2015 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali- Prodigy

Talent Shines Through

A prodigy is defined as a young person who is unusually talented in some way. Learning at a young age isn’t what makes a prodigy, it’s the talent that shines through during that learning. Jacob Anderson started his progression into the truck culture at 16. Although it wasn’t by choice, his uncle sold young Jacob his pickup precisely at the legal driving age. Jacob had to make payments, and he did every month as he learned responsibility and dependability. Throughout the years, he learned more about trucks and eventually traded up bigger and better as he designed and added new ideas to them. At 19, he joined his friend, Jeff, who took him under his wing and started teaching him how to be even better and more successful in the custom truck world. In 2014, Jacob decided he would make the largest purchase he had ever made by ordering a brand-new ’15 GMC Sierra Denali. Of course, Jacob wanted the most popular style and package, so he had to wait five months to receive it.

  |   2015 GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali Prodigy Drive

With every new truck, Jacob’s routine was to stop by his mother’s house for her approval. When he arrived at her residence with the largest and most luxurious truck he had owned, she asked to actually drive around in it, and, as always, a son does what his mother asks. Jacob tried multiple different lift kits until he partnered up with Josh from ADA Offroad. Josh suggested a Full Throttle Suspension 15-inch lift based on his own personal experience with that particular lift kit. Once Josh took control of the GMC, he followed Jacob’s plans by adding a Hammerhead low-profile front and rear bumper to avoid the larger, more common bumpers.

1993 Chevy 3500 Dualie- Krew re-Kut

Modernizing an Icon

Throughout the last few decades, there have been a handful of trucks in existence anyone who picked up Truckin magazine would recognize. Besides being on our cover in August 1999, this ’93 Chevrolet C3500 (which was actually in its second incarnation even then) was featured in countless pages of advertising for the company that built it. In its time, the Krew Kut dualie was the pinnacle of Master Image Customs’ impact on the custom truck scene, along with Rob Maggi’s marketing genius and lead fabricator Sean Mahaney’s trailblazing talent. This thing had people talking—studying it and taking photos at every show it attended as a cornerstone of the MIC vendor booth. What was the pinnacle of yesterday can become a forgotten relic after just a short time in an ever-evolving world. You’re not going to get rid of your smartphone today and use a Nokia from the end of last century just because it was the most popular, right? At the end of its run with MIC, the dualie was part of a huge giveaway at one of the biggest SoCal shows, the 15th annual California Truck Jamboree. On August 12, 2001, it was given away and sent off to its new home in Texas. The truck was taken to several shows but disappeared after just a short while.

  |   1993 Chevy 3500 Dualie Krew Re Kut 3 4 Rear

When Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage and TV show Fast N’ Loud heard about a green custom dualie his tool suppliers found in a storage auction, he took a couple of his guys to go check it out. What they found was this iconic blast from the past, and his guys urged him to buy it. As the show goes, a quick $7,500 haggle later and Krew Kut had a new home for a pivotal resurrection. The instantly recognizable Chevy was covered in a thick sheet of dust, with its front-end parts stacked inside among the dirt and bird feathers that covered the interior. As the GMG crew, or Monkeys, as Richard calls them, was introduced to its newest project, it was apparent the 20-year-old custom needed to be updated to current standards.
The restomod on this unmistakable truck began with an assessment of what would stay and what needed to go. Keeping the iconic look was of utmost importance, while updating, strengthening, and modernizing would give it a new story to tell to another generation of enthusiasts. The Monkeys got down to business tearing out the entire interior for a full new styling and yanking out the old 454 to replace it with a Katech 496 LSX mated to a 4L80E from Monster Transmission. While modifying the exterior of the truck wasn’t on the list of plans, some work under the hood was needed for the new powerplant to fit. The old firewall was cut out before a new one was fabricated to fit and work with the modern components attached to the LSX. A set of Slosh Tubs inner fenders was also molded in place to cover the one-off 19×8 RK Forged Krew Kut wheels.

1990 Mazda B2200- Busted Knuckles: The Phoenix

Rising From the Ashes

In mythology, the phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is reborn. When you ask about Scott Refice’s Mazda project, he refers to it as The Phoenix, because at one point it was a full custom show truck. But once Scott purchased it, he decided to give it new life. Scott got into vehicles when he was around 13 years old. While living next door to a muscle car owner, he gradually became close to him and started to learn mechanics. “I’ve learned everything I know from hands-on experience, from baseball to trucks. I taught myself as I went along.”

  |   1990 Mazda B2200 The Phoenix Rear

Before long, Scott was buying his own custom trucks and making them unique, each time exceeding the result of the prior build. He began working on his friends’ trucks in the Panama City, Florida, area and soon joined Vital Signs, the premier truck club in his area. One of his close friends and club member Rudy found a ’90 Mazda B2200 online and showed the listing to Scott.
Scott already owned a Mazda that was in the process of being built and just loved the way the lines flowed through the body, so it was a no-brainer to negotiate the price of the ’90 Mazda and bring it home. He decided to stop working on his original truck and use it as parts for the new B2200. He disassembled everything, painted the frame, replaced the doors, shaved the handles, and finished up the dashboard to make it unique. The Mazda came built for a Ford motor, and because Scott was vehemently against the Ford motor, he decided to go with an LS motor instead. Of course, the firewall had to be modified to fit the larger motor with new motor mounts.

Radical Renderings- Matt Bernal

Radical Renderings

Artists of all types are not only born with their talents but learn to develop them over time. It may start with a simple interest in creating music, building something with power tools, or, in this case, putting tools of another kind to work in order to create someone’s dream project. As Matt Bernal’s skills evolved, the tools he used to render his clients’ dreams moved away from the ones he purchased from the art store when he was younger. The art he now produces has helped to build his company, Bernal Auto Style, into an equal peer of the artists Matt once considered idols. His fascination with mechanical art led to this point in his professional life. Whereas most people see a vehicle as a way to get from here to there, he sees lines, shapes, and possibilities for modifications or artistic interpretation. If you are ready to see your truck through Matt’s eyes, check out his other work and hit him up at: bernalautostyle.com.

  |   Starting out in the automotive industry as a spokesperson, Alyssa Kay got bit by the bug to which many of us have succumbed. This ’70 Chevrolet C10 project is her second build, following her ’67 Cadillac debut at the SEMA show last year. As the sibling to her Caddy, this pickup will be named “Hermanito,” the Spanish translation of little brother. The classy-yet-rustic feel Matt was going for when drawing it gives it an aged feel that will be highlighted throughout the build. The exterior will feature a Pearl Root Beer House of Kolors shade sprayed by Chad’s Auto Glass and Customs with accents of aged bronze and aged wood. A full frame is being built by CB Chassis Products with the air suspension utilizing products from Slam Specialties and Accuair to lower the body over the Detroit Steel Wheels. Other plans include Dakota Digital gauges, FiTech fuel injection, Restomod air-conditioning, All American Billet engine dress-up, and more.

Slamboree Car Show 2018

A Top Show in the Midwest

Through many years Slamboree has been a top show in the Midwest. Held on the first weekend of August, the heat from the sun is as hot as the spectacular rides that show up year after year. Anybody who loves custom rides from all over the country shows up to make it the biggest Slamboree car show year after year.

  |   Slamboree Car Show 2018 Ford

Located about 30 miles east of Oklahoma City on HWY 40, the Grand Hotel and Resort proved again to be the perfect spot to showcase everyone’s custom ride. Well over 650 cars, trucks, and motorcycles gave it their all to try to take home just one of the numerous trophies to be handed out.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado- The Scottsdale SS

A Nod to the ’70s Packs a Supercharged Punch

The sight of a two-tone, square-body Chevy Scottsdale pickup triggers all kinds of warm thoughts about CB radios, Urban Cowboy posters on the wall, and foam trucker caps worn without the slightest hint of irony. It’s a blast from the past of a simpler time, when there wasn’t social media dissecting our every opinion. Choosing between Wonder Woman and Donny and Marie was the only big social decision—and perhaps whether to try a six pack of Billy Beer instead of your trusted Stroh’s, Carling, or Rainier. Maybe that’s why we’re so drawn to Michael Hunt’s ’70s-inspired late-model Silverado. Its simple yet devastatingly effective retro paint scheme harks back to the good-old days, even if they did include satin baseball jackets with the sleeves pushed up, fondue parties, and the Starland Vocal Band. No era is perfect.

  |   2017 Chevrolet Silverado Scottsdale SS Rear

Michael runs TredWear, an Alabama-based company that offers raised rubber letters for tires, enabling vehicle owners to personalize them in countless ways. This truck is a perfect example, showcasing the “Scottsdale SS.”
Since Michael’s truck was originally conceived as a SEMA show vehicle that would also serve duty as a parts hauler for the company and guinea pig for TredWear’s subsidiary, Chicanery Racing, Michael started with a regular cab shortbed ’17 Silverado to get that classic ’70s look. It was a Blackout Edition and sparsely equipped, with only a rubber floor and a few options, but it had the all-important 5.3L V-8. The problem was, it was black. Very black.

