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July 2013 4Word

Acer Ferrari One Laptop Keyboard
Phil Howell | Writer
Posted June 26, 2013
Photographers: 4WDSU Staff

Internet Forums

I like Internet forums. They’re places that like-minded friends get together to share information, chat, and plan trail rides. Forums are the place to find out things the manufacturers and/or dealers don’t want us to know about our vehicles.

For instance, Project TrailRunner spewed gas out of the filler when fueling. The dealer said, “We’ve never heard of that before.” Big surprise. I remembered reading something about this long ago, so I did an online search. JeepForum, JKOwners, and JK-Forum all had threads relating to this issue. Evidently, Jeep admitted that some JKs have this problem and had come up with a fix. As I followed the threads and the adventures others had in getting this issue resolved, I found that replacing the gas tank, one of the things Jeep dealers were doing, didn’t help, but getting a new filler hose with an anti-backflow valve did. The new hose with valve is now in TrailRunner and there is no more fuel spewing.

TrailRunner is a 2008 JK with a MyGIG RER navigation radio that had never been updated. The software version in the unit was very old. On the forums, I found out what to do. My JK’s RER now has the latest software and map update. The MyGIG works better than the current navigation radio available in new Wranglers.

Yes, forums are mostly outstanding, but there are times when they’re not.

When I removed the gas tank from my 2010 Harley-Davidson Road King, I found no overflow drain tube. Those tubes have been on every Harley I’ve ever owned. Not only was the tube missing, I couldn’t find where one would attach. I asked about this on the Harley forums and received nothing of value back. I checked the H-D touring model’s service manual and it had nothing about the missing tube. Finally, I talked to a friend who also owns a 2010 Road King about my dilemma. He told me that model doesn’t have the overflow tube. No thanks to the forums on this one.

Are there stupid questions? Maybe not, but on the forums there are plenty of stupid answers. What about the guy who asks what color Jeep he should buy to get the best fuel economy? A thread that’s three pages long answering him is a bit much. Then, you have the forum favorite—you know, that person that every forum has. They post an answer to almost every question. Whether the answer is right or wrong, the fanboys pile on, agreeing with the favorite and crucifying anyone who disagrees. Understand, the fanboys know nothing about what was asked, but if the favorite says it, they feel the need to beat up anyone with a different opinion. Speaking of knowing nothing about what was asked, there are many times I’ve read questions answered by people who admit they don’t know anything about what the original poster (OP) asked. If they don’t know, have never owned, never tried, etc., what the OP asked about, WHY ARE THEY POSTING? They don’t have a dog in the hunt.

While seasoned 4x4 forum members will many times offer good input, there’s a need to check the information gleaned. Some seasoned forum members are spending their time at the computer, not on the trail. Because of this, it’s wise to check answers with those you know who are actually getting mud (or sand or rock dust) on the tires.

Finally, there’s the person who answers a question with, “Do a search.” Usually, this is after the OP stated they tried searching but couldn’t find what they were looking for. Of course, by the time the OP answers that they already tried searching, as they stated in the original post, the dog pile has started and the poor OP has been shut down.

We can find fault with them, but every time I get a question answered by searching a forum, I think back on when they didn’t exist and how hard information was to find. It’s worth it to dive in and find the pearls that exist. Long live Internet forums!

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