September 2009 Letters To The EditorPosted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2009 Comment (0)
Where To Write
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 can also be reached through the website at www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.
Readers Are Mad For Mud
Reader: Thank you, thank you, and thank you for your coverage of mud (June '09). It is totally refreshing to see the gooey, slimy, dirty stuff get the spotlight. I was beginning to think that the four-wheel-drive world had converted to strictly "rocks." I'm from the farmlands of New Jersey, and the guys and gals here with four-wheel-drive rigs know a thing or two about playing in the mud.
Personally, I've been slinging it since the early '90s with butt-ugly, well-built mud beasts. I've just returned home from a deployment in Iraq, where there was plenty of mud for a northern redneck to play in. Your mag was a huge chunk of home while I was overseas. Keep up the good work--and maybe just a little more mud now and again.
PFC Joseph LaClaire
Carneys Point, NJ
Reader: How many errors can you squeeze into one paragraph? I was skimming through the rag and I ran across Sean Holman's "Mud Basics" article (June '09). One item caught my eye because that's one of my mantras--"Never go to sleep with mud under the truck." But I was amazed at the concentration of errors there:
Spelling: it's "brake," not "break," components.
Extra weight doesn't shorten braking distance.
Dried acids don't do anything--acids are only acids when they're dissolved in water.
I was so disgusted, I didn't read the rest of the article, but I'm betting I'll find a couple more glaring mistakes when I build up the nerve.
Editor: You're right, sort of--our copy department missed "break" versus "brake," and we meant to say that extra weight lengthens braking distances. But what are the two components of mud? That's right, dirt and water. So it's safe to say that if mud is left on your truck, the acids within them are still active. If the acids penetrate the surface of your sheetmetal before the mud dries, you've got a corrosion problem in the making, even after the mud has washed away. We've been to locations here in the California desert that will turn your frame orange within 24 hours if you do not remove the muck right away.
Wants Teal-Brute Tube Fenders
Reader: Regarding your recent Project Teal-Brute article ("V-12 Swap," June '09): I love those tube fenders and the LED lightbar pictured. Who makes them, and where can I get them? Do you have any info for a Jeep lover?
Editor: The tube fenders are from a company called Rev111 (951/541-0448, www.rev111.com). The LED lightbar comes courtesy of Rigid Industries (480/655-0100, wwwrigidindustries.com). Happy shopping.
New Wheelin' Spot In Oklahoma
Reader: We are part of a new off-road park, Coppermines Off-Road Park, and we're trying to get ourselves on the map. We are sponsoring "Trucks Gone Wild" and have many events planned throughout the year. Check us on our website (Red Neck Yaught Club: www.rnyc4x4.com or www.myspace.com/coppermines). We're in Olustee, Oklahoma.
Time To Get Involved...Again
Reader: Urgent! Have you heard of the "America's Red Rock Wilderness Act of 2009"? I think your readers need to be informed of the things this administration is trying to get done to us.
Grand Junction, CO
Editor: We have indeed, and we're glad you mentioned it. The legislation (S. 861 for the Senate bill, H.R. 1925 for the House version) has actually been around, in one form or another, for some time; it's been introduced in every Congressional session for the last 10 years at least. It was reintroduced in late April and assigned to committee for hearings; its status as of press time is unknown. The bill would designate some 9 million acres in Utah and Colorado as official wilderness, i.e., off limits to motorized travel. Among the areas proposed for closure are some big chunks of land in the Moab-La Sal area that many of us have wheeled on for years, including portions of Behind the Rocks/Hunter Canyon, Goldbar Canyon, and Porcupine Rim. A number of the parcels are already designated as BLM wilderness study areas, and many already have access restrictions, though most designated roads and trails have been allowed to remain open. By designating these areas as "wilderness," the legislation would close all roads within their boundaries. Obviously, this is not acceptable to us.
So what does it mean? It means it's time to get busy and get involved. This can mean contacting your federal elected representatives via phone or e-mail, organizing a group mailing or petition drive in association with your local club or state four-wheel-drive association, or joining a land-use organization such as Blue Ribbon Coalition, Friends of the Rubicon, Tread Lightly!, UFWDA, or any of the other groups that advocate our cause and who lobby the government on our behalf. Run a web search for "four wheel drive associations" and you will find plenty of good folks out there who are willing to help you get involved in the struggle. But whatever course you choose, do something today to make your voice heard. Simply getting mad is not going to get anything accomplished.
Zen Towing Techniques
Reader: Regarding "Proper TJ Towing Techniques" ("Techline," June '09): I don't believe you answered the question.
Sound Beach, NY
Editor: Well, er, sometimes our PC's cut-and-paste function goes a little haywire on us, and we end up printing the answer to another unrelated question . . . so yep, you're right, we goofed. So here's the answer: you can flat-tow your TJ safely--lots of folks do--with the transfer case in Neutral, the tranny in Park (auto) or in gear (stick), and the steering wheel unlocked. Check your state's vehicle regs for braking requirements (some states require auxiliary brakes on any load heavier than 3,000 pounds), and towing lights should considered mandatory as well.
Waiting For Baja's 50th Birthday
Reader: I was just wondering if there were any major siestas planned for the Baja 50th Anniversary, and why can't I find any magazines specifically geared for desert racing?
Editor: You'll be waiting awhile longer. The 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000--if that's what you're referring to--doesn't happen until 2017.
