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Jp Reader Letters to The Editor

Posted in Features on July 16, 2018
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Unlocked

I recently read your reply to Dick Bostick (Your Jeep, July ’18) regarding the limited advantages to installing manual locking hubs on a JK. I believe there is one benefit that you overlooked—the ability use 2WD low range.

I’m often faced with launching a boat, and having the vehicle in 4WD low is not a good idea when trying to make sharp turns on a hard-surfaced lot and ramp. Frankly, in those situations I don’t need 4WD (wheelspin is rarely an issue), but it is very helpful to have the extra oomph from low range. By unlocking the front hubs I can shift into 4WD low and essentially have 2WD low, which allows me to freely turn on the hard, paved surface without stressing the driveline, but retain great low-end power for retrieving the boat. My JK has the Trac-Lok rear axle so I often do this on loose ramps just as well.

An extra 1 mpg, less wear and tear on frontend components, and the ability to obtain low range in 2WD makes free-wheeling hubs a no brainer for me. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.
Cam Bakus
Via email

Great points! We would never say that the advantages of manual locking hubs are “limited,” but they are very specific. In most cases, the conversion would never pay for itself via improved fuel economy and reduced wear and tear. However, as you have noted, two-wheel-drive low range can be very helpful when maneuvering a trailer in and around tight spaces. The low-range gearing helps protect the transmission from overheating during the high-load, low-speed maneuvering. The 2WD low-range feature can also be useful on the trail when sharp technical corners that don’t require four-wheel drive are encountered. Although, it is a bit inconvenient to have to get out and unlock one or both hubs mid trail and then relock them. For us, the serviceability is the most notable advantage of converting to locking hubs on a JK, but others feel differently and don’t mind the unit bearings.

As an aside, we certainly aren’t visiting the same boat ramps. Many of the boat ramps we encounter are wet, slippery, and sometimes covered in a slick moss. If the rear tires dip far enough into the water, the only way to pull forward is with all four wheels working in four-wheel drive. Once we reach the top of the boat ramp, we typically shift back into two-wheel drive before making any turns, which would help avoid the drivetrain bind you are concerned about. But hey, if two-wheel drive works for you and your boat ramps, you have the perfect setup.

Not a Jeep!

Regarding Trail Head (July ’18), I have a response to your question about Jeeps, what makes them a Jeep, and why the Mahindra Roxor is not a Jeep.

Jeep is a strong American representation of freedom. This is the vehicle that has military beginnings and was the foremost sought-after transportation for decades in the U.S. armed mobile forces. A Jeep has seven slats in the grille for a reason. Its heritage is as strong as its ability to nimbly traverse over all types of terrain. The only Jeep is a Jeep!

International Scout, Ford Bronco, Chevy Blazer, Toyota 4-Runner, and all other SUVs are not Jeeps. Let’s not make the same mistakes with vehicles that humans want to make with identities. Just because it wants to be known as a Jeep, don’t make it a Jeep. It may be Jeep-like but the true bloodline will never be Jeep.
Todd Sulouff
McClure, PA

Interestingly, the first military “Jeeps” had more than seven slats. The original production military “Jeep” had what is known as a slat grille with 11 large openings and two smaller ones. The later MB and Ford GPW military “Jeeps” came with stamped steel grilles that featured 9 slotted openings. Speaking of which, would you consider the Willys MB a Jeep but not the Ford GPW, which is nearly identical in every way? The 7-slat grille only surfaced in 1945, when the civilian CJ-2A began to roll off of the assembly line. So a “Jeep” really can’t be identified by having only a 7-slat grille. Besides, most FSJs don’t have 7-slat grilles. Are they not Jeeps either? The Jeep ID waters are certainly clouded, some people don’t even consider the newer Jeeps like the Renegade a Jeep, even though it’s built under the Jeep brand.

No Jeep Stamp

Regarding Trail Head (July ’18), what is or isn’t a Jeep is different for a lot of people. For some, it’s the vintage flatfenders, for others it’s a two-door stick-shift Wrangler with big tires. And yet others feel the four-door JK or any Jeep with an automatic transmission is not a Jeep. The Roxor is not a Jeep! Why you ask? Ummm, I don’t see a Jeep stamp anywhere on this vehicle. End of discussion.
Ryan Barnes
Via email

Valid point, but would that mean that all of the wartime “Jeeps” are not actually Jeeps because they don’t have a Jeep logo? That sure would be dismissing quite a bit of history, and a total disregard for the origin of the word “Jeep.” It’s a slippery slope for sure.

It Is a Jeep!

The Mahindra Roxor appears to be a refreshing reboot of what a Jeep is supposed to be. It is a much closer rendition than those overweight four-door JK Unlimited limos we see everywhere. It also illustrates the sad fact that our modern safety requirements have made the price of a new Jeep double what it needs to be. All it needs are mirrors, turn signals, and a windshield, and it should be street legal in my book.

