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CONTENTS

JANUARY 2018, VOL.55, NO.1

COVER SECTION

SIZZLING COLD-WEATHER GEAR 24 4x4 WINTER PRODUCT GUIDE

Essentials to help you and your 4x4 dominate the cold months

FEATURES & EVENTS 32 BETSY’S REGRET: THE ROCKLANDER

A rockcrawler and overlander in one

36 2017 CHEVY COLORADO ZR2

Is this the high-performance midsize 4x4 truck you’ve been waiting for?

42 GOING STRONG

The Spring 4-Wheel Jamboree rocks Lima, Ohio

32

46 BACKWARD GLANCES

1967 Bronco Sport/Utility Service Truck

24

66

70

36

VEHICLE TESTS 74 LONG-TERM REPORT: 2017 RAM 1500 REBEL 4x4 Third report: more miles, more things learned

76 LONG-TERM REPORT: 2017 FORD F-150 RAPTOR

First report: unicorns and stormtroopers

TECH & HOW-TO 66 SWISS ARMY TACOMA

Crafting a multifunctional off-road pickup

70 TACOMA PROTECTION

We up-armor our Toyota with off-road– worthy CBI bumpers and rocker guards

46

DEPARTMENTS

10 INBOX / 12 FIRING ORDER / 14 RPM / 20 PARTS RACK / 78 TECHLINE / 81 CALENDAR / 82 TRAIL’S END

ON THE COVER: Whether you’re trekking across Antarctica (shown), through your local snowy forest, or on ice across town, there are things you and your 4x4 need to dominate the cold months—and we have some of ’em in this issue beginning on page 24. Photo by world traveler Chris Collard.

SPECIAL SECTION 50 TOWING PARTS BUYER’S GUIDE

58 useful items that make towing easier and safer

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Take capability to the next level with authentic Jeep® Performance Parts. From Big Brake Kits to High Top Fender Flares, these parts empower you with the ability and confidence to go farther. Get started today. Visit your local Jeep dealership or mopar.com/jeep-performance-parts.

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WWW.FOURWHEELER.COM EDITORIAL Network Content Director Sean P. Holman Editor Ken Brubaker Managing Editor Lucia Salas Staff Editor Jered Korfhage ART DIRECTION & DESIGN Art Director Greg P. Smith READER SERVICES Four Wheeler, P. O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL321420235, 800/777-0555, 386/447-6385 (intl), or e-mail fourwheelr@emailcustomerservice.com. Please include name, address, and phone number on any inquiries. Occasionally, our subscriber list is made available to reputable firms offering goods and services we believe would be of interest to our readers. If you prefer to be excluded, please send your current address label and note requesting to be excluded from these promotions to TEN: The Enthusiast Network, LLC, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245, Attn: Privacy Coordinator. Canada Post: Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to IMEX Global Solutions, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2.

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Back Issues: To order back issues, visit TENbackissues.com. Reprints: For high-quality custom reprints and eprints, please contact The YGS Group at 800/290-5460 or TENreprints@theygsgroup.com. Submissions: Any submissions or contributions from readers shall be subject to and governed by TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s User Content Submission Terms and Conditions, which are posted at http://www.enthusiastnetwork.com/submissions. ADVERTISING INFORMATION Please call the Four Wheeler advertising department at 310/531-9183. Related publications: Automobile, Car Craft, Chevy High Performance, Circle Track, Classic Trucks, Diesel Power, Dirt Sports & Off-Road, 8-Lug HD Truck, European Car, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, Hot Rod, Hot Rod Deluxe, Jp Magazine, Lowrider, Mopar Muscle, Motor Trend, Muscle Car Review, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, Mustang Monthly, Recoil, Street Rodder, Super Chevy, Super Street, Truck Trend, Truckin, and Vette. Copyright 2017 by TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC. All rights reserved PRINTED IN THE USA

