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: I find it ironic that in your Sept. '07 issue, a reader wrote in about the idiots driving around on 20s in 4x4s, and you said it was just a trend and all that ... and yeah, on the cover of the same issue, you have a huge useless show truck. That's called a "Bro truck," and I don't think it does anything positive for the wheeling community to see garbage like that getting space in a respected mag like yours. In a time when the greenies are gobbling up our public lands for ... well, whatever those hippies do with their newly "rescued" land, those of us who actually like to wheel our trucks and use them (key word: "use") don't need these know-nothing, Glamis dune-running, pot-smoking, drunken-driving pavement-pounder street-queen Bros getting coverage.
You wanna see who gives wheelers a bad name? Take a look at pages 62-64 of the September issue. Useless show trucks riding around on 20s (says it right there on the first page of the article). Here's an idea: why not refuse to cover the mall wheelers and Bros with their Super Dutys and Titans "sittin' on 20s" and maybe they will start to get the hint when they aren't in the mags anymore. I'm used to opening the pages of your mag and seeing Jeeps and 'Yotas (my personal fave) and all kinds of monstrous real rigs in between. I swear if I see another Bro truck get covered in a legitimate 4x4 mag again, I'm gonna have to swear off of this addiction I have to you guys and Petersen's once and for all.
In summary, if you wanna do something positive for the 'wheeling community, stop covering the Bros and their super-queens. Running around throwing sand up at Glamis with your oversized IROKs for the cameras doesn't impress anyone except the Bro crowd. I bet that's the only dirt that truck will ever see. And in your mag? Come on.
Editor: Whoa, bro'! Time for some decaf. Seriously now, we've always tried to be the magazine that covers as much of the 4x4 spectrum as possible, from Jeeps to 1-tons, from bone-stock daily drivers to Top Truck torque monsters, and everything in between. And past experience has shown us that big lifted fullsize trucks-and late-model Super Dutys in particular-exert a pretty strong appeal on the newsstand whenever we put them on our covers. And in our cover Bro's defense, yes, he's running 20-inch rims, but with a 41-inch tire diameter, he's got a perfectly respectable sidewall ratio for trail use.
While we respect your opinion-and you're certainly not alone in your sentiments-we think there's a question that needs to be asked when we start flaming other peoples' rigs: With ever-increasing environmental, political, and commercial pressures being placed on public lands, and with tougher CAFE and emissions regulations on the horizon, is this is a good time for us to be casting stones at our fellow enthusiasts because they don't build their rigs the way we'd like? Now, more than ever, we need to hang together as brothers-in-arms and fight for our rights as four-wheelers, no matter what we drive, how we build 'em, or where we like to take our rigs-be it Glamis, or Moab, or Tellico, or Black Bear, or even just cruisin' down the boulevard. At least that's how we see it.
Reader: I just wanted to say "Great response" to "Fed Up With FJs in FW" ("Letters," Sept. '07). Unless you've gone through the entire magazine before reading your response, many will not get your, "Hey, at least they're (Toyota) not advertising male enhancement pills." I just about fell out of my "chair" in my "office" (you know, where most of us read FW). I was somewhat surprised by the new ad (and not the one from Toyota). You guys have a sick and twisted sense of humor, which is one of the reasons I keep reading. Keep up the incredibly sarcastic responses and I will keep enjoying my reading during my morning ritual.
Editor: Believe it or not, we wrote that sarcastic answer before we had any idea that the advertisement you mentioned was going to run in that issue. As it turned out, the ad was inserted in the magazine shortly before we went to press ... so like you, we were just as surprised when we picked up our copy of the September issue. But thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoy us each day with your morning, er, coffee.
Reader: Hello I have a '78 Scout Traveller that I have been building to compete in Top Truck Challenge. I think it is finally ready to try to enter. I was wondering if you can tell me when you accept applications for this event. I don't want to miss it.
Editor: Matter of fact, we're taking applications this month. Turn to page 52 for all the details, and we look forward to seeing your entry in our mailbox.
Reader: First of all, hats off to you on another superb magazine. I really enjoyed reading your tire tests (Sept. '07). Just wondering why you didn't include BFGoodrich in your tests? I own an '06 4x4 F-150 Ford Lariat Super Crew with BFGs on all four corners. I am very impressed with their performance. Up here in the north, we have a thing called Winter Roads (seasonal roads). Last year, I plowed through snow as high as my bumper for 189 kilometers to get home, and I only required four-wheel drive on one hill. I would buy the same brand of tires again when the need arrives. (P.S.: Thank you. Finally a magazine that does not have half-naked women on the cover.)
Cat Lake, Ontario, Canada
Reader: Does anyone advertise, promote, test, or sell Yokohama M/T tires anymore? It's been an excellent tire for me for the past 10 years. Where is Yokohama? Why is it that this brand of tire is not included in any recent published tire tests? Pro Comp (XTerrain) and Mickey Thompson (Baja Claw) are not the only (best) brands of promoting the use of directional tires. However, they are the most expensive to purchase. The Yokohama M/T is very competitive and economically priced. As a side note, Summit Racing discontinued this line from their inventory a year or two ago, so I'm in search of a new dealer. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Reader: I was wondering if you guys could tell me what tire pressure I should be running on the street. I've got an '00 F-250 with an 8-inch lift with 38x15.50-16.5 Super Swamper radial TSLs. The max pressure on the tire is 65 psi.
