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July 2011 Drivelines - Off-Road Truck and Industry News

Posted in Features on July 1, 2011
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In our May issue we brought you a sneak peek at BFGoodrich’s all-new Rugged Terrain T/A (“Spy Shots of Future Tires”). BFG is calling it a hybrid tire because it mixes off-road capability with smooth highway manners, a quiet ride, and good wet-weather performance. At launch, 36 sizes will be available, fitting wheel diameters from 15 to 20 inches. Eleven of those sizes will be LT tires in load range E, and there will be one flotation size: 31x10.50R15.

Key to the tire’s performance is its tread design. It looks aggressive thanks to a pattern that wraps down the sidewall, but the tread blocks were carefully varied in size to cut down on road noise while still being able to self-clean in most off-road conditions. Two circumferential grooves help evacuate water on wet pavement. The stiffness of the tread compound, combined with high-tensile-steel cables in the tire’s carcass, allows BFG to offer the tire with a 50,000-mile limited tread life warranty. For more info, visit

BFG Rugged Terrain T/A Sizes
P235/75R15XL* P265/70R15 P235/60R16
P235/70R16 P235/75R16XL* P245/70R16
P245/75R16 P255/70R16 P265/70R16
P275/70R16 P235/70R17XL* P235/75R17
P245/65R17 P245/70R17 P255/70R17
P265/65R17 P265/70R17 P285/70R17
P255/70R18 P265/60R18 P265/65R18
P265/70R18 P275/55R20 P275/60R20
31x10.50R15/C LT225/75R16E LT235/85R16E
LT245/75R16E LT265/75R16E LT285/75R16E
LT235/80R17E LT245/70R17E LT285/70R17E
LT275/65R18E LT275/70R18E LT275/65R20E
*XL = Extra Load

New Ram Adventurer
The success of the Ram Tradesman, a low-priced, Hemi-powered regular cab pickup aimed at work truck buyers (which we profiled here last month), has spurred Ram’s product planners to speed up the introduction of a second value-priced Ram 1500 model. Right now the truck doesn’t have a name but is being fast-tracked under the code name Adventurer, which longtime Dodge truck fans will remember from the ’60s and ’70s. The pickup will be targeted at “first-time buyers and owners who are looking for a vehicle with performance and style that they can customize and make their own,” say the folks at Ram.

Like the Tradesman, the Adventurer will be Hemi powered, but it will be a little fancier than the work-oriented model that came before it. Monochromatic paint, 20-inch alloy wheels, heavy-duty suspension pieces, a trailer wiring harness, and 3.55-geared axles will be among the truck’s standard equipment. Inside you’ll find vinyl upholstery, a CD/MP3 sound system, and air conditioning. The regular cab/short box pickup will be available in 4x2 and 4x4 models, with pricing to start at $23,830, about a grand more than the Tradesman.

Street-Legal Dakar Touareg?
We wish. Instead, the Race Touareg 3 Qatar is a concept vehicle that Volkswagen unveiled at the first Qatar Motor Show in the Middle East. VW’s press Info made it sound like the Touareg was a barely tamed race truck, with its 305hp motor and rollcage left intact. The 16-inch race wheels were swapped for 18-inch “gold-look” BBS wheels, and the Recaro race seats have been covered in leather.

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This Just In
• If you attended TDS Desert Safari this year you may have already experienced the 4x4 training area that just opened at the Ocotillo Wells SVRA near Borrego Springs. The 30-acre site has obstacles for 4x4s of all kinds, plus a rockcrawl competition course designed by WE Rock.

• The Mahindra diesel pickup inches closer to going on sale. While the manufacturer and importer are still locked in a legal battle, the EPA has given the truck mileage ratings: 19 mpg city, 21 highway. These are a ways away from the 30 mpg that Mahindra has been promising.

• Ford used the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis to showcase its range of alternative-fuel vehicles for commercial users. These E-vans, Super Duty chassis cabs, and other vehicles can run on flex fuel, biodiesel, natural gas, and electricity. Why should we care? This technology will keep moving into personal-use trucks too. Ford says that by 2012, half of its vehicles will be alt-fuel capable.

JeepSkool: Safe, Legal Fun
Not many four-wheeling areas in Ohio are open to the public, but JeepSkool in northeastern Ohio helps to fill that void with an event nearly every month on 1,500 acres of trails and obstacles suitable for every 4x4 from bone stockers to hardcore rigs. (Sound familiar? JeepSkool was an Ultimate Adventure stop in 2009.)

A volunteer staff is on hand to help newbies and experienced wheelers alike. Kelly Haylett, JeepSkool’s founder, says, “If you stop on the trail too long, there will be someone hooking a tow strap to your bumper.”

The area includes a campground with electrical service, oak timber–framed pavilion with a fireplace, and a bathhouse for the JeepSkoolers. Children enjoy KidSkool games and crafts. The JeepSkool website allows members to keep in touch and provides a place for new people to join the fun. For more Info visit

Additions to Sierra Trek
This year marks the 44th running of the California Association of 4WD Clubs’ Sierra Trek. The event, held August 11-14 near Truckee, California, will include some new activities, including a night run on the Fordyce Creek Trail, a two-day SUV tour near Lake Tahoe, and an ATV run. All trips include country-style meals, live entertainment, games for kids and adults, vendor displays, and the famous Summit City Saloon. For more Info on how to join the Trek, visit

Lexus Renews Racing Program
Lexus will be the primary sponsor of Joe Bacal’s JTGrey Racing Team, which will compete for the SCORE Stock Full championship in 2011 using a race-prepped Lexus LX 570. In only his second season of racing, Bacal won the class championship last year and placed first in the Laughlin Desert Challenge, Las Vegas Primm 300, San Felipe 250, and Baja 1000.

