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December 2012 In Box Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on December 1, 2012
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Own OJ Build
After receiving my Sept. ’12 issue I was eager to start flipping through the pages to see what this issue had in store for me to read. I was thrilled to find Part 2 of the Ultimate Orange Jeep with more pictures and information on its buildup. What pleased me more was to see that we are currently in the same boat (page 69)! My Ultimate Orange Jeep also got its rearend cut off this summer . . . but I’m not like you guys. I’m willing to tell you what my plan is.

She started out new in 2005 as an Impact Orange TJ Sport and over the last couple of years has slowly been built and wheeled. Last fall I started into its current build, which includes getting a tub stretch to fit onto an Unlimited frame, 1-ton axles stretched out another 4 inches forward and 5 inches back, 39.5-inch Pit Bulls on H1 rims, and a new transfer case setup.

I have been reading your magazine now religiously for 10 years and am always excited to get my new issue in the mail. I look forward to seeing what you do next with your OJ build, as I hope to get some ideas from it as to what I should do with the wife’s ’12 Orange Crush JKU.
Via email

Man, that is cool! Read on to see what the haters feel about using the reciprocating saw on a Jeep.

Jeep Wave Redoux
In response to Dave Asbridge’s rant [In Box, July ’12], here’s mine. I got over the Jeep wave thing pretty quickly after I bought my JK Unlimited back in 2009. The primary reason for this is that it seemed at every turn I heard comments (primarily from TJ guys) that my JK wasn’t a Jeep/Wrangler since it has four doors and came from the factory with power windows and locks. It got old pretty quick and proved, in my opinion, that the Jeep community wasn’t/isn’t all it was purported to be. As to the transmission thing, I would guess that I’ve seen about a 50/50 mix of automatics and manuals in the TJ and JK rigs I’ve encountered. I will not wave, but I will continue to enjoy my JK and everything that it is capable of, even if it’s not a Wrangler.
Vestal Taylor
Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE

I wave to all Jeeps even when I’m driving a rental Celica. If nothing else, I’m passing along the fact that I am a happy person. Try it; you might be surprised at how other Jeep owners catch the wave. It’s infectious and makes for a happy world. Don’t hate.

Dana Dilemma
While reading through my Sept. ’12 issue I noticed in the ”Do-It-Yourself Dana Install” article that a housing spreader was not used to assist in the installation of the carrier shims. Proper use of a housing spreader (with a dial gauge to prevent overspreading) makes the removal and installation of the carrier and required shims a breeze. Thanks for a great magazine and the awesome information you share in it every month!
Leonard J. Schindler
Salem, OR

Thanks for the reminder. Yes, a spreader is not only the proper way to install gears in a Dana housing, but it does make the process easier. Many shops have them on the wall and use them frequently. In the hands of a novice the spreader can be used too aggressively and the housing might not spring back to the proper shape. Use what you can and get the job done right!

Canadia Rules!
Hey guys, just a quick question. Does Canada have a little brother I didn’t know about? On page 27, caption 4, of the Fabworx front-end article [“Linked & Sprung Solid,” May ’12], where is this “Canadia” that you speak of? On a side note, do you guys have any idea why so many SAS (solid axle swap) kits are available for Chevys and not Fords? I know a bunch of guys that have made their own (, but it just seems a little odd to me, because there is certainly an interest. Just check the SAS section and you’ll see daily newb questions about an SAS “kit” for their Bronco or F-150. Anyway, keep up the good work! I’ve been a subscriber for about 18 years.
Dan Simmons
Rohnert Park, CA

Simple numbers is the answer. Far more Chevys were made with floppy front suspension and need a solid axle. Heck, the Ford line still makes a 3⁄4- and a 1-ton with a real axle. It’s simply a business decision; if someone ran the numbers and found the market needed another Ford SAS kit, it would happen. That’s free enterprise in action. Plus, Ford guys can still go to the dealership and buy a solid front axle truck (the Super Duty); GM guys don’t have that option.

Expensive Stuff
I read the portal article [“Living With Portals,” Aug. ’12] and was flabbergasted by the cost of a pair of axles! I can’t imagine spending $23,500 for a pair of axles. I’m a little surprised that you didn’t make a bigger deal about how outrageously expensive they were. These aren’t high-zoot axles; they are mildly worked over axles that Mopar is aiming towards stock jeepers (hence the test vehicle). There are a lot more effective places to spend that much money. Heck, you could be most of the way towards a custom rock buggy for that price!
Perry Harrington
Boulder Creek, CA

Is it a bunch of cash? Heck yeah, but again, this is a free market where people pay the going rate. Remember that the lowest-price car in America is around $12,000 today, not the $2,500 that a new ’66 Mustang was. You could buy a used Jeep for $500 back then as well. Inflation and the costs of goods increase all the time, even if our salaries don’t. If you can build a better mousetrap the public will buy it, and it seems that the high-tech whiz-bang items that start out expensive usually come down in price, after you’ve bought the first model.

