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February 2002 Letters to the Editor

Posted in News on February 1, 2002
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Thoughts On Tires
I just wanted to point something out: You stated in your comparison test, "Nissan Xterra Vs. Jeep Liberty" (Nov. '01), that the Liberty banged its way through the trails quite a bit more than the Xterra did, and you said that you wished the Liberty had the "Up-Country" package.

I have looked up the specifications from other sources including what you listed as well, and found them to be accurate, including the tire size. It's funny, the Xterra's 265/70R16 measures approximately 30.6 inches tall and the Liberty's 235/70R16 measures a measly 28.9 inches tall. So let's call it a 30.5-inch tire versus a 29-inch tire. This is a 1.5-inch difference, which equates to a .75-inch height advantage that the Xterra has over the Liberty. Shoe the Liberty with different tires and you will kill the Xterra off-road.

One thing you should have stressed, and did not, is the difference in the low-range gearing. There is a huge difference in quality of four-wheel-drive systems and the gearing between the two. The Jeep will run circles around the Xterra with equal-size tires.

Overall it was a very good, unbiased article which is actually refreshing.E. WilsonVia the Internet

There are indeed some differences between the Xterra and the Liberty. And you have it right, the Xterra's tires are a little taller than the Liberty's. But we test 'em as we get 'em-which is to say, we test 'em the way consumers are able to buy them. That's why we're able to do very good, unbiased, refreshing articles.

The Doctor Is In
Help me, guys. I've upgraded from a Bronco to a '67 Kaiser M175, and now I'm worried about it. Tell me how to build one of those external rollcages that really works. Tell me where I can get Rubber Maid fenders. Tell me you'll print my picture if I get it airborne. Tell me you can get me a discount from Memphis Parts through some cousin of yours. Hell, lie to me! Anything! I just can't stand 'wheeling like a girl! I need to feel myself right out there tip-toeing across the line of the bad adrenaline rush like you get when you really believe you're going to die right now, like you get when you're tied to the railroad tracks and you see the train coming, light shining, horn blasting, rails shaking. And you can see from the side of the line you're tip-toeing the utter chaotic, twisted, smoking destruction of metal and flesh and mud you will become if you fall on the wrong side of that line. Help me guys, it's obvious that I need it.Ryan HoganKaty, Texas

Uh, doctor?...oh, doctor? Can you find just a moment to chat with Mr. Hogan, please? No? You're going to leave this psych evaluation to us? OK, Ryan, listen up: First, forget about getting a discount from our cousins. We can't even get discounts from those cheapskates. Second, never mind all that fru-fru stuff like Rubber Maid fenders. Just go for it, man. But carefully. The go-fast guys have a slogan-they say, "Make haste slowly." From our perspective, that means 'wheel as extremely as you like, but carefully, smoothly, thinking ahead. Are you going to scrape, scratch, and dent your M715? Sure you are. A little, at least. The idea, however, is dent it and scratch it as little as possible, and strive to stay safe yourself so that you can live to 'wheel another day. So get yourself a good sturdy rollcage custom-built, use good sense, never take beer on the trail, give yourself some margin of safety when you walk that line between safety and danger, tread lightly, and you'll do fine. Really. And finally, this: Of course we'll print your picture if you get way airborne. (But we're almost certainly lying about that, so don't even think about getting airborne on our account.)

Finding A Used 4x4
I've subscribed to your magazine for around four years now, and I must say, it is the best darn one out there. I've seen so many awesome articles, and some idiotic letters, such as those from parents complaining that their 15-year-old son would not be getting this magazine anymore because it carried advertisements for FHM.

The reason for this letter is that I am nearing the time for my first car (I'm 16 now), and I was wondering what to look for in a used 4x4. Such things as wear, and how to check if everything is in a safe and running (as well as legal) order would be helpful. Also, my budget is around 10 grand, and a good chunk is from my own pocket. I'll definitely continue to renew my subscription every year.Matt JarvisVia the Internet

To start with, we'd advise you to refer to "Getting the Best Used Truck for your Buck" (June '01). Follow the tips and advice you find there and you can't go wrong when you make your choice. Here's further advice: Assume that anything in your price range is going to need some tender loving care. To minimize that, avoid rust, and be sure that the vehicle you buy doesn't emit smoke from its exhaust, doesn't leak oil, and passes all your state's emission tests. Make sure of these things before you lay your money down. It probably would be wise for you to have a mechanic check the compression and oil pressure of any vehicle you're seriously considering. Look also for signs of strange and uneven tire wear that might hint at suspension problems. Do these things and you'll at least have a start at getting a halfway decent used vehicle.

Ted And Mr. Faith Hill
Ted Reese's latest rant, "Talking Trash" (Nov. '01), has me agreeing with every word he said about the trash problems on the trails. He couldn't have said it any better. But I have one thing to correct for him.

