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Drivelines - December 2013

Posted in News on October 4, 2013 Comment (0)
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Drivelines - December 2013
Photographers: Manufacturers

Tundra’s New Look for 2014
Toyota is entering a hotly competitive fullsize truck market—where it will face all-new GM rivals and Ram trucks sporting eight-speed transmissions and a light-duty diesel option—with only a facelifted Tundra for 2014. Although Toyota considers this makeover significant enough to call it the third generation, there’s nothing radically different about the Tundra beneath the fresh metal.

Tow ratings grow some, shock absorbers have been revalved to improve the ride over harsh road surfaces, and the steering system has been retuned to improve straight-line stability. A new transfer case with improved software allows shift-on-the-fly from 2-Hi to 4-Hi at speeds of up to 62 mph. Otherwise engine choices remain the same, with 4.6L and 5.7L V-8s available in 4x4 models. The regular, Double Cab and CrewMax cab configurations also carry over.

“There’s nothing radically different about the truck”

Consumer clinics indicated the styling of the previous Tundra was “too bubbly,” so the new look has sharper creases in the metal and a much bolder grille. There are five Tundra models—SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and the 1794 Edition—and each gets different badging and trim treatment.

The Tundra’s interior was revised as well, with an eye to making each trim level a bit different. Ergonomics were tweaked to bring radio and climate controls closer to the driver. A backup camera is now standard on all models, as is Toyota’s Entune infotainment system.

The ’14 Tundra goes on sale in September.

View Slideshow

New Look for 4Runner Too
Like its pickup truck cousin, Toyota’s 4Runner heads into the ’14 model year—its 30th year, believe it or not—with a new face and a redesigned interior but very little new under the skin. Toyota still offers the body-on-frame SUV in three trim levels (SR5, Limited, and Trail), and each has a little different look to set it apart from the others. The Trail models, for example, have color-keyed fenders and bumpers, while there’s more chrome in the Limited’s front end. A trailer hitch is now standard across the 4Runner lineup, as are a backup camera and the Entune infotainment system.

The 270hp 4.0L V-6 is the single engine available. The Trail model is still the four-wheeler’s choice, with Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, sway bar disconnects, a locking rear diff, and a part-time transfer case that shifts with a lever. A new Premium version of the Trail model includes a moonroof, upgraded upholstery, and a premium audio system with navigation.

View Slideshow

Ranger to Race Dakar
Two factory-backed Ford Ranger pickups will enter the 2014 Dakar rally in January. Before you get too excited, understand that these are race trucks built from the Ranger sold overseas, not one due in America any time soon. A South African team is building the trucks with logistic support from a German company. The driver’s roster is equally diverse, containing South Africans, Germans, and South Americans.

The race trucks will be powered by 5.0L alloy V-8 engines sending 260 kW (about 350 hp) and 560 Nm (about 413 lb-ft) of torque to six-speed sequential transmissions and full-time 4WD. Top speed is estimated at 170 kph, or about 105 mph.

The next Dakar, January 5-18, is the sixth to be run in South America. It will cover about 5,300 miles through 13 competition stages, including a stage in Bolivia—a first for the event.

ford ranger dakar race truck

This Just In
Ford will offer a gaseous-fuel option on 3.7L V-6 models of the ’14 F-150, enabling those trucks to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or pump gasoline. The package includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons, and rings so it can operate on either fuel type through separate fuel systems.

A little over halfway through the year, Ford has a commanding lead in new truck sales over its rivals. According to Automotive News, Ford sold 427,935 F-series trucks between January and July, making it the top-selling light-duty vehicle in the country, car or truck. Chevrolet had the second most popular light vehicle in the country with 284,666 Silverados sold. Adding in the 104,215 GMC Sierras sold in that time frame can’t put GM ahead of Ford, though once production of the all-new ’14 models is fully up to speed, the General may have a shot. Ram sold 201,633 pickups in the first half of the year.

Toyota has launched a voluntary recall of some 342,000 ’04-’11 Tacoma Access Cab trucks to address a problem with the driver and front-passenger seatbelts.

Baja Social Club is a film documentary about the off-roading legends who first raced in the Mexican desert four decades ago. The film is scheduled for release this year; a trailer can be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4sprcpQx3A.

Earth Watch
Land-use and -access advocate Del Albright worries that “backcountry off-road recreation faces a critical juncture right now. Massive new wilderness bills haunt us, closures of long-standing OHV areas loom, and clubs are drifting apart in some areas with egos getting in the way of our future. It’s time for us to take charge, make some changes, and get things back on track.” To that end, Albright has compiled a plan he calls “Solutions for Saving Off-Road Recreation.” Read it at delalbright.blogspot.com/2013/07/solutions-for-saving-off-road-recreation.html.

Two years ago Ford and Toyota began a feasibility study to examine the idea of the two companies collaborating in the development of a hybrid drive system for light-duty trucks and SUVs. The results are in, and the automakers have decided to go it alone in regards to future hybrid systems.

