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Long-Term Updates - April 2012

Posted in How To on April 1, 2012
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Go Ahead—Ask Us!

What do you want to know about? Is there something we tried out in the pages of this magazine that you would like to know more about? Send an email to and we’ll make sure we get you an answer.

ATS Transmission

To build a transmission that will hold up in one of our trucks for more than a year…well that’s an impressive feat. As a whole, OFF-ROAD’s small writing staff has managed to mangle more than our fair share of trannys, and we’re always eager to find ones that will hold up to the abuse we deal out. Almost two years ago, we put an ATS 5R110 transmission in place of our 2003 Super Duty’s stock transmission. Our original unit was still working, but we could feel the torque converter slipping when getting on the throttle or hauling heavy loads—it just wasn’t up to the task of 40-inch tires, lots of power, all while towing heavy loads. The ATS unit has surpassed our expectations. Even with 4.56 gears (that we’ll be changing soon) the ATS torque converter exhibits little to no slip when on the throttle, while towing a heavy trailer. With an ATS tuner, we’ve been able to make shifts as hard or as soft as we want them, so we’ve been finding our preferences through trial and error.

GD#&*!%!!! Traction Control

We suppose it’s probably the fault of the silly driver (Editor Jones) who forgot to turn off the traction control, but these systems found on newer vehicles can be quite annoying sometimes. This particular instance happened when traversing some seemingly hard-packed sand. The truck was in four-high (traction control disables in four-low) and wasn’t slipping at all…until one tire spun a tad too much. Throttle control was lost (and subsequently all momentum) as the rpm dropped, and the truck was immediately stuck. And of course, it only got worse from there….

While we understand why monitors like traction control and ESP were put in place on vehicles, it certainly does take the fun out of spirited driving. And, despite its good intentions, we’ve found instances where traction control (in cars, not our Super Duty) has engaged in a slippery pavement situation, cut power, and left us like sitting ducks in front of speeding oncoming traffic.

LED Stealth Bar

With a low-profile and only a single row of LED lights, we must say that we were surprised with how much illumination the LED Stealth bar provides. The slim build of it makes it fit in places where other lights can’t, and it blocks almost no airflow into the radiator—something that cannot be said for conventional round lights.

The entire bar is still working fine on our truck after a year, and the black body still looks black and isn’t faded out.

Like all Baja Designs kits, the wiring to the light is top-quality and still in very good condition thanks to the sheathing put on all of Baja Designs’ wiring kits.

Our only complaint is that condensation does get behind the lens sometimes, but it hasn’t affected anything yet, and we don’t think it ever will.

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