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January 1999 Dispatch - Jeep News

Posted in News on January 1, 1999
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Reader Input
I've been a subscriber since the first issue and love almost everything about this Jeep-only magazine. But there's a rapidly growing amount of fluff content that has nothing to do with Jeeps. You're adding too many articles about tents, sunglasses, campfires, canoes, and other stuff that in my personal opinion has no business being here.

I didn't need to know that a brown lens could help with red-deficient vision. What does that have to do with Jeeping? What's next, stories on good outdoor-oriented underwear? Please drop the fluff and concentrate on the reason we buy your magazine: Jeeps.
I dare you to print this.
Jerry Brandsford
Escondido, California

You're not the only one who feels as you do-read on.

I'm writing to say thank you for putting my Jeep in your Snapshot section, and to give you my input on JP so that it will continue to be the fine publication that it is.

I really like most of the sections, especially the how-tos, they're the best by far. Product reviews need to be tough on products and companies. I realize that they advertise in JP but you have a duty to the readers to be honest and fair. Your Jeep by Moses Ludel is great. If I ever know one tenth of his knowledge, I'll be happy.

However, Trailside should be kept relevant to the Jeep lifestyle. For instance, If I want to learn about mountain biking, I'll by a mountain bike magazine. I want to learn about Jeeps, not other sports. And Destination Adventure? Sorry, the whole world isn't about Moab. It seems like that is all I ever hear about.

How about featuring more mud and forest areas? Don't get me wrong, JP is a great magazine, but it may be losing sight of some of its readers needs. I feel that I represent the typical Jeep owner who's not a millionaire and works on his Jeep himself.
James Putnam
Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

JP magazine has been around for a few years and has developed a loyal following. The last thing we want to do is lose readers, so we listen carefully to what you have to say. In case you haven't heard, JP was bought by the Petersen Companies, which also publishes 4Wheel & Off-Road and 4x4 Power. Many people feel that this will reduce JP to another cookie-cutter magazine of radical trail rigs and manufacturer's installations, while nothing could be further from the truth.

However, some of your concerns and ideas are valid, and as each new issue is written, we hope it will become more and more the definitive magazine for all Jeep enthusiasts. We agree on the lifestyle issue, we do enjoy hiking and such, but feel that other outdoorsy rags do a fine job on that subject. For technical info, we're sorry to lose Moses, but can guarantee you the top-notch info you're looking for. And we've modified some sections to make them more readable, and changed some department titles.

You're right, the world doesn't revolve around Moab or any other specific location, which is why we'll try to do nationwide trail coverage, even worldwide if we can. We happen to be regular, ol' Jeep people who live on a budget and have learned what it takes to do the job right the first time.

And hard-hitting, truthful reviews? Though we at Petersen do avail ourselves of manufacturers' offers of help, we make sure that the relationships aren't based on collusion or a free meal ticket. If you need proof of that, check out the Nov. '97 4Wheel & Off-Road, where we tested electric versus hydraulic winches. We caught a lot of heat for that, but hey, the truth is the truth.

The Other Side
As a subscriber since JP's inception, I'd like to encourage you to maintain the existing format of the magazine. This magazine is unique in that it provides a wealth of restoration-type information for those of us who are restoring vintage Jeeps.

There are many, many magazines out there that cater to those who modify vehicles for the trail. I subscribe to many myself, since I own a '94 Wrangler for the trail, but I'm also restoring a '47 CJ2A and rely on JP for its insightful articles and accurate research.

I implore you to maintain this format, and I will undoubtedly unsubscribe if it's altered.
Paul Nichele
Via e-mail

And no, he's not the only one to write about this. Please read on.

I just got wind that you guys bought JP. Please don't change the format. I've looked long and hard for a magazine like JP and if you make it like all the other 4-wheel mags, it will be worthless to me.

There are many others who feel this way (everyone on the Classic Jeep newsgroup, for example).
Nathaniel Moore
Via e-mail

So what's a poor editor to do? The magazine won't change as much as you think it will, and we'll definitely have plenty of info and stories on Jeep restoration. But because JP stands for "Jeep," all aspects of Jeeps, their uses, and history will be included. That means features on original rigs, restored jobs, and custom creations.

They're all Jeeps, whether they're fullsize or a dinky little prototype. Even strange variations and two-wheel drives will be shown, along with trail rides and show events. The tech articles will span the arena from how to diagnose a T-84 tranny when it pops out of Second under deceleration, to the newest bolt-on stuff for a Wrangler.

That's actually a heck of a lot to cover, especially since we currently produce only six issues a year. Hold on to your subscriptions, since we want to please all of our readership, regardless of why our readers like Jeeps. It won't be easy, but it will happen, and keep those letters coming. We value your input.