6.6L Duramax LB7 Rebuild Part 3

Outward Growth

With our freshly prepared LB7 short block back from the skilled craftsmen at L&R Engines, we quickly set to work getting the engine back within the frame rails of our ’02 Silverado. While a lot of people claim it, ours truly is a backyard build. We grabbed our trusty engine hoist and with the help of a few family members easily swayed by a free lunch had the beautiful Duramax resting in its home in short order. From there the arduous task of dressing the engine began. Come along with us as we get the turbocharger, heads, and valvetrain set for the next chapter in this engine’s already storied life.

  |   Fresh from being assembled by the experts at L&R Engines in Santa Fe Springs, California, we had our LB7 short block on the hook before even removing the wrapper.

  |   Would you believe us if we said this engine has nearly a quarter of a million miles on it? It’s amazing what fresh paint and quality machine work will do for heavy old chunk of iron and aluminum.

Ford Officially Launches 2019 Ranger Configurator, Base Price Sits at $25,395

How Would You Spec Yours?

After accidentally publishing (and quickly unpublishing) the configurator for the 2019 Ranger last week, Ford officially launched the online tool today, betraying the Ranger’s pricing and options structure. The 2019 Ranger will start at $25,395 for a base XL SuperCab 4×2, including $1,095 for destination. (Build your own at Ford’s website!) Subtract Ford’s delivery charge and that number exactly matches the base pricing shown in last week’s whoopsie. It must be acknowledged that it represents a fairly substantial jump in base price compared to its domestic competition: the base four-cylinder Chevrolet Colorado starts at just a shade over $20,000. Admittedly, the Ford’s 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 will undoubtedly offer more power and torque than that truck’s somewhat anemic 200 hp and 191 lb-ft, and we presume the Ranger will get a standard automatic transmission.

  |   2019 Ford Ranger Lariat Fx4 Exterior Rear Quarter 03

From the base XL, prices rise just a bit. SuperCab versions of the XLT and Lariat ask $29,035 and $33,305, respectively. The base SuperCrew XL costs $27,615, the XLT $31,210, and the Lariat $35,480.
Adding four-wheel drive requires about $4,000, depending on the model. At $29,555, the XL SuperCab 4×4 is $4,160 more than the two-wheeler. The XLT and Lariat 4×4 SuperCabs require exactly four large more, at $33,035 and $37,305. The same price differences hold true for the passenger-friendly SuperCrew: A 4×4 XL costs $31,775, while the XLT asks for $35,210 and the Lariat $39,480.

Episode 23 of The Truck Show Podcast: Camburg, DECKED, and Nissan’s Surf Camp Concept

Camburg’s Jerry Zaiden, Make Your Truck Bed More Useful, and Nissan Gets Beachy

  |   Truck Show Podcast Episode 23 Nailed It

The Truck Show Podcast Presented by Nissan is a fun, irreverent, and edgy look at today’s world of custom and factory trucks, hosted by truck enthusiasts Sean Holman and Jay “Lightning” Tilles. Sad the kids are going back to school? Sad you actually work and don’t get summer off to begin with? We’ve got a solution (or a bandaid) for all of life’s woes: think about trucks.

Rocky Top Diesel Shootout 5

Outlaws Assault Crossville

The Outlaw Diesel Super Series made its annual stop at the Crossville Dragway in Crossville, Tennessee, on July 27 and 28, 2018. In its fifth year, the Rocky Top Diesel Shootout again lived up to expectations, with two days of great weather that allowed for some intense racing and an all-around great show. RLC Motorsports (the host of the RTDS) changed things up a bit to give spectators a truly enjoyable event. Mike Dalton and his team decided to move Friday’s festivities to a later afternoon start time. This move paid off with a great turnout of people coming to see drag racing under an evening sky and the lights of the dragway. Adding to the already intense show of high-horsepower Hot Shot’s Secret Pro Street, SunCoast Diesel Pro Mod, and Industrial Injection Pro Dragster qualifying runs on Friday, there was a stunt-bike show, a grudge race, and a Quick 8 race that pitted gas engines against oil burners in heads-up matches. There was even a meet and greet with Diesel Dave and The Muscle from the Diesel Brothers television show. Friday night also had its share of unfortunate incidents. During a qualifying run, Rawings Barnes’ Rudy’s Performance Parts Ford F-250 got loose and smacked the wall hard enough to put him out for rest of the event. And then, during the Quick 8 semifinals, a Ford Mustang got squirrely and hit the Nova II it was racing which caused the Nova to crash. No one was hurt in either incident. Saturday saw lots of diesel drag racing, with every ODSS class making an appearance in qualifying and elimination rounds throughout the day, until the number of competitors was whittled down to the final two for each class. Between rounds, the two-wheeled antics of the stunt bikes kept the audience entertained. the festivities didn’t stop, after the finals were run and awards presented; a live band rocked the dragway into the night. Like previous years RLC Motorsports put on an excellent event and we cannot wait to attend the RTDS6 in 2019.

Outlaw Diesel Super Series Results

Jamo ET Bracket NAME BRAND E.T. R.T. MPH
Winner Cody McAnally ’09 Dodge 9.11 0.0038 66.61
Runner-Up Ken Phillips ’08 Dodge 10.08 -0.055 63.92
ATS Diesel Performance/Diesel Power 7.70 Index NAME BRAND E.T. R.T. MPH
Winner Michael Hayes ’06 Dodge 7.64 0.0541 90.67
Runner-Up Devin Ratliff ’05 Dodge 7.618 0.0595 91.11
Flo-Pro Performance Exhaust 6.70 Index NAME BRAND E.T. R.T> MPH
Winner Susan Soga ’34 Chevrolet 6.798 0.0299 100.67
Runner-Up Zach Pierce ’03 Ford 6.744 0.1129 103.88
Firepunk Diesel 5.90 Index NAME BRAND E.T. R.T. MPH
Winner Rick Fox 00 Dodge 5.868 0.2487 117.96
Runner-Up Seth Higgens ’01 Dodge 10.84 -0.474 32.22
Hot Shot’s Secret Pro Street NAME BRAND E.T. R.T. MPH
Winner Dustin Jackson ’94 Ford 5.09 N/A 144.83
Runner-Up Lavon Miller ’06 Dodge 5.22 N/A 140.76
SunCoast Diesel Pro Mod NAME BRAND E.T. R.T. MPH
Winner Ben Shadday ’06 Dodge 4.933 0.0536 125.66
Runner-Up Larson Miller ’00 Chevrolet 4.769 2.908 160.71
Industrial Injection Pro Dragster NAME BRAND E.T. R.T. MPH
Winner Jared Jones ’16 Spitzer 4.267 0.07 176.68
Runner-Up Wade Moody ’05 Spitzer 4.167 0.1832 179.57

Show and Shine

BEST OF SHOW OWNER CITY/STATE
’15 GMC Sierra 2500 Denali Tom West Adams, TN
BEST FORD OWNER CITY/STATE
’12 Ford F-250 Jason Baggett Knoxville, TN
BEST DODGE/RAM OWNER CITY/STATE
’90 Dodge Ram 250 Jason Gunn Athens, TN
BEST GM OWNER CITY/STATE
’12 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Josh Howard Decatur, TN
BEST OTHER OWNER CITY/STATE
’49 Diamond T Michael Judd Sparta, TN

First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – The Wait Is Over!

Back in January Chevrolet shocked us all when they unveiled the all-new and radically redesigned ’19 Silverado 1500 ahead of the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Silverado sports a new frame, updated suspension, improved drivetrains, advanced technology, and a new body constructed of a mix of steel and aluminum. New exterior styling broke with decades of typical Chevy design and set a new standard for the future of trucks. Since its debut we’ve been learning more and more about the new Silverado as GM slowly dished out info to us, but seat time is what we’ve been patiently waiting for. Read More

Ford F-150 seat belt fires spark federal investigation

Seat belts are there to save lives but, in the case of 2015-2018 model year Ford F-150 trucks, the trusted safety device could be to blame for vehicle fires immediately following a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports that seat belt pretensioner systems fitted to Ford’s hugely popular pickup truck might be at fault in five fires, three of which completely destroyed the affected vehicles. Read More

How GM's Silverado, Sierra will take on the Ford F-150 profit machine

The colors on this skeleton of a 2019 Chevy Silverado represent different grades of high-strength steel and other materials. GM went the multi-materials route, while Ford makes more use of aluminum. / Reuters

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — When General Motors engineers were developing the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, some of them joined public tours of Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., factory to watch aluminum-bodied F-Series trucks go down the assembly line. Read More

Upcoming Off-Road Ford SUV to Use Focus/Escape Architecture – Baby Bronco?

