I recently read your reply to Dick Bostick (Your Jeep, July ’18) regarding the limited advantages to installing manual locking hubs on a JK. I believe there is one benefit that you overlooked—the ability use 2WD low range.
I’m often faced with launching a boat, and having the vehicle in 4WD low is not a good idea when trying to make sharp turns on a hard-surfaced lot and ramp. Frankly, in those situations I don’t need 4WD (wheelspin is rarely an issue), but it is very helpful to have the extra oomph from low range. By unlocking the front hubs I can shift into 4WD low and essentially have 2WD low, which allows me to freely turn on the hard, paved surface without stressing the driveline, but retain great low-end power for retrieving the boat. My JK has the Trac-Lok rear axle so I often do this on loose ramps just as well.
An extra 1 mpg, less wear and tear on frontend components, and the ability to obtain low range in 2WD makes freewheeling hubs a no brainer for me. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.
Great points! We would never say that the advantages of manual locking hubs are “limited,” but they are very specific. In most cases, the conversion would never pay for itself via improved fuel economy and reduced wear and tear. However, as you have noted, two-wheel-drive low range can be very helpful when maneuvering a trailer in and around tight spaces.
The low-range gearing helps protect the transmission from overheating during the high-load, low-speed maneuvering. The 2WD low-range feature can also be useful on the trail when sharp technical corners that don’t require four-wheel drive are encountered. Although, it is a bit inconvenient to have to get out and unlock one or both hubs mid-trail and then relock them. For us, the serviceability is the most notable advantage of converting to locking hubs on a JK, but others feel differently and don’t mind the unit bearings.
As an aside, we certainly aren’t visiting the same boat ramps. Many of the boat ramps we encounter are wet, slippery, and sometimes covered in a slick moss. If the rear tires dip far enough into the water, the only way to pull forward is with all four wheels working in four-wheel drive. Once we reach the top of the boat ramp, we typically shift back into two-wheel drive before making any turns, which would help avoid the drivetrain bind you are concerned about. But hey, if two-wheel drive works for you and your boat ramps, you have the perfect setup.
’06 Rubicon Input
I know it is a year old, but I was reading through Mailbag (Apr. ’17) and ran into the “TJ Speedo Calibration” letter. Someone had asked about adjusting the speedometer after regearing the axle and adding 35-inch tires on a ’06 Rubicon. The only option that I am aware of is using a device like the one from Blue Monkey Motorsports (bluemonkeymotorsports.com), to change the signal from the 241OR. Just putting it out there in hopes of helping others.
Jason Hodges Via facebook.com/jpmag
My father has an extensive history with creating some awesome vehicles. My brother and I had always wanted to learn his trade and have him guide us through a project. After a year of hard work and long nights, we rolled our dream Jeep out of the garage. It’s a ’56 Willys CJ-3B with a 4BT Cummins diesel.
Hunter Stephen Via facebook.com/jpmag
I have a funny story about Herm the Overdrive Guy (hermtheoverdriveguy.com). I built my ’68 C101 over a period of four years. I finished it and drove it often. I love the whine of the 225ci Dauntless
V-6 engine. One day, on a trail ride with some buddies, I broke First gear in the factory T-86 transmission. The C101 sat dormant for a few years. I then got the bug again and I began to look to have the T-86 repaired. Everywhere I called, they told me one of two things. The T-86 is junk and not worth fixing, and from my area code of 360, why don’t I just call Herm? I had no idea who Herm was at the time.
I finally settled on Advance Adapters’ recommendation of a GM SM420 swap. I was saving money for the purchase when one night I went to my wife’s bowling league to cheer her on. In the back of the alley were a group of old, white-haired men with long beards. They were playing cards in between balls. I overheard one guy say, “Turbo 400 blah, blah…” and “Dana 300 blah, blah…”
Those guys know transmissions I thought! I walked over and introduced myself and asked them if they knew where I could get a good SM420. Herm stuck out his hand and said, “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Herm the Overdrive Guy!” It turned out that I had been going to church with him and seeing him on Sundays for three years.
Rod Tiffany Via facebook.com/jpmag
You never know where your fellow Jeep enthusiasts are until you ask!
I really like Jp, but I would like to see more features on Cherokee and Comanche Jeeps. This is a Jeep magazine and they are Jeeps. The CJs, YJs, and TJs are really cool, but not all of us drive them. Although, I did own a YJ for 14 years. I’ve also had two Cherokees and my Comanche for 11 years. Please put some MJs in the magazine. I don’t subscribe, but the few issues I have bought off the shelf make it so I wouldn’t want to get the magazine each month with only articles on the other Jeeps. It’s a great magazine for those who do drive or build CJs, YJs, and TJs.
Ferris Belman Jr. Via facebook.com/jpmag
We do cover all Jeeps in Jp. Unfortunately, the Comanche MJ hasn’t been built in 25 years and the XJ Cherokee has been out of production for nearly 20 years. Many of them have long since made their way to the wrecking yards, especially in states with salted winter roads. Rest assured that we take full advantage of the few feature-worthy XJ and MJ Jeeps we find on the trail, but we can’t find them all. We need your help!
If you think you have a Comanche or Cherokee worthy of a full feature article or being included in Jeep Shots, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to include a few pics and the full specs of your Jeep.
I’m planning my retirement and looking for your input. What are the top five places that you can off-road year round in the United States?