Earth Watch
• The Western Slope No-Fee Coalition, which is working to eliminate the fees we have to pay to recreate on public lands, asked the U.S. Forest Service for a way to communicate with the agency about these fees. The USFS set up an email account for those comments: Please send the government your thoughts, but remember to keep the messages short and, above all, polite. “The use of abusive or profane language does not help our cause and can do great harm!” says the Coalition.

• The No-Fee folks also sent us an alarming article titled “Our Forests for Sale” that documents the growing number of private companies—not the Forest Service or other government agency—managing campsites and other public lands. Currently more than half the campgrounds and 80 percent of all campsites in our national forests are managed by private companies. The government sees these relationships as “partnerships” and a way of managing facilities despite cutbacks in funding and personnel. Recreationists, however, worry that the private companies’ bottom-line management philosophy may not be in the best interests of those who use these areas.

• Yamaha’s national OHV access initia- tive GRANT (Guaranteeing Responsible Access to our Nation’s Trails) contributed more than $265,000 in 2010 to trail construction and maintenance, mapping, education programs promoting awareness of safe and responsible off-roading, and other programs. Yamaha has kept trails open, improved staging areas, built bridges over fish-baring streams, and partnered with local off-roading communities across the country to improve the OHV experience. Yamaha is now seeking qualified projects from nonprofit or tax-exempt organizations at local, state, and federal levels for its 2011 GRANT program. An application form and guidelines are available at

New Ram Accessories from Mopar
The relatively low prices of the upcoming Tradesman and Adventurer Ram pickups mean that buyers should have a few dollars available to accessorize. At least that’s what Mopar, Chrysler’s parts division, is hoping, as it offers some 300 products for Ram trucks. Parts run the gamut from a $11.50 receiver hitch plug to a $1,335 one-piece fiberglass tonneau cover and include diamond-plate toolboxes, tubular aluminum bed extenders, bed steps, spray-in bed liners, exhaust tips, rearview cameras, portable navigation systems, and remote starters. Visit for the complete line of Ram accessories.

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Polaris special editions Each year Polaris offers limited editions of its ATVs and side-by-sides. Among the highlights this year are a Sportsman XP 850 EPS (or 550 EPS) finished in Midnight Black Metallic automotive paint and sporting a 2,500-pound winch, a front storage box, and 14-inch cast aluminum wheels. Among the new side-by-sides is a RZR 800 Walker Evans edition with Indy Red paint and custom graphics, a premium Walker Evans shock absorber package, and Maxxis tires on Black Crusher wheels. Visit for info on these and the rest of the special models for 2011.

100 Proof
This isn’t about booze. The folks at Aeroquip have adopted the phrase in a campaign to educate auto and truck enthusiasts about the importance of using quality hoses and fittings in performance applications. A ruptured line underhood causes problems, from overheating to catastrophic engine fires. Aeroquip says its products are designed to withstand four times a hose’s working pressure before failure occurs, and the company pressure-tests the hoses at two times the rated working pressure to ensure there are no defects. The Aeroquip hoses and fittings for performance engine applications are designed to function as a system, not just a bunch of parts that might (or might not) work together. You can learn more about the 100 Proof campaign and Aeroquip’s product offerings at

• June 2-4: Canyon de Chelly Jeep Jamboree, Chinle, AZ. Info:
• June 2-4: Badlands Jeep Jamboree, Attica, IN. Info:
• June 2-5: Tecate-SCORE Baja 500, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Info: 818.225.8402,
• June 2-5: TLCA Razorback Ramble, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600,
• June 3-4: Muddy Buddys Spring Jeep Jam, Harveysburg, OH. Info:
• June 4: Great Lakes Jeep Thing Show-n-Shine, Tilted Kilt, Chicago Ridge, IL. Info:
• June 4: Trailmaster Challenge, Twisted Trails Off-Road Park, Copemish, MI. Info:
• June 4-5: JeepSkool, NE Ohio. Info:
•June 10-11: United Four Wheel Drive Association Annual General Meeting, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600,
• June 11: Getting Started Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,
• June 11: 2011 Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Series, Glen Helen Regional Park, San Bernardino, CA. Info:
• June 11-12: Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer and Master Tread Trainer courses, Carlsbad, CA. Info:
• June 12: Advanced Beginner Off-Road Driving Clinic, El Paso Mountains, Mojave, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,
• June 11-12: Iron Range Offroad Driving School, Iron Range OHV Park north of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. Info:
• June 16-18: Drummond Island Jeep Jamboree, Drummond Island, MI. Info:
• June 16-18: Penn’s Woods Jeep Jamboree, Bradford, PA. Info:
• June 18: Customer Appreciation Run, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,
• June 18-19: Trail rides at Apple Valley Farms Off-Road Park, Chetek, WI. Info:
• June 24-26: Doug Walker Memorial Nevada Trophy (GPS navigation rally-raid), northwestern Nevada. Info:
•June 25: Rocks Clinic, Johnson Valley (near Lucerne Valley, CA) by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047,

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