Midsize Bronco SUV Still Using Rugged Body-On-Frame Design

Speaking to an investor conference, a Ford executive confirmed the company would roll out another off-road–oriented SUV after the Bronco, using the unibody Ford Focus as its base. Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president of product development and purchasing, was presenting at the J.P. Morgan Auto Conference in New York City on August 8. The discussion turned to Ford’s new C2 modular platform, which will underpin the successors to the current Ford Focus and Escape and will be available in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. According to Thai-Tang, the platform will also form the base of an unnamed future product with “off-road positioning and imagery,” distinguishing it from the less rugged Escape. This vehicle will likely be the “Baby Bronco” mini-SUV Ford teased a few months ago, which will feature some off-road capability without compromising a smooth ride or good fuel economy. It seems as though Ford might be positioning some of its crossovers to do battle with those from Subaru and Jeep, two lifestyle brands that imbue each of their products with rough-road capability, real or perceived.

  |   Ford Focus Active European Market

That tactic would give Ford a diverse SUV portfolio, allowing the Escape and EcoSport to go up against carlike crossovers such as the Honda CR-V and Nissan Kicks. Meanwhile, the high-riding Focus Active (pictured above) would challenge the Subaru Crosstrek, and the baby Bronco would take on the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk and Subaru Forester. And at the top of the affordable-SUV pyramid would be the rugged midsize Bronco, which will retain its body-on-frame construction and genuine off-road capability.
It doesn’t even take a cynical eye to see that Ford is optimizing its lineup for high profit margins. Thai-Tang himself said the small off-road crossover would “allow us to command really high pricing premiums” compared to other models on the C2 platform. But today’s automotive marketplace is one that values crossovers over just about any other segment, so it’s not hard to understand why Ford wants to take a bigger slice of the pie.
Source: Ford

Whoops! Ford Goes Live With 2019 Ranger Configurator, Could Start at $24,000

Company Quickly Removed Build-Your-Own from Website

Ford accidentally published the configurator tool for its 2019 Ranger on Tuesday, allowing quick-witted enthusiasts to spec out their ideal midsize pickups. Off-Road.com was able to capture screengrabs of the configurator, revealing a base price of $24,300 for the 2019 Ranger SuperCab XL. One caveat: Ford says the configurator feature mistakenly went live and its information (including pricing) is subject to change.

  |   2019 Ford Ranger Lariat Fx4 Exterior Front Quarter 02

We already know the Ranger will be available in three trim levels (XL, XLT, and Lariat) and two body styles (SuperCab and SuperCrew), but many of the truck’s specifics are still a mystery at this point. Off-Road.com reports that the SuperCab will be available in all three trim levels, as will the SuperCrew. On the configurator, the four-door truck started at $26,520 for the XL, with the XLT demanding $30,115 and the Lariat $34,385, while the SuperCab variant of each is about $2,000 cheaper. Four-wheel drive adds about $4,000 to the price, which means a top-spec Lariat SuperCrew 4×4 will demand more than $38,000 if the configurator is to be believed.

First Drive: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS

A Black Bow Tie Means A Posher Crossover

Depending on your perspective, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS could either be the star performer or the black sheep of the Traverse family. While the rest of the range deploys a 310-hp V-6, the RS uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter/4-cylinder unit to deliver 257 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption on the highway is 26 mpg, compared with 27 mpg from the V-6. The turbo engine works most efficiently on premium gas, while the V-6 is happy on regular. Towing capacity is 1,500 pounds, as opposed to 5,000 pounds with the V-6. And the RS comes solely with front-wheel drive, whereas its Traverse compadres with the bigger engine offer the option of all-wheel drive. So far, so unconvincing.

  |   2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS Rear

Black List

It’s as a complete package, though, that the RS comes into sharper focus. Standard equipment is generous, including 20-inch alloy wheels, black leather seating surfaces, tri-zone automatic climate control, powered tailgate, Bose 10-speaker audio system, navigation, wi-fi, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, heated front seats, and several advanced safety features like blind spot monitoring. Read More

Detonation: Is the Price Right?

Detonation

I think most people will agree that the price of a new diesel truck has gotten a bit out of reach for many of us. Buying a fully loaded, four-wheel-drive, fullsize crew cab pickup can run close to six figures, once all the taxes and dealer expenses are tallied up. Of course it would be really nice to roll around town in a ride with the newest engine technology and all the fancy features and gadgetry. Seriously though, a lot of us will be driving older trucks for some time to come. Hopefully, all of us that want a new truck will have an opportunity to buy a least one in our lifetime (I can dream). But until that happens, we will continue to keep our old pride and joys going. There is this thing called inflation that causes the price of most things to go up a few percentages every year. It is part of the reason why new trucks cost so much. Normal inflation is one of those realities we have come to expect and live with. It seems that price increases for automotive products have significantly jumped. I don’t fully understand the exact reasons why, but I do know that some of the price hikes are linked. For instance, as the cost of crude oil raises, it affects the price for the manufacturing of fuel, tires, motor oil, and other petroleum products. Those higher production costs then get passed on to the people who use those products, like transportation companies. Then, the cost of shipping things by truck, train, and ship goes up, which causes the value of the products being transported to be inflated in order to cover the increase and so on.   |   With fuel costing more than $4.00 per gallon, just driving down the street for a burger is getting expensive. One way that many of us have saved money over the years is by owning older trucks with no monthly payment, and doing most of the repairs and maintenance on the vehicles ourselves. By doing the work yourself, you are not dishing out hard-earned funds to cover the price of labor and marked-up cost of parts that some shops hit you with. However, over the past few years, even doing the work yourself has gotten expensive. The inflated price of oil and materials turned what used to be a relatively cheap endeavor into a more costly effort. It is nothing to drop close to two hundred dollars on just materials (oil, filters, fluids, etc.) for routine maintenance on a diesel engine. Then, when it is time to do a more extensive service (transmission, differentials, power steering, etc.) on the vehicle, the cost jumps even higher because of the numerous different fluids and filters needed. Another factor that affects expenditures is the use of the synthetic fluids that newer trucks require. Synthetics historically have been a bit more expensive than the traditional petroleum-based products, but, like everything else, they continue to increase in price. A plus side to good synthetics is the extended service intervals. Along with keeping up with the cost of regular maintenance, there is the expense of the items like brake parts, tires, hoses, and belts that wear out with normal use. Prices for these parts also continue to elevate. Of course, as the oil burner and the truck it resides in begin to age, bigger repairs are inevitable. The parts for those big repairs can run up a bill quickly, but the flip side and the reason why I like older trucks, is there is no payment. Repair costs do not come close to the amount that all the monthly payments would be for something new. An addition to the increased prices for parts, the cost of fuel definitely has not followed normal inflation standards. Since the time I started driving, fuel cost has literally tripled, which is a big hit to the wallet if you have to drive any type of long distance. It is interesting how a single substance like crude oil has such a huge impact on the automotive industry and vehicle owners, especially when its value dramatically changes. I wish I had the knowledge to come up with a good solution for stabilizing the ever-increasing costs of owning a diesel truck. Unfortunately, it is a bit too complicated for a mere magazine editor to resolve. There is a certain amount of supply and demand that goes with cost increases. As the demand goes up so do prices. If fuel demand diminished worldwide, the value of a drum of oil would too. The simple fact of the matter is, we drive our trucks for good reasons, regardless of the costs that we incur for doing so. The rigs haul parts and tow the trailers that we use for enjoyment and work. They do the jobs that a Toyota Prius would never be able to accomplish. The costs we endure for owning diesel-powered trucks are small, when you consider the amount of satisfaction we feel when we’re in the driver’s seat.

Shop Class: Inside The Crazy World of an NHRA Top Fuel Pit Crew

Fix It Fast!

