Reader: How do you select the cover picture for your magazines? Cover stories? Just an awesome picture of a reader's rig?
Heber City, UT
Editor: You're right, Alan. We like to find awesome readers' rigs for stories and covers. We feel that is the core of real-world wheeling. However, there are a lot of cool custom creations from manufacturers and shop builds, so we don't ignore those either. Look for us out on the trail and maybe you may have that right combination of color, action, model, and pizzazz to land your rig on the cover.
Reader: I just finished reading your article "Bugout-Mobiles" (July '09), and I think it's a great idea to build one! If I remember correctly, one of your editors had an old Dodge Power Wagon ambulance that would be a fine platform to start with. If that is gone, I'd like to see what you can do on the Astro or Safari platform. Please just don't do another pickup with a cap. Those are not true expedition vehicles. And if you could, put in a list what it cost you to build the thing. I know that prices vary from place to place, but it gives a general idea of what it'll cost to build this beast.
Gene Yagley III
Port Charlotte, FL
Editor: Thanks, Gene. We'd love to build our own BOM, but we're a bit stretched in the project vehicle department. Check out Fred Williams' new expedition truck project, page 46 and in future issues. Parts and pieces are quickly and furiously being assembled into a new type of project that you might enjoy.
Crushing The FJ Cruiser
Reader: I agree with your decision to allow your "Turtle" ( FJ Cruiser) to go out in a blaze of glory by using it as it was intended in Four Wheeler magazine's Top Truck Challenge (congratulations on the selection, by the way). I will be watching very closely and cheering you guys on every step of the way.
Editor: My question to you is, while I do understand the need for the vehicle to go to the crusher upon returning it to Toyota so it won't become a liability, what exactly needs to go to the crusher? Given the fact that you have added a four-speed Atlas, Pro Rock 60s, coilovers, air bumps, 40-inch Crawlers, a winch, and front and rear bumpers, these are nonfactory options and please please please tell me the only thing the manufacturer is going to receive is a green scratched, dented, and otherwise disfigured shell of an FJ with a VIN number on it to destroy. Times are tough, and it would make complete sense to me to scavenge all nonfactory options for use in future projects or to donate to some lucky reader whose Scout buggy needs them more than Toyota does (I'm raising my hand as this is being typed).
Thanks for all your hard work and dedication in making the greatest 4x4 mag out there; and when you are ready, give me the go ahead and I will make a road trip with plasma cutter and Sawzall in hand to keep these jewels from going to scrap. Also, if needed, I would gladly cover shipping to New Mexico.
SSgt Luis Otero
Editor: Right you are. Toyota will receive a carcass, and the rest of the parts are already slated for other projects. Sorry you weren't on the list of recipients. A Scout buggy might be interesting, and wouldn't be typical.
Which Size Winch?
Reader: Hey guys, talk about your mixed signals! "Spool School," Apr. '09, page 37: "We like the rule of 1 1/2, which means the winch rating should be at least 1 1/2 time the curb weight of your vehicle."
"Forward Progress," Apr. '09, page. 43: "Be sure to match up your winch since to your vehicle's weight. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a winch that is double the weigh of your rig."
Which is really the better general rule? (That's a rhetorical question.)
I think that you guys should do some testing of winches in different terrain and see how much weight rating over the weight of the vehicle is advisable for a specific terrain. For example, go out and really bog down a truck in some Alabama mud, then pull it out using different rating winches (1x, 1.5x, and 2x vehicle weight). Try pulling a truck up a California rockcrawling waterfall trail (in dry season) with the different winches. Bury it to the axles in Baja sand and extract it with each winch. Even better, find a club that has three members with Toyotas that are all close in weight, and give each guinea pig; I mean, give each mini-truck a different winch, then take them out three weekends to the three different kinds of terrain (mud, rock, sand--desert or beach) and see how they do. I feel sorry for the guy with the 4,000-pound-rated winch, but I'll enjoy reading about it.
Keep up the good work. Your mag keeps me dreaming about what I'm going to do after this recession is over.
Editor: Been there, done that. Not exactly as you have described, but close enough. The facts simply are no less than 1.5 times the vehicle weight, and 2 times the weight is even better. Don't skimp: The tow truck bill for extracting your rig will be far more than the extra money you should have spent on a suitable-size winch of good quality.
Too Many Broncos?
Reader: I got my June '09 issue today, and I thought the cover looked really familiar. Then I realized that it was the third early Ford Bronco on the cover in less than a year. I guess the staff really likes those old Broncos! I think they are cool too, but you should try to get a few different brands or even models on the front cover. I just want to thank you for feature of the International Scout last month ("Last of the Scouts," May '09). Internationals have always been thought of as underdogs, and I'm glad to see some in your magazine. Thanks.
Editor: Right you are! We love classic Broncos, but also all other 4x4s. You have a good memory too; most people simply say we have too many Jeeps on the cover. Goes to show you...