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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos.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 just finished reading "Don't Waste Time Or Our Land" (4xForward, June '08), and had a thought. I belong to the OHV Volunteers group here in the San Bernardino Forest of California. We have about 250 members and are always out on the trails educating the public about proper wheeling. The problem is we just can't get enough info out. We either need more volunteers or more ways to put the info out.
How about putting a monthly section in the magazine that tells what we and other volunteer groups are doing to keep our trails and forest open? We hit an all-time high in Big Bear last weekend of 500 volunteer hours in a single weekend and we need more of that. Myself and a few others would be happy to submit reports every month if that will help to get the info out to your readers.
Editor: The best way for timely information dissemination is on our website (www.4wheeloffroad.com). Get on the forums and post away! And for the updates send a paragraph and a photo our way and we'll see what we can do! We want to promote responsible wheeling and cleanup campaigns, and telling the wheeling community is one way to increase action.
Reader: I agree that normal, stock IFS/IRS doesn't work off road, but how much normal stock stuff does? I know it's easy to build and use solid axles, but with time and money and smart people, I think IS can go a long way. I remember a picture of a rockcrawler in (hopefully) your magazine a couple of years back, with IS all around, jacked up on a 6x6 block and still barely off the ground! If you could have that setup, or similar, as a near bolt-in, with strength on par with a solid axle, wouldn't you do it? I know I would. I'm biased because I have IS front and rear on my quad, and it runs rings around solid axles, both going slow where you need articulation and going fast where you need cushioning and control. By the way, it rides better and has over 50 percent more ground clearance to boot! Thanks.
Niton Junction, Alberta, Canada
Editor: The operative word is if.
Ultimate Adventure Expenses, and Digital Subscriptions
Reader: I am stationed out in Kittery, Maine, right now with the Coast Guard. I have plans to eventually be ready for the Ultimate Adventure. I saw almost everyone seems to have BFGoodrich tires on their rigs. Is this because the sponsor gives everyone tires or just because it is a popular tire? I noticed, if I remember correctly, that Dynatrac was out with you too. If you blow out a tire or an axle component do they just help repair it, but you have to get the parts? Or do they provide parts at a cost or no cost to you but have them available barring any oddities on your rig? I guess in the end I'd like to know what is provided and what do you have to pay for? This way I can plan accordingly and save up for the trip to be able to handle any unwanted expenses. The only other two things I can think of is how much wheeling experience should I acquire before I apply and also even if you aren't selected can you show up on your own dime entirely? Thanks for your time and I really do like the magazines you guys put out. Once in a while I notice something that really catches my eye. I do wish I could get just a digital subscription online (I have to check in case you already have that) like Scientific American has. It allows me to take more magazines to read and reread on patrols at sea and saves paper and clutter around the house.
Thanks again and have fun wheeling. I'll be out at sea or in port calls down south somewhere drinking rum punch.
Editor: Many times sponsors, such as our Title Sponsor BFGoodrich Tires, offer products, but we are not bound to use their products or any other sponsor's parts. Just like a regular wheeling trip you are entirely responsible for all parts and products, as well as gas, food, and lodging. As far as experience goes, the more the better, but this year we had a few with only a year or two on trails and they did great. And we do offer a digital subscription at www.zinio.com.
The New Lift Math
Reader: First and foremost: I love your mag. It's my favorite and I eagerly wait for it each month. In your "Leaf-spring Basics" (Sept. '08), a caption for a photo surprised me. It stated that the subject Jeep went from 28- to 33-inch tires, gaining 5 inches of lift. This is incorrect and could be misleading to readers new to four-wheeling who are looking for info to build their own rigs. Based on circle measurements, tire height (diameter) would gain 5 inches, but actual vehicle clearance gain at the diff (radius) would be 2.5 inches. I'm sure it was just a slip-up. Keep up the good work.
Editor: You are right, but what we failed to mention was that the Jeep received a 21/2-inch lift at the same time. Adding that to the 21/2-inch gain in tire radius, makes a total of 5 inches of lift. But did you notice that not all the lug nuts were on the wheels? Fortunately that was for photography, not driving!