Think up two means of witnessing crazy power output from a four-stroke engine. First try standing near the tarmac while a B-29 Superfortress takes off about 100 feet over your head. Boeing’s WWII heavy bomber has four twin-row, 18-cylinder radial supercharged engines strapped to its wings pushing up to 3,700 hp—each. Best advice, cover your ears and hold your breath. Next up, hang out a few yards from the Christmas tree while a pair of NHRA Top Fuel dragsters launch off the starting line. Your feet will vibrate against the concrete, followed by a numbing sensation in your chest. These nitromethane-burning powerplants are somewhat simple supercharged Hemi V-8s, but they twist out five-figure horsepower numbers. The over-the-top raw power delivered to the rear wheels is incredible in itself, but the work involved in keeping these monsters tuned and in one piece between 4-second, 325-mph runs is likewise impressive. Consider the brute force of the high-pressure air/nitromethane combustion inflicting damage to these engines. A comparison might be 250,000 miles worth of wear and tear on a street-production V-8, all condensed into a single 1,000-foot pass. A Top Fuel engine burns more than 1 gallon of fuel per second, a tad more than a fullsize commercial passenger jet. The high oxygen content of nitromethane allows for an extremely rich air/fuel ratio. Compared to gasoline engines’ stoichiometric 14.7:1 mixture for efficient performance and emissions, a Top Fuel nitro-burn is closer to a 1:1 ratio. Fuel delivery entails injectors situated in the supercharger, intake manifold, and cylinder head, fed by a fuel pump capable of delivering 100 gallons per minute. Combustion pressures and temperatures peak above 12,000 psi and 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Spark-plug electrodes melt down before reaching the finish line.

  |   Shop Class Inside NHRA Top Fuel Pit Crew Run

After all this force, speed, and hard-part damage take place, the pit crew gets to work—quickly. Every engine, following each run down the track, must be torn down, inspected, necessary parts replaced, reassembled, and fired in 40 minutes. Yep, 40 minutes, and there’s a minimum of three rebuilds en route to the final round of an event.
Pit crews consist of seven to nine members, each responsible for very specific tasks during every race. The crew chief is just that: a drag race–experienced administrator of the entire crew, stipulating jobs for each member to be performed using well-thought-out techniques. He has the last word in real-time decision-making and typically handles final tuning prior to launch.
The co–crew chief, or second in command, is another race veteran with a more hands-on job of crew supervision, as per the crew chief. He leads all crew activities, typically manages parts and supplies inventory and acquisition, and often oversees tuning and other crucial responsibilities between runs.
At the heart of the crew are specialized technicians dealing with designated sections of the engine, drivetrain, and chassis. There are lots of jobs that require attention between both runs and events; each technician usually holds the responsibility of several.
Through the entire process, the driver’s safety is every crewmember’s responsibility. When a failure occurs in a Top Fuel engine, we’re not just talking sluggish acceleration, a little smoke, or an oil leak. We’re talking about a potential explosion, shrapnel, and fire that can kill or maim the guy behind the wheel. That’s why inspection is such a vital part of the job.

Disassembly

The dragster is positioned in a narrow area alongside the team’s trailer and jacked up off the ground, and teardown takes place with the use of wireless electric and pneumatic tools. Read More

Volkswagen Considering Production Version of Atlas Tanoak Pickup

New York Auto Show Concept Could Preview Consumer Vehicle

Volkswagen is reportedly considering a production version of the Atlas Tanoak pickup concept. The show vehicle, which was revealed in March at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, was reportedly a design study intended to gauge consumer response to a Vee-Dub pickup. Autocar reports that Volkswagen’s U.S. bosses are still mulling over the Tanoak’s prospects in our market. “It fits the brand well, because we want to get more American in the U.S., but it’s something we have to look at carefully,” said Hinrich Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “It’s a very patriotic segment, which American manufacturers dominate.”

  |   2018 Nyias Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept Exterior Rear Quarter 02

However, the data might suggest otherwise, at least in the midsize pickup segment. In that market, the Toyota Tacoma is far and away the bestselling model, having moved more than 116,000 units through the first half of 2018. By contrast, the Chevrolet Colorado sold more than 69,000 through the first half of 2018, and GMC only moved about 18,000 examples of the midsize Canyon. The domestic players beat the charming-but-ancient Nissan Frontier, which found about 41,000 homes through June 2018. Furthermore, the domestics trounced the unibody Honda Ridgeline (which is only available in one body style), at about 15,000 units sold.
In our eyes, the likelihood of a production Tanoak pickup relies on the success of the midsize SUV that forms its base. If Volkswagen can bolster the sales of the Atlas crossover, the company might find it in its coffers to bankroll the Tanoak. Alas, as it sits, the Atlas’ sales are tracking at about half that of the GMC Acadia, a third of the Honda Pilot, and a mere quarter of the Ford Explorer. That’s a shame, as both the Atlas and its potential Tanoak pickup variant are attractive and sleek. We hope to see both succeed.
Source: Autocar

Testing the Nexen Roadian MTX

A Thorough Thrashing

What do you do when a brand-new off-road tire comes on the market and you have a bunch of experienced magazine guys itching to test it? Stuff those expert magazine guys into a mildly lifted but otherwise stock Jeep Wrangler JL Sport, install said tires (in 35×12.50R17 flavor), turn them loose somewhere in Oregon, and let them have at it. That’s just what we did. Clocking about a thousand miles of on-road and off-road abuse over the course of four days, the four of us (to be named in a minute) all got ample time to see how Nexen Tire’s newest offering performed. The Roadian MTX (MT stands for Mud-Terrain Extreme) is a new tire from a Korean tire company, Nexen. While the name may sound new, Nexen has been around under one name or another since 1942. Nexen’s goal is to build great tires with state-of-the-art manufacturing and innovation. The Roadian MTX is built to perform off-road as a radial tire with three-ply sidewalls, an aggressive patented tread block design with plenty of siping, dual sidewall designs dubbed the Machine and the Beast, and an available F-load weight rating for on-road weight-bearing confidence, all on a carcass ready to be aired down on the trail. You may be asking yourself why we, of all people, get to do this? What makes us uniquely qualified to test and tell how this new tire performs? Well, between Stuart Bourdon (Jp magazine tech editor), Sean Holman (Four Wheeler Network’s content director), Jared Korfage (Four Wheeler magazine staff editor, and yours truly (Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road technical editor), we have decades of experience evaluating off-road tires. So, did the Nexen Roadian MTX live up to the name? From dunes to wet and muddy rocks and deep snow, and on wet, snowy, and dry pavement and hard-packed dirt, we put these tires through their paces and found their strengths (which are many) and weaknesses (which are few). In short, yes. Check it out.
Wet dune sand at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area posed no challenge for the Nexen Roadian MTXs on our 2018 JL Wrangler Unlimited. The steep dunes were a blast to play in. Try as we might with the tires aired down to about 15 psi, we couldn’t get the Jeep stuck without heading straight up the back side of a dune (where anything would dig in). With the Wrangler in low range and the transmission in Drive, the 3.6L ripped through the first few gears of the eight-speed auto.

  |   The sharp edges, sipes, and widely spaced tread lugs helped tear into the sand, providing reliable traction anywhere on the dunes. Those tread lugs that we love in the dunes (and everywhere else off-road) led to the tires’ only real weakness, which is they are a tad noisy on pavement. We’ll take that as a compromise for strength and traction.

First Drive Preview – 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Highway Miles, Off-Road Mud, and Towing Heavy

Back in January, Chevrolet shocked us all when they unveiled the all-new and radically redesigned 2019 Silverado 1500 ahead of the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Silverado sports a new frame, updated suspension, improved drivetrains, advanced technology, and a new body constructed of a mix of steel and aluminum. New exterior styling broke with decades of typical Chevy design and set a new standard for the future of trucks. This styling, however, proved to be wildly polarizing to the wider public. Since its debut we’ve been learning more and more about the new Silverado as GM slowly dished out info to us, but seat time is what we’ve been patiently waiting for. Now the big day has arrived and we’ve finally been allowed to slide behind the (now centered) wheel for a quick first drive of the newest generation Silverado. You’ll have to wait a few more days until we can share our thoughts (drive impressions are still embargoed), so for now enjoy our photos and a few factual tidbits about our day in the mountains. Chevy brought out a handful of High Country, LTZ, and Trail Boss models for us to drive in beautiful Jackson, Wyoming. The drivetrains available were the 6.2L V-8 and 10-speed combo, along with the 5.3L and 8-speed. Not present were the 2.7L four-cylinder or 3.0L diesel—we’ll have to continue waiting for those.

  |   049 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 First Drive Trail Boss Off Road

Our drive consisted of about 100 miles on the road, including steep mountain passes and winding two-lane highway. We were also given a quartet of pickups saddled with 6,000-pound trailers, in both 5.3L and 6.2L guises, to experience their towing ability. And of course, most exciting was the off-road course set up to test the Trail Boss that had stacked logs, large rocks, loose dirt, and splashy mud.
We’ve certainly got a lot to say about the 2019 Silverado, so check back soon for our full report!

