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October 2008 Letters to the Editor - InBox

Posted in Features on October 1, 2008
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In your "Trail Tech for the First-Time Buyer" article (Aug. '08), there is a caption "The very basics of lockers" that goes on to state that the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and the Mercedes G-Class are the only two stock vehicles that come with a front and rear locker. What about the Dodge Power Wagon? Lockers or limited slip? I have a '07 Power Wagon that came stock with a front and rear locker, along with all the other items that make the Power Wagon what it is, a Rubicon on steroids. Not only can I go anywhere a fullsize will fit, but I can tow big time. Thanks for the clarification.

Michael Mcmurray

Let's see, we even put those axles in our Ultimate Adventure Rubicon JK, and then forgot to mention the Power Wagon in the aforementioned Trail Tech story. I'll flog each staffer for you, as we all read the copy, and are all to blame! Thanks for the catch!

OK, just to let you know my subscription has run out, but I am writing to tell you why I am not renewing and ask a question (that I probably will not get an answer to since every time I write I hear nothing back nor see anything in the mag). First, the reason I am not renewing is simple: 10-15 years ago your articles on someone's ride were three or four pages long. Now you're lucky to get two pages (if that) and the rest of the mag is advertising.

Case in point: "The Perfect Pumpkin" (July '08, page 58). Two pages but broken up by two pages of advertising! I have to rip out two pages just to get the full view of the largest picture! Now I know it costs money to run your mag but who wants all that advertising crap? If you need more money, why not just raise the price of the mag and subscription and give better quality articles as in years past.

Now for my question. On page 82 of the same issue, it talks about a diesel in a Wrangler (which at one time I, too, thought would be cool), but now diesel is over $4.21 a gallon (maybe more now), whereas gasoline is much cheaper. How are you saving money by having that diesel and paying more than 75 cents more per gallon of fuel? You would be better off with a 2.5L four-cylinder (like my Wrangler) and be able to put the cheap stuff in. I know it is underpowered but with a few modifications (which I am doing now) like a 63mm throttle body from a 4.0, a Helix spacer, a K&N intake and headers, it would help. The power gets better without much loss in mpg (with a light foot maybe a gain in mpg).

Also, does anyone make a stroker kit or is there any way to stroke out the little 2.5L four-cylinder? To me that would be cool, a little four-popper with some serious punch (I had a Honda CRX Civic SI with just a stock four-cylinder that really screamed. Why can't we build that into the Jeep 2.5L? I used to race mustangs with V-8s and could keep up. Then I could blow them away on the back roads). All that said, I wish you would answer my e-mail and give me a reason to keep the subscription alive. But in this fast-paced world, I'm not counting on it. So I bid you farewell!

Jim Watkins

Well, we're sorry you aren't going to renew your subscription, but we fully understand your comments on the advertising. Unfortunately it's an evil necessity which pays the bills. We wish we had more room for longer stories, but we need more ads to pay for those edit pages. And you'll notice we put this ad in the middle so that you could rip it out; its smaller size shows the intent of this type of insertion.

Concerning not getting a reply to your e-mail, I apologize. I do read every e-mail, but with more than 300 a day coming in, I can't respond to each one personally or I wouldn't have the time to produce the magazine.

As for the diesel question you posed, the fact is that diesel has higher energy content and is more economical in the long run. Yes, the fuel price is higher, but the power output and fuel economy evens it out. And for the OEs not making a powerful four-popper that can blow away V-8s? Well, then they couldn't sell the V-8s and make money now, could they?

I have compared several pictures from all angles of the new Hummer HX concept truck (Drivelines, May '08) to the '81 IHC Scout III Prototype. The HX is clearly plagiarized from the Scout III. Check it out for yourself. You likely have archive photos of the Scout III, but an Internet search will bring up lots of results.

Ken Flowerday

Yeah, we looked it up, and we actually published the whole story in our Dec. '78 edition. Sad to say, Scout never quite made it past this stage, and we doubt they will be coming up with anything else very soon. Thanks for the update!

In picture number 2 on page 99 of "Old Skool Beauty" (July '08), the shifter shown is for a T-4 or T-5, but lists it as a T-176. Thanks.

