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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos.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
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
Reader: I was wondering about the 4-Wheel & Off-Road tag giveaway that you had a while back. I sent the stamped envelope, just never received the tag. What's up?
Editor: The truth of the matter is that the license-plate giveaway was limited to "while supplies last," even though we ordered 10 times as many as we thought we needed. We sent out every envelope we received with proper postage and the right size package. However, we did receive envelopes without postage, postage without envelopes, wrong size envelopes, and even envelopes with postage and no address. So, we'll probably have another giveaway in a year or so, but in the meantime, catch us at events!
Reader: First I would like to thank you and your entire staff, past through present, for the mag. I have been a loyal reader for 14 years. I don't know how y'all cover all these events, buildups, and tech articles and still deliver such a great mag. Sure there have been mistakes, but without your guidance I wouldn't know where to begin. My '62 M38A1 has been completely built from the knowledge obtained from your pages. I have never had a complaint until now. I open to Letters (Aug. '07) and find another bunch of readers whining over the smallest stuff. "My Avalanche had a step bumper before the Super Duty did." "You said here is a picture of my American truck but I didn't say that." These are the same people riding in the left lane doing 60 in a 65. So my complaint is that you waste your valuable knowledge on responding to these letters, instead of letters that are asking for further info on past articles, upcoming events, or giving y'all some much needed praise. I'm mad at myself for wasting wrenching time to write this, but after years of reading these letters (and don't get me started on the backlash every year from 4x4 of the Year), I had to do a little whining for myself. Keep it up. My son is 3 and he needs you too.
Editor: Thanks. We needed that. We'll try to keep to the real problems of our world, not the whiners.
Reader: In "Outback Dirt Nap" (Sept. '07) on page 110 there is a Jeep pickup pictured. Can you forward me any information available on the pictured Jeep and/or the party who customized this Jeep?
Editor: The vehicle is a Brute, which is produced by American Expedition Vehicles (406.251.2100, www.aev-conversions.com) from the TJ Wrangler. They can do it for you and they also offer a complete kit for you to do it at home. AEV is also the company that swapped the 5.9L Cummins diesel in our new JK Wrangler for the Ultimate Adventure seen in this issue.
Reader: Sweet picture of that Scout in Readers' Rides (Oct. '07). Too bad the passenger is too stupid to wear a seatbelt! The first two questions that are asked when an off-roader gets hurt or killed are, "Was he drunk?" and, "Was he wearing a seatbelt?" I know of a guy that rolled his junk getting it off the trailer-throttle stuck, end of story. If I'm moving my junk anywhere, the seatbelt goes on.
Editor: A very good point, as seatbelt use is the single most important thing to do in an off-road vehicle. But look closely at the photo and you'll see the passenger does have the belt on; it's just a lap belt down low.
Reader: I was considering changing to a different magazine recently when Rick Pw finalized my decision. His 4xForward (Sept. '07) was the deciding factor. It is a shame that in these days an editor to an off-road recreational magazine feels the need to give an elementary lesson on personal responsibility to grown adults, but it was beautiful. Every time I make it out to the trails, I see the remains of some dumbass who left their crap for me to clean up. I am tired of the campers and wheelers who ruin it for all of us.
I am currently a student in the Arizona State University Environmental Biology program. Yes, I am green. I hope to become an environmental planner. I also am an avid 4x4 enthusiast. My friends and family get sick of how important four-wheeling is to me. So here I am, like Rick, an environmentalist and a wheeler, because I too would rather wheel through the trees in the mountains than through a wasteland of other's garbage. I will try to keep our trails open by wheeling responsibly and advocating for our rights. So to Rick and everyone else at the magazine, thank you! I will continue to enjoy your articles for years to come.
Editor: Thanks. Now let's go clean up a trail and show the idiots that we really care about our world!
Reader: Mr. Rubin was correct in using the word "idiotic" and "Carbon Foot Print" in the same sentence (In Box, Sept. '07). I do, however, take offense at him including Rick Pw in that sentence.
Having read your article it is clear to me that he did not make the connection between paying for carbon offsets and hypocrisy. It seems to me that we all need to be conservationists like you and less about looking for novel ways to "buy" our way out of looking after our planet.
In my experience with you, Rick, I have never gotten the impression that you are either an eco-nut or about trashing the planet. It seems to me that you have a balanced approach to enjoying our planet and taking care of it.
