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August 2012 Mailbag Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on August 1, 2012
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Hunk o’ Randy
I just wanted to let you know that Randy’s Electrical Corner is my favorite column each month! I enjoy the writing, topics, and humor. It’s the first page I turn to each month. My all-time favorite item of any magazine ever was the letter during the period of rants against scantily clad women, when a writer stated that they would cancel their subscription due to the photo of Randy that their daughter might see!
Mike Boland
Hesperus, CO

Really $3K?
In the “3-Day JK for $3K” story (May ’12), I am sure I am not the only one to point out that your build for the two-door JK did not include any labor for the locker installation. I did however enjoy the story and always look forward to Jp every month.
Brad Taylor
Cleveland, NC

I guess we’ve been installing our own lockers for so long we sort of forget about the labor. And it was a driveway-install article. Unlike a full ring and pinion installation, a locker or limited slip install goes down fairly easy. The hardest part is pulling the carrier bearings to get the factory shim packs out to reuse on the new carrier. Just make sure the backlash is the same once the new locker is installed and you’re ready to fill with gear oil. Still, figure an additional $250-$500 for the locker install depending on what type and whether it’s going in a front or rear application.

I have been reading the “3-day TJ for $3K” and “3-day JK for $3K” stories. But when I looked on the list of upcoming 3-day, $3,000 projects, I don’t see a ZJ anywhere on the list. I currently have a ZJ, which I have made into a nice rig for under $3,000, and that includes buyingit. I do want to see a $3,000 XJ, YJ, and CJ build, but I would also like to see what you guys can come up with for a ZJ Grand Cherokee for under $3,000. Maybe you can give me some more ideas for mine. I love the magazine and will continue to read it and renew my subscription.
Name withheld
Via email

Well, mystery guy (FYI, please include your name and location when writing to us), we do love ZJs, but in terms of popularity or prevalence, they’re definitely not as hot as Wranglers, CJs, or other vintage Jeeps. So when deciding which models to give attention, we have to weigh their appeal to our readers. A ZJ build would be neat, but not as applicable to as wide a range of our readers as an XJ, YJ, or CJ would.

That said, after some reflecting, I can’t think of a single ZJ project vehicle that we’ve had in Jp magazine in the past 10-12 years. Sure, we’ve done some scattered stories here and there using Art Director Alan Huber’s blue ’94 ZJ or the odd friends’ vehicle, but we’ve never had a stafferowned ZJ project rig. Hmm, maybe it’s time.

High Praise
I am a 62-year-old Jeep and 4x4 enthusiast. I have been most of my life but didn’t actually get to own a 4x4 until 1987 when the 4.0L came out in the Cherokee. Since then my family has had seven Jeeps, three of which we still own. I read all the 4x4 magazines of the Source Interlink Media truck group and have since 1986. I am writing to say thank you. Over the years, each magazine has received emails from me and has actually taken the time to answer them. And in three or four instances, published them. It speaks well of the 4x4 industry when those, who in many ways, represent the front line with the public take the time to do this. It’s also obvious from your emails and articles that you really enjoy your jobs and off-roading. I find all the magazines very interesting and varied and serve as an excellent way to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. For instance, through Jp I found out about Hesco in Birmingham, Alabama, and had them bore and stroke my 4.0L. I became friends with the owner, Lee Hurley, one of the finest men in the industry. I have found out about many cool things to get for my Jeeps. I look forward each month to receiving the various magazines. Again, thank you very much and keep up the excellent work.
Jim McCain
Via email

Square Light Complex
I was trying to figure out those Wrangler owners. You know, the ones who say that Wranglers are the only “real” Jeeps. Some are so fanatical they even hate on other Wranglers, deriding the unacceptable “Wronglers” with square headlights. I got beat up a lot in high school, so I’m always trying to find a way to join a big group for protection.

As a proud ’99 Cherokee owner I labored to find a backdoor into the clan. I think I can justify my membership by expanding the definition of a “real” Jeep. The solution is clear: two solid axles. Why didn’t I think of this before? Any Jeep with two solid axles is fairly capable off road. Don’t bog me down now with your axle snobbery. Do you have two solid axles? Congratulations, I now call you brother. Anything less than two solid axles is a station wagon—sometimes an inappropriately large station wagon. Sigmund Freud would have a comment on that, but I digress. I thank you and humbly accept my membership into the real Jeep family. Can a couple of my new big brothers come over? My neighbor needs to be put into his place.
Mike Gray
Bakersfield, CA

FSJ Freak in Making
I just finished the 4.0L head swap and added TBI to my ’83 CJ7’s 4.2L. My wife thought I was finally done, but now after seeing your Monkey Bus project, I need a ’70 s Cherokee Chief. I am feverishly looking for one now. My wife says thanks. I don’t think she’s sincere.
Jeff K
Grand Rapids, MI

Jp Going Cheapskate?
I got a kick out of the junkyard tall tales Self-Service Stories article in the May ’12 issue. How about doing a few low-budget projects like how a guy with some welding and wrenching skills and a little time can build a front or rear bumper, an over-the-spare tire rack, or new shackles?

Also, a few more articles on how to repair (not replace) some of the stuff that gets worn out after 10 to 50 years of use would be good. Or how about a story on how to score a distributor upgrade on-the cheap, or do a low-budget stroker engine? Hope you get the idea. Not all of us can spend money like we are the federal government!
John Young
Somewhere down in Texas

Your timing is funny because we’ve recently been getting hammered by some of our advertisers to do fewer budget buildups and start doing more highdollar tech and features. In reality, I feel Jp does an excellent job of walking the line between real-world, common-man builds and showcasing new and exciting products and vehicle builds that make a splash in our industry.

Honestly, it sounds like you just want us to do a bunch of stories that are of particular interest to you and your vehicle—and that’s understandable. We get dozens of letters like this each week. However, don’t expect Jp will all of a sudden ignore expensive feature vehicles and product installs. Conversely, we won’t be hopping on the money train just to appease a select group of advertisers. At the end of the day, we’re going to do what we feel is best for our readers. And for now, that means delivering the same balance of budget and bling we’ve been giving you.

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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