Address your correspondence to:
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: At the end of your recent winch-rebuilding article ("Winch Repair Made Simple," Aug. '07), Jay Kopycinski included a photo of the finished winch with new synthetic rope on it. Can you tell me the diameter of the rope and how long it is? I'd like to put synthetic rope on my new M8000, and I could use some guidance. I would like to use 100 feet of 5/16-inch-diameter rope if it will fit satisfactorily.
Editor: Jay Kopycinski replies: "The winch is loaded with 5/16-inch, 90-foot-long Amsteel Blue winch rope from Rockstomper. You should be able to load 100 feet without a problem. You can also find Rockstomper's winch-line capacities listed at the company's Web site, www.rockstomper.com."
Reader: On page 76 of the Aug. '07 issue, you showed your Mega Titan being towed down the highway on your Carson trailer. What's up with the loose chains in the rear? Even the chain with the binder on it isn't tight. I asked my wife, "What's wrong with this pic?" Her immediate answer: "The chains are loose." You guys are examples for your readers, so please show responsible towing pics, especially in an article about your own trailer!
Editor: Titan Taskmaster Robin Stover replies: "Yes, actually that was the reason I took that photo. I was following (truckbuilder) Toby Lavender back to his shop from a test session at Hollister Hills when I noticed the chain binder was loose. I grabbed my camera and snapped a picture of it because I remembered seeing it bound tightly when we left the park. Once at the shop, I shared the photo with Toby, and we theorized that the Titan's 54-inch Boggers were soft enough (tire pressure was 3 psi) to allow the truck to flex downward a few inches while driving through a depression in the road, causing the chain binder to loosen. The better arrangement for this would have been to fill up the tires before leaving the park and/or wrapping the excess chain around the binder handle to prevent it from loosening. The rear winch is always used to secure the rear of the truck, in addition to the chain for safety reasons, and that time, it was put to good use. But your point is well taken, and we'll exercise better judgment when picking photos next time."
Reader: I was wondering how I could get in the Top Truck Challenge. I have an '89 YJ now that has some stuff like an AMC 360, Pro Comp springs, fullsize Dana 44 axles, and a spool in the rear. I had a winch but I've never needed it, so I sold it and just bought a Hi-Lift. Oh yeah, almost forgot about the rubber-just some 36-inch Swampers. You guys would be shocked how well it works (it won't get stuck ). Anyhow, what do I have to do to qualify for the TTC?
Editor: You're in luck this month. Turn to page 64 of this issue for a Top Truck Challenge 2008 entry form. In the fine print next to the form, you'll see instructions along with a list of what we require for competitors' rigs to qualify. In reality, it's not a lot-but you will need to buy back your winch. And, to be honest, your Dana 44s won't likely live past the first day of competition, assuming the readers voted you in.
Reader: I'm interested in obtaining technical info regarding wheels and tires-specifically, the weights of wheel/tire assemblies in the 33- to 40-inch-diameter range. Do you know of a Web site where I can get this information? Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Editor: Due to differences in size, design, and materials, there are way too many variables involved to find this kind of info on one dedicated Web site-at least one that we're aware of. But just about all the wheel and tire manufacturers list the weights of their products online, so it shouldn't take you much time to scope out a few of them and do some simple math.
Reader: Love the magazine! Hey, I spotted some really interesting little four-door Ford Ranger diesels out here in the sandbox (Middle East deployed location). Is Ford going to sell any of these in the States anytime soon, or is this just another weird everywhere-but-the-U.S. type thing?
Staff Sgt. Nate Richmond
Serving in the Air Force
Far from home
Editor: Sorry to say, but the real question Stateside is, will the Ranger survive in any form beyond 2009? We know there's a diesel coming soon for the F-Series, but nothing we know about has been planned for the midsize.
Reader: Just a sad note to pass along. I was fumbling through some messages passed through my local 4x4 forum recently to hear that another brave soul had passed while serving us in Afghanistan. His name was Art Lilley. I never got the chance to meet him personally, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about him. The news of his passing has been in all the local forums, and if that isn't enough, I picked up an old issue of your magazine (Dec. '06) to find his picture staring back at me from a bright orange 'Zuker titled "Sun-Kissed Sami." He was a member of www.zuwharrie.com. They are taking donations for the family, and I didn't know of any way to help except to spread the word.
P. Lance Dotson
Editor: Thanks for passing along the information, and we've included the web link for those who'd like to contact zuwharrie.com and make a contribution to his family. Our condolences to all his family, friends, and loved ones.