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December 2002 InBox - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on December 1, 2002
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Cable Complaints
As a fellow mud fanatic, it did my heart good to see your feature on Tonka in "Construction Zone" (June '02). However, as a 12-year veteran of the towing and recovery industry, it makes me wince to see a very capable truck such as this equipped at less than acceptable levels.

The 20,000-pound winch is only as strong as the weakest link (or cable in this case), and while I'm sure many folks owe a debt of gratitude to it, some safety issues should not be ignored. The cable on the truck is sized appropriately, but the termination leaves a lot to be desired. The use of cable saddles is not the best way to go when securing a hook. A swagged fitting is almost as strong as the cable itself, and a Flemish splice will allow it to be used at its rated capacity, as it retains 100 percent of the cable's integrity. These alternatives are not that expensive and infinitely more reliable than the backyard method. Saddles and U-bolts are all right for a temporary field fix, but they require knowledge of their limitations to be used safely and should be fixed correctly as soon as possible.

In addition, the cable saddles are on the "dead" end instead of the "live" end of the cable, further decreasing the cable's structural capacity. "Never saddle a dead horse" is the way to remember this. My life depends on this type of equipment every day and it makes a difference between a successful recovery and a trip to the hospital. I have learned a lot from your mag in the years I have been a subscriber, but try not to show pictures with erroneous information in them. People need to be educated in safety-critical areas such as this and a picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks, and keep up the good work.Scott WolffMissoula, MT

Wow, "never saddle a dead horse." That's a good way to remember the theory, Scott, and we thank you. We always thought alternating saddles and U-bolts was the way, but you seem to know your stuff. As far as field fixes go, you are right. Rarely, if ever, does a good field fix get redone, unless it's broken. A new cable or properly swagged ends are the best way, since we don't know of many people that can Flemish-splice wire rope.

Moab Meanderings
Although I appreciate the coverage of the Annual Easter Jeep Safari (Moab 2002, July '02), I think it is lacking in the accurate portrayal of the trail rides. From your coverage, one might assume all the trails are hard-core, which is not the case. I have enjoyed Jeeping Moab since 1965 and have attended the Safari the last 11 years, and though I have driven the tougher trails, I enjoy the less difficult such as the very scenic Chicken Corners and Dome Plateau, and a host of other trails. Let it be known to the less intrepid without 8-inch lifts and 38-inch tires that there is much more to Moab than the 4 and 4+ trails. Moab is truly the center of the off-road universe.Bob MyersLynwood, IL

We agree, Bob, but photos of stock rigs on flat ground just aren't that appealing. Moab offers a great expanse of area with trails from Honda Civic difficulty all the way up to extreme death trails. We actually like the stuff in between, but we try to show a bit of everything. Most of all, thanks to the Red Rock 4-Wheelers who work so hard not only for the event, but in keeping the area open to all wheelers, not just hard-cores.

Xterra Wonders
I'm new to the off-road world, but have enjoyed hiking and mountain biking for years. Recently, my wife and I purchased a Nissan Xterra. I love it with the exception that it needs more power. I'm taking my first off-road trip in the next few weeks so I thought I'd pick up a magazine to glean some info. I chose your magazine for the "Tires & Wheels" article (May '02). I soon discovered big Chevy trucks, a Ford or two, Dodge, Toyota, and Jeep after Jeep after Jeep. What about me? Here's my question. Have you guys ever covered the Xterra for people like me, or am I reading the wrong magazine? I want to play too. D. Williamsby e-mail

Actually, there is no other magazine. At least we feel that we cover all makes and models fairly in a proportionate amount to what is actually used on the trail. The more killer Xterras we see in the field the more we'll do stories on them. Remember, almost nobody pays good money for a magazine that has photos of stock rigs parked on flat ground. So go climb a rock, splatter a mud hole, dust a dune, or show us what you've got, and maybe we'll see more Nissan action than anyone can handle.

Just the Facts, Ma'am
I would think that at least you could get your facts straight. AM Hummer is still operating, but completely under General Motors control. That's why you get the H2 Hummers at GMC dealers and nowhere else. If you are going to print the article make sure of the facts. I believe if you call GM you would get the same info I have given.M. Milesby e-mail

Wow, we're glad you believe that. Too bad you're wrong. It's called a marketing agreement, which AM General and GM entered into, which is why only select dealers will market the new H2 Hummers. Somehow we get the feeling that you didn't call GM to get your facts straight. We stand behind our reporting, because we do check the facts

Submission information: 4-Wheel & Off-Road welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must include an address or a telephone number so the sender can be verified. Once verified, your name may be withheld at your request. Letters published in this magazine reflect the opinions of the writers, and we reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, brevity, or other purposes. Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos. Write to: Editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515, fax 323/782-2704,

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