SPIED: 2020 Audi RS Q8 Testing In Europe

Audi May Skip SQ8 and Go Straight to Lambo-Beating RS Model

The 2019 Audi Q8, the company’s coupelike SUV flagship, will get a high-performance variant called the RS Q8, possibly as soon as the 2020 model year. Abandoning Audi tradition, the Q8 lineup will likely skip an S-branded variant and go right for Lamborghini’s jugular with the RS Q8, which shares a platform with the Raging Bull’s own Urus super-SUV.

  |   2020 Audi Rs Q8 Front Quarter 03

Spotted testing in Europe with and without a trailer in tow, the RS Q8 will get much more aggressive bodywork than the already taut Q8. Up front, the spy photos immediately betray a honeycomb design in the grille, a styling feature Audi reserves exclusively for its highest-performance lineup of RS models. A stronger front valence gets larger side air inlets and a wing-shaped lower air intake, the latter possibly generating downforce.

2019 Chevrolet Blazer Unveiled with Bold Design, Lots of Tech

Yes, it’s yet another Chevy SUV, but this one is a bit different. This one, at least, has a cool name. The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer revives a nameplate belonging to one of the most Chevrolets of all time, and their original SUV in a way. It is also a product very much of its time. 

Whereas the original Blazer was a big, heavy, somewhat cantankerous car, the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer is a big softie. Actually, it’s not even that big. It sits between the Equinox and Traverse in Chevy’s range, and it has an interior that is, at best, modest in size.What the new Blazer has going for it is the looks. It kind of looks like a Camaro SUV, especially at the front. The combination of small headlights and large front grille gives the SUV a lot of attitude. Read More

First Look – Chevrolet Announces 2019 Blazer Two-Row Crossover

“Lifestyle” Sport-Ute to Do Battle With Ford Edge and Nissan Murano

The legendary Blazer nameplate has been rumored to return to the Chevrolet stable for years, but the company just confirmed it for 2019. Now attached to a two-row crossover, die-hard Chevy fans might be concerned the formerly off-road–ready Blazer name is being sullied, and we find ourselves in that camp. We wish Chevrolet had picked another heritage name for its new CUV—the original Nomad was a stylish, two-row wagon, and Chevy could have even branded it as an SUV coupe and resurrected the Monte Carlo name. But regardless, the 2019 Blazer does have some distinctive styling working in its favor.

  |   2019 Chevrolet Blazer Exterior Front Quarter 01

It’s clear the company is trying to set the 2019 Blazer apart from other midsize two-row crossovers from non-luxury brands. A bold front graphic—which bears a strong resemblance to Lexus’ “spindle grille” styling—leaves a distinctive first impression. In true Chevrolet form, the grille is bisected by a bar that houses the Bow Tie emblem, with winglike structures extending out toward the upper lighting elements. Like the pre-facelift Jeep Cherokee or the new-for-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, the Blazer makes use of high-mounted LED running lamps, with standard HID headlights situated lower in the fascia. But unlike those two slightly insectoid-looking crossovers, the Chevy looks much more purposeful and aggressive.

RealTruck: Truck Accessories and Products

Let’s Be Real: We All Love Shopping

We know there are plenty of online shopping options when it comes to truck accessories and products, but have you considered RealTruck? You can find ‘em at realtruck.com. Flipping through the drivetrain, exterior accessories, interior accessories, lighting, performance, specialty, suspension, and wheels and tires categories, it’s clear there’s a lot of truck shopping you can accomplish. RealTruck was acquired by Truck Hero Inc. (THI) in October 2015, meaning it carries a full range of Truck Hero brands including BedRug, Husky Liners, N-FAB, Extang, TruXedo—and some 300 brands total. RealTruck touts free shipping for most items, help from truck experts, easy returns, and a variety of ways to contact the company, including live chat, phone numbers, snail mail, and email. RealTruck is a U.S.-based company with a centrally located warehouse in Jasper, Indiana, and locations in Jamestown, North Dakota, and Fargo, North Dakota. Don’t know what truck junk to get that special someone? RealTruck offers gift cards—an option we all tend to underutilize. Read More

2017 Ford F350: The Immortal Phat-350

Another Slam Dunk From Matt Holden & Phat Phabz

At this point in time, Phat Phabz OKC may be one of the most recognized and respected truck and frame building shops in the game. If you haven’t heard of it, we are glad you are reading our magazine to catch up on current times. From show-winners to road-trippers to SEMA builds, Phat Phabz can pretty much build anything you want. All you need is an idea and a checkbook. Honestly, the crew can give you the ideas—just bring the checkbook. Friend of the shop Matt Holden seems to be building a new truck every time we turn around with help from Jake McKiddie and the Phat Phabz team. The idea for his latest project came during a visit to a place all grown men create great plans: road trip stops at Cracker Barrel. The plan? To have the first bagged new-body F-350 dualie at SEMA 2017. The first step was contacting Derek Zacha from Truck Hero/UnderCover to see if he had an available spot at SEMA waiting to be filled by a neck breaker—and the answer was yes. With that confirmation, Matt immediately ordered the truck, and the plans and sponsor arrangements for the all-too-familiar SEMA crunch started coming together.

  |   2017 Ford F350 The Immortal Phat 350 Rear

When it came time for the Phat Phabz crew to knock out another build for their good friend, the sky was the limit. Matt basically said as long as it was functional, on time for the debut, and the first of its kind, they should go for it. As soon as the truck pulled into Jake McKiddie’s shop, the body and stock frame were separated. After a few hours of counting on fingers and toes, Jake and the crew decided that was enough math to get started and began laying out the F-350’s new one-off platform. The chassis would be built with 2×4-foot/.188-inch-wall tubing as well as having double rails run under the cab. Basically, it is really strong and built to take a beating and extreme weight if need be from towing. After Phat Phabz built a full set of custom upper and lower control arms and about a thousand other parts to go along with it all, the 3,800-pound bags were installed and the Phat 350 began to take shape in its new home on the ground. As the bags were inflated on the truck’s new frame setup, the new-to-market Accuair Endo VT and E-level management system ensured no issues would arise from valve or air pressure errors.

1994 Toyota T-100- Knockout

Relationship Goals

They say the best way to make a relationship work is to indulge in each other’s hobbies and lifestyle choices. Courtney Carroll of Deer Park, Texas, grew up around her older brother Mickey, who tinkered with and drove custom vehicles. “I never went into the garage when he would work on them,” Courtney tells Truckin, “but I shared his admiration for the hobby.” At 16, she received her first vehicle, a ’78 Celica, which she had for three years until purchasing an Oldsmobile Cutlass she owned for the next six years. Her life changed in 2010 when she met Chris Malone at a car race in Beaumont. Chris had been involved with the mini-truck scene for years and was driving a bagged Toyota Tacoma. The two immediately grew close, began dating, and eventually married. And it wasn’t long before Chris’ hobbies began to grow on Courtney. As a manager of a local pawn shop, oftentimes, Courtney could exchange certain goods for things she wanted. At a New Year’s Eve party with Chris and his club members, she struck up a conversation with Chris Silvey about his Toyota truck that hadn’t been running properly. He showed interest in some things Courtney had at the pawn shop, and before long a trade had been made.

  |   1994 Toyota T 100 Knockout Rear

  |   1994 Toyota T 100 Knockout Engine

The ’94 Toyota T100 had been sitting on a trailer for more than a year, but Courtney knew the potential was there. Once the trade was made, she and her husband were able to fix the wiring issue and replace the airflow sensor to get the new mini running. The first step was to bring the truck down to the ground, so Courtney enlisted Committed club member Patrick Reid of Mad Concepts for a traditional body drop as well as a full air-ride suspension.

Busted Knuckles: Haulin’ Hay

Getting There Quickly!

Bryan Hay always wanted a ’67-to-’72 C10 shortbed. So when it was time to make that dream a reality, he jumped at the chance. What you see here is the hard work to get that reality rolling. The ’72 Chevy C10 is being heavily customized by Chuck and Lane Johnson at Octane and Iron in Magnolia, Texas. They have given this 46-year-old truck a solid start to a show-quality life with a long list of work, including one-off metal fabrication, custom modifications, and preparations for plans to come. With the truck already sitting low after a host of suspension changes by Scott’s Hot Rods and a set of 24-inch US Mags wheels tucked under the bare metal body, it’s already a great looking piece of automotive art.

  |   Busted Knuckles Haulin Hay Front

The list of ambitious plans makes this project even more noteworthy. We don’t know if Bryan will ever actually haul hay with it, but we do know it will be haulin’ thanks to the Late Model Engines LSX 427 with Garrett twin turbochargers built by ProSpeed Autosports.
There are many ways to efficiently gain more power with a diesel engine. Choosing the correct setup for doing so depends on the desired end result.
For enthusiasts looking for a mild bump in performance, such upgrades as a cold-air intake and programmer might be all that is needed. Folks who want a bit more power may add a mild turbocharger and larger injectors. When a lot more horsepower is desired, multiple turbochargers are added, along with injectors and lift and high-pressure injection pumps. An oil-burner’s performance really depends on the amount of money one is willing to spend.
Most diesel-truck owners want middle-of-the-road performance. They want more power than a stock engine provides for a bit more get up and go on the highway and while towing but do not want to lose the truck’s reliability and driveability. Finding the right balance is important.

Showoff 2018: A Memorable Event

Gaining Momentum and Becoming a Truly Memorable Event

You won’t find a more dedicated or involved truck show promoter than Kyle “Pickle” Garza. He first received the nickname Pickle from his little league baseball days because when you turned in baseballs you would receive a pickle in exchange. That nickname carried into the truck scene when he painted his first truck green. Eight years ago Pickle decided to combine his love for custom trucks and his current location in Houston, Texas so he created a truck show.

  |   Showoff 2018 Chevy C10

He rebranded his show in 2016 and moved it to the city of Angleton at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds and named it Showoff. Now in its third year, it’s gaining momentum and becoming a truly memorable event. Packed with events, it’s fun for the entire family including the Car & Truck Limbo contest, Pickle Eating Contest, Milk Chug and Beer Chug. Jack Cross from Spider Wraps who was the title sponsor brought out water slides for all the kids and for some of the adults acting like kids.