The Mahindra Roxor is like a modern-day CJ-7, only brand new with a new diesel engine. I wouldn’t hesitate to drive it to Home Depot or to get groceries. With a few underhood adjustments and an overdrive, I’d take it on the highway too.

I’m interested in seeing how successful the Roxor will be in a world where cars are morphing into something resembling a smart phone with wheels. Do people really want all those electronic distractions that we find in modern vehicles? I know I don’t.

So is a Mahindra Roxor a Jeep? Yes!
Giles Blair
Via email

Dirt ’N Driver

This was my first year attending the Jp Dirt ’N Drive. What a great event! I wish I would have applied the first year. The event was flawlessly planned. Rick and the Jp staff led us from Phoenix, Arizona, to Moab, Utah, with plenty of places to play along the way, as well as showing us a lot of interesting geography and cultural locations while we traveled through the Hopi and Navajo Nations. The three-day trip culminated in Moab where we all met and regrouped on the outskirts of town to drive to our dinner destination. There’s something indescribable about 100 Jeeps cruising down Main Street in Moab side by side. People had their cell phones out filming 100 Jeeps cruising through town with big smiles and waves. The victory dinner was great. There were lots of prizes all around from the raffle, and the sponsors were more than generous with swag as well as some pretty awesome product giveaways, including $500 worth of tires shipped to your door! But, what everyone coveted most was the grille from the new JL that had been signed and doodled on by the entire design team that worked on the JL. Pretty cool. If I had a complaint about this run, it would only be that it wasn’t long enough. Or maybe it was just right, because it left you wanting more. Great job guys. Hoping to do it again next year!
Dave Van Selow
Downey, CA

We’re glad you made it and enjoyed the trip! Be sure to follow our Facebook page and check back on jpmagazine.com for updates on the ’19 Jp Dirt ’N Drive event.

Mystery Slider Sorta Solved

In “Not Another Jeep LS Swap” (July ’18), the featured Jeep has sliding hard upper doors. I have recently bought an identical set from a junkyard that needs some repairs, specifically some glass, latches, and mounting hardware. Do you know what brand they are or where I could find the needed parts for mine? So far, all the Googling in the world has only found other brands and styles of upper sliders.
Josh Colsch
Via email

We reached out to the owner of the ’98 TJ, Mike Zeko, to find out just what upper doors he has. Here is his response:

“Hey! So the upper doors I have on my Jeep do not have any identifying marks. I have tried to figure out where they came from so I could get an extra set because they are so rad. I looked for them for years. I got lucky. Some older guy came up to me at a BBQ at Brothers 4x4 and said he bought a top for his TJ on Craigslist. It came with upper doors! I was stoked! The guy wanted $200, so I went and got them. I could tell that the top he had was aftermarket, so whoever makes them also makes tops I’m assuming.

There is one company I found that still makes a very similar upper door. I actually bought an install kit from the company and used it successfully. The company is called Bulldawg MFG (bulldawgmfg.com). However, the window is a little bigger than on the uppers that I have. The problem was, at the time I could not justify the nearly $1,000 price tag after shipping.

After running the windows for a while now, I think they are worth $1,000. You can talk to your passenger doing 70 mph on the highway and listen to music. Just don't stick your head out the window on big climbs—it hurts!
Mike Zeko

Flare Finder

I am a huge fan of Jp. I have a ’86 CJ-7. It has a 4.2L inline-six with a Hesco EFI kit and front and rear lockers installed by Kevin Mereness at American Vintage 4x4. Kevin also welded in a full-cage rollbar from GenRight.

I am writing in regards to the beautiful yellow CJ-7 on the front cover of the July ’18 issue. I once owned a ’48 CJ-2A and I love flatfenders, but I don't like them on a CJ-7. I have seen various design modifications done to the front CJ-7 fenders, and I think the flares on this yellow CJ are the best I have seen. They almost look stock, but they add much more clearance than stock. Same with the rear.

I have read the article several times, but there is no mention about the body modifications. Would you please describe how the owner modified the fenders and what fender flares he used?
Eric R. Clark
Eagle, ID

The flares in question appear to be aftermarket flares for an ’81-’85 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler. Of course, the front flares would be the same design as your CJ-7, and they will bolt right up to your Jeep. The rears, however, are trapezoidal instead of round like on the CJ-7. The CJ-7 rear fenders will need to be trimmed for fitment and new holes will need to be drilled to mount the CJ-8 flares. The flares pictured appear to be slightly wider than stock width. Unfortunately, many of the aftermarket flare options for the CJ-7 have dried up over the years. However, companies such as Crown Automotive (crownautomotive.net), Rugged Ridge (ruggedridge.com), and Omix ADA (omix-ada.com) offer stock-width CJ-8 flares. TJ Wrangler fender flares are also a popular swap for the CJ-7.

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