While reading the “Cream of the Crop” (Mar. ’12), I noticed a problem. I don’t want to nitpick, but to the hardcore diesel community details matter. You stated that the ’89 Dodge W250 Cummins was the first of the Big Three to offer direct injection, a turbocharger, and an intercooler. While the first three are true, the intercooler didn’t appear on the Cummins until the 1991½ model year. The first 2½ years were non-intercooled. If in doubt, open the hood and look for a cast aluminum crossover pipe that goes from the turbo outlet on the passenger side, over the valve covers, and into the intake on the driver side. If it has one, it’s non-intercooled.
Good catch! We goofed. However, Dodge was still the first of the Big Three to offer an intercooler on its diesel truck.
Instead of the obligatory email to tell you that this or that truck should have been on the 13 most influential modern 4x4s list (“Cream of the Crop,” Mar. ’12), I instead salute you for a job well done.
I am lucky enough to have owned and driven three of the 13 as daily drivers. My first vehicle ever was an ’86 Samurai. A ’00 Tacoma standard cab 4x4 got me through law school, and now I’m the caretaker of a ’93 FZJ80 that my father special-ordered new from the factory.
Any time you have experienced three of the top anything, you should consider yourself quite fortunate.
Jason D. Treadaway
Wow! “Cream of the Crop” (Mar. ’12) is awesome! I haven’t even read it yet and I knew I had to give you props for thinking of an article of this type. I have seen several similar articles related to cheap buys in used 4x4s, but year after year nothing changes and the cheap buys are repeated. But this article is cool. I don’t usually have enough time to do more than skim the articles, but I will have to make the time to sit down and read this one.
I am a 62-year-old Jeep and four-wheel vehicle enthusiast; I have been most of my life. But I didn’t actually get to own a 4x4 until 1987, when the 4.0L came out in the Cherokee. Since then my family has had seven Jeeps, three of which we still have. I read all the 4x4 magazines of the truck group and have since 1986. I am writing to say thank you. Over the years each of you has received emails from me, and you actually took the time to answer them. In three or four instances you published them. It speaks well of the 4x4 industry when those who in many ways represent the front line with the public do this. It’s also obvious from your emails and articles that you really enjoy your jobs and off-roading. I find all the magazines very interesting and varied and an excellent way to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. For example, through Jp magazine I found out about Hesco of Birmingham, Alabama, and had the company bore and stroke my 4.0L. I became friends with the owner Lee Hurley, one of the finest men in the industry. I have found out about many cool things to get for my Jeeps. I look forward each month to receiving the various magazines. Keep up the excellent work.
In “2012 Pickup Truck of the Year” (Mar. ’12), Sean P. Holman states that the two Ram trucks have a stopping distance from 60 within a foot of each other. That’s absolutely true, but it’s actually less than an inch of difference (Mega Cab 158.44 versus Power Wagon 158.50).
The spec sheet shows that the F-150 is 97 inches wide without the mirrors. Geez! A Hummer H1 is only 86.5 inches wide.
Also, I’ve grown tired of hearing about how older Dodge pickups fall apart around their engines/drivetrain. It’s an old wives tale and old hat besides.
I’ve seen quite a few 5.9L Cummins motors with a million miles (or very close to it) on them, and they always ran down the road with a Dodge truck wrapped around them.
Actually “w/mirrors” means with mirrors. Without mirrors would be worded as “w/o mirrors.”
Fuzzy Stretch Math
In “The Long and Short” (Mar. ’12) some of the numbers are a little confusing. Ali Mansour says the starting wheelbase was 93.4 inches. One caption says he used a 3-inch stretch upgrade kit for the suspension. Another caption says the suspension was shifted back four inches and at the end he says he ended up with a 99-inch wheelbase (about).
Based mainly on the images with the article and my own experience performing a similar stretch to my TJ using the GenRight tank, 99 inches seems a little unlikely. Stretching it?
I had other axle and suspension things going on (F-350 Super Duty axles and modified Rubicon Express suspension), but I ended up with a 97.5-inch wheelbase.
The GenRight tank could let you get the suspension back as far as 99 inches, depending on your axles. It just doesn’t look like it from his pictures and the dimensions given.
Maybe he could measure it for us again?
Ali’s Jeep is indeed stretched to a 99-inch wheelbase, measured at the centers of the wheel hubs. The Jeep features adjustable Superlift long arms front and rear. The rear arms have the 3-inch-longer ends and the front arms have been adjusted for around an additional 1.5 inches of wheelbase. The missing 1.6 inches is from the brackets on the axles. They are JK Dana 44 axles converted for TJ use. We didn’t cover all of this in too much detail since few people would build their Jeep exactly like Ali’s.
Ultimately, we found that the threaded Superlift arms have a lot of built-in adjustability.
I see in the new issue that Willie Worthy is retiring! That’s a real loss—I’m very sorry to see him step down. I’ve learned a lot from his columns and features over the years, especially for practical upgrades to my Cherokees (’87, ’93, and ’01 … great trucks!).
I especially appreciated the Willie’s Workbench advice on two tire models—mine! I ran Cooper Discoverers for most of 20 years, including on a Tacoma at a mine in Chile in the ’90s. Now I have Goodyear Wrangler DuraTracs on my ’08 Tacoma. With over 44,000 miles gone, there is still another winter of tread left.
Thanks again, Willie, for all your expertise and detailed advice to readers over many years. You will be missed!
I was getting caught up on all of my reading and I just finished Firing Order in the March ’12 issue. Loved it! My first experience with a beater was when I sold my little import car in 2001 to help finance my first house. A friend gave me an ’88 two-wheel-drive Dodge W100 with a 318 and manual transmission. Not long after getting it, I was going over Donner Pass in a whiteout and of course the bald tires and open diff were not getting me anywhere. I put on the chains that my uncle gave me (“gave,” see a trend here?), and they broke a link about a third of the way across the pass. No gloves? No jacket? No tools? Me, I just kept driving. Afterwards the side of the bed looked like it was beat in with a chain (come to think of it, it was!), and that is when I realized the value of a beater. I loved that truck!
Ever since then, no matter what I have in my stable, I must have a beater. My current beater truck is a ’95 two-wheel-drive Chevy C2500 that I paid $1,200 for. It has a big-block and the fuel mileage is my only complaint. I use it for a tow rig and even for “overland” trips (read: camping). There is a certain pleasure that comes from driving past “expeditions” in a truck that costs less than their roof-top tents!
Just wanted to say thanks for refeaturing my old Scout in Trail’s End (Mar. ’12). You may find it funny that the Scout was rolled two days after these photos were taken. It collected even more trail damage over the years. I was the winner of the ugly truck award for six years running at the Rocky Mountain IH Rendezvous. It even won the seventh year although the truck was not at the show, so it was disqualified, but attendees loved the old thing. Thanks for keeping the legend alive. I need to get back into wheeling, as I have taken time away while working in Iraq for almost four years. Time to get to work on my Cummins-powered, ’Mog-axled ’36 IH.
Firing Order Fan
Mr. Cappa, I really appreciate the article from the March ’12 issue (Firing Order). I have a family, kids, and college to fund, so it is nice to know I don’t have to break into the 401k to put together a fun 4x4.
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