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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos.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.
Editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
Reader: Does Ready Freddy (readyfreddy.com) really expect anyone to shell out a hunskie-and-a-half for a "Prepared for Anything" kit that doesn't include a single scrap of toilet paper ("Emergency Field Kit," Nov. '07)?
Never underestimate the importance of bum-fluff up on the mountain. There are times one would gladly trade a dozen wind-up cell-phone chargers for but a handful of ass-wipes. While the gauze, bandages, and pad of paper would all do in a pinch, there is really no substitute for a good ol' double-ply pleated soft-seat-squeegee to get you back to camp without sacrificing a sleeve to Mother Nature.
Editor: Well said, Eric, and we'll make a point to pass this info on to the manufacturers. However, I think the purpose of the emergency kit is for just that, an emergency. As far as I'm concerned, we all use toilet paper every day, therefore I would think that one would be prepared for that. I know that I carry extra paper in every vehicle and field bag I own, as it is useful for a multitude of other purposes as well. While the Ready Freddy is complete for real emergencies, I suggest you carry your own bum wad.
Reader: On page 86 of your Sept. issue, you state, "If the tread is worn more on the outside, the tires are likely overinflated." In the previous sentence, you said that if the outside of the tread is worn more than the middle, you are running underinflated. Do you actually know which of the statements are true? I believe that if the tires are underinflated, they will wear on the outside. And if the tires are over inflated, they will wear more in the middle of the tire. Do you actually read what you write? Actually, I'm just busting your chops. You guys do a great job. Keep up the good work.
Editor: You are correct, we goofed. It's hard to believe something that basic gets through our editing process, but thanks for showing us the error of our ways.
Reader: When I subscribed to your magazine, no one told me I would only be getting part of the "real" newsstand version. Shame on you for shortchanging your subscribers. Conduct like that is pure greed in action.
Editor: Sorry. We wish we could send all our subscribers the premiums included on newsstand editions. However, those premiums cost more to produce, so the extra cost of newsstand sales make up for that difference, not greed on our part. That's also why they are called premium, something extra that you need to pay for.
Reader: I just finished reading your Ultimate Adventure buildup story ("Part 3: The biggest can of worms ever," Oct. '07). This build got me wondering why, at this stage of the build, do you persist on calling it the UAJK? In my opinion this is more like the UADR (Ultimate Adventure Dodge Ram). I appreciate the fact that you guys are doing things different from the last few builds, but really, is it still much of a Jeep? All that's left of the Jeep you started with is a mutilated Jeep body. I think the diesel engine in a Jeep is a cool idea, but putting a Jeep body on a Dodge Ram chassis is a rather dumb idea. Doesn't that seem like a lot of work for you to do, just so you can fly your little Jeep flag? I really think you should try to use as much of the original vehicle a possible. Why did you even buy the Jeep if you were just going to use a Dodge Ram? I think if anything this build proves that Jeeps are horrible platforms to build extreme rigs from. Calling this vehicle a Jeep is like calling Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race car a Monte Carlo. This build is no longer even close to realistic. My favorite build was the USD ("Ultimate Super Duty, Part I," Aug. '02), because it was simple and just about anyone could replicate it. This truck also retained most of its stock parts (i.e., rear axle, engine, and drivetrain).
Please on future UA builds use more than just the body of the vehicle you started with.
Las Cruces, NM
Editor: So, if we used everything Jeep except the frame, that's OK? The idea is to build an ultimate vehicle, and if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, isn't it pretty much ducklike? If we had put it on a Ford frame would it be different? Is it the frame or the body that determines a vehicle's heritage? What if we had built a tube frame, would it still be a JK? And who said this build had to be realistic? We do stories for all types of readers, technical levels, and interest levels, and apologize if this was uninteresting or too high-tech for you. Remember, we're calling it the Rubi Wagon to recognize both its parents.
Reader: I got my Apr. '07 issue, and although I was delighted at first, I'm sure glad I didn't pay the $4.99 cover price for it. I flipped through it in a few minutes looking, searching for something that caught my interest. The Diesel Jeep was cool, but not finding anything at first glance I turned to the front and searched the contents.
Look! Supercrawl coverage! So I raced to page 102 and eagerly started reading. Maybe it was me, but did I miss something? Did you guys really only print a measly five pictures and a handful of words on a pitiful two-page spread?
Are you sick? Is Rick asleep? Well, shake him for heaven's sake! I think he's dead! Is this what I can expect from your mag? I've never written in before. Never felt the need. But man, when you take rockcrawlin's pinnacle event for the year and only print five lame pictures? You guys really let me down.
