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RPM Automotive News - January 2014

Posted in News on December 3, 2013
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Photographers: Manufacturers

That’s Interesting
Nissan has announced that its next-gen Titan will sport a V-8. We mean a 5.0L Cummins diesel V-8.

We quote: “Ford gives ‘breakfast to go’ a whole new meaning by wrapping a ’14 Ford Fiesta in bacon to mark International Bacon Day August 31.” It’s one of those body wraps, which we deem worse than real bacon.

The ’14 Nissan Titan and Armada pricing remains the same as the ’13 models. The Titan S King Cab 4x4 starts at $32,120 and works its way up to $37,490 for the PRO-4X King Cab 4x4. The Armada 4x4 SV at $42,390 or you can spend all you monies on the Platinum 4x4, with an MSRP of $52,360.

More pricing: The ’14 Toyota 4Runner 4x4s will start at $37,615, while the Tacoma’s base model MSRP will be $21,725. has named the best tailgate-party vehicles: ’13 Ram 1500, ’14 Chevy Suburban, and some others you won’t care about that are mostly minivans. tackled the topic of worst driving behaviors and found that of those surveyed, women flick off drivers more than men do and also curse more in front of their kids than males do. Conversely, men are the ones more likely to key a car or switch to high beams to be a tool to another driver. Men lead when it comes to honking at someone driving too slow, speeding up to prevent someone from passing, and swooping a parking space someone was waiting for. Women brake-check cars following them too closely and also tailgate. It was a tie for dinging a car in the parking lot and bolting.

Yahoo Autos has named the “vehicles you should probably own,” and on the list are the ’10 Ford Raptor, ’07 Jeep Wrangler, and ’97 Land Rover Defender 90.

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Gee, That Press Release Sounds Naughty:
“Alcoa To Close or Curtail 164,000 Metric Tons of Smelting Capacity”

Is It True?
The monster truck Bad Habit set a new distance jump record with 237 feet, 6 inches, breaking the previous record by 23 feet?

The Ford F-series is the quickest selling vehicle? At 38 seconds per sale in August ’13, per Bloomberg Businessweek? And the Chevy Silverado is gone in 61 seconds? And the Ram 81 seconds?

The U.S. Army is testing a "research prototype"? A ULV funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense? Three vehicles will be produced, two for mobility, mine, blast, and ballistic survivability, and one for mobility and fuel efficiency testing? Two electric motors matched to a diesel engine? And $250,000 each?

AAA is offering identity-theft monitoring for free?
In terms of fullsize SUVs, Chevy, and GMC combined equal three out of four vehicles sold? The U.S. Army is testing a “research prototype”? A ULV funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense? Three vehicles will be produced, two for mobility, mine blast, and ballistic survivability, and one for mobility and fuel efficiency testing? Two electric motors matched to a diesel engine? And $250,000 each?

Jeep Wrangler Dragon
So, remember the weird Chinese-ish Jeep concept from the ’12 Beijing International Automotive Exposition? Well, that weird Chinese-ish Jeep concept is now a production model in the U.S.: the ’14 Wrangler Dragon Edition. It’ll face limited production, so act now if you’re into having a Jeep with a dragon. “The dragon symbolizes strength and power and is an aspirational character normally associated with royalty and good fortune,” explained Jeep. You’re looking at a special-edition Jeep with a lot of black and gloss black. And, of course, a dragon running alongside the driver side and a dragon decal on the spare tire cover. It’s based on the Sahara model and will set you back $36,095. But you can just pay for that with the good fortune.

2015 GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe and Suburban
If you’re still all about the grande SUV, then you’ll want the scoop on the ’15 GMC Yukon family—Yukon, Yukon XL, and Yukon with cheese. Sorry, Yukon Denali—and the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban. The most notable upgrade is the switch to the EcoTec3 engine from the ’14 Sierra. The 355hp 5.3L V-8 is standard and makes 383 lb-ft of torque, while the 420hp 6.2L V-8 is what the Denali nabs, and it puts out 450 lb-ft of torque. Both are flex fuel and mated to the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed auto trans. New rear fold-flat seats, more legroom for second-row riders, and various safety and security improvements are the gist of what’s new. See page 44 in this issue for more details.

