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June 2010 InBox

Posted in Features on June 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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We Were Wrong
Hey there, crew. I just wanted to start off by saying that I love this magazine and you do a great job. I noticed in your Apr. '10 issue, in "Wheel Bolt Patterns," that the tire and wheel chart incorrectly states a bolt pattern of 6-on-41/2 for '91-'09 Dodge Dakotas. Dodge actually switched over to a 5-on 51/2 in 2005 on those trucks. Keep up the great work!
Bruce Dirdin
Frostburg, MD

Yep, we blew it! That should have been '04 instead of '09. Good catch!

I tried to email your in box at, but I got the email back, so I'll try this. I got a good chuckle out of the "ask GM" article in your Apr. '10 issue (Nuts & Bolts). Me and a few people I know have the opinion that GM doesn't care what their customers want. I've driven Chevrolets most of my life. Between my wife and me, we drive three Chevys. My wife drives an '05 Silverado 3500 with a DuraMax. I drive a '98 Z71 for a work truck. I also have a '77 K1500 short-box Stepside powered by a 454.

If GM cared what their customers wanted, they would be building a rear-wheel-drive Impala by now. The reason they won't put a straight front axle or a manual transmission in a truck is the same reason there is no lever for the transfer case, and why they have heated seats and all the other whistles and buzzers: so women will buy them.
Dave R. Prouty
Mantorville, MN

Wow, you are so wrong on both counts! First, you used the wrong email address. It should be Second, since when are women the reason many trucks have IFS, automatics, and a knob for the transfer case? Sorry, I bet even your wife will admit that it's focus groups and marketing folks who craft questions like, "Would you like an extra cupholder?" instead of, "Do you want a real truck?" Don't blame the women for namby pamby trucks. It's your fault for buying them rather than demanding what's right.

How do I get into this business?
I don't know if this would be the proper department to direct this to, but I have a kind of personal question. I'm 23 years old and am currently in my last semester of college. I'm an avid Jeep enthusiast and am very interested in all things off-road. I guess my biggest question to you is what would be some productive steps toward a career in the off-road industry. Any and all information would be a fantastic help. If you can't give any suggestions but know of anyone that could, please forward my email along to as many people as you can. The more input the better. I seek your advice because you guys have an outstanding magazine and are a very prominent name in the off-road world. Thanks so much in advance.
Ryan Osteen
Cocoa, FL

I posed your question to the staff since your question is so broad. Here's what we came up with.

ALI MANSOUR WRITES: The off-road industry is similar to other major industries around the globe, as it has many avenues that you can go down. Whether your specialties are in sales, engineering, welding, writing, or website mastering, there are plenty of ways to make a decent living. My best advice is to find a role that makes you happy and still puts some change in your pocket. The off-road world is great, but for many that transition from enthusiast to fulltime 4x4 guru is a tough one to make. Don't be afraid to try a host of different positions. I have had my share of 4x jobs, and finding out what I didn't want to do put me that much closer to finding the job that was right for me. Best of luck.

DREW HARDIN ADDS: Network, network, network. Talk to your club buddies, your shop buddies, anyone involved in the industry/hobby to see what kinds of jobs are available in your area.

KEVIN MCNULTY SUGGESTS: Go to medical school!

TO WHICH FRED WILLIAMS RESPONDS: Go to medical school and spend your money on your truck and go wheeling every weekend!

Satisfying the Masses
I was going through some old magazines today and I stumbled across a submission by Erik Charle in the Mar. '09 issue ("Ultimate Adventure Sidekicks," In Box). He proposed that you guys build a project Tracker. I think that is a wonderful idea, because I have a '93 Geo Tracker and I am starting to modify it to be a capable street-legal mud and trail rig. I would really appreciate some tips/ideas from your professional opinion. Building one would satisfy both Erik and me and I'm sure at least two or three other guys that read your magazine. Plus, it would show some of the low-horsepower skeptics that you don't have to have a V-8 to have a capable rig.
Dillon King
Lacona, IA

I think you answered your own question, Dillon. While we love the Tracker and agree that one doesn't need a V-8 to have fun, all five of our readers that want that story will have to be satisfied with another, more common and popular type of rig for the example. Unless of course you want to give me your Tracker for me to play with.

