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January 2008 4x4 News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 2006
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Photographers: Brad MellonAmerican Red Cross, San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter

Don't get too excited-this one is for military and civilian government consumption only. Slated to be built in Egypt at a joint-venture facility, the J8 is based on the Wrangler Unlimited chassis, but has been reinforced to carry higher payloads. Also helping to up the payload to 2,952 pounds and towing capacity to 7,716 pounds is a leaf-spring rear suspension. The J8 is powered by a 2.8L turbodiesel four-cylinder backed by a five-speed automatic transmission. A unique hood-mounted air-intake arrangement allows the J8 to wade in 30 inches of water, as well as operate up to five hours in sandstorm conditions. Two body styles (two-door pickup or four-door utility), righthand or lefthand drive, and countless seating configurations are also available. The J8, while not designed for front-line duties, is armor-capable, in case you were wondering. More importantly, we think this means that the business case for a Jeep pickup just got better.

We have speculated in the past on the availability of a V-8 for the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado, especially after Hummer confirmed the H3 Alpha. Before an official announcement, GMC's 2008 Web site let it slip that the 2008 Canyon will be available with a V-8 engine in early 2008. So far, no specifics have been announced, but we expect the engine to be similar to the 300hp 5.3L available in the H3. A V-8 option also allows the Canyon to match up nicely with the new Dakota. As of this writing, Chevy hasn't confirmed a V-8 for the Colorado, but you can bet the engine will be offered to the Bow Tie camp as well.

BFGoodrich has revealed that 16 sizes are currently available as part of the launch of the all-new Mud-Terrain T/A KM2. The next generation Mud-Terrain is designed for extreme trail action, as well as daily-driver civility. The new M-T, which bears family resemblance to the Krawler, will be available in 34 sizes by next September, ranging from LT215/75R15 all the way up to 42x14.5R20. See our review in the November 2007 issue and for more information, point your browser to

Current sizing available for the Mud-Terrain T/AKM2 tire:
35x12.50R17/D, 34.8-in
35x12.50R18/D, 34.8-in
37x12.50R17/D, 36.8-in
37x12.50R18/D, 36.8-in
37x12.50R20/D, 36.8-in
38x14.50R17/D, 37.8-in
40x14.50R17/C, 39.9-in
42x14.50R20/C, 41.8-in
LT245/70R17/E, 30.8-in
LT285/70R17/D, 33-in
LT305/55R20/E, 33.5-in
LT305/60R18/E, 32.6-in
LT305/65R17/E, 32.8-in
LT315/75R16/D, 34.8-in
LT325/60R20/D, 35.6-in
LT335/55R22/D, 36.7-in

According to information found in the 2008 Ford Ranger press kit, the Ranger FX4 Level II model that was the basis our Project "RangeRunner" has been dropped for 2008 in the interest of lineup simplification. No longer are the forged Alcoa wheels available, the Bilstein monotube shocks have been replaced with Rancho-labeled twin-tube shocks, and the BFG All-Terrain T/As have been replaced. These features join the manual-shift transfer case, which went to parts-bin heaven a few model years ago. Fortunately, all of these items can be added back in the aftermarket, and the excellent Torsen limited slip is available as an option, but we bemoan the loss of Ford's best-kept secret in four-wheeling. At least the new wheels are pretty cool looking, and the service interval has been extended to 7,500 miles.

Here is an awesome photo of an American Red Cross Hummer. These trucks were actively assisting firefighters in Seeley, California, when recent wildfires broke out. Trained American Red Cross volunteers of the San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter used their Hummer H3 to deliver critical nourishment to more than 100 firefighters. Hummer has donated 19 Hummer H2s and H3s as Red Cross response vehicles, for use around the country during disasters and emergency situations.

There's no way we would've figured it out on our own, but the new Hankook Dynapro ATm all-terrain's tread and shoulder design is patterned after tiger teeth. Or so a select group of media types were told at the recent introduction of Hankook's newest four-by tire during a small get-together in the city of Big Bear Lake, California.

Thankfully, very little time was spent being lectured about the Hankook's pedigree, features, and how it will soon be available in 29 different sizes, ranging from a fashion-conscious LT355/50R22 to a more practical 30x9.50R15 (and in Hankook's defense, over half of those sizes are under 18 inches in rim diameter). Instead, some five hours of quality time was spent on nearby trails, so there was no cause for withdrawals with this ATm. Unfortunately, as pleasurable as these trail rides were, with an unfamiliar vehicle on unfamiliar trails and running a new tire, we still really can't say how well this new Dynapro ATm works. Not with three out of three unknowns.

We'll let you know the results of a full test done under more controlled circumstances in the not-too-distant future. Meanwhile, rest assured that the Hankook Dynapro ATm can be driven very hard on twisty mountain roads, providing amazingly good grip and doing so quietly. Our "tour guide," Don Alexander, proved that beyond a doubt. Now, about those tiger teeth-even after studying the illustrations, we still can't quite see the correlation. But Hankook says it's there, which is close enough in real life. Is it possible that it's better to have a tiger in the tread than in the tank?
-Jimmy Nylund

* In an unsurprising move, the Lincoln Mark LT pickup will be discontinued for the 2009 model year.

* The new 2008 Dodge Dakota 4x4 has been priced at $24,330, and you can say goodbye to the regular cab.

* Loving Yellow? The 2008 Jeep Wrangler will be available in a new color: Detonator Yellow.

* Toyota has announced 13 new Tundra model variations to its lineup. The "Tundra Grade" will be positioned above the base model, but below the SR5, doing away with standard chrome bumpers and the towing package.

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