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August 2007 Letters To The Editor

Posted in Features on August 1, 2007
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Contributors: Rick Péwé

Reader: While reading "2008 Ford Super Duty" (Mar. '07), I noticed the following: "It also features an industry-first integrated Tailgate Step (a step and a grab handle for easy access to the rear)...."

I disagree! My '03 Chevy Avalanche 1500 4WD with the Z71 package has a step molded out of each end of the rear bumper and a grab handle on both rear corners of the bed. I find the corner step and angled grab handle an easy way to get to either side of the bed. It is no surprise to an owner of this innovative vehicle that others are still catching up.
Cheshire, OR

Editor:Well, Luke, we feel the force and agree. Chevy finally has an integrated brake controller (like Ford) on the '07 HD models, by the way.

Reader:In "Blue Flame Bow Tie" (June '07), Dan Foss may be someone you know. However, Sauer-Danfoss builds orbital valves (
Mike, aka Parts Mike
Auburn, CA

Editor:Umm, yeah, we get it now. The new guy, Feature Editor Ali Mansour, wrote that the owner of the truck ran a Dan Foss load reactive valve (which was how it was written on the tech sheet), but the company that makes it is Sauer-Danfoss. So, now we all know the hot stuff in orbital valves. Thanks!

Reader:I just wanted to point out one mistake on the long-arm TJ suspension story ("4 Inches Like a Pro," June '07). Ryan is not "head of R&D." John Corrao is VP of engineering and head of R&D. Can this get corrected?
Roger R. Partolan
Marketing Director, Pro Comp Suspension

Editor:Consider it done, Roger. We just thought we'd promote Ryan up the corporate ladder since he's turning out such cool suspension products with John's help.

Reader:Legal urban where would that be? Where, in any urban area, is there a place that can be legally wheeled? Private property like the "3-foot concrete wall where a store used to be" that Jarrod Hatcher is shown on in your June '07 issue (In Box)? I think not. Unless Jarrod owns that property or he has the owner's permission he's trespassing. Public spaces? It's highly unlikely they have any approved off-road trails. While some of us here in NYC fantasize about wheeling the big rocks in Central Park, we don't do it. Living in the Metro NYC area and being a wheeler for 10 years, I have yet to find a local legal wheeling opportunity. Plenty of people run their trucks illegally in construction sites, empty lots, sand pits, and wooded areas without permission. This doesn't make it OK. Endorsing this behavior just gives ammunition to those that would like to shut down all off-road access.
Mark Woytovich

Editor:You are right, Mark, but how do you know Jarrod doesn't own the property he's shown on? We never endorse any form of illegal wheeling, but being creative and asking the land owner or whomever is responsible for the area for permission is right on the money to expand our areas. Be positive, not negative!

Well, this wasn't a goof; we just didn't have the information last month for our Drivelines mention of the BFGoodrich Tires Outstanding Trails Program. The dates for the six new trails are as follows.
Redbird, June 9
Rubicon, June 30
Tillamook, July 7
Poughkeepsie Gulch, TBD
Whipsaw, September 15
Flat Nasty, October 6

Please note these event dates are subject to change and when and if they do, we will make sure to let you know.

Reader:After reading numerous articles in your magazine about breakage and damage of parts, I feel compelled to write. It seems that most of you feel that if one is not breaking or damaging their wheeler, then they're not running it hard enough.

Let me go on record as saying that the average Joe has a hard enough time paying once for the parts to upgrade his ride, and that breakage/abuse in the name of fun is completely out of the question. Since most off-road toys are just that, the majority of us have much more pressing needs consuming our paychecks. I won't go into them, since the list is endless. Pushing a vehicle to the absolute limit and beyond, in my opinion, is stupidity. That stated, I digress. In my limited off-road (7 years) experience, I have seen very, very few rigs trailered to the trailheads. Now, I admit this may be because of my lack of prowess in the "extreme" arena of the roadless world. However, when you wrote in the most recent issue (May? June? '07; heck it's still March) you lost both a steering column to failure and lost a wheel on the public streets; this is nothing but blatant disregard for other motorists (on road). When you launch a vehicle airborne, or spank it so hard in a mud pit/rock garden/sand dune that you create these kinds of failures, how can you determine to what extent each other part is stressed? Obviously, way too much when they fail at highway (read: lethal) velocity. I guess I'm just not extreme enough; I don't tear off brake lines, snap axleshafts, or turn my rig into a three-wheeler in the name of fun. I don't leave my driveway if my ride is not safe and reliable, so why would I risk driving it home in that condition?

