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April 2010 Mailbag - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on April 1, 2010
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Power Up!
I want to thank you guys for trialing performance products so we the reader can see for ourselves what works and what doesn't. The story "True Lies," (Nov. '09) was right on. I am also a great fan of the progressing "Insane Inline," (Nov. '09) piece.

Having run a supercharged 4.0L in my old '03 Rubicon, I can certainly attest that adding a blower did nothing "good" for my gas-mileage. I lost 2-3mpg, but gained 110hp and 165ft/lbs of torque. Kenne Belle was right, "There is no free lunch!"

I also appreciated "Wrangler Tuner Shootout," (Nov. '09). This section on engine controllers you guys did speaks volumes to the nay-sayers who rant and rave about how little you all do for the reader. I have not read from a "magazine," data compared like this in such detail and done with real-world conditions/affirmations. Then adding icing on top, you guys even placed an easy to read side-by-side comparison that the reader could pick and chose which model would serve his or her needs the best.

It takes great articles to make a great magazine. Great job guys! Joe Gordon Tucson, Arizona

But Daddy, I Want It Now!
The "Wrangler Tuner Shootout" article in the Nov. '09 issue says, "More power and fuel economy for your '07-'10 JK Wrangler." I've got a '10 and have confirmed with tech support at both Superchips and Hypertech that the products do not support '10 models and there is no ETA when they will be supported. Myself and others have purchased tuners for '10 Wranglers, only to find out they will not work. Your article is misleading, since it implies all of the tuners you reviewed will work for '10 model year. Gregory Hampton Via e-mail

Well, I supposed we jumped the gun just a bit. Sorry for the confusion. However, I would expect all of these programmers to be made to work with the '10 model eventually, and probably by the time you read this.

Irritated Inline
I was surprised at the comment, "We decided to shoot for the moon: we are invading NASCAR territory with two horsepower per cubic inch, which even in these modern day horsepower wars is unheard of for a street driven vehicle." ("Insane Inline Part I," Nov. '09). You guys ever heard of a 600hp 4.6L Mustang? Just search "2008 Mustang Rage." You must have a sister publication someplace that talks about performance cars.

Of course they were starting with a 500hp motor, so maybe it's not a big deal to get another 100 hp out of it. But 673hp out of a 5.0L Jeep inline-six, wow (maybe). Barney Navarro got 650hp out of a 3.0L version of basically the same engine with his Indy car. So let me see, 650hp/180 cid=3.6 hp-per-cubic-inch. If we were to get the same 3.6hp-per-cid out of your 5.0L, that would put us somewhere around 1,000hp. That would be insane!

Maybe I am missing the point, if your point is that you can take your stock engine and do about $2,000 worth of engine machine shop work, invest $1,500 in a cylinder head, $2,500 in a stroker kit, $5,000 in a turbocharger kit, another couple of thousand in an engine control system, and then spend $1,000 or so dyno tuning it. So for the small price of only $14,000-$15,000, you too can have a 693hp street machine. I think most of us would be happy with an article on a 5.0L stroker that produced 325hp or so. This is more within people's budget. It would be great if you could make it work with the stock ECU. A $5,000-build is more reasonable than a $15,000 build.

By the way, in the article it states that the crankshaft is forged, I believe it is a cast crank. Peter Lechtanski Via email

Right from the get go we made it very clear that the Insane Inline wasn't supposed to be an everyman's engine. We wanted to push the Jeep 4.0L as far as we reasonably could to see what was possible. We're pretty happy with the results at 693hp and 777 lb-ft of torque. It may very well be the most powerful Jeep 4.0L-based engine out there.

4:1 Tales
Adding to Pat Fagan's information in "Mailbag," (Nov.'09), I was the guy who ordered the 4:1 from Pat for the NVG249 T-case in my YJ in the early 90's. I had just met a fellow named Joe Julian at a Jeep Jamboree in Cumberland, Kentucky. Joe had a YJ built pretty well like mine except that he had a Pat Fagan 4:1 in his Jeep's T-case. I saw how much easier a time he had going over the rough stuff with his Jeep than I had with mine. Aha! I had to have one for my Jeep too! So, credit card in hand, I called Pat to see if he could put one in my NVG249. I had put a NP249 in my YJ since I'm a strong advocate of full-time 4WD in street-driven Jeeps, especially in winter conditions.

Pat confirmed that he could fit the 4:1 in the front case of my NVG249 if I sent it to him for machining. After this exchange of information, personal credit card number, and shipment of the front case to him, I received my 4:1 back, complete with a welded-up bolt boss. The T-case was reassembled and went back into my YJ, the fun began and it continues to this day.

I can assure you and Pat that nobody at Chrysler or NVG ever saw the inside of my T-case with Pat's 4:1. However, the benefits of the 4:1 were experienced by my Lunatic buddies at Jeep beginning in the mid- to late-90s, particularly at the early Camp Jeep events held at Camp Hale, Colorado. I didn't take it there for the first Camp Jeep, but did haul it out for every one thereafter. My YJ had a 4.7L stroker motor, 4.10 gears and ARBs front and rear at that time. It would also ramp between 900 and 1000 RTI on a 20 degree ramp.

When we could sneak away from our work assignments at the engineering tent and customer roundtables, we'd do late afternoon runs on some of the trails around Camp Hale. A particular favorite was the trail up to Holy Cross City. Jim Repp, Dave Yegge, Mike Smith, and Mike Gabriel and others were usually involved, as well as Chuck Acker and Don Buser, who were the Wrangler Program Manager and Jeep Vehicle Development Director, respectively. Most of them had opportunities to drive my Jeep on a trail or follow me and see how easy it was to negotiate obstacles with the 4:1 and lockers on both ends.

