I just read the excellent Mar. ’16 issue. The wheel and tire articles were especially useful. However, on page 28, in the upper left-most caption under the photo, I think you may have suffered from a spoonerism, which I do all the time. One inch is actually 25.4 millimeters, not 24.5 millimeters.
You got us! We never have been big fans of the metric system, especially when it comes to tire sizes. All anyone ever wants to know is how big they are in inches. Anyway, we missed that 5-4 flip-flop typo in final editing. Good eye!
For some reason that I have yet to figure out, the issue months on Jp, and probably every other magazine for that matter, are never correct. Case in point: it is only two days after Christmas (December 2015), and I just received my latest issue of Jp with a cover date of Mar. ’16. What am I missing here? Could you explain this for me? While I have your attention, I have a slight issue of understanding. For years, an engine was referred to by its cubic inch displacement. We all knew what a 289, 327, 351, and 400 were and could get a visual in our mind. All of a sudden we have 1.7L, 2.3L, 5.0L, 7.2L, or whatever. You get my point. They don't make any sense. Could you do a huge favor for us old school folks (you look as if you fit into our category, too) and print engine sizes in a way that we all will understand? Use something such as 258ci (4.0L) or 305ci/5.0L. I happen to know these two because they are in my Jeeps.
Thank you for your time and, have fun today.
There are a couple of reasons why you see your March ’16 issue so much earlier in the year. First of all, those cover dates are really for the newsstand. Since you are a subscriber, you get your magazine months ahead of the guy who just wanders into the store and happens to decide he wants a magazine. A true enthusiast subscribes to the magazines he loves, instead of being casual about his purchases and only picking one up from the store every once in a while. The amount of time it takes for our printing company to get pallets of magazines trucked to the distribution houses, and then the time it takes for those distribution houses to figure out how many go to this store or that store and get them all separated out and shipped to the individual stores takes a lot of time. It takes much less time to fulfill and mail out subscriptions. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what the dates on the magazines are as long as they still show up in your mailbox every month, right? If it still bothers you, try to image how upset you’d be if your March ’16 issue showed up in May ’16. That should make you feel better about receiving issues early.
As for the engine displacement sizes, that’s a much easier problem to solve. The metrification of the U.S. has been going on for many years. For decades, auto manufacturers identified engine displacement with cubic inches because the actual dimensions of the engines, including bore diameter and stroke, were measured in inches. Later in the 20th century, when the engines began to be assembled using metric dimensions, it was only natural for the published metric engine displacement to follow. You will still find some holdouts in the industry, though. It’s fairly common for some of the more sporty American cars that have a history in racing to feature badges displaying cubic inches. The Chrysler 392 SRT Hemi V-8 is a good example.
Back to the Flatski
I've been meaning to write for several weeks to thank you for articles like “Back to the Flatski” (Nov. ’15). A lot of us have the latest widget, be it a tricked-out Grand Cherokee or a nice upgraded JK Unlimited Rubicon to tool around in, but some of us have an old flatfender hanging around the garage. Yeah, we're going to restore it. Yeah, we're going to make it better when we do. In the end, we throw a little Rust-Oleum on it to keep it from rusting away, patch a few holes in the floors, fix what needs to be fixed to keep it running down the dirt roads and savor the sounds and smells that only come from a 65-year-old beater. Mine has seen several V-6 engines over its lifetime. Now it's completely stock, purrs like a kitten, and brings a grin to my face every time it turns over. I’ve threatened to sell it from time to time, but I always price it at an “I don't want to sell it dollar figure,” so it remains in the garage. Now where's that box with the old Lock-Right locker in it?
I have an engine question. I ordered an ATK Jeep 4.0L to replace the one that grenaded itself thanks to the poor Chrysler piston castings. When the engine arrived, the main bearing girdle was absent. ATK claimed that this part is to be transferred over from the core engine. Another engine I purchased from Grooms had the girdle installed. Every marketing photo clearly shows it. Have you run into this sort of issue before? ATK eventually sent me a new girdle since my old one was chewed up.
