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April 2010 Drivelines - Off-Road News

Hummer H3
Drew Hardin
| Contributor
Posted April 1, 2010

Off-Road News

OK, so he wasn't the overall four-wheel winner, but Rod Hall has accomplished something in the Mexican desert that no one else can claim: He has participated in every single Baja 1000 since the race began in 1967. And this year he, with co-drivers Emily Miller and Mike Winkel, won the Stock Mini class in a Hummer H3. This marks his 21st class win in Baja-also a record. Congrats, Rod!

The four-wheel overall winners of the 2009 Baja 1000 were Andy McMillin and his father, Scott, driving their McMillin Racing Chevy Silverado. They completed the 672-mile course in 14 hours 19 minutes, with an average speed of 46.95 mph. The Hall Stock Mini Hummer averaged 23.38 mph, slowed no doubt by some downtime early in the race when a steering rack seal didn't survive a hit to the front end.

"You'd be surprised how much abuse the H3 can take," said Hall.

Super Duty Gets Super Tranny
Ford is working hard to drum up excitement for the '11 Super Duty truck coming out this spring, and we can't resist a good technical cutaway photo, so here's more on the upcoming heavy-duty F-Series.

The new 6R140 TorqShift six-speed automatic was designed specifically to handle the high torque loads coming from the new 6.7L Power Stroke diesel (we don't know just how much torque, though, since Ford has yet to release power numbers for the engine). Yet it also has to accommodate the higher engine speeds from Ford's new 6.2L gas V-8, which will also be available in the Super Duty.

Ford engineers incorporated a powder-metal carrier in the transmission's planetary gearset to strengthen the tranny's architecture, while also utilizing a Lepelletier-style powerflow to reduce the complexity in the gearset and clutches. A deep First gear-nope, no ratio was offered by Ford-will improve off-the-line performance, while two overdrives-again, no details offered-will help fuel economy.

The Super Duty's release date is almost here, so we should have these missing details and more to share with you soon.

This Just In
•Just after getting the news about this year's Go Topless Day for Jeeps, we were saddened to hear that Norman Wnuk, founder of All Things Jeep, died suddenly of a massive heart attack at the age of 44. Norman's wife, Jean, plans to keep the business going as a tribute to her husband.

•A study by Consumer Reports has found that there were more complaints about unintended acceleration in '08 Toyota vehicles than in Chrysler, GM, Honda, and Nissan vehicles combined, reports the Los Angeles Times. Toyota has issued a massive recall to modify or replace accelerator pedals in the affected vehicles (including Tundra and Tacoma pickups), as the automaker believes interference between the pedal and floor mats is the root of the incidents. But a study by the Times found that the number of sudden acceleration complaints "increased dramatically" after Toyota began using drive-by-wire electronic throttle systems in 2002. Toyota said it would not comment on the findings until it had reviewed the study.

•An optional remote start system will be available in the '11 Super Duty pickup when it goes on sale in the spring. Ford will eventually make the option available across its product line. When coupled with an automatic climate control system, the remote start will heat (or cool) the truck's cab before you get in.

•EBay Motors now offers free vehicle history reports through an agreement with Experian's AutoCheck for vehicles '81 and earlier. Among the services offered by AutoCheck is a history score, from 1 to 100, summarizing all the information in a vehicle's history.

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