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October 2010 RPM: Off-Road Truck News

Posted in News on October 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Brenda Priddy & Co.

Here are the first pictures of the long awaited Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Super Crew, without camo. The '11 Raptor Super Crew will only be available with the 411hp/434 lb-ft 6.2L SOHC V-8 and will offer an additional color for 2011-the silver this tester is wearing. Other changes for 2011 include a variation of the Super Duty's instrument cluster-mounted productivity screen.

Duramax 4.5L To Be Resurrected?
We have been hearing that GM is reconsidering the shelved 320hp/510 lb-ft 4.5L Duramax V-8 for its fullsize pickups-and not just the 1/2-tons, either. Word has it that the 4.5L could be an option on 2500 Heavy Duty trucks for those who need diesel grunt, but don't need the ultimate towing capability of the 6.6L Duramax. By all accounts, the 4.5L turbodiesel offers excellent performance along with fuel economy solidly in the 20s. We say bring it on, General.

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Chrysler Offers an App for That
Last year, Chrysler Group was the first automotive company to replace traditional, bulky owner's manuals with DVDs and user guides. This year, the company is introducing the industry's first smartphone vehicle-information application. Information that used to be stuffed into the glovebox will now be at your fingertips. In addition to general vehicle information including vehicle operation, maintenance, and warranty, this new app offers product-feature video demonstrations, connections with fellow owners via the company's brands on social media sites, and access to customer care and 24-hour roadside assistance. The vehicle-information app is designed to support vehicles in the U.S. market. The app will first be available for iPhone and later for BlackBerry and Android devices on major mobile carriers. The application, which is free to the consumer, will eventually phase into future Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram Truck vehicles in the U.S. by the end of this year.

Get the Toyota Trail Tracker
Toyota is also entering the app game by offering the Toyota Trail Tracker app. Trail Tracker is an easy-to-use app for trail enthusiasts. It allows users to quickly find off-road trails and download detailed trail information such as maps, rating, distance, duration, elevation gain/loss, and photos. You can also browse trails, learn about trail history, and access insider trail tips. Or you can follow, connect with and learn about other Trail Tracker users from all over the country. Trail Tracker also lets users share personal trail experiences by uploading trail locations, maps, notes, and photos to trailtracker.com.

Quick Hits

  • Rumor has it that Ford will be running the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 in the Raptor R at the Baja 1000. What does it mean for the production truck?
  • GM's Chevrolet Avalanche and GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickups lead this year's Initial Quality Study from J.D. Power and Associates.
  • The Euro-spec 2011 Ranger Rover is expected to get a 4.4L V-8 turbodiesel, the same one that was slated for and cancelled on the F-150.

Legislative Notes

Regulators Setting CO2 Emissions Standards for Future Cars and Trucks
Just months after establishing mileage and emissions standards for model year (MY) 2012-16 cars and light trucks, the Obama administration has begun work on even stronger rules for 2017 and beyond. In June 2010 President Obama directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce emissions of conventional pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides. The president also instructed regulators to establish fuel economy and carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks for the first time beginning in MY 2014. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is also pursuing CO2 standards for MY 2017-25 cars and trucks. CARB intends to coordinate its action with the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with the automakers and other stakeholders, with the goal of setting a single national standard.

Last April, the EPA and NHTSA completed action on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and CO2 emissions standards for light-duty vehicles through MY 2016. The two issues are related since CO2 is released in direct proportion to the amount of carbon-based fuel that is burned. The action matched the CO2 standards previously adopted by California, and recognized that state's authority to establish its own CO2 standards in the future. The automakers participated in formulating the SEMA-supported rules since it provided a national approach to regulating CO2 emissions rather than a patchwork of state rules. Federal regulators intend to issue a "game plan" for MY 2017-25 light-duty vehicles by September 2010 and adopt a final rule by mid-2012. CARB officials want to complete action on the CO2 standards by the end of 2010.

New Certification Procedure for Diesel Performance Parts
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued its new test procedure and related requirements to obtain Executive Orders (E.O.s) for emissions-related diesel performance parts. Of note is CARB's development of a "Parts in Progress List" that identifies companies having submitted all traditional E.O. applications materials but who must now address additional requirements. By following the required steps, parts will be prevented from causing failure of the emissions-check test. This new program provides an opportunity for diesel parts manufacturers to submit all E.O. application materials and include responses to additional questions to be asked by CARB. Upon successful completion of this initial process, applicants will be given one year to conduct the required emissions tests and obtain E.O.s (which began July 1, 2010 and ends July 1, 2011), during which time no diesel vehicle equipped with parts in the certification process (Part in Progress List) will fail the visual portion of the California Bureau of Automotive Repair's (BAR's) emissions-check test. The deadline for being included on the "Parts in Progress List" was July 1, 2010, after which time a company would not qualify for the one-year period to obtain certification. To view the current CARB Parts in Progress List, go to www.arb.ca.gov, click on "aftermarket parts," identify and click on the "Parts in Progress" link, and the current list should appear. CARB will be updating this list on a continuing basis, adding the names and products of companies who have qualified for the program. The BAR emissions-check stations will be referencing this part of the CARB website to identify products that will not cause failure of the emissions-check's visual portion. SEMA has and will continue to monitor this program and update affected members with any new information. SEMA would also like to acknowledge the contributions made by Gale Banks Engineering in establishing this new program, which will be invaluable to the affected members of our industry.

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