September 2011 Mailbag - Letters To The EditorPosted in Features on September 1, 2011 Comment (0)
I was very pleased to see your Trail Head for the June ’11 issue. It is about time common sense came into play! I love looking at all the wild Jeeps in your mag but most of them are just not practical for your average, everyday person. I have a ’97 TJ with the 2.5L and a 2.5-inch lift running 33-inch tires. Most everything else is stock. I have not yet found a trail that I could not negotiate in my area. I also have not broken the bank or deprived my children of food and shelter to build up my Jeep. I don’t do much rockcrawling or mud bogging. What I do is a lot of road driving and the mild-to-medium-difficulty trails. People are always asking me when I am going bigger, but I have to say that I am perfectly happy where I am with my TJ right now!
I refer to Trail Head in the June ’11 issue of Jp magazine. I live in Darwin at the tropical north of Australia. If you want some harsh country come to Darwin, I’ll show you harsh. How harsh you ask? Well, from May to November we generally don’t have rain so it gets a little dusty. But from December to April it gets a little moist. In my area of Leanyer we got three meters of rain this rainy season. Yes that is three meters or 3.2 yards. Do you measure rainfall in yards over there? The Toyota 75 Series cab chassis or “ute” as we like to call them, rule the roost. The troop carrier comes in a close second. I did own a Cruiser ute last year and I took it through a crossing so deep the water came half way up the windscreen. My boat and trailer were floating down stream. It wasn’t a short crossing either. I went on for a few hundred yards like this. No problem.
I now have a ’96 Grand with a 4.0L. Mandatory Darwin modifications are an ARB Bull Bar, a Safari snorkel, and Maxxis Bighorns. There are some places I won’t bother going, but not many. While I do agree with the masses in Darwin, 75 Cruisers rule the roost for work vehicles. However, the average bloke going fishing or hunting will be far better placed with something a little more suitable for the other 98-percent of the time. So in conclusion, I enjoyed your editorial because here in Darwin the bulk of the off-road vehicles are Land Cruisers with big lifts, 33-inch tires, and 12,000-pound winches. The drivers of these Cruisers look a little bemused as I drive past them in my mostly-stock Grand and offer them a snatch, recovery that is.
Thanks for the Trail Head in the June ’11 issue. It hits the nail on the head for me. I feel most Jeeps are overbuilt. Mine is driven everyday and has been my only transportation since I bought it new in June, 1999. Also, I want to thank the Jeep chix for the photos in Sideways. Nothing is better than a girl with her Jeep.
Less Is More
I just read the June ’11 Trail Head about having overbuilt Jeeps and I full heartedly agree with you. Currently I am running a ’94 YJ, it has 1-ton axles with 35-spline shafts, 42-inch tires, linked suspension, and a full cage. It’s become an overbuilt vehicle that I can’t enjoy any longer. When I bought the Jeep stock I drove it to work every day, wheeled a little, and truthfully enjoyed it on 30-inch tires. Now that it’s built it sits in the garage, has to be trailered everywhere, and has lost its appeal to me. When we wheel everything is a joke, to get a challenge I have to risk destroying the rig.
Basically I wanted to let you know that this was the best article I have read in a very, very long time! You spoke the truth and probably saved someone from destroying their rig by overbuilding it. Granted, I work in the aftermarket industry and sell the parts to build crazy rigs, but I truly miss being able to just go for a long enjoyable drive with the top off.
I only made it to page 8 of the June ’11 issue of Jp magazine and I am already emailing you with my approval of your Trail Head editorial. You speaketh the truth Jeep Brother! I am so tired of the growing fad that I need to run Dana 60s or 2½-ton Rockwells in order to drive on a damn forest road. Remember when the Rubicon TJ was released with its Dana 44 axles? It was the greatest thing ever released as a production vehicle. Sure it had “TJ Dana 44s,” but it was still awesome. Now suddenly it has the weakest axles ever made and it’s not suitable to run off-road with anything larger than stock tires. Same with the JK and the Next-Gen Dana 44 axles—we already have people saying that the axles are only suitable for tires less than 35 inches and mild off-roading. Are you kidding me? Those JK axles are freaking built!
