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November 2012 Drivelines Off Road Industry News

Posted in Features on October 1, 2012
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Raptor Refined for 2013
Like those wheels? The 17-inch forged alloy rollers are what Ford calls “beadlock-capable” and are among several revisions made to the Raptor for the new model year. The wheels come from the factory with a decorative outer ring that can be removed. Then with a beadlock ring kit available from Ford Racing the tire bead can be moved to the outside of the rim and clamped in place. Ford says this is the first time a single wheel is able to mount a tire either conventionally or with a beadlock, and Ford has applied for a patent on the system.

Also visible in the photo are the Raptor’s new high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps and a new exterior color called Terrain. What you can’t see are the truck’s audio and infotainment upgrades, which include Ford’s Sync system (for hands-free control of the sound system and mobile phones), and an optional 8-inch touch screen to operate, among other functions, an optional navigation system.

And here’s an interesting tidbit from the ’13 Raptor press release: Cloth upholstery is available “to government and fleet buyers.” If you’re not a fan of leather, maybe your dealer can set you up with the fabric seat covers.

Wrangler Freedom Edition
In tribute to members of the U.S. military, Jeep has developed the Wrangler Freedom Edition. Based on the Sport model and available for both two- and four-door Wranglers, the Freedom Edition includes special paint (Deep Cherry Red, Bright White, and new True Blue that for 2012 is exclusive to this model), plus hood and quarter-panel star decals and a fender badge that reads “Oscar Mike,” which is military jargon for “on the move” or “on mission.”

Jeep will donate $250 from every Wrangler Freedom Edition it sells to charities that benefit U.S. military members.

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JK8 Recon
At the SEMA Show last November we saw a Wrangler that the folks at VWerks “upfitted” for the Red Jacket Firearms guys (from the Sons of Guns TV show), and it featured a T-shirt cannon mounted in the bed. This one is packing more serious firepower. The JK8 Recon was built as a rolling testbed for the company’s off-road and military hardware. On the mil-spec side, the Jeep is outfitted with a full cage and armor plate in the bed, which holds a replica M2 .50-caliber machine gun on a 360-degree mount. Under the hood is a 5.7L Hemi conversion, and a 4-inch lift kit makes room for 39-inch BFG Krawlers. Gen-Right fenders, PIAA lights, a Warn winch, and a rear-mounted pintle hook/hitch combo are among the Jeep’s body mods. If you’re interested in doing this to your Jeep or want to buy a turnkey vehicle, contact VWerks at

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This Just In
SCORE International is launching a new truck class, Super 8 Truck, at the upcoming Baja 1000. It is an open production class with a twist: The engines are stock—and sealed—OE V-8s backed by Turbo 400 transmissions. “We purposely designed the class to allow multiple manufacturers to showcase their stock engines in unlimited four-wheel trucks and SUVs,” said Bill Savage, SCORE’s tech director. “We also wanted to develop a reasonably affordable truck class that we expect several entries in from the very first race in November.”

If you’re attending the 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals at Indy in September, you may witness history. The Bigfoot monster truck team wants to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the longest monster truck jump. The record currently stands at 208 feet, set by Joe Sylvester’s Bad Habit monster truck in 2010. In 1999, Bigfoot and driver Dan Runte set the first record by jumping 202 feet over a 727 jetliner. Runte will again be driving Bigfoot for the attempt in Indy.

Earth Watch
The California Association of 4WD Clubs says that Wentworth Springs Road, up in Rubicon Trail country, will be closed for bridge maintenance through early October. “Plan accordingly,” says the association’s website.

Tread Lightly! reports that its membership has more than tripled since 2010, when it instituted several popular benefits associated with membership. For instance, three-year and lifetime members get quite a deal: one-percent below factory invoice when buying a Jeep, Ram, or other Chrysler vehicle. See www.treadlight for more details.

Good news from the BlueRibbon Coalition: In 2009, two anti–off-roading groups filed suit in California alleging violations of water pollution laws at Carnegie SVRA near Tracy, California, and wanting to close it down. Since then, local agencies have been fighting the closure while also addressing the SVRA’s water quality issues. Their efforts paid off in June, when the suit was dismissed.

