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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos.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
Reader: This might be a stupid question. I have always wondered why magazines release with a date months in the future. I just got your October 2006 issue. It's August 1! Wouldn't it be easier to just call it the August issue? Great magazine though. You guys have helped me with a number of ideas for my rig. Thanks.
Editor: The original idea of pushing a cover date forward was to get a jump on the competition: "I have my April issue out in March, while they only have theirs out in March." Then the competition moves their date forward, and we move ours, and no, it really doesn't make any sense in reality. Also, it doesn't take three months to get magazines out like it does ours. I think Newsweek would have to change its name if it came out three months after the fact. But this is the system we're stuck with, and it won't be changing anytime soon. By the way, I'm writing this in the middle of September for the January issue, which will be on sale November 7. Go figure.
Reader: I am writing in regards to your story "Aisin the Hole" (June '06). I did the AX15 conversion to my '87 Comanche about two years ago. In regards to the tranny mounts, if you unbolt the mount from the crossmember and flip it over, it will fit perfectly. My AX15 came out of a '91 Cherokee. They were both 4.0 Jeeps so I didn't have to modify one thing. I got the tranny for $100 from a pull-it-yourself junkyard. It was the best thing I have ever done for my Comanche. Thanks, and keep up the good work!
St. Louis, MO
Editor: Thanks for the information. We had a lot of interest in that story, and many more readers are attempting to do their projects now as well.
Reader: Hey man, just read about your big 5-Oh. I hope it was a birthday with a full tank of gas and nothin' but dirt in front of the Warn. Hope your flex-fan-inspired centrifugal balance weight from Moab worked on your driveline too. I just wanted to let you guys know that there are still a few of us non-whiners left in the world. I don't care what brand of paddle grinders you use on your VehiCross, I don't care that there's not a monthly full feature article on my FJ40 , I don't care about diesels or stereos or what kind of marine grease you lube your bearings with. All I care about is wheeling in the most beautiful places in America, and reading articles that teach me to do it better. I wonder if these guys just write in to feel smug. "I noticed on page 45 you say to tighten the bolt to 35 lb-ft, but I can tell by the markings on the bolt head that it is a metric bolt, which should be tightened to Newton/meters and I am a big stupid jerk so you should give me a license plate, wah wah wahhhh." I say a big dab of yellow death right on their fat mouths, and top their ice cream with used gear oil. You guys rock! Keep doing what you do and let all those other guys eat Midol!
Marc Martinez, Shelley, and Josh
Editor: Mark, you were the only reader to send me a birthday greeting, so thanks for making sure I wasn't going to whine either!
Reader: Hey, what's up? I will be brief. I am a subscriber to 4WOR plus others. You have surpassed Four Wheeler. I love your mag. Two questions. Quite a while ago I received an issue with a blank picture of your new UA FJ (Ultimate Adventure FJ Cruiser, July '06). The article said that everyone that submitted a colored-in picture would receive a small gift...either from Toyota or 4WOR. Any updates on the gifts? Plus, I was wondering about the highly prized 4WOR license plates. I mailed in the necessary stamped envelope (4xForward, Sept. '06). Any updates on that? Thank you in advance.
Editor: So here's the deal. Demand for both the gift for the FJ paint job offer and the 4WOR license plates offer far exceeded the supply, and we have been overrun with requests. Not only that, we are doing all of the letter opening, sorting, stuffing, and mailing ourselves. With more than 2,000 requests each it's been an enormous job, and we have sent many gifts and plates out. We'll keep sending them as long as we're able, so hang in there!
Reader: I love the idea of a crawlability quotient for your 4x4 of the Year Test (4xForward, Oct. '06). I was recently taking a look under my girlfriend's Land Rover Freelander SE3 (I know, no low range, but I am jealous of the removable top, hill descent control, and the gas mileage). It was crawlable, but super-nerve-wracking with the hot exhaust about an inch away from my face. The problem is where to measure from. Let's face it, the unibody vehicles are the major offenders here. Why not make a rule that the bottom of the rocker panels must not fall below an imaginary line drawn from the center of the front wheel to the center of the rear wheel? Since you guys are the experts you can decide what amount under that line is acceptable. My personal favorite would be an oil change test. Park it on a flat level surface and try to change the oil, or better yet the transfer-case fluid, without ramps, a lift, or a jack. The stakes get even higher if the only tool you are allowed to use is one box-end wrench. My truck passes the test, does yours? Keep up the good work.
