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October 2011 In Box - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on October 1, 2011
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Van Hack Attacks
I just got my August issue and read the Reader Rant letter in which Mr. Savage attacked your “Hack This!” story [May ’11]. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. That was one of the best articles I have read in years! When I think back on the most memorable episodes in my life, they almost always involve an element of danger and uniqueness, much like your story. After reading his opinion, I was waiting for the inevitable apology and validation of his position, that you were misguided. You did neither. Congratulations. This is exactly the type of vision I can align with. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” To Mr. Savage: I suggest selling whatever four-wheel-drive you might own, and get an Accord.
Scott Firth
Via email

I just got the Aug. ’11 issue in the mail. After reading the Reader Rant I felt compelled to write in for the first time. I’m sorry not everyone appreciates good fun for what it is. Safety is important, and I have had my share of trips to the ER/scars for the times I neglected to wear the proper safety equipment. Those were my mistakes, not the result of a picture I saw in a magazine. I don’t think your magazine was trying to endorse any manner of working, safe or not. You were simply showing how much fun can be had with a Sawzall and a few friends and an old beater in a field. Keep up the good work. I thought “Hack This!” was great.

It inspired me to do a hack of my own. I stumbled on a ’96 Subaru Outback headed for the scrap yard. I started hacking with a Sawzall and removed all the doors, liftgate, roof, glass, and all interior except the front seats. I plan to build a rollcage and make this car into a dune buggy. My buddy helped me cut the roof off and we took a drive down some trails after the hack. It was surprisingly fast and loads of fun. I promise to send pictures when it is all done. In the meantime, how do I get some 4-Wheel & Off-Road stickers? They would look good on the completed Subuggy.
Russ Meeker
Via email

Ha! Hook, line, and sinker! Gene Savage fell for it. I could have laid down bets as to whether or not 4WOR was going to get an angry response to the “Van Hack!” article about the Ford van with the freaky, duel differential, twin I-beam, abomination setup. I would be willing to bet that whole article was a dare from the very beginning between Fred Williams and Rick Péwé. I loved it and thought it was amusing.

Gene, three things, my friend: First, I think you need to spend more time in Hemmings Motor News while on the toilet, and second, if that piece of “automotive history” was worth a darn, we would have seen it released on more vehicles from the factory. Lastly, get a better pair of glasses. Anybody can see clearly that there are at least lap belts being worn by the driver and riders in every pic. That they aren’t wearing the “proper” safety equipment while working with metal is their choice. It’s their eyes and hands at risk, so stop being the safety police.
Charles Rich
Via email

We are all still laughing over the controversy we created with this story. These letters are pretty indicative of our readers’ sentiments. Polling results show pretty much 10 to 1 in favor of hacking the van, so we may do it again. Safer, for sure, I’m sure!

Tire Pressure Comments
Jay Siller asked about tire pressure in the In Box [July ’11]. The correct answer is use the load Inflation tables. Simply Google “load Inflation tables.” Let’s go through my calculations of my ’99 Chevy Suburban 2500 4x4 with stock LT245/75R16 tires (30.5 inches tall) at 55 psi front and 80 psi rear. This corresponds to 2,335 pounds front and 3,042 rear. The new tires are LT315/70R17, 34.4 inches tall. Using straight line interpolation, I get 31.3 psi front and 47 psi rear. The 31 psi is interpolated below the lowest value given in the table at 35 psi. I called Goodyear and they suggested I never go below their lowest pressure rating of 35 psi. Remember, this pressure is for full Rated load.
Chris Wrigley
La Crescenta, CA

Whatever works for you is the rule. We don’t always have load inflation tables on our rides, much less any of the other parameters noted. Keep a good square contact pattern across the face of the tire for most uses, and adjust that for speed and weight. Be safe!

Diesel Spark Plug?
Rick, I want to thank you. I was sitting on my couch, extremely bummed out. I had literally just found out my grandpa had less than six months to live due to cancer, so I decided to pick up your magazine. But what cheered me up wasn’t the articles (they are great articles though) but was actually an ad that is in your July and August issues (possibly more) by E3 Spark Plugs. If you look closely at the Dodge you can see the emblems “Ram,” “2500 Heavy Duty,” and the “C” of “Cummins Diesel.” Maybe you will also see the humor in this. Thanks for the great magazine.
Kyle Graves
Auburn, CA

Wow! No, we didn’t see that. You have a sharp eye and great sense of humor. Our best to your grandpa as well. He passed along some good genes.

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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