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January 2010 Drivelines - Off Road News

Posted in Features on January 1, 2010
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The 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8 available in Ford's next-generation Super Duty is wholly different than the engine it replaces. For instance, notice how you can't see the exhaust manifolds?

They've been moved to the valley between the cylinder banks, which reduces exhaust system volume and allows quicker feeding of the turbocharger. Ford calls that turbo a single-sequential unitº because it has two compressor wheels driven off one turbine impeller. This design combines the quick spool-up of a small turbo with a big turbo's ability to stuff a lot of air into the engine. Even the engine block is all-new, made from compacted graphite iron, which Ford says is twice as strong as regular gray cast iron.

To meet emissions regulations (these are now "clean" diesels, remember), cooler exhaust gas recirculation and a very lean burn work to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx) during combustion. At the other end of the process, an aftertreatment system and a diesel particulate filter rid the exhaust of NOx and soot, respectively, before they leave the tailpipe. Adding to the engine's clean nature is its compatibility with up to B20 biodiesel fuel.

Among the data missing from Ford's info on the engine are power numbers. All the company is saying now is that the new Power Stroke "will deliver significant improvements in torque, horsepower, and fuel economy." Guess we'll have to wait for the '11 Super Duty to see what the new Stroke is capable of.

Yoder Clinches Second Rock Race Championship
Kevin Yoder had to settle for a Second Place finish in the final race of the Nor Cal Rock Racing series, but he left the Prairie City event with his second consecutive series championship. Yoder called the day's track layout "brutal," with high jumps, 30-foot berms, and a fast-70-mph fast-straightaway. "Quite a few of the racers never finished practice," he said of the conditions. Yoder himself had an on-track incident when another driver ran into him, causing his buggy to flip several times. No damage was done, and Yoder went on to wrap up his championship season.

This Just In
•Mark your calendars: The '10 Griffin King of the Hammers event in Johnson Valley is scheduled for February 12. Organizers say the race is becoming a week-long event, with plans for off-road-industry workshops, a vendor area, and more. Visit for more info.

•The National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) had to postpone its Mexican 1000 Rally in September after Hurricane Jimena damaged a major portion of the Baja peninsula. NORRA will instead provide assistance to the ongoing relief efforts in the area and will reschedule the Rally once the recovery is further along.

•Automotive News reports that Toyota will bring out a new version of the Tacoma for either the '11 or '12 model year. There are no changes planned for the Land Cruiser, but AN says the FJ Cruiser "might be a one-generation vehicle," as Toyota is "questioning the size of its lineup and the future of body-on-frame trucks." That doesn't sound good.

•Plans for Chrysler to build the next-generation Titan pickup for Nissan have been canceled. The two automakers had discussed building the '11 Titan on a Ram-based platform as part of a bigger technology-sharing program, but that program was killed late this summer. A joint statement offered by the two makers said, "It was in the best interests of both companies to end the projects." Now the Titan's fate is uncertain. Nissan could continue building it in its current form, or it could decide to leave the fullsize truck market. Titan sales have always lagged behind the rest of the segment.

•The Pathfinder could get a new lease on life if Automotive News is right about Nissan moving it to a Patrol-based platform for the '12 model year. "Expect a more robust Pathfinder, with slightly larger dimensions and more engine power," said AN. The change comes to reduce manufacturing costs and also to fill a void should Nissan decide to kill the Titan-based Armada after 2010.

Polaris: The Army Wants You
This summer the U.S. Army sent Polaris Industries a $6 million order for more of its MV700 ATVs, plus related parts and accessories, for use with the troops in Afghanistan. There's more to militarizing the ATV than green paint and camo seat covers. The MV700 also has a 1,500-pound tow capacity, a 600-pound total carrying capacity on its front and rear racks (double what's available in this class for non-milspec ATVs, says Polaris), and run-flat Goodyear Mud-runner EXT tires. The tubular frame you see is what Polaris calls a "protective exoskeleton" to better shield the ATV from the rigors of military use.

Hmm, seems like they need a small off-road vehicle. Maybe a reissue of the Willys M38 is due?

New 4Runner on the way
If only this month's deadline was a couple weeks later, we'd have a photo of the whole '10 Toyota 4Runner, which was scheduled to debut at the State Fair of Texas. All Toyota will say about its fifth-generation 4Runner prior to the intro is that it is "more rugged than ever," with "increased comfort" and "added roominess." According to trade journal Automotive News, the 4Runner will get Toyota's new 4.6L, 310hp V-8, which is more powerful than the 4.7 it replaces while delivering V-6-like fuel economy. Watch for more details and a better picture next month.

Earth Watch
•Land-use advocate Del Albright has developed a new website,, that offers "one-stop shopping for finding out where to start with saving your trails," he said. "Recreationists want things fast, simple, and easy, and provides the first steps and a simple formula for getting in the game."

