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Jp Reader Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on November 30, 2018
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Old-Iron Nod

In the November ’18 issue you had a Jeepster and a J-truck in the same issue with a sprinkling of FSJ fixes! Great issue and thanks for the nod to the old iron still running.
Kirk Gardner
Via email

We love the old iron just as much as any die-hard Jeep enthusiast, but vintage metal that hits the dirt is getting harder to find. More and more people have mentally put these cool old Jeeps into the collectable category, increasing the value, which makes owners less likely to use them off-road where we spend most of our time. We’ve been fortunate enough to see some owners really modernize the suspension and drivetrain under some of these older Jeeps, making them more trailworthy than original. We love that, and we are sure to chase down a good restomod Jeep being used properly off-road. If you have an older Jeep and want to see more of them, drop us a line at and tell us about your old iron.

Trail Responsible

Regarding the Boy Scout Motto (Trail Head, Nov. ’18), I wish everyone I wheeled with stuck by this philosophy. Being prepared is one of the most important parts to being a responsible Jeep owner who goes off-roading. I check my Jeep mechanically and the tools and parts I carry before a trip. It can be irritating to have to bail out the unprepared wheeler, but we help out because it’s the right thing to do. This article made me think that it would be a good idea to do an expanded article on what to pack, including toolkits, recovery items, spare parts, and so on. I love Jp!
Nick Mc.
Pittsburgh, PA

It’s a great idea to look over your Jeep and what’s packed in it prior to every trip. With the advent of the Rubicon Wrangler and readily available high-performance aftermarket off-road parts that can be installed at any number of off-road shops, there are more Jeepers than ever who are likely driving vehicles that are far more capable than their skill level and experience. There is a learning curve that comes with off-roading. In the past, the skills were acquired over time as our Jeeps slowly became more modified. Today, a new Jeep owner might go straight to 37-inch or even 40-inch tires right off the bat and attempt to drive over extremely difficult trails, which, as you have noted can lead to some difficult situations when there is an unexpected failure. The thing to remember is that we are all out there for the same reason. Help the new guys understand why they need to know their Jeeps and learn the limitations of not only the equipment, but their driving skill level too. Over time, they’ll learn that spare parts and tools are just as necessary as snacks and drinks.

Doctor Dolittle

When I opened the October ’18 issue of Jp, I noticed that the two-page Black Rhino ad mentioned the company donating towards rhino conversation, not conservation. I got a good laugh out of that.
Don Murray
Via email

It seems that we at Jp are not the only ones to make grammatical errors. We’re pretty sure that Black Rhino Wheels is not promoting rhino conversation, although conversation about the topic at hand can certainly help the cause. For more info about the Black Rhino Wheels conservation project to support Save the Rhino International, check out

Portable Bathroom Break

I just read the Nena Knows (Nov. ’18) overlanding article. Men and women have other options for a bathroom break besides a baggie. My wife loves Travel John Products (
David Karich
Via email

Snorkel Shock

I love Jp and eagerly await every issue. I have a ’65 CJ-5 and a ’99 WJ. There is not much coverage of these Jeeps anymore, but I read every article to learn what is transpiring with the brand as my trusty WJ will need replacing in the next few years.

What is the deal with the snorkels I see these days? I have been reading Jp for five years and don’t see any info on them or even ads for them. I know old military Jeeps could be fitted with river fording snorkels, but they needed sealed ignition systems as well. My old CJ-5 even has the hood cutout for one. I suspect they are just another expensive doodad to make a Jeep look cool. Is there any actual justification for this modification?
Keep up the good work!!
Gardner Fey
Canon City, CO

There are several companies that offer intake snorkels for the more popular Jeep models and other 4x4s. These companies include AEV (, ARB (, K&N (, Mopar (, Rugged Ridge (, and Volant ( The principal idea behind a snorkel kit is that it raises the engine air intake to get it up and out of any potential deep water. The factory air intake on some Jeep models is not well placed for water depths and splashing beyond headlight height. A snorkel kit will generally keep water out of the engine safely during water crossings that reach the bottom of the windshield. Of course, there are many other components to worry about. As long as you pass through the water relatively quickly, very little water will make it past the door seals into the interior of a new Jeep where it could wreak havoc on the electrical system. Longer deep water crossings and getting stuck in deep water pose quite a different problem. As for the ignition, all current Jeep engines feature distributor-less ignitions and are sealed relatively well, so they are far more water resistant than an older engine with a distributor-type ignition system. Although, with a bit of ingenuity, some grease, and silicone, even a traditional distributor can be made nearly impervious to water intrusion.