SPIED: 2020 Ram Heavy Duty Regular Cab

Short-Cab, Longbed Body Style Returns to Ram Lineup

The upcoming 2020 Ram Heavy Duty was spotted trundling around the other day, giving us a look at a body style we haven’t yet seen on the company’s next-generation pickups. This regular cab truck sported an 8-foot cargo box, while the 2019 Ram 1500 is currently only available in Quad Cab or crew cab variants, with a 5-foot, 7-inch box or a 6-foot, 4-inch box. Expect the regular cab to spread to the light-duty Ram within a few months.

  |   2020 Ram 2500 Regular Cab Front View

The 2020 Ram Heavy Duty should share most of its styling with its light-duty sibling, though it will likely be butched up a bit, visually speaking. Expect a taller hood and a larger grille, the latter conspicuously devoid of Ram’s old crosshairs styling elements. That’s right, the Heavy Duty will almost assuredly ditch the styling feature in favor of open-element grilles with “RAM” script.
The 2020 Ram Heavy Duty will likely receive carryover engine options, starting with a base 5.7L Hemi V-8 with 383 hp and 400 lb-ft. A 6.4L Hemi V-8 will also likely continue into 2020, offering 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. Regarding Ram’s sophisticated new eTorque mild-hybrid technology, we presume it will be offered on the 5.7L V-8 as an optional extra. In the Ram 1500, the eTorque system adds 130 lb-ft of torque to the engine’s output right from idle, easing takeoff from a red light with a heavy load in tow. While the Ram 1500 gets an eight-speed automatic across the board, we’d bet the Heavy Duty will soldier on with a stouter version of the existing truck’s six-speed auto.

SPIED: 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE Caught in the Nude

Replacement for ML-Based GLE on Its Way Soon

Mercedes-Benz, keen to modernize its lineup of utility, was caught testing a nearly undisguised midsize SUV, likely the next-generation GLE-Class. Due for the 2019 model year, this vehicle will replace the outgoing GLE, itself a renamed, refreshed Mercedes-Benz ML. That generation of ML/GLE has been around since the 2012 model year, and facing competition from the 2019 BMW X5 and 2020 Lincoln Aviator, the GLE needed an update. Featuring much smoother bodywork, the 2019 model spotted here fits in much better with Benz’s modern design language. Fuselage-shaped bodysides replace the outgoing model’s sharp sculpting, and thin, arrow-shaped taillights look like they were plucked directly from the S-Class Coupe.

  |   2020 Mercedes Benz Gle Rear Quarter 01

Up front, there’s a two-section grille with a centrally mounted Mercedes-Benz star (a signature of all Benz SUVs), and the front bumper gets at least three massive air inlets, leading us to believe this example might be an AMG variant. Around the back, the new SUV keeps its predecessors’ signature wraparound rear window treatment, a styling feature that has been around since the very first ML in 1998.

Ford Introduces Diesel-Powered 2019 Transit Connect Taxi

1.5L EcoBlue I-4 Spreads to Cab Fleets

Ford introduced two new taxis today, the 2019 Transit Connect diesel and Fusion Hybrid. The company estimates the Transit Connect taxi, which shares its available 1.5L EcoBlue turbodiesel I-4 with the recently revealed 2019 van, will achieve 30 mpg on the highway, a number we think is conservative given the gas-powered 2018 Transit Connect’s 27 mpg highway. Expect an EPA rating closer to 35 mpg for the oil-burning Transit Connect Taxi, with about 150 hp and 200 lb-ft motivating the taxi.

  |   2019 Ford Transit Connect Diesel Taxi Exterior Front Quarter 02

As on the civilian/fleet Transit Connect, diesel will be an option, while standard powertrain for cabbies should be the 2.0L direct-injected I-4. Power output is still a mystery for this engine, which replaces the outgoing 2.5L port-injected four. Expect it to match its predecessor in both power and torque—at least 170 hp and 170 lb-ft—while beating it at the pump.
Offered in a five-seat configuration only, the Transit Connect taxi boasts 60 cubic feet of luggage room behind the rear seat, a number Ford claims is better than the similarly sized Nissan NV200. The company will also offer the Transit Connect taxi with a variety of vocational options, including a roof access hole, a taxi-upfit wiring harness, and wheelchair accessibility (the latter courtesy of an easy-to-deploy ramp that doubles as a cargo deck when not in use).
Alongside the Transit Connect, Ford also revealed its first-ever Fusion hybrid taxi based on the Police Responder Hybrid. The taxi shares its law enforcement brother’s heavy-duty suspension with increased ride height, high-performance brakes, and steel wheels. It is now the third hybrid vehicle in Ford’s fleet repertoire, following the Police Responder and recently teased (though not yet on sale) Police Interceptor Utility.
Source: Ford

Clamping Force; Installing the Clutch Masters’ FX1200 Twin Disc Behind a 5.9L Cummins

Clamping Force

There is an ongoing debate among truck enthusiasts about which transmission—automatic or manual—is better for a diesel pickup. The advantages and disadvantages of both can be debated for hours with no real resolve. No matter what your opinion is, the choice ultimately comes down to a person’s preference, based on want, need, or a combination of the two. Both transmissions have nuances, which, of course, include components that eventually wear out. For manual transmissions, the clutch assembly becomes worn out by use (driving style), time, and mileage, and it eventually has to be replaced. Parts fatigue because the clutch connects the engine to the transmission. It is operated by a pressure plate that applies force to a disc or discs that push against a flywheel, connecting the engine and transmission. Every time the clutch pedal is depressed to shift gears, the pressure plate releases the discs, and the connection is severed. Then, when the pedal is released, the pressure plate reengages the discs to the flywheel. The reconnection of the discs and pressure plate (which are normally spinning at slightly different rates) causes wear, and any slippage that occurs during this union increases wear. Depending on a person’s driving style, a clutch can provide years and thousands of miles of faithful service. Such variables as big horsepower, oversized tires, heavy trailers, and/or a driver who likes to hot-rod around can make a clutch’s service time frame much shorter.

  |   Travis Booher from Clutch Masters unboxes the Race version the company’s FX1200 twin-disc clutch.

When the time comes to replace the clutch in a diesel truck, an owner may consider upgrading to a stouter unit that has more clamping force and better disc material. This especially holds true for those who work their truck’s clutch really hard on a regular basis, doing things like towing or drag racing. Companies like Clutch Masters engineer clutches to meet the needs of those consumers and their vehicles.
Clutch Masters’ offerings include fitments for a broad range of diesel pickups. The company’s CNC-machined covers and flywheels are made in-house to ensure qualities such as balancing and stock height specifications are spot on (for ease of fitment). In early 2018, Clutch Masters released a new performance clutch, the FX1200 Twin Disc, which is designed to handle the big horsepower and torque demands of modern diesel rigs.
The FX1200 is offered in two versions (for ’94-to-’16 Dodge and Ram trucks powered by Cummins engines): Race and Street. Both units use a strapped midplate to reduce rattle along with one rigid and one sprung disc for smoother engagement. The “Race” (TD12R) clutch uses six-puck ceramic discs to provide maximum holding capacity, while the “Street” (TD12S) piece is comprised of organic material. The pressure plate provides 3,200 pounds of clamping force and, when paired with the ceramic discs, is able to withstand up to 2,000 lb-ft of engine torque and the rigors of excessive towing weights.

First Look – 2019 Audi Q8

Flagship Crossover from the Four Rings

We’ve long suspected that Audi would be the next automaker to jump into the coupe-crossover game with a model that would slot in above the Q7 sport-ute, and the wait is now over. The 2019 Audi Q8, which will share a good deal of its architecture with the Q7 and Lamborghini Urus, should arrive in U.S. dealers at the end of the year. Unlike the more spacious and conventional Q7, the Q8 gets a more aggressive form factor. Its roofline is about 1.3 inches closer to the ground than the formal Q7, and although it shares the same 117.9-inch wheelbase, the Q8’s bodywork shrinks around the wheels for an overall length of 196.8 inches (down 2.1 from the Q7). Most importantly, the Q8 is a useful inch wider than the Q7, giving it a very planted stance.

  |   2019 Audi Q8 Exterior Side Profile

Audi says the Q8 will introduce the brand’s new utility-vehicle styling language, starting with a new evolution of the company’s single-frame grille. Gone is the narrow, tall aperture, replaced with a much wider grille opening that dominates the front end of the Q8. The octagonal grille pairs with aggressive air inlets in the bumper’s lower corners, and the narrow headlamps get striated LED accents. The cover model Audi used to debut the Q8 gets a contrast-colored grille frame and coordinating lower fascia accents, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Audi also offers black and body-color options for those bits.
Large fender flares over the front and rear wheels are said to recall Audi’s original Quattro rally/sports car, and the roofline’s sharp edges are Ingolstadt’s foil to the rounded Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and hunchback BMW X6. The window opening is trimmed with a single ring of brushed aluminum trim, a highlight picked up above and below by matching rocker panel trim and roof rails.

The Truck Show Podcast Presented by Nissan – Episode 14: DPC and the World’s Tallest Thermometer

Diesel Power Challenge, DPF-Friendly Performance, Guess that Diesel, Drive a Big Rig, World’s Tallest Thermometer

  |   The Truck Show Podcast March

  |   199 Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Cone Course

It’s a new week, which means it’s time for a new episode of The Truck Show Podcast—episode number 14, to be exact. If you’re just joining us, this podcast, hosted by Sean Holman and Jay “Lightning” Tilles, is all about having fun taking about trucks while interacting with like-minded enthusiasts and industry personalities. Read More

1985 Ford F150- Intercepted

A Bullnose Built With Cop Parts

If any truck enthusiast were asked which Ford truck he or she would like to customize, more than likely the answer would not include a seventh-generation F-series. In 1980, Ford introduced its newest-generation F-series lineup, which ran until 1986. Although sales were favorable at the time, this specific generation of the F-series is not so popular today. Sometimes—perhaps more often than not—truck builds are challenging, even when the foundation is already a popular and cool truck. TMI Products chose a distinct route and opted for a truck that is not celebrated in the truck-customizing world. Larry Ashley, the marketing director at TMI, says, “We knew we could take the ultimate stepchild of trucks and turn it into a show machine, but it would take something really special.”

  |   TMI 1985 Ford F150 Rear

The ’85 Ford F-150, aka Bullnose, was purchased for a mere $500. The plan to convert this truck into something out of the ordinary was fierce, and the clever individuals at TMI approached it with confidence. To make this build unique, TMI Products bought a retired black and white Ford Interceptor. The ’08 Interceptor cost a well-spent $2,800. To begin the build, the TMI crew took off the body of the ex-cruiser and scrapped it. Larry says, “using an interceptor front clip is not anything new, but using the whole car except for the body…well I think that is something rare.” The F-150 body was removed from its chassis and everything else belonging to Bullnose was discarded. The first goal here was to set the F-150 body on the Interceptor chassis. Mounting the body on the Interceptor’s underpinnings was not a simple task. This is when Larry searched for help from the team over at RnG. Initially, their response to this request was “too big, can’t be done.” Larry didn’t give up and quickly pulled out measuring tape and discovered it would fit “like a glove.”

