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May 2012 Mailbag Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on May 1, 2012
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Tease Us
Sorry, but I can’t remember which one of you is the flatfender freak. I heard about this one through a friend of a friend for sale in Vancouver, Washington. It looks to be too big of a project for me, but maybe you guys want to tackle it. It is sitting on a trailer for only $500. The trailer is not included. If you are interested, let me know and I can get you more info.
David Karich
Via email

From the photos you sent it looks like a ’50-’52 M38. The passenger-side tool indents, passenger-side glovebox, military light switch, and removable gauge panel are the biggest giveaways. Unfortunately it looks like the tub has rot and most of the important and hard-to-find items are missing. Even though something like this still has a lot of potential, with diesel at over $4.20/gallon as this is written and with Vancouver a round-trip drive of over 2,200 miles away, even at $500 it’d cost us over $1,000 in food, fuel, and hotels to retrieve it. Sadly, it makes more sense for us to buy a $1,500 flattie locally that’s in better condition and not missing as many parts.

Still, just because this particular one didn’t work out, that’s not to say you shouldn’t email to torture us with leads on other old Jeep projects. There’s no better way of getting a buildup series on a Jeep you’re interested in than to con one of us into buying it! If you can’t get us on our email addresses (, you can always pop in on our forums at or hit us on our Facebook page at

It was Thanksgiving Day when I decided to check my mailbox. There it was, the perfect magazine for the day—the Jan. ’12 issue of Jp magazine. I was so excited to be able to have a day off and a brand-new Jp magazine. I ran inside and fixed up my chair surrounded with all my goodies and gadgets (iced tea, remote control, laptop, cell phone, dog, blanket, credit card, Scooby snacks, and the world’s greatest magazine).

I opened the world’s greatest magazine and on top of the table of contents was my Jeep. I screamed like a little girl! I forgot that I had sent you those pictures and my story. I then found the article that you wrote about my Jeep and me and started calling all of my friends. My wife was thrilled for me, too. I see that you need more information and some updated pictures, so here you go. FYI, The tires and wheels in the picture are original and are only on the Jeep so it can roll around.
Vehicle: ’93 Jeep Wrangler
Engine: 4.6L stroker
Transmission: AX15
Transfer Case: NP231 rebuilt by me
Suspension: 4-inch Rough Country lift
Axles: Dana 30 (front); Dana 35 (rear)
Other: Powdercoated frame, 4.56 gears

I had the tub and other body parts painted ’10 Chevy Camaro Victory Red with Line-X on the floors and undercarriage. I had the seats custom reupholstered with red and black leather over the stock seat frames.

I would love to give you more information if you need it. I tried to keep it short and sweet.
Brien Pippen
Kansas City, MO

Hazel, you nailed it in your Jan. ’12 Trail Head editorial. Man, if I have to eat one more $100,000 Ultimate-hardcore-hairball sandwich served up by some Ultimate off-road magazine written by Ultimate magazine editors typed on Ultimate computers residing in an Ultimate cubicle, I’m gonna Ultimately hurl into that little paper bag in the seat in front of me. Ultimately! I’m glad it appears that my favorite magazine won’t be heading down that we’re-so-hardcore-we-forget-how-to-build-on-a-budget road anytime soon. I think covering expensive, hardcore parts is fine. I just feel a little insulted when these other guys pile every expensive, hardcore part into one vehicle and then have the Ultimate gall to think we will try to emulate them. As for me, I’ll spend my money on Jp magazine. You guys seem to keep it real more than any of the others. Keep the rusty side up and the rubber off the trailers!
Pete Schilling
Marlborough, NJ

Wow, I never thought I would ever see something like your Jan. ’12 Trail Head in print; especially in a magazine whose main reason for being is to apparently sell “hardcore.” I guess some of us retrotards just have never bought in to “hardcore,” and I will admit to long hiatuses in some off-road magazine subscriptions as a direct result of not wanting to go “there.”

