OK, it's Friday night and I just finished a 10-hour day at work. I was pleasantly surprised to find the February '13 issue of Four Wheeler in my mailbox when I got home. Now it could be the adult beverages talking, but I had to write in to respond to Steve Rey's rant regarding the new direction of the magazine (Inbox).
I could not disagree with him more, and I know I'm not alone. I like the way you guys are doing more features about poor-man and budget buildups. The thing I hate/hated about Four Wheeler and other 4x4 publications were the $100,000 buggy buildups. I would and still do skip right over them whenever I come across one. I'm never going to have the coin to build one, and if I did, I wouldn't spend the money on a rig when my budget-built '84 Toyota can and does go the same places they do.
In years past when I would read about Top Truck Challenge, I would read only about the truck that most resembled mine or which one looked like the cheapest to build. I wanted to know how that truck did. I couldn't care less how the $100,000 (insert fab company name here) buggy did.
Sure, big money trucks and buggies are cool to look at every now and again, but I want to see what other people are building on a budget. Those are the pics that I put up on my garage wall.
Grass Valley, CA
The New Best Ever?
I never take time to write to any magazines, but I was inspired to do so when I read "Best Ever" by Erik Slye in the October '12 issue Inbox.
I just was looking at my February '13 issue, and thought this one might be the new best ever. Your tech section on suspension was great. I'm sure I'm a little smarter now than before this issue came.
I was sad when you left Jp, but it looks like you're going to do just fine in your new home.
Maybe we will cross paths again, up in the local mountains, doing some snow wheeling.
Better Luck Next Month
I'm a long-time reader of 4x4 mags; I really enjoy Four Wheeler and where it has gone since you became editor.
As I was reading the February '13 issue I actually found myself checking the front cover to make sure it wasn't Jp magazine.
The '13 Four Wheeler of the Year is Jeep versus Jeep, followed by the eBay Jeepster, followed by the 10th Anniversary Rubicon, with the long-term '12 Wrangler Rubicon report to wrap it all up.
I enjoyed each of those articles, but where is the variety?
On a different note, what the f#%k is "Are You a Real Man"?
Get that crap out of Four Wheeler for good. No trucks, no tech, just a bunch of bull with nothing to do with wheeling at all. Those three pages would have been better off as advertising or another Jeep article.
Again, John Cappa, I like you and this magazine, tough luck about your February issue. Better luck next month.
Kelowna BC Canada
I've been meaning to drop a line for some time (since the January '13 issue hit the newsstands). Between end of the year work commitments and the holidays, I've been running around like my hair has been on fire.
I really wanted to thank you for the great article you published on my "collection of parts." You really made my truck look great, and as a side effect made me into somewhat of a minor local celebrity on and near the base. The whole experience has been excellent, and I consider myself very fortunate to have been a part of it all. When I made the choice to volunteer my time out at KOH, I never expected any reward or recognition. To see my beater on the cover of Four Wheeler as an associated result was absolutely mind-blowing!
Once again, allow me to extend my sincere (albeit tardy) thanks on the great job you and your staff do, not only with the article on my truck, but on every issue of Four Wheeler.
NV vs. ZF
In your January '13 issue in the Techline department, Charley Sunderhaus asked about a good transmission to put or behind his 5.0L Ford. Your response was an NV4500 and Advance Adapters parts. I disagree completely, as I installed a ZF from an F-350 into my Bronco behind my 5.8L and I couldn't be more pleased. It's a great shifting transmission, has a decent low First gear and Reverse, as well as an overdriven Fifth gear. The swap is all stock, no issues with adapters and a custom clutch and such.
I feel you missed providing Charley some important information with regard to using a small-block Ford ZF transmission and did him and others who read your magazine a disservice.
I purchase your magazine monthly and enjoy it thoroughly. I'm looking forward to seeing Top Truck with the new rules, as well as all the variety you guys put in every issue.
Cawston, British Columbia, Canada
I miss reading your crap in Jp magazine, but what I really want to ask is how do I get a Jeep J8 for off-roading in the Arctic? You see, I need one. I don't just want it, I need it (treacherous weather and terrain, and such). That's a legitimate concern, right? We were teased by the offering of the stronger frame, body, axles, T-case, rear suspension, and the diesel. AEV almost sold it, then Chrysler pulled the plug on that, too. We were wronged, and yet I can't get it out of my head. I know this isn't your job, and this is a misdirected request, but you're not timid about sharing your opinion. Maybe you can help me (legally) acquire this beast. As always, excellent work.
