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June 2009 Letters To The Editor

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Posted June 1, 2009

Send us your letters

Where To Write
Address your correspondence to:
Four Wheeler
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.

Looking For TTC Rules And Videos
Reader: I am currently building a vehicle for Top Truck Challenge. Is there a link or any info on what the rules and regulations are for TTC?
Brett Bertacchi
Mooresville, NC

Reader: I would like to order the Top Truck Challenge video from 2008 and cannot find out how. Can you point me in the right direction?"
Joel Rice
Meridian, ID

Editor: Top Truck videos are all available via mail order from 4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers. Log onto 4wheelparts.com and you'll find 'em there.

The rules for Top Truck Challenge are posted online at fourwheeler.com. Log onto our site, run a search for "Top Truck rules," and you'll find them.

Jonesing For Rocks In B.C.
Reader: I've been rock crawling for about three years now and I love it. Recently I got married and moved from Arizona to northern British Columbia, and I don't see any rocks here. Do you know of places to go rock crawling in central or northern B.C., or any clubs that might help?

Also, they do a lot of mud bogging here, and I don't know anything about mud bogging. I bought a '91 Toyota 4Runner in Arizona and was planning on doing a solid axle swap and other mods to get it ready for the rocks. That's what I know how to do, but is mud much different? What kind of things should I do to my 4Runner? I was going to keep my 22R-E motor--should I put a bigger motor in? I don't see too many 4Runners in the mud.
Christopher Goss
Burns Lake, B.C., Canada

Editor: How to build for mud? Well, yeah, mud and rocks are two totally different creatures, and each one demands a distinctly different setup for optimal use. Fortunately, you're in luck this month, as we're discussing the very questions you've asked, starting on page 30.

To the best of our knowledge, your rockcrawling options in northern B.C. are probably going to be limited. We did find a club in your general vicinity, the North Caribou Offroad Adventurers Society in Prince George (www.offroad.bc.ca). According to the website, their members "venture into some very rugged terrain," so if there's any good rockcrawling in your `hood, they'll probably know about it.

Where To Go Wheeling In Xanadu?
Reader: I would like to respond to a letter in the March '09 issue about places to wheel in the Northeast. If you don't mind traveling to Saugus, Massachusetts, there is a place called "The Farm." It's power-line roads--good wheeling in there, and the cops don't care. All Wheels Offroad Park in Lewiston, Maine, has good four-wheeling too. Check out their website--good stuff!
Mike Bakeman
Medford, MA

Editor: The cops don't care? Heck, we've been looking for that piece of Shangri-La real estate forever!

We make no guarantees as to the accuracy of any reader claims of legal wheeling spots. As always, it's a good idea to do a little research on the Web to find public or private OHV areas, and to contact local organizations or 4x4 clubs to find out information about hours of operations, access fees or permits required, and seasonal closures due to weather and the like.

Solution For Cranked Xterra Torsion Bars?
Reader: First, I just wanna say the mag and website are awesome. Second, a question: I have a '99 Nissan Frontier with 33s on it, and the ride is extremely stiff because the torsion bars are cranked to fit the tires. I wanna keep the tires but hate the stiffness, whether I'm on the dirt or on the road. Can I do anything to damp the ride, or is my truck going to have to wait for a straight front axle?
Nik Suda
Kihei, HI

Editor: Some premium aftermarket shock absorbers will help with damping somewhat, but for the most part, you're going to be stuck with a relatively harsh ride for as long as you've got the torsion bars cranked up.

If you're looking for a little inspiration, though, we've got a story this month on a solid axle/leaf spring swap being performed on a 2002 Xterra. There's no "kit" for this swap--the parts came from a variety of aftermarket and junkyard sources--but it can be done by the home wrench with a little ingenuity and sweat equity, and we show you how starting on page 40.

The Lowdown On Long Arms
Reader: What are long-arm suspensions? How do they work? Are they available for many vehicles? Why are they so expensive?
M.K.
Dallas Center, Utah

Editor: A so-called "long arm" suspension is essentially a multilink setup which uses lateral control arms and/or radius arms to locate the axle during its range of travel. They have an advantage over so-called "short arms" because they operate at relatively lower angles, resulting in reduced squat and a smoother pavement ride, and with the lift being entirely provided by longer-than-stock coil springs, the long arms can operate at near-stock geometry under normal operations. The benefits are clearance for larger tires and wheels and tremendous amounts of articulation on the trail while retaining near-factory ride quality on pavement and keeping your vehicle's center of gravity manageable.

At present, most applications for long-arm suspensions are for various models of Jeeps, though the aftermarket is producing more kits for more vehicles with each passing year. Their expense is due to a number of factors: First, there's the intense degree of engineering R&D that goes into these systems; the arms themselves are usually made of ultra stout, thick-wall DOM chromoly tubing or a non-cheapy equivalent; they're not a high-volume item for most suspension manufacturers; and you also need specially tuned shocks to complement the system. You also typically need new CV driveshafts and/or a slip-yoke eliminator kit; all of these factors will add to the cost. But based on our own experiences with them, if you can spare the coin, these systems are worth every penny, especially if your trail ride also sees a lot of pavement.

Owns Rare Toyota For The Magazine
Reader: Hey, I have a 1986 Toyota Sunrader 4x4 RV. I have been told that only 26 of these were made, and every time I go out, I get people coming over to look at it. I am looking for a sponsor to help me "mint" it out. I believe that this is a great advertising opportunity for a company such as yours.
Ken James
Bakersfield, CA

Editor: We always welcome photos of readers' rigs. Send high-resolution jpegs and a description of your ride to fourwheelereditor@sorc.com, and we'll give 'em a good looking-at.

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