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October 2006 Letters To The Editor - InBox

Posted in Features on October 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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos.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:
4-Wheel & Off-Road
420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
fax 323.782.2704

E-mail to:

Reader: What is wrong with the world? A few years back I bought an F-250 High-Boy for $2,000. It was multicolored with bald tires and had no power steering. It had a Holley double- pumper carb that double-pumped gas all over the motor, but I didn't care. I thought it was a deal for a truck with a 390, a C6, an NP205, and big axles. So I replaced the carb, rattle-canned it white, and got a Chevy power-steering box out of a junkyard (I flipped the Chevy box upside down; it saved me a bunch of money). But none of that is the point. The point is I moved and the Ford was the only truck I had that could actually make the trip. Now I want to sell the truck so I can pay to have my other trucks ('49 and '61 Dodge Power Wagons) towed to where I live. I put an ad in the local "thrifty" paper selling the truck for $1,500. It has been over a month and no one has even made me an offer, but I have gotten a lot of calls from morons! I've had multiple people ask me how the interior of the truck is and if there are any dents in it, and multiple people have asked me what an NP205 is (if you are reading this and don't know what an NP205 is, stop flipping through your roommate's magazine and go back to reading Lowrider). The bottom line is it's a $1,500 truck, it has awesome running gear under it, and it runs. I just feel insulted when people call and ask a bunch of stupid questions. Who cares about interior dents or what color it is? For $1,500 somebody can have a truck that needs virtually no modifications and is ready for just about anything. Furthermore, they could throw out some extra cash for tires and a locker and they can run over anything all day long. Bottom line: If you're looking for a $1,500 truck with nice interior and paint, call the guy whose truck doesn't have a C6, an NP205, a 390, 3/4-ton axles, and a factory lift big enough to clear 40-inch tires. It runs, it drives, and if the girls or your friends aren't impressed when you roll up in it, then they need some education in what a real truck is. Where are all the guys looking for a truck that needs very little to hit the trail for cheap? Where are all the people who know what a deal this is? Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm asking too much. If that is the case, then I'll just keep it.
David Van Eaton, Yakima, WA

Editor:We'll take it! And judging from the photo, that is one clean ride-to us anyway and to anyone else who appreciates a fine piece of machinery instead of bling wheels and a fancy stereo.

Reader: I just finished reading the June '06 issue and really enjoyed the article about the 2007 Wrangler Unlimited, "The First Four Door Wrangler." I noticed that the article states this Jeep will get the 3.7L engine; however, in the picture of the engine it says 3.8L and that is posted all over Jeep's Web site about the '07 Wrangler having the 3.8L engine. I am just writing to get clarification on what motor will be in this new Jeep.
Jason Flatter, via

Editor: We are sorry that a typo got through our meticulous copy editing, but it did. The new Jeep will have the 3.8 engine, while the 3.7 is reserved for the old Jeep Liberty. Neither one has the torque and durability of the old 4.0L, so it really doesn't matter, although we're glad you caught our error.

Reader: So I'm reading through the article "Ultimate Field Fix" (Aug. '06) and on page 38 the caption for photo No. 5 reads "Mike Cox from Sam's Off Road plugged the Makita grinder into the Premier Power welder box," blah blah blah, words words words. However, after looking at the photo I noticed the grinder was yellow and has the letters ALT after the user's thumb. I thought to myself, Makita's are blue, not yellow, and DeWalt's are yellow. Mike is using a DeWalt, not a Makita. I thought I'd point that out in hopes of being the first person to do so, and perhaps win the prize of a 4-Wheel & Off-Road license plate, or a hub cap from one of the many Jeeps you have stashed around, or at least the printing of this letter in your mag. Thanks for the great mag. Keep up the good work.
Kingsley Swanson

Editor:Well, no plate of Jeep for you, but as you are right, we'll print your letter. Good observation, Kingsley!

Reader: Although I realize you're a big fan of flatties and other "vintage" (to be kind) vehicles, I think it's worth noting that most of your readers (including me) drive vehicles with disc brakes. Considering the extreme temperatures (and temperature changes) that our wheel bearings see, it struck me that you'd choose to show a container of marine grease as your example of "wheel bearing grease" to be carried along for trail repairs. Although it has excellent water-repellent characteristics at room temperature, it turns to a thin fluid when used on a brake wheel, so it's not appropriate for any truck. Castrol Pyroplex Blue would be a much better choice, since it's rated for disc applications, and it's also a great grease for drum axles and even boat trailers. I don't have one to look at, but I don't think the grease you showed even has an EP rating.
Steve Byars, Memphis, TN

Editor:Man, it was a bad month. You are 100 percent right (like right or wrong could be 78 percent?) on that one, Steve. The can was pulled from the shelf for a photo, and it was right next to the "High Temperature Disc Brake Wheel Bearing Grease" can. Simply put, we grabbed the wrong can and never caught it in the various copy checking stages of the magazine. While the grease shown is fine for boat axles, the grease does thin out under heat and pressure, making it unsuitable for any axle bearings which endure heavy loads or the temperature extremes of a braking axle. Mea culpa.

