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Mailbag - Jp readers letters to the editor

Posted in Features on October 13, 2017
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Photographers: Readers

Please allow me to respond to B. Porter from Prescott, Arizona, and his letter titled “Good Point,” printed in the June ’16 Mailbag.

Please step back and realize that your choice of the newer-model Jeeps would not even exist without those that came before yours. It was all the flatfenders—CJs, FCs, SJs, XJs, MJs, and all the res—that kept the brand alive all those years to give you what you have today. And we already know the vendors. When do you think this industry was born? You don’t really think it all just sprouted up in the last several years? No, because the vendors understand respect. So just keep your bank account referencing to yourself. It’s embarrassing to me for you to have that as your position. The price of current-model rigs it easily obtainable. But only with respect would you know that most full rebuilds easily exceed those prices. I have firsthand knowledge since my current Jeeps include a ’81 CJ-5 build that is into the second year; an ’05 KJ that is pretty tricked out; my daily driver ’89 Comanche is not far behind; and then there is my ’12 KK. Plus, I have two more daily drivers. Ever supported all the maintenance on more than just one or two vehicles? Another aspect requiring respect: you referenced the blood, sweat, busted knuckles, and the many tools and skills that cannot be priced. So please B. Porter, have some respect. Eventually, maybe, hopefully you will be in the opposite position in the future, though I really doubt it. Until then, if you cannot find some respect, follow your own advice and mind your own damn business.”
Scott McIntyre
Atlanta, GA

Wheeled or Not
Built versus bought is the wrong debate. It should be wheeled versus street. I hate seeing all the lifted Jeeps driving around that look like they've never been off-road. I realize many people just like a clean Jeep. I think Jeeps are meant to be dirty, and my Jeep was my daily driver, so I had to pick and choose which trail rides I went on for fear of breaking something and riding the bus to work. However, I hate seeing those immaculate Jeeps that, you know, are just a street Jeep used to cruise the local mall. So much wasted potential. Sad.
Danny Kidd
Via email

Fortunately, everyone has the freedom to spend their money how they want and build whatever model Jeep using whatever parts they see fit. And then—get this—they can use it however they want too! All that really matters is that your Jeep makes you happy. If someone is building up their Jeep for some other reason than for themselves, we feel bad for them, knowing they will never be truly happy with it as long as someone else isn’t. If someone doesn’t like your build and you do, so what? Who cares? Let it go. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and we’re not necessarily a safe space for Jeep owners. The staff has their own opinions on what’s cool, and we don’t always agree.

Wonder Willys
During our last holiday, we saw this Jeep pickup in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. Can you please tell me what year this Jeep is? I have been a Jeep driver since 1996, and I never give up the hope for a new Jeep pickup, maybe like the Gladiator. Best wishes from Germany and keep up the great job.
Chris Simon
Kassel, Germany

The pickup truck in question is a Willys pickup. It’s also known as a Utility Truck. These pickups were built from 1947 to 1965. During that time frame, they were available with both inline-four-cylinder and inline-six-cylinder engines. This particular truck appears to be a ’50-’52 model based on the V-shaped grille and small rear window. Earlier trucks had a flat grille. Later trucks came with a larger rear window. You never really know for sure anymore, though. Body parts, the cab, the frame, and who knows what else could have been swapped out at some point. The truck is at least a half-century old!

Speak Up!
I mean no disrespect by what I write here. I have nothing to complain about with how you run Jp, because I am not, nor will I ever be, a magazine editor. I am just a mechanically uninclined gearhead who enjoys wrenching on my ’99 XJ. I don't have the money to make it a gnarly trailer queen. It is a daily driver that the wife, kids, and I will take for a little weekend wheeling every now and again. I think that a lot of Jp fans like me would rather have a Jeep that we can drive to pick the kids up at ball practice, then leave for a run on our favorite trail at the local off-road park. That being said, I have absolutely no problem with rigs built to totally rock any trail they roll on. I’m only saying not all of us have the time, money, and resources to have a magazine-worthy wheeler.