But Then Again…
You gotta be kidding me! You cut a brand-new Jeep in half? I think you really have lost touch with your readers. Most of them would give a kidney for that unmolested Jeep. We read your magazine for practical mods of our vehicles, not to watch someone with more bucks than brains destroy a Jeep because he can. The CJ was kind of cool, the F-250 had some merit with the IFS, but you have gone too far with this one. I’m afraid the Ultimate Adventure will go the way of the Top Truck Challenge—no one will give a crap anymore.
Ed Rodrigues
San Ramon, CA

Really? And you think guys look at Playboy for practical tips, or is it for the fantasy? And what makes you think we destroyed the Jeep instead of making it more functional? Take two and call us in the morning.

And Finally, Medical Marijuana
I have been a big fan of yours and the magazine for many years. However, this time I am greatly disappointed. Let me first say I am a big fan of unusual or “morphodite” vehicles. Usually the uglier the better. However, in the case of the Ultimate OJ, I have to ask what the heck were you guys thinking? I can picture the creative meeting:

“Hey, why don’t we build something really off-the-wall this year, like a Suzuki X-90?”

“I have an even better idea. Why don’t we take a perfectly good brand-new Jeep Wrangler and completely screw it up and turn it into an X-90? Pass the bong.”

I am now completely against medical marijuana because the stuff you guys were smoking is just way too powerful and should be outlawed. Thanks for your time.
Bruno Michel
Via email

Fred Williams is responsible for the idea and the build, and he verified he doesn’t smoke dope. The actual conversation on the build went something like this.

“Rick, what about a clown car Jeep with a front clip on the rear, and a rear-steer axle?”

I replied, “Cool, if you can do it in time and under budget, then yes!”

Reader Rant
Budget build
Been a fan of the magazine for a long time. Just read the Sept. ’12 issue and really enjoyed the Cheap Truck Challenge builds featured in both this issue and the previous one. “Budget builds” tend to get under my skin because the budget is always way higher than what someone doing a budget build would have to spend. This one was pretty darn close to being a realistic test in that $4,024 is a fairly reasonable budget for an average gearhead who can do the work himself or herself over a year or two. My gripe is that y’all must have some incredibly spoiled 17-year-olds out there on the West Coast for them on a two-year timeline even to be able to afford that kind of budget. Out here in Virginia at least 90 percent of 17-year-olds are either saving for college or already starting to take on some of their own bills, albeit in their parents’ names legally.

I’d like to make a challenge to you. Let’s see a true budget build. Set a ridiculously low budget like $2,000 total between the truck and all mods/repairs needed to get it on and off the pavement, and see what kind of mild or moderate wheeling it could handle while being able to drive back and forth between school, work, and home. Instead of off-the-shelf parts eating into the budget, let’s see what a trip to the local junkyard can get you.

My ’95 Jeep XJ, lifted 6 inches in front and about 41⁄2 in the rear, sitting on 305/70-16 BFG KMs with a welded 29-spline Chrysler 81⁄4 rear, has cost me a total of $1,300, which also includes a fresh rattle-can bedliner and spray paint finish. Sure, it has some odd creaks and rattles from time to time, but what budget build doesn’t?

Surely the world’s greatest 4x4 magazine is up to such a task, right? Ha ha, all joking aside, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to see such a build.
Corey Bennett
Via email

If I had the time and budget I would live in a wrecking yard and make all sorts of budget beaters. The reality is that we have real jobs here, although at times it doesn’t appear so. We aren’t done with Cheap Truck Challenge, The Series, so keep your ideas and comments coming, and plan your own CTC!

When I was 17 years old I lived back east and I worked on my family’s farm. I saved enough to buy my first street-legal 4x4 for $1,000, which I was able to earn in a summer, but that was 20 years ago. I had to sell that Jeep to go to college. Plus take out student loans.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If you figure a third goes to taxes, that’s about $4.75 per hour. At that rate you’d need about 11 40-hour weeks to save up $2,012. Most kids get that many weeks of summer vacation. So at a minimum they should be able to earn it, and hopefully they could earn more. Yes, we could make the budget even lower, but I felt it was a good average price. Everyone remembers how cheap their first truck was. The fact is we didn’t want to show a truck so cheap no one could duplicate the build.

Next year’s Cheap Truck Challenge plan is already in the works. Expect even more budget upgrades as well as adventure, high seas, crazy antics, and more fun four-wheeling.

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