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October 2012 Drivelines Off-Road Truck News

Posted in Features on October 1, 2012
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F-150 Facelift
In our August issue we told you about how the Ram 1500 will be essentially all new for the ’13 model year. Now Ford has announced the changes in store for the ’13 F-150. Some are cosmetic, such as a new grille that incorporates high-intensity discharge (HID) projector headlamps and new designs for the 18- and 20-inch wheels.

Other changes are inside. The center stack on XLT and higher trim levels has been redesigned, as the voice-activated Sync infotainment system is now standard on XLT models and includes a new 4.2-inch touch screen that also displays audio and climate controls. The Lariat (seen here), King Ranch, Platinum, and new-for-’13 Limited models get a version of Sync with MyFord Touch—which adds voice control to more vehicle systems—and an 8-inch touch screen.

Light-Duty Diesel for GM?
So, we have an all-new Ram and a revised F-150 coming soon. What’s up with Chevy? GM is still a year away from debuting a new Silverado/Sierra 1500 pickup, but according to a recent Automotive News story those trucks may have a diesel engine option to accompany the Duramax diesel (seen here) in GM’s heavy-duty trucks.

Now, GM has been talking about a light-duty diesel engine since at least 2006, but it has a new motivator in Ford’s EcoBoost, which can deliver V-8–like power with V-6–like fuel economy. Rather than go head-to-head against EcoBoost with its own turbo gas V-6, GM brass is indicating that the automaker could go diesel to offer half-ton truck buyers an option Ford does not.

Tactical Black
Seeing a trend toward tactical-type off-road vehicles, Yamaha has introduced Tactical Black finishes on special editions of its Grizzly 700 4x4 ATV and Rhino 700 4x4 side-by-sides. Both are assembled at Yamaha’s factory in Georgia. The Grizzly sells for $10,000, the Rhino for $12,999.

PhotosView Slideshow

This Just In
• SEMA released news of a study that shows E15 or E20 gasoline blends (with 15 or 20 percent ethanol, respectively) can damage engines. The Coordinating Research Council (CRC) tested eight vehicle types from the ’01-’09 model years representing a variety of popular engines. During the tests, two engine types failed when running on E15 and E20 gas. Ethanol increases water formation, which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics, and rubber, says SEMA, which was against the EPA’s approval of the use of E15 in ’01 and newer vehicles. SEMA has asked Congress to enact legislation to stop the sale of E15 until further studies can be done.

• Demand is growing for high-buck trucks. According to a recent Automotive News story, dealers bought up the complete allotment of ’12 Ram Laramie Limited pickups in just three days. Ford has found that demand for its high-line Platinum F-150 was double what it expected. The luxe Denali versions of GMC’s heavy-duty Sierra pickups represent more than a third of Sierra sales this year, up from just 15 percent in 2010. While truck sales have grown as the economy has picked up, the trend toward $40,000-plus trucks is something different. “There are guys in New York, in Florida, in the Midwest, and in the Northwest who aren’t exactly into that cowboy, southwestern, barbed-wire feel,” said Ram brand president Fred Diaz. A Dallas-area dealer was quoted in the story as saying, “I don’t know if you can put enough bells and whistles on trucks.”

Earth Watch
• An anti-OHV lawsuit that affects the Eldorado National Forest in Northern California has forced the cancellation of at least one longstanding off-roading event, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s Poker Run, which was scheduled for August. According to the website of the California Association of 4WD Clubs, the forest’s Environmental Impact Statement for water crossings must be redone. While the study is being done, no OHV trails will be allowed to cross streams or meadows.

• In more bad news out of California, the California Assembly Budget Subcommittee approved the “Sustainable Parks Proposal” to shift up to $31 million from the OHV trust fund in order to pay for the state parks’ budget shortfall. The law provides that the OHV parks shall be equal to other state parks, and that budget impacts should be equally shared, yet the OHV parks have already had millions of dollars taken from them over the last three years. Californians furious about this (and you should be) can visit to find a letter you can send to your representatives to urge them to stop taking our funds.

Coolest Reading Baby
Reader Joe Cary believes in starting them young. He introduced his son Daniel to our magazine—what Joe calls “truck porn”—when the tyke was just two hours old. This photo was taken when the two were bonding when Daniel was all of three days old. They say readers are born in the laps of their parents. Is the same true for wheelers?

