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4x4 Holiday Gift Guide

Posted in Features on January 1, 2006
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Contributors: Rick Péwé

The holiday season brings with it the spirit of giving, and what better recipient than your 4x4? Just think, not only do you get to make your rig happy, but you also get to share in the joy of both giving and receiving-what's better than that? We've compiled six pages of goodies that we think are truly useful, fun, or an absolute necessity-all of them costing less than a hundred bucks. Heck, that's barely a tank of gas for some vehicles, so go out and spend some green that will stick around, rather than go out your tailpipe. And as a bonus, we've included these photos of your favorite magazine staffers with their vehicles and a 4-Wheel & Off-Road logo to cut out and use as tree ornaments-just paste the photos on some cardboard and tie a string to each one. In fact, you can even use these jewels as heartfelt gifts for the poor, downtrodden souls that read the "other" 4x4 books and can't seem to get it together enough to read your favorite rag. Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays!

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Toyzone Off-Road Toys
Toy Zone has lots of great off-road trucks for your big and little kid. From the Baja Desert Racer that launches off a starting pad to the Xtreme rock machines that'll climb almost anything, these give the most off-road fun you can have without leaving your house. Price: $15-$30 Contact: 626.815.9998, www.toyzoneinc.com



Power is Always a Good Gift
This year give the gift of horsepower. To help unleash the potential of any four-barrel-carbureted engine, try adding a phenolic carb spacer like this Swirltorque version from Transdapt. It's designed to let you to tune the volume of air under the throttle blades and insulate the carb from engine heat for more torque and higher horsepower. On an engine dyno, we've seen a 10hp gain. The 1-inch-thick spacer comes with longer mounting studs and two gaskets to make the installation a breeze. Price: $40 Contact: Transdapt, www.tdperformance.com

Stainless Steel Heroes
Getting stuck seems to be part of driving off-road. We (almost) never go anywhere without a tow strap, a chain, and at least some kind of shackle to make attaching the tools of recovery to a vehicle easier. There is no shackle cooler than these drop-forged babies from Off Road Only. Made of 316-grade stainless steel, they feature a 3/4-inch pin and a 1 1/2-inch throat opening. We've had ours for two years now and there's no sign that they will ever rust. They're rated at an 8,000-pound load rating and have a 40,000-pound breaking strength so they're perfect for any off-roader on your list. Price: $65/pair Contact: Off Road Only, 651.644.2323, www.offroadonly.com

Conversation Piece With Function
Do you know someone who just loves their 7.3L Power Stroke diesel Ford truck? Looking for the perfect gift with a little flash, some utility, and a whole lotta pride? Then here it is. Brian's Truck Shop offers this machined-aluminum wrench that indexes in the lid of the Power Stroke engine fuel filter so you can spin it on and off with a 3/4-inch wrench. It's perfect for anyone who loves working on their own truck, and it's so affordable we'd also get them a new fuel filter just so they can try it out. Price: $29 Contact: Brian's Truck Shop, 870.422.3673, www.brianstruckshop.com

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Three Wrists in One
No matter how many fancy tools you have or what kind of project you're working on, every 4x4 modification or repair always seems to require a screwdriver. So why not have one that does everything? This Pentagrip screwdriver from Snap On has a ratcheting mechanism that allows you to keep the tool on the screw while the handle ratchets. The rotating handle locks into place at 30, 60, and 90 degrees, so you won't break your wrist tightening a hose clamp or adjusting a carburetor. Price: $60 Contact: Snap On, 877.762.7661, www.snapon.com

Genuine Hot Rod Hardware Racing Desk Lamp
Some of the coolest gifts for dirtheads and gearheads are automotive-nostalgic furniture and decor. Take this bitchin' Racing Desk Lamp, for example. It has real shock-absorption action when manually moving the adjustable coilover A-arm assembly, with a swiveling disc brake and rotor lamp head. For an extra special touch, the wiring up the A-arm is insulated in braided stainless steel brake line. How cool is that? Price: $99 Contact: 800.575.1932, www.genuinehotrod.com





Dust To Glory
This happy, feel-good documentary of the Baja 1000 definitely makes you want to grab the wheel of your bike, buggy, Baja bug, or trophy truck and go blasting across that legendary peninsula. The landscapes and filming from helicopters is simply stunning and at times had us tasting the dirt. The interviews of Baja heroes adds to the legendary feel of the film. Unfortunately, by the end we were ready to mute the narrator and just watch the story unfold in silence. Find it at your favorite video store or at www.mgmhomevideo.com or www.sonypictures.com.