It’s Armageddon, Reason #3,372
The U.S. Travel Association has some awesome news for fans of traffic: You know how much you enjoy the congestion that comes with Labor Day? Trends show it’s likely to soon become the average. The org studied 16 key interstate corridors nationwide and realized that without some kind of significant change—say, investments or policy change—commuting will become a four-letter f-word or something.

Random Quote:
“This is one of the most exciting integrations of optical science and digital technology in the automotive industry.”
— Tom Dougan, the project manager of global paint applications at Ford, talking about the Blue Oval’s new 3D dirt-detection technology that will spot dirt particles as small as a grain of salt on vehicle paint surfaces

What’s Happening In The Industry
Gale Banks has now been in the auto biz for 55 years.

Nissan is planning for autonomous drive functionality in a slew of its vehicles by 2020?

Pro Comp’s 6-inch suspension system for the ’13 Ford F-150 passed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard test, meaning that the combo of new suspension, Pro Comp wheels, and 35-inch Pro Comp tires didn’t affect the electronic stability control’s functionality.

Line-X has bought the American Aftermarket Group. The outcome will be that Line-X locations can now provide a serious custom truck accessory scenario.

QA1 broke new ground on a new expansion project worth 17,200 more square footage.

Sales of aftermarket parts and accessories are said to be on the rise, according to the ’13 SEMA Annual Market Report. We’re talking $31 billion in 2012, up four percent over 2011.

What Challenges Did You Face When Building Your Suspension? Here’s Where We Notice You Screw Up
Getting the whole suspension system designed/set up properly for your vehicle and wheeling/driving needs can be a challenge. We know because we see not only well-engineered projects but also consistent mistakes. Here are examples of those faux pas. Have you made these errors? Come on over to Four Wheeler’s Facebook page ( and tell us!

Brubaker: Ugh. Fitting tires that are too large for a given lift. It’s a simple thing, but really annoying and it has the potential to ruin tires and fenders. We’ve been guilty of this. We had an Xterra in our fleet of projects a few years back and anytime the front wheels were turned full lock the tires would rub. They were aggressive tires, so the passengers felt and heard the result. The project coordinator for that rig chose to ignore the maximum recommended tire size provided by the suspension manufacturer and he installed tires that were too large. Sure, the rig looked cool with the large meats, but it killed the functionality of the rig.

Cappa: All too often I see 4x4s with huge lifts to accommodate larger tires. The same clearance can usually be accomplished with clever fender trimming or aftermarket high-clearance fenders. The end result would be a much more capable 4x4 than some super-goofy-tall, unstable circus wagon.

Mansour: Shock placement and correctly measuring the useable wheel travel on a vehicle are two suspension-related issues I see people struggle with. For example, I often see guys fitting 14-inch-travel shocks with leaf springs that only have 7 inches of travel. If you were to ask them how much travel they have, plenty would answer 14 inches. On the flipside, I know it can be confusing when we are writing about how an 8-inch-travel shock can net you 14 inches of vertical wheel travel depending on where and how it is mounted. Jeep guys tend to have it easy, but if you are building a non-cookie-cutter rig, you will need to do your homework to get it right.

Your Government At Work
The government might require an ignition interlock that would prevent the engine from firing up if your seatbelt isn’t on?

SEMA and its councils are looking for a Congressional resolution for the fifth annual Collector Car Appreciation Day, which is slated for July 11, 2014.

Random Photo We Dug
We found this photo from 2011 of Ricky Johnson, No. 48 TORC PRO 4 Redbull Mopar Ram. Dug the quiet action.

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