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When people started moving away from the chrome and polished aluminum wheels and jumped on the black wheel bandwagon, American Racing came out with a Teflon coating on rims. Not only did this look good, mud was supposed to slide off the wheel. Dirt does in fact wipe away very easily, just as it would with a powdercoated wheel. We haven't had to polish nor maintain this wheel and it still looks brand new. The only parts showing their age after a few years are the plastic center caps that have yellowing labels.
We think we might have figured out why our TH400 transmission was leaking. It turns out that prerunning with the weight of two transfer cases in back of a transmission is not a great idea. There were even two very strong crossmembers in the truck supporting the drivetrain package, but it was not enough to keep from breaking the back part of our transmission housing off.
Obviously this really isn't a failure of the TH400 case, and more of a failure on our application of our editor-in-chief, a TH400, and two transfer cases all in the same prerunner truck.
We've got a couple different project trucks that have been running National leaf springs for years. Neither are race trucks, but both see fairly heavy beatings. To date, both pairs still hold weight as well as they did a few years ago, and neither have been damaged. We were positive we damaged one leaf pack about a year ago, but it turned out that we actually bent the frame of the truck instead.
National Spring has a service that will check and repair damaged leaf springs. If you've got a set of expensive leaves that are hurt, don't trash 'em-just have them rebuilt!
Bilstein Hydraulic Bumpstops
We've been running Bilstein hydraulic bumpstops on a Blazer and on a Cherokee for over a year now. Both are still performing flawlessly, and the nippled tips don't seem to mar like some other metal-tipped bumpstops.
One complaint we've heard pop up regarding Bilsteins is about the body themselves, with some owners saying that the bodies rust too fast. We, too, have experienced what we thought was premature rust dots on our bumpstops. After talking to a pro, we found the simple way to avoid this is to keep the bodies waxed, the same as you would your vehicle. Keeping a wax coating on them will keep your Bilstein (and other shock) bodies looking good for years to come.