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.
“Lifestyle” Sport-Ute to Do Battle With Ford Edge and Nissan MuranoThe 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.
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.
Another Slam Dunk From Matt Holden & Phat PhabzAt 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.
Relationship GoalsThey 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.
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.
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Gaining Momentum and Becoming a Truly Memorable EventYou 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.
Short-Cab, Longbed Body Style Returns to Ram LineupThe 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.
Replacement for ML-Based GLE on Its Way SoonMercedes-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.
1.5L EcoBlue I-4 Spreads to Cab FleetsFord 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.
Clamping ForceThere 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.
Flagship Crossover from the Four RingsWe’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.
Diesel Power Challenge, DPF-Friendly Performance, Guess that Diesel, Drive a Big Rig, World’s Tallest Thermometer
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.
A Bullnose Built With Cop PartsIf 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.”
Rolling on 22s and 24s, This Rat-Rod Dualie Rides Low With High InnovationRat 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.
EGR Cooler Failures
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?
Drop the Anchor
Explorer-Based Law Enforcement Vehicle Gets Hybrid Power StandardFord 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. 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
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Ultimate Mopar SwapEver 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.
Fourth Generation of the Bestselling Bimmer Gets Bigger and More PowerfulThe 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.
Diesel Power Challenge 2018: Day 5Typically, 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.
Nobody’s FuelEvery 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.
First Time’s a CharmKalacas 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.
A Brief History of the Boost ProviderEngineers 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.
BorgWarner Turbo Systems
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.
Readers of Diesel Power Magazine submit photos to their diesels
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!”
Roadwire Takes Our W/T Seats to Another LevelIf 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.
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.
660 Feet of High-Powered Chaos #DPC2018On 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.
Cummins-Powered Dodge Ram to the FrontIf 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.
The Dreaded Cone CourseThe 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.
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.
Kodi Cooked ‘Em All! #DPC2018Diesel 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.
Getting Pretty in the Mile High City – #DPC2018After 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.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama Expected to Build 84,000 Santa Fes in 2018The 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.
What Minitrucks and Ferraris Have in Common, Car Camping Gone Wild, Concepts Trucks Built to be Used
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.
DetonationThe 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.
All They Do Is WinI’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.
Join us for live coverage!
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.
Registration, Pizza, and Last-Minute TinkeringDiesel 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.
Facelifted Subcompact SUV to Be Revealed June 6Jeep 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
Gaining Weight and Burning TiresIt 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. 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!
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Capital Markets Day Reveals FCA Future—and We’re ExcitedFiat 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!
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.
Pickup SixWe 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.
Small Lux SUV Hits the Gym and the Tailor in Search of an IdentityInterviewing 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.
EcoBoostedFord 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
Mike Finnegan Talks Trucks, His Bogus Battle Against Richard Rawlings, and Stories From His Wild Mini-Truckin’ Days Before Roadkill
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.