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November 2008 4x4 News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on November 1, 2008
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Photographers: Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company

Spied! 2010 GMC Sierra HD
It may not seem like big changes are in store for the 2010 GMC Sierra HD (and Chevy Silverado HD) by the looks of this picture, but in addition to a front-end freshening, the HD trucks will be receiving major upgrades to the 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel. The Duramax is expected to receive a significant increase in horsepower and torque next year (well over 700 lb-ft of torque, sources tell us) as well as meeting full Tier 2 Bin 5 federal emissions rules-the toughest clean diesel standard in the world-through urea injection. When it goes into service, the urea tank will have to be refilled periodically during routine maintenance and service.

Nissan Freshens Up Xterra and Frontier For 2009
For the 2009 model year, Nissan is tweaking its awesome midsize lineup with new styling and some vehicle enhancements. The 2009 Xterra receives a redesigned front-end appearance, new roof-mounted lights on the Off-Road trim level, new wheel designs, new seat materials and colors (with leather-appointed seats standard on SE models), new trim level content, and standard roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental airbags with rollover sensor for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection. The new Off-Road models get unique performance equipment that includes 265/75R16 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail T/A off-road tires; rugged 16-inch wheels; Hill Descent Control and Hill Assist; electronic locking rear differential (yes!!!-Ed.); high-performance Bilstein gas-filled shocks; and oil-pan, fuel-tank, and transfer-case skidplates. The 2009 Frontier gets updated with a new front fascia grille and headlight design and new 16-inch and 18-inch wheels. Additionally, a PRO-4X off-road model is added, which is mechanically similar to the Xterra's Off Road package. Both get revised interiors and will continue to offer the torquey VQ-series 4.0L DOHC V-6 as the top engine choice, which is fine with us.

BFGoodrich Tires Recognizes Blacktail/Wild Bill National Recreation Trail
Located near Blacktail Mountain Ski Area in the area known as "The Island Unit" of the Swan Ranger District on the Flathead National Forest in Northwest Montana, the Blacktail/Wild Bill National Recreation Trail was honored recently by BFGoodrich Tires as one of the 2008 Outstanding Trails. More than 75 off-road enthusiasts and members of the Skyliners Four Wheel Drive club were in attendance as BFGoodrich Tires presented a grant to the club's president. The grant will be used to preserve the trail and continue conservation efforts for one of America's picture-perfect areas for four-wheeling. BFGoodrich Tires, working in conjunction with Tread Lightly! and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), chose the Blacktail/Wild Bill National Recreation Trail as one of the 2008 Outstanding Trails because of its varying obstacles and spectacular views. The trail also offers several opportunities for dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, and mountain bike enthusiasts to enjoy the 13-mile journey through the Flathead National Forest. Launched in 2006, the BFGoodrich Outstanding Trails program is dedicated to the responsible use, and preservation of, off-road trails while providing aid in the trails' conservation efforts. Over the past two years, the Outstanding Trails program has recognized 11 off-road trails in nine states and one in Canada. The program has also given $42,000 in grants to clubs and seen more than 1,700 participants in trail events.

Ford F-150 4.4L to Retain Power Stroke Name
We recently received spy shots of the engine bay of the new 4.4L turbodiesel V-8 that is slated for the 2010 F-150, and then the Expedition and E-Series vans. Until now, there were questions as to whether Ford would carry on with the Power Stroke name for its new in-house diesel, a name that has been reserved for diesel engines made by Navistar in the past. The 4.4L is expected to produce 340 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque and will be built in Mexico. The official unveiling will take place at the Chicago Auto Show next February.

Hummer Teams Up With Tread Lightly!
Despite high temperatures, thunderstorms, and hoards of bugs, nearly 70 volunteers helped sign a new designated route in Florida this past June as part of a new initiative from the nonprofit Tread Lightly! called Hummer's Recreation Rescue. Thanks to funding from Hummer and the help from volunteers, the Ocala National Forest will be able to properly sign the area, install educational kiosks, and print new maps. This newly designated 81-mile route is called "Four Wheel Drive Way." The project kicked off with a volunteer workday on June 21. Twice as many people as expected arrived to volunteer, and the volunteers installed all needed signs on 54 of the 81 miles of trail. The workday was also held in conjunction with a special "Wheelers for the Wounded" event, which strives to provide weekends of four-wheeling and camping to the country's wounded military members. The Hummer X Club hosted that event, which happened on Saturday night and Sunday. The Florida 4-Wheel Drive Association has volunteered to "adopt" the trail system and maintain it when work is completed. Without their adoption, and without the new funding from Hummer, the new trail system would have remained closed. The Four Wheel Drive Way uses an existing system of roads with which the stated purpose of Four Wheel Drive Way is "to prevent resource damage, to encourage study and enjoyment of nature, highlight the importance of conservation, provide scenic and visual enjoyment, and instill appreciation of the nation's history, cultural resources, and traditional values." Hummer's Recreation Rescue is a program promoting volunteerism and conservation for off-road recreation sites across the country. More information about Recreation Rescue can be found at

Land Use Notes
Federal Agency Issues Management Plans for Millions of Acres in Arizona
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released three new management plans covering two national monuments and millions of acres in a remote area of northern Arizona. The proposal, compiled in a single environmental impact statement, covers 2.8 million acres of federal land from north of the Grand Canyon to the Utah border. Specifically, the plans allow for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use on more than 1,700 miles of existing trails and dirt roads in the monuments and across other portions of the management area. All three plans will outline how the areas will be managed for development, mineral recovery, and off-highway vehicle recreation for the next 20 years. The 3,000-page document is based on public input and ongoing collaboration with 10 different agencies and tribes in the area. For the most part, the plans emphasize minimal "human influence and use" in more remote areas and greater use near local communities or in areas that are already seeing significant use. Copies of the management plans can be accessed online at

Quick Hits
* The 2009 Ford F-150 will have a class-leading tow rating of 11,300 pounds.
* Ford's upcoming 6.7L Scorpion diesel will reportedly make 390 hp and 720 lb-ft (!) of torque.
* Word on the street is that there are several major companies interested in acquiring the Hummer brand from GM, including Mahindra, which lost out on the Land Rover deal. (Does this mean we'd call it a Hindi Hummer?-Ed.)

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