Click for Coverage
Exclusive Content
Original Shows, Motorsports and Live Events
Try it free for 14 days
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

April 2013 Mailbag - Letters To The Editor

Posted in Features on April 1, 2013
Share this
Photographers: JP StaffReaders

Cover Conscious
I thought that black Rubicon TJ on 37s that you covered was a very cool rig. It was really one of my favorites. It was great to see that it was wheeled and showed the part. That’s what we build them for, to have fun. Thanks again for another great issue.
via forums

Road Trip Regearing Tires
Your article “Road Trip Regearing,” (Nov. ’12) gave us lots of good details, but nothing about the tires. Tire diameter was the reason for all this effort in the first place. Your only photo shows the Jeep hangin’ there without the wheels and tires.

I’m interested in all the details because my present project is a 2001 XJ Sport.
Rick McCright
Little Rock, AR

Technically, since we didn’t monkey with anything else, the results were based on the percentage change gained by the gears. And we did say in one of the photo captions that we regeared the speedo to read accurately with our 33-inch tires. But you’re right, we should’ve stated the type and size tire clearly in that story since many people like to emulate our buildups.

For the record, Trasborg’s ’98 XJ used in that story runs 33x12.50R15 Goodyear Duratrac tires mounted on 15x8 MB Model 72 wheels from Discount Tire. At freeway speeds under 70 mph, the swap from 3.55s to 4.56s resulted in an improvement of about 2.5 mpg. Above 70 mph, economy tanked into the 14s.

Cheap Trick
I’ve never seen this mentioned in Jp before, but if you have a two-door JK (in my case a ’12 Rubicon), you can order the heaviest duty OEM JK Unlimited springs (PN 52126319AC, front and PN 68004460AA, rear) from the dealership and get a 2- to 23⁄8-inch lift in front and a 11⁄4- to 11⁄2-inch lift in the rear. It varies a bit from Jeep to Jeep depending on weight.

I did this to my Rubicon and got 21⁄4 inches of lift in the front and 13⁄8 inches of lift in the rear. On the front of my Jeep I also run a 11⁄4-inch spacer. These springs are not only a bit taller, but are made of larger diameter wire. They improve the handling on-road and soften the ride off-road. The springs can frequently be found online used for about $50 to $75, or they can be had for about $190 to just over $200 from the dealer.

For someone wanting a small amount of lift and the ability to fit up to 35-inch tires, this is an inexpensive option. One word of warning: It would help to get some shocks with a little more travel. The red paint showing was under the shock cover when I painted it black before adding the new Unlimited Wrangler springs. The red doesn’t show all of the lift, as some of the black paint got up under the cover.
Jim McCain
via email

Tech Talk Smack
Verne, you got that one wrong! (Editor’s note: He’s speaking about a tech question and answer from our monthly column, Your Jeep (Nov. ’12), about a drop-in CJ V-8 swap for a 258-powered ’83 CJ-5). If you recall, ’72-’81 CJs were equipped with the AMC 304 V-8. To say there is no V-8 that will directly bolt in a CJ is a gross error on your part. Any 304, 360, or 401 is a straight bolt-in operation in place of the 258 six. I’ve been reading the column for quite some time and have found you people don’t quite really know your Jeeps at times. It’s unfortunate that readers are being misinformed, and you people are not the Jeep aficionados you pose to be.
Peter Chronis
Rohnert Park, CA

We’re more enthusiasts than aficionados, but “potatow,” “potatoh.” It’s funny to me that often times those who lambast us the most are often guilty of not actually reading the story they seem to have a problem with. I sat down to really roast you in response, but you know what? You’re not entirely wrong. But then again, you’re not entirely right, either.

The question that was asked is, “Can you tell me what would fit without going through a lot of trouble or expense and will bolt up to my transmission?” Verne was correct when he said, “There is no V-8 that will bolt directly to your motor mounts and transmission.” And you’re correct when you point out that Jeep CJs came with 304s and that other AMC V-8s of the era could work. But they are by no means as you say “a straight bolt-in operation in place of the 258 six.”

