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September 2009 4x4 Truck & Automotive News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2009
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Photographers: Brian Williams for Brenda Priddy & Company

Next-Gen Ranger Spotted?
Ford has been mum when it comes to the next-generation Ranger pickup, but if our photos are any indication, the development of the 2012 Ranger is well under way. Don't be alarmed by the styling, which appears to be cobbled-together mules of the Mazda BT-50 sold outside of the U.S. They are hiding the mechanicals of the global T6 small truck platform, which will provide common underpinnings for Ford's small pickup trucks around the world, including our U.S. Ranger. The T6 mules we spotted are configured in both right- and left-hand drive, and are longer and wider than the current overseas Ranger. U.S. buyers can expect a choice of EcoBoost four-cylinder engines, which could include the 1.6L, 1.8L, and possibly the 2.5L, while global buyers will be able to get their hands on the 3.0L Duratorq turbodiesel four-cylinder from the current truck.

More Of A Good Thing
Our sources indicate that the upcoming Dodge Ram HD will offer a new gas engine for those who need more power than what the 5.7L Hemi currently offers, but aren't looking for the cost and expense of a diesel. The new 6.4L engine is a modified version of SRT's 6.1L Hemi, and is bored and stroked, but tuned for truck performance. Rumblings from around the water cooler suggest power will be in the 450-to-500hp range. We also hear an even higher-performance version of this engine will be available in some future SRT models.

Summit Goes Social
Summit Racing Equipment, the world's largest direct mail and Internet supplier of automotive performance parts, has further strengthened its commitment to the automotive enthusiast community by launching social networking pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Hub Garage. Summit says their presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Hub Garage gives it another outlet to interact with its community and gives hot-rodders, racers, and four-wheelers another place to connect with fellow enthusiasts.

With these sites, Summit Racing will provide the most up-to-date information on special offers, new products, motorsports news and results, event information, and other interesting facts related to the high performance industry. Performance enthusiasts can visit Summit Racing Equipment's social networking pages by following these links:

Hub Garage:

Daystar Expands Operations
Daystar Products, a leading manufacturer of lift & leveling kits, dash panels, bushing kits, and other polyurethane and injection-molded products, recently completed a 10,000-square-foot addition to its manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The addition will enable the company to expand its manufacturing capability and provide warehousing space to accommodate the increasing demand for Daystar products. Daystar, which was founded in 1977, had its best year ever in 2008. The addition brings the facility's total square footage to 40,000. The building serves as Daystar's corporate headquarters, which includes the main office, manufacturing and warehousing operations, as well as a state-of-the-art tool-making center. Daystar manufactures a variety of products for Original Equipment (OE) automotive companies, as well as the automotive aftermarket industry. Daystar also manufactures a wide variety of products for companies outside the automotive industry. For more information on Daystar products, log on to or call 800/595-7659.

Skyjacker Celebrates 35 Years With Expansion
Skyjacker Suspensions is celebrating 35 years by going big and expanding its facilities for additional warehouse and manufacturing space. The ground-breaking is underway for an expansion needed to keep up with demand. In conjunction with this expansion, Skyjacker has also added new full-time positions. Skyjacker provides premium-quality aftermarket suspension lift kits, leveling kits, and shocks for the automotive aftermarket. Visit Skyjacker on the web at or call them at 318/388-0816.

M/T Launches TV
Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels is launching an online video site called This online video player, produced by PowerTV, is stocked with a variety of video content on Mickey Thompson strip, truck, motorcycle, off-road, and Bonneville racing that will include recent video as well as some vintage Mickey Thompson footage. Video will also include product information, company news, event coverage and more. Any video on can be viewed, selected, and then embedded into other web pages, forums, or blogs so the video can be shared. Mickey Thompson enthusiasts and fans will also be able to upload their own video content. Members will have the ability to share comments, participate in related forums, and will also be able to access Mickey Thompson product information, company news, apparel, and much more. To check out some of the coolest video online, visit.

Land Use Notes
Take It Away
President Obama signed into law a bill which adds more than 2 million acres to the National Wilderness Preservation System, including lands in and around Joshua Tree National Park and the Eastern Sierras in California, Mt. Hood in Oregon, and Zion National Park in Utah. No mechanized activity is permitted in "wilderness" areas. Some roads and trails were excluded from the wilderness designations and, therefore, remain available to four-wheelers. Nevertheless, the SAN expressed regrets that lawmakers had moved too quickly, since not all roads and trails received protection.

Eastern Decision-Makers
Why are eastern lawmakers so concerned about closing 19 million acres in the Rocky Mountains to motorized recreation? SEMA and many enthusiasts in the off-highway vehicle (OHV) community want to know the answer. At issue is legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), which would designate as wilderness 19 million acres of land in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington. By law, wilderness areas generally prohibit roads and the use of motorized vehicles. The issue is consequential to SEMA members, as off-road enthusiasts would have fewer riding areas in the region and potentially reduced demand for OHV equipment.

A House subcommittee held a hearing during which Congressional members from areas threatened with the wilderness designation voiced strong criticism to the legislation. Most of the bill's 75 cosponsors represent areas east of the Mississippi River or are from California. In addition to staunch opposition from local lawmakers, concerns were also raised by U.S. Forest Service officials who stated that the bill conflicts with ongoing efforts to develop land-management regulations in the affected areas. A representative from the Bureau of Land Management also cautioned that the bill "may present serious conflicts with uses that may be of importance to the public." SEMA submitted comments in opposition to the bill and will continue to urge members of Congress to adopt land-use policies that have the support and participation of local communities and government authorities in the decision-making process. For more details, go to

Quick Hits
* Ford's upcoming 5.0L "Coyote" DOHC V-8 is still on pace to replace the 4.6L and 5.4L engines in Ford's stable.

* As part of restructuring efforts, Chrysler and GM plan to close a combined total of 1,900 dealerships by the end of the 2010 calendar year.

* Word on the street says that the next-gen Nissan Titan, built off the new Ram platform, is still a possibility.

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