Diesel Wars: And the Winner is...
Remember when we said last month that Ford and GM seemed to be playing chicken with the release of the power numbers for the new turbodiesel engines in their heavy-duty trucks? Well, Ford blinked first, announcing that the 6.7L Power Stroke in the '11 Super Duty "delivers best-in-class torque of 735 lb-ft (at 1,600 rpm) and best-in-class 390 hp (at 2,800 rpm)." Yes, best in class...for just a few weeks. When GM introduced the '11 GMC Sierra Denali HD a month later, the General announced that the new 6.6L Duramax "delivers 397 hp at 3,000 rpm and 765 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm."
Seven more horses aren't all that significant in a truck like this, but 30 lb-ft is, at least on paper. We'll reserve judgment until we can get our hands on these trucks.
This Just In
•Race gas can no longer be used in street-driven vehicles in California, according to a recent advisory from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Our state's enemies of fun have decided to crack down on those who drive their rigs to OHV areas and gas up on high-octane racing fuel, as well as those retailers who knowingly supply street-licensed vehicles with race gas. The ruling does not restrict the use of unleaded "street-legal" high-octane fuels that comply with California's reformulated gasoline regulations. It also does not apply to pure competition vehicles. But in CARB's view, "If you can drive it to the track, it is not a racing vehicle."
•Shopping for a Wrangler but having a hard time finding one with a hardtop? You're not alone. Apparently, Jeep was caught off-guard by the demand for hardtop Wranglers. Says a Jeep spokesman, "We continue to work with our supply base to align supply with demand and are very pleased that demand for both hardtop and soft top Jeep Wranglers is so robust. We are working to accommodate even greater demand for hardtops and have plans to augment existing production as necessary."
•A year or so ago, when gas was $4 a gallon, the fate of GM's biggest SUVs looked uncertain. Now, though, industry reports say the General will continue to build Suburbans (and Cadillac Escalades) as body-on-frame, truck-based vehicles, with a redesign coming in about three years.
•Now that Fiat's in charge, it is looking to refresh many of Chrysler's products in the coming months. As we've reported before, an all-new Grand Cherokee is right around the corner, and an '11 Dodge Durango based on the same platform will be available later this year, says Automotive News. The '11 Wrangler will reflect exterior and interior revisions and will be equipped with Chrysler's new 3.6L, 280hp V-6.
•Toyota continues to be in a world of hurt over its unintended acceleration problems, with federal, state and local agencies all scrutinizing the maker not just for its engineering problems but also for the way it handled the issue. However, a massive advertising campaign and huge dealer incentives were driving Toyota sales up as of this writing in mid March.
•Now for a different perspective on Toyota's quality issues. Edmunds.com reviewed some 20,000 complaints lodged with the NHTSA over the last 10 years and found that Toyota ranked 17th out of 20 automakers. Toyota beat both Ford (10th) and GM (11th) on this list, with Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Smart the only makers to do better. The worst? Land Rover.
Track SCORE Races Online
SCORE International, BFGoodrich and Tracking International have announced a new website, www.trackinginternational.com/site/score, to allow race fans to monitor SCORE's off-road races. In addition to live satellite tracking of race participants, the site will have prerun video, streaming live audio of the races, and unofficial timing and scoring in 50-mile intervals. The new site is scheduled to launch in time for the San Felipe 250 and will offer prerace interviews and live streaming of the San Felipe start/finish line. A chat room where teams post updates will also be available.
Sierra Denali HD A "Premium Tool"
In a move to put some distance brand-wise between itself and Chevrolet, GMC announced that its new Sierra HD pickup truck will be available for the first time in a high-line Denali model. Lisa Hutchinson, GMC's product marketing director, called the new truck "a premium tool that offers many comfort and infotainment features, along with a maximum towing capacity of 15,600 pounds with the segment's most powerful diesel." The Denali version of the Sierra HD will be available just on the 2500HD chassis as a 4WD crew-cab standard-box model. GMC will also offer 2500HD and 3500HD Sierra HD pickups in other trim levels and cab/box configurations.
