Four Wheeler July 2021

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3 min
a ford f-250 “highboy” and a boy

I was young the first time I saw a 4x4 doing 4x4 things. It was the early ’70s and the area where I lived in northern Illinois had been sucker punched by a brutal snowstorm. The city was paralyzed. My parents’ cars were trapped in the garage, which didn’t matter because they wouldn’t have gotten very far in the deep snow anyway. I recall standing in the middle of our street, in the frigid cold, and there was no traffic. This was fascinating to the young me because it was usually busy. The plow had been by a few hours prior, but the street was again covered in several inches of snow and there were only a couple of faint outlines of hours-old tire tracks. As the young me stood…

4 min
rednecking it up in a parking garage with an rti ramp and a classic chevy pickup

Every now and then I’ll stumble across a digital photo folder with images of something I had completely forgotten I was a part of, even though I had taken the photos. With the annual Four Wheeler SUV and Pickup Truck of the Year competition as the singular exception, RTI ramps in general might be one of those things scrubbed from my working memory. If you weren’t around in the 1990s, then you can’t appreciate the power off-road magazines lent the vaunted “Ramp Travel Index.” As we use it in SUV and Pickup Truck of the Year, determining a vehicle’s RTI score is a useful comparative tool for determining the flex potential of a given suspension or chassis. But back in its infancy, the RTI craze often resulted in people building weird…

4 min

SCOTT’S 4X4S Attached are some pics of my rides from the 1980s to current. The red ’73 CJ-5 was my first vehicle in 1983. The Chevy Blazer followed around 1985. Both were purchased stock and completely built by me. No neon, but I did have the roof lights (although only one row of them), a hydraulic tilt front end, chrome oil pan, chrome flywheel cover, and chrome transmission pan. The Blazer made the July 1989 issue of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road from the Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Jamboree the summer before. Currently, I have the gray ’79 CJ-7. It was a mechanical basket case that had a surprisingly (for Pennsylvania) rust-free body and frame that I did a frame-off restoration on. It is all OEM steel other than the windshield frame. It has…

3 min
rpm automotive news

In the News Hyundai doesn’t want you to call its Santa Cruz a pickup truck. Design Manager, Brad Arnold, puts it this way: “Everything, from its proportions to its lighting conveys that it’s not a truck, it’s a Santa Cruz.” The vehicle is said to share its definitely-not-a-truck bones with the Tucson SUV, similar to how Honda’s Ridgeline is related to the Pilot. This might make you double-check your safety chains! A Ford F-350 was found hanging over the railing of the Malad Gorge bridge on Idaho Interstate 84, connected to its trailer by only the safety chains. Rescuers were able to retrieve two dogs and two human occupants from the vehicle with non-life-threatening injuries. Self-proclaimed “Technoking of Tesla,” Elon Musk, left the 4x4 world with their mouths agape when the veil was…

2 min
parts rack

TACO LOCKER Adding to its repertoire of traction-adding devices for Toyota vehicles, which include the 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, and Tundra; Eaton has announced its ELocker differential for the ’16-present Tacoma. The locking differential is compatible with trucks and SUVs with manual transmissions and an 8.9-inch ring gear and 32-spline axles. Eaton’s ELocker is an electronic locking differential that offers unintrusive on-road performance as well as selectable on-demand traction. INFO: Eaton Corporation, 800/328-3850, EPIC RECOVERY Synthetic winch lines require fairleads that won’t damage your rope. Made from durable, forged 6061-T6 billet aluminum, Warn’s unique offset EPIC fairleads are resistant to corrosion, impacts, salt, weather, and UV rays for improved strength. Choose between a black or gunmetal type-III hard-anodized finish for lasting good looks. The Warn EPIC fairleads have a smooth, large…

4 min
scout (round) ii It’s not every day that a 4x4 we published a story on over four decades ago reappears. It’s even more rare that it reappears looking fantastic. But that’s what happened recently when Rough Country emailed us with a major surprise. The company told us that a ’77 International Scout II we published a story on in 1977 was coming to the shop in Dyersburg, Tennessee, for a new suspension. The Backstory This Scout was featured in the November 1977 issue of Four Wheeler magazine with the catchy title of “Customized Scout.” The piece told the story of the one-of-a-kind machine and how it was modded by Modern Motors in Glendale, California. “Specially designed Rough Country leaf springs for Scout models were used,” and the story noted that the springs were much heavier…