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

Jp reader letters to the editor

Posted in Features on April 7, 2016
Share this
Photographers: Jp Archives

Vintage Fan
I really enjoyed the "75 Years of Jeep" article in the Apr. ’16 issue of Jp. Keep the cool vintage Jeep articles coming!
Bob Westerman
Via email

Know It All Nena
The Apr. ’16 issue of Jp magazine rocks. Pun intended. There are a bunch of great articles, starting with the guest Trail Head column, but I wanted to write and say that I really enjoyed the Nena Knows Jeeps department written by Nena Barlow. For a 1/2-page article I thought it was informative, very well written, and had a great picture to start off with. I look forward to reading her future articles. To Nena and all the staff at Jp, keep up the good work. Happy Trails.
Bryon Ely
Washington Court House, OH

Jp Coup!
Wow, good times at Jp. I like the evolution of the magazine over the past couple of years. I have to give credit to Stuart for keeping the brand straight and true. I always enjoy Péwé's relaxed style of writing. I read him wherever he is, and it's good to see him back at Jp.

Everything points to Jp becoming an even higher-quality magazine, but the thing that pushes Jp solidly to the next level is Nena Barlow's presence. Whether diversity played a part in recruiting Nena, I don't know or care, but you could not have found a better personality to represent the hobby. Nena pegs the needle on all counts, including businesswoman, instructor, guide, driver, and person. Her sense of humor bubbles up whether in person, on Facebook, or in her writing.

TEN's edict regarding any content with sexual overtones may be a two-edged sword. I personally disliked the occasional vulgarity and double entendre jokes that diminished Jp in the past. If TEN's policy eliminates this, good. On the other edge of the sword, I very much dislike the effect it has had on Hot Rod Deluxe. Pin-ups, whether standing beside a deuce coupe or holding up a Navarro head are an integral part of the history, culture, and nostalgia of hot rodding and belong in Hot Rod Deluxe. So, I call the policy good for Jp, bad for Hot Rod Deluxe.

But Nena transcends any question about why she may be in the magazine. Do you know of anyone, other than perhaps Hertz, who has owned 80 Jeep JKs? Have you ever seen Nena make a beeline for a boulder that she can get high-centered on just so she can show you how to use the Hi-Lift to get off? How many guides could herd a group of novices through Lower Terminator in Arizona and have them all smiling and laughing at the end of the day? And the next day flop a truck as an exercise in recovery? Or in a casual conversation about tires, tell you that your particular 35-nch tire only measures 33 1/2 inches, which it did? Her energy and enthusiasm for all things Jeep knows no bounds, and for Jp to be able to include her name on the masthead is huge. Congratulations to Jp on your first genuine Jeep chick in the very best sense of the word!
B. McLeavy
Via email

Jeep Pickup Template
I salivated with envy as I read Stuart Bourdon’s great article on Mitchell Zimmerman’s marvelously reconstituted J20 Jeep pickup in your Feb. ’16 issue (“Oil Burner”). Kudos go out to Zimmerman’s merry band of supporting automotive experts. There is talk that Jeep may be adding a pickup to its stable. If this rumor is accurate, the Jeep brass should use Zimmerman’s J20 as the template.
Tom Dix
Moscow, OH

Tire Tweaker
In “How Low Can You Go?” (Mar. ’16), you reported on your development of a fascinating graphical image method for showing what happens to the tread pattern when you air down a tire. The article was excellent. What I would like to propose here is that several actual measurements can be taken from those images to give a quantitative way of showing how much airing down really matters and to show which parameters may be most affected by airing down. I produced thirteen images for the analysis.

Although I did the amendments on the images scanned from the article using Microsoft Word, the measurements themselves could not have been done without the image analysis system at IPS Testing ( and the diligent work of Tom Kremer, a technical leader in Microscopy. So thank you, Tom!

