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June 2011 Mailbag - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on June 1, 2011
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Jp Junk
Your comments about the Liberty (KJ) show exactly why your publication is junk! My KJ is setting on 32-inch off-road tires and it loves the mountains in Tennessee! Go to Coal Creek Off Road Park. I ran almost all of the trails in my IFS Jeep Liberty. Thanks for reminding me why your rag is just that.
Terry McGee
Saint Augustine, FL

Swiss Army Libby
I do not agree with all the Jeeps that appear in Terrible Ten (Mar. ’11). I have had five Jeeps in my lifetime, including an ’02 Wrangler Sport that is great off-road. I also have a ’05 Liberty Sport turbo-diesel. It is very good off-road, and has shocked me with some of the places I have been able to take it. It deserves its Trail Rated badge. It also has 295 lb-ft of torque, gets 30 mpg on the highway, and I can tow with it. I tow my 4,400-pound speedboat with it, and my cargo trailer. It gets a consistent 17 to 19 mpg towing my boat; higher mileage towing than just driving my Wrangler on the highway. Because of its towing capabilities, I was able to sell the ’88 Chevy Suburban with a 454 V-8, which I used to use for towing. The transfer case features 2-Hi, 4-Hi, All-Wheel, and 4-Lo options. The All-Wheel is handy when driving through partial snow/mud and dry trails or roads. It is the most flexible and functional vehicle I have ever owned. Last Saturday I towed a tractor that had broken down back to the garage. Then went off-road and found a three-sided canyon in which to set up targets and did some shooting. Then I was back to the paved roads and through a car wash to prepare it to pick up my girlfriend that night. If anything, I classify it as the Swiss Army Knife of four-wheelers; equally comfortable in bibs and boots, or tux and tails.

If all that is important to you and your staff is to modify Jeeps to climb boulders, just state that. If you have issues with Jeep for your perception of their alleged initial claims or marketing strategy, take it up with them. Prove your claims; show their quotes and sources, be specific please.

I like your magazine, especially the photos of Jeeps and the Jeep Chix section.
Steven D. Whitaker
Gravois Mills, MO

CJ Lemon
You guys trashed my Jeep and many others for a reason I presume (Terrible Ten, Mar. ’11). You were looking to fill a void in the magazine, piss off the readers to generate participation, or encourage a buying frenzy for your advertisers. I believe that any off-road Jeep that is purchased without any weak point is probably hard to find. Or for that matter, any brand of off-road vehicle has something less than desirable that is usually found once it sees some hardcore off-roading. I do not believe any Jeep is worth having if all you have to do is lay out some cash and you have a turnkey jewel. My ’77 CJ-7 Levi Jeep has had many improvements since I purchased it, and even though some are due to weaknesses, the vehicle becomes more and more valuable to me after each project is completed. I will admit that I have sent quite a few dollars to your advertisers to get it to where it is, however I thank AMC for those opportunities to get down and see how I can make my ride more personable. I found it ironic that the CJ-8 Scrambler was left out. It’s built with many of the same parts. Well, keep up the good work of identifying the lemons. Just remember I do not buy ready-made lemonade, I make my own from real lemons!
Tim Tighe
Apple Valley, CA

Poor Quality Yet Rugged?
Wow, did you guys blow it! (Terrible Ten, Mar. ’11). Putting a CJ in the same category as a Compass? Really? I actually don’t have to defend one of the best 4WD vehicles ever made, but I’m getting tired of your magazine’s perpetually insulting attitude regarding vintage Jeeps when you should be promoting this hobby, not bashing it. I admit that the late model AMC CJ had poor quality body seam welds but it was meant to be a rugged off-road vehicle, not the comfy SUV that my wife prefers. But if undercoated (most people did not opt for this) and properly cared for (washed down now and then), it could last beyond today (such as my ’78 CJ-5 has). You state the CJ’s frame was a weak link when in fact in the late ’70s it was reinforced. The solutions to the steering, clutch linkage, and AMC 20 problems you mention are inexpensive upgrades and really not an issue unless the vehicle is really abused. I’ve never had problems with mine. No vehicle is 100-percent perfect but it would be far more constructive to simply discuss any failings objectively rather than take things to the extreme. As for your disclaimer that your opinions pertain to stock vehicles, well, I’d hate to tell you how many Chrysler products my ol’ stock CJ pulled outta tight spots over several decades of Jeep Jamborees and hundreds of trail rides without ever succumbing to the same pitfalls itself.

