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Off Road Performance Truck Parts - Off-Road Insider

Posted in Features on October 1, 2001 Comment (0)
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Fabtech Desert Crewzer
Fabtech is working exclusively with OFF-ROAD magazine to create the Desert Crewzer, an '02 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 that will be built for the off-road enthusiast. Fabtech is going to use this truck to develop new products, such as a 6-inch suspension lift, multiple front and rear shocks, traction bars, front and rear prerunner guards, and an interior rollcage. The truck will also use bead-locked wheels with 35-inch BFGoodrich tires, a Warn winch, and PIAA off-road racing lamps. In addition, the engine and drivetrain will receive a series of upgrades, including Precision Gear ring-and-pinion differential gears, a Gibson after-cat exhaust, an Edelbrock high-flow induction, and a Con-Ferr polished aluminum differential cover. There are also plans to radically modify the interior. Future issues of OFF-ROAD will feature the transformation of this SuperCrew into a truck that is ready to perform on the trail in cutting-edge style.

CORR EXXON Superflo Series Returns to Fort Dodge
Fans at the Midwest Off-Road Raceway in Fort Dodge, Iowa, were ready for the rumble of 800hp pickup trucks soaring through the air and kicking up dirt when the 2001 season of the CORR EXXON Superflo Series made its season debut on May 19, 2001. In the EXXON Superflo Pro Series, seven rookies started their professional racing careers in Round 1, including five in the Pro-Lite division. Pro-Lite drivers Steve Federico (2000 Single Buggy Champion), Chad Hord (2000 Super Buggy Champion), along with racing veteran Jimmie Crowder, as well as Joe Price and Tom Hoppock, experienced their first professional off-road races at perhaps the fastest track in Championship Off-Road Racing.

Sixteen Pro-Lite trucks started in Round 1, the largest field ever assembled in that division. Rick Huseman's Fabtech Ford raced to an early lead and was dominating the track, opening up a sizeable lead over the field. Heading into the straightaway on the back part of the track with full power, his truck immediately stalled. He lost his transmission, which allowed Jason Crowder and his Wicked Willies Ford to take the lead and win the first round.

Chris Brandt, the only Iowa driver competing in the CORR EXXON Superflo Series, finished second, but was penalized five points in the season point standings for an illegal front bumper. Brandt, from Council Bluffs, is competing in his third season. His Toyota Tacoma gained speed as the race went to the second half, showing that his truck will be strong in 2001. In 2000, he finished in Second Place with 18 starts and two victories, one at Fort Dodge (Round 7) and one at Indianapolis (Round 13). Rookie Steve Federico, in his Ingles Market Toyota, finished third, and Jimmie Crowder finished fourth. Pro-Lite Champion Jeff Kincaid finished twelfth.

In the Pro-2 division, Scott Taylor and Evan Evans are starting the season where it left off in 2000. Taylor blistered to the front, followed quickly by Carl Renezeder and Evans. After Evans passed Renezeder's Lucas Oil Chevrolet, his GM Hydra-Matic transmission-equipped Chevrolet was gaining ground, quickly heading right for Taylor's EXXON Superflo Ford. The fans roared with anticipation when Evans was rubbing Taylor's back bumper, which was a familiar scene several times last season. Evans, one of the more popular drivers, is paralyzed from the chest down, and drives using hand controls.

With the race more than half over, Evans took a few shots, but was unable to pass Taylor. When both drivers came down the straightaway side by side, Evans had the opportunity and briefly took the lead when they made the first turn before Taylor relinquished the lead, heading to the second turn. Entering the most dangerous part of Midwest Off-Road Raceway, Evans disappeared down into a steep bank and reappeared in the lead. As the crowd responded, what they did not realize was that Evans had passed Taylor in a yellow-flag zone, which is illegal. When Evans accepted his black-flag penalty, which is a five-second stop and go, his truck stalled during that time, which put Taylor in the lead. Taylor held on and picked up the victory, the 18th of his career.

Supercharged Xterra and Frontier
In the last issue of OFF-ROAD, we gave you a sneak peek at the new Xterra. Since then, we've had the opportunity to drive it, as well as the '02 Frontier Crew Cab longbed. The improvements made to both vehicles shows Nissan's continued desire to provide the vehicles that consumers want. For example, one of the biggest complaints people had about both the Xterra and the Frontier was the relative lack of horsepower. Now, both vehicles are offered with superchargers, giving the 3.3L DOHC V-6 210 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque, a dramatic improvement over the naturally aspirated engine. The supercharged engine is available on the S/C Desert Runner, the S/C 4x4 King Cab, the S/C Crew Cab, and the Crew Cab longbed, as well as on XE and SE Xterra models. Another issue some consumers had with the Frontier was the size of the bed behind the Crew Cab. This is why there is a longbed option for the '02 Frontier Crew Cab. This option brings the bed length to 74.6 inches.

Other improvements for the '02 Frontier include a Rockford Fosgate nine-speaker AM/FM/six-disc in-dash CD changer with steering wheel controls and a subwoofer (Frontier Crew Cab), a redesigned instrument panel, and a change from the pull-type brake to a foot-operated parking brake. The Xterra received a new front fascia, new colors, a redesigned instrument panel, and a new eight-speaker stereo system. There is also a new option package, known as the Enthusiast Package, which comes with manual hubs, rubber floor mats, a limited-slip differential, and other off-road options. The new Xterra and Frontier finally have the right combination of power, off-road capability, and utility.

