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November 2010 RPM: Off-Road Truck News

Posted in News on November 1, 2010
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Ford Ups 6.7L Power
When Ford introduced the 2011 Super Duty, the 6.7L Power Stoke turbodiesel was rated at 390 horsepower and 735 lb-ft of torque. Then came along General Motors and their 2011 trucks sporting a revised 6.6L Duramax with a Super Duty-thumping 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. Not content to let GM hold the title, Ford has anounced that all new F-250, F-350, and F-450 Super Duty trucks will benefit from an engine management calibration that will up the Power Stroke output to 400 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to an all-new 6R140 TorqShift six-speed that has been thoroughly over-engineered, the Ford has room to grow. Best of all, early 2011 Super Duty 6.7Ls can be brought up to this revised spec with a quick trip to the dealer.

Eight Speeds for Ram
Chrysler and ZF recently announced that Chrysler has acquired the supply and manufacturing rights to ZF's excellent 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission for use in Chrysler vehicles. The 8HP offers a significant decrease in fuel consumption and lightning-quick 200-millisecond shifts, and is currently used by BMW, Land Rover and Rolls-Royce. According to ZF's website, the 8HP can handle up to 1,000 newton-meters, or nearly 750 lb-ft of torque, which makes for a real nice Ram transmission on paper, especially with next-generation Cummins turbodiesels on the horizon. The 8HP is also start/stop capable for further fuel savings. Chrysler will build the 8HP in Kokomo, Indiana, as soon as its $300-million-dollar renovation in the Indiana Transmission Plant 1 is complete.

Bigfoot Switches Sides
After 35-years of exclusively running Ford-bodied Bigfoot trucks, the original monster truck appeared as a Chevrolet during Major League Baseball's 81st annual All-Star Game festivities in Anaheim, California. Ford dropped the Bigfoot sponsorship back in 2007, leaving Firestone as the primary sponsor of the Bigfoot team. Firestone also happened to be a major sponsor of the All-Star Game, so Bigfoot 4x4 worked with MLB and the other major sponsor, Chevrolet. This one-off Chevy-bodied Bigfoot is also Chevy-powered because Bigfoot 4x4 doesn't believe in brand mixing. There are no current plans to switch the rest of the Bigfoot fleet over to Chevrolets.

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Legislative Notes
Idaho Wilderness Bill Threatens To Close Trails
A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate to create a large, new wilderness reserve in central Idaho has been endorsed by the Obama administration. The legislation threatens to designate nearly 330,000 acres of land in central Idaho as wilderness, the most restrictive designation that can be placed on public lands. SEMA opposes the legislation as drafted since many off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails in the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests could be closed as a result of its passage. For nearly a decade, lawmakers have proposed several variations of the Boulder/White Clouds Wilderness bill, also known as the "Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act." The current bill is pending before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. There has been no action in the House. Wilderness legislation is consequential since it potentially denies access to off-roaders and the equipment that they purchase, much of which is manufactured by SEMA members. SEMA supports land-use decisions that allow local communities and government authorities to participate in the decision-making process. Within that context, SEMA supports compromise approaches on wilderness areas that balance the need to preserve access to appropriate motorized recreation while protecting some of our nation's natural wonders. This would include "cherry-stemmed roads," which are corridors within wilderness areas that allow motorized recreation.

California Bill Fails To Pass Committee
After passing in the Assembly with the full support of the automotive hobbyist community, the California Senate Transportation Committee failed to approve legislation to increase the registration limit for exempted specially constructed vehicle registrations from 500 to 750 vehicles per year. The bill was defeated on a 3 to 5 vote.

Current law provides for emissions-system certification and a model-year designation for specially constructed vehicles. Under the law, vehicle owners choose whether a smog-test referee certifies the engine model year or the vehicle model year. To determine model year, inspectors compare the vehicle to those of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles. If there is no close match, it is classified as a 1960 vehicle. Only those emissions controls applicable to the model year and that can be reasonably accommodated by the vehicle are required.

The Department of Motor Vehicles provides a new registration to the first 500 specially constructed vehicles per year that meet the criteria.

eBay Motors Announces People's Picks Survey
Ford or Chevy? Honda or Toyota? NASCAR or Formula One? Let's settle this. We want opinions! Share yours in the eBay Motors People's Picks Survey.

eBay Motors is calling all enthusiasts-motorheads, wrenchheads, gearheads-to pick favorites in the automotive world. Underway as of August 1, the eBay Motors People's Picks Survey gives enthusiasts the opportunity to voice their opinions on a worldwide stage-from the best muscle cars, to the most modifiable tuners, to the toughest trucks.

Opinion polling will be conducted in ten separate categories, including a category all about cars in our culture-Worst Car Name? Best First Date Car? You get the idea. Voters are encouraged to share their opinions with friends through social media to start arguments-er, encourage dialogue. Those who vote will have a chance to win up to $50,000 worth of prizes, including a trip to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November. To add your opinion, visit

Holy Cross Trail Is Outstanding
Located in the high peaks of central Colorado, the Holy Cross Trail was honored by BFGoodrich Tires as one of its 2010 Outstanding Trails. Off-road enthusiasts and members of the Big Horn Jeep club were in attendance as BFGoodrich presented a grant to the club's president. The grant will be used to preserve the scenic trail and continue conservation efforts for one of America's most beautiful areas for four-wheeling. BFGoodrich Tires, working in conjunction with Tread Lightly!(r) and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), chose the Holy Cross Trail because of its beauty and challenge that it presents to off-road enthusiasts. Celebrating its five-year anniversary, the BFGoodrich 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 program has also given more than $70,000 in grants to clubs and seen more than 2,500 participants at trail events.

Quick Hits
Will Mahindra diesel pickup ever make it to the States? A new lawsuit by the importer makes the answer to that question unclear.

Toyota has begun work on the next-generation Toyota Tundra for the 2014 model year. However, the fullsize Sequoia SUV will not be continued.

Beware at the Border: Several governmental agencies have adopted the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor as their border patrol vehicle of choice.

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