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February 2010 Drivelines - Off Road News

Posted in Features on February 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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New Super Duty UnVeiled
Behind that humongous, gleaming grille, two new engines-and a power take-off (PTO) transmission-will be available for Ford's '11 Super Duty pickup. The new 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8, detailed in last month's Drivelines, features a unique inboard exhaust/outboard intake system designed to reduce exhaust volume for crisper throttle response. The engine's single turbo is fitted with a dual-sided compressor wheel, which also improves throttle response at low engine speeds and stuffs a lot of air into the engine as the revs increase. The new V-8 is also capable of running on biodiesel blends up to B20.

Super Duty's new 6.2L gas engine is an iron block/aluminum head V-8 with an overhead cam and valvetrain configuration, variable cam timing, and two spark plugs per cylinder. According to Ford, these and other features enable the 6.2 to produce more horsepower and torque than the outgoing 6.8L engine while also offering "class leading" fuel economy. Unfortunately, Ford has not released power or mileage figures for either of these engines; we'll have to wait until closer to their introduction for that data.

Backing both engines is an all-new 6R140 TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission. In diesel applications, the trans will have a PTO option for driving auxiliary equipment.

If you're looking for a tow rig, the tow and payload capacities for the new Super Duty have been increased (though Ford hasn't released those numbers either), and the truck will be available with a factory-installed fifth-wheel and gooseneck substructure directly attached to the frame. Ford has also added its Trailer Sway Control system to the Super Duty trucks.

We'll share all the pertinent power, mileage, and capacity data as soon as Ford coughs them up.

Jeep Rubicon Stimulus Package
A tricked-out Jeep for two bucks? That's better than anything the government has come up with lately. Credit the folks at the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC) and their annual vehicle raffle. This year you can win a '09 Rubicon equipped with a Teraflex suspension, 35-inch BFGoodrich KM tires, a Warn 9.5ti winch on a Smittybilt bumper, Poison Spyder body armor, and more trick stuff. The second and third prizes aren't bad, either: an Atlas II transfer case and a Premier Power Welder, respectively. Go to cal4wheel.org for tickets. The winner will be selected at CA4WDC's annual convention in February, but you don't need to be present to win.

Gordon Wins Primm
It was a tough day at the office for Robby Gordon. Still nursing injuries he sustained during a testing crash weeks before and driving most of the first lap in thick Nevada dust, Gordon still edged out local favorite Rob MacCachren for the win at the SCORE Terrible's Primm 300 near Las Vegas. Gordon's average speed of 57.24 mph over the 276-mile race put him ahead of MacCachren by just over a minute.

Arrive & Drive
Want to go off-road racing but don't have the resources to put together your own team? Check out this deal: Speed Technologies has created an "arrive and drive" program with its SuperLite race trucks. The company provides the truck, crew, race gas, and a set of tires; you show up with your suit and helmet, get behind the wheel, and gas it. When the race is over, the team handles all the post-race chores and you leave the track feeling like a rock star. Speed Technologies has a fleet of these trucks available to rent for a single race or the full season. Prices start at $7,500 for one race and run to $52,500 for the full, seven-race season. For all the details go to www.superlitechampionship.com/Arrive___Drive.html.

This Just In
•Toyota has launched a massive recall-affecting nearly 4 million vehicles-because of floor mats. That's right, floor mats. In certain models, including '05-'10 Tacomas and '07-'10 Tundras, an "unsecured or incompatible" floor mat could cause the accelerator pedal to stick down. The recall comes in the wake of a much publicized crash last summer in which four people were killed in a Lexus the owner couldn't stop. It's not clear that a floor mat was the cause of the accident, but it prodded Toyota to look into reports of other, similar incidents and led to the recall.

•SCORE has announced its 2010 racing season, which includes two events in southern Nevada and three in Mexico. The 2010 Baja 1000, scheduled for November 17-21, will be a peninsula race run between the Ensenada area and Baja California Sur. We'll put race dates in our calendar, or visit www.score-international.com for more info.

Earth Watch
•BFGoodrich and the BlueRibbon Coalition have joined forces to raise money for trail preservation. BFG will donate $5 to BlueRibbon for each of its 10 new sizes of Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires sold through December 2009. "This generous donation will help the BlueRibbon Coalition continue working to keep public land open, whether you recreate on a mountain bike, snowmobile, motorcycle, personal watercraft, ATV, four-wheel drive, or horse, or in your hiking boots," said Greg Mumm, BlueRibbon Coalition's executive director. You can find out more about the tires that qualify by going to www.bfgoodrichtires.com.

•According to SEMA, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) will include light- and medium-duty, on-road diesel vehicles in its smog-check program beginning January 2010. Under the program, manufacturers of performance and specialty aftermarket parts for diesel applications will need to meet certain requirements. Specifically, the test will include a visual inspection for uncertified/non-OEM parts, an OBD-II readiness check, and a snap-idle tailpipe test for particulate matter. The bureau has developed a list of non-OEM replacement parts that will be identified during the visual portion of the smog check. Any parts that don't qualify as replacement parts (which are exempt from certification) will require compliance coverage with a California Air Resources Board (CARB) executive order. Uncertified parts will cause a vehicle to fail the visual portion of the test. A similar program is being proposed in Nevada.