Bagged Mack Rat Dualie

Rolling on 22s and 24s, This Rat-Rod Dualie Rides Low With High Innovation

Rat rods have come a long way since the time when critics were dismissive of the low-budget rides assembled from spare parts that highlighted a builder’s lack of concern for paint or chrome. While these creations have everything they need to be functional and legal, the goal is to drive and enjoy them, rather than have them become stars on the show scene. Today, events not only have special classes for rat rods, but there are shows devoted solely to the category. Miami, Florida’s José Lugo is fully aware of this change in attitude and is a big fan, with four handbuilt patina creations in his past and the fifth finally ready for the camera. José works in his family’s electrostatic industrial painting business and specializes in powdercoating. He regularly makes cool rides look even better and loves the challenge. The project vehicle presented on these pages got its start thanks to a junkyard excursion that uncovered the perfect find: a ’40s vintage Mack semitruck cab, intact but displaying just the right amount of patina. A second lucky break was the grille, found months later at a swap meet. To complete the package, José needed a new bed for his creation, but he faced the challenge of ensuring whatever new pieces he added were a textural match to the rest of the package.

  |   Bagged Mack Rat Dualie

Once the primary elements were assembled, the project began with the chassis. Construction started with an all-new frame, made from 2×5-inch rectangular steel tubing and braced with crossmembers to support anticipated heavy loads. José and a couple of friends created it, adding an I-beam dropped front axle from a Chevrolet 3500 pickup, Sea Leg shocks, airbags, and a heavy-duty pitman arm to control a pair of oversized front tires. Radius arms hold the salvaged Ford rear axle along with another set of bags and shocks. Heavy-duty sway bars, front and rear, ensure a stable ride. When it came time for power, José bypassed the traditional Flathead Ford or small-block Chevrolet engine choices, opting instead for a ’91 Dodge Ram dualie as the donor vehicle, using its 5.9L Cummins powerplant and transmission.
By definition, rat rods stand out from the crowd, but José wanted his to attract attention based on several factors, beginning with a showy engine. Starting with the essentially stock 12-valve Cummins, he retained the factory turbocharger, augmenting it with a second marine-sourced Caterpillar turbo plumbed on top. The air/fuel path begins with the huge Mack truck air cleaner mounted on the firewall on the passenger side. Atmosphere works its way through the first turbo, with the pressurized mix achieving terminal velocity via a blast from the second ’charger that fires it into the engine. Exhaust exits through a straight pipe mounted parallel to the windshield and flowing over the roof of this waist-high ride. A custom-built tank and fueling handled by FASS Fuel Systems components ensure there’s a constant supply of diesel feeding the engine. The combination of exposed piping, compound turbos, and the vertical stack team up to create a package that causes most folks to stop for a closer look.

Diesel Tech Questions: You Have Questions-We Have Answers

EGR Cooler Failures

  |   Oil coolers on 6.4L Ford Power Stroke engines are often the cause of EGR-cooler failure. The passages inside the oil cooler get restricted or plugged. When that happens, the EGR cooler doesn’t get the coolant flow it needs and literally cooks itself apart from the inside out.

QUESTION: I’m frustrated to no end. I bought an ’06 Ford F-250 from an owner who was tired of dumping money into it. The price was right, and all it needed were injectors and an EGR cooler, which I replaced. Less than six months later, the EGR cooler has failed again (I can’t do a delete because of the stringent emissions inspections where I live). My question is: Did I make a bad decision buying this model Super Duty? Did I get a bum cooler? Or is there some other part of the [engine-cooling] puzzle I’m missing?
Nate Lindstrom
via email
ANSWER: Ford’s 6.0L Power Stroke engine can be “rebuilt” into a great performer, as evidenced by the many owners out there who swear by their Six-Ohs. You didn’t mention replacing the oil cooler at the same time you did the EGR cooler. That could be the cause of your truck’s engine problems. In 90 percent of cases, the 6.0L EGR cooler fails because the coolant side of the oil cooler, which is located under the oil/fuel filter housing, is plugged. How does that affect the EGR cooler—and injectors? Excessive heat. The oil cooler is an integral part of the coolant flow within the system. Oil from the pan goes through the cooler on its way to being routed to rotating engine parts, the high-pressure injection pump, and injectors. The oil cooler is supposed to keep the hot oil cooled to within a few degrees of the engine coolant, which is what actually dissipates the heat. So the 180- to 210-degree oil is then diverted between the HPOP and the rest of the engine block. The hot oil has less than 500 to 3,000 psi of pressure when it is pumped to the injectors, and that ramps the heat up even more. And then that hot oil goes back into the sump, and the cycle starts all over again—at a rate of about 18 gpm. The cooling issue with the EGR comes into play if the oil cooler gets plugged or restricted from crud in the engine coolant, and little to no water/antifreeze flows through the EGR cooler. That, in turn, causes the exhaust gases to cook the EGR cooler from the inside, making it come apart. So, the tiny oil cooler plays a central role in both the flow of engine coolant and engine-oil cooling. In addition, if the oil cooler is bad, it may hurt the integrity of the new injectors, because they have been fed a diet of super-heated oil. One quick way to determine whether an oil cooler is doing its job is to compare the coolant temperature to the engine-oil temperature (Delta) using digital instrumentation. Ideally, the variance between the two should be less than 5 degrees under all driving conditions. If the temperatures vary more than 20 degrees, there’s cause for concern. As much of a hassle as it is, go back into the engine and rebuild, replace, or even remote-mount the oil cooler (with an aftermarket kit) in a place where it can do a better job. Also, make sure the inlet strainer (filter) for the oil reservoir’s pump is the new style, with the metal screen instead of the old plastic mesh. It’s also prudent to thoroughly flush the cooling system with Motorcraft VC-1 and refill with extended-life coolant that meets Cat EC-1 criteria. Some Power Stroke engineers we spoke with recommend changing the coolant every 30,000 miles instead of the 100,000 miles listed in the maintenance schedule to maximize the life of the oil cooler and EGR cooler.

No Idle Oil Pressure

QUESTION: We have an ’05 Ford E-350 cargo van with the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine, and it has 268,000 miles on it. The oil-pressure gauge started registering 0 psi at idle, and the engine is getting harder to start. If you give it some throttle, the oil pressure jumps up to normal, and everything is fine. I changed the oil-pressure sensor and put in new oil and a filter, but the problem still exists. Our other vans are gas, and I am more familiar with maintaining those vehicles. According to our service logbook, this van had the “HPOP” and oil cooler replaced at 203,000 miles. Do you have any ideas regarding how to narrow down the cause of the low oil pressure?

V. Bartelmon
via email
ANSWER: Whenever there’s an issue with an electric pressure gauge showing errant readings, it’s always a good idea to double-check its accuracy/function with a mechanical gauge. In your case, if the mechanical gauge indicates the same low oil-pressure readings at idle, turn your attention to the low-pressure oil pump located behind the harmonic balancer. Inspect it, as well as the inner cover, for any damage or scoring around the oval holes. The cover is actually the backside of the oil pump, so if you can see/feel any scoring, it needs to be replaced. Usually, the old LPOP (and regulator) is replaced once it’s out. If you don’t already have one handy, get Ford’s 6.0L service manual. Factory service manuals are a must for any DIYer.

Drop the Anchor

Ford Introduces Pursuit-Rated Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid

Explorer-Based Law Enforcement Vehicle Gets Hybrid Power Standard

Ford teased the all-new Police Interceptor Utility with hybrid power, the first pursuit-rated hybrid vehicle from the company. The Police Interceptor Utility’s hybrid system will be the standard powertrain—replacing the gas-only 3.7L V-6—although Ford confirmed the new SUV would be available with other engine options as well. We assume a powerful 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 will still be on offer. Unfortunately, the company wouldn’t cop to powertrain details of the new hybrid. Replacing the outgoing Police Interceptor Utility, the SUV is likely based on the next-generation Ford Explorer, which will ride on an all-new, rear-wheel-drive platform. Ford representative Dan Jones wouldn’t confirm this, but he did say that police departments and government agencies make decisions earlier than consumers and the company wanted to be ready for this summer’s law enforcement bid cycle. Reading between the lines, we presume that means the Police Interceptor Utility was revealed before its Explorer platform-mate in order to drum up excitement from the boys in blue. “We will have more to say about the Explorer at a later date,” Jones said. Ford previewed the new Police Interceptor Utility with two shadowy photos that don’t reveal much. Up front, the Police Interceptor Utility gets the usual bumper bar, lighting, and siren accouterment. It looks like two-element LEDs power the more angular headlamps. In the past, it was easy to write off a following vehicle as a civilian if it had HID or LED headlamps. That won’t be the case anymore.   |   2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Teaser Side Profile A side profile teaser lends more credence to the Police Interceptor Utility’s rumored all-new platform. A shorter front overhang—dictated by a longitudinal engine layout and rear-drive–biased powertrain—stands in stark contrast to the outgoing Utility’s soccer-mom silhouette. An upswept beltline looks very Range Rover–ish as well. Many police officers bemoaned the loss of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which somehow offered plenty of “cool” in spite of its plebian roots. If the new PI Utility is as slick as these teasers make it appear, it might make the sting of the CVPI’s death go away. With that standard hybrid powertrain, Ford says the new Police Interceptor Utility will offer an estimated 24 mpg combined, a 40 percent improvement over the outgoing PI Utility’s 3.7L V-6. Ford also claims that each hybridized Police Interceptor Utility would save law enforcement agencies about $3,200 a year in fuel costs, a number that adds up quickly when spread across an agency’s entire fleet. For example, if those savings were applied to every PI Utility sold in 2017, it would add up to at least 120 million bucks (and 43 million gallons of gasoline) saved. The company also says the hybrid powertrain doesn’t infringe on passenger or cargo space. Furthermore, a Class III trailering system will enable a 5,000-pound towing capacity. Ford makes a federal case of safety, touting the Police Interceptor Utility’s 75-mph rear impact rating and Police Perimeter Alert, which protects against assailants sneaking up on a parked vehicle from behind. If the vehicle senses threatening behavior using its blind spot monitoring system, it chimes an alert, rolls up the windows, and locks the doors. The Ford Police Interceptor Utility, likely a 2020 model, will go on sale next summer, and expect it to continue to be one of the most popular law enforcement vehicles. Source: Ford

Ultimate Mopar Swap- Installing a 700hp Hellcat Crate Engine in a 2017 Ram Rebel

Ultimate Mopar Swap

Ever since Mopar released its Hellcat V-8 as a crate engine last year, Ram enthusiasts have considered the possibility of another supertruck that could revive the performance passions the iconic SRT-10 models produced from 2004 to 2006. If you remember, those regular-cab models came with a 500hp, 8.3L, all-aluminum Viper V-10 engine and six-speed manual transmission. Ram also released a Quad Cab version with an automatic transmission. Both models were street brutes with more than 500 lb-ft of torque available through much of the power band. However, with a Hellcat under the hood, more than 500 lb-ft of torque would available at the rear wheels—not just the flywheel! Rated at 707 hp and 650 lb-ft peak torque, the 6.2L supercharged Hellcat engine has all the tools to create another uber-performance street truck, if you know how to drop one in a late-model platform. Dakota Customs, located near Rapid City, South Dakota, specializes in Hemi conversions and has swapped numerous Hellcat engines into Jeeps. But this was the shop’s first Ram project, which presented its own set of challenges. “Getting the engine to run wasn’t a big problem, but there were specific calibrations that had to be addressed,” shop manager Dan McKeag says. “For example, the torque management program for the transmission shifts. There are cooling fan differences, ABS brake differences, and more.” Physically, there were few issues when it came to replacing the stock 5.7L Hemi with the Hellcat. The team retained the stock eight-speed automatic transmission, flexplate, and torque converter. This swap was performed on a four-wheel-drive truck, although it would be just as uncomplicated with a rear-wheel-drive model. Grinding was needed to clear the alternator, and a little surgery was needed on the firewall to make room for the intercooler fluid lines.

  |   A 707hp Hellcat V-8 engine stands ready to be swapped into a new Ram pickup.