It’s just my opinion, but the perfect Jeep remains one that can safely and reliably do 75-80 mph on the road, throw in the hubs, reliably do at least moderately difficult trails, and then drive home. Creature comforts are optional. The only time mine has ever been on a trailer (actually a flatbed truck) was when the engine decided that a rod looked better on the outside of the block 500 miles from home. It was a little ahead of controlled cylinder deactivation technology.
Via comments feature

Never-ending Answers
My subscription is in the mail. I’ve been a four-wheel drive fan since before I could drive and an occasional participant for 20 years. I’ve subscribed to Four Wheeler and 4-Wheel & Off Road off and on for years. A number of SUVs, pickups, and even a Suzuki have been dirtied at my hands, but I’ve never been able to really afford the sport.

Today, the money is finally available, and I’m planning my Jeep. Will you offer a little advice? The open top of a CJ/Wrangler is a given. In Georgia, I’ve little worry about cold weather. The purpose-built buggies are cool, but my Jeep will be a daily commuter and weekend soccer bus. An engineer by trade and fabricator by hobby, no modification scares me; it just needs to remain practical.

What causes death wobble and how do I design it away: insufficient caster? With the 4.0L and moderate driving will the Dana 30 tolerate 35-inch tires? What modifications does the axle need? Do you agree that the Dana 35 should become a Ford 8.8-inch? Recommended lockers? Gear ratios? How much lift? I’d rather trim fenders than raise the center of gravity. I also want to keep the transfer case in its home position. What is the right strategy for rear driveshaft length and angles? Do I need a slip yoke eliminator and low T-case gears? What critical piece am I missing? The 75 mph Atlanta freeways and muddy/rocky southern trails are both in the Jeep’s future.
Kevin Shaber
Via email

Welcome aboard, Kevin! The answers to all those questions and more have already been covered in the pages of Jp magazine, and no doubt will be revisited in future articles. The best part is literally hundreds, if not thousands, of past stories are right there waiting for you at … and it’s all free. Granted, at the moment our search engine isn’t the most intuitive, but our web guys are working to fix that in the not-too-distant future. Until then, Google is a great tool to find Jp back stories on just about any topic. To use Google to search directly, type in your search criteria, followed by “”. So, for example, if you wanted the explanation behind and cure for death wobble, you’d type in “death wobble” and Google will grab you all the story, blog, forum, and other coverage on the topic. You can also hit the editors up directly through our emails, forums, or on our Facebook page at

Vegas Odds
I just would like to let you know that a photo in the Nov. ’11 issue’s Vintage Vault shows four of my family members and me. Wow, thank you for sharing. I am the littlest blonde kid in the photo. My dad is behind me and my mom is next to him. My older brother is in front of me, and my cousin is next to dad. Thank you very much.
Rodney Garrett, Sr.
Sacramento, CA

Wow, what are the odds that a little kid whose parents brought him to the ’67 Gold County Classic in Georgetown, California, would get his photograph snapped by a Petersen’s Image International photographer (Eric Rickman). Then, that photo would lay dormant in dusty, forgotten archives for 45 years. And then that same kid would just happen to be a reader of the magazine that found and randomly published the photo. Time to go buy a lottery ticket, Rodney!

More XJ Hater Hatin’
In contrast to Mark Nelson’s mailbag letter in the Jan. ’12 issue of Jp magazine, I wanted to express my appreciation for the Cherokee on the cover of the Sept. ’11 issue. Given that the cover topic was about junkyard axle swaps, featuring an affordable looking Cherokee makes a lot more sense than featuring a high-end Jeep that has never even parked at a junkyard, let alone had any parts from one. I also happen to be driving my third Cherokee and am looking for another, so yes, as far as this member of the Jeep crowd is concerned, this is what I want in a Jeep.
Yancy Small
Via email

Yep, that’s what we thought, too.

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

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