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September 2011 RPM - Off-Road Truck News

Posted in News on September 1, 2011
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Raptor-Fighter Hits The Ring
Mopar has released further details on the hotly anticipated Ram Runner kit. Ram Truck owners can now transform their truck into a Mopar-powered desert racer. Just a little more than one year after Mopar debuted its Ram Runner image vehicle at the 2010 Easter Jeep Safari, the brand announced details of its new Ram Runner kit for off-road enthusiasts. The Mopar Ram Runner Kit, developed with successful Baja off-road racer Kent Kroeker, is designed for 2009-11 Ram pickups and includes the following:

Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit: Five-link coil-spring rear suspension, 4130 chromoly lower control arms, tubular upper control arms, rebuildable high-angle ball joints and forged steel, high-angle tie rods; 14 inches of suspension travel in front and rear, 3-inch internal bypass Fox shocks. (MSRP: $13,270, Part No. P5155662)

Off-Road Front Bumper: Steel construction with integrated aluminum skidplate; high approach angle of 41 degrees provides greater clearance over off-road obstacles. (MSRP: $1,250, Part No. P5155663)

Off-Road Rear Tire Carrier: Rear placement allows for easier access and ability to carry larger tires needed for the off-road. (MSRP: $1,010, Part No. P5155664)

Off-Road Front Fenders: Tough, durable fenders feature wider wheelwells, allowing for tremendous suspension articulation, zero tire-to-body interference, and provide an imposing, aggressive look. (MSRP: $1,020, Part No. P5155665)

Off-Road Rear Fenders (6’4” bed): Tough, durable fenders feature wider wheel wells allowing for tremendous suspension articulation, zero tire-to-body interference, and provide an imposing, aggressive appearance. (MSRP: $1,020, Part No. P5155665)

Sport Performance Hood: Stamped aluminum, dual-scooped hood with molded bezels. (MSRP: $978, Part No. 82211065AD)

5.7L Cat-back Exhaust: Dual exhaust with chromed tips for bumper with cut-outs (MSRP: $1,135, Part No. P5155280)

The street-legal kit may be installed by do-it-yourselfers or in a Ram dealership. Mopar says the Ram Runner Kit is equal to or better than its competitors on a number of fronts. Front upper and lower control arms, which are three inches longer than production arms, provide added width and allow greater wheel travel over rough dirt trails. Front lower control arms are constructed from 4130 chromoly steel in order to withstand off-road punishment. Upper control arms include rebuildable high-angle ball joints. Both inner and outer tie rods are substantially strengthened and contribute to the rugged, off-road steering characteristics and capabilities. Outer tie rods, constructed of forged steel, measure one inch in diameter. Inner tie rods also are nearly 20 percent beefier, increasing from 0.62 inch to 0.75 inch.

At the rear, a five-link coil spring rear suspension is utilized and helps provide a 30-degree departure angle. The Pre-Runner Stage II kit offers a boost in suspension travel, 14 inches both front and rear, which is greater than the suspension travel on the Ford Raptor. The Ram Runner kit, which includes Fox 3-inch internal bypass shocks, offers performance on par with that of an off-road Baja race truck and outperforms the 2.5-inch shocks of the competition. Ground clearance is approximately 13 inches at the center of the front cross-member and 16 inches at the rocker panels.

These parts can be purchased through or from your local Mopar dealer. Look for more information on the installation of this conversion kit in an upcoming issue.

Raptor Hang Time
Ford is now selling professional quality images of its Raptor on While airing out your Raptor only lasts a second or so, these gorgeous 27x30-inch framed prints are suitable for hanging indefinitely. Be sure to specify your Raptor’s VIN for the included plaque before ordering.

Bye Four Now
When the 2012 Jeep Wrangler debuts later this year with the Pentastar 3.6L V-6, it will also mark the end of the line for the 42RLE four-speed automatic. In its place, the W5A580 five-speed automatic from the Grand Cherokee is expected to make its debut in the Wrangler. Wouldn’t it be nice if Jeep surprised us with a 6-speed automatic, though? Oh, and manual fans don’t worry—the manual option carries on with the new engine.

Explore the Parks
As a follow-up to its Toyota FJ Cruiser line that was launched at SEMA, XPLORE Vehicles is now converting Jeep Wranglers as part of its upfitting program. Debuting at Moab Easter Jeep Safari 2011, the very first XPLORE Adventure Series Jeep features a very special matte dark green paint and a full complement of ARB and Mopar equipment. This first Jeep will be auctioned this fall, with the profits donated to the National Park Foundation. XPLORE Adventure Series Jeeps are available now through select Jeep dealerships nationwide, and a portion of the proceeds from each XPLORE Jeep sold will also go to the National Park Foundation. XPLORE Stage 2, 3, and Built-To-Order Stage 4 Jeep owners receive a free one-year annual pass to all National Parks and other federal public lands, and a one-year a subscription to XPLORE Adventure Journal, a high quality quarterly featuring amazing places to go, fun things to do and interesting people. To see photos of the XPLORE Jeep Wrangler at Arches National Park, visit

Quick Hits
On May 24, 2011, Chrysler paid off its debt to the U.S. government ahead of schedule. In all, Chrysler paid back $6.7 billion in loans and $1.8 million in fees and interest.

The unibody Dodge Dakota replacement truck is on schedule for a 2012 debut.

Cummins and Nissan are working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to produce a high-efficiency four-cylinder turbodiesel that will be demonstrated in the Nissan Titan.

Legislative Notes
CARB Grants Extension of “Products In Progress” Program for Diesel Parts
At SEMA’s request, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently extended its “Parts in Progress” (PIP) program until September 30, 2011. The program was slated to conclude on June 30, 2011. The program was initiated in light of California’s inclusion of light- and medium-duty diesel vehicles in its smog-check program. In order for uncertified diesel parts to not cause failure of the visual portion of the Bureau of Automotive Repair’s (BAR) smog check, CARB (in conjunction with SEMA and its members) created a procedure whereby members submitted Executive Order (E.O.) applications; the agency then conducted an “engineering analysis” of the parts and placed them on a PIP list. The PIP list (viewable at identifies companies that have submitted all traditional E.O. applications materials and are currently addressing test requirements spelled out in the program, including a rigorous steady-state test mode. Test letters continue to be obtained, and testing has begun. Now through September 30, no diesel vehicle equipped with parts in the certification process will fail the visual portion of the BAR smog-check test in California.

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