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: In your Dec. '07 issue, you showed pictures of Donald Hadden's Chevy S-10 on page 25 and 28. I'd like to know what tires he is running-specifically, the brand and size. Great magazine.
Reader: Top Truck Challenge should be performed around the U.S. I am in Florida, ya'll are on the West Coast. Rocks dent bodies ... never mind, ya'll don't comprehend. I'll just start my own circuit.
Editor: About those tires: Donald Hadden ran a plain ol' set of 19.5/46-15 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws at Top Truck. What made 'em unique was their custom grooving, with alternating tread blocks removed. Considering that Donald came within a hair's breadth of winning TTC last year, we'd say those tires worked mighty well.
Reader: In reference to your December "Letters", Mr. Priest needs more than decaf! Perhaps he needs to sit down and clean all of his guns while reflecting upon the meaning of life: Some quiet time, if you will. I've been 'wheeling since my 16th birthday in 1974, the day when my home-built desert rail and I were both newly licensed. I have owned myriad 4x4s and off-road vehicles since (my personal favorite being my '88 Samurai) and yes, I've "used" them all. I've likely been inverted more times than Mr. Priest has fingers left.
I am much older now and have a Honda Ridgeline with 22-inch wheels. I call 'em my "dress shoes" and they exist to please the wife. I also have a compressor, airtools, and a set of "hiking boots" for the truck. The wife is happy, and so am I.
I'm going out to shop for another vehicle right now. The wife wants the Bentley Continental GTC, and I want an Aston Martin Vanquish. This is a problem that can't be solved as easily as two sets of wheels and tires.
In short, Mr. Priest, jus 'cuz she's purdy all dressed up for Saturday night don't mean she don't run with the hogs on Sunday mornin'.
Reader: I was just reading a review on the Dick Cepek F-C Kevlar tires. I'm days away from ordering a set from my local Les Schwab, and stumbled across what I hope isn't a typo. You had printed/posted in your "Tire Test: Dick Cepek Kevlar F-C" that they came in two sizes: 36x16.50 and 38x18.50. I cannot seem to find that width on the 38-inch tire anywhere. Please let me know if this is a typo.
Editor: Tire-test guru Jimmy Nylund replies: I hope you realize that the test you read is some eight-or-so years old. Dick Cepek (which isn't even Cepek anymore, technically speaking) hasn't made the Kevlar F-C for several years.
OK, our old FW test did say that they're available up to a 38x18.50-16.5. And maybe they were at the time. Anything I can find after that, including current ads, are for a 38x15.50-16.5 and a 36x16.50-16.5. Either way, they only list those two sizes, both of which are for 16.5-inch wheels, which makes me wonder why anyone would want any size of that tire. Must be old stock that some retailers are trying to dump.
Reader: I have been subscribing to your magazine for two years and I find it very entertaining. In the Jan. '06 issue, there was an article called "How To Build It: Chevy Small-Block Step By Step." I have not seen Part 2 of that article, and I read every issue from cover to cover. Please let me know if and when I can expect Part 2 in your magazine.
Stroker builder Robin Stover replies: Thanks for writing in about the buildup. We're actually moving right along with the build now. We had a slight issue with the block, due to it being dropped in shipping, which delayed us. Otherwise, things are going well. We just had the machine work completed last week. I haven't had editorial space to do an update story yet. I'm sorry about that. Maybe if I get some additional e-mails like this, the boss will bump the project up the list a bit? In any case, we still plan to showcase the buildup in three additional parts. Stay tuned.
Reader: I was just reading the Dec. '07 "Letters," and had to comment. One of the letters ("Rubber Three Ways") at the very end said something I've wanted to say for a long time: "Thank you. Finally, a magazine that does not have half-naked women on the cover." I have to wholeheartedly agree. It is nice to be able to read a magazine and feel OK about letting my son or daughter pick it up and read it as well. I am so tired of everything being about half-naked women. Everything you see on TV and magazines is nothing but that.
So again, thank you for a quality magazine we can be comfortable calling a "family" magazine.
Reader: I have proudly been a subscriber to this great magazine for a number of years and enjoy four-wheeling with my family. My son, daughters, and wife often look through the magazine when it comes in the mail. The recent trend of running ads featuring partially dressed women and "male enlargement pills" is unacceptable. Please don't tell me that the average IQ of Four Wheeler readers is low enough that they will buy a particular brand of bumper or tire based on the appearance of some scantily clad female in the ads. And please don't give me the "We don't have control over what ads run in the magazine" excuse. Someone must have some control, because there seem to be a lot of ads related to the sport of four-wheeling and not many for household appliances or minivans. Come on-keep this magazine clean enough that the next generation can look through it without parental guidance.
Reader: I am a senior in high school, and looking toward my future. I was thinking of going into automotive journalism. What should I study? Also, what college classes would be helpful for me to work for a 4x4 magazine? It would be my goal to work for a magazine like yours.
Crystal Lake, IL
Reader: I'm inquiring about the possibility of any available positions with Four Wheeler. I have a passion for four-wheeling and have always known I would be in the business. Four Wheeler is the leader in the business, and there is no one else I would love to offer my passion to than Four Wheeler.
