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Drivelines - November 2013

Posted in News on September 11, 2013
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Diesel Power for Ram 1500
The 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6, the same turbodiesel offered in the new Grand Cherokee, is available in Ram 1500 pickups for 2014. Making 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of peak torque, the dual-overhead-cam engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the same trans found behind the 1500’s optional 5.7L Hemi V-8. (The standard Ram 1500 motor, the Pentastar V-6, is also backed by an eight-speed, though it’s a lighter-duty transmission.)

Ram says the EcoDiesel will give the 1500 “best-in-class fuel economy.” Official mileage numbers haven’t been released, but Ram’s engineers expect highway fuel economy to exceed 25 mpg. When the trucks go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2013, the diesel option will cost $2,850 more than the Hemi.

“EcoDiesel gives the Ram 1500 best-in-class fuel economy”

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This Just In
Our big boss Doug Evans, the executive vice president and group publisher of the Enthusiast Automotive Group, has been elected chairman-elect of SEMA. Evans will remain chairman-elect for two years, then serve as chairman for two years, then end his run by transitioning to the position of immediate past chair for two additional years. The chairman position is the highest volunteer position and highest honor in the entire SEMA organization. During his term, Evans will work with SEMA’s president and CEO, Chris Kersting, and the board of directors on guiding the association, the SEMA Show, and by extension the entire automotive aftermarket industry over the next six years.

NORRA has put a second vintage racing event on its calendar. In addition to the springtime Mexican 1000 Rally, the sanctioning body will put on a Mexican 500 Rally Sept. 27-30, which starts and finishes in Ensenada.

Ford will no longer offer a Harley-Davidson edition F-Series pickup, says Automotive News. Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager, was quoted by the trade paper saying, “We’ve got 10 models including a brand-new Limited, which was new for 2013. We feel like we’ve got the market really well covered.”

Callaway, best known for its supertuned Corvettes and other high-performance cars, also offers hot-rodded trucks: Suburbans, Tahoes, Escalades, and so on. Its engineers are currently developing supercharged versions of the new GM EcoTec3 V-8 engines that will be available in ’14 GM pickups. Callaway hopes to squeeze more than 450 hp out of the 5.3L V-8 and in excess of 540 hp out of the 6.2L, and put them in Callaway-branded sport trucks.

New Hemi, Suspension for Ram HD
There’s big news on the heavy-duty side of the Ram house too. Bigger news, in a way. A new Hemi engine, displacing 6.4 liters and producing 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque, will be available in ’14 Ram 2500 HD and 3500 HD trucks. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the 6.4L will cost $1,495 more than the 5.7L Hemi that’s standard in the HD lineup. (The 6.7L Cummins is still available for the HD trucks as well, backed by either a manual or automatic transmission.)

Ram engineers have also taken the link-coil rear suspension setup used beneath the light-duty pickups and adapted it for the 2500 trucks. Ram expects the new five-link, coil-spring suspension to deliver “best-in-class” ride quality while not compromising the truck’s payload or tow capabilities. Complete tow and payload specs for the ’14 models haven’t been released, though the 2500 will have a max tow rating (for 4x2 models, we’re sure) of up to 17,940 pounds.

The 2500 HDs can also be fitted with an optional air suspension that replaces the coil springs with airbags. In addition to improving ride quality even further, the air suspension offers automatic load leveling to adjust the height of the rear springs to level the truck when cargo is in the bed.

Airbags are available on the 3500 HD trucks too, as a supplement to the leaf springs. By adding the bags, the leaves can be softer, say the Ram folks, allowing for more suspension movement and the automatic load leveling.

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Jeep, NHTSA Settle Recall Dispute
It was an unprecedented action: When the NHTSA requested that Jeep recall 2.7 million ’93-’04 Grand Cherokees and ’02-’07 Jeep Libertys to better protect their fuel tanks during rear-end collisions, Chrysler at first refused, something manufacturers rarely do.

The safety board maintained that the vehicles were a fire risk, as some 51 people had died in fires following collisions that damaged the rear-mounted fuel tanks in those Jeep models. Chrysler’s response was that those vehicles actually exceeded the safety requirements mandated during those model years. The deaths, while tragic, occurred at a rate lower than other vehicles in the class. The Jeeps were actually “among the safest in the peer group,” said Chrysler, and were not defective.

But understanding the potential damage to its reputation in the court of public opinion, Chrysler compromised. It instituted “a voluntary campaign with respect to the vehicles in question that, in addition to a visual inspection of the vehicle will, if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts,” said the company in a statement. That upgrade is a bolt-on steel trailer hitch.

Our hearts go out to anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one in a vehicle accident. But we totally understand Chrysler’s position. Is it really fair to hold an automaker responsible for meeting ever-changing safety requirements? Would we demand Ford put seatbelts in Model Ts? Demand Jeep put airbags in CJs?

jeep liberty

Rescue Rubi Gets Revived
Bryan Hutton was visiting his parents in Moore, Oklahoma, this past May when the EF-5 tornado ripped through. Hutton, who was raised in Moore, and his family rode out the 210-mph winds in a storm shelter. His ’12 Rubicon, called Stomper, was in his parents’ garage.

The tornado leveled the neighborhood, including the garage where Stomper was parked. Hearing neighbors trapped beneath rubble, Hutton decided to see if his damaged Rubicon would fire. It did, and he was able to drive over debris on three flat tires. He used his Warn winch to help free Moore residents trapped beneath toppled walls. He then ferried injured people to triage.

Camp Crocker at Cop 4x4 in Mesa, Arizona, saw Stomper’s story on the Web. He contacted Hutton and offered to revive the JK as a thank-you for his heroism. Airaid supplied the trailer to transport the JK from Hutton’s home in Ohio to Arizona. Other companies that got involved include Rugged Ridge, Diablo Sport, Rock Slide, Teraflex, Rock Krawler, Warn, Metal Cloak, Bushwacker, RCD, RCV, Amsoil, Kicker, ARB, and Burnsville Off-Road.