I have wheeled in TJs and XJs with Dana 30/Dana 35 and Dana 30/Chrysler 8.25 combos with 33-inch and 35-inch tires. I have also wheeled in a TJ with 37-inch IROKs and a Currie 9-inch in the back. I have wheeled trails up to and including the Cleveland Rocks at Holy Cross, Colorado, and I have never broken an axle. Granted, I was running stock engines in those vehicles, but my point is that I agree with you in how overbuilt people think that a Jeep needs to be. I’m like you, I like to count on my driving skills and confidence to conquer tough trails with my “inferior” equipment. For crying out loud, I’m only running an ’05 LJ Rubicon. I don’t know how I even get out of the parking lot (insert sarcasm here)! And no, I’m not one of those people that spends 30 minutes on one obstacle and backs up trail traffic, either.
Good work on a great publication!
Incredible Shrinking Jeep
Just wanted to tell you guys thanks! I bought my Jeep five years ago. It’s an ’01 TJ that only had 27,000 miles on it. It has 4.0L, Dana 30 and 35 axles, a five-speed tranny, and an NV231 T-case. As soon as I bought it I started subscribing to your magazine. Thanks to all the info you guys pack into the mag, I found what I needed without spending a butt-load of money! I bought the basics including a 2-inch budget lift, Rancho 9000 shocks, a throttle body spacer, cold air intake, bigger tires (31x10.50), new steel wheels, and a Superwinch EP8500 winch. I ripped out the carpet, lined the tub with Duplicolor bed liner, studded the brake and clutch pedals to keep my shoes from slipping off, and did a bunch of other little stuff. I still have to change out the ring and pinion. It’s still got 3.07 gears in it. Once again, I wouldn’t know what any of this stuff was or what I needed if it wasn’t for your magazine and your great writing. I have one problem that you haven’t covered, though. Every year my Jeep seems to be getting shorter and shorter. The steering wheel gets closer and closer to my stomach. Am I washing it too much? Thanks for all the great info and a great magazine!
Just dropping you a quick note letting you know that after reading “Less is More” (Mar. ’11), you must be unaware of some JKS Manufacturing products that we offer—after all, we offer much more than just swaybar Quick Disconnects. In one of the captions you have said “The factory bushings (top) are light years better. Why doesn’t anyone use the stock rubber bushings in aftermarket control arms?” Well the fact is that JKS always has offered our control arms with the OE rubber bushings (since 1997), and no, they are not the aftermarket rubber bushings from Crown Automotive. We purchase the rubber bushings from the same place Jeep purchases them, and that is Clevite, a division of Tenneco. We also offer the OE rubber bushings (again from Clevite) on most of our track bars as well.
JKS Manufacturing, Inc.
I’ve always loved Jeeps. I had a ’78 Cherokee with road sign floors in high school but hadn’t owned another one until last year. Since then we now own an ’07 two-door JK, a ’10 four-door JK, a recently rebuilt ’71 Jeep Kaiser deuce and a half, and a ’96 Grand Cherokee trail rig work in progress. Over the summer we finished the deuce (frame up resto) and also painted my father-in-law’s YJ the same 24087 OD Green. I work weekends as a registered nurse, so I have a decent amount of time for Jeep projects and have been learning/teaching myself a lot. I have a friend with his dealer’s license and we’ve been talking about fixing up and reselling Wranglers. I’m looking forward to getting my fix buying and selling.
Anyway, I just received my first issue of Jp and nearly wet myself seeing Randy Ellis’ ’45 Willys (“Atypical Rod,” Mar. ’11). I’d love to build a rat rod and I think that OD Willys is my inspiration, along with the one in January’s letters section. Loving Jp already and looking forward to future issues.
Jon Kimmel, RN
Interesting article (“Terrible Ten,” Mar. ’11), I would be intrigued to see the Jp staffers brainpower build a “Terrific Ten” list. Undoubtedly, half of the Jeeps that made your worst list would make the best list? You’ve pretty much covered every base in the Jeep arsenal, leaving no models left. CJ Jeeps started it all with the exception of the mail Jeep, which didn’t make your list as terrible? I mean what was everyone at the office smoking that day you put your list together? Without the emergence of the Wrangler and Cherokee, you guys wouldn’t even have a job. You guys would be probably writing BS articles for your hometown community papers.
One Jeep that I really need to defend is my daily driver (’06 Commander with the 4.7L). I’ve owned a plethora of CJ’s, YJ’s, TJ’s, XJ’s, and ZJ’s. Unfortunately the Commander’s production didn’t last, due to overpricing for its size and a bad rap for its lack of third row leg room, plus gas prices of close to $4 a gallon. Who the hell buys a Commander to transport 6-7 adults? Isn’t that what a fullsize Dodge Sprinter is for?
