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January 2011 InBox Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on January 1, 2012
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Ultimate Reader
After reading the 4xForward in the Oct. ’11 issue I want to thank you for the opportunity to participate in the 2011 Ultimate Adventure, and I want to add my commentary on what I experienced.

Not only did we wheel for the week instead of the day, but we wheeled to get the group through the trails, over obstacles, and down the roads from morning to night each day. In doing so we as individual drivers had to find ways to get our rigs through the day’s challenges and help our fellow participants any way we could. The endurance element is a big part of what the Ultimate Adventure is all about.

One day on the Ultimate Adventure I was talking to Feature Editor Ali Mansour and he asked me why I wanted to participate in the UA. He asked me if it was to experience the trip or to test my rig on its ability to hold up on a trip like the UA. I told him it was both. I wanted to see how my built-not-bought rig would do in this event and see what I would experience being thrown in with a group of wheeling nuts that I have never met before.

I was pleased with the way my FJ60 held up on this trip. While I have spent time and money fixing and upgrading parts over the years, I have less money into this rig than most of the vehicles you see driving to work every day. As for the personal experience on UA, I had a great time and can’t wait for the DVD.
Chuck Wigham
Divide, CO

Thanks, Chuck. We know how difficult it is to understand the whole concept of the UA until a person has participated. You, like the others, now get it. Thanks for participating, and we’re glad you had such a great time.

Subscription Problems?
I have had a subscription with you guys for a long time. Last year my wife, for an early Christmas present, renewed my subscription for three more years, even though she did it a year early. When she did that, we never received anything for renewing early or for renewing for three years. The problem I have is now I am getting renewal letters in the mail saying if I renew now for two years I get a free T-shirt. Why couldn’t we have gotten anything the last time when we renewed for three years, besides more of your magazines?

This is a great magazine and I will continue to subscribe to you for a long time. I just think it sucks that I renewed for three years but didn’t get anything, but if I renewed for only another two years I would get a free T-shirt.

My subscription isn’t up until May 2014 and I will continue to subscribe well after that. I just wanted to let you know that it sucks that nothing was given to a loyal subscriber for renewing early. Thanks for a great magazine. Keep up the good work.
Jerry Bryan
Via email

Jerry, thanks for the email, even though you sent it to Four Wheeler’s website. The long and short reply here is thanks for being a loyal reader, and I know about the subscription issues you have. However, it is a completely separate company from us and we have no way to effect changes. We don’t even get swag ourselves unless we subscribe. There is no rhyme or reason to the offers they send out, so thanks for putting up with the subscription hassles to get the mag. And thanks for reading!

Love IFS
I’ve been reading through my October issue and was waiting to write in to be sure that I understood right that you were keeping the IFS on the Ultimate F-150. I’m glad you did! This is my ’99 GMC Sierra Z-71 with the 4.3L V-6 (great motor). It’s mildly lifted (all I can afford), and I love it.

I’m a fan of IFS just because it’s different and it works if you build it right. I know most veterans of off-roading tend to write IFS off because of how complicated it is and the belief that it is typically weaker than a solid axle. As an engineer, I would love to design my own IFS for my truck someday if I had the resources. I just wanted to say I’m glad that you guys are trying something new and taking the risk of some broken parts and/or ridicule as well as learning a few things about IFS. Keep up the good work! I’m 21 and have been reading/subscribing since I was 15 when I bought my truck.
Rob Kennedy
Via email

Thanks for the kudos. Check out the Ultimate F-150 finale, page 74, to see how it did on the trip.

Weld Away
I have been reading your magazine for just about 22 years now, and I always look forward to it. The variety is great. You have it all. Of course I don’t like everything, but who would? Whether it is right off the showroom floor or built in a driveway on a PBR budget, fine wine dreams Chevy or Toyota Isuzu or Explorer, I don’t give a rat’s ass. The bottom line is it is four-wheel drive.

