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Jp Reader Letters To The Editor

Posted in Features on February 19, 2019
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Badges

In Mailbag (Feb. ’19), Terry Peavler from Colorado asked if it was proper to put emblems on his current Jeep showing trails he’d conquered in a previous Jeep. I can understand not wanting to mislead people or start an argument by misrepresenting what his current Jeep has accomplished.

Last July my wife and I and another couple took our Jeeps to Colorado and ran most of the trails in the Ouray area. I picked up stickers at a local store representing those trails. Then came the dilemma of how to display them. Windshields get replaced as do entire Jeeps. I could put them on my shop fridge, but what about when it craps out? Then it dawned on me. I can blow up a pic of our Jeep on one of the trails to poster size, frame it, put the stickers on the glass protecting the poster and then hang it on my shop wall for everyone to see. I’ll send you a pic after I get around to doing this.
This head ain’t just a hat rack.
Carl Anderson
Via email

That certainly is one solution that ensures the trail badges stay with you, regardless of what happens to your Jeep. However, when meeting new Jeep people, most of us are out on the trail and not in our garage at home. Although, we can vouch that a fair amount of gathering, bench racing, and bragging does go on in the home shop. But still, how would anyone know where you and your Jeep have been without some sort of indicator when you’re away from the comforts of home and putting the Jeep to good use in the dirt? We’re open to suggestions. Tell us what you think and drop us a line at jpeditor@jpmagazine.com.

More Badging

Thanks for a great discussion on badging Jeeps in Mailbag (Feb. ’19). After reading your excellent points I have decided that the following would work for me if I were to decide to put badges on my current ride. I don’t plan to. I just like to argue the point with the folks up at Tomken.

If the rigs you used on specific trails were not more capable than the one you are badging, and you were the driver, badge away. No badges if the Jeep you have now is less capable. Moreover, if you would not take your current ride on a trail, no badges for it. I won’t take my Rubicon over Chinaman’s Gulch because after six years it still has no serious damage and I have done the trail a zillion times in previous rigs. I have never been mad enough at a rig to run Carnage Canyon.
Thanks again.
Terry J. Peavler
Buena Vista, CO

That seems like a reasonable and viable option. The only unfortunate part is that most of us mellow out with age and our Jeeps become more plush and comfy, kind of like our bodies. Many of us tend to steer into Jeeps with all the amenities such as turn signals, working windshield wipers, a heater, air conditioning, power windows, heated seats, and so on. As this simultaneous body and Jeep transformation continues, we lose touch with the trails we once conquered in our younger days. So the question remains, how can those accomplishments be put forth without sounding like a vocal braggart or looking as fake as an Upper Helldorado badge on a completely stock four-door JK Sahara?

Vintage Review

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading the ’63 Motor Trend review of the then-new Wagoneer (First Test: Willys Jeep Wagoneer, Feb. ’19). I’m begging you to make these vintage articles a regular feature in today’s magazine! We all have our opinions of older vehicles, but the significance of enthusiasts’ opinions from the vantage point of the period in time in which the vehicles were new is something we should not forget.
Keep up the good work!
Geoff Beasley
Concord, CA

It is an interesting perspective to look back in time, especially from the point of seeing if the praises and complaints of the era still hold true today. Sometimes journalists don’t exactly like change, and it’s painfully apparent in the review of a new vehicle. It certainly would be fun to explore the reviews of the Jeep oddballs like the ’57 FC-150 forward control and the ’72 Commando, as well as the more common ’76 CJ-7, ’84 XJ Cherokee, ’87 YJ Wrangler, and the ’97 TJ Wrangler. Albeit much easier to do, thanks to modern technology and the Internet, you can find some pretty interesting reviews of the ’07 JK Wrangler too. We recall one mainstream journalist complaining that no modern vehicle should be available with hand-crank windows!

More Mud

I have a ’17 Wrangler JK Unlimited with a 3.5-inch Rough Country lift, Bestop Hybrid Pro top, Rock Hard 4x4 push bar, tailgate-mounted RotopaX, and a Rugged Ridge snorkel. My favorite feature is the Aqua Bumper. The rear bumper holds 8 gallons of water, which can be pumped out anytime I need to hose off the mud or sand. Having been a subscriber to Jp for a few years, I can say that I want to see more mud. In Florida, climbing rocks (although interesting to read about) is not as much of a concern as getting through or out of mud. Yes, I have seen the tire reviews and their performance in mud, but I’d really like to see articles about subjects like how strong of a winch it takes to pull a JK Unlimited out of the mud when it’s buried to the frame. Does winch pull capability of 150 percent of the vehicle’s weight still suffice, or does the added weight and resistance caused by the mud make it a good idea to equip a mud Jeep with a 12,000-pound winch instead of the recommended 10,000-pound winch?

On another note, I noticed that so many Jeeps in Jp have aftermarket fenders for better articulation when rock climbing. However, many of them look like they have less coverage over the tire and may be heavier than the factory fenders, which prevent mud from splashing up the side of a Jeep, covering the passenger window.

Furthermore, it would be interesting to know more about snorkels, such as reviews, tests, performance, do’s and don’ts.

What is the best setup? I know lighter is better, but do axle upgrades help in the mud? Are there preferred driveshafts?

Additionally, I’d like to see more about approaching a mudhole and improving the chances of getting through it without getting stuck.

