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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 lso can be eached through he Web site at ww.fourwheeler. om. Due to the olume of mail, lectronic and otherwise, e cannot espond to every eader, but we do ead everything.
Top Truck Gripes & Grouses
Reader: I've always loved your magazine. I have some that go back 30-plus years. Never got rid of any because I like to keep them for reference. Just wanted to comment about the voting for the 50 Top Truck Finalists (Apr. '08): It's a shame the ballot is on the other side of some of the finalists' photos, numbers 45 and 47 in particular. I'm voting for 45; he's very good at what he builds. (Besides, he's also the husband of my niece.) Nice guy. Just a shame I'll end up cutting out the picture of his truck. Too bad the ballot wasn't on a page with just advertising on the other side.
Thanks for letting me gripe. Continue with the great magazine.
P.S: Danny Marlow (45) doesn't live in Cedar Falls, Idaho. It's Cedar Falls, Iowa. We have the corn, Idaho has the potatoes.
Editor: Spuds rule, dude (we'll take vodka over ethanol any ol' day) ... but thanks for the correction. Obviously, GPS was made for people like us.
Trust us, we'd love not to have to force our readers to chop out photos of their favorite trucks so they can send in their TTC ballot. On the other hand, if we placed the ballot on a page that's backed by an ad, the unlucky advertiser is likely to feel well, you can guess how it goes. Thanks for writing in, and for your support of the magazine.
Night Wheeling At Top Truck?
Reader: I was looking at the new Top Truck rigs, and I decided that they must not need to run at night. It would be hard on y'all, but let's let all the rigs run a course at night since it does happen from time to time in real life.
Editor: In the early days of the event, we used to run parts of TTC at night-and if you think the amount of carnage that the Tank Trap or the Mini Rubicon wreaks on our competitors' rigs is bad now, you shoulda seen what it was like when we ran them in the dark. (Not a pretty picture.) More relevantly, our hosts at Hollister Hills SVRA now mandate that we cease Top Truck activities at dusk, when the park officially shuts down.
More April Goofballs
Reader: Sorry to hear that you have fallen on such hard times, having to recycle articles every other month. I look forward to each month's issue, and especially anticipate certain mainstays, such as "Willie's Workbench," for tips and tricks to keep my Jeep going. So as I was reading Willie's (Apr. '08), I thought, "This sounds strangely familiar." Upon investigation, you ran the exact same Workbench in March '08. I know power-steering fluid is important, but hey, I'm pretty sure I got it the first time.
Well, er, we were going to say the story was so nice, we hadda run it twice ... but yes, you're right, we screwed up. Hey, when we goof, at least we aim high.
Needs Euro-Diesel Cherokee Info
Reader: I'm a long-time reader and need some Jeep info. I am looking at purchasing a '96 Jeep Cherokee that has what is reported as a "VM" diesel. I have been around Jeeps all my life and never heard of this. The seller says that these Jeeps were built for export, but a few of them never were. It is a right-hand drive. Have you folks ever heard of this, and do you know if this engine is usable in the U.S.?
Editor: The "VM" designation stands for VM Motori, an Italian company that has supplied diesel engines for a variety of Chrysler vehicles for some 20-odd years, including the much-beloved (by us) 2.8L engine that was available in the previousgeneration Jeep Liberty. Most of these engines, such as the 2.5L four-cylinder that was offered from 1994 to 2001 in the Cherokee, were designed for export markets in Europe and Asia, and are almost surely not going to pass emissions anywhere in the U.S.
Even if you were able to wrangle some sort of "smog pass" for your vehicle (we've heard of some states where you can get an exemption if your rig is registered as "off-road only"), we wouldn't recommend this particular model, as pre-'98 versions of this engine had weak timing chains that were prone to catastrophic breakage. (In '98 they solved the problem by converting to a stronger, double rollerstyle chain.) Also, this particular block was originally based off a marine-engine design. It wasn't made to turn low revs at slow speeds for any great length of time and hence suffered from overheating problems that resulted in nagging little things like cracked cylinder heads. Did we seal the deal for you, or what?
Wants Editorial Turn-Around Times
Reader: I was wondering if you guys at the magazine knew when the Hank's 4x4 Jamboree event will be in your magazine and if you were planning on putting pics online. A bunch of my buddies and I were there, and we don't know what the turn-around time is on something like this. Any information would be helpful.
"Dodge" Dan Christian
Editor: As we write this, it is the second week in March. This magazine will ship to the printer during the third week of April, and will go on sale the last week in May as a July issue. So, an event such as Hank's, which takes place in mid-August, wouldn't show up in print until (believe it or not) our December issue. D'ohhhhhh!!
However, all is not lost, thanks to the miracle of the Internet. We don't know yet if we'll be able to make it to Hank's this year, but if you go, take a camera-then log onto the Forums at fourwheeler. com, find a relevant thread (or start one of your own), and post all the Jpegs you like. You'll be sharing some cool event action with your fellow cyber-wheelers, plus you'll be famous. Hey, we aim to please.
Letter Of Month
Reader: I am lucky Number 9 listed in your Top Truck Challenge entries. I just wanted to make sure you have my correct last name on file because, in case of the slim possibility that I get voted to go to TTC, I wanted you to be able to contact me. Keep up the great mag-I look forward to it more than my wife's Victoria's Secrets catalogs.
Editor: Bro', that is the best compliment we've gotten in months. A box of deluxe FW swag is being mailed your way.