In the end it's about the small things we do. For instance, treating cigarette butts as litter and not landscaping. Turning off lights, maintaining our vehicles for maximum efficiency, continuing to look for ways to be more efficient in all things we do, reducing our trash output.... I could go on and on.
Hypocrisy is when we kid ourselves into thinking we can pay someone to plant a tree so that we can simply go on without changing our ways. Keep in mind that paper companies plant trees as a crop to be harvested to make paper-maybe I'll just buy more paper and claim it as a Carbon Offset.
In the end I'm a conservationist like you and attempt to do some small part to improve things around me. All people should keep in mind that my '06 Ford SD gets better mileage and produces fewer "bad" gases than most cars built in the '70s. This doesn't mean we should stop working to be better, it just means that we are improving and shouldn't be bullied into thinking we're doomed unless we stop all things that eco-nuts claim are "killing" the planet.
Mr. Rubin needs to refrain from name calling in his correspondence and stay focused on making his point.
Editor: Gee, thanks. Maybe that will be the last of that.
Reader: First off, I very much enjoy your magazine. I own an '85 Ford F-150 and a '78 Chevy Suburban K10. In your "Diesel Extravaganza" article (Sept. '07) there are some problems. I'm a Chrysler certified master technician that works on a lot of diesel trucks-regardless of what the manufacturers say-and everything that you did to the 2006 Dodge Ram (except the chrome exhaust tip) voided the Cummins warranty on the truck. Any time parts are replaced we have to call into our hotline to get authorization, and the first thing they ask is, "Have there been any performance modifications done?" followed by 5 million questions about test results from flow checks, engine controller data, trouble codes, and so on. I have personally run into this with a customer that had a Banks box on his truck and had to buy an $1,800 fuel-injection pump. Chrysler doesn't like cold-air intakes or anything being added on to enhance the performance in any way, shape, or form. People need to be aware of this, because at $3,000 for a set of injectors, it would be a costly experience if they were to bring a truck into a dealership and had anything done to their truck. Keep up the good work.
Editor: Good point. The truth of the matter is that people will hop up their 4x4s regardless of the warranty implications, and they should know what they are dealing with. Thanks for the reminder.
Reader: Is there any way to purchase Toyota Hilux surfs or four-door Jeep Wranglers with diesels here in America? They are all over Japan, Australia, and the UK. Everywhere but here. I'm in the market for '96 or '97 diff-locked 450s or Land Cruisers, but a manual and a diesel would be awesome. Surely somebody imports and sells them. I have seen righthand-drive Supras running around, so why not 4x4s? Thanks for the great mag.
Editor: Gray market and single import 4x4s are indeed out and about, but it takes a bit of cash to legally import said vehicles due to our stringent EPA emissions restrictions and DOT and FMVSS safety requirements. Like anything else, you can either build it yourself or pay for it, as anything is possible.
Reader: I love your mag, but I had a question about your supposed ranking of the 2007 4x4 of the Year (Feb. '07). Where the heck is the Nissan Xterra? I looked at all the available 4x4s, and from what I saw, the Jeep (as always) should be ranked very high, especially in Rubicon format. However, the Nissan Xterra Offroad is easily as good, or better, for much less money. How come this rig never shows up in tests? Are you afraid it will knock off the venerable magazine favorite...the Jeep? Thanks for a fabulous magazine.
Sgt. Steven I. Szabo
WAARNG B Co. 1/161 Infantry (Mech)
Editor: Well, Sarge, the reason the Xterra wasn't tested was because it didn't meet the requirements of being all new or substantially revised for that model year. The Jeep Wrangler was completely new, as were some of the other 4x4s. When the Xterra has a redesign next year, we'll be sure to include it in our lineup.
Reader: I recently purchased a used '95 Land Rover Discovery. It has a 3.9L V-8 with high mileage, but the price was good and the reputation of Land Rovers being very capable 4x4s is good. My problem is finding any aftermarket performance goodies. I would like to get more power and fuel economy. I was thinking headers, a lift kit, an open-element air filter, and any other general upgrades. Any help finding distributors of these would be appreciated. Also, how come we don't see any Land Rovers in this mag unless it is in context of the Camel Trophy?
Editor: You don't find a lot of Rover hop-up parts because there aren't that many. One place to try is British Pacific here in California (661.257.8634, www.britishpacific.com), who specialize in these great rides. If there were any more Camel Trophy events, we'd cover them, but they were discontinued years ago.