Reader: Yea, here someone goes again. Another article, "Stock Trucks Stink" (July '06), is a great piece...what happened to the Scout again???

I can't understand why we have to remind the best four-wheel magazines about the International Scouts. A simple six-letter word (Scouts), with a comma before or after any of the other four-wheel rigs would have been great. Don't get me wrong, I liked the information in the article, and it spelled out everything perfectly, but over and over the Scouts are being forgotten in print. I will continue to support 4-Wheel & Off-Road with the hopes of seeing a little something about the Scouts next to all the other great four-wheel rigs out there.
Mike, via

Editor:OK, Check out the August issue about our secret Scout fetish, and the November issue should have even more Scout information. Don't give up on us yet!

Reader: Regarding Ginger Esplin's letter about gage being misspelled ("Idiot Lights," In Box, Aug. '06) as well as the editor's response (and support of her position). It's all too obvious that it's not the GM engineers that are the idiots. Every online dictionary I've looked at as well as my hardbound '77 edition of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary all list gage as a variant of gauge. Even my Microsoft spell check accepts gage. Considering the limited amount of real estate available in a typical instrument cluster, is it any wonder GM opted to use the shortest possible variant? Doesn't anyone know how to use a dictionary anymore?
Steve Byers, via

Reader: You really should have saved that letter for next April's "April Fool" because, as any decent dictionary will show you (and Ginger), gage is a variant of gauge.... So there is no idiocy involved, just a correct, but infrequently encountered variation in spelling. This is no more idiotic than that infrequently encountered fullsize rig on the Rubicon. End of mystery, except for my puzzlement at your missing the obvious. I will not tease any further. You guys cover the four-wheel-drive and off-road world respectably. Well, what does it matter if you don't have a dictionary?
Walt K., via

Reader: In reference to Ginger Esplin's letter in the August issue, yes, you are an idiot! Pick up a dictionary and look up gages. It's a variant of gauges. If you stack the two words on top of each other in a tight space (like an idiot light square in an instrument cluster...) you'll see "check gages" fits better than "check gauges." I can't believe I'm sticking up for automotive engineers-I work on crap like this for a living!!!
Dan Koch, Williston, ND

Editor:Right all of you are, except for the fact that spell check doesn't understand gage, and there are three listings for gage in my '82 American Heritage Dictionary. I actually checked it out, since it was vaguely familiar, and found definition No. 1 as something given as security against an obligation, No. 2 was a variety of a plum, and sure enough I missed No. 3, variety of gauge, which I can rarely spell myself without checking the (yes, here it comes) idiot light.

Reader: Thanks for writing an article on a leaf-spring suspension ("Don't Leave Leaves," July '06). I am a Land Cruiser guy myself and own an FJ60 and FJ62 with Chevy 350s. I have always had a question about leaf springs and unfortunately I still have it after reading your article. What are the advantages/disadvantages to the placement of the shackle, either fore or aft of the spring? Most front leaf-spring trucks seem to have the shackle at the rear, but a surprising number have it at the front (e.g., LCs, Samurais, and some Jeeps). Man-A-Fre thought so little of it that they offer a shackle reversal kit, but Spector says it is a better rockcrawler with the shackle in the front. With the shackle in front as the spring compresses then the axle must move forward. This would seem to make for a hard ride and it does. It would also seem that it is not good for a turn because the outside spring compresses and moves the outside wheel forward and makes the vehicle turn tighter and have inconsistent steering. However, enough vehicles have this shackle forward design that there must be a reason. Please tell me why.
James, Arizona City, AZ

Editor:Both designs have their advantages and disadvantages. Many companies have shackle reversals for Jeeps and Cruisers, but believe it or not, we've seen reverse-reverse shackle conversions, to take the rear back to the front after it's been swapped. We've run both styles, have built both styles, and find that 87.64 percent of what you read, see, and hear is all hooey. For instance, the premise that Jeep did a poor front spring design with the shackle in the front simply doesn't hold water, as they sure couldn't sell millions of Jeeps for nearly 50 years with the shackle in the front if the design was fundamentally bad.

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