We'll let you in on a little secret: Every year we promise to tell you about all the new products debuting at the Specialty Equipment Marketer's Association (SEMA) show, a trade convention of epic proportions that encompasses just about every aftermarket company that makes stuff for any motorized vehicle, and every year we choke. The truth is, so many new parts hit the scene at once that there's no way we can cram all of them into a few magazine pages. Therefore, what follows is the cream of the crop, the best of the best, and the newest of the new. We'll keep looking for more to tell you about, but in the meantime enjoy this sampling of the latest products to come from the creative minds of the aftermarket industry.
What's New: The Platinum+4 spark plug, which features four ground electrodes for less resistance and more efficient spark energy. It has a platinum center electrode for increased durability and performance, and the gap is preset at the factory.
Who Makes It: Robert Bosch Corp; for more information, contact your nearest Bosch retailer.
What's New: A manual idle-speed controller for fuel-injected engines. The controller allows the user to momentarily override the computer to raise the idle in certain situations, such as when rockcrawling or winching. It installs in minutes and has no effect on normal engine computer controls.
Who Makes It: Howell Engine Developments, Dept. 4WOR, 6201 Industrial Way, Marine City, MI 48039, 810/765-5100.
What's New: The Platinum 9000 winch, which features a 44 percent stronger-than-original 3.5hp electric motor, an integrated solenoid assembly, 150 feet of cable, and a rated line pull of 9,000 pounds. It fits in existing Ramsey Winch mounting systems.
Who Makes It: Ramsey Winch Co., Dept. 4WOR, P.O. Box 581510, Tulsa, OK 74158-1510, 800/283-9740, 918/438-2760.
What's New: An RPM Series after-cat exhaust system for '99 Chevy pickups. The 50-state-legal, stock-replacement system comes with a stainless steel muffler and aluminized mandrel-bent 16-gauge tubing. All mounting brackets and hardware are included for easy installation.
Who Makes It: Edelbrock Corp., Dept. 4WOR, 2700 California St., Torrance, CA 90503, 310/781-2222, www.edlebrock.com.
What's New: A bolt-on supercharger kit for '96-'98 Tacomas, 4Runners, and T-100s equipped with V-6 engines. The kit is smog-legal and works with both automatic and manual trucks.
Who Makes It: Toyota Racing Development, Dept. 4WOR, 1382 Valencia Ave., Tustin, CA 92780; for more information, contact your local Toyota dealer or visit www.trdusa.com.
What's New: The Outland front grilleguard and Sure-Step nerf bars for the '99 Chevy Silverado. The Outland front guard includes four auxiliary-light mounting tabs and removable wire headlight protectors. The Sure-Step bars feature a nonslip polyester pad for easier entry and exit. Both products are also available for most other popular trucks and SUVs.
Who Makes It: Smittybilt Inc., Dept. 4WOR, 395 Smitty Way, Corona, CA 91720, 800/2SMITTY (276-4889), www.smittybiltinc.com.
What's New: A Chevy S-10 small-block V-8 conversion oil pan for 4x4s. The pan is equipped with a crank scraper, oil baffles, a windage tray, and a magnetic drain plug. It's manufactured from 16-gauge steel, has a 7-quart capacity, and is designed to work with most popular engine conversion mounts and headers.
Who Makes It: Canton Racing Products, Dept. 4WOR, 2 Commerce Dr., North Branford, CT 06471, 203/484-4900 (orders), 203/484-7542 (tech).
What's New: A complete electric fan assembly for Chevy trucks. It replaces the stock beltdriven fan with twin 14-inch fans and comes with an adjustable thermostat and air-conditioning relay. It measures 16 1/2 by 32 1/2 by 4 1/4 inches when installed and is capable of pulling 5,200 cfm when operating at 2,200 rpm. It draws 30 amps when under full load and is available with a manual override switch.
Who Makes It: Flex-a-lite, Dept. 4WOR, P.O. Box 580, Milton, WA 98354, 800/851-1510, 253/922-0226.
What's New: A bed shell for the '99 Chevy Silverado. The Stockland Motorsport features one-piece fiberglass construction with a finished bottom edge and curves that complement the truck's factory body styling. The sliding side windows have a black aluminum frame, and a front sliding window is available. The shell comes with a polyurethane clearcoat finish and a lifetime warranty.
Who Makes It: The Stockland Co., Dept. 4WOR, 2332 Barranca Pkwy., Irvine, CA 92606, 800/445-1373, 949/660-0590.
What's New: The HercuLiner, a do-it-yourself bedliner coating. It uses virgin rubber granules in a polyurethane coating that has a unique curing process to chemically bond with the truck-bed surface. It can be applied with a brush or a roller, and a 1-gallon can is capable of coating a standard 6-foot bed. The coating is said to be waterproof and skid-resistant and protect the bed from rust and scratches.
Who Makes It: Peak Performance Products, Dept. 4WOR, 4065 Commercial Ave., Northbrook, IL 60062, 847/559-2000.
What's New: The Flex Series suspension products for all four-link vehicles. The kit shown is for the Jeep TJ and is offered with single or double heim joints on the trailing arms. It also comes with a heim-joint-equipped track bar for increased travel and provides 4 inches of lift. This kit can be retrofitted on a TJ equipped with a standard 4-inch Skyjacker kit as well.
Who Makes It: Skyjacker, Dept. 4WOR, 212 Stevenson St., West Monroe, LA 71294, 800/SOFTRIDE (763-8743), 318/388-2608.
What's New: A bolt-on after-cat exhaust system for '98-'99 Dodge Durangos. The kit fits both 5.2L and 5.9L V-8 engines and includes a 70-Series big-block II muffler connected to 2 1/2-inch mandrel-bent aluminized tubing. The system exits at the rear bumper in the factory location and uses factory hangers for easy installation.
