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February 1999 Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on February 1, 1999
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I've been a fan of 4x4 Chevrolet trucks since I could walk, especially the 1-tons. But if I were in the market for a new 1-ton truck, I think I'd have to consider the '99 Super Duty Fords. The return of leaf springs on a solid front axle is a good idea. Is Chevy looking at something like this for its 1-tons? Maybe Ford started a trend of going back to the basics and building trucks for what they'll be used for.
Mike Kendall
Prior Lake, MN

Our sources tell us that the revised version of the Chevy 1-ton truck (which will be introduced as a 2000 model) will still have the independent front-end design that GM has used on its fullsize trucks since '88.

By the way, the F-350s have always had a straight axle, as have all fullsize Dodge trucks.

I have been in the market for a CJ for some time and recently found the perfect one. It's a '79 with a rebuilt engine and some new parts. When I went to the insurance agency, they told me that they wouldn't insure the Jeep because of the wheelbase. I went to another that accepted me, but now my dad won't let me get it because he says that if the insurance company won't insure it, it must be dangerous. I'm trying to convince him that they are safe, but I really don't know if they are or not.
Chris Shively
via e-mail

There isn't a direct answer for this question. I personally know more people who have rolled Nissan Sentras on the highway than off-roaders who have rolled their Jeeps anywhere (and I know way more Jeepers than Sentra owners).

The best way to sum up things is that all tall and narrow sport/utility vehicles will handle differently from passenger cars. For this reason, some groups have deemed them dangerous. I'd like to add that economy compact cars handle far differently from fullsize sedans, but no one has called them dangerous. I believe that a Jeep can be driven as safely as any other vehicle.

These comments are in response to "Stock vs. Lifted," Oct. '98. I have a Pro Comp 4-inch lift installed on my '97 TJ. I also have 33x12.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains on 15x10 American Eagle wheels. I purchased the kit through 4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers in Dallas. I've driven the vehicle about a year since the lift and found your article to be very accurate. You were right on the money about "that wandering thing." My Jeep is a daily driver, and I noticed the wandering became worse over time. The frontend also started groaning, squeaking, and popping. I consulted with 4 Wheel Parts about the situation. Everything under the Jeep was tightened, and I thought the problem was solved. However, as time passed, the problem reappeared.

Finally, the people at 4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers found the solution, although they didn't sell the product. They told me about the chrome-moly adjustable track bar from Rubicon Express (Dept. 4WOR, 3315 Monier Cir., Rancho Cordova, CA 95742, 916/ 858-8575, This did the trick and made the steering tighter than it was before the lift.
John Pross
Carrollton, TX

The Real Squeak
I haven't seen any articles on urethane bushings and body mounts; has your magazine published any articles on these products (or will it in the near future)? I'm currently doing a rehab and bulletproofing rebuild on my '90 GMC 2500 and would like to learn more about bushings and body mounts before I pony up any cash. I've heard everything from "they're great" to "they're way too stiff and squeak all the time." What's the real story?
Steve Curley
Eagle River, AK

I'll catch flak for this, but every vehicle with polyurethane bushings that I've had experience with has squeaked. I even have two vehicles that only have poly on the sway-bar mounts, and they still squeak. Polyurethane is great for more control, and the fluted ones with grease fittings at least allow you to lube them regularly to cut down on the squeaking.

The good qualities of these bushings, however, are that they do not wear out, they don't break down when soaked with oil or gas, and they do increase stability.

Tire Tests
I have just lifted my '83 CJ-5 and want to purchase a new set of tires. After talking with a reliable source, I was told that BFG's Mud-Terrains last almost as long as its All-Terrain tire. For a few more bucks, I have no problem buying the mud tires, but will they truly last nearly as long as the All-Terrains if properly rotated and maintained?
Dan Decicco
Fresno, CA

It all depends on how you use the tires. We haven't quite finished a long-term test on these two tires, so we can't be 100 percent sure, but it seems that the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains will last almost as long as the All-Terrains if you don't do any four-wheeling. If you do four-wheel, the Mud-Terrains seem to get chunked worse than the All-Terrains because they grab better. We almost always use Mud-Terrain tires because they are such a great help in almost every off-road situation.

Missing Locker
I just opened my brand-new issue of 4-Wheel & Off-Road and couldn't resist reading "'88-'98 Chevys," Dec. '98. I love my S-10, which has the same suspension, just smaller, and it's about time it was recognized as having a few strengths to go with its weaknesses.

Our friends at Powertrax make a Lock-Right to fit the frontend of IFS Chevy trucks, contrary to the article. Not a huge detail, but if I were looking for a front locker and read that article, I'd be needlessly disappointed. Figured I'd let you know.
Joe Duhon
via e-mail

According to Reider Racing ( Dept. 4WOR, 12351 Universal Dr., Taylor, MI 48180, 800/522-2707), Powertrax does make a Lock-Right for the 7.25 IFS axles under S-10 and S-15 trucks and downsized Blazers and Jimmys. However, the fullsize 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton GM IFS trucks use 8.2-inch front axles, and there still isn't a locker available for these.

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. Write to: Editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515, fax 323/782-2704, e-mail

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