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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.
When Is a Continent Not?
Reader: I would like to point out a correction on a sidebar of your article "Land Rover G4 Challenge" (Feb. '09). It mentions an expedition to the "Darien Gap swamplands that divide North America and South America." However, that's unlikely since North and South America don't touch each other. Darien Gap divides Central and South America.
Editor: Errrr, yes and no. Geographers do not generally consider Central America to be a "continent" in its own right, but rather a region within the continent of North America. Some schools of geography, in fact, only count "America" as a single continent since the only real "divide" between its northern and southern land masses is a manmade (Panama) canal.
Looking to Plow With His JK
Reader: I have an '08 two-door Jeep Wrangler JK (stock, except the tires). I was thinking of putting a plow on it-nothing heavy-duty, just for the driveway. The problem is I can't find anything online about this. I found a few people asking about it, but the only people that actually have a plow on their Jeeps are people with late-model beaters which they took off the road. This was my first brand-new 4x4 ever, and I don't want to mess it up. Just wondering what your opinion is on the subject. Where can I get a good hydraulic system? I imagine I would need something a little smaller; the plows that the big boys use aren't going to cut it for my Jeep. I'm sure there are other Jeep owners out there who would love to hear more info on this subject.
Editor: If you're looking for a good all-around plow for everyday chores, check out the SnowSport by Agricover (866/414-5412, www.agricover.com). It uses no hydraulics (so there's no plumbing, pump, or vacuum issues to deal with), it costs about half as much as a conventional hydraulic plow, and it can be set up to fit just about any light truck or SUV. Our own Senior Editor Brubaker uses one for clearing the parking lot of our expansive Midwest Bureau complex each winter, and he swears by it.
What Hits, What Fits, When's It Comin'?
Reader: When are you guys going to run the "What Hits, What Fits" tire guide for 4x4s? I am currently looking for tires for my '06 Nissan Frontier and would like to know how big of a tire will fit without a lift kit versus a minor lift. The truck is a Crew Cab 4x4, non-Nismo.
Editor: You're right, we've been a little remiss with our Tire Fitment chart-in fact, it's been more than two years since we've visited the subject. So, we'll be publishing an updated version of it in just a couple of months. Stick around.
Wants a Rolltop and Softcage
Reader: I rolled my '95 Tacoma, but the beast still runs like a champ. I want to build a rollcage and make it a soft top, but the local off-road shops want, like, $1,500 to make a custom one. Are there any pre-fab models available on the web?
Editor: We're not sure if you're looking for a soft top or a rollcage, but we'll guess it's a top to fit a full cage after you've chopped off the roof of your cab. If that's the case, nobody we know of makes an off-the-shelf soft top for your application, though it's possible you could cobble up some sort of hybrid-top from a conventional "bedcover" top such as what you'd find from Bestop, Can-Back, and others, along with some bikini tops such as the ones Bestop sells for FJ40s. But either way, you'll need to rely on a little ingenuity and some custom work to pull it off-and frankly, the price you were quoted didn't sound that bad to us.
Needs Some Love for IFS Wheelers
Reader: I drive an '01 Chevy 2500HD with a leveling kit and 305s, and love wheeling in it, but I've noticed that almost every magazine is pretty harsh on IFS rigs because they are weaker and allow less suspension travel and so forth. I know that the pros and cons have been listed of wheeling an IFS rig, but in the end it still makes it out to be the bad guy. I know that there is the option of a solid-axle swap, but many people don't want to tear apart the most expensive thing they've ever owned. I suppose what I'm getting at is: I'd like to know if at some point you guys could put an article in your mag about wheeling in an IFS vehicle, with a lot of pics of people using them, so that the people that are stuck with IFS still feel like we are welcome and can wheel with the best of them.
Editor: Hey, you've come to the right place. We wheel a bunch of bone-stock rigs-nearly all of 'em with IFS these days-every year in our Four Wheeler and Pickup Truck of the Year tests, and most issues of the magazine feature some suspension tech and tips for lifting or modifying later-model 4x4s with independent suspensions. Heck, we even built an IFS Lexus for Moab a few years back, and showed it could rockcrawl with the best of them without needing to swap out the front drive components. Of course, nothing beats a solid axle for the really difficult stuff, and solid axles usually make future suspension modifications (like lifting your truck) easier too. But for the vast majority of wheelers in the vast majority of conditions, a sensibly built and smartly driven IFS truck will go nearly every place a similarly equipped solid-axle rig will. Was that enough love for now?
Wants All-Wheel-Drive Z-Car
Reader: I drive an '03 Nissan 350Z. And my wish is to make the car all-wheel drive. Is that possible?
Schiller Park, IL
Editor: Sure, anything is possible...but why would you want to? Such a conversion has been done before-primarily by professional tuners and race teams-and you will likely need a race-team budget to make it all happen, what with the new transmission, AWD transfer case, complete front drivetrain, axles and subframe, and new suspension arms all around that you'd need at the very minimum. The fuel tank and exhaust would probably have to be relocated and/or rerouted, front brakes and steering knuckles would need upgrading...and we haven't even mentioned the ECU and electronics. Some of our sister magazines, such as Super Street and Import Tuner, have covered this subject in the past. Take a gander at their websites, see what you can find, then decide whether or not it will really be worth the effort. On the other hand, the Infiniti is based on the same platform and available in AWD. Maybe a trade-in would be the way to go.