The key to mating the Hellcat with the Ram is the wiring harness. Dakota Customs used a Hellcat PCM and fused the stock wiring harness with a Hellcat automatic harness. The team basically laid out the two harnesses, noted the differences, and consulted wiring diagrams to make sure the correct pin connectors were utilized.
Once the Hellcat engine was swapped in place, the PCM could be unlocked and recalibrated with the necessary information that keeps both the truck and the engine happy. For example, the Hellcat requires a multi-phase fuel pump to keep up with the supercharger demands. Dakota Customs couldn’t use the stock Ram pump, so the crew swapped in an Aeromotive dual fuel pump and regulator. Also, the Ram comes with an engine-driven fan, but Dakota Customs wanted an electric fan to address cooling issues. The crew found one from an older Ram V-6 pickup and calibrated the PCM to operate it accordingly.
The swap almost doubled the horsepower and torque produced by the factory 5.7L Hemi. In addition to the performance upgrade, Dakota Customs added bold SRT Hellcat graphics and a more aggressive wheel-and-tire combo, with 35-inch Toyo tires wrapped around 22-inch SRT replica wheels. With these looks and power, there was only one more thing to do—think of a name. The Ram Cat? The Hell Ram? The Rebel Hell? The possibilities are endless.

First Look – 2019 BMW X5

Fourth Generation of the Bestselling Bimmer Gets Bigger and More Powerful

The BMW X5 was introduced for the 2000 model year and quickly became one of the brand’s bestselling models. Currently, the X5 appears second on BMW’s yearly sales charts, topped only by the entry-luxury 3-Series lineup, and as one of the bestselling Bimmers on the market, the company was very careful when redesigning it for 2019.

  |   2019 Bmw X5 Exterior Front Quarter 02

  |   2019 Bmw X5 Exterior Rear Quarter 02

As such, don’t expect much to change in terms of powertrain. The top-spec xDrive 50i model is powered once again by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V-8, now producing 456 hp and 479 lb-ft (up 11 hp from 2018). However, the power peak now sits between 5,250 and 6,000 rpm, a wider span than the 5,500 to 6,000 rpm of 2018. Full torque is available from 1,500 to 4,750 rpm, wider on both ends than the 2,000 to 4,500 rpm of the outgoing engine. BMW claims the engine has been significantly revised with new heat plates that protect the engine from the turbochargers, which are located within the engine valley. There’s also a new ignition system for smoother Auto Start Stop functionality.
The base xDrive 40i’s 3.0L I-6 gets a single twin-scroll turbocharger, delivering 335 hp at 5,500–6,000 rpm and 330 lb-ft of torque at 1,500–3,250 rpm, up a fair margin from the 2018 X5’s 300 hp and 295 lb-ft (though the 2018 engine’s power and torque peaks were over a wider rev range). Backing up both the xDrive 40i and xDrive 50i is a revised eight-speed automatic transmission with BMW’s Steptronic manual-shift capability. A wider ratio spread expands tractability in everyday driving and improves performance, while new control electronics and hydraulics provide sporty, responsive shifting.

DPC 2018/Day 5: Sled Pull and Awards

Diesel Power Challenge 2018: Day 5

Typically, by the time we reach the last day of competition at Diesel Power Challenge presented by XDP, the number of trucks that are still in competition has dwindled at least by a few due to mechanical issues. However, the tradition was broken in 2018, as we went into the final event, the sled pull, with all nine trucks that started DPC ready to battle it out. Despite the full roster, plenty of carnage occurred along the way. During Day 4’s drag-race qualifying, the pump in Garrett Osen’s transmission broke, which kept Garrett and his ’10 Ford F-350 from finishing that segment. His team did not let the breakage discourage them from continuing. Within three hours they removed, dismantled and replaced the broken part, and then put everything back together in time to run through the Trailer-Tow Cone Course and ultimately compete in the sled pull. Coming into the final day, none of the participants had any clear points advantage. Each team was ready to give its all to earn as many points that were possible on the final day of competition. After stopping by the CAT scales to weigh in, all of the participants drove as a group to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, to see how well their truck could do against the Sulley and Sons sled. The first to hook was Trae Hutton in his Duramax-powered ’03 GMC Sierra 2500HD his first time sled pulling.) Trae did not hesitate to put the hammer down, throw some dirt, and drag the sled well past the 300-foot mark and into the grass far beyond the end of the track. After it was determined that the sled’s weight box malfunctioned, the sled was reset and the problem corrected. Trae then hooked again and pulled to the 282.01-foot mark to set a strong opening distance.

  |   2018 Diesel Power Challenge Sled Pull

Second up to the starting line was Shayne Merriman in his ’74 Ford. Shayne’s Cummins-motivated F-250 pulled the sled 243.02 feet. Next up was Allan Burk, who pushed his Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD to a distance of 237.01 feet, but was unable to eclipse the first two pulls. With the bar set and five rigs in line behind him, Travis Richards did not hesitate to throttle up his big stick-shift ’07 Dodge Ram 2500 and drag sled to a new high mark of 312.0 feet.
Andrew Morrison took his turn on the dirt and made a 177.10 foot run. Kodi Koch (196.09 feet) and Kody Pulliam (267.02 feet) both put the hammer down on their individual Chevrolets but neither was able to overtake Travis’ distance. Kody, pushing his Silverado for everything it had, ended up with an engine knock. Garrett took the sled 303.08 feet down track which garnered him the second place position. Saving DPC’s worst carnage for the very end, Zach Scoles made the last pull of the day, and during a no-holds-barred attempt to take the lead, his ’04 F-250”s rear axle housing had other ideas when the center section broke away from the axle tubes and twisted skyward, stopping him at the 193-foot mark.
After all the dust settled, it was then time for the Diesel Power staff to sit down and tally up all the numbers and information that was gathered for all of the week’s activities.
The Diesel Power Challenge Awards Banquet was held later that evening in the Marriott Denver West hotel (the host property for DPC). Diesel Power Editor KJ Jones made remarks to recognize and thank everyone that had a part in putting on the event and making it one of the best DPCs ever, KJ had the winners from each individual category (Fuel Consumption, Dyno, Drag Racing, etc.) stand up so they could be recognized for their achievement. He then announced and awarded the recipients of the specialty awards.
The specialty awards are designed to recognize the drivers who had the worst carnage, drove the longest distance, showed superb skill, and a nod to the truck that is the unanimous drivers’ choice. Zach Scoles received the Carnage Award, for the destruction of his rear axle and driveshaft in the sled pull. For covering the most miles getting to Denver from his home in Salisbury, North Carolina, Andrew Morrison won the Long Distance Award. Driver’s Skill Award went to Shayne Merriman for his perfect maneuvering (no penalties) of the Trailer-Tow Cone Course and overall driving skill shown throughout the event. The drivers themselves chose the final specialty award for the truck they liked best, the Drivers’ Choice Award, which went to Trey Hutton’s ’03 GMC Sierra.
Then it finally was time to announce the top three competitors for Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP. The Third Place trophy was awarded to Trae Hutton who had a combined score from all the segments of 393.9 points. Next, it was Garrett Osen’s turn to approach the stage and collect the Second Place cup for his combined score of 414.1 points. As the anticipation started to grow, KJ finally announced the First Place winner, Kody Pulliam. Kody amassed a total of 492.9 point to take home the trophy and earn a spot in Diesel Power Challenge 2019 as the returning champion.

2016 Ford F-350 King Ranch

Nobody’s Fuel

Every once in a while, we run into a build that serves as a stark reminder of how lucky we are to be living in this era of diesel performance, a truck that is not built to be the “ultimate” example of anything, but instead one that is put together with goals in mind and brains in use. The stomper we are talking about is Jeff Teasley’s ’16 Ford F-350 King Ranch, which was built because Jeff wanted to have a killer rig capable of doing work his other trucks cannot. This is not an F-350 that is drastically altered mechanically, aesthetically, or otherwise. This is a pickup that has had its looks, stance, and performance enhanced to live up to Jeff’s vision of what a work-and-play rig can be. It is impossible to deny that today’s stock diesel platforms are fantastic foundations with which to build performance. In this case, we are talking about the 6.7L Power Stroke engine that motivates Jeff’s F-350. In fact, the internals of this engine have never seen daylight. “I wanted to do a daily driver,” Jeff says. “The goal was a clean build that could be worked. After talking about it, we kept the fuel stock and just focused on airflow. With the new 6.7L-powered trucks, you can make lots of power with stock fueling.” Jeff is not kidding. The Power Stroke makes 670 hp and 1,350 lb-ft of torque with the original fuel system—no high-volume lift pump or larger injectors, only the factory-installed bits and pieces.

  |   The 6.7L Ford Power Stroke engine powering this truck makes more than 1,300 lb-ft of torque and nearly 700 hp—all with stock fueling. Enhancing the airflow side of the engine lead to major gains for a hardworking rig.