I used to hate your In Box, but now I look forward to it. You know, when the guys will write in about too many Jeeps, not enough of something else, welding in flip-flops, or whatever. Now you guys lay into them and give them what for. Hey, if you want to weld in nothing but a G-string, cool. What do I care? This is America. Go read Knitting Monthly if you don’t like this mag and its reviews or tech tips. Freedom of choice is part of what makes our country great. No need to censor me from ideas. I have the right to read articles and make my own decisions. 

My dad would not let me have a four-wheel drive when was a kid, so I bought a VW and wheeled it, then bought two 2WD pickups and beat on them. When I was finally out of high school on my own and bought my first K5 4x4, I never looked back. Without getting my hands on your mag back when I was 11 it might not have happened.

So now I’m on my fifth Blazer, starting all over. Now I have kids and I see them flipping through your pages and seeing their little eyes light up and gears turning. It makes me feel good, so keep up the good work. 

I don’t care if you publish this and don’t really expect you to, but I do feel better anyway. I also love your projects Ultimate Revival and BlueFerd. And why does a tire for a 17-inch wheel cost so much more than one for a 15? I’m not a genius, but isn’t there less product on a bigger hole?
Matt Wiidanen
Via email

Thanks for the note. We agree, and also wonder about the bigger hole/higher price thing too.

See No Evil
I just received my Sept. ’11 issue today and found the 4xForward article about safety in your photos rather amusing. I have been reading and in this case been viewing many, many pictures in your magazine for years. I personally enjoy that you take the time to take photos while doing builds, or while on the trail showing that quick fix to get us back on the way. I agree safety starts with the individual, and I preach it to my family almost daily, but I’m also guilty of the quick tack job that leads to half of a rollcage being welded and get that nice welding tan because I elected not to put on proper welding attire. Personally I don’t take the so-called safety issues I see in your pics as the end of the world, but can definitely compare the few issues I have seen to the amount of usable knowledge being captured in the picture and say the knowledge portrayed far outweighs the few questionable safety issues I’ve seen. Although to play the devil’s advocate, your last sentence referring to hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil … The picture lacks not seeing evil. (LOL)

Love the magazine and look forward to all future issues.
Lance Deihm
Dalzell SC

We wondered if anyone would catch that mistake. You were the only one!

Reader Rant
Stop Neutering Jeeps!
I recently finished my tow vehicle (’77 F-350 crew cab 4WD 5.9 Cummins blah blah blah) and started watching the market for a flatfender. It has been 10 years since I had a Jeep, and as I shopped I noticed an alarming trend. Nearly every flattie I’ve seen for sale has been “restored,” and they want 10 grand for it. I understand that we need to preserve our heritage, but soon there will be more CJs fit for parades than trails.

Most people in the market for a Willys generally aren’t looking for something to put in their museum, but something to take down the trail. It seems that the old champ has been pushed into retirement by people with good intentions. It’s kind of like taking an old war general and dressing him in a Confederate Halloween costume, complete with a plastic sword on his side, and then parading him around for everyone to see what a real soldier looks like.

A Jeep without scratches is like a bull without horns, or a lion without claws. At the zoo, people ooh and ahh over the lion lying in the shade, but what they really want is to see it in action. They want to see it eat something! Well, Jeeps eat dirt and rock, and they can’t do that in a glass cage.

I love to see an original survivor, but restoring one is not why I want one. Nor do I intend to beat it to death (use, not abuse), but if someday it meets its end, as they all will eventually, my Jeep will die with its boots on.

Chrysler still makes Jeeps with carpet. I wish people who want an “asphalt” Jeep would stick to those and let the old ones be.

So if you have put a thousand-dollar paintjob on your jeep, it’s not too late! Take that thing out and point it at the woods. Don’t worry, when those tires smell the earth and those beautiful narrow fenders slip through the brush, it’ll know what to do. But hang on. You’d be surprised what a bird can do when you let it unfold its wings!
Chad Sagers
Via email

Well said. Makes me want to go do another DED (Dirt Every Day) trip. Check out the photo of the next one I want to save.

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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