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October 2011 RPM - Off-Road Truck News

Posted in News on October 1, 2011
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Spied! 2012 Ram HD Legislative Notes QuiCk Hits
2012 is shaping up to be a year full of upgrades for the Ram lineup. One of the features new to the HD that we are most excited about is the Ram Box option that can be seen in this spy photo. Previously only available on the 1500’s 5-foot-7-inch bed, the Ram Box will be available on both the 6-foot-4-inch and 8-foot beds, including dualies, bringing even more storage space and functionality to Ram’s trucks. Another notable upgrade for 2012 will be six speed automatic transmissions in both the Light-Duty and Heavy-Duty Rams where the five-speed previously resided. The 1500 will also have a new base engine in the 3.6L Pentastar V-6.

Chevy Colorado Concept
Chevy recently revealed its Colorado Rally concept in South America. The “concept,” which is based on the next generation Chevy Colorado, previews the upcoming production truck. The Rally sports dual winches, 305/60R18 BFG M-Ts, acrylic windows, long-travel suspension and a 2.8L turbodiesel engine. Unlike the Ranger, which Ford is abandoning in the US-market, the Colorado will be coming to (and built in) America, along with its GMC Canyon cousin.

Frontier Hits a Million
It was 1997 when the first Frontier rolled off Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee, assembly line, and since then one million Frontier pickups have been built. Nissan, which brought its first pickup to America in 1959, has a long tradition of pickup truck firsts. Nissan offered the first compact 1⁄2-ton pickup, the first compact longbeds, and the first compact extended cabs. In 1983 Nissan was also the very first overseas manufacturer to produce a pickup in the United States, avoiding the dreaded 25-percent “chicken tax.” Since then, more than two million Nissan pickups have been manufactured in America. An all-new Frontier is expected by 2014.

Land Use Decision a Mixed Bag
The U.S. Department of the Interior has withdrawn its controversial “wild lands” policy, which directed lands with potential wilderness qualities to be managed as wilderness. SEMA joined with a number of other organizations to oppose the program, implemented last December by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 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 on “wilderness” lands. The BLM manages more than 250 million acres across the western United States and Alaska, 22% of which already has the wilderness designation. Under the wild lands program, the BLM was directed to review its inventory in search of more wild lands. Program opponents noted that it did not take into account input from local communities and elected officials on how the lands should be managed, such as permitting multiple uses that provide jobs and economic benefits. The controversial program was being challenged in Congress and in the courts. In a separate action, the BLM closed 37 miles of roads and trails in southwest Idaho to protect a rare plant—the Packard’s milk vetch. Last November, the plant was listed as a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection and off-highway vehicles were identified as a threat. The plant is known to grow in a small area of Payette County. The BLM closure of 37 miles of OHV recreation around Willow Creek will last at least two years as the issue is reviewed. While supporting the need to protect endangered plants and animals, SEMA has called on Congress to update the Endangered Species Act to allow the government to pursue recovery habitats rather than simply close huge tracts of land. A federal judge has rejected Utah’s lawsuit claiming state rights to a 10.5 road in Canyonlands National Park. The National Park Service closed the road in 1998, blocking motorized access to Angel Arch. The state of Utah and San Juan County had argued that the dried-up Salt Creek Canyon riverbed had a history of continuous use by vehicles, homesteaders and cattle herders, which provided a right of way to the national park. Widely considered the most spectacular arch in the park, visitors must now walk about 12 miles to reach Angel Arch.

EPA Redesigns Labels For New Vehicles
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have expanded the amount of fuel-economy information contained on the new-vehicle window sticker. Among other changes, the information will now include the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the vehicle. The agencies adopted a SEMA-supported approach to incorporate graphics, increase type size and use other visual tools to help focus consumer attention on fuel economy. The agencies abandoned a proposal to use an A–D letter-grading system, which SEMA deemed to be too simplistic. Instead, cars will be ranked on a fleetwide 10-point scale for both fuel economy and greenhouse gas ratings and smog emissions. The labels are required on all new cars starting in 2013, although automakers and dealers may voluntarily use them sooner.

Four Wheeler Book Review
The Civilian Jeep Model CJ-3A
By Bob Westerman
There are plenty of Jeep books on the market that will cover the broad strokes of Jeep history. Fewer give you enough details for restoration, and even fewer cover the details of just one model looked at under a microscope—the kind of detail you’d need for a correct restoration. Until now, there wasn’t such a thing for the ’49-’53 Jeep CJ-3A, but noted expert Bob Westerman has recently produced such a book. Westerman spent years in dusty archives and groveling under untouched examples researching the details on this short-lived Jeep model. The 136-page, spiral-bound book relates the CJ-3A’s history and development, including a little about its military brethren, the CJV35U and M-38. From there, it’s largely broken down by year and VIN number to tell you exactly what parts were used when and where so that a CJ-3A can be correctly restored. With Jeeps becoming hot collectables and being judged at high-end shows, this book is a valuable resource—perhaps even as a judging guide. It’s all here, from paint to casting numbers to correct wiring and lights, and it’s dead-on accurate. If you have a CJ-3A, it’s a must-have. You may not need yours to be “100-point” perfect, but you’ll want to know the rights and wrongs of it. The book is published by Café Press and is available on the Internet and in select retail locations.

Quick Hits

  • Could a Lamborghini SUV return to market? Rumor has it that a Lambo LM002 successor could be built atop Porsche’s Cayenne platform.
  • Ford’s V-6s have proven to be a popular engine for buyers of the F-150, outselling the V-8 in May.
  • Not to be outdone in the cog department, Ford says 8-speed transmissions are coming to its truck lineup.

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