Mike Haller at Haller’s Repair took the lead on the build, and his recipe for making reliable, hardworking power centers around airflow in both directions. We’re talking about getting the air in and exhaust out. For the pressure side of the program, Mike settled on a Midwest Diesel–prepared BorgWarner S475 turbocharger kit. This setup keeps the stock turbo in place and, with the addition of the S475, transforms the already tough 6.7L powerplant into a draft horse that can gallop. The proof is in the boosted pudding. “I see 58 psi at peak,” Jeff says. “I can be towing up a big grade with 16,000 pounds behind me and the EGT doesn’t crack 1,200 degrees.” The underhood plumbing is artwork. No Limit Fabrication’s polished pipes take the job of moving air into the engine and turn it into functional sculpture. What does Jeff’s rig pull that weighs so much? The big F-350 basically rolls with either a 40-foot fifth-wheel trailer or 25-foot equipment hauler behind it. This big boy is earning a living for sure.

Kalacas Summer Meltdown 2018

First Time’s a Charm

Kalacas Car and Truck Club hosted its inaugural Summer Meltdown Show in Corona, California, this year. The name was fitting for the event, as the temperature was well into the ’90s all day. Clubs and custom vehicles from all over Southern California rolled in and set up canopies to escape the heat. People didn’t have to go far to grab a cold beverage and food, though, thanks to host venue Round Table Pizza, which was only steps away. DJ Big Spin kept everyone entertained by spinning tunes and doing random giveaways throughout the day.

  |   Kalakas Summer Meltdown Toyota

The day went off without a hitch, and everyone had a great time—Kalacas members mingling with the crowd made sure of that. There were a few notable clubs on hand, including Seductive, Concrete Deep, Local Finesse, Sunset, No Regrets, Severed Ties, and Forbidden Fantasy, all of which have been attending SoCal shows together for a very long time. The raffle was full of rad giveaways, and everyone loved the custom one-off trophies built by Addictive Concepts.
Kalacas would like to thank all its friends and sponsors for supporting Summer Meltdown, and they hope to see everyone next year.
Sponsors: AK Airbrushing, Herreras Tires, Grindertv, Kustom Life, Brothers Towing of Norco, Artistic Precision, and Addictive Concepts.

Turbochargers: A History

A Brief History of the Boost Provider

Engineers have worked hard at improving internal combustion engines since their advent way back in the late 1800s. Gottlieb Daimler and Rudolf Diesel, two of the first true players in the field of engine development, worked on ways to increase power output while reducing fuel consumption in their engines. Diamler tinkered with a gear-driven pump for forced air induction as early as 1885. However, it wasn’t until 1905 that turbochargers began to take shape, when Swiss engineer Alfred Buchi, head of diesel engine research at Gebruder Sulzer, received a patent for a compressor driven by exhaust gases that forced air into a diesel engine to increase power output. It took Alfred until 1925 to get the first successful exhaust-gas turbocharging system effectively applied to an engine, getting a power increase in excess of 40 percent. These early units were referred to as turbosuperchargers. At the time, all forced-induction devices were classified as superchargers. A lot of the early advancement was hindered by the metal and bearing technology that was available. The materials were unable to withstand the tremendous amount of heat and forces exerted on them. As better metals became available for turbochargers, the devices were initially applied on large marine diesel engines. Two German passenger liners, the Danzig and the Preussen, were the first vehicles to be outfitted with turbodiesels, in 1923. The ships’ 10-cylinder engines were able to muster 2,500 hp, while their normally aspirated counterparts could only produce 1,750 hp. With the benefits of the application proven, manufacturers then began applying the technology to stationary and locomotive oil-burners. Also during the early years, aircraft engines were being set up with ‘chargers to test their benefits at altitude. In 1918, General Electric engineer Sanford Alexander Moss attached a turbocharger to a V-12 Liberty engine and demonstrated it a Pikes Peak in Colorado at 14,000 feet. He showed how forced induction counters the power loss brought on by the effects of reduced air pressure and density at high altitude. Two years later, a turbocharged 12-cylinder Liberty was mounted in a Le Pere biplane and flown to 33,000 feet with no loss of boost. In 1936, Dr. Werner Theodor von der Nuell started to research the first variable-geometry turbochargers (also known as variable-nozzle turbines) at the Laboratory for Aviation in Berlin, Germany. It was not until after World War II that these units were really sought after. Across the pond in the U.S., J. C. “Cliff” Garrett was just starting to build his business, supplying turbochargers and charged-air coolers to aircraft companies like the Boeing Company and Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation.

  |   From the smallest automotive turbocharger to those found on engines that power the largest cargo ships, boost technology is used to increase horsepower and improve fuel economy on all types of internal combustion engines.

The technological advances in materials and designs during World War II and development of the gas turbine led to turbochargers’ further advancement. They could be made more compact and reliable, therefore better suited for smaller, higher-speed engines. The new units were first applied to diesel truck engines. Even before the war in 1938, Swiss Machine Works Saurer developed the first turbocharged powerplant for a truck.
In 1954, MAN and Volvo became the first truck builders to introduce production vehicles that were powered by turbocharged diesels. Tractors and construction equipment also experienced the implementation of turbos. Companies like Caterpillar understood the benefit of an increase in power and fuel savings. The 1950s also ushered in the development of the Interstate Highway system in the U.S., which fueled the need for trucks that could keep up with traffic while hauling heavy payloads. This prompted engine builders such as Cummins, Detroit, and Caterpillar to begin offering turbos as an option by the late 1960s. In Europe, manufacturers Scania and Volvo met German power-to-weight truck regulations by turbocharging all their engines.
Turbocharging was not initially received well. Many felt that it was less reliable than normal aspiration and the high investment cost was only slightly offset by fuel savings. That changed during the first oil crisis in 1973, when improved technology showed that increased fuel mileage and performance could be achieved. The growing concern about emissions in the 1980s helped further boost turbos’ use to the point where almost every truck engine today is equipped with one.
Automakers first experimented with smaller automotive turbodiesels in the 1960s: The Rover Company developed a 2.5L I-4 equipped with and without an intercooler. The ’78 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD is the first passenger car to use turbocharging in the U.S. The engine uses a Garrett AiResearch boost provider. In Europe, the Peugeot has the privilege of being first.
It wasn’t until the 1990s before light trucks built in the U.S. were regularly outfitted with turbocharged diesel engines. Actually, in 1989, Dodge began using the 5.9L Cummins engine in its Ram pickups, becoming the first truck manufacturer to use a turbodiesel. Then, in 1992, General Motors debuted the turbocharged 6.5L Detroit Diesel V-8 powerplants in its trucks. Ford followed suit with a turbocharged version of the 7.3L IDI V-8 in 1993, then the much more successful 7.3L Power Stroke V-8 in 1994.
The turbocharger struggled for a while to be commonplace on diesel engines; today it is hard to think of an oil-burner that does not have at least one turbo. We believe the benefits of using boost, coupled with the technological advances of modern powerplants, anchors the use of turbochargers on engines for many years to come.

The Source:

BorgWarner Turbo Systems
turbos.bwauto.com Read More

VIDEO: We take you on a walkaround of the new BMW X5

At the moment, the new BMW X5 is the hottest Bavarian on the market (well, the Audi Q8 is also Bavarian and it’s pretty popular, too). It’s the fourth generation in the X5’s history and it looks better than ever before. Not only does it look better than ever, its interior is far superior to any of its predecessors. It seems to be a superb all around package. In this new video, our own Horatiu takes us on a walkaround of the new X5, shows us its new design, its new interior and its new technology. Read More

Readers’ Diesels

Readers of Diesel Power Magazine submit photos to their diesels

  |   Readers Diesels Big Red

Big Red

Year/Make/Model: ’01 Ford F-350
Owner: Nick Henault
Hometown: Newport, New Hampshire
Engine: 7.3L Power Stroke V-8
Transmission: 4R100 four-speed automatic
Odometer: 91,000 miles
Fuel Economy: 16 mpg
Modifications: Spectra Performance cold-air intake, MBRP 4-inch turbocharger-back exhaust with 8-inch tip, Hypertech Max Energy programmer, 2-inch leveling kit, 35×12.50 Cooper Tires Discoverer A/T3 tires
Owner says: “I’ve always been a Chevy guy, yet I have the biggest soft spot for the power and sound of a 7.3L Power Stroke!”

2003 Chevy Silverado- Project Over/Under Part Three: Interior Makeover

Roadwire Takes Our W/T Seats to Another Level

If you’re on a quest to turn the “workiest” of work trucks into something cool and functional like we happen to be, you immediately have to address the low-level interior. The seats are still done in a tweed cloth like it’s the late ’80s, and there’s a rubber mat on the floor where the carpet and floor mats should be. Compounding things is the fact that if you’re working on a well-worn truck, the seats will be stained and caked with someone else’s grime. When we were out at Audiotistics a few months ago, we pulled the seats and scrubbed them and the floor while we were installing the stereo and alarm, which made the truck tolerable to drive. But we weren’t done with the interior cleanup by a longshot. When you have a truck that isn’t the most common configuration for customizing, you sometimes come up short when you hit the websites looking for components to build your dream ride. We were fearful we wouldn’t find a leather kit over here in the cheap seats (pun intended) for our standard-cab base model ’03 Silverado, but when we checked out the Roadwire website, we were pleasantly surprised. With a few mouse clicks, we devised a subtle but trick set of seat covers and placed our order. Although two-tone designs are all the rage, we chose to stick with the stock gray color in a monochromatic scheme, as opposed to a contrasting color of inserts or thread. We did get pretty fancy with the inserts, which are done in perforated leather and stitched in a diamond tuck-and-roll pattern. In just a couple of weeks, our seats were ready, and we headed down to Roadwire HQ for a quick and professional install. We were immediately impressed by the quality of the leather and the workmanship, as well as the Roadwire crew for going the extra mile to make the seats look even better than expected. We were in and out in about a half day and have been enjoying the new level of comfort every day since. But we’re not done with the interior just yet. Check back next month when we give the rest of this cab a nice little makeover and show you the finished product. Then head over to the Roadwire website to see how you can improve the looks and comfort of the seats in your ride.

  |   Here is our before shot of our clapped-out work truck interior, but even this was after a thorough cleaning. The seats are only part of the equation, but they’re the most important part.

  |   The options are just about endless once you get on the Roadwire website and type in your specific vehicle. At the very least, you have a base color, an insert color, and a thread color. From there, you can use different insert materials, add stitch patterns, or embroider a logo into the seatback or headrest. We chose to keep everything in the stock gray color (graphite) the truck came with.

Ford’s pickup trucks alone would be more profitable than McDonald’s or 3M, Morgan Stanley says

If Ford Motor Co.’s F-Series pickup franchise were one company, it would rake in more profit than giants such as McDonald’s Corp. MCD, -0.15% 3M Co. MMM, +0.01% and United Technologies Corp. UTX, +0.16% analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note Wednesday.