A fully redone Stomper will be on display at the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas this November. Omix-Ada/Rugged Ridge is flying Hutton and his wife Brenda to the show, where they’ll be the guests of honor at an industry function. For more information, see Cop 4x4’s Stomper Fan page at
—Tom Morr

Ricky Hutton rode in his car seat while his dad Bryan winched walls off of trapped residents. The Huttons then shuttled tornado victims to emergency care. Ricky Hutton rode in his car seat while his dad Bryan winched walls off of trapped residents. The Huttons then shuttled tornado victims to emergency care.

Earth Watch
Progress is being made in the campaign to save Southern California’s Johnson Valley. SEMA tells us the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved HR 1960, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill includes a provision to end a five-year debate on expanding the Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms. Authored by Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA), the provision allows the Marines to have access to the adjoining Johnson Valley OHV area for up to 60 days per year for training exercises, but the area would be otherwise preserved for recreational use. The NDAA will now be considered by the U.S. Senate; final passage of the NDAA is not expected until the fall.

In other good news from SEMA, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has amended and approved the Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act (S. 486) to reopen Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina to OHV recreation. A House of Representatives bill (H.R. 819) would reverse a 2012 management plan issued by the National Park Service that banned OHV access to large portions of the seashore. The legislation would reinstate a previous management strategy that better balances wildlife protections with responsible OHV access.

Range Rover vs. Spitfire
During the run up to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, someone got the bright idea to pit two iconic British makes in a drag race: a brand-new Range Rover Sport against a Word War II–vintage Spitfire fighter plane, racing on Goodwood’s grass airstrip. The tale of the tape makes it seem pretty lopsided: a 12-cylinder, 1,750 hp Merlin aircraft engine against a 5.0L supercharged V-8 making a relatively meager 510 hp. Check out the video at to see the matchup (and hear that glorious Spitfire at full roar).

range rover sport

Double-Header in Utah
The W.E.Rock event in Cedar City this spring was only the second time that Trail Gear Western Series Professional Rock Crawling and National Dirt Riot 4x4 Endurance Racing took place during the same weekend. That this all happened on Mother’s Day weekend made it a real family affair.

Brian Shirley won the Dirt Riot Pro 4400 4x4 race on Sunday. Justin Hall took his second win of the season by capturing the Unlimited rockcrawling class on Saturday, while Jesse Haines won the Pro Modified class in a vehicle that he built and used to compete in but had only bought back a few days before the race. He competed on his original Maxxis tires that were still on the Willys too!

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Chandler Inducted Into Hall of Fame
Bigfoot creator Bob Chandler was among this year’s inductees into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF). Chandler was recognized not only for his many Bigfoot monster trucks but also as one of the inventors of the remote ignition interrupter and for his philanthropic work.

Other ORMHOF inductees for 2013 included Jerry Herbst, founder of Herbst Motorsports; Bob “The Weatherman” Steinberger, whose innovations brought radio communications to desert racing and who still facilitates radio communication among teams, checkpoints, and emergency personnel; Frank DeAngelo, whose marketing and promotional work helped develop desert and short-course racing; and Larry Bergquist, a successful motorcycle racer who spent most of his life working to grow the two-wheeled side of desert racing.

bigfoot monster truck

1 Million JKs
Last spring, the one-millionth JK model rolled off the assembly line at Chrysler Group’s Toledo Assembly Complex. Chrysler execs, line workers, UAW representatives, and component suppliers were on hand to celebrate the milestone. The Jeep was a 10th Anniversary Rubicon slated for a customer in Florida.

jeep factory workers

Oct. 3-5: Maine Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Bethel, ME.

Oct. 3-5: French Lick Jeep Jamboree, French Lick, IN.

Oct. 5: Southern Rock Racing Finals, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR.
Info: 501.625.3600,

Oct. 5: Off-Road 101 course, Kansas Rocks, near Mapleton, KS.

Oct. 5: Night Run, Kansas Rocks, near Mapleton, KS.

Oct. 5-6: Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo, Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, Pomona, CA.

Oct. 11-13: Bluewater Desert Challenge by Best in the Desert, Parker, AZ.

Oct. 12: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

Oct. 13: Winching Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

Oct. 17-19: Moab Jeep Jamboree, Moab, UT.

Oct. 18: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

Oct. 18: Off-Road Night at the Iron Horse Bar & Grill, Ventura, CA.
Info: 805.477.0783, FabricationInc

Oct. 18-19: Operation Desert Fun by the California Association of 4WD Clubs, Truckhaven 4x4 Training Facility, Ocotillo Wells SVRA near Borrego Springs, CA.

Oct. 18-20: Nevada Trophy navigation adventure, northwestern Nevada.

Oct. 18-20: Borrego Fest by Outdoor Adventure USA, Anza Borrego State Park, Borrego Springs, CA.

Oct 19: Creepy Crawl Halloween Event, Kansas Rocks, near Mapleton, KS.

Oct. 20: Advanced Beginner Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

Oct. 24-26: Gateway to the Cumberlands Jeep Jamboree, Williamsburg, KY.

Oct. 24-26: Ouachita Jeep Jamboree, Hot Springs, AR.

Oct. 25-28: Death Valley Adventure by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Ridgecrest, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047,

Oct. 26: Crawling for a Cure, Backwoods Farm, Romney, NH.

Oct. 26-27: Jeeptoberfest by Ocala Jeep Club, Belleview, FL.

Oct. 31-Nov. 2: Cullman Jeep Jamboree, Cullman, AL.

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 Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.

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