Which is what brings me to my point. I have been a subscriber for some time. However, it seems that many of the pages of Jp are filled with trailer queens, product testing, and product placement. I understand that there is more than I will ever know that goes into printing a magazine, and frankly, I don’t want to know all of that headache. I have nothing but respect for the editors and the people that bust their behinds for the magazine. I just feel like the pages of the only magazine I have ever subscribed to is losing what made it so special to me.

Yes, I know I am only one man, and I also know you will probably not have the time to read this, so I won't get my hopes up. Thanks for all the great reads over the years, but I believe I will have to wait and see if the articles get any better before I renew my subscription. I know that I will more than likely be a joke around the ol’ office, knowing you all couldn’t care any less how one person feels about your multi-million dollar operation. Oh well, just know I am thankful for the great issues.
Scott Vaden
Via email

Thanks for the honest note, Scott. We may not always respond, but we truly read and cherish every letter and email we get. We love to hear input about what readers like and don’t like. What they want to see more of or less of and any questions they might have about the stories. Ultimately, we don’t write the magazine for us. We write it for you! So speak up and be heard. Anyone can drop an email to the Jp staff at Who knows—we may select and respond to your letter here in the Mailbag column. What are you waiting for? It’s only a few quick clicks to tell us what you think.

Dangle Angle
The August ’16 issue is the best ever issue of Jp. Although, there was a question/answer titled “Wrangling Rear Driveshaft” in the Your Jeep column. The reply seemed to say that the pinion yoke and driveshaft should be set at the same zero angle (in-line).

The rule I've always gone with is that front and back yoke angles should be equal but in most cases will not be zero. For example, in my CJ-7 with a Chevy 350, the transfer case yoke is down 4 degrees. This was about the most angle possible given the position of the distributor next to the firewall. This setting then requires that the pinion yoke be pointed up 4 degrees, thereby allowing both joints to operate at the same angle. Ideally, the driveshaft itself should not be at more than about 10 degrees unless it has a double-cardan joint on one end. Shimming should be done, if you must, to get the angular difference to 1 degree or less when the weight of the vehicle is on the axle. I agree on steel versus aluminum shims, although I have run aluminum shims for 20-plus years on a Jeep without breakage. Please let me know if I’m wrong on this as I've just installed a new Currie 9-inch on said CJ-7.
Steve Binkley
Via email

Your assessment is absolutely 100 percent correct for a conventional driveshaft with a total of two U-joints. However, the reader who wrote in with the driveline problem had a double-Cardan (CV-style) rear driveshaft. This type of driveshaft needs to be set up so that the lower U-joint runs at zero degrees or maybe 1-2 degrees down from the driveshaft slope to compensate for natural axlewrap under load on a leaf-sprung suspension.

Dirt ’N Driven
I just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you. The Jp Dirt ’N Drive was a fun way to get to Moab for Easter Jeep Safari. Whether we were flying down a two-track dirt road, helping my buddy Virgil with a wheel bearing, airing down the tires for a little sand dune time, helping my buddy Virgil with an exploded power steering pump, or rockcrawling one of the many slick rock trails and helping my buddy Virgil with a rear diff yolk and U-joint, it proved to be a great week.

Now I have to do a few things to prepare my Jeep for the next adventure. The plans include a long-arm suspension for little more lift, a little more tire, an intercooler for a little more power, and a compressor to refill aired down tires or run air tools to help my buddy Virgil fix things.
William and June Cutler
Via email

No Sale
I'm sitting in my favorite restaurant, drinking my favorite beer, and reading my new favorite magazine. I'm left wondering, in the New Products section, why are you not including prices?
G. Givan
Pittsburgh, PA

It’s a great question, with kind of a not so interesting answer. First, the manufacturers generally don’t sell direct. Second, the listed pricing would have to be manufacturer suggested retail pricing, which as we all know is nowhere near the actual street price of an off-road product, or any product for that matter. Today, there are many outlets and online stores that sell at much deeper discounts than MSRP. Third, many of these products are so new that pricing is not available at the time we go to print. Ultimately, printing an unrealistic price is actually worse than running no price at all in our minds.

On occasion, Jp creates dollar-specific buyers’ or holiday guides. It’s in these guides that you can get a better idea of what an item costs. The good news is that much more accurate current pricing of the products is available right at your fingertips through your smartphone, laptop, or home computer.

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