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January 2005 Mail Bag - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 2005
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Wannabe Scumbag
I just read Mailbag in the Nov. '03 issue. I really wanted to be a rabble-rousing, derelict, scumbag, low-life, maggoty, low-mentality, brain-dead, scurvy creature, but unfortunately, the Jp Mayhem Tour coincided with my annual wheeling trip to Michigan. Maybe next year. I, too, feel that Jp Magazine is irresponsible and insulting (mainly to dirty hippies and high-school dope dealers) and I can't wait for the next issue. How about 12 issues a year, guys?

Thanks to Dr. Vern, my wife now knows that I am not the only nut who regularly carts home large clumps of roughly Jeep-shaped piles of rust and tells her, "It'll look great when it's done! These are really rare!" She just sighs now instead of losing it completely like she used to.
Douglas Hazard
Via the Internet

Crack Head
Cracks that start from the edge of the windshield are not uncommon with vehicles that travel rocky Montana backroads. The problem worsens when the cracks migrate through your field of vision. Until now there's been nothing that could be done about it short of replacing the windshield. Like most people, I can only afford to do that every so often. I have, however, found a way to change the path of crack migration away from the central field of vision.

A few months ago, before washing my rig, the sun had really heated up my windshield. A small crack instantly spread 8 inches to the edge of the windshield after pouring on cold water. With that in mind, I got to thinking about another crack on the other side of the windshield that was headed toward screwing up my vision. I thought, why not heat a spot at the end of a crack to change its direction?

I used a lighter and applied a small amount of localized heat on the exterior side of the windshield. I heated a 1-inch line from the leading end of the crack toward the direction I wanted it to migrate. I then poured cold water on. As expected, instant change of direction! It's now heading back toward the edge of the windshield, where it will not interfere with my vision.

I recommend starting with less heat than you might think is necessary. If you don't get your intended results at first, you can always use a little more heat. Additionally, avoid making sharp turns. If a sharp turn is needed, repeat the procedure a few times in a wide arc till you get the crack going in the right direction.

Here are some possible titles for your consideration and convenience:
"Controlling the Spread of Windshield Cracks"

"A Crack in Time Saves Nine"

"Windshield Cracks Turn on a Dime"

"Turning the Spread"

"Going South with Migrating Windshield Cracks"
David Braun, Student
Montana State University
Mechanical Engineering
Bozeman, Montana

We were thinking more along the lines of "Just Replace the Windshield" or "Crack Racing Fun On Your Buddy's Broken Glass."

Where You Been?
As a long-time subscriber to Jp Magazine, I have to say that I've been greatly disappointed in your magazine lately. I'm a college student with a younger brother who also subscribes to Jp, and quite frankly, the recent content has been disappointing. First of all, it's been a while since I've read a good tech article.

Secondly, I'm disgusted at the poor judgment and taste of the "Mayhem Tour" article. It's pretty bad to hear this from a college student. What about some quality tech such as college guys building up their rigs on a budget or flipping a D300 and mating it to an AW4?
Name Withheld
Via the Internet

Oh, you mean tech like "Turning It Over" (Sept. '02) where we flipped a Dana 300 over for use in a late-model Jeep, and "Green Machine" (Jan. '04) where we featured a college-kid-built M-715?

Crack Addict
With 90,000 miles, three windshields and frequent buyer status at Novus for repairs, the only disappointment I have with my Jeep is the vertical rock-stopping windshield. "Poly-No-Cracker" (Feb. '04) was a direct hit home.

Let's compare notes: Months ago I decided to "fix" it. I researched polycarbonate windshields, got the same initial positive response and data as relayed in your story. I had multiple discussions with the owner of a company called Shields (www.racingshields.com). Just before I sent the check, my anal nature came through and I consulted some other "experts." I was told there are two drawbacks to the poly windshield. First, it's not as dimensionally stable as glass. Second, there is no bonding agent that will reliably seal poly to the stock rubber gasket. Sure that Shields would dispel this concern, I contacted the company one more time. It was almost as if I had discovered some dark secret. The attitude changed and here's what I walked away with: I could drill and bolt the poly to the metal frame and leave out the rubber, essentially bonding the poly directly to the metal the way the racers do.

To go with a standard install and face certain leaking/rusting or to end up looking like I had made a wrong turn on a NASCAR track wasn't an option for me. My glass windshield currently has five designer cracks that I've learned to love. So when I saw Christian Hazel's story in the index, my pulse quickened as I thought Jp found a work-around. After reading I'm afraid the research just stopped short of what I found out. No complaints, I just need to know the rest of the story.
Jay Hoy
Via the Internet

Christian Hazel responds: It sounds like you're one of those pesky perfectionists who tries to raise the bar for all the rest of us hackers. Seriously, though, you are right on your two points. However, I'm not sure how applicable they are to the mainstream Jeep market.

