June 2010 RPM

Off-Road News

Caught: 2011 Grand Cherokee Tackles Rubicon Trail
Jeep engineers recently completed a validation drive of the 2011 Grand Cherokee on the Rubicon Trail with a small group of stock vehicles. Our spies caught a picture of the aftermath. You can see this Grand has a few battle scars in the bodywork, something that is to be expected of any vehicle that attempts the Rubicon without body protection. Featuring an all-new, air-adjustable four-wheel independent suspension system, the Grand is designed to be the most capable 4x4 in its class.

Raptor Racks Up Sales
Whoever convinced the execs at Ford that the Raptor was a good idea must be smiling big back in Dearborn. Customer demand for Ford's new F-150 SVT Raptor is moving nearly as fast as production with over 5,500 orders having been placed, with a higher number of 5.4L trucks than previously anticipated. The biggest markets are in the Southwest and Texas, but the appeal of the Raptor has extended beyond just desert runners, as demand is high in states like Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado, Ohio, and Georgia. Options such as the luxury package, moonroof and reverse camera all have "take rates" of more than 79 percent. Popular F-150 utility options like touch-screen navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link, trailer-brake controller and Ford's tailgate step have take rates higher than 62 percent. The overwhelming top color choice has been Tuxedo Black for more than 52 percent of all orders, followed by Molten Orange, Oxford White, and Blue Flame.

Ranger Reaches 7 Million
It took 28 years, but the seven millionth Ford Ranger recently rolled off of the Ranger pickup production line in St. Paul, Minnesota. The last Ranger is slated to roll out of the factory sometime in 2011, and there is no replacement in sight for the popular pickup. Ford's current strategy calls for a high mileage F-150 to take up the entry-level slot in its pickup truck family in the US, while the rest of the world gets the all-new global Ranger. Hopefully, Ford will change its mind and bring a fresh Ranger to the compact pickup market.

BFG Wins Again at KOH
BFGoodrich Tires remains the only tire manufacturer to win at the challenging King of The Hammers racing event. More than 30,000 fans witnessed Loren Healy take home the coveted scepter at the 2010 Griffin King of the Hammers, held last February at Johnson Valley, California. Healy, along with co-driver Rodney Woodey, became the only driver to take the checkered flag after qualifying at the 4 Wheel Parts Last Chance Qualifier earlier in the week. Healy and Woodey, who started the race in the 53rd position, battled through the difficult terrain of Johnson Valley and conquered the 135-mile loop course in 6 hours 57 minutes and 53 seconds. Of the 100 competitors that started the race, only 43 finished, 34 of which chose to run the ultimate desert-and-rock race on BFGoodrich tires.

Healy's winning rig was equipped with 39-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires, which are designed for unprecedented grip on extreme rocks, mud and dirt. Team BFGoodrich driver Brad Lovell barely missed out on the win, finishing only 28 seconds behind Healy. Lovell and co-driver Bill Kunz chose 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KRT tires, while Third-place finisher Derek West and co-driver Jason Henne chose 39-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KRTs, which are designed specifically for rock racing and King of the Hammers.

In addition to being the official tire for KOH, BFGoodrich Tires provided pit and communications support to teams through its fleet of off-road motorsports vehicles. This immense undertaking involved more than 40 off-road enthusiasts and volunteers who donated their time to help BFGoodrich support the organization of King of the Hammers. BFGoodrich also introduced a new 42-inch off-road racing tire at the event. Visit BFGoodrich Tires online at www.bfgoodrichtires.com. And check out our in-depth King of the Hammers coverage this month starting on page 30.

Win With Miller
As part of its "Connect With Miller and Win" campaign, Miller Electric will give away a welding or plasma-cutting package valued at over $2,700 to a randomly selected entrant. Three additional winners will each receive an iPod Touch. The Grand Prize welding or plasma-cutting package includes the choice of a Millermatic 211 Auto Set MIG welder, a Diversion 165 TIG welder or a Spectrum 375 X-TREME plasma cutter. The winner will also receive an ArcStation welding workbench, a Performance Series auto-darkening welding helmet, an Arc Armor combo welding jacket, a pair of MIG, TIG, and Metalworker gloves, plus an iPod Touch. Miller eNewsletters, mailed up to eight times annually, provide readers with expert advice that can improve their welding activity, including technical articles, how-to videos, business and management advice, and application stories. You can enter by visiting www.millerwelds.com/connectwithmiller, and sign up for the eNewsletter best suited to you: DIY, PRO, or Instructor.

Super Duty Gets Some Sting
Ford's all new 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel, known by the code name "Scorpion" during development, looks like it is going to be quite the improvement over the outgoing Navistar-sourced 6.4L turbodiesel. Ford recently announced that the power rating for the 6.7L, which was developed in-house, will be an impressive 390 horsepower and 735 lb-ft of torque. The 6.2L V-8, which replaces the 5.4L V-8 and 6.8L V-10 modular Triton motors, will split the difference in power rating with 385 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. A properly equipped F-450 model will be able to tow 24,400 pounds of trailer.

Quick Hits
Ford's 2011 Super Duty will start at $28,995; the diesel option will set you back almost $8,000.

The 2012 Durango-replacement will be based on the Grand Cherokee's unibody platform and might be renamed "Magnum."

Following Ford's lead, the Chevy Colorado and GM Canyon may not be replaced when production ends in 2011.

Rancho Announces Extreme Deal
The Rancho performance shock and suspension brand of Tenneco is sponsoring a consumer promotion: The Rancho "Extreme Deal" program, which will award Visa pre-paid debit cards of up to $500 in value to qualifying entrants. The Rancho "Extreme Deal" promotion will run March 1 through August 31, 2010, and participants will become eligible to win the debit card when they purchase a qualifying Rancho suspension system and four Rancho RS9000XL shocks. Rancho products are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. Rancho RS9000XL shocks are also covered by an exclusive 90-day performance guarantee, an offer that lets enthusiasts try the Rancho product for 90 days. Consumers can return the product within 90 days for a full refund of its purchase price. All completed rebate forms and copied sales receipts must be postmarked by October 1, 2010. Additional restrictions apply and can be found at www.gorancho.com.

Land Use Notes
EPA Sets Tougher Nitrogen Dioxide Standard
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tightened the one-hour standard for measuring emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), but left the annual standard unchanged. The long-term exposure remains at a maximum of 53 parts per billion (ppb), while an acceptable short-term exposure limit is now 100 ppb. Short-term concentrations of NO2 were previously allowed to range from 100 to 200 ppb.

The EPA believes NO2 exposure has been linked to respiratory problems. The primary man-made sources for NO2 are motor vehicles, coal-burning power plants and factories. According to the EPA, all areas of the country currently meet the existing annual air-quality standard, and ambient concentrations of nitrogen dioxide dropped 41 percent between 1980 and 2006. The agency will now, however, require more monitors along busy roads and in large urban areas by 2013. It will then collect data for several years to determine which areas are not in compliance with the new standard and whether additional steps are necessary to reduce emissions.

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