Who Makes It: Flowmaster Inc., Dept. 4WOR, 2975 Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95407, 800/544-4761, 707/569-9929, www.flowmastermufflers.com.
What's New: Street-legal brake-line kits for lifted 4x4s. The hoses are manufactured from Teflon-lined braided steel that is said to resist expansion. The kits include three lines with all the necessary fittings and hardware and are available for Chevy, Ford, Jeep, and Toyota trucks.
Who Makes It: Russell Performance Products, Dept. 4WOR, 225 Fentress Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114, 904/253-8980, www.russellperformance.com.
What's New: 50-state-legal Cat4Ward headers for '99 GM trucks, including the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. Designed to fit the 4.8L, 5.3L, and 6.0L Vortec engines, these headers are constructed of 14-gauge mandrel-bent steel and have 3/8-inch-thick, laser-cut flanges for improved performance and durability. They are designed to bolt directly in place of the factory exhaust manifolds.
Who Makes It: JBA Headers, Dept. 4WOR, 7149 Mission Gorge Rd., Ste. C, San Diego, CA 92120, 619/229-7797
What's New: A rear disc-brake conversion for late-model GM vehicles that retains the parking brake. Instead of using a modified caliper, the Banksia rear brake system uses a unique rotor with a built-in, one-piece shoe. When the parking brake is activated, the shoe applies force to hold the vehicle stationary. The kit includes calipers, pads, shoes, rotors, brake hoses, mounting brackets, and all the necessary hardware.
Who Makes It: Baer Racing Inc., Dept. 4WOR, 3108 W. Thomas Ave., Ste. 1201, Phoenix, AZ 85017, 602/233-1411.
What's New: Stainless steel and black powdercoat winch mounts for several applications, including late-model Chevys, Dodges, and Fords. The mounts feature a tubular design and accept Superwinch X6CD, X9, S6000, and S9000 winches as well as winches from Husky and other manufacturers. They come ready to install with all the necessary hardware.
Who Makes It: Superwinch Inc., Dept. 4WOR, Winch Dr., Putnam, CT 06260, 203/928-7787, www.superwinch.com
What's New: Urethane fender flares for several late-model Chevy, Dodge, and Ford truck and SUV applications. The flares are designed to install easily and provide a subtle enhancement of the truck's looks.
Who Makes It: Stillen, Dept. 4WOR, 3176 Airway Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714/540-5566, www.stillen.com.
What's New:Ready-to-Run distributors for Ford 289, 302, 351W, and 351C engines. The distributors are a direct replacement for factory DuraSpark or breaker point systems and have a small-diameter cap to fit in tight engine compartments. Each one includes a maintenance-free magnetic pickup, a built-in ignition module, and a choice of either mechanical or vacuum advance. Installation requires a simple three-wire hookup.
Who Makes It: MSD Ignition, Dept. 4WOR, 1490 Henry Brennan Dr., El Paso, TX 79936, 915/857-5200, www.msdignition.com.
What's New: The TrailMax preassembled factory-replacement seats for Jeeps. The high-back front buckets are available in three levels of features-entry, sport, and pro. A fold-and-tumble rear seat is also available. All the seats come in a variety of weather-resistant fabric colors and bolt directly to the factory CJ-7, YJ, and TJ seat brackets with no modifications.
Who Makes It: Bestop, Dept. 4WOR, P.O. Box 307, Broomfield, CO 80020, 303/465-2573.
What's New: The light-truck Radial D/T. The tire is constructed of a radial-ply polyester-cord carcass with double steel belts for durability and puncture resistance. It also has a self-cleaning tread design for improved on- and off-highway performance. It's available in a variety of sizes up to 35 inches tall.
Who Makes It: Hoosier Performance Tire, Dept. 4WOR, 7422 Shady Hollow Dr., Canton, OH 44718, 330/830-0199.
What's New: The Safety Seal Plus Liquid Patch tire-repair kit. Designed to work with the original Safety Seal plugs, the Liquid Patch is applied to the inside of the repair to provide a more reliable, permanent patch. There's no need to buff the tire's inner liner during application, and the patch remains flexible for a more air-tight seal.
Who Makes It: North Shore Laboratories, Dept. 4WOR, P.O. Box 568, Peabody, MA 01960, 800/888-9021.
What's New: A multipoint EFI system for small-block Chevys. The kit has everything needed for installation, including an intake manifold, injectors, a billet throttle body, a wire harness, and a computer. It fits all 23-degree cylinder heads and is capable of feeding engines of up to 550 hp.
Who Makes It: Holley Performance Products, Dept. 4WOR, 1801 Russelville Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42102, 502/745-9547, www.holley.com.
What's New: A soft truck cap for pickup beds. All four sides of the Can-Back can be rolled up for easy access to cargo, and it's designed so the truck can be driven with the sides up or down. It uses extruded aluminum bedrails and stainless steel hoops, and the fabric is fade-resistant and water-repellant. The cap is available in several colors.
Who Makes It: Can-Back, Dept. 4WOR, 9649 Remer St., South El Monte, CA 91733, 626/442-0739.
What's New: Programmable electric speedometers in both 3 3/8- and 5-inch sizes. These speedometers allow quick and easy speedometer calibrations on vehicles equipped with late-model transmissions when tire sizes or gear ratios are changed. The speedometers can also be used on vehicles with older transmissions by adding a separate speedometer sender, which takes the place of the speedometer cable.
Who Makes It: Auto Meter, Dept. 4WOR, 413 W. Elm St., Sycamore, IL 60178, 815/895-8141, www.autometer.com.