The passenger-side frame-to-engine brackets are different between I-6 and V-8 CJs. You need to replace the passenger-side CJ frame engine bracket with one for a V-8 application. You’ll also need new CJ engine motor mount brackets. Obviously,you’ll need new isolators. The AMC V-8s are externally balanced, so you’ll need to make sure the new engine comes with a flywheel or flexplate that will work with the CJ tranny since you can’t reuse the 258 flexplate or flywheel. The power steering pressure hose needs to be swapped out, the fuel line is on the wrong side of the chassis, some electronics need monkeying with, as does the fan shroud, exhaust, and so on.

In all, it’s not a hard swap, and technically there is no welding involved with an AMC I-6-to-V-8 swap in a ’72-’86 CJ. The six-cylinder radiator can be retained, and the AMC I-6 and V-8 bellhousing bolt patterns are the same. But it’s not a swap that’ll just plunk into place without a fair share of trouble and expense—which was the point of the original question.

Mud Whomper
After reading your Nov. ’12 Trail Head, I have an idea for you. Do you remember Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road Heavy Metal Mudder? Why not build something like that? You guys don’t have many mud machines. I was thinking a rear-mounted big-block with a big, bad transmission and T-case, maybe some Rockwells or Dodge 1-ton axles, and hell, why not make it an all Mopar ride? A moderate lift or big, bad fender chopping. Hey, you could even have zoomie headers sticking out of the rear windows! The flat olive paint job would look nice on 44s. Whaddaya think?

Yeah, I just described my dream machine—except that it would be an XJ.
Guillaume Poirier
Via email

Actually, I think you just described the dream machine of half the adult males south of the Mason/Dixon line. Ali Mansour (former 4WOR Feature Editor and current Four Wheeler Tech Editor) is a friend of mine, so yes, I definitely know about Heavy Metal Mudder. I really dig that rig and thought it was a breath of fresh air for our sister mag, 4-Wheel & Off-Road. However, I could never justify all the high-zoot items like the Viper engine and spendy Rockwell parts. If you just got done reading my Trail Head editorial in this issue, then I think you’ll see exactly what my plans are for the Hantavirus TTC-J. The funny thing was how eerily close your build suggestion came to the plans I had already put down on paper. Get outta my head, man!

Workie for Peanuts?
I sure wish with my knowledge of older Jeeps (currently own 23 Jeeps and two rolling chassis: one Commando, four CJ-5s, six CJ-7s, one Scrambler, one XJ 2dr Cherokee Chief, four SJ Cherokee Chief, three Grand Wagoneers, one Comanche, and one XJ Cherokee Sport, and my Dad’s XJ) I could get a job working with you guys doing something from building projects to testing vehicles! That would be a dream job for me!
Greg Dorn
Via Jp’s Facebook page, /jpmag

We’re not hiring any full-time employees at the moment. And hopefully Trasborg and Simons have no plans to exit the building unannounced with their middle finger in the air. However, we do use freelance writers from time to time, and with our ace freelancer Harry Wagner now scooped up as a full-time feature editor for one of our sister magazines, it certainly couldn’t hurt to get your foot in the door.

You can always snail-mail a resume with a writing sample to Jp Magazine, Attn: Christian Hazel, 831 S. Douglas St, El Segundo, CA 90245. Or better yet, email an electronic version to with “Resume” in the subject line.

That Guy Again
Well, apparently I can no longer go wheeling. Or at least I will be alone. I can relate to a few of the examples of people to avoid when wheeling that you cited in “Don’t Be That Guy,” (Nov. ’12). In fact, I wheel with some that are dead-on for some of those guys.

You did fail to mention one. We’ll call him “Firebomb”—the guy who brings enough wood for ten bonfires. He then sets about burning it all the first night with about five gallons of gas. You wake up the next day with sunburn from the heat and flames.
R.J. Shier
Sebewaing, MI

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

E-mail to:

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results