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4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
We Want This 4x4
Reader: As an avid U.K. subscriber, I'd say, great mag. If any of your U.S. readers don't feel they get fair coverage of their favoured make of rig they should try living here and not driving a Land Rover! I reckon all the time you're getting equal complaints from Chevy, Ford, Jeep, Toyota guys you've probably got the balance about right!
Anyway, the point of this letter is that a couple of issues ago you said that the solid front axle Land Cruiser was still available overseas, then you corrected yourselves in the next issue and said it had "gone the way of the dodo," but guess what; you were right all along. You can still buy a brand-new 70 series 'Cruiser from Toyota, with a solid front axle, but only if you live in South Africa! Check out www.toyota.co.za/models/gallery.aspx?id=7 and have a look. I've included a pic. Not sure about the looks, but it does have a solid front end and a big diesel lump under the bonnet (hood). Anyway, thanks for the mag.
Editor: Man, that thing looks better than what we have, and is a real solid axle! In fact, it looks much like the Mercedes G-Wagen, don't you think?
Titan vs. Tundra
Reader: I am an avid longtime reader of your mag, and I have always thoroughly enjoyed the time spent perusing its pages. But the cover page of my July '08 edition got me thinking about how times have changed. Tundra vs. Titan 10-page shootout! What happened to good ol' Ford versus Chevy? I understand that things do change, and we have to change with it, but it still saddens me that our products may no longer be the world's gold standard. As a skilled tradesman working for one of the Detroit 3 (we can't be called the Big 3 anymore), I see first hand what is happening to our automotive industry in this country. But unlike most who complain about this, I see that it is not the fault of the big corporations. They are out to make a buck the best way possible. Who can blame them? So am I! We need to remember that what made us the best in the first place was our innovation, ingenuity, and pride in what we were making. There is too much finger pointing at the other guy for our problems and unhappiness in this country. It's time to get up off of our red-blooded American butts, and make an effort to be better than the best again! We have to do it at our level-the American worker, and the corporations will again see that we are the best way to make a buck! And maybe some magazine in Japan will be printing Ford vs. Chevy on its cover!
Editor: We hope it happens exactly like that. And we now have the new Dodge Ram and the new Ford F-150 coming out this year. Be sure to stay tuned for that test!
Reader: In the June '08 issue (I know I'm behind in my reading, but I've been training to go to Iraq this summer and haven't had much time at home), on page 92 Jerrod Jones wrote a Neat, New & Basic article about the RAD-1 digital inclinometer. In this article, in the caption for the second picture, he incorrectly refers to pitch as "the side-to-side (pitch) angles" and roll as "the front-to-back (roll) angles." Mr. Jones has the two terms reversed. Pitch is the front-to-back angle and roll is the side-to-side angle. Thank you for the great magazine and I look forward to reading upcoming issues out in the desert, dreaming about what next to do to my '87 'Yota. Keep up the good work.
Camp Pendleton, CA
Editor: Well, we pitched Jerrod over to Off Road magazine after that incident, and he's on a roll!
Rally Around, Boys
Reader: Hello fellow wheelers! First off I'd like to thank you and your crew for doing a great job! I've learned so much about the art of four-wheeling and the awesome machines that we build, use, and love. I've noticed, however, that there aren't very many articles on rally cars. Are these not four-wheel-drive and off-road vehicles? While you may think that this spectrum of the sport is less popular in our country, I feel that your magazine is one of the largest influences in the off-road world. Thus recognition by your magazine would help its popularity progress. A lot of people don't realize the amount of work that goes into these purpose-built vehicles for off road. So what do you say? How about a little more? Thank you for your time and again, keep up the good work!
Editor: We actually like rally cars, but we tend to get in trouble with the rental companies. Unfortunately most of our readers prefer other styles of wheeling, but we plan to do some rally stuff in the next season.
Department Of Corrections
Reader: In the MOROC event coverage ("Arkansas Rock Racing," Sept. '08), we listed a Danny Moore as the driver of the black Jeep Cherokee when in fact it was none other than Darius Melton. And for you very studious readers you'll notice that we spelled it MUROC on the contents page. Our minds must have been thinking of the old Muroc dry lakebed. Thanks for keeping us on our toes!
