January 2009 Mailbag - Letters to the EditorPosted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 2009
Chrome Won't Get You Home
I work with a guy who just bought a CJ-7 on eBay. He made the trip from South Carolina to Ohio to pick it up and trailer it home. It is fully restored/modified: fiberglass tub, 4-inch Skyjacker lift, 2-inch body lift, locker (supposedly), and blah, blah, blah. That is all fine and dandy, but he has as much Jeep knowledge as a 12-year-old girl. During his Jeep search, his requirements were lots of chrome, perfect paint, and no rust (afterwards, he ordered a chrome oil pan; I'm not making that up). Typically I would make fun of such requirements but I am seeing more and more immaculately restored CJs on the road fully decked out with chrome grilles, big lifts, 35s, and they will never touch a dirt road. I have become disheartened with the apparent direction of CJs and the overall Jeep community until
I just read Trail Head on page 6 of the September '08 issue, and my faith in the Jeep community was restored. I am not going crazy thinking a Jeep should look more like a Rat-Rod and more than a prop in a rap video.
My first Jeep was a $700 '83 FSJ with a brushed paint job, and I beat the crap out of it while learning about Jeeps. I sold the big Cherokee after buying a '79 CJ-7 with primer paint and two questionable bolts holding down the passenger seat (which my future wife rode in). I sold the CJ during my move to South Carolina and then bought a '91 YJ once in Charleston. When my wife became pregnant with our first about two years ago, I sold the YJ to pay some bills and have been Jeepless since. I have since had two beautiful girls and had not a penny to put towards the Jeep fund,, but still Jp magazine arrived in my mailbox monthly which was my only link to the Jeep world. The September issue was the second-to-last issue I was to receive before my subscription expired. Prior to writing this, that subscription was renewed.
Long story short, I just want to say thanks for remaining true to what the Jeep world should be and not giving into your advertisers selling useless bolt-on crap and chrome tube bumpers. Oh, and the new font size in the magazine is fine.Nathan MullensVia email
Have you caught any grief yet on the new article about carrying a survival pack ("Bug Out Bag" Sept. '08)? I had to wonder why the author chose a camo backpack. If I were in survival mode, I'd sure want something bright and easily seen when I passed out face-first in the desert. I also noticed he left out the importance of never being the least popular guy on a trail ride...or maybe he wants to remain unseen when shadowing somebody who made a comment about his magazine article.Dr. VernVia email
I presume that's why he has camo. He's harder to hit when his "buddies" are shooting at him. But he has a greener one when tracking someone in the Pacific Northwest...oops, I mean yeah, I suppose that's possible but ummm, yeah.
Cappa, you rock. Your list is dead on (Trail Head, Sept. '08). I have two Jeeps, first is a '78 CJ-7 with a 258 and stock except for a 4-inch Pro-Comp lift with 33-inch BFG MTs. This one is my beater; it has even stood up to my son Joe for 2 years. He is now 18 and leaving for the Air Force. While he is gone I am looking to drop in a 400hp 302 that I happened to have laying around. Then it will be a dad's-only toy. My other Jeep is an '03 TJ, all stock with 31-inch BFG ATs. This is my daily driver. Thanks for the best magazine on the planet.Floyd ChamberlainFreeport, TX
I towed the flattie from North Carolina up to Ohio. Not sure when I'll be done with it. I still need to get the tires on and measure for shocks.
The RS9000s I have from you are 13-inch travel, and I think 10-inch travel is what I need with the Ford Super Duty shock mounts (and what Christian is running on the DJ).
Also Dave Kennedy says he has some older Ford shock mounts (from a '90-ish F-250) that he thinks are longer so maybe I can get away with these 13-inchers (if he remembers to send these longer brackets). I am estimating that I need some 8-inch travel shocks on the rear, but we will have to see. I also went with the Fabtech 3.5-inch springs for the rear spring-under, and I might need a bit longer shackle. I can do some yard wheeling to flex it out. I also need to fab up some bumpstops.
Then I may swap the Baja Claws from the No Lift TJ onto the flattie, and look for some radials for the TJ. I am also trading Herm the Overdrive Guy my old 26-tooth bowl gear for a T-18 to Spicer 18 Overdrive shifter and $100. So then I can shift the Overdrive from inside the Jeep. Then....Oh I may never be done with it. Verne Simons Athens, OH
Finding Low Lock
All things are relative, but some things are more relative than others. We left on time as 21 4x4s pulled on to Route 145 out of Telluride, Colorado, and headed for Ophir. My stock '06 Rubicon was second behind the leader. We found Ophir and wound up over the unbelievable Ophir Pass. Then we got on Route 550 to Ouray. Just before town, we turned left and went up to Governor Basin. Snow over the trail stopped us. After 4 hours in 2WD I got in a bind. I had been in First gear going fine at the expense of lugging and slipping the clutch pretty bad. See, the Jeep does great things, but I wasn't using it right. It was raining, and I was trying to get over a large bolder but was slipping badly and had managed to slide and angle the left rear over the edge. I was in trouble. Finally, the leader asked if "I had it locked up." Nope. Nicely, he said lock it up and let's get going. I did and we did. Abusing the capability of my Jeep for 4 hours lead me to fully understand the real capability of the low range locked rear Third-Sixth-gear capability I always had but didn't fully appreciate. We got over Imogene Pass and back to Telluride in fine shape. The real capability of what the stock Rubicon can do is much more relative to a good day on the trail than what I was making it do. I appreciate it more now than I ever did, and next year Black Bear Pass is mine!Dick WeldonLos Alamos, NM
Champagne Wishes and Commander Dreams
As an owner of an '07 Green Jeep Commander, I purchased your magazine with hopes of seeing something about XK Jeeps. But to my surprise there seemed to be nothing-not even an ad-about the Commander. There was a spot in this issue of the magazine that asked what Jeep do you have, and the XK Jeep was not listed. Do you have issues with the Commander? Do you consider the Commander a Jeep? I have owned Grand Cherokees and several Liberties, and in my Jeep-owner's experience, the Commander definitely holds its own in its highly credentialed family? Do you cover XK Jeeps? If so, I'll subscribe today!Joe BrausenHaymarket, VA
Not so much. The Commander is not really an enthusiast Jeep. That's one reason you don't see a lot of aftermarket parts or ads for aftermarket parts for the XK. It's meant to be a comfortable and moderately capable street Jeep. Sure it's more capable than a Liberty. But geez, so is a rental car.