Editor: Full-time editorial jobs don't open up here often-we have about one job vacancy every four years, on average. When we do have a job opening, we'll post it on our Web site, as well as on some of the bigger online job boards such as Monster.com. In the short term, however, your best bet would probably be to submit some freelance stories to us. These could be tech or how-to articles, or travel and trail-ride stories. Submit your best ideas to email@example.com, and if we like your pitch, we just may assign an article to you.
What to study in school? Classes in English and/or journalism should be considered mandatory, some basic math and physics are also advisable, and a class or two in digital photography won't hurt you, either. Better yet, take some additional classes in mechanical engineering, or look to your local community college for some basic auto-tech instruction if you haven't gained enough wrenching experience in your own driveway.
Reader: Why can't I find any fullsize or midsize trucks with a standard transmission? I may be outdated, but I prefer to shift to maintain control of a vehicle (and aim to control a firearm). Yes, I know a five-speed is available, but only on the smaller trucks with four-cylinder engines-I can't get a five-speed with a V-8 4x4.
Editor: Sure you can. The new Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tundra, and Nissan Titan don't offer a manual transmission with their V-8s, but there are plenty of other choices out there: for instance, you can still get an NV4500 five-speed with a Dodge Ram V-8 1/2-ton, or an NV5600 six-speed with either the Cummins- or Hemi-equipped 3/4-ton trucks. The M6OD six-speed manual is standard on V-8 Ford Super Dutys-and among the midsizes, Toyota's got a standard six-speed with the 4.0L Tacoma, and Nissan has a slick-shifting six-speed with the Frontier.
Reader: I look forward to each new issue and always read them cover to cover and have done so for 16 years. I respect how you have done your best to grow with the times, and nowadays, with all the new vehicles and four-wheeling becoming more and more popular. I know it's tough. I have a suggestion, though. What about having an archive article each month? Folks might even send in requests. Who knows, it might catch on. Keep up the good work and thanks for a great magazine.
Editor: That's an excellent idea ... and later this year, we'll be unveiling a new column that will have exactly what you're looking for. And thanks for your support the last 16 years.
Reader: I'm looking for the back issue that has the common problems for the Land Rover Discovery. I think it was August '07 but am unsure. Any information would be helpful.
Las Cruces, NM
Editor: Actually, that article was in the Oct. '07 issue. Back issues can be obtained by logging onto www.primediabackissues.com or by writing to 2900 Amber Lane, Corona, CA 92882. Cost is $6 per issue plus $3 shipping.
Reader: I want to buy a buggy. Please give me your e-mail address or fax number.
Editor: OK: firstname.lastname@example.org. Solves everything, don't it?
Reader: I have a '97 Jeep Wrangler with a four-cylinder in it. I've been told that it's easy to replace it with a GM 4.3L engine. Please let me know where I can get the info to do so and what transmission I need to use. Also, I need all the info on how to tackle this endeavor. Tech help needed!! Where can I get the how-to info?
Sgt. D. Ruhnau, USMC
Editor: This is a fairly common swap, and there are plenty of sources for you to consult. Novak Conversions (www.novak-adapt.com) has a ton of information about this swap on its Web site, as well as adapters to bolt up the Chevy 4.3 to a number of Jeep transmissions. Trans-Dapt (www.tdperformance.com) and Advance Adapters (www.advanceadapters.com) both offer motor mounts and/or mounting kits for this swap as well.
Reader: I was reading a recent issue about your Project Teal-J, and I was wondering: When you're done building it, will you sell it? What is the plan for its future? If possible, I would be interested in buying it.
Editor: Teal Brute Number-Cruncher Robin Stover replies: Thanks for writing, Matt. While we're flattered by your desire to purchase Teal Brute, I don't think anyone would be willing to pay what we would likely ask.
Here's a quick rundown on what the major stuff would add up to if we ever did consider selling her.
Stock '97 Jeep Wrangler with clean title (Blue Book est.): $9,820
Hemi conversion with
545RFE automatic: $14,000
ProRock Dana 60s with ARB/Detroit Lockers, Dynalock hubs: $14,000
AEV Brute Conversion, with labor: $18,000
40-inch MT/R tires on SpyderLoc wheels: $5,000
Front and rear winches: $2,200
Hanson front bumper: $800
Custom Kilby rocker protection: $2,000
Kilby onboard air system: $1,400
Corbeau suspension seats: $1,500
JL Audio Sound system: $4,000
Rev 111 tube fenders: $1,000
Teraflex/Fox coilover LCG suspension: $3,800
Walker Evans Racing rear shocks: $700
ACOS Pro rear bumps: $1,000
Atlas II four-speed transfer case: $3,600
Custom powdercoated rollcage: $2,400
ACRO HID lights: $1,000
Speed glass composite windshield: $700
Rhino Lining throughout: $1,200
Kilby gas-tank skid: $200
Mastercraft five-point harnesses: $200
Custom Tom Wood's driveshafts: $600
ThermoTech heat reduction elements: $500
Magnaflow high-flow cat and muffler: $600
Other miscellaneous parts and pieces: $1,000
Total: Approx. $80,000
Now as much as we think Teal is a sweet ride, it surely is not worth $80K to someone, right? Or is it?