The “exercise,” as the analysts called it, serves to show how the market underestimates Ford’s pickup business, they said. Read More

DPC 2018: Day 4/Eighth-Mile Trailer Tow Is 660 Feet of High-Powered Chaos #DPC2018

660 Feet of High-Powered Chaos #DPC2018

On the fourth day of Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP, competitors headed to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, for eighth-mile and quarter-mile action on “The Mountain’s” legendary dragstrip. Our focus for this report is on the Eighth-Mile Trailer Tow; a stiflingly tough exercise that requires drivers to drag a 20-foot trailer/Bobcat (11,500 total pounds) combination 660 feet…as quickly as they can. Sounds simple? Of course it does! Trust us, this segment of DPC is nowhere close to being “easy.” The variables that make our trailer pull so much more than just a simple towing exercise, are the turbochargers, nitrous oxide, locking torque converters, horsepower, torque and weight that combine when drivers roll into the throttle, and become the wick to a virtual powder keg of potential on-track chaos.

  |   Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Trailer Tow Drag Race Dodge

While Kody Pulliam tried to convince us and DPC fans watching the American Force Wheels-sponsored video feed (broadcast live on trucktrend.com and the Diesel Power Magazine Facebook page) that his ’04 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is actually a bucking bronco in disguise (make sure you see our photo of Kody’s big rig yanking a front tire off the track), it was the other Kodi (Koch) whose ’01 Silverado’s 6.6L Duramax V-8 demonstrated its 1,400 horsepower in the manner that this test was intended.
As he did in his monster dyno run in Day 3 of Diesel Power Challenge, Kodi blasted down the track in equally dramatic form (when the torque converter locked and nitrous hit, the truck and trailer zigged and zagged violently for nearly 300 feet) and in what we believe is a new Diesel Power Challenge trailer-tow e.t. record of 10.22 seconds, at 79.79 mph.

Diesel Power Challenge 2018/Day 4: Drag Race #DPC2018

Cummins-Powered Dodge Ram to the Front

If the Diesel Power Challenge dyno conflict is the 5-day competition’s marquee segment, the Quarter-Mile Drag Race certainly is its closest rival. The two are the most popular categories of diesel competition, and honestly, it’s almost unfair for one to have top billing over the other. In addition to the Eighth-Mile Trailer Tow, Day 4 of Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP also featured a Quarter-Mile Drag Race event. The segment is comprised of a qualifying session for the nine competitors, and then pairing on a Pro ladder (lowest qualifier vs highest, etc.), for a three-round, heads-up, “Quick 8” eliminator. With Ford-GM-Dodge trash talk at its highest during qualifying, Andrew Morrison’s 10.76-second shot (at 132.99 mph) put his ’94 Dodge Ram 2500 in the Pole position, much to the delight of crew member and DPC alum McCoy Black—the Dodge contingent’s lead trash talker.

  |   Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Drag Race Launch

While “Quick 8” eliminations included a couple of First-round races that were over from the start (Travis Richards rolled out of the staging beam and red lit, and Zach Scoles incurred a time-out foul for not staging within seven seconds of Shane Merriman getting into the beams), the highlight was definitely Trae Hutton’s upset win over Kodi Koch’s 1,400 horsepower beast.
Round Two featured a pair of great drag races that ultimately sent Andrew and Kody Pulliam to the third-and-final round. Their run proved to be a slugfest. Although the race appeared to be over after Kody strapped a massive .202 holeshot on Andrew (.691), the big Dodge Ram’s 5.9L, 12-valve engine brought fury in the second half of the race track, sending Andrew around Kody, to a Final-round win.
Today, the Diesel Power Challenge contingent returns to Bandimere Speedway, for the always-popular sled-pull segment. Stay tuned to the Diesel Power Magazine Facebook page and trucktrend.com, for details on how you can see all the action, LIVE, thanks to American Force Wheels.

DPC 2018/Day 4 Trailer-Tow Cone Course #DPC2018

The Dreaded Cone Course

The most taxing events at Diesel Power Challenge involve getting hitched up to our 10,000-pound, 25-foot skidsteer trailer. The 1/8th-mile drag race demands a lot from the truck’s driveline components, while the trailer-tow cone course (formerly known as an obstacle course) demands a lot from the driver. We were reminded of the former when Number 11 Garrett Osen’s Ford F-350 broke an input shaft while hustling the trailer down the dragstrip at Bandimere Speedway, but more on that in a minute.

  |   Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Cone Course Chevy

This year, our cone course was made just a bit more difficult than usual courtesy of certified sadist and Truck Trend Editor Jason Gonderman. Our drivers stampeded out of the starting box through a tight right-hander, through a gate and into a 100-foot reverse chute. From there, they had to swing the trailer to the left and break the beam on a bumper box using the rear of the trailer’s deck, then on to a chicane before hitting a decreasing-radius left-hander. One final chicane before a second left-hander, and then a front-bumper box. The final challenge: Reverse-swing the trailer to the right back into the starting gate. As soon as the trailer deck is past the start line, the clock stops. Every downed cone is a 10-second penalty.
This year, surprisingly, our best time came from someone who incurred penalties. Usually, the winner of the cone course is someone who combines rapid-but-not-reckless driving with perfect precision, but Kody Pulliam’s stellar sub-two-minute elapsed time was quick enough that even with the two cones he knocked over on the very last obstacle, he still was four seconds faster through the course than his second-place competitor Shayne Merriman. Serial-killing the cones were two drivers: Travis Richards, who knocked down five, and Garrett Osen, who took out six.

2019 GMC Sierra Elevation: Double Cab Gets 2.7L and Athletic Style

X31 Off Road Package and Other Options Make for Confident Offering from GCM

If you’re new to the game, GM has new 2019-model-year Chevrolet and GMC ½-ton pickup trucks coming, and we’re learning more and more about them as we get closer to their launch. GM first teased us with a sneak peek of the next-gen Silverado at the 2017 State Fair of Texas and followed up with a closer look at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. We also saw the GMC Sierra Denali, SLT, and AT4 soon after that. Read More

DPC 2018/Day 3 Dyno Performance #DPC2018

Kodi Cooked ‘Em All! #DPC2018

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP is in full swing, with Day 3 bringing what arguably is the most popular competitive segment of the six grueling stages that comprise the annual event: The worshipped-by-all chassis-dyno showdown to determine which player’s rig is superior when it comes to making rear-wheel horsepower and torque. One day after the Mustang dyno at ATS Diesel Performance proved to be more challenging than some competitors might have anticipated (four drivers failed to complete a grueling fuel-consumption drive), our nine teams returned to ATS with a ton of confidence—the trash talk among them confirms this–and ready to take on DPC’s marquee performance test. Making four-digit horsepower in the Diesel Power Challenge dyno test is the optimistic performance goal that most competitors have each year. And, while their trucks certainly may be capable of making that type of big steam on their respective “home dynos,” such variables as Denver-area’s high elevation (5,800 feet above sea level at ATS) and the fact our competition uses data that is not corrected for that altitude, often leave participants scratching their heads in disbelief, questioning the dyno’s accuracy, or trying to conjure up some plausible excuse for performance that falls (sometimes far) below what they expected—and in some cases, boasted about. Basically, where a truck might post 1,200 (corrected) horsepower on a competitor’s regularly used dyno (that typically is in lower altitude), its uncorrected figure on the ATS Mustang unit will probably be a tick below 1,000hp.

  |   2018 Diesel Power Challenge Dyno

Understandably, the difference is dramatic and can be a bit humbling (one crew member/tuner confessed that his pride was a little hurt by his truck’s performance on the pump). But, when a team makes all the right moves when preparing for DPC Day—specifically by focusing on calibrating the ECM with an optimal tune for making power in thin air, and adding a lot of nitrous oxide for much-needed additional atmosphere—boasts of big power can be backed up.
Diesel Power Challenge alum, Dmitri Millard, proved this by tuning Kodi Koch’s (pronounced as “Cook”) ’01 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, and coaching Kodi (it was his first time ever driving on a dyno) to a dominant win in the dyno segment (1,400.4hp/2,417.7 lb-ft). Uncorrected horsepower and torque values are combined and the overall total is used in scoring this segment.

Diesel Power Challenge 2018, Day 2: Photos and Fuel Economy – #DPC2018

Getting Pretty in the Mile High City – #DPC2018

After getting settled in following registration, our drivers and staffers woke up with the sun to line up at Red Rocks Park in nearby Morrison, Colorado, for the first of many photo opportunities. Red Rocks affords itself well to our group and individual feature photos thanks to those iron-rich, rust-colored flatiron rocks, and while taking a series of photos and video of each and every competitor was time-consuming, we think it was worth the effort. Check out a teaser of some of the photos here, and be sure to look out for a future issue of Diesel Power to see all of the feature articles in print.

  |   Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Fuel Economy Test

After being photographed, competitors grabbed a quick lunch (and a nap, if they were lucky) and headed toward ATS Diesel Performance in Arvada. There, each truck was strapped onto the firm’s Mustang dynamometer, which was then loaded with a 20-minute drive cycle program simulating an on-road drive. Every competitor gave the program a go, but not all of them finished.
Unfortunately, rising engine temperatures were enough to sideline four competitors: Shayne Merriman (’74 Ford F-250), Andrew Morrison (’94 Dodge Ram 2500), Kodi Koch (’01 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD), and Zach Scoles (’04 Ford F-250). In fact, Zach and Shayne’s trucks left a little blood on the dyno in the form of coolant, but their teams worked hard to get the trucks ready to battle in Day Three’s contest, the power dyno.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Goes into Production at Company’s Alabama Facility

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama Expected to Build 84,000 Santa Fes in 2018

The all-new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe went into production today in Montgomery, Alabama. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, which employs about 3,000 people, is producing the Santa Fe for North American markets, including Canada and Puerto Rico.

  |   2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Exterior Side Profile

The company expects to build 84,000 Santa Fe SUVs this year thanks to burgeoning demand for crossovers, particularly in the U.S. market. The 2019 Santa Fe and its three-row Santa Fe XL variant will do battle with segment stalwarts like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Chevrolet Traverse. Additionally, the shorter-wheelbase version will take on competitors as diverse as the Nissan Rogue and Ford Edge.

