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April 2012 InBox - Letters to the Editor

Jeep With No Doors
Rick Péwé
| Four Wheeler Network Content Director
Posted April 1, 2012

Reader's Letters

To Door or Not to Door
While reading the Nuts & Bolts section of the Feb. ’12 issue I came across a question regarding doorless driving in Pennsylvania. I have a Pennsylvania State Safety Inspection License and reference both the safety and vehicle code regularly. The excerpt you posted, although confusing, was stating that it is illegal to modify or remove anything from your vehicle that was present during the time of manufacture unless it was designed to do so, as with a CJ, Wrangler, or FJ. Now this holds true unless your vehicle is retitled as something other than a regular passenger vehicle, for example a street rod title.

As far as the safety side of it goes, an inspection sticker cannot be issued if any of the original equipment has been removed or modified. This includes tailgates on trucks.

If a vehicle is retitled, then it follows a different set of rules and regulations specifically for each different title designation. Both the vehicle code and safety code are available on the Pennsylvania DOT website. There is nothing stating you can’t remove the doors once you reach your wheeling spot or while on private property, but my interpretation (a lot of it is left up to interpretation, unfortunately) is you can’t remove the doors and still be legal to drive on the roads unless it was designed to do so, as in the case of a CJ/Wrangler, or it has been titled to allow that type of modification.

Hope this helps. Keep bringing us a great magazine.
1978 Dodge Ramcharger
Via email

How to Start an Off-Road Park
I currently live in southern Louisiana, but I originally hail from the Great Pacific Northwest. My family owns a significant amount of land that would make awesome ORV parks. This would open up some more places for enthusiasts to go and blow off some steam (hypothetically speaking). I am wondering how to go about getting the proper permits, licenses, and other legal red tape out of the way in Clallam and Jefferson counties. Any help would be appreciated.
Charles Brown
Via email

We forwarded your letter to our favorite land use guy, Del Albright, who replies:

Here are some of the best places to get help on starting an OHV park. And note that grant money is available in some areas to help start the park (if you have public access and jump thru some hoops). This is the best book to guide you thru the process: And here is an article about a park built with grant money (in Kansas):
Del Albright

Jimmy Buffet?
While I was reading my Dec. ’11 copy of 4-Wheel & Off-Road something caught my eye. Page 30 shows Mr. Péwé being filmed by Ol’ Sweaty Pants Harrington. The thing that caught my eye was that Mr. Péwé was wearing only one sock. The first thing that came to my mind was the Jimmy Buffet song. Did he step on a Corona top? Thanks for a great magazine, and keep up the hard work.
Derek Hope
Via email

Sharp eye, Derek! And it was better than a sharp stick in the eye, because it was a sharp stick in my foot. Much like the Punji sticks from the Vietnam War, I was punctured and then took steps to prevent infection, hence the sock. And I was humming “Margaritaville” all night long.

While I am always glad to be pictured in your magazine, I have an issue with the caption accompanying my picture on page 68 of Jan. ’11 showing Tom Wombles helping to right my buggy [“The New K-2”]. Yes, I did have a belt failure, but no, I was not ejected. After I had shut the buggy down, told everyone I was OK, and prepared to exit by releasing the buckle while supporting myself with the other hand, the belt failed. I dropped 6 inches and did get a knot on the head and a raspberry. I agree that equipment should be checked before a ride, and having safe belts is a must. But I feel that the use of the word ejected is misleading.

I purchased this buggy almost a year and a half ago as a rolling basket case and have been finding little things here and there that needed attention. The manner in which the belts were wrapped through the anchors was obviously one of them. The roll was hard enough to break both motor mounts and the exhaust, but the belts held during the roll. It wasn’t until I was exiting the vehicle that the belt pulled through the anchor. The buggy now sports a full set of G Force harnesses properly secured.

It has been over a year since we sold our off-road business, but we are still in the community and feel it is important for people to know that safety has always been a priority to us. By the way, I put the passenger belt on the driver side and wheeled the remainder of the day with no incident. I had an enjoyable time meeting Craig-Ellis Sasser at Katemcy last summer. I hope we entertained him. He’s a nice guy. Send him again.
Russel Baer
Via email

Good to hear from you, Russel. As always, events are open to interpretation, and we appreciate the correct information and your commitment to safety. I have been ejected from a ride during a roll; it wasn’t due to belt failure but because the attaching hardware was poorly welded at the wrong angle. For those of you who might need some info, check out our seatbelt and rollcage safety articles in this issue for the right way to do it.

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