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December 2011 RPM Off-Road Truck News

Chevy Sierra 3500 Front Three Quarter
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted December 1, 2011

Everything 4x4 Related

GM Claims Best in Class for 2012
When it comes to the heavy-duty truck market, only losers sleep. For 2012, GM has made changes to its Silverado and Sierra 3500HD model to increase maximum towing and hauling numbers. Some of the changes are said to include revised rear leaf springs, U-bolts, and box mounts on certain models, with new cargo box strengthening measures and updated shocks rounding out the upgrades on trucks with the maximum payload and towing options. Thanks to these modifications, a properly equipped ’12 3500HD is now rated for 23,000 pounds in a fifth-wheel configuration (vs. 21,700 pounds in 2011) and 18,000 pounds in a conventional towing configuration (vs. 17,000 pounds), while payload has been upped to 7,215 pounds (vs. 6,635 pounds).

Odyssey Powers Finish
At a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series race on July 2, 2011, the 900hp, number 22 Hart and Huntington/Premier Motorsports Pro 4 truck driven by Josh Merrell lost its alternator belt on lap 4 of a 20-lap race. Thanks to the performance of an onboard Odyssey battery, the truck was able to finish the additional 16 laps without the ability to charge the battery, despite using a powerful MSD ignition system. Merrell finished in a solid Fifth place.

Dakota Joins Ranger
The Dakota, which was the original mid-size pickup, debuted for the Dodge brand back in 1986 as an ’87 model. Over the years, the Dakota came in many variants, such as the familiar regular cab with two bed lengths and a performance-oriented V-8-powered Shelby Dakota model. In 1989 a convertible soft top version of the Dakota became the first American convertible pickup since the Ford Model A and in 1990 a Club Cab model was added with enough room to seat six. The last redesign came in 2005 and never really caught on. It was never offered in a regular cab configuration, only Club Cab and Quad Cab and shared a platform with the now defunct Mitsubishi Raider. The last Ram/Dodge Dakota rolled off the Warren Truck Plant assembly line on August 23, 2011, following Ford’s venerable Ranger into the automotive history books.

4x4s Top Most Stolen Vehicle List
The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) released its list of the most stolen vehicles, based on an analysis of insurance claims from 2008-2010. Topping the list are all variants of the Cadillac Escalade, which is more than six times as likely as the average vehicle to be targeted by thieves. Pickups are another favorite of thieves, and the Ford F-250 Crew Cab 4WD is second to the Escalade for the most theft claims, with other models ranking high on the list. Overall, pickups have much higher theft losses than passenger cars and SUVs ($24 per insured vehicle year versus $9 and $12, respectively), though from 2007 to 2009 pickup losses fell substantially. The decrease may be because of the fact that ignition immobilizers, which prevent vehicles from being hot-wired, recently have become more common in pickups. The technology became widespread in cars and SUVs earlier. Rounding out the remaining eight in order are the Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab, Ford F-450 Crew Cab 4x4, GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab, Chrysler 300, Ford F-350 Crew Cab 4x4, Chevy Avalanche 1500, GMC Yukon, and the Chrysler 300 Hemi.

Quick Hits
Starting in 2014 medium- and heavy-duty trucks will be required to meet federally mandated fuel economy standards.

Land Rover is working on ways to take 1,000-pounds of mass out of its vehicles over the next decade.

Ford and Toyota have jointly announced a partnership that will co-develop the next-generation hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs. The new system will be available later this decade.

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