Want a magazine dedicated to desert racing? We cover a fair amount of it, but if what we offer ain't enough for ya, consider taking a look at our sister pub Off-Road. They're not an exclusive racing magazine per se, but each month they've got lots of race-event coverage, and tons of tech articles aimed specifically at the wheeler who wants to build his 4x4 or UTV to go fast in the desert. Check 'em out sometime.
Feedback On Cars And Foreign 4x4s
Reader: Just wanted to take a moment for some feedback about your magazine.
I like to purchase Four Wheeler off the magazine rack. It allows me to review each issue and decide if it is worth purchasing. With the increase in price, this has become especially important and useful.
Your May '09 issue stayed in the store because precious article space was devoted to a car. If I want to read about cars, I will purchase Car & Driver.
And then there are the ads. Photos run in the magazine so small those of us with poor eyesight can barely see them. But full-page ads for such on topic products as male enhancement run as large as possible. Is this really necessary?
Time to get back to vehicle buildups and new product introductions. Your former fondness for foreign 4x4s is one particular subject I miss greatly. Until then, I will be giving each issue a hard look.
Editor: One of the great challenges of being a magazine editor is trying to provide something that will attract the interest of every kind of reader in a limited number of pages each month. A couple of years ago, for instance, we were running periodic coverage of overseas competitions such as the Croatia Trophy and the Istra Challenge that featured plenty of those Euro-rigs you mentioned, but we got a lot of letters from U.S. readers complaining that they found these stories useless because they couldn't relate to the vehicles. So we stopped running those kinds of stories for a while. However, these things tend to go in cycles, and in the coming months, we're planning to publish some pretty cool features on some neat-looking rigs we've found in the UK and Iceland, so don't give up on us quite yet. Either way, we do appreciate all your suggestions, and thanks for your support of the magazine.
Spacer Lift Recommendation
Reader: I've had your magazine for at least five years now and re-up every time my subscription is up, and will continue to do so. You guys do a great job, and I've gotten a lot of entertainment value, as well as useful knowledge out of the magazine. I know you don't have the room or time to go through everything, but I did want to make a comment on your June '09 issue. You had a great article on low-buck spacer lifts, but you seemed to miss one of the better-made ones out there that's made by a company called Hellbent Steel (www.hellbentsteel.com). I'm using their spacers on my '01 Dodge Cummins. They're 2-inch spacers, solid steel, and they only cost $65 to $75--plenty feasible for a guy on a budget who's looking to at level his fullsize rig without breaking the bank. Just an FYI, if you find room to print this.
Editor: Thanks for the tip. We're always glad to hear from our readers about new players in the 4x4 suspension market.
Looking For Wheeling Events In The Southeast
Reader: I'm not a current subscriber, but I read your magazine through a friend's subscription occasionally. I noticed some upcoming events advertised in last month's issue, but did not get a chance to note the dates and place. I have looked online without much luck, so would you be willing to recommend a few contests that would be within a few hours drive time of Nashville, Tennessee, that would be good to see? Preferably sometime around July 2009. I would be a first-time eventgoer, but have always enjoyed watching events on TV and what little off-roading I do here at home.
Editor: Well, for goodness' sake, man, take out a subscription! That way, you'll be up to date every month on any 4x4 competitions that are coming to your area. We don't have much information about any July events near you, but the W.E. Rock Eastern Nationals are coming to Dayton (Tennessee) the first weekend in August, and there's a Truck & Jeep Fest in Atlanta at the end of the month. Check out this month's calendar on page 92 for all the info. Be sure to check out fourwheeler.com as well--we keep an updated list of events that are happening around the country each month.
Wants To Level Nissan Titan
Reader: I have heard many opinions on this topic, but wanted some expert advice: Nissan Titan leveling kits. I wanted to know your take on this. I have heard PRG is the best. The lift is only 2 inches, though. Will that level my 2004 Titan 4x4 SE? I measured the wheelwell from the top of my tires--it's almost a 3-inch difference. A lift with 35s is my dream, but not in the budget right now. So getting it leveled out along with my BFG KM2s would look tough! Any assistance you could provide would be much appreciated.
Editor: Two inches should be sufficient to level your Titan. And, yes, it's true. PRG makes a quality product, but so do a number of other manufacturers including Daystar, Rough Country, Skyjacker, Trail Master, and Tough Country. There are some differences between leveling kits, however: some kits change the factory spring preload, and some don't. Some require disassembling the struts, and others don't. There are differences in the types of materials used, and of course, there are differences in price. We'd advise shopping around the web to see which kit works best for your technical know-how, and for your budget.
New ORV Park In Michigan
Reader: I would like to know if by any chance the magazine would be interested in doing a story on this great new off-road park called Rocks and Valleys in mid-Michigan. The park's web address is www.rocksandvalleys.com.
Michigan has very few legal places to four-wheel, and this was the driving point on starting this venture. I believe your readers would be interested in learning of a new place to run their rigs, and yes, it would be great P.R. for the park as well. I have worked hard and put in many hours nearly single-handedly in building trails, rockcrawls and more throughout the park. We have had several pre-opening runs with all great comments. I feel Rocks and Valleys will soon be on many folks' wheeling trip plans soon.
Editor: We can't guarantee for certain when we'll be able to check out your park for ourselves, but we can help spread the word by letting everyone know about it right here. So to all you Midwest wheelers--show a brother some love, and give Rocks and Valleys a look-see!