Tori Tellem's "4x4 Formulas" (May '98) contained a very good presentation of finding the center of gravity (CG) of a vehicle. It was easy to follow and well explained; however, I don't see any practical use for this. Even if I know the CG of my CJ-7, this doesn't tell me at what point the sucker will roll over. What instrument is available that will give an accurate measure of roll-over potential so I'm not doing a lot of body work? Experience is something one gets by doing, but it's also something one acquires after it is needed.
The only real benefit of knowing your CG is to help you better guess when things will get nasty. In a fully loaded Jeep, the CG may be much higher than you think, making the vehicle less stable than you think.
We've only seen one level/bubble type of roll-over meter, but it just tells you the true angle the vehicle is at side-to-side and isn't really a roll-over meter. Also, you'd have to roll once to see exactly at what angle your vehicle will go over, and then it's only accurate for the amount of gear, fuel, and so on that you had on board at that time.
Finally, we've seen people roll vehicles on surfaces that shouldn't have caused a problem, making these meters fun to watch but no more helpful than knowing your vehicle and having a feel for the tiltiness of the situation.
In your answer to Chris Davis (Letters, Apr. '98), you stated that the new GM trucks don't give you the choice of turning off the daytime running lights (DRL). I have a '97 Chevy Z-71, and I can disable the DRL by putting the emergency brake on the first notch. This isn't enough to apply the brake, but it turns off the DRL.
We actually learned this trick with the first DRL-equipped vehicle we testdrove, but hadn't passed it on to the readers. Thanks for sharing.
Start 'em Young
I am 16 years old and just getting started in four-wheeling. I would like to know how to install body and suspension lifts. I have been reading your magazine for about a year now and have read the pros and cons of each. What I haven't read, or have missed, is the step-by-step how-tos. I own an '88 Dodge 1/2-ton shortbed and want to lift it 3 inches. Before I do so, I would like all the info I can get on installing a lift kit.
Our Feb. '98 issue had a step-by-step how-to on lifting a CJ-7 ("Lift Kit How-To"), which has a very similar suspension to your Dodge. The installation is pretty simple, but the bolts are usually rusted in place, which makes an impact wrench mighty nice. In short, you can do it, but it will be a challenge, and you may need help or specialty tools.