The Truck Show Podcast Presented by Nissan, Episode 13 – Sadistic Iron Werks

What Minitrucks and Ferraris Have in Common, Car Camping Gone Wild, Concepts Trucks Built to be Used

  |   The Truck Show Podcast March

Episode 13 of The Truck Show Podcast, Presented by Nissan and hosted by Sean Holman and Jay “Lightning” Tilles, was released today. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been trying really hard to release new episodes on Mondays. We think it’s a great way to start a new week. Read More

Detonation; Diesel in the Dirt


The popularity of diesel engines has boomed in recent years here in the U.S. Domestic truck manufacturers continue to developed new, and enhance existing vehicles with diesel powerplants. The engines are being installed in everything from commuter cars to 1-ton pickup trucks. And, consumers’ enthusiasm for diesel has steadily increased the number of oil-burners that are on the road. The growing popularity is not limited only to the engines being optional in certain vehicles. It is becoming the powerplant choice for a lot of people who perform engine swaps and build custom rides. Diesel engines in a wide range of configurations (I-4, I-6, V-6, and V-8) and brands can be found in hot rods, old pickups, drag cars, and off-road rigs. In March of 2018, I was in Moab, Utah, for the annual Easter Jeep Safari (an off-road gathering). I was there working with folks from some of the Fourwheeler Network’s titles and noticed a ton (figuratively speaking) of diesel-powered off-road vehicles running about. In past years there were always a few, but this time there seemed to be far more than I remember. I am not really talking about the heavy concentration of oil-burning tow vehicles that also seem to grow in number each year as well. The thing that really caught my attention is the boom in popularity of the off-road rigs.

  |   This custom Cummins-powered Dodge Ram trail rig made short work of this obstacle (and every other) on the Fins & Things trail in Moab, Utah. The torque of the big Cummins along with a high-clearance bed and large tires makes this a very capable rig.

Being that the event has been Jeepcentric for over 50 years, diesel-powered off-road rigs are not something that was normally seen. All of the Jeeps, Toyotas, Chevrolets, Fords, etc. that have converged on the area throughout the half-century have been predominately gas powered. This was due partially to the fact that there were not a lot of factory diesel options and usable oil-burners to swap (non-ideal size/weight, power, availability, and support). So, historically, when owners bought a vehicle or did an engine swap they went with engines that were easy to get, work on, and maintain. Hence the use of and swapping of gas engines.
This trend is beginning to change. Diesel-engine availability has increased substantially, thanks to Cummins crate-engine offerings and the large number of vehicles on the road. Vehicles in service are beginning to age, which increases the availability of engines that can be used to build a four-wheeler. It is becoming far more common to forgo transplanting the traditional spark-plug engines for a compression-ignition unit. Many builders are enjoying the advantages that diesel provides over gas, like ample torque, fuel economy, and reliability. The ever-growing aftermarket support also helps make oil burners more appeasing.
Some of the more popular engines I saw being used in swaps were the Cummins 4BT, Cummins R2.8, and Volkswagen TDI. They were found in a variety of vehicles: Jeeps (from flat fender Willys to JKs), Broncos, Toyotas, Suzukis, and even some custom-built rigs. Of course, everyone loves what compound turbochargers, big injectors, and such can do, but when you’re in the middle of nowhere and a tow truck is not an option, having a reliable and easy-to-work-on engine is more important. That is why so many of the oil-burner transplants remain very close to stock.

Particulate Matters: All They Do Is Win

All They Do Is Win

I’m finally back in Los Angeles after attending Ultimate Callout Challenge 2018 Presented by Alligator Performance, and several other events and visits that had me on the road for almost three weeks. It’s great to be home; a chance to recharge before getting back out there. If you’re a diesel addict like we are, you probably were either at UCC, or you kept up with all of the action via the live feed on Speed Vision. Trust me, being there is special, and I think that if you haven’t seen the Challenge in person, you should really consider making a trip to Indianapolis one year and do so. In the diesel community, it’s fairly common knowledge by now that Lavon Miller is the overall winner of Ultimate Callout Challenge 2018. He has won UCC three times, and to me it seems there really is just no stopping the man and his Firepunk Diesel team, especially when it comes to the diesel scene’s marquee competitions. Sure, we’ve watched “the Hobbits” seemingly win with ease, and also emerge victorious after facing adversity, and appearing that they might possibly end up on the losing side of a competition.

  |   This isn’t the first time I’ve used my column to talk about Lavon Miller, and there’s something in the back of my mind that tells me it won’t be the last. As long as Lavon and his tightknit crew of family and friends (they endearingly call themselves “Hobbits”) continue their winning ways in major diesel competitions, I guess I’ll always have material. Read More

Live Stream: Diesel Power Challenge 2018: #DPC2018

Join us for live coverage!

  |   010 Dpc2018 Day1 Registration

Get a front row view of Diesel Power magazine’s Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP #DPC2018 by joining us for our exclusive live stream coverage through the Diesel Power magazine facebook page on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (June 5, 6, and 7)! Since the event is not open to the public, this is a great opportunity to see all the action from Denver, Colorado, as it unfolds—from the comfort of your own home. Read More

Diesel Power Challenge 2018, Day 1: Registration – #DPC2018

Registration, Pizza, and Last-Minute Tinkering

Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP is upon us, and almost all of our competitors are present and accounted for here in Denver, Colorado, ready to hit the ground running in a battle for diesel supremacy. Unfortunately, two of our hopefuls were unable to make the trip to the Mile High City, Trevor Ruffcorn (’93 Dodge Ram W250) and Vinnie Hobart (’04 Ford E-350). We’re sad those two unique machines won’t be hanging with us this week, but taking some of the sting away is the excitement coming from alternate Garrett Osen and his team, who join the competition with a ’10 Ford F-250. First to check in on Day One was Shayne Merriman, whose frosty 1974 F-250 arrived right after we opened our doors. Merriman then spent the rest of the afternoon cranking away under the hood, installing new injectors that were gifted to him on the way from Pennsylvania.

  |   Dpc2018 Day1 Registration

Next to arrive was Allan Burk, who also spent some time tinkering in the parking lot to get his ’07 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD dialed in. The rest of our entrants came in quick succession: Trae Hutton (’03 GMC Sierra 2500HD), Andrew Morrison (’94 Dodge Ram 2500), Kody Pulliam (’04 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD), Kodi Koch (’01 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD), Travis Richards (’07 Dodge Ram 2500), and Zach Scoles (’04 Ford F-250).
After getting checked in, the trucks made their way to our sticker station, where #DPC2018 staffers made sure each truck complied with contest regulations. Number and driver name stickers were carefully applied, as were those of our sponsors: XDP, ATS Diesel Performance, Amsoil, American Force Wheels, Fury Off-Road Tires, and MyChanic.

Jeep Teases 2019 Renegade on European Website

Facelifted Subcompact SUV to Be Revealed June 6

Jeep will update the Renegade crossover for 2019, giving the little off-roader a facelift and some added content. The company teased the 2019 Renegade on its European news site, announcing the restyled SUV would make its first public appearance June 6 at the Torino Motor Show in Italy. The teaser doesn’t show much except a slightly altered taillight design that keeps the jerrycan X motif, only rendered in red with a circular white center. Jeep said the European-market Renegade would feature “a new family of three- and four-cylinder petrol engines,” starting with a 120hp 1.0L unit (presumably an I-3) and 1.3L and 1.5L engines producing 150 hp and 180 hp respectively. We assume those two engines will be I-4s. There’s no word on how these engines make such power, but it’s fair to assume direct fuel injection and forced induction are on the menu. We’re also not sure if these engines will supplant (or replace) the U.S. market’s turbocharged 1.4L I-4 or 2.4L Tigershark I-4. It’s a bit odd that Jeep would announce these sorts of changes for an overseas market before discussing the U.S. Renegade’s future, but on the other hand, the off-road brand is one of few American manufacturers that is popular in Europe. The Renegade, which shares its bones with the more Euro-flavored Fiat 500X, makes a lot of sense in Europe’s traffic-clogged, narrow streets, with lots of customers opting for the Jeep and its rugged persona. Expect to hear more about the 2019 Renegade, including Jeep’s U.S. plans for the SUV, as soon as the new one is revealed on Wednesday. Source: Jeep

National Donut (or is it Doughnut) Day Celebration!

Gaining Weight and Burning Tires

It seems that every day is a National Something Or Another Day, and we’re not fans. We see these largely as the participation trophy of holidays, but we digress. One that we can get behind, however, is National Donut Day. Seriously, who doesn’t like glazed, deep fried, doughy goodness? Though, in the interest of full disclosure, we’re more likely to go for an apple fritter when at the donut counter, because fruit means it’s healthy. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, National Donut Day was first started in 1938 as a fundraiser for Chicago’s Salvation Army as a way to honor those of their members who served donuts to soldiers during the First World War. It’s now celebrated each year on the first Friday in June, and if you’re a savvy shopper free samples can be had at proprietors of sprinkled spheres. Krispy Kreme, Walmart, Martin’s, Kwik Trip, LaMar’s, Dunkin, and even Papa John’s are in on the action.   |   National Doughnut Day Desert Donuts Gmc Sierra Denali We gear heads think of a different kind of donut, however, one that is the king of donuts. Our donuts often involve a whole lot of tire smoke or dust. And to celebrate in the best way we know possible our staff took out our Long-Term 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor and 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali and threw some dust in the desert. So whether you choose to celebrate by partaking in needless calories or by shortening the expected life of your tires get out and live it up today!

Ram TRX Production Planned… Ram Dakota?… and Jeep Product Plan Exposed

Capital Markets Day Reveals FCA Future—and We’re Excited

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) held its Capital Markets Day in Balocco, Italy. The meeting was full of business lingo, and those who want to devour all the details can knock themselves out deciphering the information overload. The fun part for us, however, is that FCA laid out a five-year plan (2018-2022) and briefly spilled its intentions for future products. Here are a few takeaways that pertain to the truck and SUV market. Generally, we can expect an increase in and application of truck and SUV hybrid electric powertrain options, Level 2+ and 3 autonomy (hands off the wheel and eyes on the road), and connectivity. Around 2023, we could see the availability of Level 4 autonomous driving systems, which means fully automated driving under limited conditions. We’ll see about that!

  |   Ram Trx Capital Markets


The Ram brand has seen continual growth over the last eight consecutive years, and projects a record-high 770,000 vehicle sold in 2018. The five-year plan for Ram includes production of the TRX concept, which was first debuted at the 2016 Texas State Fair. Ram touts it will excel in off and on-road performance, power and torque, styling, and technology. We hope the TRX surpasses our wildest dreams and that we hear more about it sooner than later. Read More

Installing the Last Automatic Transmission Your Hardworking Rig Will Ever Need

Pickup Six

We feel compelled to start this report by letting you know one of the most important facts regarding installing an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission in a 6.0L, 6.4L, or 7.3L Ford Power Stroke or 5.9L Cummins-motivated truck: By all means, the conversion is slick, trick, and super-bitchin’. There’s no disputing this notion. No way. However, despite the modification being “all that” from a functional standpoint (and we’ll detail more about that as you read on), the effort—when executed the way we did it, using Ford-to-Allison conversion hardware and wiring from Custom Automatic Conversions, and a new Stage 1 six-speed gearbox and torque converter by ATS Diesel Performance—is expensive and better suited for hardworking trucks that “make money,” which ultimately offsets or fully recoups funds outlaid for the upgrade. Sure, that’s a lot of information to process. But it honestly isn’t meant to discourage anyone from making the change, because this particular modification is definitely good. Installing an Allison gearbox is a great upgrade for anyone who has experienced the frustration brought by the failing of an E4OD, 4R100, or 5R110 Ford or a 47RE, 48RE, or 68RFE Dodge automatic transmission—especially several times. Having experienced this breakage firsthand— twice—with the E4OD four-speed automatic in our ’95 Ford F-350, and with concerns about eventually suffering the same fate a third time, we heeded the suggestion of KC, Dave, and Mat Hemry of CA Conversions and loaded an Allison 1000 six-speed into Big White’s transmission tunnel.

  |   Custom Automatic Conversions’ Mat Hemry preps an ATS Diesel Performance Stage 1 LCT1000 six-speed automatic transmission for removal from its shipping container and eventual mating with his family’s company’s swap hardware and electronics for our ’95 Ford F-350. GM transmission in a Ford? Yes, CA Conversions makes it possible.

