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August 2013 Firing Order - Editorial

Posted in Features on July 1, 2013
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It’s no secret that I’m an opinionated ass. If someone asks me about a product or their 4x4 build plan, I have no problem telling them what I think. In fact, I’m that way with just about every aspect in life. Of course, it hasn’t made me a lot of friends, especially because I’m not the guy who will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside if I think you are doing it wrong. I’ll shoot a grip of holes in a seemingly solid build plan. I’d rather save you the headache of making the same mistakes I might have made than coddle your precious and sensitive ego. Unfortunately, some people just don’t see it that way. They get all uppity and upset with me because my opinion doesn’t match theirs or their faceless Internet buddies. Now I’m not claiming to be the omniscient know-it-all of the 4x4 industry—far from it. There is a lot I don’t know, and probably a lot more I will never know. But I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to drive a lot of different vehicles and try a multitude of tires, lifts, shocks, and other new products. It’s really easy for me to do performance comparisons because quite often I can run whatever it is I’m testing back-to-back with competing products. That’s not something that most people ever have the chance to do. Having said all that, I can still usually find some good use for everything, even if the product in question doesn’t really do what it was originally intended to do very well.

I’m not the guy who will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside if I think you are doing it wrong.

While I was unhitching my trailer in a Moab, Utah, hotel parking lot, I had a guy come up to me and ask me about the 2012 Ram Power Wagon I was driving. He wanted to know how well it towed my trailer. Our discussion wandered off into other truck brands and 4x4s. He was a nice guy and not at all a typical truck buyer. He wasn’t a brand loyalist and I commended him for that. He simply wanted to know what I thought the best vehicles were for his uses. I told him what I thought were his best options and then said he should go to the dealers and drive the different model trucks back-to-back. Once he did that, I knew he would agree with my selection.

I think too many people identify themselves as a Ford guy, a GM guy, a Ram (Dodge) guy, or whatever. I think it’s absolutely hilarious when a brand loyalist makes claims about one truck out-towing another, even when the specifications clearly state otherwise. The way I see it is that you should buy the truck (or product) that works best for your needs, regardless of brand.

Anyway, when we started putting together this 4x4 debate issue, I knew I was going to get stuck with some of the more difficult arguments. I mean, what true 4x4 enthusiast would choose independent front suspension over a solid axle? Apparently me. So I thought about where IFS was actually better than a solid axle, because there certainly are places where it really does shine. And to be perfectly honest, if I were planning a high-speed romp across the desert, I just might choose an IFS truck. That got me to thinking—maybe it’s my ability to identify best-use scenarios that my co-workers, close friends, and believe it or not, some readers appreciate about me. Do me a favor, though, don’t let that secret get around—it could ruin my reputation. Plus, I think I would miss receiving all the hate mail from people who think I’m an opinionated ass.

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