if you aren’t into fullsize vehicles. That said, in an otherwise good article, Cole Quinnell perpetuates the myth that brass is somehow a better material for heat conductance than aluminum (“Keeping Your Cool”).

“Aluminum radiators are now very popular, but guess what? Aluminum isn’t the most efficient material for heat transfer. When it comes to radiators, brass and copper is.”

A quick check of metal heat conductance on any of the numerous websites listing these values will all show the same results. Basically, pure copper conducts heat about twice as well as aluminum, and aluminum conducts heat about twice as well as brass. The values listed at are typical: (all in Btu/(hr-ft-°F) brass, 69.33; aluminum 136; and copper 231). In short, a little zinc added to copper lowers its thermal conductance very significantly.

I do not recall ever seeing a pure copper radiator in any automotive application over the 50 years I have been messing with vehicles, but I don’t doubt they were used at some time in something—just rarely. Almost all were brass, or more recently, aluminum or aluminum composite. Switching from brass to aluminum does indeed make a more efficient radiator. The lighter weight is just icing on the cake.
John Goering
Bozeman, MT

I’m sure somewhere at some point a full copper radiator was offered. However, you are right—they are not common and certainly not modern. But it is fairly common to find copper fins between the cores of a typical copper/brass radiator. This is where most of the heat transfer is done as air flows through the radiator core.

Top Truck Thanks
Cappa, I had so many things to say when you called us up on stage at the Top Truck Champions’ Challenge. I forgot all of them. I felt like an idiot. I wanted to thank Four Wheeler for putting together such a great event. I have been to four Top Truck events; this by far was the best one. A big thanks to you and the Four Wheeler crew from all of us Texas boys.
Toby Harrell
Via email

Spot Life Saver
It was with more than a casual interest I read your piece on the SPOT Connect (“Can You Find Me Now,” Sept. ’12). Last July, while attempting the Trans Am Trail ( on my KLR 650, I went down hard on a backcountry mountain road in North Arkansas. This is a road mainly used by the oil companies for shale oil exploration and sees only one or two vehicles a week. Unfortunately, the way the bike fell, along with the load, and the way I slid back down the hill, I was pinned under the bike and could not free myself. Probably being 65 didn’t help, either. It was over 100 degrees out and I couldn’t reach the water in my side bags. After about an hour, I knew things were going to get pretty grim.

Fortunately for me, I had my SPOT Connect unit with me. In about an hour, a group of guys that may not look the part, but the best group of volunteer angels you’ll ever see, came driving up. They dug me out from under the bike and checked me out. I was bruised and battered, but since I could walk (limp), I chose to carry on. I had to give up the adventure in Oklahoma because the injuries were worse than I thought.

Bottom line, I’ll never be without this type device again. It may not have saved my life (I believe it did), but it certainly saved me from hours of lying on a hillside wondering how to get out of that mess. My wife and I travel from Mississippi to the Rockies and the Southwestern desert to wheel on a regular basis. We spend many hours in the passes of Colorado and mining trails of Utah and Nevada. Our SPOT Connect is along for the ride at all times now.

Hopefully, others will read your piece and spend the few bucks for the added security.
Ron Crumpler
Columbus, MS

Ford Covered
On the cover of the June ’12 Issue of Four Wheeler you featured an orange and white Ford truck crossing the Golden Crack in Moab, Utah. You were unable to identify the owner, but I wanted to let you know that this is my husband Wade Jasperson’s truck from Pleasant Grove, Utah. This truck has quite a history. It went from being his father’s to his and is now in the processes of getting a different body because the original body was hammered from all the four-wheeling it has done. Once completed, he plans to pass this same truck onto his son one day. Thanks for choosing it for your cover.
Melissa Jasperson
Pleasant Grove, UT

Datsun Guy
I have an ’82 Datsun soft body. I hate that they get a bad rap of being weak and they are poor 4x4s. That’s just not true. Just like any 4x4, if you modify them, they get better. I put Toyota axles under mine with ¾-elliptical springs in the rear along with a double-divorced transfer case. It is one of the best 4x4s in our group. I have never seen one in the magazines. What is up with that?
Name withheld
Via email

Go Diesel
Just wanted to write and say thanks for a diverse and informative magazine. My friend Eli bought me a subscription to your magazine as a gift and I have been receiving and reading it now for the past few months. I always look forward to seeing what topics you have each month and I read every word in each magazine I get. I was especially excited to see the Ford 6.0L cures in “Power Stroke Problems,” (Aug. ’12). My wife and I recently picked up an ’05 6.0L for a price I could not pass up. I was familiar with the 6.0L’s bad rep, but you all helped to clear up the muddy waters and now I feel even better about owning a 6.0L. I also enjoyed the info on diesel swap shops (“Go Diesel”) as I would like to swap in a Cummins 6BT into a ’70s model Ford truck someday. Thanks again for a great magazine!
See Farms
Via email

Dana 60 Props
I loved the Dana 60 comparison in the September ’12 issue of Four Wheeler. I was going to write in with some rant about things like kingpins and needing new spindles, but you addressed them by the end of the article so I have nothing to complain about! I think that you really gave the junkyard axle an advantage by using a K5 as an example. When you start to look at putting an axle under something like a YJ or TJ where you would likely narrow the axle and need to add custom brackets, the price of a Dynatrac axle starts to look even more attractive. Great story!
Harry Wagner
Via email

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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