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New Products at SEMA 2017

Posted in Events on November 10, 2017
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It’s that time of year again. The SEMA Show in Las Vegas has come and gone, but it stays fresh in our mind. SEMA is an impressive show for several reasons. Sure, there are tons of nonfunctional show cars and trucks to ogle and contemplate why anyone would bother. And SEMA is great place to catch up with your automotive colleagues, but it’s also a great place to spot cool new products.

Every year we pace the floors looking for cool new parts, tools, tires, wheels, and more. Stuff that’s new to us and the world at large. Without fail we always find them. We know many of you couldn’t make it to the show, so here’s a chance to spot anything that hooks your fancy.

Micro Bronc
There’s nothing particularly small about a 1978-1996 Ford Bronco, and while this all-new replica body kit of a fullsize Bronco has a ton of cool features as well as optional accessories at a great price, unfortunately you can’t exactly drive it to work. With front and rear four-link suspensions, selectable locking differentials, portal axles, an optional coilover-based lift, period-correct paint, and a realistic vintage look, the Traxxas TRX-4 with optional Ford Bronco body kit has our attention. Add in the 1980s Broncoesque plastic wheels or optional Method beadlocks and we’re ready to play . . . literally. Info: Traxxas, traxxas.com

Bestop Sews
Bestop, the first name in Jeep soft tops, now offers custom embroidery on some tops. Sure, the embroidery will add a little cost and time to the top (because now it’s custom), but it also adds a ton of personalization. You can add logos, such as club logos, shop logos, favorite brands, and sports teams. Choose from five new custom Premium Twill colors, and also custom color stitching along the seams. To see all your customizing options, visit the company’s website. Info: Bestop, bestop.com

Bigger Superwinch
Superwinch originally unveiled the EXP line of winches at the SEMA Show last year, with 8,000-, 10,000-, and 12,000-pound units. This year Superwinch follows up with EXP Large Chassis Winches, featuring bigger winches with capacities of 14,000, 16,000, and 18,000 pounds. These larger EXP winches are available with synthetic or wire ropes, boast innovation and safety features usually only found with lighter-weight winches, and have a five-year electronic and lifetime mechanical warranty. The winches are assembled in the USA at Superwinch’s new Oregon facility and are IP69 rated for water and dust. Info: Superwinch, superwinch.com

Bubba Innovates
Our friends at Bubba Rope are great innovators of clever, cool, and safer winching and tugging products. A few years back they broke the mold with the introduction of their soft shackle, the Gator Jaw, spurring many followers. At SEMA 2017 the innovation continues and includes a new stronger soft shackle and this cool new winch rope that has an integrated soft shackle on the end. Now you can attach the Bubba Rope winch line directly to a tree saver, another vehicle, or whatever you’re winching to without the need for any metal under tension during your pull. No metal means less potential energy and safer winching. For more info on the winch rope, Bubba’s kinetic tow ropes, and new stronger soft shackles, check out the website. Info: Bubba Rope, bubbarope.com

New, Bigger Parts for Dynatrac
If you want a truly American part that will outlast your 4x4, look no further than Dynatrac. Announced at this year’s SEMA Show, Dynatrac has expanded its product line to cover more applications and add even more beef to an already stout drivetrain product. New are ProGrip brake pad sets for Hard Core, Hard Core Plus, and Elite axle sets. HD rebuildable ball joints are now available for more applications, including the 2013-current Ram 4x4s. Also new is a Free-Spin hub conversion for 2015-current Ford Super Duty 4x4s. While all of that is nice, what we were drooling over were these huge 40-spline, 1550 U-joint–ready, gun-drilled shafts for even more strength in the Dynatrac ProRock XD60. The gun drilling lightens the shafts, letting you have the strength of giant 40-spline axleshafts with roughly the same weight as 35-spline ones. This is also the only front axle with locking hubs that are truly 40-spline from hub to hub. The Dynatrac DynaLoc hub to be 40-spline rather than just cutting out (weakening) a 35-spline version? Oh boy, more drool! Info: Dynatrac, dynatrac.com