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N W O R U O Y FIND ADVERTISING General Manager Jerome Dziechiasz Network Advertising Director Kurt Miller Advertising Operations Manager Monica Hernandez Advertising Coordinator Gail Burns Administrative & Sales Assistant Glenda Mack Los Angeles Sales Office 831 S. Douglas Street El Segundo, CA 90245 310/531-9900 Irvine Sales Office 1821 E. Dyer Road, Ste. #150 Santa Ana, CA 92705 949/705-3100 New York Sales Office 261 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10016 212/915-4000 Detroit Sales Office 4327 Delemere Court Royal Oak, MI 48073 248/594-5999 Midwest Sales Office Jen Wittman 310/531-9896 Southeast Sales Office Brit White 813/675-3479 To advertise on this magazine’s website, or any of TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s other enthusiast sites, please contact us at AM-advertising@enthusiastnetwork.com. TEN: THE ENTHUSIAST NETWORK, LLC Chairman Peter Englehart Chief Executive Officer Scott P. Dickey Chief Financial Officer Bill Sutman President, Automotive Scott Bailey EVP/GM, Sports & Entertainment Norb Garrett Chief Commercial Officer Eric Schwab General Manager, Video Programming Bobby Akin Managing Director, Studio TEN Jerry Solomon EVP, Operations Kevin Mullan SVP, Editorial & Advertising Operations Amy Diamond SVP/GM, Performance Aftermarket Matt Boice VP, Financial Planning Mike Cummings SVP, Business Development Mark Poggi SVP, Business Intelligence Dan Bednar SVP, Automotive Digital Geoff DeFrance SVP, Aftermarket Automotive Content David Freiburger SVP, In-Market Automotive Content Ed Loh SVP, Digital Advertising Operations Elisabeth Murray SVP, Marketing Ryan Payne VP, Human Resources David Hope CONSUMER MARKETING, ENTHUSIAST MEDIA SUBSCRIPTION COMPANY, INC. SVP, Circulation Tom Slater VP, Retention & Operations Fulfillment Donald T. Robinson III

>OLU^HZ[OLSHZ[[PTL`V\KPKZVTL[OPUNMVY[OLÄYZ[[PTL&>OLU^HZ[OL last time you took the road less traveled, made your own path, and embraced HK]LU[\YL^P[OVWLUHYTZ&6\YL_[LUZP]LWYVK\J[SPUL\WMVY*OL]`+VKNL Ford, Jeep, and Toyota ensures that you’re covered, no matter your ride. Because the ride IS[OLQV\YUL`;OLVUS`X\LZ[PVUUV^PZ!>OLYL[VUL_[&

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Inbox

BY KEN BRUBAKER KEN.BRUBAKER@FOURWHEELER.COM

OF FULLSIZE 4x4s TRAIL ACTION: INVASION

FOUR WHEELER  SEPTEMBER

»

2017

AGE 2017 EASTER JEEP SAFARI COVER 

THE WORLD’S LEADING

4x4 AUTHORITY

!

 2017 EASTER JEEP SAFARI

STALKING PTS  7 WILD JEEP/MOPAR CONCE CTS  COOL VENDOR SHOW PRODU  VERNE’S WILLYS TRIP ROAD REPORT

COVERAGE  INVASION OF FULLSIZE 4x4s  WRENCHING HOW-TOs

 WE DRIVE A 1967 NISSAN PATROL OFF-ROAD pg. 52 THE WORLD’S LEADING 4x4 AUTHORITY

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SEE US AT FOURWHEELER.COM

MOAB CONCEPTS LOVE/HATE I think last year’s crop of Moab concepts far surpassed this year’s. TIM WILLIAMS VIA FACEBOOK

Lower 40 was the best, stopped everyone.

PIVOTING FERRARI I was just reading your Trail’s End (Sep. ’17) about the Chevy pickup that pivoted in the middle. That idea has been in production 4x4s for a long time before that article. I’m attaching a picture of my Ferrari (imported from Italy, note the decal above the grille) from the early ’80s. Besides the articulating chassis, it has mechanical locking differentials, full hydraulic steering, seven forward and two reverse gears, suspension seats, ag tires all around, and a PTO output in the back. This particular one has had the original motor replaced with a Dodge 318. JAMES ADUSKEVICH VIA EMAIL

JACK CLINE VIA FACEBOOK

The doors [Switchback] remind me of the old one-piece soft doors on CJs in the ’70s. The ones that had two windows. @JEEPINGTHEMIDWEST VIA INSTAGRAM

Send me the Quicksand Jeep ASAP! @BADDEAFJEEPBOY VIA INSTAGRAM

So ugly [Quicksand]. @LOW_RANGE VIA INSTAGRAM

My eyes may never recover. Beyond stupid [Quicksand]. @THROTTLEBYCABLE VIA INSTAGRAM

Quicksand is sick. In a good way. STEPHANE SULLIVAN VIA EMAIL

Of the ones to choose from, the CJ66. TRAVIS HENDERSON VIA FACEBOOK

Wait, the Grand Cherokee is 25 years old? I remember seeing the Grand for the first time at

WHERE TO WRITE

an auto show and now they’re restoring them? Wow, I’m old.

The controversial Quicksand concept.