I measured the length and width (caliper) dimensions of, and the area within, the circumscribed polygon surrounding the tread-mark group for each of three selected air-down levels: 30 psi, 20 psi, and 10 psi. I used only three of the five original psi for economy. Also, I measured the area and perimeter of each of the individual (real) tread-marks and added the area and perimeter values to get a total. I tabulated and plotted the data to see what happens while trying to discover which parameters are most influenced by airing down.

The important findings are below:
1) The single most sensitive parameter (to air down) was the sum of the area of individual tread marks (SAITM). The area of the circumscribed polygon was a close Second Place.
2) The percent change for SAITM was a 101 percent increase going from 30 psi to 10 psi.
3) The least sensitive parameter was the simple X and Y length-and-width caliper measurement of the polygon (CMP).
4) The percent change for CMP was only a 34 percent increase going from 30 psi to 10 psi.
5) Each of the four primary parameters investigated had its own different mathematical function, suggesting no duplication of parameter.
6) The sum of the perimeter of individual tread-marks (SPITM) was third in sensitivity but not by much.
7) This SPITM function is thought to be valuable as a measure of increased biting edges for rockcrawling.
8) The percent of lands (tread marks) and voids (grooves) did not change significantly for this air-down.
9) The count of valid contacting treads increased from 16 to 26 for the 30 psi to 10 psi air-down.

I have suggestions for improvement. The method for preparing the images as described in the article was certainly more than adequate or this analysis would not have been possible. However, since I already have some history with exactly this type of preparation, I can suggest a few things to try for next time:
1) Go to a gravel yard and ask them to record, from the scale, the actual weight of one wheel/tire (not the entire vehicle) that will be used.
2) Go to a local print shop and get some thick, gooey black printer's ink (not paint).
3) Apply the printer's ink to the very clean dry tire by a printer's roller (not a brush) in a thin layer, to prevent drippings;
4) Lower the tire down slowly on a piece of white 17x22-inch ANSI C paper (not a plastic sheet) to inhibit squishing of the ink medium larger than reality. The paper substrates could then also be easily mailed to a testing lab for these measurements to be done directly, without any amendments.
5) Place the test paper on a large white poster board to provide some cushion and inhibit the pavement's topography from reflecting through into the image preparation.
Bernie Kressner
Appleton, WI

While calculating absolute numbers for traction may be fun for a few people and actually useful in some cases, I think there may be too many other variables to make it a viable exercise for off-road use. The traction available in a given situation depends greatly on the terrain, weather conditions, and even the vehicle weight transfer caused when climbing a ledge or side hilling. The article and images were simply used to show how lower tire pressure puts more tread on the ground. Making it too complex would likely confuse more people than it would actually help. Ultimately, lower tire pressures will improve vehicle traction and flotation off-road. Every vehicle is different, so in most cases you’ll need to experiment to find the optimum tire pressure for the kind of off-road terrain you frequent (-Editor).

Spanish IFS Wrangler
In the Mar. ’16 Jeep Shots there was a JK with an IFS setup. While you wait for more specs on that particular Jeep, I'd like to let you know that we've been running our TJ with a custom IFS setup for a couple years now with great results. By the way, it also has a JK diesel engine and driveline (hence the TJK nickname). Let me know if you'd like to know a little more about the rig. We'll be happy to give you some more information. Since we built it all ourselves, we can tell you about every detail. We invested a lot of time optimizing the suspension geometry and making sure every component works at its optimum. The kit is as close as it gets to a bolt-on for that kind of modification.
Nico Garcia

Did I Build?
I recently read your Trail Head article (Dec. ’15) in regard to whether a Jeep rig build is more legitimate if it has been completely built by yourself or by someone else, including a 4x4 shop. Here’s my take and how I became a Jeeper.

Many years ago, starting as a 12-year-old, I used to take hunting trips with my dad to Vermont in his ’68 Bronco. He used to tell me stories about Parnelli Jones and the Baja 500 as we drove up from New Jersey to northern Vermont to a cabin in the woods. We spent as much time pulling trucks out of snow banks as we did hunting, something my dad actually got a kick out of. It was during these times that I began to appreciate the outdoor world and four-wheel drive.

