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January 2011 InBox: Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on January 1, 2011
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He's hallucinating!
I've been an avid reader for around five years, and I think I just might have been seeing things when I opened up the November issue of 4-Wheel & Off-Road. On page 42 is the article "UA Crew." I believe the picture underneath must have been majorly altered or tampered with because I believe that I just saw Péwé behind the wheel of something that is not a flattie. I see that it is disguised as a flattie, with flat fenders, but I don't believe that such a simple disguise would fool Péwé, and he looks so happy! Please correct me if I am seeing things. I am an aspiring four-wheeler, but I don't have a rig yet as I am only 15. My dream is a '90 YJ with a quarter lip out back, 12-inch FOA coilovers in front, and locked and loaded Dana 44s. Someday ...
Aleix Koster

You aren't hallucinating, but underneath all that aluminum is the heart of a flattie. Heck, where did the Jeep evolve from, anyway?

Safety First
Regarding "DIY IFS," Nov. '10, the jackstands in use under the F-150 sure look skimpy and appear to have a small footprint. I sure wouldn't get under that truck supported only by those little stands. Also, the axlehousing is very heavy; why risk injury to yourself or a friend by trying to horse it in/out of position? Harbor Freight sells a transmission/axle floor jack for $80 with a 450-pound capacity, a cheap price to pay for a safe way to position the axlehousing. DIY can be fun, but why risk injury when it is easily preventable? Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I would hope you would present future DIY photo articles showing safer work practices. Thanks!
Dale Komives
Medina, OH

Yes, it does look a bit sketchy, but we are assured that those jackstands are rated well above what they are holding. However, it never hurts to have extra security when a vehicle is looming over you. Regardless of cost, another jack is a good idea. It's a lot cheaper than a trip to the emergency room!

We are so Green
I've been reading this series about the UACJ, and I wanted to express my gratitude for the timely and earth-friendly usage of the new Chevy Erod engine. In tune with your mission, the phrase "push the axle" has been a welcome reminder of the wisdom in the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I also wanted to mention that you guys seem to have improved the proofreading on the copy.
Alex Callahen
Morehead, KY

Thanks, Alex. We just wish everyone knew how green we are. And that our proofing is indeed getting better!

No 4x4 of the Year Chevys?
I have been subscribed for about half a year now but have been reading for probably two years and I was wondering why there are no Chevys in the 4x4 of the Year test. Also, why do you feature mostly automatic projects? I think you have the best 4x4 mag out there and I will keep subscribing.
Joey E.

P.S. On they did a testdrive of the new Mahindra pickup.

The fact is that GM has not been willing or able to participate in the last few years, but next year we should have a full fleet. As for auto versus stick, an auto is usually what we end up with, as manual trannies are almost special-order nowadays. It's true that installing an auto can be a lot easier, but that doesn't make it right. We'll show some stick stuff really soon.

Why no Exploders?
All right, guys, I am a new subscriber but longtime reader of your magazine, and I love it. However, I own a '97 Explorer and have never seen anything about these vehicles in your mag. Yes, I understand that they are not a Jeep, but they are not total junk either. It can be just as effective as a 4Runner with a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses. I am not asking for a build with a solid-axle swap and 40s, but just a basic build and advice on how to make these rigs more reliable and confident off-road. Thank you, and don't forget about us owners of one of the number-one selling SUVs.
Gabe Montoya
Rio Rancho, NM

Gabe, we have indeed ignored the famous Ford Explorer in the past few years. We will do more tech in the future, especially since the older ones are so affordable and they are still kicking-like a Bronco, eh?

Best Ultimate Adventure Yet!
This year's UA was the best yet-hardcore wheeling that we can all actually aspire to! Apparently, contrary to every magazine article out there, you don't need Prorocks with ARBs to conquer some nasty stuff. I was delighted to see lunchbox lockers and even Dana 30s thrown in the mix, even with trails just as difficult as before. Dare I say the economic downturn was a blessing? Yes! Now we can be realistic and wheel what we can afford. Cheers to driver skill and tires less than 42 inches.
Jeff Brown

Thanks, Jeff. You'll note that we had a wide variety of vehicles, skill levels, and equipment. The Ultimate Adventure is just that, an adventure, not a contest of who can throw the most money in a rig or build a wallet job and not know how to fix it. Keep reading, and apply today for the next Ultimate Adventure at!

