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May 2013 Drivelines - 4x4 News

Posted in News on May 1, 2013 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Manufacturers

GM Reveals ’14 Half-tons
A month before the trucks were unveiled to the public at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, GM held a special event to reveal the ’14 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 for the press. Technical Editor Fred Williams has the details about the trucks in his story “2014 Silverado & Sierra” on page 62. Here’s an overview to whet your appetite.

The trucks from both brands underwent a light exterior freshening, and more significant changes are found beneath the sheetmetal. Three all-new engines will be available: 4.3L V-6, 5.3L V-8, and 6.2L V-8. All have aluminum blocks and heads, and all are equipped with fuel-saving tech features, including cylinder deactivation and direct-port injection. All will be mated to six-speed automatic transmissions.

The interiors have been completely redesigned too, with an emphasis on connectivity: new infotainment systems and plenty of ports and plugs for personal devices.

GM President Mark Reuss told reporters at the event that these new half-tons are part of a three-truck strategy for GM; to follow will be new heavy-duty models and new versions of the Colorado and Canyon midsize trucks. The 1500s go on sale this summer; there’s no word on the timing of the other pickups, or the SUV versions (Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon, Yukon XL) sure to follow.

Reuss was asked if there would be light-duty diesel versions of these trucks and said, “There’s more to come.” When asked if there would be transmissions with more gears in them (GM and Ford are reportedly working together on a 10-speed auto trans for RWD applications), Reuss was cagey again, saying, “We’re not limited to transmission speeds. We plan to deliver compelling powertrain choices that will continue to evolve.”

These new half-tons are part of a three-truck strategy for GM

Diesel F-150?
Before the economy imploded a few years ago, all three domestic truck makers were looking at diesel engine options for their half-ton trucks. Now it looks like the concept may be back. First, GM’s President Mark Reuss did not deny there would be a diesel for the ’14 GM 1500s, and now Ford is planning a diesel engine option for the ’14 Transit fullsize van—a van that will also be offered with the two V-6s currently available in the F-150.

The Transit will receive a 3.2L, five-cylinder Power Stroke turbodiesel made in South Africa. It’s available in the Ranger pickup sold in other parts of the world and is rated in Europe at 197 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. It is a DOHC motor with four valves per cylinder, common rail piezoelectric fuel injectors, and a variable nozzle turbocharger.

According to Automotive News, Ford officials would not confirm that the F-150 would get this engine, but if it fits in the same space in the Transit as the 3.7 and 3.5 EcoBoost motors, it would certainly tuck into the F-150’s engine bay. The question then becomes, is there a market for it? Or does the EcoBoost turbo V-6 fill the high-mileage need without commanding the diesel engine’s typical price premium?

Baldwin Wins Baja, SCORE Championship
B.J. Baldwin entered SCORE International’s final race for 2012, the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000, in Third Place in the Trophy Truck class for the season. Twenty hours and 1,121.55 miles later, Baldwin emerged from his Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado with a Second Place finish in the race, good enough to earn him the class championship and SCORE’s overall points championship for 2012. The hat trick came later, as a 90-minute penalty assessed against the father-and-son team of Gus Vildosola and Gus Vildosola Jr., the presumed winners of the 1000, knocked them back to Eighth Place and made Baldwin the race winner. This marks Baldwin’s fifth career Trophy Truck race win and his third SCORE Trophy Truck championship, which he also achieved in 2006 and 2008.

This Just In
• Yokohama has a new video explaining the differences between original equipment (OE) and aftermarket tires, to help buyers choose the right rubber. You can watch it on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJf5Mw5uaes).The info is fairly basic, and the vehicle in the video is a Nissan Z car, but the main points are good to know whether you’re buying car or truck tires.

• Our sister publication Motor Trend named the Ram 1500 its 2013 Truck of the Year. It beat the Ford F-150 and Nissan NV van for this year’s title.

• As more news breaks about GM’s ’14 pickups, dealers are finding themselves with big unsold inventories of ’13 models. That means discounts, rebates, and other incentives to move those trucks off the lot. We’re already hearing about dealers offering $10,000 and $11,000 discounts on some models.

• 16 SCORE desert racers earned the coveted Toyota Milestone Award for 2012, which is given to those teams that finished every required mile—all 1,920 of them—in SCORE’s race series. Five of the winners are Trophy Truck drivers: Rob MacCachren, Juan C. Lopez, Steven Strobel, Tim Herbst, and Ryan Arciero.

Earth Watch
• Thanks to the efforts of SEMA, the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), and a coalition of other land use groups, continued OHV access to Johnson Valley, California, has been guaranteed for now by the U.S. Congress. Congress has included a provision with the 2013 Defense Authorization Act that requires the U.S. Marines to study alternative ways to share the area with the OHV community without taking ownership of the land. The Johnson Valley off-road area draws at least 200,000 visitors annually and may bring as much as $191 million annually into the economy. The Marines want to expand their base at Twentynine Palms, California, to include nearly 147,000 acres of adjacent land within Johnson Valley in order to conduct large-scale training exercises for one or two months per year. The land-use coalition is urging the Marines to simply obtain BLM special-use permits. Any transfer of land rights is subject to Congressional approval. Final action on legislation directing the Marines to conduct an OHV study should be completed by the time you read this.