Particulate Matters: For What It’s Worth

Particulate Matters

Some of you may recall the “Do I Miss Mustang?” Particulate Matters column , in which I explained my dilemma of owning several Ford Mustangs (four at that time) and two diesel pickups and coming to grips with the reality that I might be losing interest in Fox- (’79-to-’93) and other late-model ’Stangs. I struggled to find answers to two very serious questions: “Do we keep our Mustangs?” Or, “Do we sell ’em?” Here’s quick history for first-time Diesel Power readers who don’t know me yet. I came into the diesel scene and my job as editor of this fine magazine by way of a long career in late-model Ford Mustang performance—first, as an enthusiast for many years, then as senior technical editor of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords from 2005 until it was closed in 2014. Yes, for all intents and purposes, I was a “Mustang guy” through and through, and fully embracing diesel was a bit of a challenge for me. A lot has changed since I penned those musings for our October 2017 issue. First, I am a lot more committed to diesel now, and I honestly believe I’m in this game for the long haul. Not only do I “get” diesel from a mechanical standpoint (the trucks, drivetrains, modifications, and such), I’m also a lot more connected to and in sync with the diesel lifestyle, as well as the enthusiasts, shops, manufacturers, and organizations who make this scene so cool. Which brings me to the news I want to share and a new dilemma that seemingly goes hand in hand with it. I’ve finally begun selling our Mustangs. My black ’90 LX coupe is gone—ironically, it was purchased by a fairly well-known member of the diesel community (who, for this report, shall remain nameless)—and it’s time for my green ’91 LX hatchback, the project car I call “Cheaper Sleeper,” to make its way to a new driveway or garage, too.

  |   No, Diesel Power Challenge 2018 Presented by XDP’s Third Place finisher Trae Hutton’s ’03 GMC Sierra 2500HD isn’t for sale. It’s just a great example of a desired truck (Drivers’ Choice Award winner) that, since DPC, has received purchase offers that are nearly $20,000 below the rig’s fair “value.” Does that make any sense? Hell no, it doesn’t! Read More

Cadillac Might Offer 2020 Escalade With Hybrid and Performance Powertrains

Exclusive V-8 Could Distinguish Caddy from Tahoe and Yukon

Cadillac will reportedly offer the 2020 Escalade luxury SUV with three different powertrains, according to enthusiast site Cadillac Society, quoting a source close to the new SUV’s development. Each powertrain will be paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, bolstering performance and efficiency.

  |   9969073

It’s likely that one of those new powertrains will be a plug-in hybrid, taking cues from Caddy’s CT6 2.0e fullsize sedan. The CT6, which pairs battery-electric propulsion with a 2.0L turbocharged I-4, produces 335 hp and 432 lb-ft, numbers that fade compared to the current Escalade’s 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. But pair electric motors with a more powerful engine (say, the 2019 Silverado 1500’s 2.7L turbo four), and suddenly a 450hp hybrid doesn’t seem unreasonable—with at least 22 mpg in the city to boot. The 2009-2013 Escalade Hybrid, which wasn’t a plug-in capable of extended electric-only driving, achieved 20 mpg on the EPA’s test cycle in town and 21 on the highway. Expect the Escalade 2.7e (or whatever they call it) to improve on both numbers significantly.

1986 Chevy K5 Blazer- Ta Cabron

Sometimes You Have To Say “What the Hell”

The phrase Ta Cabron is Spanish slang for “oh well, just do it.” Eduardo Gomez decided early on that’s the approach he would take in creating a masterpiece that is way outside the box. Growing up in San Miguel el Alto, Mexico, with his two younger brothers, Eduardo relied on a strong family bond. His father and uncle both owned older-style dualie trucks, and that body style just became second nature to the impressionable youth.

  |   1986 Chevy K5 Blazer Ta Cabron Side View

When Eduardo turned 15, he and his family moved to McKinney, Texas, for a better education and more opportunities for the Gomez family. When he turned 17, one of his father’s friends gave him a Chevy Silverado to drive to and from school. Eduardo got a job at a gas station sweeping and mopping as well as stocking shelves and helped take care of his mom and brothers.
With his mind set on eventually getting back to his dualie roots, he started searching to find a nice truck that would bring back his childhood nostalgia. With no luck on Internet sites, Eduardo found something locally that piqued his interest. He saw a post for an ’86 Chevy K5 Blazer sitting as a body and frame. Although the truck had no motor or transmission, Eduardo had some intriguing plans for the Chevy.

Massive MegaCab: BDS Suspension takes our 2017 Ram to New Heights

2017 Ram 2500- Massive MegaCab

The Ram MegaCab has proven itself to be a beast of a truck. With the extra cab space, near-indestructible Cummins powerplant, and relative affordability of Ram trucks as compared to the other HD truck lines, Ram has firmly planted itself in the forefront of the custom lifted truck scene—and we have the backlog of potential Ram cover trucks to prove it. When longtime friend of the magazine, OG Negative Camber member, and all-around good guy Mike Sutton picked up a well-bought ’17 Ram 2500 recently, we knew we had a new testbed for some killer Ram tech for the magazine. At the point we got our hands on the truck, it was bone stock, save for the usual debadging and window tint. We decided that getting the truck sitting at a respectable—and level—height was at the top of our priorities. A 6-inch lift, 20-inch wheels, and 37-inch tires were on the agenda.

  |   Before: We started out with a brand-new, bone-stock ’17 Ram 2500 Cummins— debadged, of course.

BDS Suspension offers a plethora of options for lifting your HD Ram. You can choose from leveling or a 4- to a 6-inch kit, and there are several different versions of each, depending on your plans for the truck. From there, you have a ton of add-ons to choose from—and we them all! Our order included the 6-inch four-link suspension system, along with the optional front adjustable track bar, dual steering stabilizer, and front dual shock hoop. Also included in our order were a total of eight shocks from Fox Racing. For wheels, we picked up a set of Center Line’s new 20×10 LT3 wheels in black with machined edges. For an aggressive look but still plenty of road manners, we chose 37×12.50R20 Trail Grappler M/Ts from Nitto. With this combo, we knew we’d have the looks and performance we were after.
This was a very involved install and is not for the faint of heart. There was a fair amount of trimming, drilling, and welding involved. Follow along below as we knock it out in a couple of days. And log onto BDS Suspension, Center Line, and Nitto’s websites to see what they offer for your tuck.

Ford and Volkswagen May Collaborate on 2025 Ranger and Amarok Pickups

Commercial Vehicle Joint Venture Could Lead to a U.S.-Market Amarok

Ford Motor Company announced in June that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Volkswagen AG, and the first evidence of that possible partnership could be the 2025 Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger pickups.

  |   Volkswagen Amarok Front Three Quarter

The companies “are exploring potential projects across a number of areas—including developing a range of commercial vehicles together to better serve the evolving needs of customers,” according to a Ford press release. Speaking to Australian media outlet GoAuto, Volkswagen Group Australia Managing Director Michael Bartsch insinuated the Amarok could be part of that strategic alliance.
“All options are being looked at,” he said. “All avenues are being explored…What I think is very clear is, to be competitive in Australia, we have to get the cost base of Amarok down.”

Episode 22 of The Truck Show Podcast: Ford Raptor Gains Fox Live Valve Shocks

Sticker Shock, Ford Raptor Gains Fox Live Valve Shocks, 2018 GMC Sierra Denali HD, the Truth About GM’s Fuel Gauge

The Truck Show Podcast Presented by Nissan is a fun, irreverent, and edgy look at today’s world of custom and factory trucks, hosted by truck enthusiasts Sean Holman and Jay “Lightning” Tilles. It’s hard to believe, but today marks the release of episode 22. The weeks are flying by so quickly that even we forget what episode we’re on!

  |   Truck Show Podcast Presented By Nissan Holman Lightning 2

Sticker Shock’s Dennis Pittsenbarger stops by The Truck Show Podcast to talk about some of the unique truck stories from season one, and Chris Paiva, Ford Performance engineer for Vehicle Dynamics, tells all about how Fox’s new Live Valve technology made the 2019 Ford Raptor even better. The guys also have Jason Gonderman, editor of Truck Trend magazine, in studio to share his review of the 2018 GMC Denali 2500HD Crew Cab Duramax–oh, and he saves the guys after locking themselves out of the studio.

SPIED: 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty in F-250 and F-450 Forms

Is a Regular-Cab F-450 on the Way?

Ford will comprehensively update the 2020 F-Series Super Duty to match incoming competition from the all-new Chevrolet Silverado HD and Ram Heavy Duty. Mirroring many of the updates made to the 2018 Ford F-150, expect the new Super Duty to receive altered exterior styling and new powertrains to keep the big truck relevant.
The Super Duty’s skin isn’t readily visible under Ford’s stippled powertrain, but we can clearly make out an updated grille that abandons the current truck’s twin-bar design. The 2020 Super Duty will replace that styling feature with a much more open grille, adorned with a big Ford logo in the middle. We also expect a new headlight design, and the rear end will receive a more sculpted tailgate and more modern taillights.

  |   2020 Ford F 450 Super Duty Front Grille

Spy photographers spotted the 2020 F-Series Super Duty testing in two variants: An F-250 crew cab and an unusual 10-lug dualie wearing 19.5-inch wheels and a regular cab body. Its hub and wheel layout would suggest this is an F-450, but we’re thrown off by the small cab—currently, the F-450 is available to private customers in crew cab form only. Of course, the vehicle could be a test mule for the fleet F-450, which is available with a regular cab and no cargo box. Or it could presage a retail-ready F-450 regular cab, destined for privateers who want big towing capability but don’t need seating for five.

