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December 2009 4x4 Truck & Automotive News - RPM

Posted in News on December 1, 2009
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Contributors: Brenda Priddy & Co.

New Super Duty On The Way
The 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty is on track, and our spies recently caught it out tow testing. While the cab remains the same, Ford's heavy hitter will feature a restyled front clip, as well as a new look in the rear, as shown by the more svelte dually fenders seen here. Taillights are said to mimic those on the F-150. The biggest changes will come under the hood, where the 6.2L Premium V-8 will replace the modular 5.4L V-8 and 6.8L V-10, while the next-generation in-house 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8 (codename: Scorpion) will replace the 6.4L Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel V-8.

B20 Is A Go
According to, the upcoming 6.6L Duramax LML turbodiesel V-8 will be certified to run B20 diesel fuel, or 80-percent ultra-low-sulfur diesel and 20-percent biodiesel. This matches the Dodge Ram's 6.7L Cummins turbodiesel and bests the current 6.4L Power Stroke and Duramax, which are both approved for B5. The LML Duramax will be available in the 2011 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado HD pickups.

FJ Gets A Bump
Toyota has announced that the 2010 FJ Cruiser will feature several upgrades, including dual VVT-i and roller rocker arms on the 4.0L V-6, which add 19 horsepower and a one mpg increase. Minor suspension changes reduce the turning radius by more than a foot, and a new Army Green exterior color is offered. The base MSRP for FJ Cruiser will range from $23,680 for the two-wheel-drive automatic to $25,270 for the 4x4 automatic, an increase of $360, or 1.4 to 1.5 percent. The Tacoma, the best-selling compact pickup truck in the U.S., will carry over unchanged except for an enhancement to the front cupholder.

Dakota Tweaks
For 2010, the Dodge Dakota will receive some enhancements to the suspension system, which will include new shocks and springs that improve ride and handling. In addition to new colors, the Dakota will lose the standard six-speed manual transmission, but will gain a 200-pound increase in max towing ability. The new max will remain best-in-class at 7,250 pounds.

BFGoodrich Tires Recognizes Fordyce Creek Trail
Located in the Tahoe National Forest, Fordyce Creek Trail was honored in August by BFGoodrich Tires as one of the 2009 Outstanding Trails. More than 700 off-road enthusiasts and members of the Friends of Fordyce club were in attendance at the annual California Association of 4WD Clubs' Sierra Trek as BFGoodrich Tires presented a grant to the club's president. The grant will be used to preserve the scenic trails and continue conservation efforts for one of America's most beautiful areas for wheeling.

BFGoodrich Tires, working in conjunction with Tread Lightly! and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), chose Fordyce Creek Trail as one of the 2009 Outstanding Trails for its incredible history, level of difficulty, and sheer beauty. Many trails within the system are classified as difficult to most difficult and thus the area is recommended for experienced wheelers only. Fordyce Creek Trail is approximately 12 miles long and includes more than 10 rockcrawling areas, five winch hills and four water crossings. The Friends of Fordyce is a non-profit corporation with a coalition of trail users and volunteers whose numbers are growing every day. Friends of Fordyce are a National Forest Adopt-a-Trail organization that works to preserve and protect the Fordyce Creek Trail through maintenance and public education on the responsible use of natural resources.

Launched in 2006, the BFGoodrich Tires Outstanding Trails program is dedicated to the responsible use, and preservation of off-road trails while providing aid in the trails' conservation efforts. Since its inception, the Outstanding Trails program has recognized 19 off-road trails in 15 states and two in Canada. The program has also given $76,000 in grants to clubs and seen more than 2,850 participants at trail events. Aside from Fordyce Creek Trail, Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area, located in Gilmer, Texas, was also named to the 2009 Outstanding Trails.

To learn more about these trails, visit the Outstanding Trails Web site at

Land Use Notes
* California Greenhouse Gases
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will grant a waiver to California to allow the state to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Until at least 2016, however, California will pursue the national approach adopted by the Obama administration. The decision ends a seven-year battle by California to establish standards to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In 2007, the Bush administration blocked implementation of the California CO2 rule which had been adopted by 13 other states. Since the federal standards will not begin until 2012, the waiver technically allows California and other states to enforce their own standards. More importantly, the waiver will permit California to pursue stricter standards after 2016.

* NHTSA Rejects Mandatory DRLs
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) denied a longstanding petition by General Motors that the agency mandate installation of daytime running lamps (DRLs) on all new light-duty vehicles. The NHTSA's decision was based on study results which it found did not provide substantial evidence of an overall safety benefit, although the lighting equipment may be beneficial under certain scenarios.

The NHTSA will continue to maintain a neutral position on the technology and allow manufacturers to make individual decisions on whether to install DRLs. The GM petition was submitted in 2001, but the topic dates back to at least 1988, when the NHTSA rejected a similar petition. In 1993, the NHTSA allowed automakers to voluntarily install DRLs and established corresponding performance criteria to address potential glare. The decision preempted any state laws which may have inadvertently prohibited the lighting equipment.

A number of other countries require DRLs or that motorists drive with lights on during the daytime. The countries are predominantly farther north, where sunlight is more limited during the winter months (e.g., Canada and Scandinavian countries).

Quick Hits
* Nissan is still hopeful for a hookup with a post-bankruptcy Chrysler to sell restyled Dodge Rams as the next-generation Nissan Titan.

* The 2010 Toyota Tundra has earned five out of five stars in the government's head-on crash test. The Tundra was previously tested as a then all-new 2007 model and only received four out of five stars.

* Through July 2009, the Ford F-150 is leading the pickup sales race with 215,959 units sold, followed by the Chevrolet Silverado (177,566), and the Dodge Ram (112,239).

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