•In other news from SEMA, the trade organization has created an online guide for off-road enthusiasts to learn about land use issues and how federal laws like wilderness and endangered species acts can close roads and trails. Visit www.semasan.com/main/main.aspx?id=62625 to read all about it. While you're there, check out the SEMA Action Network (SAN), an organization that's very helpful in keeping us informed about laws that could affect our hobby. SAN is easy to join and it's free.

Hummer Deal Signed
General Motors is getting closer to finalizing its sale of Hummer to the Chinese Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company, Ltd. In October the two companies entered into a "definitive agreement" allowing Tengzhong to buy the Hummer brand, trademark, trade names, and the rights to manufacture Hummer vehicles. Tengzhong will also assume existing Hummer dealer agreements. Tengzhong will acquire Hummer through an investment entity and will hold an 80 percent stake in the company. A private investor, an entrepreneur named Suolang Duoji, will hold the other 20 percent. No official numbers were offered by GM, but news outlets put the purchase price at $150 million. At one time GM expected the brand to bring $500 million.

Once the deal goes through, Tengzhong will ink a contract for GM to continue to build H3s and H3Ts, and AM General to build H2s, at least through June 2011 and possibly until June 2012. It's not clear what will happen to Hummer manufacturing after that.

Club Spotlight: Yankee Toys fall Gathering
Brilliant fall colors set the backdrop for the 10th annual Yankee Toys Fall Gathering in New Hampshire. With 68 trucks and more than 100 people, this was one of the best turnouts yet. The three-day event consisted of camping, four-wheeling, and lots of camaraderie. We traversed Class VI roads along with many challenging trails that were made available to us on private lands secured by the Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs.

There wasn't a model of Toyota truck missing from this event, which included FJ40s, FJ Cruisers, a restored FJ25, and even an Aussie HJ45 diesel crew-cab truck.

On the final evening came a torrential downpour, but we would not be deterred from our awesome barbecue dinner. A raffle followed, offering prizes such as a Warn M8000 winch and a set of Interco tires. No one walked away empty-handed, including our youngest members, who with their own raffle helped raise $283 for a local hospital. -Sheri Becker

"Moparized" Jeeps At Frankfurt
Most of the media coverage of last fall's International Motorshow in Frankfurt centered on exotic European sports and touring cars, but Chrysler used the show to exhibit Jeep products dressed with shiny new Mopar accessories. A Wrangler Unlimited at the show wore 18-inch chromed aluminum wheels, chromed mirror covers, chromed tubular side steps, and brushed stainless doorsills. A nearby Liberty was also dressed up with a chrome grille, mirror covers, and tubular steps. If this is the look you want for your Jeep, visit www.mopar.com.

Ram Brand Trucks
Chrysler has reorganized its brands to strengthen the image of each nameplate. There will be no changes to Jeep, but the company is "unbundling" the Dodge brand, as the press release described it, separating it into distinct car and Ram truck brands, each with its own corporate president. This will allow the car side to pursue its "sporty" nature with vehicles like the Challenger and Viper while giving the Ram side of the house room to add commercial vehicles, including vans built by parent corporation Fiat. It's likely this will have little effect on the existing truck products, but don't be surprised to see the Ram name played up in ads as the brand establishes its identity.

Outback Adds Acreage
Outback Off Road Adventure Park, in the Six Points/Eau Claire area of western Pennsylvania, recently added some 500 acres for wheeling, more than doubling its size to 950 acres. The park offers trails for every skill level and all sorts of terrain, from wooded tracks to rock gardens to mud. If the park's name sounds familiar, that's because it was the first stop on our Ultimate Adventure 2009. For more info, contact Meridian Off Road Center, 724.285.5082, www.meridianoffroad.com or www.outbackoffroadadventure.com.

Calendar
•Dec. 31-Jan. 1: Fire & Ice New Year's Run and Bonfire, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Information: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com

•Jan. 9: Tread Lightly! trainer clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

•Jan. 10: Spotting Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

•Jan. 15-17: Winter Fun Festival by the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Grass Valley, CA. Information: www.cal4wheel.com

•Jan. 15-17: SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge, Laughlin, NV. Information: SCORE Intl., 818.225.8402, www.score-international.com

•Jan. 16: Christmas tree burning party, Twisted Trails Off Road Park, Copemish, MI. Information: 231.651.9548, www.twistedtrailsoffroadpark.com

•Jan. 23-24: Truckhaven Challenge near Salton City, CA. Information: www.corva.org

•Jan. 23-24: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

•Jan. 30: Rock Driving Clinic, Calico and Johnson Valley, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Information: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

•Jan. 30-31: Papago Military Vehicle Show, Phoenix, AZ. Information: 480.497.9722, www.armytrucks.org

•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, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245, or email 4wheeloff road@sorc.com. Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.

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