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6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048.
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 www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.
Reader: In your editorial, "On the Verge of the Diesel Decade" ("Limited Articulation," May '06), you mention "Humble scribes such as ourselves can walk up to corporate honchos ... and ask, point blank, when they're actually going to build the Gladiator pickup." I want to ask you the same thing. Just that little mention of the Gladiator has whetted my appetite once again. I have been searching the Web constantly looking for a projected release date, to no avail. All I am asking you is to cough up any information you may have uncovered at the auto show. I doubt you would have made the mention if the question wasn't really asked.
Now I love you guys and your magazine, but if you are going to hoard information on such a wonderful vehicle, I am going to have to get ugly. Please share whatever tidbits of information you may have on the Gladiator and its future.
Kenneth Van Wie
Reader: Just read your write-up on the "Diesel Decade." I hope you are correct! I love diesel power, but am not happy with the emphasis on power. I've driven the old Ford 6.9s and my dad's old GM 6.2. The 6.2 got 25 mpg and made enough power to chirp the tires pulling out in a hurry. The 6.9 always started and ran fine, going lots of miles, and got roughly 18 mpg even pulling a heavy load (slowly up hills). My dream engine is a 6.2 with a Banks turbo and shipped to Banks to have it set up for max mileage. This is the motor I plan on putting in my '80 Scout II at some point. With a 700R4 tranny, I expect to get between 25 and 28 mpg. It would have plenty of power to motivate the Scout and make that beautiful exhaust music.
I look forward to my copy of Four Wheeler coming every month. Keep up the good work!
Editor: And thanks for the kind words. Funny thing, there's actually been talk in these parts of a certain Four Wheeler editor possibly undertaking a diesel-powered Scout project. It's still in the planning stages at present, but in the next few months, the odds are fair that you'll see this project-or something very much like it-in the pages of this magazine. Stay tuned.
We're glad you brought up the mileage benefit of diesels, which we neglected to mention in our May editorial. Until very recently, we didn't hear many concerns over fuel mileage from our readers, but over the last few months, we've seen a big increase in letters from folks who are looking for gains at the pump as well as on the dyno. We discuss it in this month's editorial.
About the Gladiator, yep, we've approached the bigwigs at Jeep-numerous times-and asked them point-blank about it. The only answer we've been able to elicit thus far has been, "It's still under discussion," which is usually accompanied by a Cheshire Cat grin. We're no expert on reading tea leaves, but we'd say it's a safe bet that Jeep will produce the Gladiator pickup-probably based on the new Wrangler JK chassis, and yes, probably with a CRD diesel option-somewhere down the road, but exactly when? We honestly have no idea-2008, perhaps? But we'll let you know as soon as the news leaks out.
Reader: I bought an '05 Frontier King Cab 4x4 last year. It's an awesome truck. I've never read a negative review about it anywhere. I got the six-speed manual transmission, which took two days for them to find and get to me. It's the best truck I've ever had, and I've had a few. What concerns me is the complete lack of aftermarket suspension parts available for it, with the exception of the coil-spring spacers. Calmini has had a 5-inch lift kit "in development" for almost eight months. I've spent the last 5 1/2 months looking for parts to buy for this truck, and I can't find anything. What really irks me is that there are already a ton of parts for the Jeep Commander, which you guys pretty much said is a mall-cruiser. The Toyota FJ Cruiser just became available, and All-Pro Off-Road already has a lift kit ready to go for it. Is my truck already as awesome as it's going to get? I'd like a little more ground clearance out of it, and maybe a winch-mount bumper. Do you have any ideas?
Editor: Frontier mastermind Robin Stover replies: You're right about the limited options regarding aftermarket suspension components for the '05 Frontier. Another option to consider is a 5-inch kit from the Nissan specialists at Spencer Low Racing (951/688-2025, www.spencerlowracing.com). Be warned, however, that the system is on the very high end of the price spectrum, and if you don't actually 'wheel your truck regularly, you might not be able to justify the large price tag. Otherwise, the Calmini 5-inch kit should be going into production about the time you read this.
Reader: "The H3 is the best 4x4 on earth." Yeah, right-what world are you on? How many H3s are actually taken on dirt roads, let alone four-wheeling? Maybe one in 100, if that. The H3 is nothing but an expensive S-10, plain and simple. The sight of a H3 at the local trail head gives images of the Sierra Club wanting to close down the trails. H3s are nothing but niche vehicles for yuppies.
Editor: Guess that makes us a bunch of yuppies. Maybe worse than yuppies, as we have plans to acquire a long-term H3 for testing in the future. Do you still love us now?
Reader: Hey, I heard somewhere that in one of your back issues you had an article about converting a Postal Jeep to four-wheel drive, or somethin' like that. Which issue? And how do I get it?
Editor: "Jeep for Cheap Revisited" appeared in the May '06 issue. Take a look at our masthead on page 8 for information on back issues.