Airstream Launches Basecamp X with More Ground Clearance and Rugged Tires

The compact Airstream Basecamp will get a new X-package designed to increase its capability over rougher terrain. To the regular Airstream Basecamp, the X-package adds a 3-inch lift for added ground clearance and a better departure angle. In addition, the Basecamp X is fitted with Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires to improve traction on slippery surfaces. Furthermore, Airstream will give the compact, rugged camp trailer stainless steel stone guards, solar front window protection, and new wheels with a blacked-out color scheme.
Other than that, the basic Airstream Basecamp virtues remain. Weighing in at 2,635 pounds (50 more than the regular Basecamp) and with a gross weight rating of 3,500 pounds, the Basecamp X is well within the towing capacity of many small and midsize SUVs, including the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Subaru Ascent, and Toyota 4Runner. The X also includes all of the Basecamp’s interior amenities, like a 3–cubic-foot refrigerator, 22-gallon freshwater tank, and sleeping accommodations for two. Compared to harder-core off-road trailers, the Airstream Basecamp X looks more suited for fire roads than the Rubicon Trail, but it still looks like it offers a useful improvement in functionality without sacrificing what makes the lightweight Basecamp so great. At $39,600, the X-package demands $2,700 more than a normal Basecamp, but the holistic improvement is probably worth it to those who insist on that Airstream mystique. Source: Airstream   |   Airstream Basecamp X With Other Trailers

Camp N Drag 2018

Rain Didn’t Stop These Enthusiasts

Every show promoter’s biggest fear is inclement weather. The larger shows get three hundred and sixty three days to promote their show and one weekend to enjoy the event. Not since 2015 had the Waveland, Indiana show Camp N Drag had any threat of rain, but this year the radar began looking like there would be an impact. The 500-acre Waveland Lake & Park is known for its lack of cellphone reception, so the normal routine is to put the phones away and enjoy the weekend with friends, camp grounds and trucks. The rain played a good role in keeping the 400+ registered vehicles in their camp instead of being on the main field throughout the weekend event.

  |   Camp N Drag 2018 Chevy

Camp N Drag 2018 sponsors include, Drop Em, Balistik, Thorbecke, Asphalt Army, Buddies Garage, Wicked Welds, Nichols Paint and Fab, Kirco Percision Tools, St. Charles Yacht Club, All Time Low Magazine, Air Lift, Lowrider Depot, Meguiars and Drivn. Kirco Precision Tools also designed interesting awards including the top 75 spatulas and unique specialty awards. Kyle Richardson used his International Loadstar “Grain Truck” to haul over two thousand donated Barbie dolls for Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Files Complaint Against Mahindra for Infringement

FCA Seeking to Block Marketing and Sale of Roxor Off-Highway Vehicle

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed a complaint against Indian automaker Mahindra Wednesday, detailing a claim that the Mahindra Roxor is an unlawful infringement on FCA brand Jeep’s intellectual property. The Mahindra Roxor is based on an Indian-market sport-utility vehicle that is indeed built under license from FCA and its predecessors. Built in India since 1949, the Roxor’s first ancestor was a Willys-licensed design that very closely resembled the military Jeep.
FCA’s claim rises from the Roxor’s distinctly Jeep-like styling: a curved hood, round headlights, nearly vertical bodysides, a flat grille, exterior hood latches, and more. According to The Detroit News, Mahindra responded to the complaint Friday, calling it without merit given past agreements between the company and FCA. “The relationship [between the two companies] began in the 1940s with the original agreement with Willys and continues to this day, with the most recent agreement executed with FCA (then Chrysler Group LLC) in 2009,” a statement from the company read. “Our actions, products, and product distribution (including Roxor) both honor the legacy of the relationship and the terms of our agreements with FCA.”

  |   2018 Mahindra ROXOR 4×4

The Italian-American automaker is requesting that the International Trade Commission investigate Mahindra’s distribution and sale of the Roxor in the United States. The complaint specifically calls for a ban on the importation and sale of the Mahindra Roxor in the U.S.
We certainly hope the two companies find a mutually acceptable solution to this. On one hand, the Roxor does a very close imitation of the Jeep CJ-5, but on the other, few people shopping for an authentic Jeep Wrangler will be satisfied by an off-highway–only machine with limited weather protection and a top speed of 45 mph. We don’t think the Roxor is doing any damage to Jeep’s reputation or sales, and we hope we’ll still see its diesel-powered retro charm on off-highway trails soon.
Source: The Detroit News

The Gift of Grab: We Test the New General Graber A/Tx

The Gift of Grab

The recently released General Grabber A/T X comes on the heels of the hugely successful Grabber X3 and replaces the long-running and also hugely successful AT2. When a tire is loved by tire dealer and customer alike, it isn’t easy to improve upon, but General Tire took a big swing at it by incorporating much of what was learned from the X3 while making many small improvements to the already popular tread pattern. But if you think General simply slapped the X3 sidewall onto the AT2 and called it a day—read on, because you would be selling this truly all-new tire and the engineers short. This is usually where we plug in a bunch of fancy marketing terms to describe the new technology, but we’ll try to let you in on what they actually do for the tire instead. A great example of this is General’s DuraGen Technology, which translates to an additional absorption layer under the tread for a more comfortable ride and a proprietary compound that provides long and even wear with extreme cut and chip resistance.

  |   New General Graber A Tx On Chevy

  |   New General Graber A Tx

And the winter-challenged can rejoice, as this tire carries the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol on the sidewall, indicating a severe snow rating, and also has provisions that make it a studable tire. That five-row tread pattern features wider voids filled with traction notches that offer additional grip in dirt, snow, and all loose surfaces. The multi-angle edges all over the lugs provide off-road grip in every direction. Moving to the sidewall, the alternating shoulder scoops provide a large gripping area for traction on the rocks while also protecting the sidewall. Best of all, General hit the ground running with fitment, providing 40 sizes ranging from 27×8.50R14 to 35×12.50R20. General even offers a 45-day trial with the Grabber A/T X and a 50,000- to 60,000-mile limited treadwear warranty, depending on size.

Chevrolet to Include VIN-Specific Towing Label on 2019 Silverado 1500

Industry-First Label Could Safeguard Against Accidental Overloading

Chevrolet will include a trailering label on the driver’s doorjamb of the 2019 Silverado 1500, tied to the specific truck’s VIN—taking its powertrain, towing and payload packages, and optional equipment into account. It will include the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating, gross combined weight rating, maximum payload, maximum tongue weight, and curb weight.

  |   2019 Chevrolet Silverado Ltz Front Quarter

The company claims the trailering label is an industry first, and it makes good sense. Often, manufacturers list their trucks’ maximum payload and towing ratings by considering bodystyle, engine, transmission, and axle gearing specifications. Since gross vehicle weight ratings remain the same within those parameters, two nearly identical trucks could have different towing and payload ratings if one is loaded down with luxury items like a sunroof, heated and cooled seats, and a larger infotainment screen.

Kirk Cessac’s 1985 Jeep CJ-7: BFGoodrich's WHAT ARE YOU BUILDING FOR? Contest Winner for July

Redo for the Do-Over

  |   1985 Jeep CJ 7 What Are You Building For 06

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. So when Kirk Cessac introduced his nephew Grant to off-roading, he made darn sure he had everything under control before he pointed his ’85 Jeep CJ-7 at the dirt. “Sure enough I got high-centered,” he admits, laughing at his misfortune. “I didn’t even have a shovel!” He and his sons Lucas and Noah broke the Jeep free by jamming some scrub under the dangling tires. “Grant got a little anxious but at the end of the day he thought it was a cool adventure.” Read More

By now everyone should know that excessive heat is the leading killer of automatic transmissions. Hard working diesel trucks are no exception to this rule. Simply doing what diesels do best, which includes towing heavy loads, pushing around big off-road tires, or racing sports cars light-to-light, can quickly push trans temps into the red. Add in more power from a performance tuner, or transmission tuning that increases line pressure, and you can really cook a transmission quick.
Installing an aftermarket cooler is a great way to combat high fluid temperature. However, most of the time this requires custom fabrication and difficult installation of a universal, on-size-fits-some, heat exchanger. Fortunately for ’01 to ’10 Duramax owners PPE has a bolt-on solution that’s as functional as it is simple.

Trump Administration’s EPA Rolls Back Obama-Era Fuel Economy Standards

Agency Also Intends to Remove California-Specific Rules

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new set of rules Thursday that would roll back Obama-era automobile fuel economy standards in the pursuit of lower vehicle costs and increased safety. These changes were expected under the administration of President Donald Trump, who has said that fuel economy standards were imposing greater costs on the average consumer. Former President Barack Obama’s administration set a mandate in his first term that would require automakers to achieve a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by the year 2025. According to the EPA’s proposal, “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks,” the agency would amend the rules to retain standards for model year 2020. The new rules would cap corporate average fuel economy standards at 43.7 mpg for passenger cars and 31.3 mpg for light trucks through model year 2026. One of the reasons given for the change was to reduce costs for consumers, allowing them to upgrade to newer, safer vehicles. The EPA says that current fuel economy standards could add more than $2,000 to the cost of a new vehicle, leading drivers to hold onto their older, less safe vehicles rather than upgrade to newer machines. At press time, only Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had responded to the proposed rules: “The proposal includes a range of options, and we will carefully evaluate how each aligns with FCA’s goals of continuous improvement in vehicle efficiency and, at the same time, building vehicles customers want, at prices they can afford.” In addition to new fuel economy standards, the EPA is expected to revoke California’s right to impose its own emissions standards under the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB was created in 1967 to fight increasing air pollution in the state due to population growth, and its rules have been adopted by 12 other states and Washington D.C., according to the State of Maryland. However, the Trump administration’s EPA proposal would require California to abide by federal rules, rather than set its own. The CARB website suggests the state should be allowed to set its own standards, owing to its “unique geography, weather, and expanding number of people and vehicles.” California joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia in suing the EPA in May, asking the court to review the EPA’s proposed actions.

