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October 2009 Letters To The Editor - In Box

Posted in Features on October 1, 2009
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Submission Information
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 Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos.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.

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

Email to:

Times Change
Reader: It was 1980-something when I saw a picture in a magazine of a new Toyota pickup. It was blue and had a four-cylinder, leafsprings, gray steel wheels, and a solid front axle. I was in high school, and that was a cool truck! Who would have thought that 25-plus years later Toyota would be selling the Tundra with a V-8?

I'm flipping through the pages of your July '09 magazine and see two white pickups (pages 16-17): the '10 Mahindra and '10 Tundra. It makes me wonder: What will the '35 Mahindra look like?

Thanks for a great magazine, and keep up the good work!
Claus Graf
Houston, TX

Editor: Trucks do change over time, just like cars and people. Bigger, longer, lower, fatter, wider. Isn't that what we want in a truck or a person?

Ultimate Adventure Idea
Reader: I just had an epiphany! I have a great idea for this year's Ultimate Adventure. Since McNulty is resurrecting the Ultimate Taco, why not have everyone on the staff bring back one of the old UA vehicles (one per staff member) and then see whose revived rig can wheel the best in a friendly competition on the UA? I know that Pw still has the M38-A1, so that can be his. Why not let Mansour do the Super Duty, and Fred can try to salvage the yellow K10, if there's anything left of it after Pw's little Moab trip. As for the FJ Ninja Turtle, I know it's slated for the scrap heap. Maybe you could let me wheel the Ultimate Z71, since this was my idea. What do you say?
Andy Black
Warner Robbins, GA

Editor: Wow, are you psychic? We had the same idea, then realized there wouldn't be room for readers on the trip, just us. So we decided that Kevin McNulty would build up the Super Duty (the story starts on page 78). That way, more readers and more fun! Make sure to follow the buildup as well as the Ultimate Adventure coverage in the November and December issues.

Back Issue Dilemma
Reader: I am sure at some time in past issues you have written articles or featured the military Dodge M880 4x4 truck models. Can you advise which back issue, and is there a way for me to find back issues of this mag or other mags in the Petersen family to purchase? I have four of these trucks.
Dan Bever
Darlington, IN

Editor: We'll trade our entire collection of back issues for one of your Dodges, deal? The trouble is you would have to go through each mag and look for the articles yourself, as we don't have a system that keeps track of stories, except our website There you can enter a search for the words you are looking for, such as "Dodge M880," and see what you find. If you ever do find something, you can click on "Contact Us" on the website to go to the backorder department. Good luck!

Give A Colorado Some Canyon Love
Reader: I have noticed that you have done some bang-up jobs on some of the new trucks that come out; one notably is the Suzuki Equator. I have been looking through your articles, and I am a subscriber and have been for four years since I bought my '04 GMC Canyon. I have noticed that you have yet to do anything on the 355 family from GM. Frankly, I am disappointed. These trucks do have a lot of potential and are fairly able machines from the factory, Why hasn't there been any write-ups or project vehicles on them? I understand that you do not have time or the budget to do every vehicle that comes out on the market, but where these trucks have been since there for almost five years now, I think it is time we in the 355 family get some love.

Editor: You are right; we haven't done much with these rides. One of the main reasons is that we don't own one. Another reason is that they are too expensive still, so we can't afford one. Plus, we highly doubt GM is interested in giving away a taxpayers' ride for us to fix up at this time. However, we'll keep it in mind and keep scouring the classifieds for good deals we can score.

We Agree
Reader: In Kevin McNulty's article on Johnson Valley in the June '09 issue there is a heading labeled "The Geography" under which McNulty goes on to say, "The rocks are mostly igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary."

I believe that your editor has a geology background, and clearly this information is geology, not geography. Also, Pw should let McNulty know that all rocks fall into one of the three categories above, so it really isn't a very useful description. A minor gripe in an otherwise good article though!
Gene Savage
Golden, CO

Editor: Yeah, we both laughed pretty hard at that one, as it was one of those midnight-thirty writing gaffs. Then we decided to let it go through to see who would catch it! So, you win an all-expenses-paid trip to Johnson Valley-meaning all expenses paid by you, of course. But send us your address and we'll send you a genuine 4WOR license plate as thanks for your sharp eye and wit.

Reader Rant
No Nimrods?
Reader: This is in response to Rob Bukacek's "Questionable Photos" letter in the In Box section of your June '09 issue. (Please read the following letter with humor, as that is the intention!)

