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Clipboard - Off-Road News - December 2013

Posted in News on October 9, 2013
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Packaging Scam
Thought you guys would like (or at least like to know about) this: I went to buy some U-joint straps the other day, saw the right-sized straps on the rack at the auto parts store, and grabbed them. The back of the package said for 1330 or 1310 U-joints. I just assumed some non-English-speaking overseas manufacturer (you mean my U-joints straps aren't made in America?!) got the wording wrong—since 1330 and 1310 straps are obviously not the same size. There were two straps inside the package, but as I stood in line I realized that the bottom one was smaller. There were actually two different-sized straps—one for a 1330 U-joint and one for a 1310 U-joint! So the package labeling was actually correct, but what a scam! I live 40 minutes away from a part store and would have been less than happy if I had to drive back for a second U-joint strap.
Frank Deggon

Frank, we agree. We'd much rather just see double the price on one package of two straps than some deceptive packaging designed to make you buy two of the same items.

Ford TTB ECU Issues
The other day I hit a big whoops section in my 1994 F-150 and the engine shut off part way through. I checked everything, and I mean everything, without getting it running again. We were hooking up a tow strap to pull my truck back when this old guy pulls up in an old Toyota, gets out and walks over asking what is wrong. We tell him and he walks over to my truck, pulls up the plastic inner fender on the driver's side, and jiggles the harness on my ECU (I didn't even know that's where it was). He says, "Try it now!" And boom. My truck fires right up and we're able to keep going.

It looked like my tire had hit the inner fender and just knocked the wiring loose to the ECU. It made me thankful for old guys who know their stuff. Maybe I do have some more to learn from my elders.
Josh Nickerson

Bought by Four Wheeler?!
I heard you guys were bought by Four Wheeler! Is that true? If it is, does that mean you're gonna go away from prerunners and cool trucks and start showing Jeeps and buggies?! I hope not….
Danny Weybridge

Not true, Danny, but with an asterisk. We are part of a parent company called Source Interlink Media, and they own us and Four Wheeler magazine, but we're not run by Four Wheeler. Though we did recently join the "Four Wheeler Network" which you'll find if you punch in We'll still be the same OFF-ROAD print magazine that you know right now, covering the same material, but with a new joint website that combines OFF-ROAD, Four Wheeler, Petersen's 4 Wheel Off-Road, JP, and 4Wheel Drive & Sport Utility magazines—all owned by Source Interlink Media.

Long-Term Updates
Sure, it works great for the first week, but what about after?

Flex Fit Radiator
We've run a Flex-a-Lite Flex Fit radiator on one of our project trucks for seven years now. Recently, it finally sprung a leak at the bottom passenger-side corner. Unfortunately this one was probably our fault: Back in 2006, we hard-mounted this radiator onto a stock Chevy 1996 radiator support—no rubber, no urethane, no nothing to absorb forces sent through the mounting brackets, and nothing to allow for frame and body flex. It's actually pretty impressive it held up this long, considering how we mounted it.

We've got a new exact replacement in now, but this time we used rubber to mount it and give a little more cushion to our nice aluminum radiator.

RS7000 Shocks
Remember the original RS7000s? They were some three-way adjustable shocks produced years ago that fell between the RS5000 and the RS9000 (prior to the 9000X) in Rancho's lineup. Well, those are long gone, but the RS7000 name is back. It's on a nitrogen-charged shock that does exactly what it's expected to do: It competes with the Bilstein 5100, the Pro Comp Prorunner, and the Fox Performance Series on every level in the nitrogen-charged replacement shock category that Bilstein has dominated for years.

We've put RS7000s on an old 2WD Chevy, a Tacoma, and a new 4x4 Super Duty with good results. Our one caveat is the rear of the Super Duty did not feel like it had adequate shock damping. In the shocks' defense, we have only tried one shock (with a 2 5/8 body) out of many that felt correct in the back of our Super Duty.

We've had zero leak issues, and some of our RS7000 test shocks have over 10,000 miles on them with no noticeable shock fade or wear.

News Blips
What's going on in the off-road world

Autonomous Vehicle Testing
Ford is now using robots to improve the "Built Ford Tough" durability testing of its Trucks.

Ford is first automaker to develop robotic technology to drive vehicles during new accelerated high-impact on-road and off-road durability testing.

Robotically driven vehicles are ideally suited for durability test conditions that could prove too taxing for human drivers.

New technology is used to ensure Ford trucks, including the all-new Transit van family, are Built Ford Tough.

Chicago Named Top Thrill- Seeking City in BFGoodrich Tires Adrenaline Index
It seems Chicagoans are the biggest thrill-seekers in the country, according to the new BFGoodrich Tires Adrenaline Index. The tire maker surveyed 3,500 Americans across the country, revealing that more than one-third of Americans are self-proclaimed thrill seekers who thrive on new adventures and enjoy activities that provide an adrenaline rush.

Renezeder Sets Nine-Race Winning Streak on General Tires
Apparently a 100-race win record was not enough for Team GT's Carl Renezeder. During Rounds 7 and 8 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) at Miller Motorsports Park, Renezeder made history yet again by winning his ninth Pro-4 race in a row on General's Grabber tire. The nine-race winning streak dates back to Round 15 of the 2012 season. It was almost extended to 10 in Round 8 but Renezeder fell just shy of a win, settling for second.

Thousands Celebrate Collector Car Appreciation Day
On July 12, 2013, automotive enthusiasts, car clubs, organizations, and affiliated businesses celebrated in honor of the fourth annual Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD). A wide range of official events were held in the United States, Canada, and Australia to commemorate the day throughout July.

The SEMA Action Network (SAN) would like to thank everyone who supported our hobby's "holiday" this year. Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement of next year's celebration!

You may have noticed a few changes in your OFF-ROAD magazine recently. Hopefully, this doesn't bring too much stress to your life and you'll handle it! One such change is that we've combined our letters, our news, and our long-term updates all into our Clipboard. You can reach us at or at the old email addresses that used to be published.

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