There is a very real problem with the later-model 4.0L pistons. I've seen four engines with cracked piston skirts, and all the cracks are in the exact same shape and path and were on engines that were never abused. Fortunately, the engines were rescued before real damage could happen. My ATK engine now has 20,000 miles on it, and it’s running great. I've rebuilt two other 4.0L since and found some bad piston skirts. Keep up the awesome work on the magazine. I love every issue.
Stuart Bourdon responds:
Not really—we haven't run into this issue. We have only stabbed one ATK engine into a Jeep in the last decade or so. We just don't blow up that many 4.0L engines. And on the one we did stab in, we swapped that girdle over from the old engine.
Regarding the “Oiled 4.0L” letter in the Your Jeep department (Jan. ’16), I've had various oil types from various vehicles tested by Blackstone Labs in Fort Wayne, Indiana. According to this company (they've tested lots of oil for a long time), they see no difference in engine wear with synthetic or regular oil, so the company doesn’t recommend one over the other. I thought you'd find that of interest.
Opinions and experience generally varies when it comes to the performance of synthetic oils versus conventional oils. There are some applications that simply run better and cooler on synthetic oils. There really is no way around it. Now, it’s very possible that it’s simply not measureable when testing the used oil. Who knows? Ultimately, if you’re happy with the performance of whatever oil you use, keep using it.
Just sending a note to say thanks to Stuart Bourdon and John Cappa for including Red Baron Tools in “New Jeep Parts at Off-Road Expo” (Mar. ’16). I will post the story image on our Red Baron Tool Facebook page and include the online story link. I am a big fan of Jp and ’wheel a ‘98 Cherokee. Hopefully, you also saw Red Baron Tools at the SEMA Show in 2015. The company was awarded runner-up for Best New Product 2016 (Tools and Equipment) and also awarded a Global Media award. Thanks again for the recognition.
Loose Screw Behind the Wheel
I am 100 percent in disagreement with your Mar. ’16 Trail Head editorial on what the most important component, accessory, or upgrade is on your Jeep. It's been well established that the most important component for any safe, successful, and enjoyable Jeep adventure is the nut behind the steering wheel.
I opted to receive my subscription electronically but am having issues reading it on my computer. Can I go back to receiving a printed copy?
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We’re All Invited!
I own the Hideaway Campground in the Silver Lake sand dune area in Mears, Michigan. I am starting a Jeep weekend to coincide with the blessing of the dunes (first weekend in June). Jp and its readers are welcome to attend! This will be the first year for the Jeep weekend, but it should grow exponentially year after year. For more information, check out hideawaycampground.com.
Regarding “Mount Up” (Nov. ’15), I, too, recently tackled replacing the motor mounts in my XJ. I thought maybe they were bad, but I knew the oil filter adapter was leaking hideously. I researched and found it was generally recommended to do the motor mount swap and oil change adapter projects together, so that's what I did. I purchased the Brown Dog motor mounts.
What a frustrating project that whole thing was! I had to buy the star tool for the adapter bolt, then punch out the bit and use an open-end wrench on the bit as a socket and ratchet would not fit. A ratcheting box-end wrench set would have been nice to have. That adapter was in plenty tight, and it took a long time turning the bolt an 1/8 of a turn at a time.
The motor mount install was equally maddening. It was very difficult to get the mount and bolt lined up. I'd jack the engine and get it lined up, and then either when I leaned on the fender to push the bolt through it would no longer all be lined up or the jack would gradually lower enough so that things didn't line up. This happened what seemed like dozens of times. I probably needed a helper, but I would have just yelled at them instead of just yelling alone.
I probably needed to change the transmission mount out too, but I was too angry to even go any further when I couldn't get the transmission crossmember loose. That project will have to wait.
Build and Bought
Regarding the Trail Head editorial in the Dec. ’15 issue, it was great synopsis of the age-old question of built versus bought. Personally, I built and prefer it due in part to the instant credibility an old flatfender typically generates, regardless of setting. However, I agree and firmly believe the hobby would not be as strong as it is today without Chrysler keeping new-model Jeeps available. Case in point: the IH Scout, Bronco, and so on. I love seeing newer Jeeps and recent friends to the trail that otherwise would be non-existent if bought Jeeps were not available.