Editor: We test tires in batches as they become available via the manufacturers, so we don't really include or omit any particular tire on purpose-it's just a matter of timing. The only reason we hadn't tested any BFGs for awhile was, they hadn't produced a new tire for quite some time. That changed last month, however, when we tested the brand-new Mud-Terrain T/A KM2. Check out the November issue for our impressions. (If you can't find a copy, here's a one-word summary: Righteous!)
Yokohama? You'll get no argument from us. We've always liked the Geolandar line in particular, and according to our info, you can still get the M/T version in numerous sizes up to 35x12.50. Where to find 'em? Go to www.yokohama.com and click on the "Find a Dealer" field. We did, and found six tire stores in Salinas alone that should be able to score a set of Yokos for you.
What to run on the street? This is tough to answer definitively, as optimal inflation pressures can be influenced by factors like ambient temperature, vehicle speed, road composition, and how long you're driving between stops. You've also added some degree of weight to your fullsize V-8 truck in the form of a suspension lift and possibly (we're guessing) other aftermarket parts. We'd also guess you like to carry a load in your bed from time to time. While your Swamper is rated at 3,640 pounds at maximum inflation pressure, your radial's sidewall will flex a bit more under load than a bias-ply, and since you're driving a fairly heavy truck, we'd probably recommend that you keep close to the maximum recommended inflation pressure on the street.
After being out of the four-wheeling hobby for more than 25 years, I have found that things have changed a bit. There are more choices of where to wheel, but with more restrictions. Some of the events that I used to go to are no longer around (Sand-O-Rama), while others are-Gravelrama in Cleves, Ohio is still going. And the first and best 4x4 magazine is still there! I was a subscriber then and am now again! I've got a little '84 CJ-7 to rebuild and a local off-road group to help me, and I am just looking forward to the years to come. I do miss Granville King (and Superdawg! Is Granville still with us, or has he passed on to the great trail in the sky?). Keep up the good work. I hope your magazine is around for a long time.
Editor: Granville King passed away in 1990 at the age of 70. We still miss him after all these years-and believe us, if he were still around, we'd keep him busy sending more dispatches from Baja for this magazine. And welcome back to the world of wheeling-glad to have you back in the fold. We've been in business for 45 years now-and with folks like you supporting us, we hope to be around a good deal longer.
Reader: I was very disappointed when reading your July '07 issue and came across a response to a reader's question about an '84 Ranger. The response was sarcastic and not very helpful. If you would have done some homework, you would know that the Toyo-Kogyo five-speed trans used in the early Rangers was notoriously weak and had lower shift-tower issues. Ford issued a service bulletin (TSB 90M70) with a revised part (E7TZ-7210-S) to correct the "sloppy shifter." This part is still available, although it is becoming more rare.
Editor: You're right-we could've droned on at length with plenty of tech specs about those cruddy gearboxes, but hey, you just did it for us. Thanks for the suggested fix, and as a sign of atonement, see the letter below.
Reader: I recently bought a '65 GMC 6500 military truck. This truck has several things on it that I am curious about, and I was hoping that you could help me with a little information. The first thing is the axles. I have an ID Plate that has this information: Rockwell Standard Corporation Model No. G161 NX8-Ratio: 7.20:1, Serial No. 0675677. Can you tell me anything about these axles? The second thing is that it came equipped with a Tulsa Winch on it. The ID plate is difficult to read, but I was able to see the number 20990 on it. Can you give me any help with this? Any help is appreciated.
Quaker City, OH
Editor: Your Rockwell G161 axle, with an optional 7.20:1 ring-and-pinion (6.17:1 was standard), was used by GM in a variety of heavy-duty civilian and military applications for more than 40 years. It's a shade over 39 inches long, is rated at 16,000 pounds, has 4 3/16-inch outer-diameters, requires 21 pints (!) of gear lube, and nobody makes a locker for it. We couldn't track down any information on your winch, but Tulsa PTOs for HD rigs of that vintage generally came with 16,000- to 20,000-pound pull ratings.
Reader: I own an '06 Nissan Frontier Nismo. I, too, have a mystery squeak over bumps and rough roads. As I have not yet heard any word as to what you found to be the problem, I'm pretty sure I have it licked. It would be nice for your project Frontier as well if it were to be silenced. My squeak happens to be the fuel tank, not the suspension. Crawl under and push up on the tank through the factory skidplate about midway (through one of the oval holes). You are sure to hear the mouse with very little pressure.
The solution? Perhaps some kickass aftermarket skidplate, or maybe just some Teflon spray in all the right places. You guys are no strangers to investigation, so I will let you go hard at it. I will check mine out when I have time. I see a lot of washboard roads and am really tired of my truck talking back to me.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Editor: Thanks for the tip. We never did determine the source of our squeaking, and our long-term Frontier test rig had already been returned to Nissan by the time we received your note, but we're including your advice here just in case there are any other Frontiersmen out there with "mystery mice" living under their rigs.