New Old Jeep
The Jeep CJ-5 is a true American icon, and when we saw this super-clean early CJ-5 at SEMA you know we had to stop and ask about it. The truth is the company that had it on display is licensed to do so and plans to reproduce every single part of an early CJ-5—frame, transfer case, axles, transmission, suspension, brakes, and more—and sell new-old Jeeps as a kit car. We like the sound of that, although we probably would have run with a flattie, Scrambler, or CJ-6 kit car first. The plan is to use modern manufacturing know-how (including factory heavy-gauge metal) to capture the mystique, history, and versatility of the CJ-5, all at somewhere around $13,000 for a rolling chassis and under $30,000 for a turnkey new-old Jeep. Info: Universal Motors Corp. (UMC), universalmotorscorp.com

Build Your Axle Your Way
Building a Dana 60 at home for your crawler project is becoming harder and harder as the wellspring of used kingpin and ball-joint Dana 60s in junkyards around the country dries up. Thanks to Dana there is hope for the future of custom axles with the introduction of the Dana 60 Builder Axle Program. With two long axletubes and two styles of knuckles (ball joint and kingpin), you or your local axle shop can build either a driver- or passenger-drop front or rear axle to your specifications. You can build just about any axle you can imagine given the cut-to-length housings with both high- and low-pinion center sections, inner and outer knuckles, spindles, brake caliper mounts, hubs, and rotors. You will need a big press to get the inner knuckles on, but the possibilities include a full-float Dana 60, or rear-steer centered axles to custom offset front axles with builder’s choice of ball-joint or kingpin steering and 1550 steering U-joints. Info: Dana Spicer, spicerparts.com/builder-axle

I’ll Have the Hellcrate, Please
The Hellcrate. Wasn’t there a movie about that? I think it was called Raiders of the Lost Ark. [Actually, Verne, you’re thinking down when the ark originated from on high. —Ed.] Well, this crate won’t melt your face off, but it may cause new wrinkles to form from the g-forces it causes and the smiles it induces. If you have a pulse and care at all about cars then you know what a Hellcat is. Thanks to the Hellcrate, you can put that 6.2L, 707hp, 650–lb-ft engine in just about any pre-1976 vehicle you’d like. The Hellcrate costs just under $20,000 ($19,530 for just the engine). Add another $2,195 to get the installation kit. The best part is the Hellcrate is backed by a three-year warranty. When you by one just remember to ask Mopar to send the engine not to your house but rather to Tech Editor Verne Simons’ house so he can test it for you. Thanks. Info: mopar.com

21st Century ARBs
ARB has a long reputation for high-quality off-road parts brought to the U.S. from Australia, and with the latest SEMA Show under our wings, we have a new ARB product to share. The ARB LINX Vehicle Accessory Interface brings turning on your lockers (and other vehicle accessories) well into the 21st century. The LINX controls your front and rear ARB lockers as well as the air compressor, but that’s just the beginning. The unit can also control vehicle lighting, airbags, and dual battery systems, and it can help with airing tires up via ARB’s LINX pressure controls, all from the Android-based handheld device (which can also play music and run apps). You’ve always been able to use your ARB to air up tires, but now you can set the desired pressure, hook up the air line, and let the LINX do the thinking to air your tires up or down. While you’re on the road the handheld device can monitor battery performance, control the lights, give GPS-based vehicle speed and directions, and more. Cool! Info: ARB, arbusa.com

We Got Decked at SEMA
Apparently one of the things we missed at a few SEMA shows past was a cool storage product from a company called Decked. Decked offers American-made weatherproof protection for lots of stuff in the bed of your truck. New for 2017 is the midsized Decked unit. Like the fullsize storage systems the company makes, the new midsize ones are made of 100 percent recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with steel reinforcements. The construction allows the box to support 2,000 pounds while weighing 200-230 pounds depending on options. The drawers are stout (rated at 200 pounds each) and feature durable rollers and an intelligently designed modular drawer interior with optional dividers and an optional toolbox that nests in the drawer. Info: Decked, decked.com

Flex-a-shop Fan
Working in a hot stuffy shop is never fun. Even though spinning wrenches is one of our favorite activities, heat and still air make it a lot less fun. For decades Flex-a-lite has specialized in moving air through car radiators as the cars head down the road or trail. The company’s expertise in moving air means it is perfectly suited to dabble in the shop fan arena. This makes for cooler, happier wrenching, which is right up our alley. The Flex-a-chill 3000 Airmover is perfect for moving air towards your in the shop, but the durable unit can also be aimed for cooling down a warm engine in need of tuning, cooling a rig running on a dyno, or moving air when something needs to be dried. Info: Flex-a-lite, flex-a-lite.com

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