Haulin' or Crawlin' II
Another offering from the RP Films crew, this rockumentary of rockcrawlin' has some of your favorite competitors thrashin' it out on the hard stuff. Spend some time watching what the pros know as well as what is going down on the trails around Moab, Johnson Valley, and northern California. Call 530.550.7239 or visit www.haulinorcrawlin.com.

Getting UNStuck with Bill Burke
Bill Burke is a longtime wheeler and off-road instructor who teaches courses in backcountry driving, navigation, vehicle preparation, and vehicle extraction. This two-hour video is a great gift for that new-to-the-dirt wheeler or that father who wants to have highly trained wheeling kids who can properly pull winch cable or use a Hi-Lift Jack. Stuff it in the DVD of your Land Rover and hit the trail. Order it by calling 970.858.3468, or by visiting www.4wheelingamerica.com.

Triple Down
This is that desert video that you can put in when anyone is visiting and they will be awed at the velocity of action going on in the deserts of California, Nevada, and Baja. Watch the biggest names in going fast bump, grind, and peel out in the loose dusty stuff. Get this third episode from Dezert People at www.dezertpeople.com.

Rock'n N Roll'n
Imagine some crazy Canadians loading up their monster 4x4 and heading to Moab to watch some rockcrawling comps and get some slickrock under their own Boggers, and you have the premise for Rock'n N Roll'n. The crew from www.WhiteKnight.ca brought their giant white wheeler from the great white north and explored Utah. Imagine your neighbors vacation slide show, but with better music and no pictures of the Grand Canyon.

Learning to Weld
If you want to be the next Jesse James, then go get some tattoos and an attitude. If you want to learn some good basic welding techniques, pick up this video from Sidekick Off Road and Premier Power Welder. Host Rick Russel and welding instructor Michael Vanvakaris give insight into Arc, MIG-, and TIG-welding as well as using the Premier Power Welder for on-the-trail repairs. Get it today and start burning steel. Sidekick Off Road, 877.628.7227, www.sidekickoffroad.com or Premier Power Welder, 800.541.1817, www.premierpowerwelder.com

Third and Reverse
The silly boys from Suburban White Guys make videos your mom would hate, and that means you'll love em. Third and Reverse has everything from pretty girls to ugly trucks with quite a bit of mud and rocks mixed in for flavor. Get one for your kids and they'll be cooler at school. Call 509.999.9930 or visit www.suburbanwhiteguys.com.

Lund's Ratcheting Cargo Bar
Keep all your holiday gifts from sliding around in the back of the truck with Lund's ratcheting cargo bar. They're made to fit any size truck, expanding from 40 to 70 inches with a few clicks of the lever. Plus, the rubber feet won't scratch the paint, just in case you're one of those whiny namby-pambies that hates scratching the inside of your bed. Price: $29 Contact: 888.588.6049, www.lundlook.com

Reservoir Shock Bondage
We'd hate to see you invest hundreds of dollars on a set of high-end reservoir shocks only to clamp the precision bodies together with $3 hose clamps. It's just not worth it! With these billet-aluminum clamps from Vital Components you won't have to. They're designed to secure your shock reservoirs directly to the body of the shock without damaging them. They feature counter-sunk stainless steel Allen head bolts and are available in a natural or blue finish for 2- and 2 1/2-inch smooth-bodied shocks. Price: $30 Contact: Vital Components, 707.591.9550, www.vitalcomponents.com

Street Rod Parts for Your Dirt Rod Project
When building custom 4x4s there are certain OEM parts that we have to keep because we just can't do without them. Say you want to ditch the factory brake-pedal assembly. Typically you also lose your brake light as well. Leave it to the street rod world to come up with our solution in the form of this CNC-machined alternative. This brake-pressure switch turns a hydraulic brake-pressure signal into a mechanical switch to trigger your electric taillights. It can be bolted on and it comes with a weld-on steel-mounting tab as well. Units are completely assembled with -3 AN fittings, crush washers, and stainless steel mounting hardware, and are also available with 1/8-inch NPT ports. Price: $109 Contact: Profab Metalwerks, 866.683.2228, www.profabwerks.com

