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New Off Road Products - Towing Buyer's Guide

Posted in Features on November 1, 2007
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This month, we highlight some of the numerous products aimed at making your towing experiences easier, faster, and less stressful. Whether you're hauling a four-wheeler, a fifth-wheel, or a boat, products such as cooling fans, limited-slip differentials, and trailer-hitch items are all accessories that can help make your trip a successful one.

Power-Lok limited-slip differentials have been designed for either the Dana 44 or Dana 60. Each model features two-piece case construction with four pinion-mate spider gears that provide for more than double the strength and 75-percent more traction than conventional open-type differentials. Each diff is fitted with all-steel clutch plates and unique torque-applying cross-shafts for positive action and long life. By utilizing positive engagement forces without the typical push and pull characteristics of an air locker, maximum traction is delivered to both wheels when you just need to get that trailer or fifth-wheel moving.

For more information, contact: Precision Gear, (734) 946-0524,

The newly released Banks Bullet diesel tuner is a true multipurpose performance upgrade for '01-'04 Duramax LB7, '03-'07 Cummins, and '03-'07 Power Stroke diesel trucks. The compact 2-inch device contains three power modes - Stock, Tow, and Sport - for instant, on-the-fly adjustments. Additionally, the tuner serves as a digital boost gauge, EGT gauge (requires the optional thermocoupler), and fueling-percentage gauge.

Depending on the power mode selected, the Banks Bullet adds 60 to 100 rear-wheel horsepower. Best of all, this tuner is easy to install and has been designed to fit seamlessly with any applicable vehicle's electronic system.

For more information, contact: Gale Banks Engineering, (866) 438-7693,

The Hell-Ya Productions Hitch Helper Dually provides an additional 1,800 pounds of tongue-weight capacity while helping to eliminate trailer hopping and weaving. Designed to fit inside any 2-inch receiver hitch, the Hitch Helper Dually contains dual coil springs and dual six-ply C-rated tires. Being fully adjustable, the unit will work with any trailer and tow vehicle configuration. Each unit is powdercoated to resist corrosion and is backed by a 1-year warranty.

For more information, contact: Hell-Ya Productions, (877) 851-0096,

Anyone who has ever had to tow a large trailer up a grade can appreciate having one of these units. With the ability to shift under full throttle between each gear with the motor only dropping to half the rpm it normally would, an overdrive unit is a towing must-have. On the highway, the units convert to overdrives, making 4.10 gears behave like 3.20 gears or 3.55 gears behave like 2.77 gears. Installation couldn't be any easier as the units bolt directly to the stock transmissions of some of today's most popular trucks, regardless of whether they are automatic or manual models, and all without requiring any additional modifications.

For more information, contact: Gear Vendors, (800) 999-9555,

Flex-a-lite's new '94-'02 Dodge Cummins diesel fan kit features dual 15-inch electric fans that move an impressive 5,500 cubic feet of air per second and are encased in a brushed aluminum shroud. Each kit features a Variable Speed Control (VSC) unit which can be adjusted from 60 to 100 percent, depending on conditions. Aside from the improved torque, a 6-percent fuel-mileage increase, and quicker cooling response, dyno tests show an additional 27 hp at the rear wheels.

For more information, contact: Flex-a-lite Consolidated, (800) 851-1510,

Reese's heavy-duty towing platform has been designed specifically for those who tow fifth-wheel or gooseneck-type trailers weighing up to 30,000 pounds. The above-bed gooseneck can be easily removed for unobstructed use of the truck bed. The Power Puck receptacle system provides for easy installation and securing of the gooseneck, and a wider-than-normal footprint increases stability.

For more information, contact: Reese, (800) 326-1090,

The Airsafe Air Ride Hitch features a multidirectional movement that counteracts the surging, bucking, twisting, or swaying often experienced when towing fifth-wheel trailers. The Air Ride fifth-wheel hitch has a 25,000-pound capacity and features a Binkley-Holland positive-locking anvil/head assembly for trouble-free coupling and uncoupling of the trailer.

For more information, contact: Airsafe Hitches/High End Markets, (866) 448-2475,

The Greaseless HardBall is a greaseless trailer ball that utilizes a nylon-composite cap which allows the ball to rotate freely inside the coupler, eliminating the grinding of metal-on-metal contact to significantly extend the life of the coupler. The ball is currently available with a 1-inch shank. The ball sizes with corresponding weight ratings are as follows: 2-5/16-inch/8,000 pounds; 2-inch/8,000 pounds; and 1-7/8-inch/5,000 pounds.

For more information, contact: Andersen Mfg., (800) 635-6106,

At first glance, this unit looks like your typical gooseneck trailer hitch; however, with a flip of the spring-loaded latch pin hidden inside the wheelwell, the ball pops out and can be inverted to stow under the bed, allowing for a flat surface to carry cargo.

