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July 2013 RPM - Automotive News

Posted in News on July 1, 2013
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What's Happening In The Industry
Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels will be official sponsor of the 21st Annual Top Truck Challenge, a little event this magazine throws that you may have heard of….

The ’13 Nissan Xterra 4x4 will start at $24,990. The Frontier 4x4 will start at $26,590.

242 ’13 Ram 2500 CNG pickups have been delivered to Oklahoma—the largest order since the trucks went into production. They were purchased by the state to use in its fleets.

U.S. News & World Report called the Toyota Tacoma the “Best Compact Truck for the Money” and the Tundra the “Best Full Size Truck for the Money.”

The ’14 Range Rover can be had with a supercharged V-6 or V-8; both will be hooked to an eight-speed trans. The new 3.0L V-6 will make 340 horses; the 5.0L V-8, 510 hp.

While we’re on the subject of things Rover, the Land Rover and ZF have developed the 9HP—it’s a nine-speed tranny.

Miller Electric is holding a Build with Blue rebate promotion through May 31, where you could receive a 5 percent rebate with purchase from a designated list of welding equipment, or a 15 percent rebate as part of another promotion. Details are at

Continental has created a concept vehicle called Driver Focus to focus on drivers. It has technology like Human-Machine Interface to offer a “virtual safety-focused companion.” Nope, not creepy. At all.

Alcoa was named “Most Admired Metals Company” by Fortune magazine.

If you have been thinking about pricing a ’14 Ram ProMaster van, know that it starts at $26,030.

Random Photo We Dug
Staffer Ali snapped this in Italy—a JK with a Fiat grille and badges. All Jeeps will be Fiats by 2015, yes?

That’s Interesting
A group of limited-edition stamps are the basket in which the postal service is putting all its eggs. No pressure, but: Buy these or else it’ll go out of business. They’re cool Forever stamps set to the tune of muscle cars: ’69 Dodge Charger Daytona, ’66 Pontiac GTO, ’67 Shelby GT500, ’69 Dodge Charger Daytona, ’70 Plymouth Hemi Cuda, and ’70 Chevelle SS.

There’s an E85 fuel locator for i-Products and Android: the Flex-Fuel Station Locator app.

Edythe Kirchmaier just got her driver’s license renewed. No, we aren’t going to announce when each of you renews your license in every issue. She happens to be 105. And the California DMV renewed it for five more years. That’s because she’s has a perfect driving record her entire life. P.S. She’s pining for 105,000 “likes” on Direct Relief International’s Facebook page. See what you can do to make that happen.

Like golf? And really, who doesn’t other than no one we know? National Car Rental is holding the Go Like a Pro sweepstakes through May 31, where people can register through its Facebook page (or at for a chance to win a VIP package to the PGA championship.

Now you can get the Cars & Reviews by tablet app.

They Give Awards for That?
The Detroit Audubon Society gave GM recognition for turning off its lights at night. Guess it’s not part of a program dealing with turning off the lights when you’re done working because you still hear your parents yelling at you to turn off the lights when you leave a room, but rather part of a program the automaker is participating in to help stop birds from crashing into illuminated buildings during migratory night runs.

Your Government At Work
A bill has been intro’d in the U.S. House of Reps to look into how gasoline blended with E15 or E20 would affect gas-powered vehicles and such. It’s one worth supporting, if you’re in a letter-writing mood to your congressional rep (you should be). Call it by name: H.R. 875.

Mopar Is in the U-Joint Business
Using the name Mopar Greasable U-Joints, Mopar has entered the world of U-joints for Jeeps and Ram trucks. Among the features being touted are Microshield coating to prevent rust and corrosion, flush lube fitting in the bearing cup for easier access and improved cross strength, and heavy-duty applications with cross trunnions and enlarged grease reservoirs.

Is It True?
Cannabis can be detected in the blood of daily smokers for a month after the last hit? So says research in Clinical Chemistry, the journal of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry? And we’re going with “cannabis” now? Is this like a garbanzo bean/chick pea thing?

Crude-oil production in the U.S. exceeded an average of 7 million barrels per day the last two months of 2012—the highest volume since December 1992?

2014 Jeep Cherokee
It’s true, the Cherokee name is back, and we mean in North America this time. It’s the name of an all-new model coming later this year. Hopefully you weren’t expecting the old Cherokee in the new Cherokee. This Jeep replaces the Liberty, not the Cherokee. Not the Grand Cherokee either.

Electric XTRUX
If you’re wondering where all the electric pickups are, wonder less. VIA Motors has unveiled the 800hp X-truck, which is an electric Escalade worthy of about 100 mpg. VIA’s thing is electric trucks (called E-REV) with extended range, combining a 4.3L V-6 and Li-Ion batteries

Worst Stuck/Recovery?
What was your worst stuck? How about your best, most creative recovery? Come on over to Four Wheeler’s Facebook page ( and tell us! These are our worst stucks/recoveries:

Brubaker: A long, long time ago, my wife and I were in California and I decided to impress her with my exceptional sand driving skills (first mistake, considering I had none), so we headed to Dumont Dunes. I was driving a rented S-10 Blazer, and since we had flown in from the Midwest I had no air compressor, so I didn’t air the tires down (second mistake). It was the middle of the week and the remote area was almost completely deserted, but I hit the dunes anyway (third mistake). It was late in the day (fourth mistake), and all went well for a while and I actually got the Blazer deep into the dunes while throwing down some cool, wife-impressing maneuvers. It didn’t last long, though. Soon I had the S-10 stuck bad. I had to take the long Walk of Shame over numerous dunes to find help. Eventually I found a gent driving a fullsize Blazer and he helped with what turned out to be a long, miserable recovery due to the angle and position at which the Blazer was stuck. Since that humbling, educational experience all those years ago, I’ve returned to Dumont numerous times, and by adhering to proper vehicle and tool prep, I haven’t had any major problems.

Cappa: Technically I wasn’t physically stuck, but I was pretty screwed. I was in Glamis, California, in my first Jeep. All my buddies had motorcycles, so if I got stuck or broke in the dunes there was really no way to get me out. I was young and dumb at the time, so I didn’t let that bother me. I drove right into the deep dunes for several years without issues. My Jeep had an axlewrap problem that I tried to cure many different ways. None of them really worked. Eventually the rear driveshaft U-joint on the axle end bound up and broke way out there at the bottom of a very large dune bowl. The driveshaft battered around the underside of the Jeep until it got wedged against the frame, which then caused the transmission to split nearly in half. So with the rear driveshaft toast, I removed what was left of it, pulled the valve cores out of the front tires, and somehow the oozing half-scattered transmission stayed together while I drove out in front-wheel-drive. I had to go around and around the bottom of that sand bowl in order to pick up enough speed to get out. I then limped it several miles through the big dunes back to camp.

Mansour: My “worst” stuck (or at least the one I will fess up to) happened only a few months after I got my driver’s license. Years ago, when you could still tow trailers onto the sand-covered northern end of Carolina Beach, I decided to haul my Wave Runner out with my diesel truck. Towing across the sand was no big deal, as I had 37s and low air pressure in my tires. The problem arose when I attempted to back my Wave Runner trailer into the water. It was a busy weekend, so I had to go further around the point bend than I would have liked. Backing the trailer in was no sweat, but as soon as I went to drive out, the rig began to head south. It was one of those panicky situations where you don’t have any other rigs around and the tide was coming in, not out. Luckily, a guy in an F-150 happened to see the mess I was in and pulled me out just a few minutes later. It was one of those life lessons when you learn how things could have been a lot worse, and exactly why concrete boat ramps are much better!

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