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June 2012 InBox Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on June 1, 2012
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Massive Military Moxie
I just got my Mar. ’12 issue, and on page 72 there is a photo of (I think) an M715 Jeep truck in the upper left corner with a guy in sandals standing on the front bumper. Anyway, I’m looking to make a front bumper for my ’89 F-350 Diesel out of a big beefy C-channel, and I was wondering if there were any more pictures of this truck. The shackles on this bumper are intriguing. Any info you can give would be awesome. Thanks for a great magazine, you give me hope that someday my project truck will get done.
Southwick, MA

That is indeed an M715, after being driven from Los Angeles to the Chile Challenge in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a long time ago, way back in 1999. That truck is gone, but plenty of others like it abound—and yes, it is a simple C-channel with big shackles on beefed-up brackets. Oh, and that guy in the sandals? That’s me doing a clutch job on the truck after it spit out on the Continental Divide. Sounded like squirrels inside.

African Comments
Hi, I am Edward and I live in Ghana, West Africa. First of all, I want you to know that a lot of people go to your site who, like me, do not live in the U.S. or Canada. I had to put in false info with respect to the state and ZIP slots. You have international readers, so please let the Contact Us page reflect that. What I really need to know is if it’s possible for you to upgrade a Toyota Hilux Invincible 2011 to an Ultimate Adventure status?
Edward Asafu-Adjaye Accra, Ghana, West Africa

Edward, your truck would be more than welcome on the UA if you built it to our specs. Basically that means lockers front and rear, at least 35-inch tires, and a self-recovery winch out front. There’s more to it than that, but you can go to to see the latest rules and info. That being said, as you have seen, almost any vehicle can be made to participate in the UA. After more than 10 years of putting the event on, we have had nearly every make and model on the trip. Oh, and we have mentioned the problem with the Contact Us page before to our web team, but it fell on deaf ears. Thanks for asking, and we’ll mention it to them again.

Jeep ID Goof
I have flipped through or read my February copy of 4-Wheel & Off-Road several times. Each time I come to the “Famous Jeeps & Events” article I get a little teary-eyed. Too many good memories for an old codger.

There is one thing that keeps bugging me though. The picture of Jimmy Nylund’s “’51 M38-A1.” The A1 version of the M38 was a round-fendered CJ-5 body type. Obviously the picture isn’t an M38-A1. I do have to hand it to old Jimmy though. He must have been a heck of a body and fender man. Reworking that M38 grille into a nine-slot arrangement and then fitting in the small headlights must have been quite a project. Not to mention the “Willys” Bondo’d onto the side of the hood. And look at the cowl. He obviously worked way into the night (or several of them) welding and sanding to get rid of the battery box. I especially commend the safety rework of the gas tank filler. The smaller MB/CJ size will keep big fellas from poking their hand into the tank for a cool one.

Speaking of M38s, I’ve got a ’52 and I think I’ll cut it up and add a few inches to the wheelbase. Keep up the good work.
R. L. Raber
Hanford, CA

P.S. I’ve been seeing Rick Péwé’s 455ci Buick-powered flattie in the background for many years. If you need some page filler, do an article on the history of that rig, including buildup decisions that brought it to the pristine specimen that it is today.

Oh just wait until Jimmy sees what we called it! But then again, maybe that is why we did it? In fact, it isn’t even an M38, but a CJ-3A with an MB grille, a CJ-3B windshield, and Sweden Sucks lettering. We have been wheeling with him since he wandered into my 4x4 shop in the early ’80s, and still can’t figure out why. And yes, we plan on bringing my ’45 jeep back to life. It has been a bit forlorn sitting in the back 40.

Reader Rave
Whiz-Bang Sucks
This is the first time I’ve ever written in. I’ve been tempted many times lately (to bitch) but the Mar. ’12 issue blew my socks off—finally back to an issue I would consider archiving. I can remember years ago I used to save almost every issue due to the great tech articles truly worth saving, useful for just about any rig, not just the latest Jeep JK. For the past couple years your “tech” articles have been so lacking I actually canceled my subscription to one of your sister magazines and I was probably going to just let my subscription run out with you guys. Tech articles featuring the installation of a lift kit on a late-model Jeep? Come on, that’s not a tech article. It’s a glorified advertisement. I could afford a new rig and deck it out with all the whiz-bang U-joints, high-buck transfer cases, and store-bought custom axles, but that’s not what the core of four-wheeling is about and those are not the people who made your magazine successful. Please don’t forget that.

But now for the good, like your March article on the low-buck tire mount [“Ranch Raptor’s Secure Spare”]. Yeah, it’s not fancy, but you could apply that to just about any rig. I love the use of the threaded pipe and mounting flange.

