Mopar Performance Rolls Out Dana 60 For Wrangler JK
Over the past few years new vehicle manufacturers have started offering upgrades that had previously only been available through the aftermarket. Well, Mopar Performance is taking this trend to the next level. They're rolling out a bolt-in Dana 60 rear axle for the Jeep Wrangler JK. Mopar Performance revealed this axle at the '08 Easter Jeep Safari, but we had a chance to inspect it a month prior to its unveiling while we were visiting Burnsville Off Road in Burnsville, Minnesota. Dan McKeag and the team at Burnsville Off Road had the inside line because they performed the setup for Mopar's All Access JK, which was the first vehicle displayed with the axle installed. The accompanying photo shows the Dana 60 under the All Access JK.
The axle borrows componentry from the J8 export-only diesel JK lineup. It has 35-spline axles and uses larger DR-Series Dodge truck disc brakes. The beauty of this axle is that it is set up with JK bracketry and pinion flanges so it'll bolt right in. It uses a wheel bolt pattern of 5 on 51/2. To complement the Dana 60 rear axle, Mopar Performance will also offer a larger front brake setup using 1500-Series brake components and a new hub and bearing assembly in the 5-on-51/2 bolt pattern.
Buyers will have the option of purchasing the axle and installing it themselves or it can be installed by the dealer. The axle will be available by mid-summer. No pricing has been announced at press time.
Land Use Notes
Off-Roaders Gain More Access To California Dunes
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ruled that 12,000 acres of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in California must be closed to the public so as to protect the Peirson's milk-vetch plant. The agency excluded 10,000 acres of dunes where most off-road activities take place. The plant was placed on the endangered species list in 1998 and the FWS was required to designate critical habitat to protect the plant on land, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Also known as the Algodones Dunes, the recreation area is a favorite destination for wheelers using desert dune buggies and other all-terrain vehicles. The off-road community demonstrated that there would be disproportionate economic harm if the critical habitat designation included the Gecko and Glamis Management Areas encompassing the 10,000 acres.
SEMA is reviewing the rule. The association generally supports a balanced approach between land access and conservation, which includes advice from the local community.
Hawaii Targets Vehicle Engine Size For Additional Fee
Legislation has been introduced in the Hawaii House of Representatives to establish a progressive fee for state motor vehicles based on engine size. These fees would be collected by the state at the time of initial vehicle registration and at subsequent renewals of registration. These fees would be in addition to fees and taxes normally required for registration or renewal. The measure would tax vehicle owners with an engine size greater than 200 cubic centimeters, and the fee would increase depending on engine displacement.
* There are reports that Dodge is planning to hold the pricing at or near 2008 levels on the all-new 2009 Ram 1500.
* Navistar has sued Ford again over diesel engine disagreements after failing to reach a settlement in mediation.
* Porsche is said to be eyeing a Volkswagen diesel for the next-generation Porsche Cayenne.