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May 2008 Letters To The Editor - In Box

Toyota 4runner
Posted May 1, 2008

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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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos.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.

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4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
fax 323.782.2704.

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Reader: I picked up your issue with "The Ultimate Adventure" (Dec. '07) event in it and was looking at some of the trucks and was wondering about the Toyota 4Runner's exocage. Are exos legal for the street? I have always wanted to exo my Cherokee, but wanted it to remain a daily driver. By the way, I love your magazines and read them cover to back. Thank you for all your hard work!
Jon Chiesa
via 4wheeloffroad.com

Editor: We've never been asked that question, and can't seem to find a good answer as to why an exocage would be illegal. As far as we're concerned, they work great and offer extra protection both on and off the road. However, some vehicles end up looking more like a jungle gym with a 4x4 inside, and others are truly tacky, but hey, we aren't the fashion police here!

Reader: I just received the Feb. '08 issue. I noticed that you left out the Suzuki Samurai when tallying the votes by brand at the end of the "Best 4x4 Ever" article. No, I don't now own, nor have I ever owned, a Suzuki. I just noticed. I've owned five vehicles that made the list and lust after most of the others. You guys put out a great mag. Mr. Pw understands what it is all about. Keep the D.E.D. articles coming and keep dragging home and wheeling the down-to-earth stuff.
Jon Kann
via 4wheeloffroad.com

Editor: Yup, you caught that one that we didn't, and I even had to look a second and third time. I wonder where all the Suzuki owners are that missed that little goof? Thanks for letting us know before the wrath of the Samurais are upon us!

Reader: Comments: The Jeep Patriot with the 2.0L diesel engine sold in Europe gets 42.2 mpg. It was named Green 4X4 of the Year from 4X4 and MPV Driver magazine due in large part to its low emissions and superior mileage for an SUV. Although produced in Belvedere, Illinois, and exported to Europe, it is not available in the USA with the diesel engine. We were looking for a righthand drive 4x4 for rural mail delivery and the fuel-efficient Patriot seems perfect. We inquired as to why we could not purchase one with the diesel and were told that it currently does not meet the more restrictive USA emissions standards. This seems to contradict my impression that European vehicles get better mileage and pollute less. To get a righthand drive, we ended up buying a Wrangler that gets 15 mpg. This doesn't make any sense. What's going on?
John Field
Union, ME

Editor: We want a diesel Jeep here more than you can believe, and Jeep just may be thinking the same thing. The market is ripe and we've been sticking our snout around pretty deeply; don't be too surprised if something surfaces for the aftermarket right from Jeep itself in the next few months.

Reader: My daily driver is a '92 XJ built into a very capable trail rig, with 4.5 inches of lift and 31-inch BFGs. With a lot of thought and care put into its design, and many "peripheral" upgrades, it is also a safe and well-mannered street vehicle. Just the same, it attracts unwarranted attention from the cops everywhere I go, and getting it inspected every year is a real hassle. My state has special registration plates for street rods and so-called "custom vehicles" (kit cars), which allow for a wide degree of exemptions and call for the mechanic performing the state inspection to use his "experience and discretion" in determining whether or not the vehicle is safe and sound. Why can't there be a similar special plate for a "custom 4x4?" I would love to start a 4x4 club in my area, and someday I want to build up a rig and apply for the Ultimate Adventure, but it seems my state government wants to make that very difficult for me.
Anders Benson
Brownville, ME

Editor: The best thing to do is to investigate those street-rod rules, and see if they can apply to your ride. Lots of states make exceptions for those vehicles; we just need a powerful enough lobby to make rules for us too!

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