Colorado Springs, CO
Editor: I just woke up! Honestly, we couldn't afford to travel so we paid a freelancer for the story and those were the best photos. Also, there wasn't any room in the magazine due to corporate restrictions on size of issue. We hope that sort of stuff is behind us now and we'll be doing much better in the future. Check out this issue for Rock Cross, the new era of rockcrawling. Thanks for reading, and writing!
Reader: I was hoping y'all could guide me in the right direction on how to build a tube chassis buggy the right way. After reading your article on the Ridgerunner and the Fun Buggy Project you've been building, I've got the itch to build my own. I'm really looking to build something like one of those. I'm in the process of trying to buy the right tools for this project and I have started looking at different welders, tube benders, notchers, punch hole presses, and other tools I thought I might need for the project. I would like your opinion on what products you feel are the best quality in strength and reliability and that are affordable for someone with a budget. I have arc- and MIG-welded before so I have a basic understanding of how to weld and have some metal-working experience, but I don't know which welder is right for me. I was also wondering if there were any books out there y'all would recommend for tube chassis building, suspension geometry, gearing, and any other basic four-wheel equations for this kind of project and any others. Thanks for all your help and I hope to one day be able to wheel with y'all.
Editor: It so happens that this mag is your best source for all your questions, as you have found. We plan to have a newsstand supplement this coming year with a booklet outlining all the fabrication tools and supplies, so keep an eye on the newsstand!
Reader: Guys, come on. This project went right out the window the moment you brought the Dodge into the picture. Leaf-spring rear? The JK doesn't come with leaf springs. This buildup should be called "the ultimate Dodge buildup." You are chopping up the JK's body to fit on a different chassis. You have lost the basic design of the JK's suspension, on road and off. You performed the buildup at a shop famous for building rock buggies. Why don't you just have them build you the ultimate JK rock buggy instead? You want a diesel, check with Chrysler's old German buddies. They have a few that might actually fit in the vehicle that used to be a very capable trail rig before you guys "modified" it to accept a completely different everything.
I love your magazine. The articles and tech features are awesome, but your statement about the readers wanting to know "if it could be done" seems like justification for you to do something about as intelligent as stuffing a Hemi into an all-wheel-drive Caravan. Keep it real.
Editor: A Hemi in a Caravan? How cool! You know, we'll look for a company that specializes in Caravan upgrades so maybe that will be our next project. Sorry, but you're way wrong. Remember that we used a 2WD Wrangler, not a "capable trail rig" as you asserted. Remember that we took it to Twisted Customs for a cage and paint work, and AEV did the majority of the conversion work. As far as a diesel engine is concerned, we did check with Chrysler. In fact they did some computer modeling with us so we could see if the Cummins 5.9L would fit (which it does quite well, thank you very much). And what is wrong with a leaf-spring rear suspension? Just because a JK has coils doesn't mean those are the best. Why else would the aftermarket come up with alternatives? Bottom line; it can be done and we did it. Period. Check out the final installment in this issue. We think you'll like it.
Reader: When I e-mailed my "and Cons" letter (In Box, Apr. '07), you either took so many things out of context, or eliminated quotation marks so as not to make yourself look like the kind of jerk that you really are. Now, Mr. Adam Hershman sends his opinion and you could do nothing more than make smart-aleck remarks in parentheses.
I have reached the conclusion that you are nothing more than an egocentric idiot and I ask that you terminate my subscription immediately.
By the way, why not rename your publication J & H (Jeep and Hummer) as it seems you believe those are the only two trailworthy vehicles out of the box.
Editor: Thanks for replying. I'm sorry that you feel I insulted you with my reply. However, I edited it for clarity and brevity. Removing quotation marks was done as a matter of proper usage, and I don't believe I took anything out of context, and thought that overall you made a valid point which is why I used your letter. I did not agree with some of your statements, which is what I replied to. That is my job as editor, and as noted at the beginning of In Box, we have the right to edit your letter. As for Mr. Hershman's letter, I replied in parentheses because I felt few people could follow his long diatribe to the end and then read my reply without getting confused. That is a different type of editorial style that worked well for clarity and the differences of opinions presented. As for my answers being smart-alecky, if you read the story again carefully, you will see that every single thing I replied to was true.
Take the time to do a true scientific count of features, testdrives, and event coverage in the magazine over the last 10 years, and you'll see that we don't believe that the Hummer and Jeep are the only two trailworthy vehicles right out of the box. For instance, the Jeep Rubicon didn't win the 4x4 of the Year in 2005; a Volkswagen won in 2004, and the Lexus (made by Toyota) won over the Jeep Rubicon and the Hummer in 2003!
I'm not upset that you reached the conclusion that I'm an egocentric idiot, as your other conclusions fail to make any sense either. However, I will pass your request on to cancel your subscription.