Your first point, that Lexan is not as dimensionally stable as glass is correct. You can press a Lexan windshield at its center and it will bow and flex to a certain degree. Glass will allow hardly any distortion without shattering. Say you're going down the trail and a tree branch that you don't see smacks your windshield. With the Lexan, the worst that may happen is that the windshield will pop out of its gasket. (Although I tried to pop my poly shield out with my foot and couldn't, I will concede that it's possible a hard hit will dislodge a Lexan windshield installed in a poorly made gasket.) The glass windshield, on the other hand, will shatter.

Your second point, as to the mounting, most race guys will bolt their Lexan windshield in to keep them from popping out. Like we said earlier, Lexan will give because it's not as dimensionally stable as glass. At high race speeds in excess of 120 mph, it can be possible for the force of the wind hitting the windshield to pop the Lexan out of its gasket. Off-road racers bolt them in to keep them from falling out during extremely hard landings and in violent terrain that can tweak the body of the race vehicle enough to let the windshield pop out. Because, as you say, you can't reliably bond the Lexan to the gasket, it becomes necessary to bolt it in to ensure it can't leave the vehicle. However, it's unlikely that the average Jeep owner will encounter any situation that will cause a Lexan windshield that's been properly installed with a new rubber gasket to come out. I have towed my flatfender into a 30-mph headwind at a road speed of 80 mph. That's about a 110-mph wind hitting the windshield, and it's still on there.

In my opinion, the advantages of the Lexan windshield outweigh the disadvantages for the average guy with a Jeep. In your case, it sounds like it would be just the thing to prevent those rock chips and spidering, but if your research really has you concerned, then you may be better off buying another glass windshield. It ultimately comes down to what works best for you, not only on your vehicle but for your peace of mind.

Environmentally Unfriendly
I had let my subscription run out due to lots of schoolwork and time with the kids. We just bought our 16-year-old an '02 TJ Sahara - very cool stuff. I have an '83 Scrambler with some cool mods I did myself. My wife has a cool '81 CJ-5 with 6 inches of lift. We are a Jeep family. I couldn't help but notice the "fight" going on in the Mailbag section of the magazine. I am glad I missed that issue. It is a pity I had already filled out the two-years-for-$15 subscription card and it is (was) sitting ready to be mailed. Now it will be sent to the dump. Jp Magazine, yet another casualty of a society that thinks sex is all a guy wants. This house is what you want your mag to go to, but in the future we will stick to the forums on the net that are free and family-friendly.
Scott A. Walker
Harrisonville, Missouri

Sent it to the dump? You really should recycle.

Hot Dog's Dad
I was the owner of the Hot Dog J-2000 pickup in your article "Sight Unseen" (Nov. '03). I loved the story, and I haven't stopped laughing yet. My friends will love it as soon as they see it. The 304 engine, T-98 transmission and Dana 20 transfer case were from a '76 Forest Service rig that had a front end with a six-bolt pattern and disc brakes so large you had to run 16-inch wheels. It took Chevy wheels. When you are a poor boy from the backwoods of Oregon you make do with what you have. If you think some of my fixes were bad, come up some time and I will introduce you to some friends of mine that will scare you to death with their farm fixes. Oh, by the way, the houses on my land that you saw were not the oldest houses on the property. Deep in the blackberry bushes are the original buildings, which are at least 90 years old. The fur trappers who called it Champoeg settled in this area in 1839. Just west of my place is a graveyard dating back to the 1830s. Also, the engine was rebuilt all the way, including the cam bearings. Not like some California overhaul where you spray-paint the outside of the motor and call it good.
Ol' George
Deep in the Oregon Woods

Left Out
I just received the August '04 issue of Jp Magazine. I was looking at the "Joan Rivers Jeeps" article, and I saw you left my business off your list. I have been an advertiser for many years and I would have assumed that would get me on the list. Oh well, it's a great mag anyway.Dan
Owner, Rigid Steel Fabrication
www.rigidsteel.com

Right Answer
I would first like to say I enjoy this magazine. The variety of articles and modifications to all types of Jeeps keeps it both interesting and informative. I wanted to address the "Why do you spend so much time covering high-dollar rigs?" complaint that seems to be a constant in this section. My Jeep is like most of your readers' Jeeps - it has some store-bought modifications and homespun fabrications. Though I am quite happy with it, I doubt it would be a real page-turner in your magazine. I probably won't ever own a highly modified Jeep, but seeing the technology described in these pages allows me to see what is possible and perhaps even use some of it on my ride or my friend's. The article you ran ("Mind Games," Sept. '03) about checking out marine stores, construction equipment and so on is a good case in point. Please continue printing the articles and I'll continue pouring money/time into my "inexpensive" Jeep.
Tom R.
Via the Internet

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