All the GMC HD pickups will be available with either the 6.0L Vortec gas V-8 (now rated at 360 hp and 380 lb-ft) or the new 397hp, 765 lb-ft 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel. As with the Chevy heavy-duty trucks, the new Duramax in the GMC is mated to an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission.
Luxe features aboard the Denali HD include brushed aluminum trim, power-adjustable pedals, a Bose premium surround audio system, and 12-way power seats. A heated steering wheel and heated and cooled leather seats are options.
The 15,600-pound tow capacity cited by Hutchinson is for a Denali HD equipped with a fifth-wheel hitch. The max tow rating for the Denali with a ball hitch is 13,000 pounds for either the gas or diesel engine. Step up to the Sierra 3500HD and the tow rating for a diesel dualie 4x4 with a fifth-wheel hitch maxes out at 19,600 pounds (16,000 with a ball hitch), matching the rating for a similarly equipped Chevy 3500 HD.
•According to our government watchdogs at SEMA, a U.S. Department of the Interior document indicates that the agency plans to designate 14 new or expanded national monuments in the West. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar provided assurances that the plans were preliminary and that the Obama Administration would not bypass input from the local communities, governors, and Congress if the plans move forward. Unlike wilderness designations, motorized recreation is permitted within national monuments. However, OHV roads and trails are frequently closed as a byproduct when land receives the national monument designation. The potential monuments comprise nearly 13 million acres and include such popular OHV areas as the San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa (Utah), the Berryessa Snow Mountains and Bodie Hills (Calif.), parts of the Great Basin (Nev.), the Otero Mesa (N.Mex.), and the northwest Sonoran Desert (Ariz.).
•SEMA reports that it defeated a Utah bill to ban most aftermarket exhaust systems. All vehicles would have been required to be equipped with an exhaust system that is "installed by the original manufacturer of the vehicle and is not modified; or meets specifications equivalent to the muffler installed by the original manufacturer of the vehicle and is not modified." Among other things, the bill ignored the fact that aftermarket exhaust systems are designed to make vehicles run more efficiently without increasing emissions, and did not supply law enforcement with a clear standard to enforce, allowing them to make subjective judgments on whether or not a modified exhaust system is in violation.
Mopar Readies for Moab
In the weeks leading up to the Easter Jeep Safari, Chrysler's performance arm released several sketches to tease us about the "truck-load of 'Moparized' vehicles" it was bringing to Moab. These are the two we found most interesting, the Jeep Wrangler J7 and Ram Power Wagon. We'll have photos and more details once we're back from Moab.
King Shocks' killer Support Vehicle
Throwing around its weight at this year's Dakar Rally was the Mercedes Actros support vehicle from King Shocks. The six-by mobile shop truck carried tools and parts but did not compete (although that would have been cool to see). It has a 12L turbo'd and intercooled diesel V-6 that makes 470 horses and 1,800 lb-ft of torque and has 12 forward and 4 reverse gears with three driving axles. It can carry up to 475 gallons of fuel-handy for a 5,592-mile course that began and ended in Buenos Aires.
Denman Tire Corporation, best known (in our world, anyway) for its Ground Hawg tires, has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio, according to a local paper. By filing Chapter 7, it will be forced to sell off its assets to repay creditors. Hawgs aren't going away, though; they're still available through Interco Tire Corp.
BFG King of the Hammers
Tech Editor Fred Williams has coverage of the King of the Hammers on page 48, but here's a sneak peek at winner Loren Healy, courtesy of the folks at BFGoodrich. Healy raced on 39-inch BFG Krawler T/A tires, and the tire maker proudly pointed out that the top 11 teams-some 80 percent of the race's finishers-were on BFGs.
New Winching DVD
Badlands Off-Road Adventures has released a DVD to teach winch use. The disc covers safety issues, basic operation, simple and complex riggings, stuck assessment, winch capability, and minimizing environmental impact. Look for the 81-minute disc at your local off-road retailer or order one at www.4x4training.com.
