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July 2011 InBox - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on July 1, 2011
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DED Tour Rules
I just wanted to ask about your DED [Dirt Every Day] and if you can also do trucks along with the Jeeps. When you found the white Jeep in your Oct. ’10 issue on your way back, were you able to contact the owner, and what happened?

I have one more question. Do you think an ’80s GMC is a good truck to start off with, because I am only 11 and soon to be 12 next month. I have been reading since the age of 5. Keep up the great work. God bless!

The rules on a DED tour is that you must find Dirt Every Day, and hopefully not die at least once each trip. Other than that, there are no rules. We do have guidelines, such as we like to have an old Jeep or jeep, in relatively poor but serviceable condition, so that we can make the rudimentary amount of repairs to limp it home in grand style. For instance, buying new tires is a party foul, but changing the oil is acceptable.

In your case, a mid ’80s truck is older than you are so it would be a fine DED candidate by the time you can drive. And since you have been reading us since you were 5, you are well on your way to being a good DED guy. And the white Jeep will have to wait for another trip before we see if that could make a good DED Jeep.

Fine Old Generals
I admit it, I am a tire guy. I don’t know what it is, but I could stare at tire tread patterns all day long. That said, I have brought this question to the experts: Why do tire companies continue to change the tread design of popular models when they are already proven off-road? I mean, look at the tires you guys had on the CJ-17 that you used as rollers ( Those look like some awesome all-terrain tread, so why did General change them? I have seen some gnarly tread on some old truck tires, so why don’t tire companies produce some of those popular, retro designs and see how they hold up today?
Matthew Todd
Via email

It’s the same reason you aren’t driving a 25-year-old Jeep. Oh wait, maybe I’m wrong, and lower/longer/fatter/wider vehicles are exactly what we do want off-road. Really, Matthew, there are improvements in tire technology as far as design, construction, and performance go. While I still like those Generals in the photo, and as good as they were, the new designs do better for today’s vehicles and dirt. Really.

Damaging Whoops!
Whoops! has always been one of my favorite sections of your mag, but after reading ”Stop Trail Closings!” (Dec. ’10) I just wanted to add that each whoops that month is a stuck vehicle tearing the ground up off the trail, with the real trail in the background. If a land manager were nearby in each of those three instances, I doubt he or she would look positively at these examples of the four-wheeling community. Why would anyone ever want to keep our trails open if people choose to drive like that?
Alex Wing
Via email

We try to print Whoops! photos only when the situation is both legal and ecologically sound where it occurred. Unfortunately, there are those people that take photos out of that context and use them for their own agendas. We surely do not agree with wanton destruction of our environment and hope that our readers feel the same way.

Jeep Nomenclature
I have only read one of your magazines, and I was wondering: What does Jeep TJ, WK, and so on stand for? Any information you have would be accepted.
Nathan Bruchman
Via email

Those are engineering designations for particular Jeep models. They don’t actually mean anything except, initially, CJ stood for Civilian Jeep. When later models came named YJ and TJ, we joked about them meaning Yuppie Jeep and Trendy Jeep, but the letters were simply an internal engineering designation to identify a certain model.

Wants a new plate
I am inquiring as to whether I may be able to receive a new license plate. One was issued to me when I was featured in your magazine in Nov. ’89. The article was titled “Perfection” and was written by Associate Editor Brent Ross. I took him on several trail rides, which were also featured in different issues of your magazine. My Jeep is a red ’51 Willys M38 (CJ3A). I have proudly displayed your license plate for the last 21 years. It is in need of replacement, as the colors are all but gone and the plate has been mashed several times on rockcrawling journeys.

I was also wondering if you would be interested in doing a “still going after all these years” or a “where are they now” story, as it has been 26 years since I finished restoring it. It now has 100,000 miles on it, and it is still providing wheeling fun and excitement to my family. I still show it and off-road it whenever the opportunity comes along.

I have made several updates along the years as new and improved options are discovered. It has an inverted 44 with an ABR Air Locker in the rear and an open-knuckle 30 with a Detroit Gearless in the front. I have about 8,000 hours in four years (30 years ago) in restoring the entire project, and I think it still looks and performs respectably.

Please let me know if you are interested. I would really appreciate it if you thought you could send me a new plate that I could once again display with pride. Thank you for your consideration.
Ed Fisher
Via email

Sorry, no plate for you.

April fools! We’ll send one out posthaste! Glad to see that the Jeep is still around. Maybe it needs to join us on a vintage Jeep run?

Math Problem
In the Gravelrama article (Apr. ’11) you show two pictures of the Runck CJ-6. You say that you “found a shot from 20 years ago at the 1980 Gravelrama of the same Jeep.” Twenty years ago would’ve been 1990; 1980 was 30 years ago.

Keep up the good work on the mag. I love reading it every month and getting inspiration for my ’03 Suburban 1500. With my current 6-inch BDS lift and 35–inch Pro Comp tires, it’s a real family fun vehicle for this Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, my wife, and our four kids.
Barry Corkle
Via email

Damn calculators! I must need new batteries.

