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October 2010 Mailbag - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on October 1, 2010
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I've been a subscriber for many years now and have had the pleasure of my Comanche gracing your pages (May '07, Hawaiian MJ). I just wanna say thanks for a great magazine. I have learned a lot about Jeeps just from reading your magazine and at the end of each installment I find myself anticipating the next issue, which always seems like an eternity to arrive. I especially like Project JR; I'm excited to see what's in store next for it. I liked the buildup of the front axle "Project JR 2.0" (July '10) and the approach towards keeping XJ outers. How about something a little more down to earth-not everybody is going to whip out the credit card and spend $5,000 on a custom axle. I am currently in the process of narrowing a Ford high-pinion 44 to swap out my 30 in my Comanche, and I speak for many when I say how about a junkyard budget 44 build that is more realistic for the common Jeeper. I'm sure you guys could shed some bright light on a build like that as well as give us a lot of tips and tricks to make our swap go a little smoother. How about throwing in a few more MJ-specific tech articles and stories, too. Thanks again for a great mag!
Andrew Mattos
Las Vegas, NV

To tell you the truth, we have done several junkyard front axle upgrades for late model Jeeps in the past, including the story of how to narrow a Ford high-pinion Dana 44 to fit in a later model Jeep. We used an YJ for that particular story, but the process is similar. Go to and search "Homebuilt High Pinion Dana 44," "Junkyard Built Dana 44 Part I and II," and "Perfect 30." These are only a few of the junkyard front axle options we have covered.

Here I am, staring at the CJ-7 that my dad, my brothers, and I built together. Sure, there have been many Jeeps in our lives, but this one personifies us. It is a Jeep that we all united to rebuild after a terrible accident, one which left my father in immense pain (broken back in nine places). I traded my '07 JK to my father just to obtain this vehicle which means so much to me. My friends gave me a tirade of complaints as they saw my new state-of-the-art Jeep leave. My coworkers asked why I now rode the bus to work as I worked on this Jeep. The answer that I gave could not ring properly with any of them.

This Jeep was my father's Jeep; it is the definitive Jeep that caused me to love Jeeps immensely. Jeep is not just a vehicle but an identity. Why is that? It's because the most treasured moments with my father and brothers have been in a Jeep. Not just any Jeep, though-this Jeep! I've owned many of the models Jeep has produced-hell, I've even driven Scouts. But this Jeep embodies the times that my family and I have had. The times in deer camp finding the ultimate catch, and driving to school eating the best of maple bars available in Orem, Utah. But what the Jeep means most to me is that it connects me, my father, and my brothers. No one could define or regulate where or what we were going to do in our Jeep. It was because of these experiences that I came to realize that to have a Jeep is to enjoy freedom. Not just to make our own decisions, but to live them.

My grandfather was a Jeep mechanic in WWII, and I think he became a dealer thereafter because of this very realization. Jeep is not just a piece of machinery, but an expression of what we all need-connection, freedom, and the ability to make our own path. With all of this in mind, I say to you: Make your Jeep your own, respecting the long line of great Americans that it has come from. In my case, it is my father and grandfather. Jeep is more than a vehicle or a way of life. It is our heritage as Americans. Enzo Ferrari once called it the only "true American sports car." Let's not forget that. Not because of its speed or prowess, but because it offered us a glimpse of what it's really like to be free. Jeep is not a lifestyle but a goal in life. The pursuit of happiness begins with a Jeep!
Dallin Erickson
Orem, UT

CRD Wrangler Spotted
Thought you might like to know that a Wrangler CRD is in the works! A group of us saw a Wrangler CRD in Moab, Utah. It had Michigan plates and was in the Red Stone Inn parking lot. There was no indication on the size of the CRD motor. It was very early Sunday morning. A few of us walked up to the guys driving it and started asking questions. One was an engineer from Chrysler and the other was from Europe and was part of the engine development team. They had a blanket over the dash to cover stuff up. I'm not sure if anyone had a chance to snap a pic, as they took off pretty quickly once they figured out we were Jeepers. Yep, it sounded like a diesel as they drove away!

We were there because of our annual Grand Slam West (GSW) event where 50 Grand Cherokees gather to wheel in Moab. We hit the harder trails: Pritchett, Spike, Moab Rim, Behind the Rocks, and so on in our full bodied rigs.

Carnage was high this year: rolled a WJ on Moab Rim, two T-cases broke, several axle shafts, a rear carrier, torn control linkages (trail welded), broken axle mounts and more.
John Strom
Via email

What you probably saw was an overseas CRD-powered Wrangler being tested off-road. The 2.8L VM Motori-powered diesel JK Wrangler has been offered in Europe since day one. The fact that there was a European powertrain engineer present confirms my suspicions. However, what you likely missed hidden under the blanket was an early version of the updated '11 Wrangler dashboard and interior.

