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July 2011 Mailbag - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on July 1, 2011
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Snow Tired
Christian Hazel did a great job on “Choose Your Weapon” (April ’11). I am sure he cleared up a lot of misinformation on tire buying. With over 50 years of tire experience using both the right and wrong tires, I am pretty much in agreement with what he had to say. Being a Southern California transplant to Montana some 20 years ago, I had to add a new word to my vocabulary—snow! For about six months out of the year it becomes something to deal with on a daily basis. But not all snow is the same, so one tire does not fit all. My finding: for highway driving, a narrow tire with lots of siping and lots of sharp edges and channels to direct the water out of the tread (remember snow turns to water). A narrow tire applies more ground pressure and bites through the snow down to pavement. Dedicated snow tires like the General Altimax Arctic work super great and are well worth the money. When in the deep stuff, wider is better and it’s similar to driving in sand or at times mud. There are places and types of snow that require different tires and different driving techniques. Generally speaking, you want a tire that will grab the snow, hold it in for one turn of the tire, and then discharge it. Why? Well snow-to-snow has a lot more traction than rubber-to-snow. Take a snowball and stick it to another snowball, like when building a snowman. Now try sticking that snowball to the side of the tire and watch it fall off. However, if the tire holds the snow too long, it turns to ice, and ice-to-snow offers very little traction. So the tire has to be self-cleaning. All the tires that he mentioned I have firsthand experience with, and they do work quite well. Tires like the IROK with its rounded shoulders offer superior flotation in the snow, with no cupping in the center when aired down. The small sipes and staggered blocks aid in traction. Its downfall is the fact that the tread blocks are a bit far apart. Good for self cleaning in mud and grabbing rocks, but depending on the temperature of the snow and the moisture content, will not always hold enough snow. Still they are my overall choice and now stay on year around on my Jeep. Beadlocks are the only way to go if one is serious about running super low pressures in the snow. It’s no fun trying to reseat a tire back on the rim when it’s dropped down two feet into the snow.
Willie Worthy
Evaro, MT

Pot/Kettle Bias
In “Heavy Hitters” (April ’11), you said that the Nitto Trail Grappler MT is heavy and has stiff sidewalls. Well of course it would if you choose to put a big fat tire size on your Jeep. I have an ’09 JK Wrangler two-door and run the Trail Grappler in the 255/75R17 size. This tire has a C load range and has plenty of sidewall flex. This tire has excellent traction in both mud and snow. Since I live in rural upstate New York, I think I know a thing or two about mud and snow. If you plan on reviewing tires, then you should give us accurate information about Jeep products, not your biased opinion.
Jeff Adler
Saratoga Springs, NY

I am sorry that you are clearly insulted that we do not like the same tire you have chosen to put on your Jeep. We have run and worn out just about every mud tire out there and have used them both on- and off-road (including in snow, mud, ice, and so on) on many different Jeeps. I believe our opinion is educated, even if you consider it biased. I simply know that there are better tires for Jeeps. The Nittos tend to be heavier and less flexible than some of the competition regardless of size or load range, but they have other advantages that were clearly noted in the story.

However, you are right. A load range C tire is better suited for use on a Jeep, but Nitto does not offer a Trail Grappler 35x12.50R17 size in load range C, which is actually pretty common on many of today’s Jeeps. Many other tire companies offer compliant load range C tires in a 35X12.50R17 that work great on the trail. Just because a tire is large does not mean it won’t work well off-road or on a Jeep.

Also, there is only one Trail Grappler size with a C load range, and that’s the 255/75R17 you put on your Jeep. The rest of the Trail Grappler sizes are all E load range, so I think our test is very representative of the product offered. We obviously can’t test every single size of a particular tire, but we do our best to be fair in our evaluations.

Ain’t a Fool—Yet
“Pint Sized” (April ’11) was very informative and endearing as the laughter induced, gut-wrenching spasms helped along the after effects of a week-long binge diet of cheese and potatoes. Congratulations to “Mike Gagosian” and his excellent rendering skills, as he helped render my bowels mobile and your story more mirth-packed. I know now what evacuation aid I will reach for first the next time I find myself in such a backed-up condition. Keep up the good work. And may I suggest Chimera as the name for what I hope will stay a mythical creature?
Greg Seib
Carmel, IN

Yep, that was the April Fool’s story, although don’t discount the idea of a mini Jeep. Word is the company is working on a B-segment mini SUV based on the Fiat Panda. It may not look like what we have put together, but it is coming.

Randy Jumper
I am actually writing with a question regarding Randy’s Electrical Corner in the Jan. ’11 article about the jumper cables with the quick disconnects. I have an ’03 Jeep WJ, and I have acquired all the individual parts I feel are needed to make up this kit on my own. I noticed there was no mention of any sort of circuit protection in the event the wire leading to the quick disconnect happens to get pinched, cut, or whatever. I thought of putting in a circuit breaker, and here lies my problem. I have no idea what amp circuit breaker to get. I know what the cold cranking amps and that sort of stuff is. I figure the starter may draw around 25-30 amps(?) or so, but I am just guessing. I figure there may be a pretty big load when you go to jump a vehicle. The only other thing I will use the quick disconnect for is my MV 50 air compressor that hooks directly to the battery. So I guess I have two questions.