Tire Pressure Answers
OK, what is the real deal with tire pressure? I have been reading off-road mags and have owned and upgraded one Jeep or another, plus the various family SUVs, since 1990, and have never had the question answered to my satisfaction. What gives? On one hand we talk about how tire construction, design, and tread pattern affect how a vehicle rides. On the other, our stock answer to the tire pressure question is, “Whatever it says on the driver door.”

How can it be that the 29-inch Goodyear all-terrains that came on my ’98 TJ Sport (let alone the 27-inch street tires, had I not upgraded the tire package) should be run with the same pressure as the 33-inch Pro Comp Xterrains she currently wears? Or if I had set up for radial 37-inch Super Swampers? Impossible, no? Sidewall strength, construction, material, footprint, etc., are completely different.

Would somebody please just admit that the answer is, “Due to all the variables and individual vehicle testing that would be required, we don’t know. And due to liability issues, we defer to what is on the door so we don’t get sued.” Or explain how you can take the individual tire stats out of the equation?
Jay Siller
Staten Island, NY

Jay, you answered your own question. After the Ford Bronco/Firestone tire debacle it just isn’t smart to give out specific recommendations. However, we can say that in a low-speed, off-highway environment the use of lower-than-standard tire pressure can greatly increase your traction as well as ride comfort for the vast majority of vehicles. Professional driver. Closed course. Do not attempt at home. Etc.

Our Whoops?
I was reading your annual Whoops! edition, which my family sent me for entertainment while I’m deployed to Iraq, and I noticed a rather large mistake. On page 19 you have an HMMWV under the title “Passing With Care” with a neat story about how they got stuck in some garbage and were able to free themselves in a few minutes. However on page 37 you have the exact same photo with a different story about how it took a civilian, of all people, and a front loader several hours to free the HMMWV. My guess is that someone is BSing you.
One very salty sand sailor,
James Ryan, U.S. Navy
Al Asad, Iraq

We hate it when that happens. However, that was in the Whoops! magazine, not the regular 4WOR. We coproduce but do not directly control those special issues, and usually we don’t see them until they come out. Thanks for checking it out!

Slow Delivery
I got my Feb. ’11 issue the other day. The truck at the top of your 4xForward column really caught my eye. I don’t recall ever seeing it before. Where can I find information, and pictures, on it? I really like it.
Theodore Fitzgerald
Clayton, NC

Wow, mail must be slow in the South! The .38 Special was featured in our Dec. ’10 issue. Check it out at

Also, should it be called a .38 Special or a ’38 Special? And why are we asking the question? First correct answer we like gets a 4WOR license plate! Write us at

Reader Rant
Weld on, Brother!
I love your magazine. I, too, weld in shorts and flip-flops, eat meat, and bleed red, white, and blue. Not all of us have a $1,000,000 shop. We do what we can with what we have. That’s how our great country was built. So, people, quit crying every time you see something that isn’t triple-stamped “safe.” Enough of that.

I’d like to submit a picture of my 4x4 van, but your instructions say “at least 1,600 by 1,200 pixels” and “saved as a TIFF, EPS, or maximum-quality JPEG”? I’m sorry, but I’m still a caveman and still eat cute forest animals. I only have pictures (the real kind). How do I get my picture in your magazine?

My nephew put some videos on YouTube, three of the van and two of my ’60 Willys Jeep. If you can get pictures from the YouTube, would that do? If you could, that would be appreciated. Any help would be appreciated.

The van videos are called “jojos home made 4x4 van.” The videos of our ’60 Willys Jeep (pink) are titled “barbie jeep.”

The Jeep is a homemade conversion using all OEM Ford parts. It was a three-day build on the back porch. Only a propane torch (no plasma cutter) and an old Lincoln (cracker box) welder (no MIG or TIG), and it only cost me a grand total of $350 to build.

In the Apr. ’11 Nuts & Bolts, page 80, Anna P. asked about conversions. Yes, it can be done … and not only for $10,000. I’ve had mine for 10 years and have never had a problem—except gas mileage (tears). Just put your mind to it and get it done.

Please feel free to use any part of my videos for any reason in your publication. I’m not sue-happy. I want everyone to enjoy four-wheeling too, and this might help someone get off the couch and into the garage and start a project. Did you ever do or will you do a 4x4 van issue? If you did, when?
Loving every bump and dirt,
JoJo Madrid II
Ft. Stockton, TX

P.S. Sorry, I have no email, just a physical address.

Please respond about submission info.

Also, I’m building an onboard Plasma cutter (homemade), and I almost got the bugs out!

One more thing. Do you know where I can find a Toyota ’80-ish transmission or transfer case with a PTO port? I know they have them in Australia and Africa, but I can’t find one here in the USA and wonder why not.

Yes, JoJo, we are doing a van series, but we cut it down to size last month in “Van Hack” (June ’11). Thanks for the notes. As for your photos, the non-email way to submit them is to mail the prints to 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245.

Quick Response
This issue we have started providing Quick Response codes for some pages on our website. Smartphone users will be taken directly to the page when they scan the graphic with a QR reader, such as our company’s own SIMQRReader, free in the iTunes App Store. Also available for Android.

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 Email to:

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