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January 2006 Letters To The Editor - InBox

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

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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos. Digital photos must measure no less than 1600 x 1200 pixels (or two megapixels) and be saved as a TIFF, an EPS, or a maximum-quality JPEG file.

Write to:
Editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
fax 323.782.2704

E-mail to:

Reader: I've pretty much read every article you've ever written, and have enjoyed them all. I know you have a difficult job, but hopefully knowing you have fans out there and folks who really appreciate and look forward to your writing and the magazine in general will help you keep going. I hope you'll be in the business for a long time. I don't know who to ask so I'll ask you. When will Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road offer the survey you mentioned in the editorial (Apr. '05)? I don't want to miss it, and I definitely want to have an input in which direction the mag goes.
Russell Poe
Hayden, AL

Editor: The first survey we took was Web-based at, and was a great success. However, we still haven't published that survey on the Web or here in the mag, but will soon. Eventually we'll have a survey in the book which you can send in or e-mail back to us. Bottom line results of our Web-survey? We're doing fine with only a few edges to tweak. Thanks for paying attention and reading the magazine.

Reader: I am a Dodge mechanic at Simi Valley Chrysler Jeep and Dodge. I noticed your comment in "The Dirt on Dodge IFS" (Sept. '05). You state, "There was a nationwide recall of all midsize Dodge truck ball joints produced from 2000 to 2003." Actually, there is a recall only on the 4x4 trucks, and the 2x4 trucks have a Technical Service Bulletin. The TSB number is 02-010-04, and changes the warranty from the standard, to 10 years, 100,000 miles. The recall number is D47, and states that both upper ball joints must be replaced. Just thought I'd add my two cents.
Mike Seth-Hunter
Simi Valley Chrysler Jeep and Dodge
Simi Valley, CA

Reader: I wholeheartedly agree with your choice of the 22R as the four-cylinder to have if you're a wheeler ("4, 6, 8, Engines We Appreciate," Oct. '05). But I do take exception with the statement that the swapping of a 20R head onto a 22R is urban legend. It is not legend, but fact. It's a bolt-on affair; all you need to do is retain the 20R intake manifold. The exhaust and rocker assembly will swap from the 22R. Of all the performance mods I did (cam, carb, exhaust), the head swap was the most effective performance gain of them all. (Remember, if the 22R you're dealing with is an '85 or later, the 20R head will have to be shaved to the same height.) It will yield a compression ratio of around 10.3:1, it's not prone to cracking as the 22R heads are, it flows better even with smaller valves, and ups the power considerably. This, combined with a header and a Weber carb and cam (I used a Clay Smith cam), means the little guy will be pushing 150 hp and dusting the 3.0 V-6s all day long, and you'll still have money in your wallet. Just look for a head with good cam journals. And yes, you should have known.
Mike Davies
Salt Lake City, UT

Editor: Thanks for the update, Mike. Since we hadn't personally swapped a head like this, we can't say more than "supposedly" and the like. We enjoy getting our hands dirty rather than watching a shop have all the fun, so we will look into that upgrade ourselves as soon as Clampy's head takes a turn for the worse, or it needs a tad more power for the tires it's turning now.

Reader: I have read before that a good way to stay active in the four-wheel-drive community is to join a club. Recently I joined the Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association (, which is part of the United Four Wheel Drive Association ( My girlfriend and I went to Drummond Island (eastern end of Michigan's U.P.) for the 5th annual Drummond Off-Road Adventure. This was our first outing as members of an organization. It was put on by a local club-Mud, Sweat and Gears-all of whom are members of GLFWDA. I have to say that I wish I would have joined sooner. Not only did we get to wheel, but we did so with like-minded people who hold themselves to high standards. Tread Lightly, no alcohol whatsoever on the trail, wait for the guys behind you, pick up garbage on the trail, and observe trail courtesy at all times were as integral as having a good time and heckling the members of your group at every obstacle.

I was very impressed with the level of organization that this event had. There were two days of trail riding that culminated in a dinner with a raffle for sponsor-donated prizes. All of this seemed to go off without a hitch-however, I understand what was involved. M.S.G. had to work with the D.N.R. for trail use, the V.F.W. for dinner, and all of the sponsors who donated stuff.

I learned more about the Blue Ribbon Coalition and what they do for all off-highway users. There is no way I could have had access to all of this without being a member of a club. I have to say that just the genuine level of camaraderie was worth the price of the annual fee. I would recommend that anyone who wishes to expand their off-road horizon should join a club.
Pete Koehler
New Haven, MI

Editor: We can't stress that fact enough, and belong to a few off-road and 4x4 groups and clubs ourselves. Regardless of what you drive or where you go, the only way to keep our trails and open land accessible by mechanical means is by banding together with groups like this and others.

Reader: In regards to the "Point Taken (maybe)"(Oct. '05), where the discussion is basically which way to use an adjustable wrench. First off, you're both right. You shouldn't put the load on the weakest point of the wrench-which is the movable jaw-that's just common sense. I know this from working as a welder, where the main wrench that you carry is an adjustable one (it fits in your back pocket easier than a 25-piece set), and also a lot of your new adjustable wrenches have their own little built-in arrow so that people who don't know how to use one, can. But as far as the picture, it was stated that, "As you can observe, the outer end of the fixed jaw is touching and the inner portion has a gap." Now I would've had to agree 100 percent with that statement, but I had to go and look at the picture. C'mon! Now I don't know much about photo analysis and I haven't spent the last 50 years in a garage with my buddies discussing which way you should turn a wrench. But I do know if you're pushing on something (like a wrench) your finger tips don't turn red, like they are in the picture. That only happens when you're pulling or hanging on something (like a wrench). What I'm saying is that the picture is right. I really enjoy the magazine. Keep it up. Oh yeah! Thanks for your time, and if I'm lucky maybe a license plate.
Justin Silvers, via

Editor: Right you are Justin, as well as the hundred of other readers who agreed with us. Of greatest interest was the fact that we received a ton of mail about this subject of which way to use a wrench, including CAD drawings, technical dissertations, and the drunken "right on, Dude" reply on this subject. Bottom line guys; you use the little arrow on the handle as a guide, or as we showed in the photo. You can't tell which way the blood is flowing in that photo nor should you be concerned about that, as the photo was staged for the arrow to be inserted, and the hand model was so excited to be in a magazine he had that wrench in the grip of death. Of more important concern is the fact that this subject generated more mail than the editorial (4xForward, Sept. '05) concerning joining a club or organization to help save our 4x4 trails. I received four replies, all in favor. That's a very small percentage, and absolutely embarrassing to our 4x4 community. Go join a club!

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