BY Rick Pewe
I couldn’t believe it! I got so excited I almost fell off the toilet when I saw the small inset picture of the famous Early Bird restaurant featuring the Bigfoot Burger in “Monster Hunting Tires” in the Jan. ’13 issue. The fact that the Petersen’s crew ended up in Willow Creek, California, for a tire feature is awesome. I assume you went to the Bigfoot Symposium that is held every year there. I don’t know how many donuts I ate as a kid that were picked up from that very same Early Bird restaurant while riding to school with my dad and drooling over your mag — over 20 years ago! Glad your crew had some fun in the most beautiful country California has to offer. Sorry you didn’t see Bigfoot, though. He probably ran away when he heard the Pit Bulls growling down the road. He is an elusive creature, you know.
Colorado Springs, CO
We have come to the conclusion that Bigfoot exists, but he’s blurry. That’s why all the photos of him are blurry. It’s not the camera — he really is blurry!
RECYCLING PAYS OFF
I’m a longtime reader, and this is the first time I have seen this. I just received my January issue, and in the In Box is the same letter that I read in the November issue from a teenager in San Luis Obispo, California. Now, I don’t know if it was a slow month or what, but doesn’t someone go through this rag before it’s printed? Otherwise I enjoy the mag. Keep up the good work.
Yes, indeed, you are correct. The interesting thing is my two different replies to the same letter. Basically the teenager said our $4,000 budget for our Cheap Truck Challenge (Aug.-Sept. ’12) was too high, whereas many readers said it was just right. We want to do CTC again, so what are your ideas for a budget limit? Let us know at www.4wheeloffroad.com.
PROJECT XJ IDEAS
First off, thank you for a great mag. It helped me build three rigs (totally different) based on your experience, ideas and editor’s magnificence. That said, I have an idea for your XJ. For the first build, keep it simple, and upgrade as necessary (your own words, I think). Don’t lift it, just chop the fenders, weld the diffs, add some sort of skidplating, and fit 31s or 33s. I did it, and it works way better than I expected. It’s locked, has a low center of gravity, and has a good drivetrain and protection. Might I tell you the old beater cost me around $300, including purchase price? And it had the Off Road Package! How about a Cheap Cherokee Challenge? You just need a welder and a grinder to build a warrior.
GUILLAUME POIRIER ROBIDOUX
Saint-Michel des Saints, Quebec, Canada
Man, are you giving us ideas! We need to find a $300 XJ around here and go to town on it. Thanks!
AMERICAN AXLES RULE
Just wanted to say thank you for your Jan. ’13 issue articles on the Dodge truck suspension (“Pushing in the Bushings”) and the AAM axle upgrades (“AAM Upgrades”). I work my ’05 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 CTD on 35s quite a bit camping, hunting, towing, and so on, and I have been upgrading things slowly as parts wear out. Just went over 99,000 and have replaced unit bearings, ball joints, and all of the tie rods. The Dynatrac ball joints are very solid parts, well worth the labor it takes to install them. Anyway, keep up the good work, and I welcome more articles like these.
You bet, Josh. We know that Chevy, Ford, Toyota, and Jeep get the most ink, but the mighty Dodge or Ram will always be present in our builds and coverage.
IFS VS. SFA: WHO WINS?
This debate is as old as GM IFS, but what if there were a test of ½-ton pickups in both SFA and IFS configurations? Which is better day to day and off-road, both stock or with a mild lift (say, 4 inches)? Take six trucks along with lifts, tires, lockers, and so on. It is a lot of iron to buy, test, modify, and test again, but I’m just wondering if 4-Wheel & Off-Road would consider such a series. Maybe then, and only then, we could end this debate.
We have had four IFS 4x4s attend the Ultimate Adventure over the years, and every single one had issues with the IFS parts. Of course, all the other trucks on the UA have had solid axles, and we can’t say that none of them had problems.
THE BRAVE WHEELERS
Love your mag, been a fan for years. My name is Andy Borst. I’m a sniper in the U.S. Army currently deployed to Afghanistan and a big off-road enthusiast. I’m from Oregon but live at Fort Lewis in Washington. I own an ’84 Toyota Xcab pickup. It is my baby! I purchased it in 2010 after about three months of searching, which didn’t make the wife too happy since we only had one car at the time and two kids. She didn’t like to wake everyone up at 0530 to take me to work so she could have the car. She thought I was being too picky, but I just wanted the right solid-axle Yota I have wanted since I was a teen.
I’m writing to see if you would put a picture of my truck in your magazine so I can brag to the guys around here. It’s nothing fancy just yet, as it is still stock, but during my time here I was able to order up the classic front and rear 5-inch lift kit from Trail Gear, along with the dual transfer case adapter for that extralow range. I have two close friends back home, Justin and Jason, who are putting everything together so we can hit the trails as soon as I get home. I know my daughter is excited as well. She is becoming a little mud enthusiast. She also seems to think that this will be her truck when she turns 16. Guess we will have to wait and see.
I was planning on running the new Maxxis 37X12.50R17 Trepador with a set of black Fat Five rims from Method Race Wheels. Everything was going to plan with my build till the family car decided it wanted to start breaking down. So I thought it was time for us to get rid of it for a nice reliable car since we do a lot of moving around in the Army. So I bought my wife brand-new minivan for her and the kids using the rest of the savings I had for the build. But as long as the wife is happy at home and I don’t have to worry about her breaking down on I-5 again, I’m OK with it.
So it looks like now I will have a lifted Yota on 31s. Well, at least till I can get more funds, I hope. Other mods I would like to make down the road is add 4.70:1 gears to one of my transfer cases, front and rear tube bumpers, an internal cage, Weber carb, and lockers front and rear.
I have also attached a pic of me, my rifle, and the newest copy of your magazine I was able to get my hands on when I did a refit at a big base here in Afghanistan.
Thanks for your time and an awesome mag to read to pass the days.
SGT. ANDY BORST
U.S. Army Sniper
Thanks for your brave service, Andy. We are happy to post your photos here and thank you and your comrades in arms for their service keeping the rest of us free.