His last paragraph, about "Mr. Faith Hill singing about men crying," had me laughing. Here is his quote: "I can't do that when I have to listen to Mr. Faith Hill sing about men who cry. Don't get me wrong. That's a great song when I've got about six beers in me. And I do respect the man, for his song-writing and for his ability to pick a wife."

Ha! If only Mr. Ted Reese listened to country music, then he would realize that Mr. Faith Hill is a she, not a he. Guess Mr. Faith Hill is happily married to Mrs. Tim McGraw.Wes UrbanekVia the Internet

Let's see, somewhere along here somebody is missing the point of Ted's Mr. Faith Hill barb. Or maybe not. One thing we're sure of, though: Mrs. Tim McGraw looks better in tight pants than Mr. Faith Hill does.

Ted And Talking Trash
I don't have a question or problem with anything, just a comment on probably one of the best articles I've read since I started reading Four Wheeler. The article "Talking Trash" (Nov. '01) by Ted Reese is brilliant. I've often wondered if entire houses have exploded and made their way to the trails. Some of the things that I've seen can't even be printed in a magazine or in this letter I'm writing to you.

Another great point Mr. Reese hit on was the music that can be heard from three miles away. I am not a rich man and I have to pay close attention to what I'm doing and I don't have time to listen to grown men crying to music at 90 decibels. Guess by the time my kids are old enough to wheel, the trails will be made of trash at the rate it's going now.Brooks PateVia the Internet

Actually, Ted mentioned some of those unmentionable things in the original draft of his story. And yep, they can't be mentioned in a magazine like this, or at least shouldn't be. So we edited those things out. The point is, though, that Ted has seen most of what you're talking about, and so have the rest of us. So please, people, take only pictures and leave only very light tire tracks.

Sneaking In
I can relate to the trash problem on trails. Here in Rhode Island we used to have a great area right off a main road. About 15 years ago the state closed it down because of problems with large amounts of trash that got put there. Now we have to sneak into this area and if you get caught, it can be either a $70 ticket or a free tow, and sometimes both. You know, you can tell people about hauling their own trash out instead of throwing it around, but there will be idiots throwing their crap wherever they please. It gets discouraging. Please, everyone, let's pick up our trash before more areas get closed.Chris ReynoldsWest Greenwich, Rhode Island

Yes, and please stay out of closed areas, as well. Sneaking into areas that are off-limits also doesn't do much to endear the four-wheeling community to the world at large.

Four Wheeler's "Letter of the Month" is the most interesting or informative letter we receive each month. The letter's author will be sent one of Four Wheeler's highly prized Four Wheeler license plates. So be sure to include your full name and address when you write Four Wheeler.

Letter Of The Month
Ranting About Reese
I would like to thank you for continuing to print Mr. Reese's Low Rage column. By doing so you are reinforcing Charles Darwin's theory that Neanderthal Man did (and in Ted Reese's case, does) exist. Maybe someone at your wonderful publication would like to explain to Mr. Reese that the '01 at the end of the line marked "date" is to be preceded by "20," not "15," or "16," or whatever century he seems to be living in. I would like to ask Ted if he supposes that there will never be a point in the future where his precious "live axle" will be entirely replaced by modern technology (that's tek-nol-o-gy, Ted), and by IFS, which the Hummer so successfully employs. Yes, I'm sure that Ted remembers when gas was 5 cents a gallon, but those days are over. Quit bitching about progress for a minute and stop to think what would have happened if you'd been around back in Henry Ford's day. Would you be the guy whining about them-thar new-fangled gasoline-powered injuns and how they never would replace Old Trigger when it comes to runnin' the trails? Please, Ted, step aside and let progress past.Chuck SchmidtWattsburg, Pennsylvania

Well! We certainly will pass this missive along to Ted, who will be thrilled, we're sure, to receive it. It may interest you to know, however, that there is certain incontrovertible evidence that Mr. Ted Reese is not opposed to technology per se. We know for sure, for instance, that he's willing to use a telephone. And a fax. And-yes, difficult as this is to conceive of-an actual computer. He's even got a cell phone. We also suspect that at least one of his motor vehicles is powered by an engine that is fed by fuel injection. Ted's point-if we dare answer for him-is that just because it's new and high-tech doesn't mean that it's good or effective-IFS in place of a beam front axle, for example. You may not 'wheel as hard as Ted does, however, so you may not know how much more effective solid axles are in the really difficult going. But take our word for it: IFS is terrific on the street, and not so terrific on tough trails. We're with Ted on this one.

Where To Write
Address your correspondence to: Letters, Four Wheeler, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515. All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department also can be reached through the Web site at Due to the volume of mail, electronic or otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

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