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February 2011 RPM: Off-Road Truck News

Posted in News on February 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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Ram Debuts Laramie Longhorn Edition
Think of it as Ram's answer to Ford's King Ranch trim levels and you'll get the idea. The new-for-2011 Longhorn Edition trim level is available on 1500, 2500, and 3500 Ram trucks and takes the Ram lineup to a level of sophistication and luxury it has never reached before. Longhorn Edition trucks get a western-themed motif that includes unique two-tone exterior paint schemes and a cab that gets a full leather-swathed interior with real burled walnut woodgrain surfaces. Other upgrades include a new instrument cluster that resembles handmade jewelry and host of formerly optional equipment as standard, such as navigation, back-up camera, front ventilated seats and heated rear seats. The seats even have saddlebag-inspired flap-closure map packets. Laramie Longhorn models will be available in early 2011.

TruckFest Success
TruckFest, Summit Racing Equipment's all truck, SUV, and Jeep show, returned for its 13th year and drew over 350 trucks, SUVS, and Jeeps to Summit Racing Equipment headquarters in Tallmadge. TruckFest featured a huge, non-judged cruise-in that drew hundreds of sport trucks, classic haulers, mini-trucks, 4x4s, SUVs, and Jeeps from across Ohio and surrounding states. The cruise-in included the Summit Racing/BIGFOOT monster truck and driver and the "Summit Racing Under ConsTRUCKtion" Ford F-150 project truck. Other TruckFest attractions included a Manufacturers Midway with many of the top aftermarket truck parts manufacturers in attendance to answer questions and show off new parts. Summit Racing Equipment offered TruckFest show discounts inside its Retail Super Store on September 18 and 19, and there were special offers and rebates from select manufacturers the day of the show. For more information on TruckFest, visit www.summitracing.com.

Moparize Your Grand
As good as the all-new 2011 Grand Cherokee is, Mopar has the accessories you need to make it even better. Among the more than 60 accessories Mopar has announced for the Grand Cherokee are some that are aimed squarely at the off-highway enthusiast, including skidplates, steel and alloy wheels, and rock rails. Other parts offered by Mopar are roof baskets, SUV crossbars, splash guards, trailer hitches and wiring, along with many interior accessories such as navigation, iPod integration and rear video monitors. To see the entire Mopar genuine accessory line up visit www.mopar.com.

Yacolt Burn Is Outstanding
Located just east of Vancouver, Washington, in the southwestern corner of the Yacolt Burn State Forest, Yacolt Burn was recently honored by BFGoodrich Tires as one of the 2010 Outstanding Trails. Off-road enthusiasts and members of the Piston's Wild Motorsports club took part in the weekend event as BFGoodrich Tires presented a grant of $4,000 to the club. The grant will be used to help the Piston's Wild Motorsports club and others design the trail system and offset some of the costs of getting the area open to off-highway users. The Piston's Wild Motorsports club is a not-for-profit organization that works to create a legal, safe and unique off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail system in the Yacolt Burn State Forest area for the riding public to experience and enjoy. BFGoodrich Tires, working in conjunction with Tread Lightly! and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), chose the Yacolt Burn trail system because of its scenic beauty and potential it presents to off-road enthusiasts. Piston's Wild Motorsports is working closely with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other motorized user groups to design this diverse and challenging trail system for all off-road enthusiasts. Construction for the trail is in full force and opening date for public access to the trails is yet to be announced (mid-summer to late 2011 is hoped). Upon completion, the Yacolt Burn off-road recreation area will offer 30-plus miles of four-wheel trails, and 40-plus miles of trails for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). In addition to the existing Jones Creek Trailhead, the plan also makes room for a large campground and trailhead in the heart of the forest. Elevations in the planning area range from 600 feet to 3,500 feet and major streams within the south part of the planning area flow south to the Washougal River, leading to the stunning Columbia River Gorge. Plans to create trails and features that will range from mild to wild are set, with the intention of creating an OHV recreation area. Celebrating its five-year anniversary, 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 16 states and two in Canada. The program has also given more than $70,000 in grants to clubs and seen more than 2,500 participants at trail events. Visit BFGoodrich Tires at www.bfgoodrichtires.com.

Legislative Notes
EPA Denies E15 Waiver for Pre-2001 Cars, Permits Use in Newer Cars
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that there is insufficient test data to permit E15 to be used in MY 2000 and older light-duty motor vehicles. The SEMA Action Network (SAN) has consistently voiced concern that ethanol increases water formation, which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber. While the SAN is pleased with the decision that older cars should not be fueled with E15, the association is disappointed that the EPA issued an E15 waiver for 2007 and newer vehicles. The agency is still gathering data for the 2001-2006 vehicles. The EPA's ruling responds to a request from the ethanol industry to raise the ethanol content in gasoline from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15). Consumers will not see E15 at the pump any time soon. The EPA must first approve regulations on how gas stations will label their pumps to avoid consumer misfueling. This will take months. Furthermore, there is no obligation that gasoline retailers market the fuel. In fact, some retailers oppose the fuel over concern that they could be held liable if E15 damages a vehicle. The gas stations and distributors may also need to invest in new storage tanks, hoses and other equipment. The SAN will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.

New Fuel Economy Standards Coming
The federal government intends to set stringent new fuel economy and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for model year 2017-2025 vehicles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to establish the standards. The federal agencies have asked for public comment on four possible targets for reducing emissions, at 3%, 4%, 5% and 6% annually (equivalent to 47-62 mpg or 190-143 CO2 grams per mile). The targets envision four scenarios to meet the standards, from relying on hybrid-electric vehicles and advanced gasoline engines to a combined fleet of hybrid/electric/gasoline-electric vehicles. Achieving the standards would require a reduction in vehicle mass and new powertrain technology. According to government projections, while vehicle prices would rise by thousands of dollars, the consumer would ultimately save money in fuel costs. The federal government intends to issue a proposed rule by September 2011 and set final standards by July 2012. CARB is currently drafting its own CO2 standards for the same time period. The government set new fuel-economy/CO2 standards for model years 2012-2016 cars/trucks in 2009. The rules established a national approach to regulating CO2 emissions rather than a patchwork of state rules. The average rating in 2016 will be 35.5 mpg/250 CO2 grams. While the specialty-equipment industry is a leader in developing solutions to technological challenges, SEMA will review the data and assumptions upon which the fiscal years 2017-2025 proposal is based to determine if they can be applied to the mass-production marketplace and whether they would threaten consumer safety and choice. FW

King Expands Distribution
King Shocks has announced that its line of shocks will now be sold through 4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers, 4WD.com, and Transamerican Wholesale. King Shocks built a solid reputation manufacturing state-of-the-art custom shock absorbers for top off-road racers. They've taken all the quality construction and race bred technology from their race shocks and packaged it into vehicle specific, bolt-on OEM and UTV applications. You can order online, over the phone, or through one of over sixty 4 Wheel Parts retail performance centers nationwide.

Quick Hits
●Through a partnership with Activision, Jeep will offer the limited production Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition Wrangler for 2011.

●The 2011 Ford Raptor Super Crew will start at $44,315, while the SuperCab would start at $41,550. The 6.2L engine is now standard across the line.

Ford's 3.7L V-6-powered 2011 F-150 has been rated at an impressive 23mpg highway.

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