TODD STEINER VIA EMAIL

I think this year’s offerings are pretty lame and blah, honestly. None of them got me excited or pumped or thinking “wow, nice!” Would take the Nukizer 715 over anything showed. MAC MCKINNEY VIA FACEBOOK

Kudos to Jeep and Mopar for building these concepts. Why aren’t the other manufacturers going to Moab to show off cool modded 4x4s? SAM HAYNES VIA EMAIL

It’s gotta be tough to come up with these concepts each year. I mean, how many ways can you modify a Wrangler? I say good job, but bring back the Ram truck concepts! That silver

ddress your correspondence to Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 or send an email to ken.brubaker@fourwheeler.com. All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

A

10 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

diesel Power Wagon and red Ram Runner from a few years ago were awesome. TREVOR CALACCI VIA EMAIL

Each year Mopar and Jeep trot out a collection of concepts at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, and it’s big news. Some years have been more noteworthy than others, but Mopar and Jeep deserve a pat on the back for pushing the envelope and coming up with creative concepts each year. For 2017, it was clearly the Quicksand Jeep that ignited some passionate opinions.

A MAN AND HIS ’49 WILLYS Verne has built a lot of cool rigs, but this one is my favorite! HARRY WAGNER VIA FACEBOOK FW

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FIRING ORDER

F

Please Welcome Four Wheeler’s New Staffer, Jered Korfhage!

much of the Southwest could be wheeled with zero suspension lift and careful tire placement. A consequence of this mission was also learning which parts he could fix in his driveway after class. Another catalyst for career change happened in Moab, Utah, when he met Rick Péwé, editor of Jp Magazine. Jered says, “I met Rick Péwé last spring before the Easter Jeep Safari while he was on the roadside, bargaining for an old flatfender Willys Jeep. I told him how I was in Moab for research, but planned to squeeze in a lap of Hell’s Revenge in my spare time. I think I remember him chuckling, looking at my almost-stock TJ with Ohio plates. As I pulled away from that conversation, I wondered if someday I could instead be there writing a piece about new tires or documenting a trail ride across slickrock.” Jered applied for the feature editor position at Four Wheeler and the rest is history. Well, actually Jered Korfhage, Four Wheeler’s there’s more to the story. newest employee! A few days prior to his planned relocation to Los Angeles from New Mexico to start his new job, a drunk driver slammed master’s degree in plant and environmental into his Wrangler. Jered was uninjured, but science. However, after all that, Jered’s career the Wrangler was a total loss. And this is how path took an “inverted loop.” Jered ended up with a brand spankin’ new Jered says that the change in career path ’17 Wrangler. His Wrangler has an automatic was actually due to events earlier in life that left transmission (which he begrudgingly aca lasting impression. “I blame my grandparcepts), but he proudly notes that it has manuents for this. They took me for a weekend road al-crank windows and no air conditioning. trip to the abandoned mining hills of southeast To the table Jered brings a love of fourOhio and spent hours splashing through the wheeling, a passion for photography (“I could ruts and railroad beds in their precious King adjust shutter speed before I learned to send Ranch F-250. Not only was I amazed granda text message,” he says), and excellent writpa’s shiny tow rig could handle the ruts and ing skills (among other things he has grant hillclimbs, but I witnessed the Jeeps, buggies, and research writing experience and has writand dirt bikes tearing through the trails. Someten for local newspapers and creative writing thing about the two-stroke smoke and roaring competitions). engines never quite left me.” If you’d like to welcome Jered send him an Ten years later Jered was shaking hands email at jkorfhage@enthusiastnetwork.com. with a retired pilot after paying the gent cash Please wish him well and congratulate him for for an ’02 Wrangler. Over the next three years, owning an un-air-conditioned Jeep. his Jeep not only moved his entire life from Ohio to New Mexico, but also scraped and —KEN BRUBAKER crawled across more obstacles than he’s proud KEN.BRUBAKER@FOURWHEELER.COM PHOTO: JERED KORFHAGE to admit. He made it his mission to see how our Wheeler is excited to announce that Jered Korfhage has joined our team as staff editor! Originally from the Midwest, Jered grew up near Cleveland, Ohio. He says that he was determined to devote his life to lab work in the environmental science field, and to that end he earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental science from a university in Ohio before transferring to a university in New Mexico to earn his

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SCode: 1801FW • Prices subject to change without notice. Please check SummitRacing.com for current pricing. Typographical, description, or photography errors are subject to correction. Some parts are not legal for use in California or other states with similar laws/regulations. Please check your state and/or local laws/regulations. © 2017 AUTOSALES, INC.

FIND IT AT


RPM PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE MANUFACTURERS

BY TORI TELLEM

EDITOR@FOURWHEELER.COM

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

»»That’s Interesting  Jeep has revealed pricing of the ’18 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which is the 6.2L-equipped, supercharged, quick-version of the SUV, worth 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. Also known as a Jeep with a V-8: $85,900.

