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Inbox: Letters to Four Wheeler Editor

Posted in How To: Tech Qa on February 13, 2019
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Photographers: Readers

No Jacket Required

I totally agree with you that trail food is often the best food (Firing Order, Mar. ’19)! One spring day in Wellsville, Ohio, a group of us stopped on the trail for lunch. We were muddy and a little cold, but miles from anywhere. We had chunks of smoked turkey (prepared the day before by the trail leader), homemade macaroni salad with shrimp, and homemade pies and cookies. I will take that meal, standing in the mud with my friends, over any “jacket required” joint any day!
Name withheld
Via email

Snowdrift-Bashing Eagle

Saw your writeup on the AMC Eagle (Firing Order, Apr. ’19) posted on the AMC Eagle forum. Great little tribute to Eagles and very accurate. They were way ahead of their time, but it’s nice to see that Chrysler is paying a little attention to their heritage by offering AWD in the Challenger and Charger. Attached is a picture of my Eagle, which I still own. It’s very capable in the snow, especially with factory “economy” 2.35:1 gears. It plowed through such a large snowdrift (12 inches-plus) once that it tore the lower tank of the radiator loose, kept going, and didn't overheat (because of being so cold outside). Figured you might enjoy that little story. I will hold on to my Eagle until they (hopefully) increase in value as more people start to rediscover them.
Thomas Clark
Via email

Buffed Eagle

Here’s my ’86 Eagle wagon. All the door dings have been removed and it has been buffed and polished.
Darrel Jorgensen
Via email

We received an avalanche of responses to the Apr. ’19 “That Time I Bought an AMC Eagle” Firing Order column. Thank you to everyone who sent in Eagle stories and photos. We’ll be running many of those here in Inbox over the next few months.

Corrosion Combat

I grew up and still live in a rust-prone area—Central New York. I live about an hour south of Syracuse and rust due to road salt is horrible! My friends think I’m nuts for my hatred of road salt. I think this strong feeling originated from hearing my father, who was a backyard mechanic, complain about rust whenever he worked on a vehicle or when the first severe snowfall occurred each year. I’m now 35 years old and own a fleet of trucks that are decent, but not show trucks (a ’73 K5 Blazer, ’87 Jeep YJ, ’86 Chevy K20 pickup, ’89 K5 Blazer, and ’05 Duramax—I know this one isn’t impressive to most of you, but if you know about rust in this area, you get it), that I drive as often as possible (when there is not road salt) and maintain myself. These are all registered, insured, and drivable. Here are some methods that I use to combat rust in central New York.

Purchase vehicles from Pennsylvania or farther south if living on the East Coast. If the vehicle has minimal rust when bought, it is easier to keep at bay. Don’t drive your beloved 4x4 on the road in the winter. If you have property and don’t need to drive it on the road to get to your wheeling destination, that’s fine. Or, if you can transport it in an enclosed trailer, go for it. Just keep your baby out of the salt.

Oil it. I was on a motorcycle trip in New Hampshire about five years ago and one of my buddies needed access to some tools we didn’t have, so we stopped at a repair shop and it looked like 50 percent of its business was “oiling vehicles.” I asked a million questions. They used a mixture of bar and chain oil (for chainsaws) and automatic transmission fluid. In doing more research I have heard people using used motor oil, mixtures of other lubricants, or products such as Fluid Film. I use new 10W-30 and an old paint gun with a modified 3-inch plastic wand to get into those hard-to-reach places. I do this in the spring and the fall. Jury’s still out, but I think it is working.

Buy an unlimited car wash pass for the local car wash and wash the vehicle every day the roads are dry. Park your vehicle in a heated garage, or if you don’t follow at least some of these rules, your last resort is know how to do bodywork and weld to repair rot and frame damage, because rust never sleeps and you will be busy every other year chasing it!
Ian K.
Via email

Snoshu Saga

I’m responding to your AMC Eagle article (Firing Order, Apr. ’19) that mentions other oddball 4x4s. My family has owned this Frandee Snoshu since 2000. We purchased it from our neighbor who had used it since the mid-’80s to get access to remote areas in the winter to hunt bear, bobcat, mountain lion, and other predator species. We acquired the dilapidated zombie-looking heap for under $1,000 according to my memory. The Snoshu was developed by Utah Scientific Research Foundation and was used to measure snow depth in remote areas in the Wasatch Range in the peak of winter in order to relay information to the Utah Division of Water Resources. Men by the names of Francis and Devine headed up the operation and the vehicle was designed to replace snowshoes, hence the name Frandee Snoshu.

After five or so prototypes had failed, this model was produced from older Snoshu parts along with Willys parts. It has four Dana 44 drive axles, dual divorced chaindrive transfer cases to power the front and third axles from one, and the other powers the second and rear axles. It has two hand brakes and a three-speed on the floor. We let it go to a friend for a few years who did a bit of work to it. The original red color is hidden by many layers of Krylon paint now. The tracks have wooden slats that have to be replaced constantly so we just leave it parked most years and play pretend by sitting in the “wheelhouse,” as we call it, while making sounds like a kid.
Russell Brown
Via email

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