Then there was “Jeep Axle Swapping on the Cheap.” Just the pictures of the jig table alone were phenomenal.

“Heat and Beat Barbeque” was hands-down the best I’ve seen you guys do in a long, long time. It’s the simple tips that are priceless, like using a radiator hose clamp to draw a straight line around an axletube or using your barbeque to heat up parts. Beating on the Cs with a sledge—that’s what I’m talking about. Bravo! Going into detail on how to measure it out and cut it right is what we are looking for. I know in the end you mentioned that maybe it wasn’t as good as a store-bought unit, but last time I checked they weren’t willing to trade for a slightly used set of Swampers and or maybe some bend time on your bender or maybe an old winch you had lying around. Please keep up the good work.
Vancouver, WA

Tire Dilemma
I recently helped a friend install some new wheels and tires. I have worked in a tire store years ago. I was wondering why a lot of aftermarket wheels have such small lug holes that a regular lug wrench will not fit. In fact, some wheels barely let a thin wall socket fit. I guess I am turning to you to shed some logic on this subject.
Kelly Wood
Via email

Some people just don’t get it, or never had to change a tire themselves. There is no excuse for such an obvious goof, and we have run into it numerous times. We have also found that a high-quality socket that gets its strength with good metal is usually thinner than a cheap socket that uses bulk for strength, so spend some coin and get a good socket.

Reader Rant Review
So I just read through my new issue of your great magazine and see the email about how “Irresponsible & Cruel” it was to encourage a 14-year-old to go off-road (In Box, Mar. ’12). WTF? This person goes on to say that it will lead him to be a selfish, poverty-stricken kid. They rambled about how four-wheelin’ will make him a hazard to society. I personally got my first truck at 13 and it helped me to be reliant on myself and work with my hands, which is a great life skill. The writer also says that this kid won’t appreciate nature. Well, I have found that off-roaders like myself love the outdoors and always leave places cleaner that they found them. All I’m saying is that off-roading has helped me get through life and gain many skills I will use till I die. Also, why the hell is that person reading your mag if he is a damn hippie?
Via email

Trevor, dude, chill. The guy is on our side. It was a tongue-in-cheek letter. Sarcasm. Really!

Dodge Steering Dilemma
Regarding the article on the Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 steering upgrade (“Dodge Control: Better Steering for 3⁄4- & 1-Ton Rams”) in the Mar. ’10 issue by Ali Mansour, the part numbers don’t quite add up. I ordered the package from the Dodge dealer, and the T-type linkage is not included. KLM Performance sells a kit, but it is considerably more expensive. Can you provide the missing part number?
Via email

Ali Mansour replies:
It appears that Mopar has made a few revisions to the link system. My local Dodge dealer said the updated part number is 52122362-AF for the T-link steering (the application was a ’09 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4). That was only for the T-link bars. Since the kit from KLM Performance ( actually lists the Mopar PNs on the website, I believe it is the same genuine Mopar Parts you would get from the dealership. KLM just saves you the hassle of trying to buy parts through a dealership without having a matching VIN (sometimes that can be a hassle).

Here are a few other sites that also list the steering kit for sale.

LowBall Goof
In “The 3rd Annual JK Experience,” Mar. ’12, you guys took the Black Bear Pass outside of Ouray. You say, “The trail runs up into the dizzying elevation of 1,280 feet.” Actually it should say 12,480 feet! I used to have a ’98 Wrangler and have traversed almost all the trails in Southern Colorado, including Black Bear Pass. I had to trade my Jeep for an Aveo. Can you believe that?! Anyway, great magazine! Keep up the good work.
Clifton Backey
Williams, AZ

Say No to Lift Blocks
First off, I am a huge fan of your magazine and love the wide variety of builds you guys write about. Looking through the Apr. ’12 Whoops! Edition I got a kick outta the ’80 F-150 on page 29, “Axle Chucker.” I believe this should be the official Why Not to Run Stacked or Large Rear Lift Blocks Truck. The blocks look like they’re at least 6 inches tall! My guess is that all the damage it did cost more than a set of rear leaves or a shackle reversal, but that’s just my 2 cents. Keep up all the good work. I look forward to the new issue every month.
Kevin V
British Columbia, Canada

Good eye, and don’t forget that you should never use blocks in the front, because if they pop out your steering goes to heck as well.

Vintage Jeep Run?
I was wondering if you could do a real Ultimate Adventure with nothing but Willys Jeeps and with a maximum tire size of 31 inches. This to me would be a great adventure. I would love to see it.
Steve Pelszynski
Via email

Yes, we have thought of doing a vintage run with real Willys. Even V-8s are OK as long as they are vintage swaps (no LS or Hemi engines). Keep reading, and thanks!

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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