Do You Hate My Jeep?
Does this look so bad that you would dislike my Jeep? Only because there is a painting of it on the backend doing what we do best! Havin' Fun!Jim ThompsonSt. Paul, NE
Complaint With a Question
I'm 51 and driving Jeep number four, an '07 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara. If you increased the size of the font in the magazine, my aged eyes didn't notice. Your advertisers know what size font sells products; take a tip from them to sell me on the articles. Whose bright idea is it to print on top of the pictures? Someone on staff named "Bright Eyes" I presume. My collection of back issues goes back to late 1997 or early 1998. I'd tell you exactly, but I don't want to dig to the bottom of the box. What was the month and year of issue number one?Don MosierWestminster, CA
The premier issue of Jp magazine was spring of 1996.
Will-ees vs. Will-iss
Love the mag. Basically everyone I know sees an old Willys, (like Bruce Willis) no apostrophe, and calls it a Willy like a little boy's private part. I cannot find anything in writing that has the correct definitive pronunciation so that the argument can be put to rest and they see and believe the error of their ways, or possibly I'm a complete idiot and wasted your time. Keep doing what Jp does, you all are great.Clay Hutton YanceyBristol, TN
It is actually pronounced will-iss, but no one on staff says it that way because most people will have no idea what you are talking about. Somewhere John North Willys, the founder of the Willys-Overland Motor Company, is turning in his grave.
I'm sure you have a lot of people writing about errors in the "Jeep Trivia!" quiz in the August '08 issue. I feel that I have to join in to point out the two most obvious errors. I give my 38 winters driving in Indiana and my 4-plus years as a Jp subscriber as evidence of my qualification to dispute you the answers you provided.
Question 14, there is no correct answer, you should add: e. Never listen to editors from Southern California.
Now editor, no smart replies here. None of you know how to drive in snow, never have. I know Trasborg, or Hazel, or one of those guys once lived on the east coast. But I read his article on driving in snow a couple of years ago. God forbid he ever has to get to work by 7 a.m. after a 6- to 8-inch snow fall on city streets in Indiana. Even worse, imagine he does it in a two-wheel-drive commuter car because he let his wife drive his Jeep (we'll need a helicopter for this stuck). In anticipation of your comments, the magazine is Jp, not off-road. Driving in snow on city streets is a valid reason to own a Jeep, and the question was "When driving in snow, to avoid getting stuck" not "To plow through snow drifts on a mountain trail".
Question 20, again no correct answer, consider: e. Who cares?Steve WeigleVia email
Flamboyant As Ever
Liberace is alive and well? Separated at birth? Or is that a stunt double? I smell a scandal. The staff at Jp should know better than to print such a provocative photo this close to an election. I was reading September's issue, and there it is on page 14 in the Dispatch section. Liberace driving along talking on his cell phone, possibly texting at the same time! AAA and Jp should be ashamed! I don't even think he is driving a Jeep. Just for that, I will not be renewing my subscription. I hope you're happy.
I always get a kick out of the people that take the time to write and let you know how unhappy they are. Then cancel their subscriptions. Weak! If Liberace were around I am sure he would agree. Keep up the good work. Try to jazz up the next issue with a little Barry Manilow or even Kenny G. J. LaPantaCville, VA
In July '08 I made a mistake while paying my bills and inadvertently sent Jp magazine $100 instead of to the intended recipient. Jp magazine could have kept the money and applied it to future memberships, but you did not!
You returned my money without my even asking you to! It is such a pleasure to do business with a company that has integrity and responsibility.
Thank you so much, I will again continue my subscription when it comes due.Doug WalbourneFernley, NV
Viva La Vintage
I know you guys have had tons of feedback about the Project HItari! CJ-6 project, but I just wanted to cast my vote as well.
I leave those issues set aside from all my other issues so that at least once a month (sometimes much more often) I can go back and re-read the buildup and enjoy it. By far, my all time favorite project vehicle of yours or of any other magazine. Fantastic work guys, and please... do more projects like that! (And by that I don't just mean cheap...I know you have plenty of those projects. I mean cheap, vintage, running 33s or smaller tires, and way cool!) Sure, sure...I know it's not that easy to do... but I have faith in you guys.Keep up the good work!Ben BirdBeatrice, NE
I read your current Trail Head (Sept. '08). Although I don't agree with everything, I love your attitude. All I can say is: DO: Keep the "opinionated ass" editor. DON'T: Find an editor who has no opinions or ass, because he'd be full of s#!t.
Keep up the great work and the best off-road magazine alive.Craig NishidaVia email
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