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March 2012 InBox Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on March 1, 2012
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Cover Truck
I was wondering about the criteria to make the cover of your magazine. A certain company will give me a full sponsorship if I can get a contract for one cover from an esteemed magazine such as 4-Wheel & Off-Road. I have a brand-new ’11 Tundra TRD Rock Warrior and will be decking it out with their parts, and may also have a car audio sponsor lined up as well. Would my truck interest you at all once it is completed? Again, they will give me a complete sponsorship with a cover contract. Please let me know as soon as possible. Thank you!
Christopher Desautels
Batavia, NY

Sorry, we would never sell or promise a cover in exchange for sponsorship. There are no contracts for such and never will be as long as I am in charge. Covers only happen when we find the right vehicle on the right trail or right place at the right time, not simple staged shots or studio effects. The cover truck must be relevant to the issue at hand, relevant to the sport in general, relevant to the direction of the magazine, and attractive enough to help sell magazines. This ensures that all our coverage is on real-world vehicles used in the dirt. However, we are always interested in homebuilt creations, so send us a good photo for Readers’ Rides when you are done so we can see it.

More Dirt Every Day
Hi guys, it’s Tom again. I was just wondering what happens to your DED (Dirt Every Day) Jeeps when you revive them and bring them back home, like the ’51 CJ-3A in “Supersonic DED” [Oct. ’10]. Do you fully revive it? Or does it sit in its present condition? Do you take it on other DED trips, hopefully to revive another flatfender? Just wondering.
Tom Kyle
Via email

Thanks for asking, Tom. It depends on the vehicle, but as a rule I just keep them in the same condition or fix what needs attention. For example, on the Supersonic DED I need to replace the rear transfer case seal and the yoke before I can take it on another DED and maybe snag something else to bring back. But the basic vehicle stays pure to its form—no paint and body work for sure!

Copper or Aluminum Radiator?
I just got my October issue. Page 69, caption 2: “Under the hood the factory inline-six received a Howe aluminum radiator to help keep things cool” [“Clearance King”]. I have had the following discussion on many occasions with four-wheelers and even radiator shop owners, and all seem to think aluminum radiators are the best for heat dissipation. I totally disagree, and the following facts prove me correct.

To be able to transfer heat well, the finned tube or pipe material must have adequate thermal conductivity. Thermal conductivity is calculated with the formula: BTU ÷ (hrs·ft·F). In the imperial system of measurement thermal conductivity is measured in Btu ÷ (hr·ft·F) where 1 Btu ÷ (hr·ft·F) = 1.730735 W ÷ (m·K). (Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook, 7th ed., Table 1-4).

Aluminum has 58 percent of the thermal conductivity of copper. 136 for aluminum, 231 for copper, therefore (136 ÷ 231 = 0.58) x (100) = 58 percent. So why do all the articles and advertising put so much emphasis on aluminum radiators? They do not dissipate heat better than copper, are much harder to repair, and are more brittle than copper. I realize price is most likely the main consideration, but since when has the price been the primary factor when purchasing “the best?”
Paul Clark
Klamath Falls, OR

You are exactly right, Paul. Radiator technology has evolved greatly since the first stills and cars were made, and copper/brass radiators do conduct heat more effectively. However, that alone is not the end of the story. Cost, weight, ease of manufacture, shipping, and many other factors go into designing and producing a radiator for any particular application. Just as a cross-flow radiator isn’t any better at cooling than a down-flow, aluminum isn’t any better at cooling than copper/brass. That’s a myth. However, aluminum has the ability to cool nearly as well as a comparable conventional copper/brass radiator. This, combined with the other benefits of the aluminum design, makes aluminum a reasonable alternative and in many cases better for certain applications.

For example, a race vehicle that needs optimal weight savings would choose an aluminum radiator, while a deep desert explorer would choose a copper/bass radiator for heat conductivity. I personally run both styles depending on the vehicle and am happy with either one. And by the way, I can fix either one in a pinch as well.

Rear Winches
Hello to a great mag. I’ve been reading you for probably 20-plus years and have subscribed for most of them and am not going anywhere. I have seen several trucks belonging to Wildlife Control at Fort Benning, Georgia, that have small winches on the receiver rear receiver hitch. They say these small (maybe 4 kps or smaller) have saved them many times when they get stuck. My question is how much pull can be put on a receiver hitch winch, if it is pulling at a sharp angle, without damaging the hitch, etc.?