Why not talk about some real issues, such as Chrysler steering away from the word Jeep and instead now calling their vehicles Wranglers. Not to mention these Wranglers look more like Hummers than Jeeps (and we all know what has happened to them). Hell, not even the soft tops are user-friendly anymore, as it’s easier now to remove a kid’s toy from one of those plastic packages without scissors than it is to lower and raise a top on a JK. Don’t get me wrong, the JK is a nice vehicle. I’ve owned one also. My point is that I’m sure many JK owners would feel offended by these stories, but then again, I doubt we’ll ever see such articles from you, at least while Chrysler is still alive. After all, we wouldn’t expect you to bite the hand that feeds you now would we? Oh yes, you did mention the Compass, didn’t you. Safe on your part as I’ll bet you’d be hard pressed to find just one Compass owner who actually subscribes to your magazine. Come to think of it, I don’t recall ever reading a bad review in your rag regarding any current aftermarket products. Why is that? There has to be one poor quality product out there, right? Or is a paying advertiser more important than objectivity?

The funniest part is that you yourselves ran a 10 Best Jeeps of All Time (Aug. ’10), and you guessed it, the late model AMC Jeep CJ was definitely in your list (although you called the CJ-7 in the picture a CJ-5, or was it a CJ-5 disguised as a CJ-7?). In that article you acknowledged that the late-model frame was strengthened, but claimed the CJ-7’s added length was to accommodate an inline six-cylinder engine when in fact the CJ was stretched to make room for an automatic tranny. Most of your staff was probably not even born yet when the great CJ roamed this earth en mass, and these same lads have undoubtedly been softened by the plethora of creature comforts in today’s vehicles, so I’ll really have to fault your editor for allowing such an article as the Terrible Ten in the first place. The last I knew, Jp magazine was supposed to be about Jeeps, so why insult your readers? To write objectively, one must get the facts straight and not make mountains out of molehills.

Calling someone’s pride and joy one of the worst is really biting the hand that feeds you and is just plain crazy. Sorta like making a 10 Worst Playmates list for Playboy. Do ya get it now? Or maybe we should just make a 10 Worst Magazines list!

If nothing else, thanks for letting me vent.
Rick Kaskiw
Utica, NY

Jeep is a paying advertiser in Jp magazine? That would be news to me. Jeep has not purchased an ad since 2000 or 2001. Sorry to disappoint, but we frequently thrash the Jeep brand for its direction (Did you pick up the Nov. ’10 issue?) and many aftermarket products. However, if we feel something is a total pile of crap, we don’t even bother putting it in the pages of Jp magazine. But why not turn to Less is More on page 30 in that same issue and read how we converted our JK back to the original control arms and stock-ish suspension? You’ll find we did it because the aftermarket arms spit their bushings out and the stock suspension worked better overall for us. This is just an example, and every issue of Jp has something just like this in it. So your reasoning on this matter is unfounded and incorrect. But if you wish to argue your point further, check out Body Bruised in the Jan. ’11 issue. All the pros and cons of fiberglass, steel, and aluminum body tubs are discussed. And if you really want to see a thrashing, check out our online tire guide at

Overall, for the money, most CJs are overpriced when you consider the issues they have. For someone looking for a reliable, affordable, entry-level Jeep, the TJor even a YJis a better buy than the CJ, at least in my opinion. But of course the CJ is more true to heritage, I won’t argue that. I just think they are overpriced for what you get.

And the CJ pictured in 10 Best Jeeps (Aug. ’10) is actually an early CJ-5. Look closely at the springs, crossmember, body tub, and fenders, the owner simply added CJ-7 door openings. Oh, and there were no auto transmissions available for the ’72-’75 CJ we were discussing in that story.

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