Pat's 4:1 lasted a lot longer than the NVG249 did. That model NVG249 drove the front prop through the viscous unit in low range and the viscous unit was not up to the challenge of difficult, vertical obstacles. After several vacation trips to Moab, I switched the 4:1 front case over to an NVG242 T-case, which my YJ has to this day. Unfortunately, Pat's 4:1 gave up the ghost several years ago while in Moab and I had to replace it with a TeraFlex unit.

My hat is off to Pat for his ingenuity and efforts in creating the 4:1 low range gear set, as well as his memory for details. His efforts have certainly made Jeeping more enjoyable for quite a number of people. Phil Toney Retired AMC/Chrysler/Jeep 1969-2007

Turbo 2.5L MPG
I got the November '09 copy of Jp and went right to the can to start reading. I was curious what kinda mileage you're getting with the 505 turbo four-cylinder ("Big Power Four-Popper")? Oh, and I like a little T and A in your mag! Keep it up. John Pytlak Petaluma, California

Unfortunately, the novelty of actually having a four-cylinder with power hasn't worn off yet. Most of our trips have been around-town throttle-stomps. We haven't taken it out on any long highway trips or run any tanks of gas through it where we weren't playing with the turbo and putting the foot to the floor. So having said all that, we've only been able to muster 11 mpg. Open roads and a lighter foot will certainly result in more mpg.

Because it's Ugly In the Nov '09 issue there was a letter in the Your Jeep section about a 16-year-old wanting to spend $2,000 on a Jeep. He could only find fixer uppers that needed a whole tub. I agree that you shouldn't be paying $2,000 for any Jeep that needs a tub. My question is what is wrong with the CJ-3B? I had one given to me that I am considering rebuilding because it does need a tub and complete rebuilding. I think that it looks different enough that it would be unique. I am a long time reader of Jp and notice that you don't care for the CJ-3B. I do like your magazine and guess that I would somewhat value your opinion. Thank you and keep up the good work. Gerald Macy Lebanon, New Hampshire

Why don't we like the CJ-3B? Simply put, it's ugly. The slap-together hood and grill look...well...slapped together. The CJ-3B went through a hurried development and clearly this pregnant hood must have been the quickest and easiest solution to fit the new and more-powerful F-head engine. Fortunately, that fat hood sure makes V-8 engine swaps a lot easier, but not easier on the eye.

Crazy question! (I know it's fraught with all kinds of fabrication, and so on, so I'm just looking for the simple answer). I wanted to find out if anyone has put a CJ-5 body onto a JK frame/running gear. I have a '73 CJ-5. I love the look of CJs and the older Jeep feel, but I want to do a bunch of upgrades to its running gear. Conversely, I realize that the JK is superior in its running gear, but I don't like the look or feel of new Jeeps (too much plastic, bells, whistles, and so on). This would combine the best of both worlds: it looks like a CJ-5, but 4x4's like a JK. Am I the only one that has thought of this? Thanks for any comments! Brian Pfaff Salem, Oregon

The CJ-5 is a little narrow and way too short for the JK chassis and axles. The two-door JK has a 95.4-inch wheelbase. Your CJ-5 wheelbase is 83.5 inches. Sure, it's possible to lop a foot out of the JK frame to make the CJ-5 tub fit. People have even considered swapping Willys pickup bodies to the JK chassis. Personally, I think it would be a good way to ruin two perfectly good Jeeps.

Ex-Subscriber...or Not
Well you can add my name to your growing list of ex-subscribers. I currently own a '74 CJ-5 and a '98 XJ. Both are lifted and ready for dirt. I have been enjoying your magazine for about a year now until I got my last issue. While happily flipping through the pages, what do I find on the last page? Chicks lying around on Jeeps ("Sideways," Sept. '09). Give me a break. Are you guys serious? I've never been so disgusted in all my life. Do you people really think that we want to look at this stuff? Take a good look at those pictures. Are you proud of that? For starters, none of the Jeeps have dirt on them, and all the girls in those photos are wearing far too much clothing. Consider me gone. John Mortland Andover, Connecticut

Good Then Bad
Hey, first off, great mag. I just got the new issue and went straight to the readers' rides ("Monster Mash," Sept. '09). To my disappointment, there were only 3 XJs out of 75 rides. As an XJ owner it would be awesome to see more of them in future issues. Regarding the woman who said she didn't like the "smut" in the mag-she's way off. The Jeep chicks are hot and nothing makes a Jeep look better than your beautiful woman beside it. Keep up the awesome work. Jeremy Ward Summersville, West Virginia

So we didn't have a lot of Cherokees huh? If you wanna see more you have to send them in! We only run what we have. Well, unless you want to leave a house key out for us. Then we could stop by, eat the Twinkies in the cupboard, and toss your house upside down looking for photos and info about your Cherokee.

Write Us! Got a question or comment about Jp magazine or the village idiots at the helm? Drop us a line. Don't forget to include your full name and where you're from or we'll make fun of you. Actually, we may make fun of you anyway. Keep it short and to the point or we'll hack and chop your letter as we please. We get a lot of mail, but we read every letter. Unfortunately, we can't print or personally answer every request. We're too busy surfing the Internet on the company dime. Digital images should be no less than 1,600x1,200 pixels (or 2 megapixels) and should be saved as a .tiff, an .eps, or a maximum-quality .jpeg file.

Write to: Jp Magazine Editor 831 S. Douglas St. El Segundo, CA 90245 E-mail to:

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