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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos.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.
4-Wheel & Off-Road
420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
Save a Trail
I was wondering how I could get involved in a trail cleaning day or help bring an off-road event to Alabama. I will gladly do whatever it takes. There are trails down here that are littered with decades of garbage. This is the main reason some people look down on four-wheelers in this area. I believe that if wheelers could claim just one trail in the name of clean wheeling, more people would follow suit. Not many people care to be kind to our mother earth, but without her there's no wheeling anyway. I would be most appreciative if you could let me know what I can do to help.
We're proud of you for your forethought and understanding of the wheeling situation. Contact Central Alabama Offroad Society (www.caos4x4.com) or the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association (www.sfwda.org) for information in your area. If they aren't currently working on the trails in your neck of the woods, you might be the right person to help them get started.
I own a V-6 Touareg (yes, it's underpowered), which I love to take to the desert to go wheeling. I've managed to tackle some pretty good trails and successfully navigated a couple of Black Diamonds in the nearby Hollister OHV area. I don't get away enough, but we have another trip planned for April. Steel Pass in Death Valley is the goal (Mengel Pass and some trails in Anza Borrego were no problem). In "Fahrvergwheelin' Finale" (May '06, page 88) you said "35-inch mud-terrains, which we would have considered an option if we could have fit them." I run Bridgestone Duelers usually, but just recently I put on a set of Destination MTs. Thanks to you, I knew that they came in 265/70R17 since there was a story about them in a back issue, and when I saw that I had to get them. I'm a regular poster on the VWvortex and ClubTouareg Touareg forums, and here's a thread that shows my Touareg with the destinations: http://forums.clubtouareg.com/ftopic6576.html&highlight=destination. Think I should submit for a reader's ride?
We don't get a lot of reader's feedback on this type of rig, so it was great to see these Vdubs in action sporting some much better looking tires. Send in your best trail shot for Readers' Rides!
I read your 4xForward about a free Jeep (Apr. '06). Just because it's free doesn't necessarily mean it's a good deal. A "friend" called and said to get this early Bronco out of his yard or it's going to the scrapyard. It runs, but I had no idea rust would hold together well enough to get it on a trailer and travel 100 miles. Keep up the good work for the average guy.
Panama City Beach, FL
As of that writing, we hadn't picked up the free Jeep. We now have it securely ensconced in the backyard with three flat tires and no idea whatsoever what to do with it. It turns out the bodywork is phenomenal, with rust under Bondo, covered by a patch plate, and then more Bondo. From the looks of your photo we would have made a better bet if we had your free Bronco, so good luck!
In the article "50 Tips for Better MPG" (Apr. '06) it was stated that driving with the tailgate up or down boasted zero difference. On the Discovery channel show Mythbusters they proved that driving with the tailgate up is actually better than the tailgate down. It is because (if you ask the designers why) the air that comes over the cab will skip off a pocket of air that tumbles in the bed, where as with the tailgate down, you are creating more surface area for the air to go over, increasing drag. Mythbusters used two brand-new '05 Ford F-150s equally equipped and locked them in with cruise and tried their very best not to draft off any other vehicle and they found that the tailgate up moved the F-150 an extra 30 miles! I used to think that it was a no brainier, tailgate down, but now when I see one with the tailgate down I'm thinking "stop wasting gas!" Thank you for listening. I love reading your magazine and watching the UA series and tapes. One day when my truck is up to snuff maybe I can ride with you guys. Thanks again and keep up the great work. I can only imagine how hard it is to write new and different things. This letter caused my head to hurt and my nose to bleed.
Craig Boyer Jr.
You're mainly right, Craig. Engineers do a lot of wind tunnel and actual testing to determine the optimum wind flow and drag coefficient factors, for this very reason. Yes, tailgate up is better for fuel economy, but we have a hard time believing the extra 30 mile claim. For practical purposes there is little difference, although we still suggest leaving the tailgate up, as over the long term you probably can save yourself and the world a bit more oil.
More IFS tech
I take it something must have gone drastically wrong when putting together the May '06 issue. In the Apr. '06 issue the Coming Next Month section stated that you would have some tech on IFS to straight-axle conversions and spring-over/under applications. I am mostly interested in the SAC, but am also looking forward to reading about you guys runnin' the IFS through the paces. I know stuff can't always go as planned, so when can I expect to see this tech? On a side note, why do you guys keep printing all the guys bashing you? You guys have an awesome rag and those idiots are in the minority of the people who read it!
Nothing goes as well as expected in this business, especially when stuff breaks while you're wheeling and the story can't get finished by the print deadline. However, we've fixed the last IFS fiasco and have more on that series in this issue. Check out the other suspension tips and tricks as well, and let us know what else you need to know.
And More IFS Ramblings
I just read your article on "Wheeling an IFS" (May '06) and I can tell you that it doesn't cost that much. I'm wheeling a '92 Toyota 4Runner with 3 inches of body lift and 2-3 inches of suspension lift (I cranked the torsion bars) and 35-inch tires for more than a year now and it has only cost me two ball joints and a tie-rod end. I may be just doing mild-to-moderate wheeling, but not everyone is a rockcrawler. My friend has a Tracker with 3 inches of body lift, 3 inches of suspension lift, and 33s and he only changes front halfshafts (the boots don't hold the angle, then they split, dirt gets in, and they bust). Thanks for the great job you're all doing and keep up the great articles.
You and your buddy breaking components is just what we are showing in our IFS series. Even solid axles break parts, but we're showing the weak links and how to overcome those deficiencies.
Deal with it
I just received my latest edition of 4-Wheel & Off-Road. Usually I enjoy reading the In Box section because of the funny letters from people complaining because there is "too much Jeep stuff," "not enough Nissan stuff," "not enough fullsize truck stuff," blah, blah, blah! I would like to see your response just once say, "Go find another magazine that caters to whiney morons that are too busy worrying about what they drive instead of the sport in general!"
I have been a subscriber for many years (too many to remember). I have thoroughly enjoyed every issue I have ever received. Since I have been a subscriber I have had two Chevy pickups and one fullsize Chevy Blazer, and I now have an '01 Dodge Ram. I think you guys do a great job of covering all aspects of the sport of four-wheeling. More people just need to suck it up and deal with it!!
John G. Dowsley
Thanks. We think you just said it for us. For more responses to what readers like and dislike in the mag, go to our forum at www.4wheeloffroad.com and give us your opinions.