Now, I'm not going to preach like the morality police (or have I already done just that?), but I think lots of us, whether intentionally or not, are showing much more respect towards the rest of the population using the blacktop.Just an average Joe.
Karl Smith
Caldwell, ID

Editor:You have some good thoughts, Karl, as safety is our number one concern. Sometimes we get seen and shown in the worst light, and misconceptions do run rampant. The wheel loss was an unfortunate occurrence, and while it happens all the time on American highways, it shouldn't have happened to us, and the same goes for the steering-shaft failure. However, we don't just spank our rigs to break them, but if stuff breaks with a particular driving style, then one would assume the part wasn't designed for that much abuse. And yes, you must have never gone on trail rides where most of the rigs are trailered in, but that doesn't mean they are all hammered to death on those trails either. Get out and see the real world. We all don't throttle down to break stuff.

Reader:I wanted to let you guys know that I really appreciate all the effort and hard work you guys put into the Massive Mud Tire Test (May '07). In October 2006 I put a set of Dick Cepek Mud Country 35x12.50R15 (the exact set you tested) on my '79 Ford Bronco. They worked outstanding for me because my truck is a daily driver and weekend wheeler, but I didn't know if I made the right choice because the tires were so new. I bought the first set of the Mud Countrys that my local 4x4 shop ever sold and used your magazine to show them what tires I wanted when I went there. Ever since I got them I have been looking for what you guys thought about them. Well now after reading the Massive Mud Tire Test I know I made the right choice. Thanks again for all the hard work that you all went through to make that test happen.
Jeff Van Fossen (17 years old)
Frenchtown, NJ

Editor:Thanks for reading. That's what makes our job worth all the other stuff, and we appreciate it.

Reader:I was wondering if you guys would do an article following up on some of the rigs you guys have built over the years, like the Ultimate A-1, the 14-day Flattie, and the Ultimate Avalanche. I would be very interested to see the things that have held over the years, things that you changed, and things that you were glad you left alone. I really enjoy the magazine and hate it when people leave to do other things, but you guys have kept the magazine going with everyone there today. I am going to resubscribe to the magazine again now that I am home from overseas. Thanks for the support of all of us over there.
Ben Joiner

Editor:As a matter of fact, we'll be doing a follow-up on many of our past rides, whether we still have them or not. Look for more of our 30th Anniversary celebration series in future issues for more detail.

PhotosView Slideshow

Reader:Wow! I love how your editors add their own wording into something I wrote. The addition was..."Here's a picture of my American Truck." That really angers me and makes me want to say "F*** your magazine" I will no longer need your magazine after 5 years of subscription.
Sincerely, Mr. Zwegat
P.S. Sorry for the late response, I was out on business overseas.

Editor:So, Mr. Zwegat, do you know what the term Editor means? Or what it means to edit? Or the fact that at the beginning of the In Box we specifically state "We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, brevity, or other purposes" ? Yes, we added the last line "Here's a picture of my American truck" because you enclosed the picture of your American truck; did you not? It seemed silly to just have a photo of a random vehicle floating around the page without any information about it, and seeing that you enclosed it with your letter we figured you wanted it published. Our mistake and we're sorry. You also might want to notice that we corrected your spelling and grammar mistakes as well. So, to appease you, here's your Dec. '06 In Box diatribe printed again, but without the editing.

I have been noticing the recent FJ Cruiser articles, advertisements, write ups and build ups. I can't believe that Petersens was that desperate to give into Toyota's deep financial pockets. The advertising was pushed way overboard and is starting to get a little irritating now. I am tired of seeing the same heavy gauge paper with black and white photos of a Toyota FJ that is trying to wedge their way into the American market. I hope that I am among other true 4x4 enthusiasts that blind site a poor advertising campaign to go out and buy a Toyota. Please try to stick to the magazines heritage of offering technical information, events, parts, advise, and pictures and not become a mainstream magazine that is solely sponsored by a Japanese company. I would enjoy to hear a truthful response from you.
Thank You, Peter Zwegat

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 90048-5515, fax 323.782.2704, E-mail to:

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