I eventually moved to Hawaii in 1977 to live with my mom, and instead of hunting, my primary outdoor activity became spear fishing, which, to me, was like hunting. Being 18-years old, I convinced several two-wheel-drive pickup trucks that they were off-road vehicles in order to reach my favorite diving grounds on dirt roads. I eventually got a Series 2 Land Rover for a short time, then a couple of Ford 4x4 pickup trucks. As the years went by, I started my own business, a family, and got a boat. I no longer needed an off-road rig to reach my favorite diving grounds. While working 60-70 hours a week to make sure the business was successful, my outdoor activities became fewer and fewer.

Fast forward to 2012. I was fortunate enough to retire early at the age of 53. This is the same age my dad died of cancer. I started to think a lot more about those times in my dad’s Bronco driving through the woods on dirt roads and sometimes on no roads. I thought about getting another four-wheel-drive vehicle. Which vehicle should I get? I was always a truck guy, so I thought perhaps another 4x4 truck or maybe a short wheelbase Bronco like my dad’s. How about an old used Jeep pickup like the one my buddy had many years ago? While I was contemplating the options, I saw an article in a magazine during a vacation about a company that converted Jeeps into pickup trucks. I thought “perfect!” So, I bought one: a ’14 AEV Brute Double Cab. It has a 5.7L Hemi, Dynatrac ProRock 60 rear axle with an ARB Air Locker, ProRock 44 frontend with the stock Rubicon locker, a 3-inch suspension lift, and a high-steer kit.

Once you have a capable 4x4 rig, you start down the road of modification. It is far worse than any drug or alcohol addiction. I thought buying fishing gear or spearfishing equipment was bad. It pales in comparison to 4x4 parts. I wanted larger tires than the 35-inch tires that were on her (notice we men always refer to our boats and trucks as her), so on went the 37s. Of course, this meant changing the suspension lift to 4 1/2 inches and regearing from 4.10 to 4.88 axle gears. This led to beefing up the tie rod and track bar and adding a steering sector shaft/track bar brace. I upgraded the front locker to an ARB Air Locker, which required changing the 30-spline RCV axleshafts to 35-spline chrome-moly shafts to match the rear shafts. Oh yeah, let’s add a bunch of lights and a 50-quart fridge, which required a Genesis dual battery kit with twin Optima YellowTop batteries, which then led to an SPod distribution system to handle all the needed switches. Now that she is much more capable and can go far more rad places, I better think of safety. In went a trail cage in the cab, a custom rollcage frame-mounted in the bed, custom rocker rails, Corbeau Baja suspension seats, harnesses, and a harness bar.

Now, I would like to think that I’m handy with a wrench, having owned and operated a scuba repair facility for nearly 30 years, but all of these modifications, save a few, were way over my area of expertise. I’m also old enough and wise enough to delegate these jobs to an expert. And frankly, I can afford it.

My wife and I recently purchased a place in Seattle, Washington, and I shipped the Brute to San Diego, California. I then wheeled and camped up through Mojave and the Inyo Mountains above Big Pine and Bishop in California. I pointed my Lowrance GPS to any streams and rivers near dirt roads in central Oregon and trout-fished my way up the Cascades, finally ending up in Seattle where the truck now lives.

Am I any more or less a Jeeper because I didn’t wrench on my own rig to have it built to the level it is now? I don’t think so. I’ve decided that I should know more about how to do advanced trail repairs other than plugging tires, splicing air lines (something I had to do up in the mountains when I burned a hole through the blue plastic line to the rear locker) and changing fuses. I’ve offered to provide free labor to my local 4x4 shop in exchange to learn how to change out axleshafts, drivelines, belts, and so on.

I’ve already made my lodging reservations in Moab this spring for the Easter Jeep Safari. I know I will be running into a lot of Jeepers there, and if any of them come up to me at the end of the day and say I’m not a real Jeeper because I didn’t build my own Jeep, well, I’ll just reach into my 12V fridge, hand him or her a cold one, and I will begin to tell them the story about why I disagree.
Ed Elms
Kaneohe, HI, and Seattle, WA

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results