Price Your Parts!
Regarding the Mar. '10 letter from Kenny Jans concerning printed pricing ("Why No Real Prices?" In Box), I must agree with him. I can also point to an alternate solution to your response. For many years my second-favorite magazine has been your sister publication Car Craft (shh, don't tell them they aren't number one). Several years back they chose to begin including price data for all their projects at the end of each article, and I have personally found that information very useful. Their solution to readers finding issue with estimated price data was to offer a straightforward list of the actual costs they incurred, rather than trying to estimate the cost a typical reader could expect to pay.

If they trade for a part, receive a discount or help from a friend, strike a great deal on eBay, or get a discount due to their status as a nationally known publication, they simply make a note of it. As a reader, this gives me an estimate with the right number of zeroes, but allows me to make a quick individual assessment of my own likely cost, depending on what I have to trade or my own network of friends and contacts. As a reader, I've found this very valuable.

Either way, thanks for all the hard work from your staff to put out this publication. I've been a subscriber for years, and unlike some of the whiners I've seen in the letters lately, I won't demand a refund if you think my idea is total bunk.
Chuck Sanders
Smithfield, VA

Your ideas are good, Chuck. However, we will stick with giving the price of some stuff and "about" estimates for the most part. Check out our "27 Hot New Products" on page 34 for an example.

More Toys Wanted
I have noticed that the majority of your magazine articles are steered toward Jeeps. I understand that there may be more Jeep enthusiast out there than any other 4x4 enthusiast, but I was wondering if you could make a magazine more toward Toyota. I have an '89 4Runner and I'm not looking for any article in particular, but I would just like to do a little more Toyota reading. Thank you.
Kenny Lambeth
Goose Creek, SC

Well, Kenny, just keep reading, as we have a whole new project build going on about Squishy, the little Toyota that could. Old, cheap, and easy is what Squishy is, but it's right up there with the tech of any good trail machine. Next month our executive editor, Kevin McNulty, will delve into the beast a bit further and reveal some good stuff for your reading enjoyment.

Where Are My Dodges?
I am an avid reader of what I used to think was the greatest magazine in print. But as of my most recent issue, Feb. '10, in which you did a readers' rides section, I was dismayed. I saw Fords, Chevys, corn binders, Jeeps, one Dodge that really isn't a Dodge but a Chevy in Dodge clothing, and some really weird wheelers. But no Dodge section. Why? No Dodge entries? So what's the deal? I love this magazine and usually it is very helpful. Thanks for the good work.
Dave "Mopar" Caudill
Aztec, NM

Sorry, Dave, we really wish there could have been more balance in what we showed, but the Dodge community didn't send any photos we could use. We need high-resolution digital photos or quality photographic prints, and without objectionable material. Where was your entry, Dave?

Reader Rant
Please Keep the Ultimate Adventure!
I just finished reading the 4xForward by Rick Péwé ("Ultimate Adventure: The Next Generation," Mar. '10). I have been a longtime fan of your magazine, and even though I am not a subscriber yet I have almost every copy of your mag, sometimes two or three copies, as I always forget what issue I have and end up picking up another one.

That being said, I want to talk about the 4xForward where Rick talks about the Ultimate Adventure and the next generation of it. I would like to make a suggestion that you keep the Ultimate Adventure the same as it is now. All points Rick made are valid, and I agree wholeheartedly, but I am also in the beginning stages of building a 400-plus-horsepower small-block 331 power '77 Bronco. I am hoping to finish with a custom swing-arm four-link rear Detroit-locked 9-inch, a manual three-speed C4 with a reverse-pattern shifter, a Dana 44 with an Ox Locker, a full rollcage, and onboard air/tanked bumpers, and I am planning on using the ISIS power wiring harness and Fox bypass coilovers. I hope to have it sit on 37-inch Baja Claws on steel rims with inner air locks. It is my dream to one day submit my application to become part of your Ultimate Adventure, and reading [your column] kind of squished those dreams if indeed you do remove it and make it more of a weekend adventure or an Ultimate Adventure Lite trail ride.

Please keep the Ultimate Adventure. If you must (and I do agree), maybe add a weekend adventure, an extreme adventure, or even a UA Lite for those of us who have 33-inch BFGs and stock K&N-filter powerplants, but please, please keep the UA. It's kind of like pro sports. These are the guys who have been wheeling and doing this stuff all their lives, and I would call them the pros. I love to follow along and watch them in action. And again, I plan to be in the majors one day with my rig.

I am hoping there are a lot of readers like me out there that would love to see the UA continue in its current form as well as add something a little different for the Junior Leaguers.
Greg Barr
Georgetown, Ontario, Canada

No problem, Greg. Although we will make some changes, the UA will stay true to form!

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: Editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 310.531.9368
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