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, Québec, 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 1⁄2-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.