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Editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
Reader: To Jordan White ("Should I buy this Jeep," In Box, Feb. '06), I disagree, my Willys-restorer friend. The original six-bangers are great engines and would definitely make a restored Willys worth more bucks to purists. What you have to decide is what you want to do with the vehicle and what you want the vehicle to do when you're done. The V-8 conversion has been successfully done to literally thousands of the old wagons, including mine. The reason I did it was to make it more roadable for highway use getting to the four-wheeling. My wagon is driven on- and off-road. The real issues are: Do you have the money, time, skills and motivation to do what you envision with the vehicle? My Willys project has been ongoing for more than 12 years and still shows no signs of completion. You can look at it at www.gotwillys.com. I love my old Willys, but buyer beware: The parts for them are not plentiful. NOS, remanufactured, or even used parts are costly. You can make them capable fun off-roaders but it will take time, patience, and money. Oh yeah, did I say money? The weakest links in the old wagons are the brakes and steering. I have done substantial modifications to mine to make it what I feel is road-worthy and reliable.
Tom Lawson, via 4wheeloffroad.com
Reader: My name is Codyjo and my biggest passion is big trucks, 4x4 of course. People say it's strange because I'm a girl but that's how I was raised and it's what I love. I devote most of my time, with my dad, to restoring our '78 and '67 Broncos. If I'm not in the garage with those trucks I'm testing their ability in the great ol' outdoors. I'm always seeing these really cool events in the magazine and my question to you is, how can I find out about these events prior so I can go? I've been to truck pulls and done the Rubicon but there is so much more I want to see and experience for myself.
Editor: The best way is to read our Calendar in the Drivelines section to find out what's going on in the wheeling world. However, some of the newer events we attend happen too close to the event date and never make it into our Calendar. For information on these events we attend, check out the story where we always list a contact number or Web site so you can join in the fun next time. And don't forget, if you have an event you'd like us to check out or put on our Calendar, make sure we get it at least three months prior so it hits the readers before the edition goes on sale.
Reader: As a previous owner of an '00 Suzuki Grand Vitara and current owner of a manual trans XL-7 (steel front diff housing, you diff crackers), I am very disappointed with the direction of Suzuki's SUV evolution. Is it just me, or does the GV look a lot like a Chevrolet Equinox from the side? Maybe the next XL-7 will be based on the Saturn Vue?
Leo Stone, Moderately Old Guy
Editor: We've cracked more than one Suzuki diff on our testing over the years. Were you there?
Reader: I'm not sure if it should be taken as a parting gift or a typo. But in the Feb. '06 issue on the page for the winner of the 2006 4x4 of the Year there is a typo. In the second paragraph where he's talking about Dodge's great idea of cutting out four cylinders when the truck doesn't need them, he forgot to add in the word he was thinking in his head-Save!-"...that's supposed to save fuel by running the engine as a four-cylinder." Just thought I'd rattle your cage. If you get a chance pitch one of those Peterson 4-Wheel plates in the mail for me.
Editor: Nice catch, but no plate since we are Petersen's, not Peterson. Keep trying!
Reader: I would like to point out that in your "E-Z Axle Info" story (Feb. '06) on page 74 you made a common mistake under Reverse Rotation vs. Standard Rotation. The fact is that reverse rotation is not the correct term here. Nothing about the axle or gear setup rotates in reverse. The gears are reverse cut, but they still turn the same direction. I see way too much misuse of this term in the aftermarket, from magazines to parts houses to even manufacturers. From an engineering standpoint, I see nothing about this axle design that is rotating in reverse.
Editor: Being right doesn't mean you get a license plate either. And sway bars are actually antisway bars, and locking hubs are really selective hubs, and a 12,000-pound Warn winch doesn't weigh 12,000 pounds. But our particular vernacular in this industry uses many seemingly incorrect or outright wrong info, like the guy with the Ranchero shocks on his rig. Check our March issue for the tell-all wheeling world encyclopedia of terms, and see what other goodies you can find!
Reader: I know this is probably a stupid question, but who is Tom Boyd? I know he is on the Ultimate Adventure every year, and he has that really awesome Bronco/F-150 thing. But who is he in relation to the magazine? How does he fit into the picture? Is he a friend, parts supplier, or what? I just wanted to know, as it's been bugging me for a while, and come to think of it, who are Tim Hardy and Brian Richmond? The same goes for them. Who are they?