Most winches are mounted on the front (macho-looking but not really practical) but they will only pull you deeper into trouble and not pull you back out, which would be much more practical. I have not seen an article about these rear-mounted winches, although there probably have been some. An article would be appreciated on how to hook it up and operate it. I understand that front-mounted wenches—oops, left her at home (grin)—winches will pull you out and are great for pulling buddies out, but I seldom see them mounted on the rear.
Via email

Front-mounted self-recovery winches have been mounted on both ends of many vehicles for many years, either to pull the vehicle to safety on the other side or back where they came from. Each situation on the trail is different, but as a rule we like to keep going forward if possible, and go backward as a last resort.

The small winches you mention on a receiver hitch is there only for that little tug needed when you haven’t really gotten stuck and your tires still roll. Yes, the winches work, but when you really need to get out, a small little winch won’t cut it. That’s why we recommend a capacity of at least 1.5 times your vehicle’s weight; for example, a winch with a 9,000-pound capacity for a 6,000-pound vehicle. When you are stuck, every ounce makes a difference.

As for a receiver mount, there are far too many different variations, mountings, models, and capacities for us to give you a simple answer. If the hitch is rated to 9,000 pounds, then we would assume it could hold the force of a winch pulling on it straight—as it is designed to do. Any angle to the side, up, or down could give a different stress not designed for, and you could seriously tweak or break something. Stick with what the winch manufacturer suggests and you should be OK.

Irresponsible & Cruel!
Irresponsible and cruel! How else can I describe the heinous behavior witnessed in Nuts & Bolts in the Nov. ’11 issue? In that issue you actually encouraged a 14-year-old in his obsession with off-roading. At the very least you have doomed him to a life of poverty, and most likely his exposure to the outdoors will lead to other addictions such as hunting and fishing. Even if he doesn’t get all radical and decide that the wondrous beauty he finds himself in means there might be a Designer/Creator, these type of activities require self-reliance and can lead to independent thinking, separating him from the entitlement mind-set of our society’s trend toward “change.” What would happen if we had a majority of the next generation who wanted to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions? You may have contributed to the downfall of society as it is becoming!
Patrick McReynolds
Via email

Yeah, the downfall of society. Thankfully we are in our own way doing just that. I’ll make sure Fred Williams gets 20 beers, not lashes.

[Yeah, beer!—Fred Williams]

End of the Line
Yesterday I received my last issue of 4-Wheel & Off-Road. I let my subscription run out. It was not an easy decision. As they say, “With tough times come tough decisions.” Fixed income, savings going south, possible relocation. Some things had to be sacrifice. One causality was my off-road hobby. Sold off the last of the Jeeps, got rid of all the old parts. You were the last to go.

I’m writing to say thank you. I subscribed to your magazine for almost 30 years and enjoyed every issue. I can’t begin to count the number of articles that have helped me through the years. Sure, I didn’t agree with everything you wrote, but what’s a friendship without a few disagreements? Hopefully somewhere down the line I’ll be able to pick up a copy of 4WOR at a newsstand and relive the good old days. Thank you very much for an excellent magazine. I’ll miss you guys. Take care and keep up the great work.
Jim Furno
Alden, NY

Thanks, Jim. But since you sent this by email I know you have a computer, and you can enjoy a lot of our mag right there at, for free! Hang in there and thanks for the note.

Reader Rant
End of Discussion
I have been a reader for only a couple years when I got my first ’88 Ranger 4x4 ($300). I now have an ’00 J.E.E.P. (Just Empty Every Pocket) TJ, mild build. I get tired of people unnecessarily pointing out “safety infractions,” anything from seatbelts to grinding/welding in flip-flops and street clothing, trying to point out a “beer” in a great off-road not-posed picture. It makes me mad. It was not the driver holding it anyway. We have the personal right to be stupid—one of the few liberties left in this great land. Be as safe as you want, and I will be as safe as I want. When you break down I will unfasten my stock three-point seatbelt, get out my tools, fire up my onboard air, fix your C-clip, fix your U-joint (give you an extra U-joint I had with me), plug your tire, laugh with you because it was a great ride that broke you rig, and drive away forgetting to fasten my belt while drinking an IBC Cream Soda!
Brian & Stephanie Forbs
Cedarburg, WI

Let that be the end to all the discussion. Thanks, Brian!

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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