• Tread Lightly! was recognized by the U.S. Forest Service with a Regional Forester’s Award, which was presented to the Ride on Utah team under the category “Recreation and Connecting With Urban America.” The Ride on Designated Routes message was originally created by Tread Lightly! at the request of the U.S. Forest Service to communicate the importance of driving motorized vehicles only on routes or in areas designated as open to motor vehicle use. The Ride on Utah partnership unites Tread Lightly! with government agencies managing public lands within Utah to communicate compelling and consistent ethics messages across boundaries. Agency partners include the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, Division of Wildlife Resources, and Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

Sal Fish Sells SCORE
Sal Fish didn’t start SCORE International—Mickey Thompson did that—but Sal went to work for Mickey early in the company’s history, took it over from Thompson, and built SCORE into the preeminent off-road racing sanctioning body in North America. SCORE’s marquee event, the Baja 1000, had just ended its 45th anniversary running when Fish announced he was selling SCORE to off-road-race veteran Roger Norman.

Sal Fish (right) shakes hands with James Garner at the start of the 1968 Baja race, which was then sanctioned by NORRA. At the time Fish worked at Petersen Publishing, but he would leave Petersen in the mid ’70s to work with Mickey Thompson at SCORE, which he guided for nearly 40 years.

“Next to my wife Barbara, SCORE has been the love of my life, my passion, and I have left my blood, sweat, and tears in the desert of Baja California, Mexico, and in the USA in Arizona, California, and Nevada,” Fish said. “I believe fervently that this is the time to pass the torch to the next generation. Roger Norman is a great racer with a big vision, superb business acumen, and I know I leave my ‘baby’ in good hands.”

Norman revived the High Desert Racing Association (HDRA) in 2011, and he plans to operate HDRA races in the U.S. in addition to SCORE races in Mexico. There will be championships in both series, and he will award a World Championship based on points earned in six of the seven HDRA and SCORE races. The season-ending Baja 1000 will loom large as the deciding factor in the World Championship, as it will be worth double points. Norman’s team has revamped SCORE’s website, which is still at www.score -international.com.

Sal Fish (right) shakes hands with James Garner at the start of the 1968 Baja race, which was then sanctioned by NORRA. At the time Fish worked at Petersen Publishing, but he would leave Petersen in the mid ’70s to work with Mickey Thompson at SCORE, which he guided for nearly 40 years.

Gordon Returns to Dakar
Robby Gordon is once again taking his Speed Energy/Toyo Tires Hummer race truck to South America to compete in the Dakar Rally. The rally, which covers nearly 5,000 miles in Peru, Argentina, and Chile, has gotten the better of Gordon for the past few years. He has proven to be fast down there—often winning stages and regularly among the front-runners—but the overall victory he wants has so far eluded him. We’ll bring you the results next month.

Diesel Grand for ’14
In other diesel-related news from Automotive News, the trade journal reports that Jeep will unveil the ’14 Grand Cherokee at the auto show in Detroit with a diesel engine option. The 3.0L six-banger is made by VM Motori, a subsidiary of Fiat. (The diesel shown in this photo is from a ’07 model back in the Daimler days.) In other countries the Grand is already available with a VM diesel, which is rated at 241 hp and backed by a five-speed automatic transmission. Jeep will reportedly introduce an eight-speed automatic for the ’14 Grand, but it’s unclear whether that transmission will go behind the diesel or just the gas engines.

View Slideshow

Skyjacker Expands
Who says the economy is still sluggish? Not the folks at Skyjacker, who recently announced a 14,000-square-foot addition to their warehouse and manufacturing space in Louisiana. “The concrete has been poured and the building is underway,” they say.

What Was the Most Popular Vehicle Color in 2012?
In a word, white. According to PPG, white was the most popular color globally (although technically, isn’t white the absence of color?). Cravings for metallic shades are increasing, and PPG says color is on the rise, although that’s hard to believe when white keeps grabbing the top spot and silver the second, followed by black and gray.

Raptor Is 2012’s Best Seller
Well, not the real Raptor. But demand for miniature and virtual versions (licensed merchandise, in other words) has made Ford’s desert runner the top selling toy and gaming truck for 2012. And while the 1:1-scale Raptor may not be at the top of the sales charts, it did enjoy a 20 percent increase in sales in 2012.

Calendar
• Apr. 5-7: HDRA 250 desert race, Ridgecrest, CA. Info: hdrarace.com

• Apr. 6: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• Apr. 7: Tire Repair/Hi-Lift Mini Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hawthorne, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• Apr. 12: Death Valley Adventure trail ride by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Ridgecrest, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• Apr. 12-14: Ridgecrest 300 desert race, Ridgecrest, CA. Info: snoreracing.net

• Apr. 18-20: Parker Jeep Jamboree, Parker, AZ. Info: www.jeejamboreeusa.com

• Apr. 19-21: Extreme Truck Challenge, Twisted Trails Off-Road Park, Copemish, MI. Info: twistedtrailsoffroadpark.com

• Apr. 24-27: Tennessee Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Oak Ridge, TN. Info: www.jeejamboreeusa.com

• Apr. 25-27: Cajun Jeep Jamboree, St. Francisville, LA. Info: www.jeejamboreeusa.com

• Apr. 25-27: Arch Canyon Jeep Jamboree, San Juan County, UT. Info: www.jeejamboreeusa.com

• Apr. 27: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• Apr. 27: Spring Off-Road 101 Course, Kansas Rocks, Mapleton, KS. Info: www.ksrockspark.com

• Apr. 27: Night Run, Kansas Rocks, Mapleton, KS. Info: www.ksrockspark.com

• Apr. 28: Advanced Beginner Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

• Note: If you have a 4WD event you want us to publicize, please send the date, location, a description of the event, and contact info—phone numbers and/or email/website address—to Calendar, 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 310.531.9368; email 4wheeloffroad@sorc.com. Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.

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