Editor: Tom Boyd is the only non-industry type who has been on every Ultimate Adventure, and was originally just a pesky fellow who was a reader and liked to wheel with us. Then he became an unofficial intern, then an official intern, and now we can't get rid of him. We've tried. Tim Hardy is of similar ilk. When we first met him he was wedged between a rock and a hard place with his beat-up Suzuki Samurai, and we just laughed...until he drove out of it. Brian Richmond is a reader who was selected to attend the Ultimate Adventure in 2003 and 2004 with his big green Dodge, but we really just liked his wife Heather and his pizza-delivery skills. Oh, and his awesome driving. You'd be amazed at some of the characters we wheel with! Apply to come on UA and you may be the next unofficial intern and official wheeling buddy!
Reader: It's that time of year again. Notices are pouring in, letting me know that it's time to renew my many four-wheeling magazine subscriptions. So I've been sending off checks to all of them. However, Petersen's Jeep, More Jeeps, and Maybe One Truck Thrown in for Good Measure will not be receiving a check from me. I currently have two projects and one daily-driver 4x4 in my possession. None of them are Jeeps. When I started my first project, which is now my daily driver, I sought out all of the truck mags that I could find to help with tech tips and new ideas. When I saw the title Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road, I thought this would be a good source of info and ads for parts suppliers. After all, with a title like that, it sounded like you people had the bases covered. You stole my money for one year with your false advertisement, but your "Jeep" mag won't do it a second time. I understand that those who live "Jeep" need to have a mag to call their own. However, you should change the name of your mag to Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road Jeeps Only, so you can stop ripping the rest of us off.
Editor: We're sorry you feel that way, and are sure you won't subscribe to Jp which is all Jeeps all the time. I think if you actually read some of the articles, you'll see that even if a Jeep is pictured, the tech probably relates to every 4x4 in some way.
Reader: I like a lot of different trucks and have owned and built several. I know you can't cover every vehicle in fine detail, but how many fullsize trucks do we have to see? You have the money and the means to run around and have some very expensive work done. We don't all have the money so we get by cheaper. I'm not going to spend the money to buy a new truck and then outfit it like you do. I can't. What I can do is buy an older truck and outfit it. I think a lot of the readers are more interested in the older ones. You sure don't see many new trucks in the off-road challenges that Primedia puts on. You have a very good magazine and you have a lot of good information. I have all the information I need on fullsize Chevys and Fords. What I need is good honest information on other, often ignored trucks that magazines don't cover. What about installing a solid front axle on an S-10 and a Ranger? These are very cheap trucks to buy, and very easy to work on. I know you can't cover every vehicle in depth, but I feel that you could cover more than you do.
Robert L. Morse
Editor: Not a bad idea, and you will see more of these non-mainstream projects in the future. If we had more time, money, and pages we could do them all, but as it is we'll just keep doing our best to give you as much information as we can.
Reader: In your Jan. '06 issue, page 80 ("Gang of 6"), the young lady in the photo may have on her restraints but it appears that they, too, are hanging over the back of the seat, as is his. If the moron driving the vehicle wants to risk life and limb that's fine, but he should show a little respect for the passengers and require that they buckle up. You're a major publication, and lots of wheelers-young, old, beginner, and novice alike-read and look to you for good advice. You should, in my opinion, not publish photos that show any type of irresponsible behavior. I've been a reader of this magazine for probably 20 years off and on and always thought it to be a fine publication. For the last two or three years I've had a subscription, but I am now letting it lapse due to the current direction the magazine has taken. Maybe I'm just getting too old and cynical but I have no interest whatsoever in the Oriental vehicles or all the Jeeps.
Editor: Glad to see you respect safety and abhor irresponsible behavior, just as we do. The fact of the matter is that both the driver and passenger are wearing seat belts, but not the competition shoulder harnesses which are shown on the back of the seats. For the type of mild wheeling that is pictured, they feel that is enough of a safety precaution. We do not print pictures of unbelted occupants, or of alcohol use on the road or trail, or yahoos tearing up the environment, at least not on purpose. We're sorry about what you feel is a change of direction, but it's been the same for over five years, and similar for at least ten.