Premium F-150
Following the trend of ever-more-luxurious trucks, Ford announced a new trim level, Premium, for the ’13 F-150. It will feature special monochromatic paint and 22-inch polished aluminum wheels on the outside, and a long list of standard amenities on the inside, including heated and cooled seats, leather upholstery, a sunroof, a navigation system, and a premium Sony audio system. A 365hp EcoBoost V-6 powers the truck. Pricing hasn’t been set yet, but the ’12 F-150 Platinum model has a starting MSRP of $44,635, and the Limited version will slot above that.

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Changes Coming to Grand Cherokee
At a recent meeting, Jeep’s reps were cagey when we asked about diesel engine options. Now a story in Automotive News says the ’13 model year will be a short one for the Grand Cherokee, as the company needs time to retool its manufacturing facilities for a new eight-speed automatic transmission and, yes, a diesel engine for the ’14 model year. The trade paper says Jeep will use the 3.0L diesel already available in the Grand overseas. It produces 241 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque and returns 33 mpg on the highway.

Fast Nissans
Nissan has made headlines in off-road racing lately. Brad Lovell, piloting his Traxxas TORC Pro Light Nissan Frontier, captured a win during a rainy race at Crandon in June, overcoming a bad start and a near spin in the first lap. Not only did Lovell win his event, but he set a new Pro Light class record too.

Meanwhile, at the Toole, Utah, Lucas Off Road Racing Series (LOORS) race in June, Carl Renezeder broke a seven-month winless streak by getting his Titan past not one, but two LeDucs—Kyle and Todd—for a win in the Unlimited Pro4 class. The win marked Renezeder’s 98th career victory, and he’s shooting for the 100th this season. Check out his Facebook page to get in on a contest where you could win some laps with him in his Titan.

Sept. 29: Wheelin’ for St. Jude’s by Ozark Mountain Xtreme Rock Crawlers, Flat Nasty Off Road Park, Jadwin, MO.

Oct. 4-6: French Lick Jeep Jamboree, French Lick, IN.

Oct. 4-6: Expedition Moab Jeep Jamboree, Moab, UT.

Oct. 5-7: Wounded Warrior 4x4 Fest by Ol’ Skool 4x4, American RV, and Camping World, El Paso, TX.

Oct. 6: Off-Road 101 Course, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park near Mapleton, KS.

Oct. 6: Night Run, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park near Mapleton, KS.

Oct. 6: Powder Puff desert race, Barstow, CA, by Mojave Off Road Racing Enthusiast.

Oct. 6: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA.
info: 310.374.8047,

Oct. 6-7: Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo Powered by General Tire, Pomona Fairplex, Pomona, CA.

Oct. 6-7: Iron Range Off-Road Driving School, Iron Range OHV Park near Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.

Oct. 7: Advanced Beginner Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, El Paso Mountains, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

Oct. 11-15: Southern Cruiser Crawl, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR.
Info: 501.625.3600,

Oct. 12-13: Operation Desert Fun by the California Association of 4WD Clubs, Truckhaven 4x4 Training Facility near Borrego Springs, CA.

Oct. 12-14: Bluewater Desert Challenge off-road race, Parker, AZ.

Oct. 13: Mojave Road Adventure by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, near Needles, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

Oct. 18-20: Borrego Springs Jeep Jamboree, Borrego Springs, CA.

Oct. 20: CORVA Southern Jamboree by the California Off-Road Vehicle Association, Johnson Valley OHVA near Barstow, CA.

Oct. 20: Creepy Crawl Event, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park near Mapleton, KS.

Oct. 25-27: Ouachita Jeep Jamboree, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR.

Oct. 25-27: Fall Crawl by Bay to Blue Ridge Cruisers, Rausch Creek Off Road Park, Joliet, PA.
Info: 540.850.6248,

Oct. 26: Death Valley Adventure by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Ridgecrest, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, Oct. 26-28: SNORE 250 desert race, venue TBD.

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 4wheeloff Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.

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