No Used 15-inch Tires?
I read with astonishment in your article "Supersonic DED" (Oct. '10) that you were unable to find any 15-inch tires for the Jeep and decided that it must have been because you were in a small town. Yesterday I went looking for a set for my Wagoneer. None of the local used tire places had more than one or two of any tires in the 15-inch size, and most of them were bald. Needles to say, I was equally astonished to find that none of the large tire stores in the city carried them either, saying they could special-order them in about a week and charge me more than it cost for the whole Jeep. So now I am confused. When did 15-inch LT tires become special-order? And what 17-inch rims will fit my Jeep, because the Chevy stock steel rims won't fit over the locking hubs?
Henry Cohrs
Spokane, WA

We are still amazed. That whole transition caught us by surprise. In the last 10 years the move to larger rim sizes pushed the availability of used 15-inch tires out the door, and now 16s and 17s are the norm, with plenty of 18s around too. Late-model Chevy rims won't fit your Waggy because they don't have the large center hole, so yes, you need to order some rims-but I recommend just buying new tires rather than looking for used ones that don't exist.

Backward Goodyears?
On page 31 of the Ultimate Adventure article in the November issue, why does the Hobart M37 have the asymmetrical Goodyear MT/R with Kevlar tires mounted outside facing in, contrary to the way they are intended? I'm just curious. I run the 35-inch version on my '03 TJ Rubicon and was wondering if Mel and Don have discovered something the rest of us don't know. I know some rockcrawlers run the directional Mickey Thompson Baja Claws backward but found this an odd way to mount the Goodyears.
Phil Hall
San Diego, CA

Actually, Mel just felt like it. You'll notice that if you mount them all the same on a wheel, then one side will be backward. This make for difficult rotation when it's time, other than from front to rear. For us, it seems that the new Goodyears work great in either direction.

No More Plates
A few months ago there was an article about Jeeps (the one with a yellow grille). Your magazine claims that you do not put the same picture in other issues and if anyone would find this to be so, that your magazine would send them a free 4WOR license plate. Well, I saw in this month's issue on page 52 the same yellow Jeep. It was in the lift laws article. If your magazine is honorable, then I will expect a free plate. Thank you!
Tim Huston
Cleveland, OH

Well, OK, you got us. But no more! We used that photo for the lift law series, which spans multiple issues (see page 76). Also, note we reuse photos in this department to show what the readers are talking about.

Reader Rant
I didn't order this!
I recently received a DVD from you in the mail. It said I was selected to receive the first in a series of DVDs for just $9.95. How lucky for me that you selected me as one of your subscribers who were chosen to have this DVD forced on them! Thanks, but no thanks! I am sending the DVD back immediately. If I hadn't, I'm sure you would charge me the 10 bucks every month until I told you to cancel! I know this was some marketing genius's idea to make some money for the magazine. But please don't pull this crap with your subscribers. We get enough of these B.S. offers from the credit card companies!
Scott Reinhart
Fresno, CA

Thanks for returning the DVD, Scott, but you really don't have to. If you read everything you'll find that since the DVD is unsolicited mail, under Federal law you have no obligation to do anything with it. You can keep it, return it, throw it away, pay for it, regift it, or anything else, and we won't get upset or harass you. If someone does call or write that you owe us money, send them my way so I can handle it. Consider it a gift if you want, with our appreciation for subscribing in the first place. Yes, it is a marketer's idea, and many subscribers are happy with the DVD and happy to pay. That helps the company make money so we can keep our subscription prices low. If you want me to pass this note on to our marketing department so they take you off the list and stop sending you offers, I will be happy to do so.

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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