An Allison, regardless of whether or not it is modified, brings strength to an area where ’95-to-’09 Ford pickups (and aforementioned Dodge rigs with 12- and 24-valve Cummins engines) suffer. Transmissions in these trucks have high failure rates when subjected to excessive heat (clutches and other frictional materials burn up) and/or severe torque loads (hard parts/ input and output shafts snap—literally).
With the ATS Diesel Performance Stage 1 LCT1000 and TripeLok torque converter we’re using, broken parts caused by any of the ways in which Big White is used (daily driving, towing, parts running, and occasional blasts down the dragstrip) become things of the past. The transmission supports 800 hp and 1,300 lb-ft of torque, and, according to ATS owner Clint Cannon, the Allison’s lockup clutch and six speeds— which include a 3.1:1 First gear and two overdrives—make it a “dream transmission for just about any diesel-powered pickup.”
While the Allison swap for diesel pickups isn’t new technology, CA Conversions has developed a comprehensive package that streamlines the process. For Big White, the system’s primary components are: a billet adapter ring and flexplate ($1,650), transmission-control module, manual-mode controller, wiring harnesses and a new gear-selector arm with tap-shift ($2,500), throttleposition- sensor kit ($295), and an application-specific mounting kit (prices for the mounting hardware range between $150 and $250). Our rig is two-wheel drive, but CA’s swap package is easily applied to four-wheel-drive trucks by using a transfer-case adapter that’s available for $1,250.
In addition to durability, believe it or not, making the switch to a six-speed also enhances a truck’s braking ability (a quality any heavy-hauling diesel-truck owner can appreciate). The torque converter’s lockup clutch and the Allison’s independent transmission controls actually keep lockup engaged as the transmission downshifts (at 1,000 rpm), which essentially allows the drivetrain to serve as a braking assist, supporting a truck’s service brakes, as well as a trailer’s stopping system, during steep-grade descents and even in panic-stop situations. The electronics unlock the converter when the transmission has downshifted to Second gear.
While overall strength and better braking more than justify making the change to an Allison 1000 (we’re actually taking Big White’s enriched stopping setup one step further by also adding Pacbrake’s engine brake for 7.3L Power Stroke–powered Fords), improved fuel economy is one of the major reasons we’ve opted for the six-speed gearbox. Yes, by adding lower overall gearing and two Overdrives, and with the truck’s 4.10 rearend gear ratio, we estimate this upgrade will improve fuel range by roughly 5 to 6 mpg in daily freeway driving conditions and will hopefully yield similar economy when we’re hooked up and towing our loaded race trailer (any improvement over the 9-mpg range with the E4OD is a welcome one).
With clientele that includes Ford, Dodge Ram, and Ram truck owners who use their rigs for such jobs as hot-shot car towing, construction, farming, and other work that taxes transmissions, Jason Loeliger and Mark Fuenzalida of Devil Mountain Diesel, California, expressed interest in CA’s conversion system and learning exactly what this type of inter-brand transmission swap entails.
So, in early January 2018, KJ and Mat drove Big White from Los Angeles to Devil Mountain’s facility in Walnut Creek, California, to install the ATS-built Allison and record the photo and informational data presented in this report.

First Drive – 2019 Acura RDX

Small Lux SUV Hits the Gym and the Tailor in Search of an Identity

Interviewing current Acura RDX owners, the company’s product planners discovered they purchased the small luxury SUV on basis of its value, perceived safety, and reputation for reliability at a level beyond any of its competitors. Much, much lower on those owners’ list of priorities were style, snob appeal, and driving dynamics. That’s a good thing, as the outgoing 2018 RDX is saddled with bland styling, a competent-but-sedate powertrain, and all the handling sizzle of the plebian Honda CR-V with which it shares its platform. So when Acura set out to redesign the RDX—a bestseller in its segment—for 2019, the goal was to keep the SUV’s core virtues intact while expanding its appeal for those who make their luxury vehicle purchases based more on emotion than logic. A clean-sheet redesign was in order, starting with an all-new, Acura-specific platform that shares almost nothing with the company’s Honda corporate overlords. This platform is substantially stiffer and a bit lighter than the one it replaces, thanks in part to extensive use of high-strength steel and plenty of structural adhesive. And as any vehicle engineer will tell you, a stiff frame is an excellent starting point for ride, handling, and noise control greatness.

  |   2019 Acura Rdx Side

Wrapped around that frame is a slinky new body that’s dripping with current Acura themes. Up front, a bold “Diamond Pentagon” grille (in gloss black on A-Spec and chrome on all others) sits between seven-element LED headlamps, casting a mean glower into a left-lane dawdler’s rearview mirror. Knife-slash creases running over the front and rear fenders and through the bodysides punch up the visual appeal as well, and Acura’s new taillight signature ensures the rear of the car will be as memorable as the front. The kinky D-pillar looks like it’s channeling the Mazda CX-5 a bit, but Acura says the design was necessary to hide a new Y-shaped structure at the rear that maximizes body stiffness without encroaching on cargo space. Sounds fine to us.
As the very first vehicle to be designed from the outset with styling inspired by the company’s Precision concept car, the 2019 RDX looks much more holistic than the MDX or Acura’s sedans. The other vehicles in the company’s lineup started out with a version of the company’s old beak nose before swapping in “Precision Crafted Performance” styling, and although they look just fine, they’re not nearly as alluring as the origami fighter jet RDX. That bodes well for future Acura models, which will follow the small SUV’s lead.

Banks Ford F-150 EcoBoost Intake/Exhaust/Programmer Upgrade


Ford turned the pickup world on its side when it first installed the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 in the ’11 F-150. While it wasn’t particularly odd to find a V-6 in a ½-ton truck, having one as the premium engine was an entirely new concept. At launch, the 3.5L EcoBoost churned out 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. By comparison, the 5.0L V-8 engine also offered that year only produced 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, while the previous-generation 5.4L V-8 ended life with a maximum of 320 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Over the years, Ford has continued to upgrade the 3.5L EcoBoost. Now in its second generation, the spunky V-6 placed into service in ’17 grunts out 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque in a standard-issue F-150, with 450 hp with 510 lb-ft of torque in Raptor. Enthusiasts for decades have attempted to squeeze every last drop of performance out of their vehicles, and luckily for owners of EcoBoost-equipped Fords, there was a lot left on the table. To exact every ounce of performance out of our ’15 F-150, we turned to experts at Gale Banks Engineering. Known mostly for diesel performance these days, Gale Banks began his performance empire turbocharging gasoline engines, so to say he knows a thing or two would be quite the understatement. Our goal was to improve driveability and performance while remaining legal and warranty-friendly. To do this, we chose the combination of a Monster Exhaust, which requires no CARB exemption since it doesn’t modify emissions equipment, and a Ram-Air Intake, which is CARB-approved. Both vastly increase flow over the factory equipment and give the truck a nice sound. To bump power, we selected Banks’ new Derringer tuner, which leaves no footprint on the factory computer, keeping warranties fully intact. The Derringer is currently pending CARB approval. The installation at the Banks’ Powerhouse in Azusa, California, was completed in roughly four hours. Everything we did here can be done at home in the driveway with basic handtools and knowledge. Monster ExhaustPN 48762MSRP $533

  |   We shouldn’t even need to mention it, but the new exhaust installation began by removing the old components. Depending on the truck’s age and location, a hammer and penetrating oil may be necessary. Fortunately, our California truck’s exhaust came off with little effort.

The Truck Show Podcast Presented by Nissan, Episode 12 – Roadkill’s Mike Finnegan

Mike Finnegan Talks Trucks, His Bogus Battle Against Richard Rawlings, and Stories From His Wild Mini-Truckin’ Days Before Roadkill

  |   The Truck Show Podcast March

Episode 12 of The Truck Show Podcast, Presented by Nissan and hosted by Sean Holman and Jay “Lightning” Tilles, was released this week. Did you catch that? We are proud to have Nissan on-board as the presenting sponsor.

Mike Finnegan from Roadkill stops by The Truck Show Podcast to talk about his path to Roadkill, his start as a truck magazine editor, and some of his favorite stories from along the way. He also opens up about his biggest disappointment working on Roadkill and gives Lightning and Holman a behind-the-scenes look at what really happened when Roadkill battled Fast N’ Loud. Read More

Westbound Wanderers, Day 8: After 2,906 Miles, We Reach Los Angeles in a 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali

…And We Even Behave Ourselves at Bearizona

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 8 19

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 8 1

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 8 20

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 8 13

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 8 14

You know you’ve had a good road trip when you feel like you’re almost home—except for the nearly 500 miles remaining. Today’s journey took us from Arizona into California, completing our goal of driving Truck Trend’s long-term 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali from Detroit to Los Angeles. A grand adventure indeed, we’ve seen thousands of miles of our great country and have experienced an adventure few ever will.

Westbound Wanderers, Day 7: New Mexico and Arizona

Historic Route 66 on Memorial Day

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 7 19

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 7 5

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 7 4

  |   2018 Gmc Sierra 2500hd Denali Roadtrip Day 7 6

We couldn’t leave Amarillo, Texas, without checking out Cadillac Ranch, which is the artsy thing in the middle of the desert where ten Cadillacs are buried nose first in the ground. It was quite windy so we didn’t stay long, and we didn’t bring our own can of spray paint to leave our mark, but at least we can cross it off our list now.

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