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March 2011 RPM - Off-Road Truck News

Posted in News on May 1, 2011
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Ford Tears Down "Hero" EcoBoost Engine
In a live teardown in front of a crowd at the North American International Auto Show, a team of Ford engineers disassembled the "Hero" 3.5L turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine. This engine, in about three months, experienced the equivalent of 10 years and 160,000 miles of hard use to prove its design and durability in a truck application. The hero engine was subjected to hauling 55 tons of lumber, running at full throttle for 24 straight hours while towing 11,300 pounds, beating competitors' larger V-8 engines in an uphill towing competition and finishing the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000. After completing the Baja 1000 in just over 38 hours, the engine was pulled from its race truck and sent to Dearborn for analysis. There it produced 420 lb-ft of torque and 364 horsepower-one horsepower less than its original number. It was discovered that the engine could have run for another 150,000 miles after inspecting the internals. The turbochargers showed no visual issues and spun freely; the rings showed no obvious signs of wear; carbon deposits were nominal; and the cylinder leakdown test results ranged from 6 to 13 percent. Video of the entire live teardown can be found on YouTube.

Trophy Case
Four Wheeler Editor Douglas McColloch and Tech Editor Sean P. Holman were on hand at this year's NAIAS to present the Four Wheeler of the Year awards to Jeep for the 2011 Grand Cherokee and to Ford for the 2011 Ford Raptor 6.2. Seen here, from left to right, are: Phil Jansen, Grand Cherokee Chief Engineer; Mike Manley, Jeep CEO; Douglas McColloch; Jim Morrison, head of Jeep Brand Product Marketing; and Sean P. Holman

RamRunner Pricing Announced
Pricing on Mopar's RamRunner project was formally announced at NAIAS this year. For those of you Mopar fans who have been anxious to create your own RamRunner, the catalog is ready to be raided. We've listed the parts numbers and MSRPs here for you.

Stage 2 RamRunner suspension kit (p/n P5155662), $13,270
Stage 1 Pre-runner suspension kit (p/n P5155258), $3,129
Front bumper (p/n P5155663), $1,250
Tubular tire carrier (p/n P5155664), $1,010
Front fenders (p/n P5155665), $1,020
Rear fenders (p/n P5155666), $1,350
Sport performance hood (p/n 82211065AD), $978
Cold-air intake system (p/n 77070023), $466
After-cat exhaust system (p/n P5155280), $1,135

Jeep Celebrates 70th Anniversary
Jeep is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2011. To mark the occasion, the Jeep brand is creating distinctive, unique 70th Anniversary Edition models that were revealed at NAIAS. No model is left behind and all Jeep 70th Anniversary Edition vehicles will be available in a unique Bronze Star exterior paint, in addition to Bright Silver and Black, with unique wheels and upscale interior treatments.

Robust Raptor Sales
Ford's Raptor exceeded all expectations with sales of 7,085 trucks in 2010. Going back to the August 2009 on-sale date of the first truck, Ford says more than 8,400 trucks have been sold. Even more interesting is that the Raptor has easily outsold the SVT Lightning's best year of 6,381 units in 2001. The addition of the new SuperCrew bodystyle, in dealerships now, should prove to make 2011 a great year for one of the best factory pickups ever created.

Sergio Said What!?!
Chrysler Group's CEO Sergio Marchionne must have been in a chatty mood when he sat down with journalists at the auto show, as he went on the record to discuss future products. It was revealed that a "multipurpose" Jeep "with something they call a truck bed" had his approval, while a three-row SUV based on the Grand Cherokee/Durango platform would be joining the fold as a re-imagined Grand Wagoneer in the near future. Also discussed were light-duty diesels, including for the Wrangler, but a business case is still being made. Did we mention that he is a huge fan of the Gladiator concept?

Legislative Notes
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) unveiled a regulatory initiative to identify unspoiled backcountry, which can be designated as "wild lands." SEMA opposes the program since it usurps the exclusive authority of Congress to designate "wilderness." The designation is consequential to SEMA members that produce equipment intended for off-road activities and their customers, since no motorized activities are allowed in "wilderness" lands. The BLM manages more than 250 million acres across the western United States and Alaska, 22 percent of which already have the wilderness designation. The BLM has now been directed to review its inventory in search of more wild lands. The National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service also administer wilderness lands. In total, about 5 percent of the United States carries the designation. The BLM action overturns a 2003 Bush Administration policy barring the agency from identifying wild lands, also known as "wilderness study areas" (WSAs). The BLM's legal authority to establish WSAs expired in 1991, but the agency continued to pursue the initiative until 2003. The new BLM program will likely be challenged in court and reviewed by Congress.

Quick Hits
Paid attendance at this year's North American International Auto Show eclipsed the slow 2010 show by 20,000 people with a total of 735,370. One more step on the road to recovery.

While we were attending the auto show, Four Wheeler alumna Sue Mead, along with racer Darren Skilton and the team behind the FabSchool/General Tire Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, were out winning the OP/2 Stock racing class in the 2011 Dakar Rally. Congrats to our good friend Sue and her team on an incredible accomplishment. Look for Sue's account of racing, and winning, in one of the world's toughest off-road endurance tests, in an upcoming issue.

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