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November 2010 Inbox - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on November 1, 2010
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Insurance Debate
In "Reader Rave" (In Box, Sept. '10) you actually hit the target with your question (insure the driver). I am in full agreement with that statement. It would be much better for those of us that have multiple vehicles, as the insurance costs would be so much simpler to adjust to. I have to keep moving the insurance around as I move vehicles into storage and back out, as weather dictates my choice. If the driver was insured all cars would be covered. You would still need comp on all cars so they are protected while not being driven, but the savings and "paperwork" would be reduced, helping the insurance companies too. Thanks for such a fine magazine.
Gary Case

Unfortunately I don't think that will ever happen. It makes way too much sense and would save the consumer way too much money. How would the insurance companies survive?

Nuts, I'm Confused
Whatever happened to the ads for those really cool plastic gonads?
Dave Holmes
Santa Monica, CA

How do you reply to a question like this? I guess the economy hits below the belt as well.

Bottle Babies
I have a dilemma. My wife and I love to go exploring in the Northwoods for the weekend, which means we need to take along all the necessary supplies for Backwoods travel and campfire entertainment. The problem is that our favorite adult beverages are usually in glass bottles, so here is my two-part dilemma: What is the best way to keep those glass bottles from rattling around in the cooler while you crawl your way back into the woods (I usually have the cooler inside my Jeep), and what is the best way to haul out the empty glasses for the trip back? I have enough trouble figuring out all the other little noises and rattles in the truck without being distracted by rattling and rolling glass! Anyhow, your input is appreciated; I know Fred and Péwé both have experience with this because Corona tastes the best in glass bottles!
Joe Schmidt

Joe, keep the Corona in the carton. The cardboard dividers keep them from clinking. Replace the full ones with empties as you rotate your stock in the cooler. The cardboard tends to get soaked from the cooler melt if you don't have a ARB or Engle fridge/freeze, but usually lasts a weekend. And if you don't drink Corona make your own dividers to handle the bottles. A word of caution: Many off-road areas, parks, and federal and state lands prohibit bottles. That's because of the idiots who break and leave them or throw them in a fire, ruining it for everyone. Check your local laws before you get into a predicament just because you appreciate glass bottles.

Orange Appeal
Do my eyes deceive me, or does the orange Jeep on page 60 have some sort of IFS in it ("What 2 Pack 4 Moab," Aug. '10)?
Travis Shepard

You are a sharp reader! That's a new IFS Jeep with H1 axle assemblies. It belongs to Pat Gremillion of Premier welder/Pull-Pal fame. We'll be doing a full feature on this innovative machine, so don't let your subscription lapse!

I thought the comparison between the FJ and JK was spot on, and I own an upgraded FJ. My partner from work had just purchased a Rubicon, and I decided to go with the FJ. When wheeling together it was obvious where each vehicle stood out. After lowering tire pressures to 18 for both (his mud-terrains against my BFG A-Ts), on slower rocky terrain the solid front axle with locker finesses the crawl. The FJ still makes it there, but the traction and noises from the A-Trac IFS front are not as smooth. Now take the FJ blazing through a sand wash soaking up the bumps, and we are back to the advantage of an IFS suspension. Of course, it didn't hurt to have turned my Fox shocks down to 1. At the beginning of the day I even had the remark from others that it was a Jeep trail, questioning the wisdom of taking the FJ. Well, we both still got to the other end of the trail intact and with nothing more than some skidplate scratches. That's what they're for, right?

I am thankful for your comparison, and also wondered why Toyota did not send a Trail Edition. You did bring up one of my biggest questions about the fuel grade used in the FJ, answered finally by Toyota directly in the Sept. '10 issue. That alone was worth the subscription. I look forward to the next comparison.
David Julif

While most of the mail we received on this story was from angry FJ owners, a few like you saw through the brand loyalty veil and came to your own decision. We, too, would have liked to test the Trail Edition, but we feel the difference would not have made the FJ win, but it would have made it more comparable. They are both fine vehicles, and it's up to the consumer to figure out what aspect of off-roading is more important: noise or finesse.