George Via facebook.com/jpmag
There are many places that you can easily go off-road year round, but it will depend on your tolerance of the weather. Our top five places might be different than what you would choose based on weather alone. With that said, much of the southwestern U.S. enjoys temperate weather and year-round off-road activities.
Moab, Utah, would be on the top of our list. Summers can get warm and winters can get cold, but year-round wheeling would be easy here. Hurricane, Utah, is also a favorite. It’s very close to the Sand Hollow State Park and hundreds of miles of trails that make their way to the north side of the Grand Canyon. Higher elevations in Arizona, such as Prescott, Flagstaff, and Sedona have great off-road opportunities without the summer heat southern Arizona is known for. If you don’t mind triple-digit temperatures three months a year, Lake Havasu City, Arizona, is a possibility too. Pretty much any of the mountain areas in Southern California are great for off-roading. This would include Big Bear, Arrowhead, Wrightwood, and other areas at higher elevations that are still near the deserts. In most of Southern California you can enjoy mountain wheeling in the summer when the nearby deserts are too hot, and winter wheeling in the deserts when the mountains are too cold.
Not a Jeep!
Regarding Trail Head (July ’18), I have a response to your question about Jeeps, what makes them a Jeep, and why the Mahindra Roxor is not a Jeep.
Jeep is a strong American representation of freedom. This is the vehicle that has military beginnings and was the foremost sought-after transportation for decades in the U.S. armed mobile forces. A Jeep has seven slats in the grille for a reason. Its heritage is as strong as its ability to nimbly traverse over all types of terrain. The only Jeep is a Jeep!
International Scout, Ford Bronco, Chevy Blazer, Toyota 4-Runner, and all other SUVs are not Jeeps. Just because it wants to be known as a Jeep, don’t make it a Jeep. It may be Jeep-like, but the true bloodline will never be Jeep.
Todd Sulouff McClure, PA
Interestingly, the first military “Jeeps” had more than seven slats. The original production military “Jeep” had what is known as a slat grille with 11 large openings and two smaller ones. The later MB and Ford GPW military “Jeeps” came with stamped steel grilles that featured 9 slotted openings. Speaking of which, would you consider the Willys MB a Jeep but not the Ford GPW, which is nearly identical in every way? The 7-slat grille only surfaced in 1945, when the civilian CJ-2A began to roll off of the assembly line. So a “Jeep” really can’t be identified by having only a 7-slat grille. Besides, most FSJs don’t have 7-slat grilles. Are they not Jeeps either? The Jeep ID waters are certainly clouded; some people don’t even consider the newer Jeeps like the Renegade a Jeep, even though it’s built under the Jeep brand.
No Jeep Stamp
Regarding Trail Head (July ’18), what is or isn’t a Jeep is different for a lot of people. For some, it’s the vintage flatfenders, for others it’s a two-door stick-shift Wrangler with big tires. And yet others feel the four-door JK or any Jeep with an automatic transmission is not a Jeep. The Roxor is not a Jeep! Why you ask? Ummm, I don’t see a Jeep stamp anywhere on this vehicle. End of discussion.
Valid point, but would that mean that all of the wartime “Jeeps” are not actually Jeeps because they don’t have a Jeep logo? That sure would be dismissing quite a bit of history, and a total disregard for the origin of the word “Jeep.” It’s a slippery slope for sure.
It Is a Jeep!
The Mahindra Roxor appears to be a refreshing reboot of what a Jeep is supposed to be. It is a much closer rendition than those overweight four-door JK Unlimited limos we see everywhere. It also illustrates the sad fact that our modern safety requirements have made the price of a new Jeep double what it needs to be. All it needs are mirrors, turn signals, and a windshield, and it should be street legal in my book.
The Mahindra Roxor is like a modernday CJ-7, only brand new with a new diesel engine. I wouldn’t hesitate to drive it to Home Depot or to get groceries. With a few underhood adjustments and an overdrive, I’d take it on the highway too.
I’m interested in seeing how successful the Roxor will be in a world where cars are morphing into something resembling a smart phone with wheels. Do people really want all those electronic distractions that we find in modern vehicles? I know I don’t. So is a Mahindra Roxor a Jeep? Yes! Giles Blair Via email
Dirt ’N Driver
This was my first year attending the Jp Dirt ’N Drive. What a great event! I wish I would have applied the first year. The event was flawlessly planned. Rick and the Jp staff led us from Phoenix, Arizona, to Moab, Utah, with plenty of places to play along the way, as well as showing us a lot of interesting geography and cultural locations while we traveled through the Hopi and Navajo Nations.
The three-day trip culminated in Moab where we all met and regrouped on the outskirts of town to drive to our dinner destination. There’s something indescribable about 100 Jeeps parading down Main Street in Moab. People had their cell phones out filming all of us cruising through town with big smiles and waves. The victory dinner was great. There were lots of prizes all around from the raffle, and the sponsors were more than generous with swag as well as some pretty awesome product giveaways, including $1,000 worth of tires shipped to your door! But, what everyone coveted most was the grille from the new JL that had been signed and doodled on by the entire design team that worked on the JL. Pretty cool.
If I had a complaint about this run, it would only be that it wasn’t long enough. Or maybe it was just right, because it left you wanting more. Great job guys. Hoping to do it again next year!
Dave Van Selow
We’re glad you made it and enjoyed the trip! Be sure to follow our Facebook page and check back on jpmagazine.com for updates on the ’19 Jp Dirt ’N Drive event.