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August 2012 In Box Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on August 1, 2012
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Pete’s Jeep Inquiry
Being a Willys guy, I love any of the Willys stuff you guys write about. I liked hearing about the history of Pete’s Jeep [”Pete’s Jeep Revival,” Apr. ’12]. It was very cool. It is similar to what I have, a ’48 CJ-2A with a 4.3L Chevy V-6, a TH350, and a Dana 300. A good upgrade I would like to see a write-up on is adding a CJ-5 fuel to the rear under the bed area. But what I would love to know is how are you running a front driveshaft with the TH350? On mine it just won’t clear the tranny pan. I am planning on a two-piece shaft but would love to see how it clears on Pete’s Jeep.
Paul Ferrari
Billerica, MA

Actually, the shaft barely clears, and a Baja-style jump would not be advisable. But for regular Jeeping it works great. First, it’s a small, 11⁄2-inch-diameter tube for the front driveshaft, and even it gets polished. The front bolts on the pan are oval-headed Allen screws ground down to the thinnest degree. Finally, the pan itself is clearance and the lip removed or bashed in where the shaft likes to go.

Cheap Truck Challenge Returns?
Are you guys really bringing back the Cheap Truck Challenge? I know you’ve been stringing us along for a few years about its return, but in the May ’12 issue you state it’ll be here in an issue or two. My July ’05 issue with the Cheap Truck Challenge is still one of my favorite reads. For the love of God, please do not yank my chain on this one or I’m gonna be pissed!
Anthony Steineke
Via email

Yes, it returns in this issue (see page 60)! I built a Toyota for this month, and next month you can read all about the challenge results.

Danger Ranger Rehash
Nice work on the Ranger project [“Ranger Rehash,” Mar. ’12 and ongoing]. It’s nice to see them get some exposure. I have just one question: Did you know that instead of custom-fabbing in Jeep suspension parts, you could have made one call to Bryan, Brad, or Suzi at James Duff? They have everything you need to simply bolt it on and go.

I have a ’90 Bronco II (these hardly get magazine exposure, but Ranger/Explorer stuff crosses over) with their coil towers and track bar locator. They also have 0.188-wall radius arms I hope to step up to later. I did it all in a garage with simple handtools, a cutoff wheel, and a 1⁄2-inch drill. I highly recommend them. Everything works as they said it would. Here’s a photo of my Bronco also.
Jesse Cline
Princeton, WV

You are so right, Jesse. James Duff has been a great company since day one. We decided on Jeep stuff for the Danger Ranger only as a different low-buck option for those who like to fab out their rides.

North Africa Jeep Adventure
In reference to your editorial “An Awesome Adventure” [4xForward, May ’12], I applaud your efforts to honour the 70th anniversary of the Long Range Desert Group. One comment though: Your article omits that little piece of information that credits the elite “British” forces. Also, the LRDG used mostly 30 CWT Chevy trucks (about a ton and a half). It was the SAS—again, British and “Empire” forces (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and so on)—who came from the LRDG who used the modified Jeeps.
Cooperstown, NY

We have found out so much cool information on who, what, when, and how the Allies fought in North Africa against the Axis that it boggles the mind. We embark shortly on the Awesome Adventure and yet will be back in time to give you all the details in the September issue.

So Aggravating
I have been a huge fan of you guys at for a few years since I got my first Jeep. I very rarely set your magazine down without reading it cover to cover first. I love reading about the rides, deals, and technical fixes, and even the trail articles (especially Ultimate Adventure). In the May ’12 issue I found one thing that really boggled my mind. In the cover section, Straight Conversions, you guys said, “Either way, starting with a basic template can save you a ton of time, money, and aggregation on your solid-axle project.” The word in question is aggregation. I looked the word up and it made no reference to axles or anything as such. I was wondering if you could help out a confused reader and get me the real meaning of what you were trying to say.

Thanks for everything you guys do there at 4-Wheel & Off-Road!
Daniel Tillett
Clay Center, KS

Well, more egg on our face. Really, we did that? Thanks for pointing it out, as aggravating as it may be.

Reader Rant
What’s With Wheels?
I have been reading your magazine since I was about 6 years old, many moons ago, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why anybody that actually takes their rig off-road would have any larger wheel than 18 inches. I know there are a lot of pretty boys out there and ones wanting to be super rappers with 24s and 26s, but I don’t see it. My Chevy runs best on 39.5s, and I want Boggers! I can’t find anybody that makes a good-looking 16.5 wheel; guess I have to go with a Bart or Eaton. Up until the ’90s they were all over the place. How hard is it to make something in a CNC machine nowadays? I would pay for good-looking wheels! Thanks for your time. Just aggravated trying to find wheels.
Bill Stagaman
Via email

Actually I like the look of Eaton wheels as well as Bart. But the 16.5 size is dying a rapid death; 18s are the new standard size. Looks and style always factor into design, as you have noted. But the biggest technical reason for large wheel sizes is the room needed for bigger disc brakes. This safer brake package dictates wheels, although 20s aren’t generally needed. We try to have a proportional size on our wheels. For instance, a 33-inch tire on a 20-inch rim just isn’t right because the sidewall is not good for off-road use, but a 42-inch tire and 20s seem just fine.

What Column? What?
I know I’m writing to the In Box, but nuts, I’m confused! In Mar. ’12 you did a feature on an incredibly cool Cummins-powered Wagoneer [“Powered-Wagon”]. This article states that the waggy is running a ’98 Ford high-pinion Dana 60. Last time I checked, Ford didn’t build any fullsize trucks in 1998 with the exception of light-duty IFS F-250s based on the F-150 platform. That was the break between the ’90s square body style and the ’99 Super Duty. Now, I was wrong once in 1994. Please say I don’t have to relive that pain.

Great mag. I have been a subscriber for years and will be one as long as Péwé welds in sandals.
Scott Anderson
Granite Falls, WA

I was wrong once too, but then I found out I was mistaken. It was also in 1994 while I was welding in sandals.

Tech Editor Fred Williams explains: The high-pinion is an ’89 Ford front axle. After ’91 Ford used ball joint knuckles, and this axle is a kingpin version.

Mighty Toyota Hilux
I’m an officer in the Philippines Air Force, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been an avid reader for years. Because I do not have a subscription to your magazine I sort of improvise on how to get a copy. A visit to the shopping mall would not be complete without grabbing two or three issues of my 4x4 bible. I do this by picking patiently on stacks of assorted magazines until I find yours. I can’t express how much I enjoy reading and learning from the articles. And because of your magazine I opted to buy my first 4x4. I’m a proud owner of an ’82 Toyota Hilux. It needs a lot of work to make it really look good, and I’m working on that thanks to your tips. I’m open to suggestions. If you have a spare license plate or stickers for an overseas fan, I’ll be glad to have them. Thanks, and more power!
Ariel Dickson Almeda

You will find a whole story on building up a first-gen Toyota as a capable trail machine in this issue as part of our Cheap Truck Challenge (page 62). Lots of the info will be applicable to your ride as well. Thanks for taking the time to search us out!

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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