I am having trouble with my subscription. I paid for a two-year subscription and I still haven't received an issue.
If you are having trouble with your subscription you can reach our subscriber services department by calling 800/777-0555, email FourWheeler@emailcustomerservice.com,or write to Four Wheeler Magazine, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.
Just wanted to mention that the January '13 issue is the best one in ages. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think the combination of old barn finds and new vehicle tests added a huge variety. I loved having all those old iron stories in one issue. It was so inspiring. Also, the writing has been awesome lately. That one issue was worth my 10 bucks for the year. I wish Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road would step it up sometimes.
OK, guys, let's move away from the all the Jeep JK pics and projects, enough is enough already. I know, I know, they are the most plentiful vehicle on the trail right now and a lot of your tech editorials apply to many other vehicles. But seriously, I am getting tired of seeing so many JKs in the mag. (Pass the word on to your sister mags as well, please). There are many great 4x4s out there besides the JK. Toyota, Ford, Suzuki (my favorite), Nissan, Chevy, Land Rover, and so on. I know it's easier to get a pic of a JK and write a story about it but, why not try a little harder, get off the beaten path, dig deeper, and get some shots of other 4x4s and write about them, please. I still love the mag. I look forward to receiving it in the mail every month. Please, cut down on the JK articles.
Hating New TTC
Son, what is wrong with you? Are you trying to put Top Truck Challenge back in the Stone Age? The best thing you guys ever did was start two classes (truck and buggy). I can see making the trucks look like trucks, and no agricultural tires (that's kind of like cheating anyway), but no buggies? Most of us wish/want to build a buggy to ease some of the load off of our trucks, which my old '85 K5 could use as it's my only driver. If the buggy guys didn't read your mag how come they want to compete in TTC? And those back-halved trucks are called Truggys and they have a place in life also. Is the mag called Trucks Only, JK Only, or Trucks Only-No Buggies? Last I looked it was called Four Wheeler, which I believe covers all things four-wheel-drive. I will keep buying the mag and the DVDs, but I will miss the buggies. If you want more buggy owners to read the mag, stick a buggy in it from time to time. By your rules I can build a buggy and wrap it in truck sheetmetal with working headlights and race against trucks; is that not cheating?
Loving New TTC
I've been on the road the past few months and managed to find and read the December '12 issue while in flight. I appreciate the Top Truck Challenge rule changes coming for 2013. I was impressed in 1997 when Geby Wager and his wife drove his home-brewed CJ from Canada; he competed, camped, broke, repaired, won, and then packed up and drove back to Canada. I thought that made TTC unique.
It's been interesting to watch the evolution of the event and vehicles but I'm glad to hear you're getting back to basics. I applaud your decision.
Nylund Votes for No Vote
I just read your editorial on Top Truck Challenge (Firing Order, Dec. '12). I think the reader voting system is what screws up your field of participants. We used to pick the vehicles ourselves so that there would be a large pickup, something small and nimble, and so on. Generally, that meant getting an overall winner, one in engineering, one in show and shine, and so on.
No Longer Death Wobbled
I'm a new subscriber to Four Wheeler. I have been reading your competitor for years. The first issue I read had "Death Wobble," (Nov. '12). My wife has an '04 Jeep Rubicon with 33-inch tires and all of the bells and whistles, but she won't drive it, even to the store for groceries. The death wobble scares her to death. After many battles for two years, three alignments, balancing tires, and checking the joints, I followed your suggestions and had my wife rock the steering wheel back and forth with the engine off. I found the joint on the end of the adjustable track bar moving up and down. I replaced the joint and guess what? No more death wobble! Now my wife can go shopping.
Zombie Vehicle Input
You missed the mark on the zombie vehicles story ("Mobile Fortress," Dec. '12). In a real apocalyptic setting, fuel is going to be extremely scarce. Unless you plan on taking your vehicle into the woods and parking it there forever, you better have something a bit more practical.
My first pick, and the one I'm going to build, is a '40s-era Willys with a small diesel motor. You can basically put whatever you want in the tank and they will go all sorts of places. If it falls over you can just tip it back up, they are really light. We hauled around half a soccer team in one in high school and sunk it more than once in farm ponds.
My second pick would be a horse. Yup, a living horse. Free fuel and if you get hungry, well you know what I mean.
My third would be a four-cylinder '90s-era Toyota ½-ton. Those run forever too, but again you have a gas problem.
Where To Write
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