Still Time to Win!
Raffle tickets are still available to win the Jeep Wrangler that was donated to Tierra Del Sol for its 50th anniversary Desert Safari (“50 Years of TDS,” Aug. ’12). For those of you who didn’t make it to TDS, we’ll tell you that this Jeep has been outfitted with a number of accessories from Mopar and other companies, including a 2½-inch lift with Bilstein shocks, heavy-duty bumpers, custom wheels, rock rails, and a Warn winch. The drawing will take place at the San Diego Auto Show on December 30. Tickets are $4 each, with the proceeds going toward keeping lands open for responsible OHV use. You can get tickets at shows where TDS is displaying the Jeep, or visit

Bye Bye Compass
Though it looks good these days with its Grand Cherokee–like styling, the Jeep Compass will be discontinued after the ’14 model year. Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne made the announcement at a press event at the Belvidere, Illinois, plant where the Compass and Patriot are built. He wasn’t specific about a replacement, but rumors have been circulating that the Jeep line will soon receive new Fiat-based SUVs that will most likely be crossovers rather than true SUVs.

Gordon to Launch Stadium Truck Series
We old-timers remember how much fun Mickey Thompson’s stadium races were, especially the amazing air those trucks used to get running down the peristyle at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Now Robby Gordon hopes to bring back some of that magic with his own Stadium Super Trucks (SST) series. Plans call for a 10-race series beginning April 2013 with drivers racing what are basically spec trucks with 600hp V-8s and 20 inches of wheel travel. Teams will be able to choose their own wheels and tires and fine-tune things like springs, shocks, and steering.

Each event will also feature side-by-side ATV racing and even monster trucks (though some of us were shocked—shocked!—to see Bigfoot wearing Chevrolet body pieces at Gordon’s press introduction/demonstration at the LA Coliseum).

Gordon hopes to attract old-school stadium racers to his event, men like Ivan Stewart and Walker Evans, as well as young guns. He’s offering big purses: $40,000 for winners of the SST main event at each race and a cool half-million dollars to the overall series champion. For more info visit

• Aug. 31–Sept. 3: Superlift Fall 4xAdventure, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600,

• Aug. 31–Sept. 3: High Sierra Poker Run on the Swamp Lake Trail east of Fresno, CA. Info:

• Sept. 1-3: Labor Day Campout by the Red Rock 4 Wheelers, Moab, UT. Info:

• Sept. 7-9: KC HiLites Midnight Special off-road race, Lucerne, CA. Info:

• Sept. 8: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA. Info: 310.374.8047,

• Sept. 8: Fall Crawl Competition, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park near Mapleton, KS. Info:

• Sept. 8: Chili Cook-Off by Mojave Off Road Racing Enthusiast, Lucerne, CA. Info:

• Sept. 9: Advanced Beginner Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, El Paso Mountains, Mojave, CA. Info: 310.374.8047,

• Sept. 13-15: Laurel Highlands Jeep Jamboree, Farmington, PA. Info:

• Sept. 13-15: Ouray Jeep Jamboree, Ouray, CO. Info:

• Sept. 13-16: Jeepstock by Midwest Jeep Thing, Southern Missouri Off Road Ranch, Seymour, MO. Info:

• Sept. 14-15: Lucas Oil 4Wheel Jamboree Nationals, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, IN. Info:

• Sept. 15: 8th Annual North East Xterra Club (NEXTerra) Back to School Run, West Oneonta, NY. Info:

• Sept. 15: Summit Truck Fest, Tallmadge, OH. Info: 800.230.3030,

• Sept. 20-22: Catskill Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Monticello, NY. Info:

• Sept. 20-22: Dead Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Laughlin, NV. Info: www.

• Sept. 20-23: National Xterra Meet, Coal Creek/Windrock Mountain, Oliver Springs, TN. Info:

• Sept. 20-24: Oklahoma Classic Bronco Round-Up, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600,

• Sept. 21-23: SMOR Fall Crawl’N by the Toyota Land Cruiser Assoc., Southern Missouri Off-Road Ranch, Seymour, MO. Info:

• Sept. 22: HD2 Family Off-Road Expo, by Victorville Motor Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, Victorville, CA. Info:

• Sept. 22-23: Iowa All-Breeds Jeep Show & Swap Meet, Story County Fairgrounds, Nevada, IA. Info:

• Sept. 27-29: Maine Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Bethel, ME. Info:

• Sept. 27-29: Black Hills Jeep Jamboree, Deadwood, SD. Info:

• Sept. 28-29: Cruisin’ the Woods, by the Toyota Land Cruiser Association, Brown’s Camp, OR. Info:

• Sept. 29: 4Wheel Parts Truck & Jeep Fest, Columbiana, OH. Info: 877.474.48214,

• Sept. 29-30: Iron Range Off-Road Driving School, Iron Range OHV Park near Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. Info:

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