I take exception to the derogatory usage of nimrod in this article. The real definition is a Biblical term meaning "mighty hunter, outdoorsman." This happens to be our school mascot! I am a Nimrod, my kids are Nimrods, and my wife teaches Nimrods! My oldest boy is in Afghanistan, so there is even a Nimrod in Afghanistan!

I just want to let you guys know what real Nimrods drive and do. The enclosed pictures are of our property that we take great care of. The snow and ice have just left, and although we do not have rock trails or big mud pits, we do have muddy logging trails for duck and grouse hunting or just plain four-wheeling with their cousins and friends. Nylon tow straps are essential!

Both jeeps were basket cases. The blue Jeep my son put together two years ago, and the green Jeep I put together 18 years ago. This is the first vehicle all of my children learned to drive! All of them have managed to put their mark on it. From bent fenders, broke windshield, bent bumpers, to missing tail lights, we have something "wrong" all the time.

One son is working on another CJ2A, while another is working on a '54 Jeep pickup. I chuckle to myself when I see bumper stickers on some brand-new Jeeps: "It's a Jeep Thing". I don't think those guys have any idea what a real Jeep is, much less have worked on one!
George A. Zelinski
Watersmeet, MI

Editor: Those are a bunch of good-looking Jeeps, and thanks for the correction, Nimrod. If we make it to the U.P. this year, we might look you up!

Stupid Duty
Reader: I've been following the Ultimate Super Duty throughout its career at 4-Wheel & Off-Road. It's one of my favorite vehicles that y'all have ever built. It even inspired me to build my own M1008 CUCV with 46-inch XMLs.

My suggestions:
(1) I hate to see the 395/85R20 XMLs go, but I understand how bad they suck off road. I hope you can find another cool and somewhat unique tire to use on this truck. Hint hint...please not another 40-inch Krawler. I love Krawlers, but I'm a little bored with them.

(2) I've followed the axle drama over the years, and it sure would be cool to implement the "new" super 60 and 80 axles you have showcased in over the last few months.

(3) As much as I like the look of the factory bed, if I understand the purpose of this truck correctly, a semicustom flat bed would be ideal. It would be higher clearance, make for easier storage, and make it easier for short people or old men to access the bed. (I'm not throwing around any names, but you know who you are.)

(4) Please don't chop up the wheelbase.

(5) Please keep it simple enough that the average guy could at least dream of the possibility of duplicating your build.

(6) Great choice in using ORD as a building crew. I have a lot of respect for those guys. They have been very good to me over the years. Please tell Stephen that I finally sold the front axle containing the first set of Superior D60 axles to come through his shop.
Bill Daugherty
Via email

Editor: Hey, you been spying on us? Check out page 78 in this issue for more info.

Wrong Song?
Reader: In regard to "EZ Install Chevy Lift" (July '09), the proper Hank Williams Jr. song quote is: "I got a shotgun, rifle, and a four-wheel drive... a country boy can survive." Did you change it on purpose? If so, I see the dog. Where's the rifle?
Marc Barilla

Editor: Well, since we live in California the last thing we need is for anyone to see a rifle or shotgun in the back-window gunrack. Unfortunately this isn't Wyoming or Montana. Trust us, we know where the rifle is. And we also know the words weren't the same as the song. Our apologies to Hank.

Waste not, want not
Reader: Hey, I just got the July issue in the mail and read in the In Box that y'all are sending the Turtle to the crusher. I understand why. One question: Are y'all going to take off all of those heavy-duty parts that y'all put on it? It would be a shame to waste all those big axles, the winch bumper, and everything else you put on it.

You only need a forklift to put it in the crusher.
William Richardson
from where?

Editor: We are salvaging whatever is left of the poor beast, and Toyota gets the rest for its techs to tinker on before it becomes tin trinkets. Oh, and we do have a forklift lined up too, with all the parts already spoken for. Good try!

Reader: I have one simple question. In your seemingly endless knowledge of all things four-wheel drive, do you think a 4x4 built with store-bought bolt-ons is better/more capable than a homegrown, redneck-engineered, blood-sweat-and-gears rig? In my humble opinion, it's all about what you build, not what you buy! Build it, break it, rebuild it stronger!
Tracy Smith
Vancouver, WA

Editor: My favorite shirt from Moab this year said it all: "You can't bolt on experience."

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