Easily installed to the framerails of any fullsize truck through the factory bed mounts, the kit comes complete with a removable 2-5/16-inch ball rated at 30,000 pounds for towing and 7,500 pounds for tongue weight. When recessed into the floor of the truck bed, the only evidence of the hitch is a round hole in the center of the bed.

For more information, contact: B&W Custom Truck Beds, (800) 248-6564,

Hidden Hitch's Interlock system features a hitch ball and ball mount that index together. The indexed parts snug together using only one wrench, giving users easy installation and a great-looking product.

For more information, contact: Hidden Hitch, (800) 632-3290,

Regardless of what size your tow vehicle is, it's always nice to have just a little more capacity on reserve for those just-in-case situations. Hellwig's new line of air springs can provide that extra capacity. Each system features high-capacity rubber airbags rated between 2,600 and 2,800 pounds and all of the necessary hardware for an easy installation.

Systems are available for Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, and Dodge vehicles. They are also lifted-truck friendly: All the installer has to do is reverse the mounting hardware of the airbags to compensate for the added height of the lifted vehicle.

For more information, contact: Hellwig Products, (800) 367-5480,

The Tekonsha P3 electronic brake controller is one of the most technologically advanced controllers on the market. The "up-front" control panel allows easy access to all of the P3's features. An easy-to-read LCD display highlights a number of functions, including multiple color and contrast options as well as language options. A built-in safeguard continually performs diagnostic checks to ensure that there are no output short circuits, open grounds, power loss, output overload, or internal errors. Both electronic and electric-over-hydraulic trailer brakes can be used with the unit by selecting the appropriate mode.

Additional diagnostic functions of the controller are electrical-system current output, stoplight functions, and battery/output voltages. For added safety, a flashing warning system alerts the user when the trailer brakes may not be functioning properly.

For more information, contact: Tekonsha, (800) STOP-YOU,

How many times have you arrived at your destination with toys in tow only to spend the next hour or so cleaning road debris and grime from the front of whatever it is you were towing? With the Towtector mudflap system, this can be a thing of the past.

Custom-sized to fit any tow vehicle, the Towtector spans the entire width of the tow vehicle and features a one-of-a-kind shield for stopping rocks, gravel, sand, tar, and any other road hazard, from damaging your trailer, boat, or whatever it is you happen to haul.

For more information, contact: Towtector, (888) 735-3553,

The Off Road A/T is engineered for the 4x4 enthusiast and can be custom-built by adding options to accommodate individual needs. Up to 19 inches of ground clearance is possible using 35x12.50/15 tires. A 2-inch-drop axle comes standard, while an optional lift kit and a 4-inch-drop axle make room for tires up to 37 inches in diameter. A variety of rack systems are available, making the Tentrax a true packhorse. The Off Road A/T can also be personalized to match your vehicle's paint and wheels. Additional options include a skidplate and nerf bars for extreme off-road use.

For more information, contact: Tentrax, (800) 488-2022,

If you're in the market to update the lighting system on your trailer, you may want to have a look at the latest LED trailer lights from Wesbar. Virtually indestructible and maintenance-free, these LED lights will never burn out and come complete with mounting hardware and are prewired for ease of installation.

The rectangular light kits are available for surface mounting with either silver or black bezels. A variety of light configurations is available, depending on the type of trailer and wiring harness your vehicle is using.

For more information, contact: Wesbar Trailer Products, (800) STOP-YOU,

Warn's newest portable winch, the 1700DC, has been designed to pull loads up to 1,700 pounds, perfect for handling those heavier-than-normal items like furniture, equipment, and industrial items that need to be placed onto a trailer with minimal effort.

Features of the winch include a built-in tension plate to help keep the wire rope tightly wound on the drum, tie rods for added strength and stability, and a new handheld remote that controls power-in and power-out functions. A restyled clutch knob engages with a pull and a turn for effortless free-spooling, and an internal self-locking brake holds full-rated loads. The 1.6hp motor draws minimal amperage.

For more information, contact: Warn Industries, (800) 543-9276,

Oftentimes it's handy to have a spare battery on board, either on your trailer or in the truck bed, to provide power for the start-up of generators, fuel pumps, etc. Rather than just leave the battery in plain sight and exposed to the elements, protect your valuable battery with a Taylor aluminum battery box.

Easily mounted to framerails or any other solid surface, the box is constructed of 0.040-inch aluminum and comes com-plete with all hardware and a durable one-piece welded hold-down. Best of all, the box is able to fit many of today's most popular brands and sizes.

For more information, contact: Taylor Cable Products, (816) 765-5011,

When you just need to get away, make sure you have one of these hitched up. This is the ultimate go-anywhere camping trailer. It can sleep six comfortably, yet it still has all the comforts of home, including seating, a table, a kitchenette area with freshwater capabilities (19 gallons), a hot-water heater, and a retractable awning system.

Designed with the off-road enthusiast in mind, the 11RT comes standard with 15-inch radial mud-terrain tires and a leaf-spring suspension.

For more information, contact: Starcraft RV, (260) 593-2550,

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