Detonation: Getting Away

Getting Away

I enjoy being outdoors: going on camping trips, off-roading, and just getting away from the traffic, people, and bills that seem to engulf our lives. Taking off on a road trip is the best way to mentally unwind. There is just something peaceful and refreshing about nature that helps clear the brain of the foggy haze that comes from dealing with life’s daily ordeals. Being around a lot of people in a fancy resort-style campground is not what I am talking about. I look forward to the type of camping that puts you in the middle of more animals, trees, and plant life than people—a spot that’s off the beaten path (typically referred to as a dry camp, with no hookups like sewer, water, or electricity). While dry camping with a self-contained recreational vehicle (running water, electricity, and holding tanks onboard) makes it easy to stay in places that have no amenities, an RV is not a requirement. Enjoyable, simple camping can be done with a tent or under the stars.

  |   My friends Mary Jane and Jeff Curry have been cruising throughout the U.S. in their Roadtrek RS diesel Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, seeing the sights and visiting family. The rig’s compact size gives them the ability to get into places where bigger campers cannot fit and provides great fuel economy, while still having the amenities of home.

Camping in all its forms can be a great adventure. It offers the chance to get out and see new places or visit old favorites. It can also be more than what you expected or planned for when the weather changes abruptly and you’re not really prepared. Tents (or lack of) can sometimes leave you a bit soggy when it rains. This is when staying in an RV is handy.
I owned an old gasser motorhome I used to tow my toys and as a place to stay out of the elements. It was nice for the way I used it but was also a pain in the butt. Between the maintenance on the drivetrain, the coach’s amenities (refrigerator, stove, plumbing, and such), and keeping up with its slowly decaying corpse (the wooden structure was deteriorating), I always seemed to be working on it. In addition to all those issues, the worst thing about the rig was it was pretty gutless when loaded down with water, supplies, and a trailer.
I would have loved to own a motorhome with a diesel engine in it, but when I bought mine, most of the used diesel rigs available were built on bus and high-end, heavy-duty truck chassis, which were all way out of my price range. There were a few home-built bus conversions floating around, but those were a gamble. There were other options, like a diesel pickup with a trailer or a camper mounted on it, but those setups either didn’t work for me or were too pricey.
The Truck Show Podcast Presented by Nissan is a fun, irreverent, and edgy look at today’s world of custom and factory trucks, hosted by truck enthusiasts Sean Holman and Jay “Lightning” Tilles. If you’re new, welcome to the party! You’ll fit right in. For those who have tuned in from the beginning, thanks for your support.
When we left our “Beat to Neat” Project Over/Under, we had completed the interior, made some power, and had things running pretty well under the hood. We have not yet addressed the exterior whatsoever. If you read the editor’s column, you may have noticed we’ve slowly been cleaning off the stock moldings and badges and doing some primering, but that’s about it. Well, that ends today, because any overland-style truck worth its salt needs more than a beat-up, empty bed. We spent a little time deciding what we wanted. Extra storage, obviously. But we were also looking for more of a sporty look, as opposed to using full-on rockcrawler accessories. And, as with every component of this build, we were looking for nice-looking, functional items that don’t break the bank.
Our first call was to SnugTop, in Long Beach, California, from which we ordered a custom shell—in primer, of course. We chose the lifetime-warranty Rebel design, which features tinted sliders on the front and sides and a flush-mount-look rear glass. The inside of the shell features a full carpet kit, 12-volt LED light, and dual USB ports. Also from SnugTop was the Yakima Corebar system—the base setup for running a roof rack on the shell. Combined the rest of the Yakima system, namely the MegaWarrior roof rack basket with not one but two MegaWarrior Extentions, this is one of the biggest Yakima racks ever built! It is, after all, a longbed. Speaking of longbeds, BedRug didn’t have a part number for this exact truck, so we picked up a universal BedMat and trimmed it to fit perfectly. We began the install at our favorite truck bed outfitters, Discount Camper Shells in Long Beach, California, and later added the MegaWarrior basket and BedMat in our friend’s brand new garage.

Cummins QSB6.7; Performance Oriented Maritime Diesel

Performance-Oriented Maritime Diesel

Since the company’s inception in 1919, Cummins has been involved in building engines for maritime purposes. The power, economy, and longevity of diesel engines make them ideally suited for powering seagoing vessels. Today, Cummins offers a broad selection of marine engines that range in size from 104hp 5.9L engines to 4,200hp engines displacing a massive 95 liters. The extensive lineup of oil-burners serves in a multitude of vessels, providing things like propulsion and diesel-electric power generation in everything from sport fishers to freighters. One such unit is the marine-specific QSB6.7, which can be used as a propulsion unit or as an auxiliary powerplant in recreational and commercial vessels. The engine was developed alongside its automotive brothers: the B Series 6.7L and the off-highway QSB6.7. The variations use the same basic architecture, sharing many internal components, along with the block and cylinder head. A key difference of QSB marine is the maximum output of 550 hp and 1,250 lb-ft of torque it produces, which is a bit higher than its on-road sibling’s 385 hp and 930 lb-ft of torque.

  |   A Cummins Turbo Technologies water-cooled wastegate turbocharger is mounted on the rear of the QSB6.7 marine engine for ease of access. Walker Performance Filtration’s air filter is used to reduce noise.

One of the key factors allowing Cummins to get that amount of power from the marine QSB is the seawater cooling system’s ability to keep temperatures regulated. Seawater is used in a single-loop, low-temperature aftercooler that regulates coolant in the water jackets. The heat exchanger has a tube-and-shell design that provides durability and ease of maintenance. The cool ocean water is also used to lower the temperature of the air going through the charged-air cooler and cast-iron exhaust manifold. Safety and performance are improved by lowering the manifold’s surface temperature.
A Cummins Turbo Technologies rear-mounted, water-cooled, marine-optimized turbocharger is matched to the 24-valve cylinder head to provide optimum power density. An electronic Bosch high-pressure common-rail (HPCR) injection system feeds fuel directly into the cylinders from a centralized injector. Teflon-coated aluminum pistons with contoured oil galleys help improve cooling, reduce wear, and extend engine life.
In the May 2017 issue of Diesel Power, in an article titled “Inside the Duramax L5P,” we visited Gale Banks Engineering in Azusa, California, and documented the complete dismantling of a straight-out-of-the-crate version of GM’s latest 6.6L powerplant. After the engine was completely taken apart, its individual components were compared side by side with the equivalent internal pieces of a Duramax LML. The comparison allowed us to see the innovations and changes GM integrated into its new diesel creation, and many of the features show there’s potential yet to be unlocked.
Not long after returning from our visit, we received a call from Gale Banks, who told us about his plan to put the same L5P back together. He explained that the reassembly process would include measuring tolerances and clearances of key pieces. Recording this data would also provide an accurate analysis of the engine that can be used to design such performance components as camshafts and pistons. It also provides insight into possible issues that may arise from modifying an L5P. Any time there is a chance to gain more understanding of what makes this new engine tick, count us in.
A few weeks after our phone conversation with Gale, we spent three days with Gale Banks Engineering’s lead engine builder, Mike Keegan, as he reassembled and measured the L5P’s critical internal components.

Jaguar Updates F-Pace SUV Slightly for 2019

SVR Model, Standard Active Safety Features, and Added Option Packages Join Lineup

Jaguar will update the popular F-Pace slightly for 2019 by adding a few features to the graceful SUV’s roster. Furthermore, the already announced 550hp SVR model is expected to arrive in time for the 2019 model year.

  |   2019 Jaguar F Pace Exterior Front Quarter 01

The F-Pace remains largely the same appearance-wise, but Jaguar is adding a few key standard safety features, including automated emergency braking, Lane Keep Assist, and front and rear parking aids, as well as a rearview camera. Furthermore, optional Adaptive Cruise Control is now available with Steering Assist, a fatigue-reducing feature that helps keep the Jaguar centered in its lane.
The 2019 F-Pace now comes standard with the company’s 10-inch InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, mercifully avoiding the confusing Touch Pro Duo system of its Range Rover Velar platform-mate. Further enhancing the interior will be optional “slimline sport seats,” illuminated doorsill trim, and Jaguar’s luxurious suedecloth headliner.
It looks fake, like something out of a sci-fi movie. And for that reason alone, we couldn’t resist interest. A conversation starter to say the least, the ZaiTruck is an all-terrain, all-purpose mobile laboratory, studio, and office truck, constructed on an 18-ton military 6×6 MAN KAT chassis and powered by a Magirus Deutz V-10 engine. It’s the creation of ZaiLab, a next-generation software company specializing in contact center software.
It’s quite an interesting world that we magazine folk live in. In many ways, we’re not unlike the modern carny. We live on the road, going where we’re told when we’re told, and live almost totally at the mercy of those who are running the traveling circus from which we can’t escape. Our days often blur into what amounts to a never-ending road trip, split up only by brief stints in the flying aluminum torture tube. It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz, glamor, wine, and dine whirlwind. So for that reason it is important to break this cycle from time to time, if for nothing else to preserve some sort of sanity and reconnect with the real world, if even briefly.