I’m mean really! You can’t make a midsized SUV compete with a fullsize platform. I find it highly desirable for power, towing capacity based on its size, having a family of five (three younger kids), and its bad ass appearance. The thing looks like a bigger XJ but with a V-8, and it rides better than a Grand Cherokee. Good for me, all this bad press let me score one for half the MSRP with 33,000 miles.
Keep up the good work!
Actually, we were very specific and even included model years in some cases for the least-desirable stock Jeeps to own. Our reasoning is pretty sound and well documented. Clearly you’re taking this way too personally. Just because we wouldn’t own your Jeep doesn’t mean you can’t. But I will tell you that you are defending one of the worst selling “Jeeps” in history.
Summing It Up
I try not to be judgmental, but I do enjoy watching people and I have read this magazine for years. What have I seen?
John: You have the attention span of a hummingbird on Red Bull. Good energy, though. I can’t fault that.
Christian: On your best day as a child you probably repeatedly tightened a nut down on a bolt and were amazed by the physical holding power and mechanics of the whole situation. Your world expanded as you grew up and bought tools.
Pete: At Christmas, instead of the regular seasonal carols, you listen to Vivaldi’s Winter don’t you?
The point is, you guys are completely different, yet the sum of the parts becomes a perfect blend. You make, (with a few exceptions), a very well-written piece of work each and every month that fits well with the very diverse Jeep community. Continue to spread it out—open people’s minds. I currently own three Jeeps, but because of you I am looking at several off-types of Jeep history for my next build. The Jeep world is without question the best in the known universe as we know it. Take us there again next month, and remember that people who drive Jeeps live a life that regular people only dream of.
Letter of the Month
The Sept. ’11 Letter-of-the-Month winner gets a Slime Power Spair flat tire repair kit. The kit supplies everything you need to successfully seal and refill a leaky tire. Plus the pump is fast enough to air up your tires at the end of the trail before you hit the road.
One of the biggest mind-numbing complaints recently in the world of Jeep-based forums are the recurring threads about the Jeep-wave in which this wave mainly sticks with the owners of the MB, GPW, CJ, YJ, TJ, and some JKs (primarily the ones who had owned previous Wranglers or CJs and are familiar with the wave).
Owners of the other models of the Jeep brand have started to get a little irate with this whole wave thing. Not to mention there have been quite a few complaints from the Wrangler/CJ crowd that most of the JK owners don’t wave either. It’s become a complete nag session and a waste of storage space about a simple hand gesture. And to sum up the complaints, people are pissed because no one is acknowledging them.
First of all, if you’re pissed because you’re not acknowledged by a complete stranger who you may see for only 5 to10 seconds, you’ve got bigger issues.
I have to admit that I never gave the wave thing a second thought when I first got into jeeping in 2007. I just figured it was just a Jeep thing. Then today I spotted a post in one of these stupid Jeep-wave complaint sessions that I normally stay away from (to be honest, I accidentally clicked on it), but it hit me like a ton of rusted Jeep parts.
After all the research I did on the progression of the MB/GPW up to the JK and all the M.A.S.H episodes I watched over at a buddy’s house (he was M.A.S.H. fan), I never gave it one thought. At first when I realized this forgotten fact I felt a little ashamed at not realizing how basic and how obvious it was, but then again, I’m just a youngun and wasn’t around when the military Jeep was first introduced.
Just picture it—the European Theater, the air is thick with dust and smoke. Off in the distance is a GPW carrying a few badly wounded soldiers to a M.A.S.H. unit not too far away from the battle, and as they rounded a corner of trees there is an MB on its way back to the front lines to pick up another group of soldiers who are wounded. As these two Jeeps pass one another, they give a simple hand gesture.
This particular gesture was basically used to acknowledge one another in a rather depressing environment, and on occasion a salute would be given to a superior officer in a passing Jeep. I’m sure this simple gesture was also a good way to identify spies.
The first GPW/MBs that were introduced into the civilian market were mainly owned by retired and active military personnel because they liked the vehicle so much while in the war and had to have one for home use. By pure habit, these men who fought so hard for our freedom waved to one another and thus began almost 65 years of honoring those who died for us to protect our freedom.
So honor our vets from today and from the past by presenting this simple gesture, and don’t worry about if you get one back. It’s a wave to honor those who fought for 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.
Jp Magazine, Editor
831 S. Douglas St.
El Segundo, CA 90245