If I put in a circuit breaker, how many amps should it be so that it doesn’t blow every time I use the jumper cables?

Would it work both ways—to jump and be jumped?

Also, if I am just being paranoid let me know, since I didn’t see any circuit breakers in the kit.
John Howard
Manassas, VA

Randy Responds:
At first I thought you might be paranoid. Then I got to thinking maybe not, because if the plus wire gets severed you will at best melt the wire and kill your battery and at worst burn the Jeep to the ground. With that first set of cables I wrote about I actually tried both a 100-amp and 200-amp breaker and both popped. The problem is that a dead battery draws as much as it can when you first hook up the jumpers. As to just how many amps, it depends on how dead the battery is, how good a connection your jumpers have, and a lot of other things that will be specific to every jump. So just cover any areas of the cable you are worried about with some heater or radiator hose.

U.S.-Made Jeep Parts
I have been an avid reader for several years now and have owned Jeeps for more years than I want to admit. I enjoy the magazine and may never be able to afford some of the rigs in it, but I always learn something and that is what it is all about. I was reading the article on steel versus aluminum versus fiberglass bodies (“Bruised,” Jan. ’11). I work at Classic Enterprises and the employees make Jeep body parts (Studebaker, too). I would like to add to the article that the company makes parts right here in the USA, in Wisconsin actually, and northern at that. The company provides a very viable tub solution, as it makes everything for the CJ-2A tub except the tranny hump, cowl, and firewall. If every part made were ordered, this would be a great weld-, bolt-, or rivet-together kit. I say this because the parts are made to fit. We have dismantled many tubs to find good factory parts and make the dies for pressing great-fitting aftermarket parts. All the items are factory gauge or heavier, none are lighter. Lamonte, the owner, takes great pride in the quality of his parts and has forged that pride into the employees. Anyway, keep up the great work and if you are ever in the area let us know and we will give you a tour of the plant. I think you would love it, and probably pick up a part or two. Bring a Jp plate for trade.
Mark O’Brien
All the guys from Classic Enterprises
Rice Lake, WI

Nope, Here’s One
I just finished flipping through Sideways in the Jan. ’11 issue. I really hope you guys didn’t do away with the Jeep chicks and give in to all those insecure women who can’t stand to look at themselves in the mirror. And if you did and we are back to just Sideways pics, I’m sure you can find something better than a Photoshop stock JK with a mini gun on it and a bunch of cops posing on a street Jeep. The rail is cool and I would say yes to a feature on it; I would rather see a rail or anything modified for the trail rather than a “Holiday Gift Guide,” “How to Survive,” or “Jeep Game.” You should be embarrassed to even feature crap like that. I hope you guys can pull it together. I’ve been buying Jp magazine for over 10 years and I hate to say it, but if you can’t get your s#!t together, I’m going back to your big brother mag 4-Wheel & Off-Road.
Via email

Free Stuff?
I would like to know why every two years Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road sends me a new clock and you guys can’t seem to put together a decent calendar with some of the great shots in your magazine? I can’t find hats, t-shirts, or any of that stuff. Are you still scared of all those wives who won’t let their men or sons (LOL) look at your mag? Come on guys, you’ve got some really nice photos, please share—don’t let a couple of cry babies ruin it for the rest of us. At least your stories don’t suck. I find them very entertaining.
Mike Nickerson
Deming, NM

Well, if we put together a crappy uninteresting magazine we’d have to give away free stuff made in China to keep people happy, too. Anyway, we’re working on shirts and other items that should be available for sale soon. We’ll keep you posted.

Mild and Reliable
I decided to write/email in after reading “Less is More” (Mar. ’11). I really like the staff’s approach to writing. I know most everyone that reads Jp doesn’t wheel every day in a full on hybrid rock buggy and most probably wheel their daily driver! I’ve had Jeeps on and off for a long period of time. Even in between Jeeps, I’ve always owned a 4x4 of some sort. Nearly all of these rigs were daily drivers, so I’ve logged quite a lot miles in the Alabama hills and mud. It’s nice when a magazine does not push the bigger-is-always-better attitude. Most rigs are more capable than most people might think in stock trim! The right driver and some cool mods help to capitalize on your rigs capability. I suppose my point is keep your rig specific to the kind of driving you do. Don’t overbuild your rig to the point that you kill longevity on-road. You could end up with a rig that’s just not practical for heading off to work when you could have saved money and been a lot happier. Anyway, thanks for your time and keep up the good work!
Eddie Robison
Birmingham, AL

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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