V2X: I-70 to Turn Into Connected Roadway

CDOT and Panasonic Collaborate on V2X Environment

You’ve been involved in a crash and your airbag deploys. Before you can find your phone to call for help, emergency responders and a tow truck arrive on-scene. There’s a dangerous snow flurry ahead. Before a catastrophic pileup, drivers, alerted to the hazard via alerts on their dashes, are diverted to other roads or instructed to enter cautiously, while a snowplow is also dispatched. Cars are stopping hard around a blind curve. A dash alert cautions drivers approaching the bend to slow down.

  |   CDOT Panasonic I 70 V2X Unit Locations

This is the future of smart, connected roads—where vehicles communicate with each other and traffic managers through continuous and automatic roadside units, enabling real-time information about road conditions and events affecting the flow of traffic to be sent and received instantaneously. It may seem like something out of some futuristic sci-fi movie, but it’s actually happening now. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Panasonic have partnered on a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) project along the I-70 Mountain Corridor from Golden to Vail. It’s the largest shared investment in V2X technology, and it’s well underway; five V2X roadside units and six V2X vehicles with onboard units have proven successful already. The goal is to complete the roadside infrastructure—100 roadside units total—by the end of 2018. Additionally, more than 100 CDOT vehicles that frequent the I-70 corridor (close to where Diesel Power Challenge used to hold its fuel economy drive) will be equipped with the V2X technology. The project is stated to end in 2021 and serve as a model for the rest of the nation.

Aston Martin Varekai Likely to Offer Inline-Six, Possible Mild Hybrid

Expect at Least 450 Horses in Aston’s First SUV

The 2020 Aston Martin Varekai, heralded as the brand’s first SUV, will reportedly use a Mercedes-Benz–sourced six-cylinder engine for motive force. Speaking to members of the Australian media, Aston’s Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman suggested the new SUV could draw from the English company’s working relationship with Daimler. He was quoted by Australian website Motoring saying, “It could [use a Mercedes-sourced six-cylinder], because that would be a pretty good engine and combination. Potentially.”

  |   Aston Martin DBX Concept Front Three Quarter Studio3

The likely engine in this scenario would be Mercedes-Benz’s all-new 3.0L turbocharged I-6, which produces 429 hp and 568 lb-ft in the Mercedes-AMG CLS53. That application also includes a stout 48V electrical system capable of boosting low-speed engine output by 21 horses and a husky 184 lb-ft. It stands to reason, then, that an Aston Martin–tuned version of the engine could produce 450 hp all on its own, with that additional electrical output eliminating the perception of turbo lag and improving real-world performance. (Of course, this powertrain rumor would run counter to previous reports the Varekai would be gasoline-only.)
It’s also possible that the Varekai could use Benz’s other performance six, the 3.0L twin-turbocharged V-6 found in the Mercedes-AMG C43. This mill produces 362 hp and 384 lb-ft, and a little electric boost could improve thrust in merging and passing situations. We doubt Aston Martin will opt for this engine, however. The CLS53’s engine would fit much better with Aston’s heritage, given the company’s history of smooth, lusty I-6 engines.
Although it’s only been on sale in the U.S. since the 2015 model year, the subcompact Audi Q3 is actually one of the company’s oldest designs, available in global markets since 2011. As such, Audi will completely redesign the Q3 for the 2019 model year, giving it familiar, yet modern styling and new technologies.

2018 Chevy Colorado Redline Road Trip

11 States in a Colorado Redline

I’d wanted to take my oldest daughter on a road trip for some time now. She’s turning 11 this year, entering junior high, and with a lot of changes at home, I thought it would be the perfect excuse to show her America from the road and spend some quality time bonding. When Chevrolet told us it had a Colorado Redline in Detroit that needed to get out to the West Coast and wondered if we were interested in a road trip over Father’s Day weekend, we jumped at the opportunity. In fact, it was one of those rare chances to show her what Dad gets to do for work. The timing was perfect. Starting from Detroit, we worked our way through the Midwest over four days, with the mission of covering as much ground as possible while hitting every worthwhile roadside attraction along the way. From the “World’s Largest” things in Casey, Illinois, to a fire-breathing dragon in Indiana, we kept piling on the miles, making sure to check off the St. Louis Gateway Arch, eat some barbecue at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, and down milkshakes at famous Milt’s in Moab, Utah, before taking a turn toward Four Corners Monument on the way home. By the time we reached Southern California on Father’s Day evening, we notched 11 states in our belt, including four at once, and rolled the Chevy’s wheels to the tune of an impressive 2,726 miles.

  |   Waiting for us at the airport in Detroit was our ’18 Chevrolet Colorado Redline Special Edition 4×4, gassed up and ready for an adventure.

Overall, the Colorado impressed with its just-right size, comfortable cab, and fuel-efficient 3.6L V-6 and eight-speed automatic combination. Whether it was the Eisenhower Tunnel at 11,158 feet or our sea-level destination, the gas V-6 always had plenty of power and did what we asked of it. The EPA label is 17/19/24, but through our trip we consistently saw numbers in the low 20s. We also loved the SiriusXM and Chevy’s integration of CarPlay, which made navigation, phone calls and texts, and playing from the iPhone a simple and intuitive affair. Despite highway speeds, mountain climbs, and fierce headwinds through the California desert, the Colorado delivered an impressive real-world figure of 22 mpg while crossing the country. We also can’t say enough about the confortable front seats, which were put to use 20-plus hours at a time.
With a base price of $33,775 and options, including the Redline Special Edition package (spray on bedliner, 18-inch wheels, off-road steps, red tow hooks, and blacked-out exterior trim for $2,725), bumping our nicely equipped loaner up to $40,025, the Colorado can be built to just about any budget. We’d even go out and say it’s the perfect machine for a road trip across Middle America.

2019 Ford F-150 Limited Gets Raptor’s High-Output EcoBoost V-6

450 Horses on Tap for New Lux Truck

The 2019 Ford F-150 Limited is getting a lot more muscular thanks to the addition of the F-150 Raptor’s high-output EcoBoost V-6. Displacing the same 3.5 liters as the 2018 Limited’s engine, the high-output EcoBoost will make the same 450 hp and 510 lb-ft as it does in the Raptor, increases of 75 hp and 30 lb-ft over the outgoing Limited.

  |   2019 Ford F 150 Limited Exterior Rear Quarter 01

Ford says those numbers are tops in the 1/2-ton pickup class, and we can’t argue much. The only engine that comes close (besides Ford’s own second-generation EcoBoost) is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, whose 6.2L V-8 will produce 425 hp and 450 lb-ft for 2019. Meanwhile, the 2019 Ram 1500’s 5.7L V-8 produces 395 hp and 410 lb-ft, though an optional eTorque mild-hybrid system is capable of adding up to 130 lb-ft from a dead stop.

Sergio Marchionne: 1952-2018

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  • Sergio Marchionne: 1952-2018

Former FCA CEO Succumbs to Complications of Surgery

View Photo Gallery | 1 Photos Sergio Marchionne, the former CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has died. Marchionne, who took over the reins of Fiat in 2004 amid that brand’s struggles, was seen as integral to the survival of Chrysler and its subsidiaries following their collapse in 2008 and 2009. Since then, an infusion of cash and new products has turned both Fiat and Chrysler into competitive entities in the auto market, including the extremely valuable Jeep and Ram brands. Marchionne died of complications stemming from a surgery he had on his shoulder early this month. Reportedly, the procedure was intended to repair an invasive sarcoma, but the auto executive developed a cerebral embolism that put him into a coma, according to Automotive News. On July 21, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Marchionne would not return to work and that Mike Manley, head of Ram and Jeep brands, would assume his duties. Manley had already been tapped to take over for Marchionne, whose original plan was to hand the reins over upon retiring in April 2019. Our friends at Motor Trend have written a beautiful tribute to Marchionne and his work in the automotive industry. The Truck Trend Network and Four Wheeler Network extend our deep sympathies to his family, as well as to his friends and colleagues at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Sources: Motor Trend and Automotive News

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