Douglas Wins LOORRS Opener
Scott Douglas was planning to just watch the first race of the 2010 Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series (LOORRS) season in Las Vegas (he regularly competes in the Traxxas TORC series), but when he saw the size of the Pro 4 Unlimited field, he just couldn't stay off the track. With just minutes to go in qualifying and no practice on the new course, Douglas rolled his Amsoil Kumho Ford F-150 off the transporter and drove to the third-fastest time of the huge 19-truck field. In Saturday's Round 1 race, he went from the third spot on the grid to the lead during the first lap and hung on for a win. In Sunday's Round 2 race he started sixth and worked his way up to Second Place.
No Chinese Hummers
The sale of Hummer to a Chinese industrial equipment manufacturer fell apart earlier this year, leaving the brand's future uncertain. GM officially has begun "an orderly wind-down" of operations, meaning that production, which had been stopped earlier, will not resume and dealers are hunting for new uses for their showrooms. However, last-minute bids have saved other GM brands from extinction, and GM will consider "viable alternatives for all or part of the brand during wind-down," said a Hummer spokesman.
GM will honor Hummer warranties at Hummer dealerships as long as they are open, or will refer Hummer owners to other GM dealerships should their local Hummer dealer close. As of March 1, some 2,500 H3 and H3T models remained in dealer stock.
•June 3-5: Canyon de Chelly Jeep Jamboree, Chinle, AZ, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•June 4-6: Tecate/SCORE Baja 500, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Info: SCORE Intl., 818.225.8402, www.score-international.com
•June 4-6: Ozark Cruiser Crawl-Non-Event, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com
•June 5-6: Customer Appreciation Event, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•June 5-6: MOROC Rock Racing, Southern Missouri Off Road Ranch, Seymour, MO. Info: www.morocracing.com
•June 5-6: Rubicon Owners Trail Ride, New England. Info: Rich Banfield, email@example.com
•June 10-12: Badlands Jeep Jamboree, Attica, IN, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•June 11: Vehicle Inspection Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•June 12: Coyote Wash 200 night desert race, Plaster City, CA. Info: Mojave Desert Racing, www.mdrracing.com
•June 12-13: Beginning Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•June 14-15: Getting Started Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•June 17-19: Drummond Island Jeep Jamboree, Drummond Island, MI, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•June 17-19: Penn's Woods Jeep Jamboree, Bradford, PA, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•June 18-20: Big Bear Forest Fest, by the Inland Empire 4 Wheelers, Big Bear, CA. Info: www.ie4w.com
•June 19: Mud drags, mud bogs, and sand drags by the Columbia River Mud Racing Association and Northwest Sand, Barlow Point Raceway, Longview, WA. Info: www.columbiarivermud.org
•June 19: Free Rock Nationals, Morris Mountain ORV Park, Delta, AL. Info: www.mudcoveredproductions.com
•June 19: 4WD Spotting Skills Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA near Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•June 19-20: Iron Range off-road driving school, Iron Range OHV Park (north of Minneapolis). Info: www.ironrangeoffroad.com
•June 19-20: Beginning 4x4 Training, Big Bear Lake, CA, by Off-Road Teach & Tour. Info: www.discoveroffroading.com
•June 20: Father's Day Feature, Muddy Run Raceway, Smoke Run, PA. Info: www.muddyrunraceway.com
•June 25-27: East Coast 4Runner Jamboree, Rausch Creek Offroad Park, Tremont, PA. Info: www.midatlantictoyotacrawlers.com
•June 26: Bilek Racing 400, Lucerne Valley, CA. Info: Mojave Desert Racing, www.mdrracing.com
•June 26: Rocks Skills Clinic, Johnson Valley near Lucerne Valley, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•June 26: Specialty Course Rock Crawling Training, Big Bear Lake, CA, by Off-Road Teach & Tour. Info: www.discoveroffroading.com
, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
•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; fax 310.531.9368; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.