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November 1998 Letters To The Editor

Posted in Features on November 1, 1998
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Outland-Ish Correction
Dear Editor, In your "Low-Buck Parts" guide (Aug. '98), Smittybilt Outland front guards were included in the list of products. While Smittybilt products are affordable, quality additions to any truck, 4x4 or SUV, I must correct your suggested price. One-piece, or complete modular Outland front guards in dual-stage powdercoat can be purchased for $300 to $400, depending on vehicle size. A complete Outland front set includes a grille guard, brush guard, and hood bar. However, Smittybilt's Bumper Thumper guard in black powdercoat can be found in the $100 price range.
Brion Coyne
Marketing Director
Smittybilt, Inc.
Corona, CA

Moving On Up (Or Down?)
Dear Four Wheeler, I own a '94 Chevy K-1500 Z/71 and am considering a '98 Wrangler TJ. I remember reading about rumors of an eight-cylinder engine being used in a future Wrangler. Would this engine be worth waiting for? If not, is there a back issue or forthcoming issue that deals with the buildup of a new Wrangler for use as a daily driver and a trail vehicle? I currently live in Texas, but travel to New Mexico for 'wheeling once or twice a year.
Tyan Boulware
via the Internet

Last month, we printed an article on how to swap a Chevy 350 TBI motor into a YJ ("Crate Expectations,'' Oct. '98). The 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee sports a new 4.7-liter V-8, but to the best of our knowledge, there are no plans to offer that engine in the Wrangler. We've spent the last year building up a geared-for-gorilla TJ, "Project Teal J.'' Check out our March '98 issue for a list of all the installments. Once you know the articles you want, send a written request, a check or money order for $3 per story, and an S.A.S.E., to Four Wheeler Reprints, 3330 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 115, Santa Monica, CA 90405.

Point Of Clarification
Dear Four Wheeler, After reviewing your article on the new Chevy Silverado (Aug. '98), I want to clarify one point about the shock absorbers. It is true that Monroe will supply the monotube shocks for the Z/71 package, but there are no plans to provide adjustable in-cab tuning control for this vehicle. What you see in the photograph on page 32 is a shock used for development-what we call a "take-apart" shock. The "nipple" shown is a valve to adjust gas pressure for tuning.
Michael Jurich
Engineering Manager
Rancho Suspension
Long Beach, CA

Further details: At this point, two-wheel-drive versions of the Silverado will offer a "Firm/Standard," single-selection shock adjustment setting

Hummers And Pickups The Same?
Dear Editor, Reading about the Hummer Challenge (Aug. '98), I noticed one of the competitors' trucks sporting a decal that read "6.5 Turbo Diesel." I have a friend that has a 6.5-liter turbo diesel in his Chevy pickup, and I was wondering if it's the same engine that's in the Hummer? My brother doesn't think it is.
Justin Williams
Harlingen, TX

Detroit Diesel supplies both AM General and General Motors with their light-duty diesel engines. Each offers a regular and turbo-equipped model. The spark plug-less engine offers excellent low-end performance, recently upgraded in the torque department (made possible mostly with extra cooling) to 430 lb.-ft. at 1,800 rpm. Obviously, these are good numbers to have when you have to haul or tow 10,000 pounds.

Beauty In Diversity
Dear Editor, It's refreshing to see a magazine that embraces all brands and types of four-wheel drives. There doesn't seem to be a bias toward any truck brand or point of origin, and you don't get dragged down in the dispute over mud versus rock crawling. I love to read about all of your feature vehicles, from the smallest Suzuki Samurai to the biggest Chevy mudder you can find. I also appreciated the straightforward manner in which you present buildups and tech features for varied types of vehicle use, be it towing, articulation, or waterproofing. Keep it varied, keep it original, keep it coming.
Matt Frederick
Highland, NY

It doesn't take a genius to see that four wheeling has many different faces. At least that's what we're seeing when we travel the country, both for Four Wheeler and Four Wheeler TV. Not that we don't have our personal preferences, but we've seen ingenious minds define, redefine, and create remarkable trucks for the type of four wheeling they like to do-deep mud, hot rocks, sticky clay, soft sand, whatever. Frankly, we find it hard not to be amazed by the diversity of the sport and the extent of human ingenuity.

Isuzu "What Hits'' Misprint
Dear Four Wheeler, I was reading the June '98 issue and almost blew a gasket. I couldn't believe you guys actually included an Isuzu pickup in your "What Hits, What Fits" tire chart. I love Isuzus, but they rarely get mentioned in magazines. However, you failed to get the sizes correct. I own a '93 4x4 pickup and have 31x10.50s all the way around. Your chart states that in order to fit 30x9.50s on an Isuzu pickup, you need fender trimming, flares, and a 3-inch body lift. This just isn't true. My 31s fit with no problem; in fact, looking through the owner's manual, 31x10.50s were a factory option.
Joe Louviere
Alvin, TX

Good catch. In fact, the old Isuzu T15 pickup (discontinued after 1994) was offered with 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler ATs as an option. Our chart incorrectly listed the old-style pickup-the recommendations we printed are those for the new 4x4 Isuzu Hombre.

Another correction we'll be making to our database will be for the Jeep Cherokee, which seems to list tire potential maximums one size too large across the board. We're not sure how we managed that particular goof, considering how many Cherokees we've had around here . . . but we did.

Those readers who have further input are urged to get back to us. We'll continue to update the database and reprint the newest version in an upcoming issue.

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