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Jp Reader Letters to the Editor

Posted in How To: Tech Qa on May 2, 2017
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Photographers: Readers

Forward to the Future

Don't get me wrong, I love getting the new issue of Jp in the mail, but I got my November issue this week, in August. Aren't we getting a bit ahead of ourselves?
Zack Crum‎

Hmmm, so you sent this letter in August 2016. We’re not reading it till September, and now we’re responding to it for the Feb. 2017 issue, which should show up in your mailbox around the end of November 2016. Looky there, we’re several months ahead of all the other Jeep and 4x4 news sources! It’s like we have our very own time machine to zip into the future and answer all your questions! How fortunate for all the Jp readers to have such a well-informed outlet at their disposal.

Actually, magazine land is full of all kinds of hurdles and mountains that can alter the actual printed on-sale date of a magazine. Jp started out as a quarterly magazine, then went to bimonthly, then to 10 times a year, and for the past couple years a new issue of Jp has been printed every month. This increase in issue production, along with ever-changing printing press schedules can really take its toll on the actual month that a particular cover date shows up at your door. Take into consideration that Jp has been going through these constant changes for more than two decades, and you end up with a November issue in your mailbox in September. When you crunch the numbers, that’s only about a 1 percent error over 20-plus years, so we’re actually doing pretty good!

Of course ,we could quickly and easily solve the issue cover date problem by sending the entire Jp staff on vacation for three months. We’re sure they would absolutely love that. Perhaps the company could cover the costs for an all-inclusive vacation to the Virgin Islands (freelancers included, wink wink)? The downside is that you wouldn’t see your next magazine for three whole months. We’re not sure if you would survive that, so we better stay on course for now. We wouldn’t want to disrupt any sort of Jeep wormhole or anything by messing with the future.

Tips in Every Issue

I couldn't have built my Jeep over the years without looking through Jp every month. Thanks Jp!
Jason Hurt‎

You are welcome! And thank you for following along throughout the years. We do our best to cover all models of Jeeps, but as you can imagine, with 75 years of different Jeep models available it can be tough to get them all in each issue. Glad you found the information you were looking for. We've always said that if you look hard enough, you can find some small bit of information or a modification in every story that you can apply to your own Jeep, regardless of what model you have.

Homebuilt Hater

Having read “Garage 4.0L Rebuild” in the Oct. ’16 issue of Jp, I just want to say that it was the biggest piece of crap I think I've ever read in any magazine. I could understand it if Bubba needed his truck to get down to the store and buy some beer and he didn't have any money to fix his clunker, but to publish an article telling people how to rebuild the engine using the same valves, same pistons, same rings, and then do cheap honing and seat grinding, "mostly straight" head and block decking, not having the block boiled and cleaned, using nothing but emery cloth to polish the journals and then, oh wow, it failed? Who would've thought? What you published was an article on how not to rebuild an engine and how cheap and quick will screw you every time. I'm amazed it made it to print.
Morris Devereaux

To the writer’s (Trenton McGee) credit, it looks as though he did at least clean and nicely paint the exterior of the engine. That alone has to be good for at least an additional 50hp and 20,000 miles or so, right? Actually, low-buck, low-tech garage engine rebuilds like this have been done for more than 100 years. Sometimes you just don’t have the funds, time, or ability to take the engine block to the machine shop and have everything properly surfaced. Now, had Trent tried this with a modern-day high-tolerance engine like the Jeep 3.6L Pentastar V-6, you would be well within your rights to laugh Trent out of the garage. But the 4.0L Jeep inline-six is pretty much the gas engine equivalent of an anvil. Many Jeep inline-sixes miraculously run for decades on little more than 5 psi of oil pressure. If Cummins were to build a modern gas engine, it would likely look similar to the Jeep 4.0L. It’s an incredibly simple, robust, and reliable engine that was based on a nearly 30-year-old engine design when it first hit the dealer lots. The 4.0L then continued on its own for another 15-plus years.

The engine used in the story appeared to have many more miles than the seller led on. The garage rebuild was simply a last-ditch effort to salvage it. It didn’t work out, we think we know why, and reported on it so others can learn from our mistakes, rather than making the same one themselves. Ultimately, Jp and Jeeps in general sure wouldn’t be much fun if we didn’t at least take a few risks now and then, right?

Start ’em Young

Our daughter pulling daddy's Jeep.
Amy Godfrey

New Cherokee Query

What are your thoughts on the ’16 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk?
Patrick McNulty

As expected, even from the very beginning, the new Jeep Cherokee KL has garnered a lot of attention, and not all of it has been well intentioned. The thing to keep in mind is that the vehicle does fit a niche, and not every Jeep that rolls off of the assembly line can be an off-road monster like the Wrangler Rubicon. The Jeep brand has to be well rounded and offer several different types of vehicles to remain a relevant and profitable automobile company. Ultimately, we can’t have the Wrangler or even the Jeep brand without the success of vehicles like the new KL Cherokee.

Now, having said all of that, the new Cherokee Trailhawk is certainly the most off-road capable SUV in its class. However, if you’re the kind of Jeep enthusiast that wants to add a lift, bigger tires, a winch, and other aftermarket add-ons to significantly improve off-road performance, then the Cherokee is the wrong Jeep for you. Step into a Wrangler. The Cherokee Trailhawk will best serve an owner that plans to use the Jeep in its stock form. The axles and suspension systems are relatively complex and would be expensive to modify when compared to the Wrangler. Unlike the Wrangler, the KL Cherokee does not enjoy an abundance of aftermarket support.

In stock form, the Cherokee Trailhawk has enough off-road features to keep most reasonable drivers happy on all but more extreme trails. A true low range (built into the front and rear axles), quality front and rear tow hooks, factory rocker guards, hill descent control, and a real selectable locking rear differential are but a few of the off-road accouterments that make the Cherokee Trailhawk more notable than other SUVs in the class. It’s really a fun little 4x4 to wheel around in if you can get past the awkward-looking grille and front clip. Jp Editor Rick Péwé recently spent a 9-month, 12,000-mile stint in a ’15 Jeep Cherokee, which is very similar to the ’16 model. You can find his full review and vehicle specs in “Living with the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk” in the Oct. ’16 issue and on

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