Richard Grantham
Ocala, FL

Sharp eye! The curved-style stick is indeed for a T-4 or T-5 tranny, not the T-176 mentioned. However, that's what was on the tech sheet so that's what is on the list. On the other hand, you missed the period at the end of the sentence in the body copy, so you aren't as sharp-eyed as we thought.

My "organ donor" '87 1-ton Chevy CUCV will reach its fourth anniversary this May (four years in our garage). I've grown thick-skinned from the teasing by my wife, family, friends, and even my 5-year-old son. The hood, cab, and bed serve as shelving and storage for all kinds of things. I sort of agree it's a little unfair that the new minivan has to sleep outside. But after reading Rick Pw's editorial (May '08), I know I'm not alone in this world. I guess I share in Mr. Pw's logic, and his logic (along with the rest of the staff) has kept me a magazine subscriber for 15 years.

The picture looks identical to the day my dad and I towed mine home from the Marine Corps Logistics Base (wooden chocks with the front tires properly turned into the curb). Certainly don't want it wandering off. Priceless!

S. Riggenbach
Govetown, GA

True, garage art is almost as precious as lawn art. I'm glad you are making the sacrifice for the good of the CUCV!

Upon stumbling across the article from the Desert Safari of 2008 ("Sun Wheeling in the Southwest," July '08), I found myself outraged at the picture of the Unimog with the children sitting on top in the bench. We were actually at the event and make it a yearly tradition to attend. In 2009 that will absolutely stop.

My family and group of 15 vehicles with friends and families were unlucky enough to get behind this man driving his Unimog with two children on top. Approaching the obstacle, all we could hear over the CB was several people commenting about the ignorance of this man not letting his children off the roof. I was confused until we got the unfortunate opportunity to see what everyone was talking about. He drove the safari route through the obstacles with his children on a bench, on top of this clearly top-heavy Unimog. We stopped our vehicle and my husband yelled at him in disgust to let the kids off. The children climbed down off quickly. They were clearly scared and "white-knuckled" as this thing was tipping from side to side. Very angry and concerned for the children, we reported it to the "Officials" of the Safari, as well as the only thing close to a Ranger we could find, a lifeguard, who did nothing.

As we were at several points throughout the day, we continued to see the Unimog with the children always back on top. This is more than an accident waiting to happen. It is devastation in the making. Then the picture in the article on page 62 promoting such horrifying ignorance was my final straw. It is an open desert, thanks to the off-road clubs and clean-up crews that work so hard to keep it that way. I will no longer be supporting a cause that is not promoting the safety of children (at the least). I will no longer extend my subscription to a magazine that finds such ignorance entertaining. I certainly hope I am not the only person or parent who feels this way. I discourage the participation in any event that allows children to be purposely put in extreme danger.

Alicia Jonsson

Thank you for your letter bringing this situation to our attention. We in no way promote a disregard to safety while using a 4x4. Unfortunately we did not see any of the described actions of the Unimog driver, nor did we ever hear anything about it. We saw this vehicle parked in camp with the children on top and took the photo, and published it as a great way to promote family participation at a great event. We feel that the children sitting on top of a non-moving vehicle is as safe as any other activity, and that is what we observed. If we had seen such actions on the trail, we would not have used such a photo.

I have been a subscriber for more than 22 years. I had to write you a note and ask you why you gave credit to BlueRibbon Coalition and United Four Wheel Drive Associations, but no contact information or Web page? Also, why don't you give a full page to these groups for membership drives? These groups are in the forefront in keeping our trails open. I would think you will be losing subscribers when there is no place to go, and there will be no reason for us to buy off-road accessories! These two groups have shown they know what to do and have been there for all of us. Why would you not want the sport to grow and get bigger? I live in Montana and we are in a fight with the greenies that will not stop soon. So again, why don't you devote a whole page to these groups to get new members and raise money for this kind of battle? Do you and your staff all belong to these groups?

ED Melcher, Chairman
Families for Outdoor Recreation (

Right you are, and we appreciate it being brought to our attention. We almost always source whomever we are talking about, and especially our friends at BlueRibbon Coalition ( and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (, but sometimes we miss out. Now we even have your link on our Web site, and hopefully more people will take advantage of that, even us!

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