P.S. The Freelander passed the oil-change test. To me that is a more practical test, because it would be really annoying if I had to jack it up every time I changed her oil.
Editor: As soon as we get our current crop of competing vehicles, we'll have a parking lot crawl-off as we try to slither under the rigs to see which ones fail. Check out our full coverage of our 4x4 of the Year test in the February issue which we'll start writing in September and, which will be on the newsstand December 12.
Reader: I just read your "Tall Tire Tech" (Sept. '06) and thought you might want to clean up the following comments as a service to your readership: "to increase high-speed capability, there may be 10 or more plies of nylon or Kevlar in the belts...." I can safely say that, outside of a tire fitted on the Space Shuttle maybe, there isn't a tire made today for consumer usage that has 10 plies of Kevlar or nylon in the tread. At best, you may find two plies of either material in the tread. Also, "Tires in the United States generally are constructed of two steel beads, 10 or more polyester plies, and two or more steel belts." Similar to the item above, there just aren't any tires made with 10 polyester plies today. There are numerous 10-ply-rated products available from various manufacturers, but these products typically use just two polyester plies to achieve the 10-ply rating. Years ago, 10 physical plies were needed to achieve a 10-ply rating, but advances in textiles since then allow a 10-ply rating to be achieved with typically only two polyester plies. And finally, "With a radial tire, the carcass plies and steel cords are at 90 degrees to the centerline...." I would be curious to see this tire inflated, and may model one using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for giggles. The steel cords in a typical light truck or passenger tire are laid 20-30 degrees to the centerline. The cord angle in the first belt is opposite to that of the second belt, so that the cord paths in each belt intersect or are biased with each other. This is done to control the inflated shape of the tire and provide tread stiffness and puncture resistance, among other things. I just thought you should know.
Principal SUV & LT Tire Development
Cooper Tire and Rubber Company
Editor: Thanks, Ken. We saw that and thought we had caught it. In fact, it was supposed to be 1 ply, not 10. As for the radial angles, they are 90 degrees to each other, not the centerline. Thanks for the good catch!
Reader: I just received the November issue of your fine rag. I could not wait to read about the Ultimate Adventure. Ripping off the plastic sheet covering with great abandon there at the top of the cover page in bold orange letters "African Safari in New A Jeep JK." Now maybe the "A" just wanted to be standing next to the "Jeep" to catch a ride but in doing so it made for some bad grammer [sic] on the cover page. Not that it really matters though for if I wanted to brush up on my grammer [sic] skills I would go back to school. I would rather read the fine stories you and your fine staff procur [sic] for the reading enjoyment of your readers. Keep up the good work but try not to upset your old English teachers.
Editor: Wow, we sure enough did blow it. Simple as that. And you weren't the only reader to call us to task, but we really enjoyed your nice letter, even with the mistakes in grammar. In fact, that's why I added [sic] to your letter which is used to point out an incorrect or archaic spelling. Wikipedia.com has this explanation:
Sic is a Latin word meaning "thus," "so," or "just as that." In writing, it is italicized and placed within square brackets-[sic]-to indicate that an incorrect or unusual spelling, phrase, or other preceding quoted material is a verbatim reproduction of the quoted original and is not a transcription error.
This may be used either to show that an uncommon or archaic usage is reported faithfully (for instance, quoting the U.S. Constitution, "The House of Representatives shall chuse [sic] their Speaker...") or to highlight an error, often for the purpose of ridicule or irony (for instance, "Dan Quayle famously changed a student's spelling to 'potatoe' [sic]"), or otherwise, to quote accurately whilst maintaining the reputation of the person or organisation quoting its source.
In folk etymology, "sic" is sometimes erroneously thought to be an abbreviation of "spelling is correct," "same in copy," "spelled incorrectly," "spelling incompetent," "said in context," "stupid in context," or "spelling intentionally changed," to cite but a few backronyms.
Anyway, thanks for the letter, and don't let your English teacher see this!
Reader: Hi. I'm a subscriber of your magazine. I was happy with your magazine until a friend showed me stickers he had gotten out of your March issue. Why didn't the subscribers get the same deal? That sucked! Why do the subscribers get screwed? I'll be waiting for a reply.
Editor: Darcy, subscribers don't get screwed; because you are getting the magazine for about a buck each month, while the regular newsstand version goes for about $3.99. When we include a premium such as stickers or a booklet on the newsstand version, the price goes up another dollar or so. It may seem unfair, but the newsstand buyer is actually paying for what they get. When subscription rates hit $60 a year, maybe we'll start including that stuff as well.