Save our Trails
Reader: Im searching for some guidance. A group of wheelers in my area, including myself, are trying to get organized into a club to help keep the few local trails clean and most of all open for public use. We would like to build a relationship with the local police, fish and game, and the land owners so that we can help solve some of the problems that arise. We are just a small group that would like to make a difference in the community and clean up the name of wheelers in this area. So if you have any advice or have any organizations that could lead use in the right direction, it would be of great help.
Editor: Look to the BlueRibbon Coalition (www.sharetrails.org) and the United Four Wheel Drive Associations (www.ufwda.org) for help, as well as your state 4x4 association. They will all be happy to help you organize volunteers for trail work. Keeping the local law enforcement and land managers in the loop is a great idea, and can be beneficial to all concerned.
Where to Send Cash
Reader: Hello. Great mag! Keep up the good work! Let me get to the point. Being an off-roader, I am looking for a nonprofit organization to donate some money to from the profits of my eBay store. Any information would be great. We need to keep all the trails open so we can enjoy them to the fullest for years to come.Danny
Editor: [Editor's note: We sent Danny's email to Del Albright, the 4x4 Ambassador to the BlueRibbon Coalition. Here's Dell's reply]
The good folks at 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine sent me your note about a good nonprofit that is helping to save our trails and sports nationwide. That would be the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), for one big one. I'm the 4x4 Ambassador for BlueRibbon and here are the reasons I say that BRC is the one to put on your list of productive and effective recreation groups on our side.
BlueRibbon Coalition champions responsible use of our public lands, all across the country. Most all the magazines support BRC or run their ads. They sponsor me to be the Trail Boss of the Friends of the Rubicon, and they have a very strong legal team (lawyers). BRC covers all aspects of recreation-horses, 4x4s, mountain bikes, quads, snowmobiles, dune buggies, you name it. Because most of us do more than one sport (such as pull our rigs on trailers behind our 4x4 truck that we also hunt in or use for cutting firewood), BRC is my choice for a national nonprofit that is fighting for all our rights, public and private.
If I can offer more info, or answer any questions, please drop me a note.
Reader: I have been buying this magazine for about 15 years now and have just recently subscribed. (I like the decals and other extras that come with the store-bought mag.) I always read from cover to cover and I think the part that I like the most is In Box. What is it with people? Almost every month there is someone whining that there were too many Jeeps in a previous issue. Then someone else will whine that there were not enough, and so on with almost every vehicle make/model.
Every year it seems like someone had the need to complain about your choice for 4x4 of the Year. They almost always say that your pick is not a rockcrawler, mud truck, or extreme trail truck. Why is it so hard for people to understand that you are not testing rockcrawlers, mud trucks, or trail trucks? You are testing all the capabilities of the 4x4s of that model year. Now, your testing I can see helps a lot of people pinpoint the ups and downs of the vehicle they might be choosing to buy.
For those of you who like to complain about the 4x4 of the Year, please ask yourself, have you ever even driven one?
I know these letters must be amusing to the staff and other readers. Heck, I'm sure you laugh just as hard as I do when I read them, but it just seems like people need to start realizing what the name of the magazine means. 4-Wheel & Off-Road, not just off-road.
Editor: Good points, and thanks for subscribing!
Reader Rant on IFS
Reader: You guys are morons! Before you threw all that time and effort at the Red Sled ("The Sled Is Dead," July '08), did you think to ask somebody at GM what the designed limits are (the torque rating) of the unit in question? I have a stock IFS under my '93 Blazer. I run the stock 350 and a 4-inch Rancho lift kit and Remington mud tires, and have had no problem beating this daily driver around Spring Creek Offroad Park. It goes places Jeep Rubicons have trouble! Not bad for what I gave my brother-in-law for it.
Editor: Thanks for the compliment. You have a point. However we could easily get the torque rating for the front differential on the Red Sled, but that's just a number that we knew we would exceed. Big tires, low gears, extreme weight, and hard wheeling are what killed the Sled; what we attempted to do was make it as strong as possible. Your Blazer is running relatively small tires, and is lightweight, and we're happy you haven't had any problems wheeling. If you want to check it out yourself, increase your tire size, increase the weight, and lower your gear ratio and increase the torque multiplication. Oh, and empty your pocketbook as well.