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May 2013 Techline

Jeep Truck
Ali Mansour
| Brand Manager, 4Wheel Drive & Sport Utility
Posted May 1, 2013

Your Tech Questions Answered

Dual Purpose
I have a '68 Chevy K10 longbed that I have had since I was 16. Over the past several years I have been gathering new parts. My plan is to use the truck mostly as a farming, fishing, hunting, and work truck, so drivability is very important. It currently has 327ci V-8, SM465, Rockwell transfer case, 52-inch front springs, 63-inch rear springs, dualie Dana 60 front (needs rebuild), 14-bolt rear (needs brakes), and 37x12.50 tires on 16.5-inch H1 rims. I plan to do some mudding and trail riding, but no hardcore off-roading by any means.

I read the specs on Cappa's FSJ truck and want to get close to that setup. I'm currently in Afghanistan (I don't have a lot of access to a computer and my wife is slowly sending out all my off-road magazines). I am on a budget (like everyone), and only able to afford one locker during this build-up round. I have two questions. Will the factory stub shaft and U-joints be okay, or should I upgrade to factory-spec alloy replacements? I don't think I need the 35-spline upgrades on this build.

My second question is: Which axle should I put the locker in first, and should I go with a selectable up front and automatic Detroit Locker in the back? I got a Dana 60 for $600 with missing spider gears, so I was thinking about the Eaton E-Locker this time around since I have to get it re-geared and build it anyways. I will eventually make this truck into an off-road only vehicle. I spent many years in Twentynine Palms fixing my truck and other peoples play toys, so I understand that I cannot push this truck too far, and what a dedicated off-road truck needs. I've never built a dual-purpose truck before and would like some advice. I need to get this truck up and running so I can take down my son's CJ-7, rebuild it together, and start driving it in a couple of years.
David Wright
Via email

Your first and second questions are definitely interrelated. If you put a locker in the front axle, you will be more likely to break an axleshaft over having an open differential. Upgrading the axleshafts isn't a bad idea, but don't feel as though it is an absolute must. If you are on a limited budget I would toss in a new set of spider gears in the front and call it a day for now. The performance advantages of a rear locker almost always outweigh those of one in the front.

With that being said, I suggest using an automatic locker, like the Detroit Locker or Grizzly Locker, into the rear of your truck. An automatic locker is a more budget-friendly option and will not require any extra plumbing or switches to operate. The downside is that they will have a few handling quirks that you'll have to get used to on-road, but nothing that would keep you from daily-driving your rig.

Will Work Four Wheel
I was wondering how I could work for Four Wheeler magazine? I am 16 years old and it's my favorite magazine.
Dilyon Burgoyne
Via email

To land a job at Four Wheeler you'll need to be proficient in writing, photography, and time management. Beyond that basic skill set, you have to be a genuine off-road enthusiast, as your life will revolve around everything 4x4 and off-road related. I grew up in and around automotive and fabrication shops, earned a writing degree in college, and have been an off-road enthusiast for as long as I can remember. Even with all of the aforementioned, it was a stroke of luck and great timing that allowed me to get my start as an automotive journalist in 2007.

As a monthly magazine, we work within tight deadlines. And while it may seem like we are living the high life and wheeling every weekend, it simply isn't the case. The pay is marginal, the hours are long, and the expectations are always high. I'm just a lone worker bee, so you'll have to look at the job openings on our corporate website at to see what spots are available. There you will find the precise requirements needed to land a job at one of the many truck magazines. Best of luck!

Hummer Bumpers
Can you help me locate a company that offers steel front bumpers for an '08 Hummer H3 Alpha? I'm doing some upgrades (mild 2-inch lift, 35-inch Yokohama tires, Bilstein shocks), but can't find anyone who makes a winch-ready steel bumper for my truck.
George Her
Via email

Tough Country ( and ARB ( both make steel bumpers for the H3.

Rubi Trans
In the Feb. '13 Four Wheeler article about the 10th Anniversary Wrangler Rubicon you mention that the manual transmission versions were finely tuned with the electronic-throttle pedal. Do you mean that Jeep has upgraded the manual gearbox for the '13 Rubicon model, or did you just mention an already existing feature of the manual Wrangler Rubicon with the 3.6L engine?
Dimitri Papad
Via email

The statement was based on the current model year's pedal reaction and consistency, which felt better off-road than the previous Rubicon model years. The manual transmission gearbox in the JK has been unchanged for 2013.

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