RC Wheeling
I really enjoy your magazine. Although, I can't afford a real Jeep, one of my favorite new hobbies is building scale-looking RC (radio control) 4x4's. What better first build could I do than a Jeep TJ? I get a lot of ideas from your magazine and I've attached some pics of my TJ. Thanks and keep producing a great magazine.
Keith Johnson
Dallas, TX

Lazy Jp Guys
So I was reading through the current issue and noticed what looked like a Readers' Rides section blown up to two pages. No words, just pictures. Then I realized those were feature rigs. WTF guys?! Since when did your featured rigs turn into two page spreads of pics and a reader's rigs tech sheet? Those features suck, put some effort and words in about the rig. Keep the A.D.D. crap for Readers' Rigs. If I wanted a picture book I would go buy Playboy or something! Fix it!
Framingham, MA

Right at Home
Well, by the looks of your mailbag, your readership is dominated by a mouthy bunch of old boys who are proud of their rigs and their women. Hot dang-am I in the right place! I also commend you for having the cajones to criticize an administration that is hell-bent on curbing a myriad of our activities because they think we can't make decisions for ourselves. I have been pushing 4x4s around the country my entire life in the pursuit of hunting and fishing endeavors. Just not Jeeps. Well, I'm getting too damn old to clamber around the mountains anymore. But I still enjoy getting out in the back country as often as I can. Hence, I've become a Jeeper with an '09 JK. I must also give some kudos to Hazel. He has responded to my newbie questions with excellent direction. At the outset of my new interest, I subscribed to a multitude of 4WD magazines. Now, about a year and a half later, I have let all the contracts run their course. All except Jp.

Oh, and by the way, there are a lot of good folks in California. The other day, I read an article that claimed the majority of people immigrating to Arizona are from California. So, I think we should let up on these people and give them time to bail out of that hospital ship.
Ron Pinkowski
Gold Canyon, AZ

Stupid Is As Stupid Does
I was surprised to find myself agreeing with most of the stupidest swaps article "Against The Grain," (June '10). I think you were a little tough on the classic 4.0L Jeep engine. It's tough enough and well-supported enough that it's worth some extra bother.

When you do the "Swaps Not So Dumb," here are a couple of ideas you may not have thought of:

Diesels: Aside from the German Mercedes, most of the feasible ones are Japanese. Mitsubishi, Isuzu, and Nissan are all very feasible. There are a lot of them here in forklifts, wood chippers, Ditch Witches, gensets, marine auxiliary, backhoes, etc., so parts are available. Some can be had cheap as JDM pulls or halfcuts.

German: Mercedes is great, but has a front sump issue. Other than that, the OM 617 is the best all around engine. It has an automotive torque curve, parts readily available (engine is in licensed production in Asia today for third-world export), and is very, very reliable. Deutz is air-cooled; you can't run a heater unless you put in a South Wind or something similar. Steyr is high dollar but bulletproof.

American: You already know. One option not discussed for an FSJ is the 4-53 Detroit. It's heavy and noisy, but smooth, runs forever, and great for a tow vehicle. The fuel system is bombproof for bio experimenters. It can be had full mechanical (runs with no electrics) or DDEC (much better mileage, low smoke, and more power with turbo).

Gas or propane motors: The Buick V-6, but you can also use FWD versions with the right parts combination. There are lots of 3800s that run forever cheap. The Rover aluminum V-8 is the old Buick engine. Most take the Buick 215 intake and distributor-no British stuff to fool with. The 3.7L Mercruiser four-cylinder is half a 460 Ford, light, and has a cool factor.
Keith Carlsen
Via email

Poor Work Excuse #43
My buddies suggested that I drop you guys a line and let the Jeeping community know why I didn't come to work the other day.

Simple. I woke up at 5:00 a.m., it was pouring rain, and my top and doors were off. (The Jeep was in the garage, thank God.) I had no motivation to put either of the two on, so I called in sick. With 8 months of winter up here, I enjoy riding topless and doorless as often as I can.
Sault Sainte Marie, MI

Your boss says to quit coming up with lame excuses why you can't come to work. Last time it was a hangnail.

Real Wrenchers
I get your sister magazine, Jp, and others. What I appreciate about Jp is that you guys actually work on your own Jeeps. Lay off Christian a little so he doesn't get burned out wrenching every day. I don't need to learn how to bring my Jeep to a shop and whip out my credit card. I'm sick of Petersen's documenting how a shop built their Jeep or showing you how to install seat covers. Second, I appreciate your opinions, especially the negatives. Your last issue was missing the "Good, Bad, and What It's For" part of the featured Jeeps, which is the best part. I definitely think that it's important to include that.
Ben W.
Syracuse, NY

Rental Wrangling
So I pick up the July '10 issue and find an article titled "Jeeper For a Day" just as a group of us is headed to Utah for a rafting trip. So I made a reservation at Canyonland Jeep Adventures to pick up a Jeep with four friends. Then here comes the August '10 issue and it tells me how to fit 35s under my '07 Rubicon! I love your magazine. Keep up the great work. I look forward to every issue.
Ken Joseph
Indianapolis, IN

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.
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Jp Magazine, Editor
831 S. Douglas St.
El Segundo, CA 90245
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