In our October 4xForward editorial, we mistakenly called Curt Lively of Broken Road "Carl," for no apparent reason whatsoever. Here's a photo of Andy Parker on the left and Curt Lively on the right. Notice the leaf paint job on Carl's-er, Curt's-Jeep. Look for more of that in a future issue.
I just finished reading the July '08 issue. As a CJ-8 owner I was especially interested in the article on Glen Wanczyk's Jeep on page 98. However, the main article seems to just end mid sentence. If there is more let me know where I can read the rest of it.
Editor: Well, guess what, you were right! It took us a bit to figure out that a small change in the body copy led to a deletion we missed at the end. The final sentence should read
Death of Diesel
Reader: I've reread your technical article on the coming 2.8 CRD offering from Mopar (July '08). I'm really wondering if someone's been eating too many wild mushrooms or there is some new math taught out there?
I have an '03 Wrangler Sport with a five-speed that regularly gets 18.3-21.1 with the Dana 44 (3.73) factory upgrade turning 33-inch BFGs. Shift when the light tells you to and you're good. Why would one spend $11,000 to get barely 5 mpg better mileage? The break-even point would be never on this investment.
I'd like to see some encouragement given "Mother Mopar" to offer the Compass/Patriot 2.0 CRD that sites claim anywhere from 45+mpg average to the "Jeep Fuel Economy Challenge" which states 66-67 mpg driving from London to Poland on one tank of fuel. Now that's what I'm talking about! The Compass/Patriot curb weight is comparable and I don't know if I'd miss the few bhp and lb-ft knowing I was getting double the mileage.
I'm researching getting one of those motors here. I'd run the CRD 50 weeks of the year and then swap the 4.0 back in at inspection time just to piss 'em all off. NYS has tailpipe emissions sniffing at inspection and my regular gas motor has to be passing unleaded to the sniffer or I'll have some splainin' to do.
Food for thought.
Orchard Park, NV
Editor: Good point. The pay-back point on diesels as well as hybrids is not exactly quick, but at least the OEs are making progress with this sort of technology and swaps. Remember, the first guys who swapped small-block Chevys into flat fenders in the '50s were called nuts as well.
Reader: Good for you for continuing to champion responsible environmental stewardship while we travel the backcountry in our rigs. What we need is compromise and cooperation amongst all of us who appreciate the wilderness-this is how adults solve problems. Strange as it may seem, I am a long-standing member of the Sierra Club and other "green" environmental groups and yet I'm an avid four-wheeler. For years I've combined backpacking, climbing, and low-range crawling in the mountains and deserts of the west.
We are subjected to such ridiculous, ignorant extremism spewed from both camps, with wheelers whining about antiaccess tree-hugging eco-Nazis, and equally ignorant and arrogant environmentalist activists claiming that every faint old two-track should be closed and that every four-wheeler out in the backcountry is a thoughtless pillaging vandal.
There is no argument at all that our paramount priority must be the long-term health of the natural environment and we four-wheelers cannot deny that an irresponsibly driven vehicle can destroy the environment like no pair of hiking boots can. That being said, well-meaning conservation groups such as the Sierra Club must recognize that a desert two-track or a rocky vehicle route through the forest has a negligible adverse effect on the wilderness, as long as those who drive these routes do so responsibly and respectfully. And to the extent that these four-wheel-drive routes introduce folks to the beauty and solitude of nature, who otherwise couldn't visit and appreciate such rugged country, then four-wheeling can actually enhance the overall protection and stewardship of the wilderness environment.
Let's stop the childish name-calling and denigrating of other outdoor user groups and start cooperative projects with environmental organizations. Perhaps if some open-minded Sierra Club officials were taken on a trip on the Dusy-Ershim Route or out into the Maze of Canyonlands, they'd change their tune about four-wheeling and maybe even go out shopping for a backcountry rig as soon as they got home.
Thanks for a terrific magazine. I'm sending a similar letter right now to the Sierra Club Journal.
Dr. Alec Isabeau
Santa Rosa, CA
Editor: I'm in, anytime, anywhere. Set it up, Doc, and I'll be behind you. Let us know about the reply from the Sierra Club.