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January 2013 In Box

Jeep Xj
Rick Péwé
| Four Wheeler Network Content Director
Posted January 1, 2013

Our Reader's Write back!

Reader Rant
Why No XJs?
I was just wondering, after looking through your project builds, why don’t you have any of the most popular, most commonly used off-road vehicles? I just got back into the off-road scene and subscribed, and I looked at your site. No XJs? It is the most commonly used and upgraded 4x4 out there. I am so hooked; I bought my first one three weeks ago instead of buying a side-by-side. In the last three weeks I bought two more. My wife has her own now and loves it. I was disappointed to see you don’t have any XJ projects.
Superior, WY

We have had plenty of XJ projects in the past, and will have more of them in the future. The idea isn’t to build a killer ride the first time out, but to do it like most of our readers and gradually improve upon the base vehicle. Here is a shot of our next XJ project (we hope). It’s a ’90 and bone stock, with about 150K on her. It needs a fuel sending unit and a rear main, and then it can hit the dirt.

Readers, how about an idea list of sensible upgrades so we can get it going?

Beach Cruising
Hey guys, love the magazine. I just wanted to comment on Fred Williams’ cross-country trip in the CJ-5 (Apr. and May ’12 ). Great article, and it sounds like a lot of fun traveling across the country in an old open-top Jeep. Awesome adventure. But I was disappointed to see that Fred didn’t get to make it onto the beach in his Jeep. He was just at the wrong beach!

About 25 miles north of Long Beach Island is another barrier island where you can drive on the beach. Just south of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, New Jersey, is a great state park where you can drive onto the beach. Island Beach State Park is a wonderful park full of great scenery and history, definitely worth the trip if you happen to be in the area again. Most locals have a pass that needs to be renewed once a year, but visitors can be issued a single day or weekend pass to the park.

There are some requirements if you wish to be issued a pass. Four-wheel drive is a must (obviously), but vehicles must also be equipped with a fire extinguisher and recovery equipment such as towstraps and chains, shovels, and at least a 1-foot by 1-foot by 1-inch piece of plywood with a bottle jack so that you have a sturdy place for the base of the jack so that it does not sink in the sand, as well as a first aid kit.

Once in the park and on the beach you can drive all the way to the Barnegat Inlet, which separates Island Beach State Park from Long Beach Island. On the other side of the inlet is the old Barnegat Light House, which is cool to see. If parked for an extended period of time, you are supposed to have fishing poles in the ocean and in pole holders in the sand. You can go surfing if you like to, or camp overnight on the beach. It is a great place to have fun with the whole family. 

I live in the very small town of Beachwood, very close to the beach. So here in Ocean County I think we have a lot to offer. The beach is about 15 minutes east of where I live, and then we have tons of woods and great places to go wheeling in the Pine Barrens 10 minutes west and southwest. So if you happen to be traveling back this way anytime, there is a lot more to see, and Island Beach State Park is a must.

I also included a picture of my Jeep, a ’90 XJ two-door, about 11-inch custom lift, Rusty’s long arms with 9-inch coils, and adjustable spacers in the front, 61⁄2-inch leaf springs with 13⁄4-inch shackles and 2-inch blocks (a little bit hack, I know) in the rear, Dana 44 high-pinion with 5.38s and welded diff (not for much longer) and Warn premium hubs and hydro-assist and high steer in the front, Ford 9-inch with 5.38s and welded diff not for much longer) and disc brakes in the rear, 38x16.5x15 TSLs, and a 4.0 H.O. from a ’95 Grand Cherokee with an AX-15 tranny with a Centerforce Dual Friction Stage 3. She’s almost done—just gotta do brake lines and fab up some shock mounts. Keep up the great work, guys!
Patrick McMahon
Beachwood, NJ

That sounds like a killer trip. Driving on the beach is something every wheeler should do at least once. Thanks for the update on coastal cruising!

Ultimate Adventure Orange JK
I’m asking about that new orange Jeep of yours. It seems everything you did to it has turned it yellow. At least that’s how it appears in your Nov. ’12 issue. I know you do some weird and cool vehicles for the Ultimate Adventure, but that is the first one I’ve seen so scared that it turned another color! Seriously, there was no mention in the continuing article about the new paint. Perhaps it is in the last installment?

I wish you would have covered a little history of rear steer with this Jeep. A lot of people will think this is really something new. In jeep-type vehicles, both the Bantam BRC and the Ford GP were made, albeit in limited numbers, with rear-wheel steer. However, the intended user didn’t want it for two reasons. One, it was more complicated, adding to supply headaches; and two, they were very unstable at anything other than low speed.

Also, in the mid 1930s, Daimler Benz made a little convertible that the German Military purchased called the 170 V and the 170 VL. The VL was all-wheel drive, and some had rear-wheel steer. The all-wheel steers were found to be unstable deathtraps. Mind you, this was a small four-door vehicle with as much horsepower as an early VW Bug. So how do you keep from killing yourselves with the new UA vehicle? I guess I’ll have to stay tuned, eh?

And Rick, welding in sandals is really cool. Who needs toes or feet anyway? Great magazine y’all have!
Jake Hice
Spokane, WA

Actually, Jake, the color is orange, and so is the wrap! The color differences you see are from the printing inks and the lights in your home, even the light on the day the photo was taken—everything affects the color reproduction. When the DVD comes out you will see the same thing.

As for rear steer, yes, I have investigated the old jeeps with that feature, and they are cool but indeed complicated. For us, a simple lockout mechanism for the rear-steer feature is engaged so our UAJK tracks straight and true at highway speeds.

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