That is, If You Can Find It
I've been attempting to find an issue of JP magazine in my area, but without any luck. Do you know who distributes the magazine in my area, or where I could find it? I'd like to subscribe, but I can't do it at your Web site. And, if possible, I'd like a sample issue to review before I subscribe.
Joseph DelGallo
Hingham, Massachusetts

I haven't been able to find JP in the local stores recently. I checked out the Web site and noticed that "Feb./Mar." was posted as the current issue. Does this mean that was the last issue? What's the deal?
Via e-mail

OK, so here's the real deal. The previous owner had limited distribution of JP, which made the magazine very difficult to find in some areas. With the advantage of Petersen's wide distribution base, we hope that JP will soon appear everywhere.

As to the Web site, we're working on it. Because Dobbs publishing was located in Florida, and JP is now based in California, lots of logistics need to be worked out, including the transfer of subscriber information. We're doing everything as fast as we can and hope to soon have it all running smoothly.

Fullsize Dilemma
I recently purchased an '83 Jeep Wagoneer, and I've been having trouble finding places that sell aftermarket accessories or even replacement parts. Is the fullsize Wagoneer the unwanted child of Jeep or what?

All I ever see listed in catalogs are parts for the CJs, Wranglers, and downsized Wagoneers. Could you put me in touch with some fullsize parts sources?
Via e-mail

I've picked up and read your magazine and must say I'm not impressed. I own two fullsize Jeeps, a '76 Wagoneer and a '78 J-20. I know I'm not the only one in the world to own these, and I'm sure the Full Size Jeep Association would agree with me. I know that a good majority of Jeep owners have the smaller Jeeps, but I take my Wag every place a CJ or YJ can go, and I can still take my wife and kids along, plus some cargo.

The aftermarket companies keep telling me that the FSJs just aren't popular enough to make the components we owners need and want, but if you did some stories on them, maybe they'd change their tune. How about featuring all Jeeps-as you claim to-then I would subscribe and tell my friends to do the same.
Daren Warren
Via e-mail

Its nice to see a magazine that's Jeep-oriented, and still does articles on the larger version of the creature known as Jeep. Are you guys thinking of doing a lift on a fullsize Jeep? That would be a good story for us fullsize-Jeep owners.
Lindel Easley
Via e-mail

The question is, Do we highlight fullsize rigs? We certainly hope so, since our extended-family fleet has about a dozen of them. As mentioned before, any type of Jeep is fair game for us, and the fullsize have a particular place in our hearts.

The problem is that the aftermarket isn't really that interested in making stuff for FSJ when they can do Chevy parts and make some real dough. But smaller, smarter companies may find the way to Jeep truthdom if they listen carefully to you and us-at least we'd like to think so. In this issue we have a fullsize-Jeep tech piece on heater cores, and you can bet we'll have plenty more stories over time.

Round Eyeballs
I want to buy an '86 Jeep since this was the last year for round headlights. I was told, however, that there was no '86 model year since it was skipped while the body was being redesigned. I was also told that the same thing happened in '96 for another redesign. Is either rumor true?
Mike Huffman
Via e-mail

The CJ-7 was produced from '76 to '86, and about 26,000 of them were made in '86. They're a highly desirable model because they're the last of the CJ style, but they weren't the last to have round headlights. The YJ Wrangler was produced with rectangular headlights from '87 to '96, but there was no '96 model because Chrysler was redesigning the Jeep yet again. What came out was the new TJ Wrangler, once again fitted with round headlights. Your choice of a Jeep with round eyballs will depend on whether you want a leaf-spring suspension, like on the CJ, or coil springs, as found on the TJ.

Lift Comparo
How about doing a suspension shootout between ProComp, Rancho, Superlift, and others to decide which is the best lift kit? I'm about ready to lay out 1,500 bucks on a kit, and I'm relying on you to tell me what's the best kit.
Via e-mail

The ideal way to compare lift kits is to have one stock vehicle, 10 aftermarket kits, a mechanic to put them on, a test track to duplicate the terrain, and tons of time. The problem is we don't have that stuff (especially the time), but would dearly love to set it up. But what's right for us may not be best for your Jeep, the terrain you use it on, or how you drive.

So much of this info is subjective that we rely on our experiences as well as others' to show our readers what's right for them. Look forward to some real hard-core testing of products-just don't expect it all to be done at once.

Submission information: Jp welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must include an address or a telephone number so the sender can be verified. Once verified, your name may be withheld at your request. Letters published in this magazine reflect the opinions of the writers, and we reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, brevity, or other purposes. Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos. Write to: Editor, Jp, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515, fax 213/782-2704, e-mail

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