Tread Lightly! members can apply for grants of up to $500 to help clean and maintain their local trails and off-roading areas. Visit tread lightly.org to learn more about the Cleanups by Quadratec Stewardship Grant Program.

McQueen/Hickey Pickup Brings $60,000
A ’69 Chevy pickup that Vic Hickey turned into a desert race truck for Chevrolet sold for $60,000 at a recent auction of celebrity memorabilia in Santa Monica, California. The truck, which Hickey built using a C30 cab on a C10 chassis, raced in the 1968 Baja 1000 and was driven by several famous drivers at the time, including Mickey Thompson and Bud Ekins. Actor Steve McQueen owned it from 1970 to 1972, which no doubt added to its current collectability. McQueen sold it to a Hickey employee when the star divorced his first wife in 1972, and the truck fell off the radar until it was discovered on a farm in the 1990s.

View Slideshow

New Ram Tow Ratings for 2014
Chrysler powertrain engineers working on the ’14 Ram 1500 pickup have beefed the eight-speed transmission behind the Pentastar V-6 to give it a higher tow rating—now up to 7,450 pounds—which Ram says eclipses all other gas V-6 tow ratings on the market.

In addition, the 3.0L EcoDiesel engine available in the ’14 Ram earned a 9,200-pound tow rating, which comes very close to the max tow rating available with a Hemi-equipped Ram 1500. Note that both of these ratings are for 2WD models; ratings for 4x4 versions will be lower.

2014 ram 1500

Crawling for a Cure
East Coasters can enjoy Jeeping and contributing to a good cause by attending the first Crawling for a Cure event October 26 at the Backwoods Farm (BWF) in Rumney, New Hampshire. All proceeds from the event will be donated to two organizations closely tied to breast cancer: the Pink Angels Inc., an organization that supports breast cancer patients and survivors, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the inventors of chemotherapy.

“Our event will feature unlimited trail rides on more than 5 miles of trails, a rock garden, mud pit, RTI ramps, raffles, and a vendor area with food and swag,” says Jeff Cambray, Crawling for a Cure’s founder. “The trail system at BWF is growing on an ongoing basis and already has mild to wild options. There are several small hillclimbs, off-camber sections, and a rock garden has recently been opened. The mud bog has already swallowed many well-built rigs whole!”

For more information about the event, log on to crawlingforacure.org.

jeep wrangler wheeling

Stadium Super Trucks Return to Crandon
After taking a few months off, the Stadium Super Truck racing series resumed competition over Labor Day Weekend at the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway in Wisconsin. Going into the long weekend, Rob MacCachren led the series with three wins, followed by Justin Lofton and Robby Gordon, who tied with two wins each.

stadium super trucks racing

Bentley to Build SUV
Money burning a hole in your pocket? Here is one way to spend it. Bentley has confirmed it will build a production version of the SUV that’s been making the auto show rounds for the past year. This sketch is all that was released to suggest what the vehicle will look like, but you can expect that “it will be the most luxurious and most powerful SUV in the market,” says Bentley.

bentley suv sketch

LeDuc Wins at Glen Helen
Defending Pro 4 Unlimited Class Champion Kyle LeDuc won Round 10 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series at the Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. He posted a best lap time of 46.726 seconds around the short-course race track and beat a field of 10 trucks to capture the top spot. This is LeDuc’s fourth trip to the podium this year, as he captured three Second Place finishes so far this season.

kyle leducs race truck

Calendar
Oct. 31–Nov. 2: Cullman Jeep Jamboree, Cullman, AL. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com

Nov. 1-3: SNORE 250 desert race, Las Vegas, NV.
Info: snoreracing.net

Nov. 2: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Nov. 3: Advanced Beginner Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Mojave, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Nov. 8: Off-Road Night at the Iron Horse Bar & Grill, Ventura, CA.
Info: 805.477.0783, www.facebook.com/Roper DesignandFabricationInc

Nov. 8-10: Panamint Valley Days by the California Association of 4WD Clubs, near Trona, CA.
Info: www.cal4wheel.com

Nov. 8-10: Desert Splash 2013 by the Parker 4 Wheelers, Parker, AZ.
Info: 909.239.1162, email info@parker4wheelers.net

Nov. 9-10: Veterans Day Appreciation Day, Kansas Rocks, near Mapleton, KS.
Info: www.ksrockspark.com

Nov. 9-10: Adventures in Off-Road Driving Level 1 instruction by Off-Road Experience, Fernley/Lovelock, NV.
Info: 925.606.8301, offroadexperience.com

Nov. 9-11: Lone Star Jeep Club Fall Run, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR.
Info: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com

Nov. 14-17: Tecate-SCORE Baja 1000, Ensenada, Baja, Mexico.
Info: 818.225.8402, www.score-international.com

Nov. 16: Getting Started Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Nov. 17: Sand Off-Road Driving Clinic by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com

Nov. 22-24: Bronco Daze by the Early Bronco Registry, Borrego Springs, CA.
Info: www.earlybronco.com

Nov. 28-30: 3rd Annual Turkey Run, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR.
Info: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com

Nov. 29: Tidewater &Tonopah RR Adventure by Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Lucerne Valley, 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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