ARCA Meets IRCABecause of the worldwide exposure received thanks to the tremendous support from different media outlets connecting enthusiasts to the sport, rockcrawling is going international. The American Rock Crawlers Association (ARCA) announced that it is expanding its efforts to promote rockcrawling at an international level. In association with the International Rock Crawlers Association (IRCA), the two groups will promote and sanction rockcrawling events similar to those of ARCA internationally, with competitions between national champions. The purpose and goal of IRCA is to expand the sport of rockcrawling by sanctioning ARCA and other associations holding competitions in various countries around the globe. The IRCA also hopes to unite international 4WD associations, clubs, and enthusiasts. In conjunction with partnering with IRCA, the American Rock Crawlers Association announced that it would also change its name to the Rock Crawlers Association of America (RCAA), still pronounced the same way.
Lowering the LibertyLowering a Jeep? Blasphemy, we say. But that's what the DaimlerChrysler folks have deemed necessary in order to deal with potential rollover risks brought to light by two automotive enthusiast publications. What? You mean I shouldn't crank through this turn at high speed? Guess we can't rely on every Liberty owner to be that responsible. So far, no recalls are in sight, but DaimlerChrysler did begin building the Liberty SUV with the front lowered by 22 millimeters and the rear by 19 millimeters. The changes were said to be because of the fact that Liberty buyers were taking their vehicles off road less than Chrysler had expected.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had previously given the Liberty two out of five stars for rollover propensity, indicating that it had a 30 to 40 percent chance of rolling in single vehicle accident. Many of its direct competitors received three stars, with an estimated 20 to 30 percent chance of rollover. The NHTSA couldn't say how the change in ride height would affect the Liberty's static stability factor, the formula used to determine its rollover rating. Chrysler opted against a recall on the vehicles to carry out the lowering modifications, stating that they've always felt it was a safe vehicle.
UROC to Host SupercrawlAs if it wasn't already difficult enough to grab the podium in one of the many rockcrawling series across the nation, the United Rockcrawling & Off-road Challenge Series (UROC) is making it an even bigger challenge. In order to qualify for entry in the UROC Supercrawl being held October 9-12 in Farmington, New Mexico, potential competitors must first finish in the Top Ten of any recognized rockcrawling event. Events organized by UROC, CalRocs, EROCC, Kremmling Crawl, Rock Garden Four Wheelers, ProRock, NWRCA, and RCAA are all considered worthy. The Supercrawl will follow UROC rules, offering two separate classes. The Legend Class allows for a maximum of 36-inch tires, while the Unlimited Class calls for a minimum tire size of 37 inches. Use your imagination to figure out which of the two classes is the more extreme.
UROC is also hosting its own series of events leading up to Supercrawl. The series final of the 2002 season will take place in Vernal, Utah, August 15-17. For more information about UROC and Supercrawl, check out www.uroc.rockcrawler.com.
Jeep Stays DanaContinuing its ongoing business with the Dana Corporation, Jeep will use Dana front and rear axles in the '03 Wrangler Rubicon and front axles and rear main driveshafts in the Liberty Renegade. Dana currently supplies axles and driveshafts for Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, and Liberty models. The deal makes for an all-American venture since Dana manufactures its products at its Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, facilities, and the Rubicon and Renegade edition Jeeps are built at DaimlerChrysler's Toledo, Ohio, plant. The Wrangler Rubicon features rock guards, a rear Dana 44, and pushbutton-activated front and rear lockers. Rubicon production begins this Summer, and they are expected to arrive in showrooms late Summer or early Fall. DaimlerChrysler predicts it'll build as many as 8,000 Rubicons annually.
Prorock Gets RandyProRock gets Randy? As in sexually aroused? Lustful? Heck no, as in ring-and-pinion. That's right, Randy's Ring & Pinion of Everett, Washington, is the newest national sponsor of the Professional Rockcrawlers Organization (ProRock). Randy's will also be the title sponsor of the Nevada State Rockcrawling Championship, the final series event of the Superlift ProRock National Series, being held November 16-17, 2002. Events will also be held in Arkansas (7/13-14), Indiana (8/24-25), and Utah (9/14-15), leading up to the championship in Nevada. Big prize money is on the line for the series champion, with purses reaching $110,000 per class over the six event series. Superlift Suspension Systems is the 2002 title sponsor with BFGoodrich Tires, Randy's Ring & Pinion, Tractech, Yukon Gear & Axle, and Black Diamond Suspensions listed as national sponsors. For more information, check out www.sportsintherough.com, or call (866) GO-PROROCK (467-7676).
Big Meets Bigger: Chevy Goes Toe-To-Toe with FordIn an attempt to accomplish a feat not seen since 1986, Chevrolet is pulling out all the stops in an effort to beat Ford in year-end sales. And having already eked by with just 328 more cars and trucks sold during January and February combined (a first since 1990), Chevrolet may in fact realize its goal. The battle depends largely on how each company holds up through the phasing out and redesigning of current vehicle models. Ford is relying heavily on its redesigned '03 Expedition but will also benefit from a full year of production of the popular Explorer and the launch of the mildly restyled '03 Ranger. However, the company has seen declining sales or the F-series pickup line, which is slated for a redesign in 2004.
Chevrolet, on the other hand, is selling like gangbusters, particularly in the truck market. The Silverado is trailing the F-series by a hair, and the TrailBlazer and Blazer, combined, outsold the Explorer in February. Chevy plans to up the ante once again with a 2003-model Silverado featuring a new front-end treatment, a restyled interior, airbag upgrades, and a new electrical architecture said to greatly reduce the number of wires, splices, and connectors. The Tahoe and Suburban will also benefit from the airbag and electrical upgrades. A full sales year for the Avalanche and TrailBlazer will help boost the numbers, as will the launch of the TrailBlazer EXT.
4.0L Jeep RecallTaking preventative measures against a potential fire hazard in the engine compartment of 4.0L Jeep Wranglers, Cherokees, and Grand Cherokees, the Chrysler Group issued a recall affecting more than 1 million Jeeps on the road. The problem, which hasn't resulted in any accidents or injuries, deals with the possibility of debris accumulating in the engine compartment that could potentially cause a fire. The company cited that a design change to the engine manifolds modified the underhood airflow, which in rare cases could lead to accumulated debris. Though the occurrence of a fire is unlikely, the Chrysler Group will address the issue by attaching a shield in the manifold area. The recall covers 2000-02 Wranglers, 2000-01 Cherokees, and '99-'02 Grand Cherokees.