New Crossover Vehicle Based on ST-X Concept
This new vehicle concept combines the versatility of the Subaru Outback with the utility of a pickup, creating a whole new type of vehicle. Garnering an enthusiastic response from both the media and consumers at several auto shows throughout the U.S., the concept is the ultimate expression of the Subaru brand essence - fun, freedom, adventure, confidence, and control. "Subaru invented the crossover category with the introduction of Outback, the world's first Sport Utility Wagon," said Subaru of America Incorporated Chairman, President, and CEO Takao Saito. "Now, Subaru has taken this concept a step further, establishing a new segment to complement the active lifestyle. Based upon the overwhelming response by the public and our dealers to the ST-X, we are confident this new vehicle will form the latest chapter in the Subaru crossover success story."

Ford's Secret Truck Engine
Truck makers usually have no problem calling attention to themselves. Even if it's a minor revision to a pokey product, we can usually count on getting at least an exhaustive press release and dozens of photos. But when Ford introduced a new 2.3L, DOHC, 16-valve 4.0L as the base engine in the Ranger and Mazda B-series compact pickups, the company said practically nothing. All this is more surprising because the engine itself presents some interesting firsts for Ford and Mazda.

First among firsts is that the new 2.3L is Ford's first all-aluminum truck engine, and it weighs 90 pounds less than the 2.5L SOHC. The all-aluminum construction also indicates that this is an all-new engine and not just yet another rehash of the ancient Pinto 2.3L. It's also Ford's first multi-cam, multivalve four-cylinder truck, though the DOHC, 32-valve 5.4L V-8 in Lincoln Navigator beat it to market as the company's first twin-cammer.

Most of the new 2.3L's engineering is typical contemporary engine design. Each of the four runners in the composite plastic intake manifold has a butterfly valve, and at low engine speeds those valves are partially closed so that air velocities into the engine are increased. As engine speed increases, those valves are held open to provide a larger volume of air. The result of that butterfly trickery, says Ford, is the horsepower and torque are more evenly distributed across the engine's operating rpm range (90 percent of the torque is around for 80 percent of the engine's operating range).

Of course, a new engine wouldn't be worthwhile if it didn't pay off in power production and fuel economy. Compared to the old 2.5L, the 2.3L makes 16 more horsepower (135 at 5,050 rpm versus 116 at 5,000), but just 7 lb-ft more peak torque (153 lb-ft at 3,750 rpm versus 146 at 3,000 rpm). Most importantly, the engine meets the U.S. Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) emissions standards, and, according to Ranger Chief Program Engineer Mark Bill, buyers can expect about a 2.5-mpg improvement in real-world fuel economy.

Truckin'
Nationals to Rock Firebird RacewayAttracting more than 23,000 spectators and participants to last year's event, the 2001 Truckin' Nationals promises to be an even larger spectacle, offering a manufacturers' midway, monster truck rides and competition, a rock garden, and the toughest 4x4 competition ever. The event will be held October 13-14, 2001 at the Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix. New to this year's event is the co-sponsorship of yours truly, McMullen Argus Publishing, home to such great magazine titles as OFF-ROAD and Truckin's SUV. This year's Truckin' Nationals will offer the coolest, fastest, and toughest trucks and 4x4s, as well some bitchin' Harleys and bikini-clad beauties in the crowning of the Miss Truckin' Nationals.

In addition to everything truck related, the Truckin' Nationals will feature the likes of off-road racing legend Ivan Stewart, who will be on hand to hobnob with his fans and sign autographs. Enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to testdrive Toyota trucks, drive go-carts, and witness the first-ever triathalon of truck racing, featuring drag racing, roadcourse racing, and a combination on- and off-road race. Big Foot, Snakebite, and Bounty Hunter monster trucks are booked for the monster truck competition, and the Off-Road Ride and Drive will allow participants to test drive their favorite make and model of vehicle back-to-back. For more information, call Firebird Raceway at (602) 268-0200 or check out the Web site at www.truckinationals.com. Event information is also available at www.Gr8Ride.com, the title sponsor of the event.

Tsunami Sport Trac
The recently introduced '01 Sport Trac is a unique and impressive ride in stock format. However, when modified, the Sport in its name can take on new meaning. Such is the case with the vehicle seen here. Westin Automotive Products, one of the leading manufacturers of exterior accessories such as grilleguards, lightbars, bull bars, step bars, and so on, wanted to create a Sport Trac that would be a real attention-getter. After one look at the finished project, we're convinced that the company achieved the intended result.

Dubbed the Tsunami, the Westin Sport Trac features a number of exterior mods and dress-up items, a wild paintjob, an aggressive stance coupled with trail-ready rolling stock, some performance enhancements, interior upgrades, and more seeing power in the form of foglights and driving lights. Perhaps the most dramatic modification to the big Ford is its colorful paintjob. The paint reflects a Tsunami theme with bright swatches of tropical blue and orange waves and artistically designed broken bits of yellow bamboo. The eye-catching paint scheme was expertly designed and sprayed by Vale's Kustom Kolor located in Buena Park, California.

Naturally, a Westin project truck needs to sport Westin products, so a Westin Sportsman one-piece grilleguard stands on duty up front, while the company's Signature Series step bars are on call on the sides of the Sport Trac to ease egress and ingress maneuvers. Additional outside styling cues are provided by a set of PIAA 520-series lights mounted on a Carr lightbar sitting on top of the cab, and powerful PIAA XT80s, which reside in the Sportsman grilleguard. Covering the Sport Trac's bed is a Can-Back canvas truck cap with roll-up sides. A Hidden Hitch receiver is also on call for towing chores.

The Tsunami's menacing stance and aggressive rolling stock also make waves, and the 4 inches of lift comes complements of a Superlift suspension kit. The ready-for-dirt Pro Comp 33-inch Mud-Terrain tires are wrapped around 16-inch Center Line billet aluminum wheels. In order to provide more efficient exhaling of exhaust gases and additional ponies to the Sport Trac's 4.0L powerplant, a Gibson after-cat exhaust system has been bolted into place.

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