4WD Products 3-Gallon Aluminum air tank
4WD Products has this lightweight, blue anodized, and textured air tank available to hook up to your air system. The aluminum air tanks are lighter than similar steel versions, and feature four 3/8-inch NPT ports. The air tanks only measure out to be 21 inches long and 8 inches tall, so you'll be able to find a place to mount it easily under your 4x4's body or in the bed. Price: $89.99 Contact: 714.556.5661, www.4wdproducts.com

Become One of Three Wisemen
We all think we're experts when it comes to working on our own 4x4. But even experts will have questions from time to time, and when you do it's time to head straight for a factory service manual. We're not talking about a Haynes or Chilton's manual here-those books are alright, but they're often too broad and not specific enough to help you tackle a job that you've never done. An authentic factory service manual is like a textbook written by the engineers that designed and built your rig. Even if you have to buy one used they're worth every penny! Price: Free-a couple hundred dollars Contact: Tag sales; car dealership parts counter; eBay, www.ebay.com; or Helm Inc., 800.782.4356, www.helminc.com

FM Radio is Dead
Your FM radio is so 1945! It's time to step into the future and move up to satellite radio. Delphi makes that leap super easy with this Roady2 package that lets you add XM satellite radio to any car stereo for around $50. By sticking this tiny 3 7/8 x 2 3/8-inch receiver to your dash you'll get better sound, more choices, and fewer commercials than FM could ever offer. Of course there's also the $13 a month subscription to XM radio, but think of it like cable TV for your 4x4. Price: $50 Contact: Crutchfield, 888.955.6000, www.crutchfield.com

The Last Tool You Would Ever Buy
Tools are always a great gift, but the best ones to give are the specialized tools that no one ever buys for themselves. These aluminum AN wrenched from Summit Racing are a perfect example. Sure, you can use regular steel wrenches to assemble your AN-fitting-equipped fuel, steering, or cooler lines, but these specially designed aluminum wrenches have wide jaws that won't chew up your expensive aluminum AN fittings. They also keep you from over-tightening the AN connectors. Summit Racing sells the wrenches individually, or you can order this five wrench set (-12 through -4) that includes the soft lined case. Price: $46 Contact: Summit Racing, 800.230.3030, www.summitracing.com

Benchmade 100SH20
At our hundred-buck cap is this high-quality little fixed-blade knife from Benchmade. It's actually a dive knife, thus the H2O designation, but it's great for rough outdoor, muddy, dirty, dusty use as well. The blade is about 3 1/4 inches long, so you won't freak people out when carrying it, and features a sheep's foot tip that is extremely durable but still very sharp. We like the bright yellow Kydex handle so you can find the knife if you drop it in mud, but if you must have black, that's available as well. A Kydex sheath also comes with the knife and features a removable lash tab clip for PFD attachment. Price: $100 Contact: 800.800.7427, www.benchmade.com

Tool Box Grill
If you're sick of some round grill rolling around in the back of your truck when on a camping trip, you should check out these killer Tool Box Grills that will make your friends jealous. They're available in both charcoal and gas models, with the gas model's burner generating over 640 degrees of cooking heat. A Turbo diffuser distributes heat evenly under the porcelain coated grill to make sure every piece of meat gets the proper char. Price: $65 Contact: 866.227.3861, www.toolboxgrill.com

12-Volt Impact Wrench That Works
Changing tires isn't a big deal when you're at home. But get stuck out on the side of the highway at night in the rain and it'll feel like the end of the world. Rather than abandoning your pride and joy, or waiting eons for the auto club to show up, we'd pack this 12-volt Jeep Megatorque impact wrench. We've tested it on eight-lug 1-ton trucks and it will spin off all the lugs nuts in a quarter of the time it takes to even find the factory tire iron. The hard case is compact enough to store under the seat of most 4x4s, and the cord is long enough to reach from the cigarette lighter to the rear of any longbed truck. It wouldn't surprise us if these tools showed up as standard equipment on some high-end 4x4s. Price: $50 Contact: Jeep Gear, 860.482.0512, www.jeep.com/gear

Gerber LX 3.0
Gerber has some great little flashlights, and the small, lightweight aircraft aluminum housings are sure a lot easier to carry than some others we've seen in people's rides. We tried an LX 3.0 and the bright white light that came from this 3-watt (class 2) L.E.D. was unbelievable. It has a claimed 150-foot range, and it only takes three AA batteries yet outperforms flashlights three times larger. You'll get about 50 hours out of the batteries, and the L.E.D. will probably outlast you. Price: $45 Contact: www.gerbergear.com