I know driving Jeeps in the mud and dealing with it may not be as big of a concern in places like Moab or on any of the trails out west, but it is part of everyday trail riding, even on the tamest of unpaved adventures in Florida.

Thanks for all the great articles. I hope to see some of the places Jp has taken me, even if only in my imagination.
Jeffrey F. Knott
Via email

You have some intriguing ideas! Consider them read by the big cheese at Jp, Rick Péwé. While we do have contributors located all over the United States, and the staff is almost always in a constant state of travel flux, we are based in Southern California. We do have mud, but it’s certainly not as common as what you would see in Florida. We do our best to cover all aspects of the Jeeping world, including mud ’wheeling, but maybe we can work in a bit more of the sloppy stuff. Thanks for the input! We always love to hear from our readers, and we can’t read minds! So if there is something that you want to see more of or less of in Jp, drop us a line at jpeditor@jpmagazine.com and tell us what it is. We look forward to hearing from all of you.

JK 3.6L Swap to Rest

In Your Jeep (Feb. ’19), Rick T. asked what would be involved in a 3.6L conversion for his ’11 JK. You gave the standard “buy a newer Jeep” answer. What if his Jeep can’t be traded in, he can’t sell it or he doesn’t want to remove his mods to move them to the newer Jeep? What is actually involved in the swap? What issues is he likely to encounter? I know an LS or Hemi swap has more power. If you’re able, could you please answer his question? I’m sure there are a lot of people who would be interested to know, myself included.
Scott Middleton
Via email

We’re going to stick to our guns on this one, swapping the 3.8L from an ’07-’11 JK and installing the ’12-’18 3.6L is not a cost-effective proposition. But we went ahead and entertained the idea anyway. A quick phone call to Off Road Evolution (offroadevolution.com) in Fullerton, California, revealed that the JK 3.8L to 3.6L swap is far worse than we ever imagined. The company performs all modifications on all brands of 4x4s, specializing in extensive suspension upgrades and engine swaps for Jeep Wranglers, including the JK. There is good news, and a lot of bad news, if you want to make a swap like this. The good news is that physically shoehorning the 3.6L into the older JK is totally feasible. It can be done at Off Road Evolution for around $3,000-$4,000 in labor only, no parts included. The bad news is that you’re still not even close to getting it running and driving. On top of finding a good 3.6L engine, you’ll need the ’12-’18 JK transmission and transfer case too. The ’07-’11 transmission and transfer case cannot be reused with the 3.6L. Furthermore, the ’07-’11 JKs with the 3.8L and the ’12-’18 JKs with the 3.6L are much more different than they look. To complete the 3.6L swap in your 3.8L JK you’ll need the entire ’12-’18 wiring harness, computer, steering column, throttle pedal, and more. If it’s starting to sound like you need to basically gut the ’07-’11 JK and install all of the parts from the ’12-’18 JK, you’re right! Simply swapping the aftermarket suspension, axles, and other wingdings from your ’07-’11 JK onto a ’12-’18 JK is starting to sound pretty good, right? But it gets worse. We still haven’t gotten to the hard part. You’ll have to find someone that can break into the ECU and unlock it so it will work in the older JK chassis. This isn’t something done with a handheld controller in your driveway. There are likely only a handful of people in the U.S. that can make this happen, if it can be done at all. If you can’t get the computer and wiring to work, you’ve effectively created a 5,000-pound paperweight.

Circling back to our original response, performing a 3.6L engine swap on your 3.8L JK just isn’t cost effective. You’ll never see the return in increased fuel economy or resale value, especially with an ’11 model. As of this writing, Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) lists the private party price of a typical ’11 Wrangler Unlimited Sport in good condition with standard options at $18,000-$21,000. The same Jeep in a ’12 model is listed at $20,000-$23,000. You could not perform a reliable engine swap for the $2,000 difference in price, which includes all of the other desirable updates that come with the ’12 model JK. Save your money and put it toward a newer JK with the 3.6L already under the hood. Not only will you save yourself a lot time and money, you’ll avoid the countless headaches of performing an engine swap that is readily available from the factory. Ultimately, if you want to keep a V-6 in your JK, you are better off sticking with the V-6 it came with.

More XJs

I love Jp! A fellow Jeeper gifted me a box containing every issue from around 1995-2008. Back then, it seemed like there were lots of XJ articles, tips, how-to tech, and so on. What happened? I guess I’ll let my subscription expire since I’m an XJ owner. It’s still a great magazine, but I would love to see some XJ content!
Brad Armstrong
Suwanee, KY

Consider your voice heard! We try very hard to include all models of enthusiast Jeeps in every issue of Jp, but as we’re sure you can appreciate, with 78 years of Jeep models to work with, it can be tough. Of course, some Jeeps, like the XJ, have not been produced in nearly 20 years, so many owners have moved on to other Jeep models. We try to keep this in mind when choosing article topics. As always, Jp offers great universal Jeep tech in the form of recovery, repairs, tire tests, winches, shocks, wheels, and many other parts that can be fitted to any Jeep model, including a Cherokee. Just because we didn’t perform the install on a Cherokee doesn’t mean the upgrade is not available for an XJ. Stick around and drop us a line at jpeditor@jpmagazine.com. Let us know about the kind of tech stories you’d like to see done on an XJ Cherokee. Maybe we can knock some of them out.

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