Just Plugging Along
Thanks for the tire issue. Pat yourselves on the back for this one ("Mail Order Tires," Sept. '10)! Good info on the tires also, but I do feel that greater stress should be placed on not plugging sidewalls of tires. My business is tires, and I see too many catastrophic tire failures due to a weakened sidewall. And many times, plugging a "passenger size" tire (not oversized) can cause some of the internal circumferential steel belts to break. Yes, in a pinch to get home maybe, but no farther than the local tire shop, especially if the vehicle is a daily driver. We all need to get home from the trail, but as always, safety first. Again, great mag, keep the good stuff coming.
Ryan Moffitt
Bloomington, MN

Right you are, Ryan. While we may have all done a sidewall plug or two in our time and even forgotten about it, all tire repair organizations recommend against it. It's a safety and liability issue, as you sure wouldn't want a blowout at highway speed simply because you failed to adequately take care of your vehicle.

Ol' Yeller (Truck)
I was recently looking at some old videos and magazine issues. I came across the 2005 Ultimate Adventure K10 buildup. I didn't notice any info or ideas as to what was done with the fuel system, specifically the fuel tank. I was wondering if you could tell me if you left it in the stock location or moved it. I do realize that this project is 5-6 years old, but I'm currently undertaking a project on the same vintage Chevy and am trying to plot it out to avoid smashing the tank into an unusable condition.

Also, do you still own this truck? I know some of the company fleet was recently sold off. Thanks for any information you can provide.
Scott Romanski

When the K10 was first built, the stock tank was removed, as it would have been destroyed under the truck. We made an aluminum tank in the bed with some rudimentary hold-downs and an in-tank pump for the Ramjet 350 engine.

I bought the truck from the company as a wrecked hulk, as we had scavenged most of the parts off of it for other projects. Now I'll rebuild it on a budget like the rest of our readers would, and come up with what we feel will be a great trail/tow/camping/everyday wheeler. I am planning to replace that aluminum tank with a cross-bed fuel tank for more capacity and greater convenience.

Reader Rant
Why YJ?
Regarding the YJ article "Turning Point" [on the '87-'95 Wrangler YJ] in the Sept. '10 issue, I would like to point out a few things that need correcting and some other YJ tidbits.

All Dana 30 axles were not vacuum disconnect-equipped: the '95 YJ had the solid passenger-side axleshaft. The Dana 35c was a semifloat design in '87-'90 YJs, with C-clips in later versions. The '95 YJ's AX-15 had an external slave cylinder; all other YJ manual models had internally mounted slave cylinders. You can check the Dana website for build data to confirm my data on axles as well as the factory service manuals. My neighbor owned a new stock '95 with no vacuum disconnect, and I have a junk one I have robbed parts from with no vacuum disco.

As for transfer cases, the NP207 was used in '87 and some '88 models. The majority of '88s were fitted with the NP231. The factory service manual only lists the NP207, as I have stated. I owned a new '88 YJ and can vouch for the NP231 case as well as the semifloat axle design.

Other interesting tidbits: The transfer case shifter is mounted to the transfer case and not the transmission tunnel. The wiper assemblies for '87-'89 YJs were recalled and are weak (pull rods and swivels). A late-'90s Ford E350 brake master cylinder is a simple upgrade for rear discs (just open up the mounting holes and bolt it on). The steering column assembly from '87 to '90 used many Chevy S-10 parts (ignition cylinder, wiper switch, turn signal/hazard switches, bearings). Finally, you can trim an obscene amount of sheetmetal from the rear wheelwell openings.

Love the mag. Keep up the good work.
Hank Blackwood
Dalton, GA

Yes, when we read the magazine again after it was printed we realized that we made a few errors, and we apologize. Thanks for the corrections; we won't fall into that trap again.

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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