•Last month we told you about the large number of grants given to the OHV community by Yamaha. We have since learned that Tread Lightly! received a $40,000 chunk of that grant in the form of cash and equipment. Yamaha funds will support the design of a template for a new travel map that will simplify information from the U.S. Forest Service's Visitor's Use Map by incorporating both motorized and nonmotorized travel information, as well as Tread Lightly!'s outdoor ethic. Yamaha also contributed a Grizzly utility ATV in support of Tread Lightly!'s annual fundraising auction on eBay.

Team Toyo Rocks Crandon
Our buddies at Toyo Tires were justifiably stoked following the 40th Anniversary BorgWarner World Championship in Crandon, as drivers running on Toyo's Open Country M/T-R tires dominated the Labor Day Weekend event. Kyle LeDuc earned the prestigious BorgWarner Cup for winning Sunday's Pro 4x4 race in his Rockstar/Makita/Ford/Toyo-sponsored F-150. Brother Todd LeDuc won Saturday's BorgWarner World Championship Pro 2WD race in another Rockstar/Makita Ford and finished the weekend within striking distance of TORC's Pro 2WD series championship.

Rick Huseman is currently leading the Pro 4x4 points chase. He made his mark at Crandon by pushing his Monster Energy/Traxxas/Toyota/Toyo Tundra to a new track record that was more than 2 seconds quicker than the previous record.

Also setting a track record, in Pro 2WD, was Robby Gordon in his Polaris/Toyo Silverado. Gordon had one of his super-human weekends over Labor Day, qualifying at Crandon on Friday, driving a NASCAR race on Saturday, and then returning to Crandon to race on Sunday-all after hurting himself during a high-speed crash in his desert-race Hummer earlier in the week.

New Raptor Info
We've learned some new details about Ford's F-150 SVT Raptor. Let's start with a confirmation that the truck will be available with a second engine, a 6.2L V-8, "in early 2010," says Ford. This is the long-awaited Boss engine (once known as the Hurricane V-8 before Katrina made the name uncool) that will produce an estimated 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Online sources have quoted figures as high as 425 hp and 425 lb-ft.

We also got our hands on a pricing sheet for the new truck, which starts at $38,995 including destination charges. If you're holding out for the 6.2, it'll set you back another $3,000. Exterior graphics are $1,075, the orange-accented interior costs $395, and the Luxury Package-with stuff like power pedals, 10-way power seats, automatic temperature control, and a Sony stereo with six-disc CD changer-costs $1,950. If you want a nav system, you'll have to pay $2,430 on top of the Luxury Package. Fun can get spendy fast, can't it?

New Tread Lightly! Quick Tips Brochures
Tread Lightly! has produced a new series of 18 brochures offering responsible backcountry use tips specialized for different types of outdoor recreation. New tips for UTV riding, shooting sports, and trail sharing have been created, while existing brochures for four-wheeling, ATV riding, camping, and so on, have been updated and redesigned. The Foremost Insurance Group, which specializes in policies for off-road vehicles, funded the effort. These tips are available in printed format or online; visit for more info.

Valve Stem Correction
A story in our November Drivelines about cracked valve stems had some misinformation, we have since learned. The issue of valve stem wear is still a concern to off-roaders, but the valve stems in question, manufactured by Dill Air Control Products, were made back in 2006, installed in 2006 and early 2007, and then recalled in 2008 after a third-party investigation into the defective stems. While the initial investigation encompassed some 30 million valve stems, the number of valve stems actually recalled was much smaller: 198,000. We should also point out that the numbers on the valve stems that we called manufacturing codes-TR-413CH, TR-414, TR-415, and so on-are actually valve stem sizes that nearly every manufacturer uses, not just the manufacturers mentioned in that item. We apologize for any confusion this created.

•Dec. 4-6: Henderson's Fabtech Desert Classic desert race, Henderson, NV. Information: 702.457.5775,

•Dec. 5: Toys for Tots run, Twisted Trails Off Road Park, Copemish, MI. Information: 231.651.9603,

•Dec. 11: Winching and recovery clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047,

•Dec. 12: Wheelin' 4 Toys trail ride and toy drive by the Brush Beaters Jeep club, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park near Fort Scott, KS. Information: 660.200.2052,

•Dec. 12: Beginning off-road 4x4 skills clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047,

•Dec. 12-13: National Off-Road Racing Series championship, San Diego, CA. Information:

•Dec. 14-15: Getting started off-road 4x4 skills clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047,

•Dec. 31: The Dash 200 desert race, Plaster City, CA. Information: Mojave Desert Racing, 626.442.9320,

•Note: If you have a 4WD event you want us to publicize, please send the date, location, a description of the event and contact info-phone numbers and/or email/website address-to Calendar, 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, or email Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.

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