In most cases today, the snorkel has become little more than a visual accessory on an overland-themed Jeep. They give a Jeep a more outdoor adventure look than a Jeep with no snorkel, regardless of the fact that all of the available aftermarket snorkels are fully functional for deep water crossings.


It might be hot in Virgina, but it’s cold and hairy driving in Moab, Utah. This is Top of the World. I’m driving my ’98 XJ with an 8-inch Rusty’s lift, a stock engine, and a stock five-speed transmission. The Jeep sits on 36-inch Super Swampers. It has the stock rear axle with a locker and the stock front axle with an ARB Air Locker. I shot the custom red white and blue paintjob myself using Rustoleum, of course. I was in Moab for 35th Anniversary of the XJ put on by NAXJA. I had a great week in Moab.
Doug Farrar‎

Win Nevada

No Jeep has ever won Nevada Trophy ( Maybe Jp could win in 2018!? The event is November 29 through December 1. If you miss the 2018 event, there is always 2019!
Michael Green‎

Nevada Trophy sounds like a fun event. There should be plenty of potential for a Jeep to win. The question is who will be the one to do it?

Event Sponsor

Does Jp sponsor events?
Rob Whitehead

Unfortunately, Jp does not sponsor events in a traditional sense. However, we provide something more valuable than a sponsorship, and it’s free. We can help promote and grow your event through event coverage in the pages of Jp and online at We cover many different events across the country throughout the year. Your event could be our next stop! You can also send your information in via email to be listed in our events calendar. Please note that we print issues a few months in advance, so we suggest getting your event email sent to as early as possible. Please put “Event for Print Calendar” in the email subject line. Be sure to include dates, location, website, and contact information the readers can reach out to if they have questions.

Big Mini YJ Questions

I saw a picture with a link to the Big Mini YJ build on a Facebook post a few weeks ago and then followed the seven articles of the build on I am trying to do something similar to Big Mini and the first modified rendering of Fred Williams’ Tube Sock TJ that went to Moab.

1: How much was the wheelbase extended in the front and in the back?

2: Did the Wagoneer springs give any suspension lift/lowering? I recall seeing leafs removed to bring the axle closer to the body about 3/4 inches; what is the overall lift/lower over stock distances?

3: What was the overall wheel mounting surface width of the new axles?

4: If it isn’t minded that I ask, as a ballpark estimate, approximately how much was spent on the suspension/axles/steering? I am 18 years old and would like to start putting money away regularly so I can build my ’95 YJ on the low/big tire concept. Having a ballpark number as a goal will help establish a regular savings plan. I am currently about where Big Mini started on Part I. It’s a daily driver with 31-inch tires, except I already have a 2-inch lift kit, which I plan to retain as opposed to the no-lift concept of Big Mini. Any information is appreciated!
Lucas Johnson

The YJ in question had many modifications made to it over the years, some of which happened prior to the Big Mini series of stories. You should also check out “No Lift Wrangler, Part I” (July, ’08) and “No Lift Wrangler, Part II” (Sept. ’08) for a closer look at the suspension and other mods. The rear axle was moved rearward a total of 3.5 inches. This was originally done using a combination of redrilled spring perches and Wagoneer main leafs. An aftermarket fuel tank was required for axle clearance. The front axle is held in place with a bolt-on shackle reversal kit, which only moves the front axle forward ever so slightly, combined with redrilled center pins, which provided another inch. Overall, the wheelbase of the Jeep is about 4.5-5 inches more than stock.

Just like everything else on this Jeep, the lift height was constantly messed with. The Jeep started with a 1-inch body lift and the aftermarket shackles offered another half an inch of lift. However, the original mutant Wagoneer and YJ hybrid leaf springs were well worn, so we estimate the Jeep had a total of a 1/2-inch lift from both the suspension and body. In the end, the Jeep sat on 2.5-inch-lift Wagoneer front leaf springs. This likely gave the Jeep 4-5 inches of lift over stock in our application. The larger-diameter tubes of the axles helped to decrease the lift amount thanks to the spring-under suspension.

The junkyard-swapped axles started out as 60.5 inches wide. However, we clearly remember Trasborg needing wider axles once the 40-inch tires came into play. We suspect he ended up with something around 63-65 inches wide with a wheel backspacing of 3.5-4.5 inches.

The dollar figure dropped into this project is hard to estimate. Pete Trasborg did a lot of the work himself. If you can do the same, you’ll save quite a bit. The suspension mods will be the least expensive. Your biggest expense will come from the severe body and fender modifications that were needed to clear the 40-inch tires properly. The axles will be another big expense, even though these initially started out as junkyard parts. If you have someone do all the work for you, you could easily hit the $60,000 mark depending on the quality of the labor performed. Don’t be discouraged though, much of the work performed on this Jeep could be done in your very own garage.

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