Dodge Steering Cure
Know someone with a '94-'02 Dodge truck that handles poorly, darts to one side when braking, or wears out tires quickly? The problem is that the track bar on those trucks was originally designed for a Jeep Cherokee, and it just can't handle the loads associated with a fullsize truck. There are replacement track bars from Moog and DT Products that are great-but neither of them fit in a stocking very well. For stock ride height trucks we like this track-bar repair kit from Johnnie Laucus called Luke's Link. It allows you to rebuild the frame-mounted track-bar end, and adjust the preload on it for a fraction of the price of a new track bar. Price: $66 Contact: Luke's Link, 800.962.4090, www.lukeslink.com

Misch Overhead Jeep Console
There's never been much room in any of the convertible Jeeps made, whether they be CJs, YJs, or TJs. Misch 4x4 has figured out a way to get you a little more storage with their overhead shelf with applications for any of these three models. The overhead shelf installs attaching to the back of the windshield frame and the side rollbars, so it may not work with some of those crazy 'cage configurations you 4Xgenuises come up with. The shelf is made from 14-gauge steel, but also has edge molding and black fabric liner for a more head-friendly interior. Price: $89.95 Contact: 620.251.9100, www.misch4x4.com

Get Your Strap On
Is your sweetheart building an extreme-travel 4x4? Maybe they need some of the new Signature series Limiting straps from Poly Performance to keep axle droop for getting to the point that driveshafts bind and U-joints snap. They come in lengths from 8 inches all the way up to over 24 inches and are available in either double ($22) or quad wrapped ($29). Contact: 805.783.2060, www.polyperformance.com

Permanent Lockdown
Soft-top Jeep owners hate the thought of stuff getting stolen from their vehicles, so get your favorite Jeep owner one of Tuffy Security Products' lockable steel gloveboxes. They cost just over $100, but the piece of mind for them will surely pay you back. Contact: 800.348.8339, www.tuffyproducts.com



Accel Kool Blue Air Filter Cleaner Kit
Yeah, you've seen reusable air filters about a thousand times now, but what better present to get a buddy or significant other? Not only are you giving the gift of a little more oomph, but you're also saving them some money in gas-a very valuable gift in this day and age! This ACCEL 14-inch round Kool Blue air filter was about $20 less than comparable reusable air filters and came with the chrome housing. They're completely washable and reusable. So as long as care is taken in cleaning, they'll be around for years to come. Price: approximately $45 Contact: 800.858.3333, www.knfilters.com

RB Component's Combo Dispenser
If you're going to dress up your garage or enclosed trailer with shelving and holders, you might as well do it with some style. RB Components has lots of aluminum products to meet your needs, like this clean little combo dispenser that holds a roll of Scott towels on the bottom, while shelving soap or whatever you like up top. This particular unit measures 11.4x9.8x5 inches, and larger units are available. Price: $59 Contact: 714.893.1088, www.rbcomponents.com

Lighten Up
Does your favorite four-wheeler have a winch on their rig? Then track down one of these Poison Spyder Custom's fairlead light mounts. For around $24 they will be able to mount two off-road lights above their winch and have a better outlook for the New Year. Contact: 303.777.4820, www.spydercustoms.com



Help Git-R-Done
Is there a half-finished rock buggy or 4x4 in your garage? Then maybe your family fabricator could use these axle towers for their custom four-link. At just $45 each, these weld-on brackets will help locate the axles for serious rockcrawling and mud whumpin'. And for a little more you can get the Heim joints that fit in these. Contact: 970.884.7716, www.avalancheengineering.com


Don't Weight
Everyone wants their wheeling trips to be safe, but many folks forget to bring a safe weight for their winch cable. Buy your wheeling friends one of these new ARB Recovery winch-line damper that will slow the line should the cable break. Contact: 425.264.1391, www.ARBUSA.com



Samurai Santa
Got a Suzuki Guy in the family? Here is a whole armload of great gift ideas under $100 for these cheap wheelers. We found the following booty from Spidertrax (800.286.0898, www.spidertrax.com). Clockwise from top: Rear upper shock mount, $50; billet shift knobs, $25; racing seat mounts, $100; transfer-case polymount kit, $20; carbon-fiber extended brake lines, $30 each; carburetor vent tube kit, $15; spring-relocation pads, $25; aluminum fairlead for use with synthetic winch rope, $50.

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