50 Tips And Comments
I have been a devoted reader of 4-Wheel & Off-Road for many years, and I cringed when I saw yet another tips and tricks article ("50 Tips and Tricks," June '98). Wow, was I surprised! The article was informative and innovative and offered many nonduplicated ideas. You even borrowed some street-rodder tricks and tips. Great job!
Paul J. Cox
Great ideas in the "50 Tips and Tricks" article, but you might want to check the suitability of using PVC pipe for compressed air in a shop.
While serving on the safety committee for a large university several years ago, I remember seeing a warning not to use PVC pipe because it can suffer catastrophic failure. I also believe a similar warning was printed in the US Plastics catalog some years back.
There are some cons to using PVC, namely it may shatter if something heavy falls against it. However, if you check the burst pressure printed on the tubing, it is possible to get PVC rated at 300 psi or higher, so failure due to internal pressure isn't a concern. The pros are that it's inexpensive compared to steel, and it doesn't rust like steel lines do.
'99 GMC Sierra
In reference to "'99 GMC Sierra" (May '98): Man, what a truck! Now, can someone just tell GMC and Chevy to build a bare-bones, inexpensive, off-road model for those of us who can't afford and don't need the gee-whiz factor? Oh, and one more thing: For the Yukon/ Tahoe debut, think removable hardtop.
A removable hardtop would be cool and retro, wouldn't it? As far as bare-bones models, GM has produced a work-truck version in the past that has rubber floor mats, hand-crank windows, and so on-we assume they'll continue with this model.
I just read 4xForward in the June '98 issue. I couldn't agree more with the entire article! Coming from a law enforcement point of view, I think that everyone should be required to take driving instruction that goes beyond the basic driver's ed class in high school. I get tired of pulling people over for the simple little things (changing lanes in the middle of an intersection, not yielding when entering a roadway from a private drive, and so on), and getting the same question: "What did I do wrong, officer?" I saw a guy yesterday eating spaghetti while he was driving!
I mentioned two on-road driving schools, but there are also a few off-road schools that teach vehicle control and terrain reading, which is handy both on- and off-road. Here are a few of them: The Adventure Company (Dept. 4WOR, 8855 Appian Way, Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323/848-8685), Four-Wheeling America (Dept. 4WOR, 2134 S. Humbolt St., Denver, CO 80210-4619, 303/778-9144), Moses Ludel's 4-Wheel Driving School (Dept. 4WOR, P.O. Box 584, Yerington, NV 89447, 702/463-5965, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org), Land Rover Driving Academy (Dept. 4WOR, Land Rover North America, 4390 Parliament Pl., Lanham, MD 20706, 800/FINE-4WD [346-3493]), Rod Hall Off-Road Driving School (Dept. 4WOR, 1360 Kleppe Ln., Sparks, NV 89431, 702/331-5032), Rovers North Off-Road (Dept. 4WOR, Box 61, Rte. 128, Westford, VT 05494-9601, 802/879-3534), and West Coast British (190 Airway Blvd., Livermore, CA 94550, 510/606-8301).
Tori Tellem's "4x4 Formulas" (May '98) contained a very good presentation of finding the center of gravity (CG) of a vehicle. It was easy to follow and well explained; however, I don't see any practical use for this. Even if I know the CG of my CJ-7, this doesn't tell me at what point the sucker will roll over. What instrument is available that will give an accurate measure of roll-over potential so I'm not doing a lot of body work? Experience is something one gets by doing, but it's also something one acquires after it is needed.
The only real benefit of knowing your CG is to help you better guess when things will get nasty. In a fully loaded Jeep, the CG may be much higher than you think, making the vehicle less stable than you think.
We've only seen one level/bubble type of roll-over meter, but it just tells you the true angle the vehicle is at side-to-side and isn't really a roll-over meter. Also, you'd have to roll once to see exactly at what angle your vehicle will go over, and then it's only accurate for the amount of gear, fuel, and so on that you had on board at that time.
Finally, we've seen people roll vehicles on surfaces that shouldn't have caused a problem, making these meters fun to watch but no more helpful than knowing your vehicle and having a feel for the tiltiness of the situation.
In your answer to Chris Davis (Letters, Apr. '98), you stated that the new GM trucks don't give you the choice of turning off the daytime running lights (DRL). I have a '97 Chevy Z-71, and I can disable the DRL by putting the emergency brake on the first notch. This isn't enough to apply the brake, but it turns off the DRL.
We actually learned this trick with the first DRL-equipped vehicle we testdrove, but hadn't passed it on to the readers. Thanks for sharing.
Start 'em Young
I am 16 years old and just getting started in four-wheeling. I would like to know how to install body and suspension lifts. I have been reading your magazine for about a year now and have read the pros and cons of each. What I haven't read, or have missed, is the step-by-step how-tos. I own an '88 Dodge 1/2-ton shortbed and want to lift it 3 inches. Before I do so, I would like all the info I can get on installing a lift kit.
Our Feb. '98 issue had a step-by-step how-to on lifting a CJ-7 ("Lift Kit How-To"), which has a very similar suspension to your Dodge. The installation is pretty simple, but the bolts are usually rusted in place, which makes an impact wrench mighty nice. In short, you can do it, but it will be a challenge, and you may need help or specialty tools.