 Do you have an ideal vehicle? Well, if you don’t, AutoPacific does—or at least the people who completed the survey do. The 2017 Ideal Vehicle Awards took the thoughts of 54,000 owners of new ’16 and ’17 vehicles and had them evaluate what they would change in 15 categories, which included ride and handling, power, and storage. Ford scored more wins than any other automaker, including for the light- and heavy-duty F-series. The GMC Yukon XL and Jeep Grand

Cherokee also won their categories of large SUV and midsize SUV, respectively.  By the numbers: AAA calculated owning and using a new vehicle in 2017 for its Your Driving Costs study and found that a driver averages $8,469 annually. There’s a “however.” However: While you’d expect econoboxes to cost less, it was small SUVs (as well as hybrids and EVs) for the real win, offering lower-than-average costs. The other “however”? Of the nine categories evaluated, pickups were the most expensive to drive ($10,054).  Roy Lunn has passed away at age 92. He’s credited with helping to develop many historic vehicles (like the Ford GT40), but give him a

Photo: GM

14 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

big moment of reflective silence for his involvement in the development of the Jeep Cherokee XJ.  You know all that pesky safety tech, especially the accidentavoidance stuff, on the new vehicles? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did some research and found that lane-departure warning is indeed lowering the rate of single-vehicle sideswipes and head-on crashes.  Nissan’s making it get more real: The new ProPilot Assist is definitely not being called “self-driving” and is definitely being called “handson.” It’s designed to handle acceleration, steering, and braking during stop-and-go single-lane driving. Nissan said that the forward-facing camera and radar, plus sensors and ECM “help the driver stay in the center of the driving lane and to

maintain vehicle speed (set by the driver) or help maintain a gap to the preceding vehicle if the vehicle speed drops below the driver-set speed. It also can slow the vehicle to a complete stop and holds the vehicle during traffic jam conditions.” Should be available on select vehicles starting in 2018.  Toyota and Mazda are teaming up to do a few things, including to develop EV and connected-car tech. Probably just a complete coincidence: Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center has kicked off a new research program centered around autonomous and connected tech.  PEMCO Insurance talked to drivers in Washington, who believed pets as passengers are more of a distraction than kids as passengers. But Oregon drivers ranked pets and kids the same.  We weren’t sure whether to align this item with news of the ProPilot Assist or the one about children distracting you in the car. So, you decide: The ’18 Nissan Pathfinder will be the first recipient of Rear Door Alert, which sounds like it would behave as the fridge-dooris-ajar warning does, but no. This fourwheeler.com


Is It »» True?

✓RANDOM QUOTE:

“FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES ANNOUNCED TODAY THAT IT HAS RECEIVED A CERTIFICATE OF CONFORMITY FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) AND A CONDITIONAL EXECUTIVE ORDER FROM THE AIR RESOURCES BOARD (ARB) OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, PERMITTING THE PRODUCTION AND SALE OF FCA US 2017 MODEL-YEAR LIGHT-DUTY RAM 1500 AND JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH 3.0-LITER DIESEL ENGINES.”

 2019 could be the year of the Land Rover Defender in the U.S.?  Audi will be switching to a standardized name for power output, in kilowatts? Like, if a model has 30 badging, it means power output between 81-96 kilowatts? And matched with the type of engine tech? For example, 30 TDI?  Hold on: The new Jeep pickup could be called Scrambler?

—STATEMENT FROM FIAT CHRYSLER ON JULY 28, 2017

 Tesla is going to get in the selfdriving semitruck business?

Photo: GM

will honk at you a bunch of times after you’ve parked so that you’ll remember to check your backseat for living things.  If you have a newer vehicle, you know the price of replacing a lost key is about $4,000,000. Toyota Financial Services now offers an insurance of sorts—Key Replacement Protection, which will replace your issue for up to $800, and also offers lock-out assistance, towing, transportation rental, and more. There’s even replacement for nonprogrammable keys on the key ring.  What’s the Land Rover Experience? Travel, Land Rover style. Two trips are set: Moab in 2017 and Africa in 2018. Go here to learn more so that you can go: landroverusa.com/experiences/ adventure-travel. fourwheeler.com

 “Ford’s investigation into this issue is ongoing. However, the company has discovered holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some Police Interceptor Utilities that had police equipment installed after leaving Ford’s factory.” Ford’s words about reports of carbon-monoxide odor in the automaker’s Police Interceptor Utility vehicles. This is separate from claims of the same variety regarding civilian Explorers, but Ford said owners of those regular Explorers need not worry about this.  We’re not sure we want to even discuss this whole collaboration between Lyft and Taco Bell and the app and the drivethru, and the “ultimate Taco Bell experience.” And especially not the big rollout in 2018 of “Taco Mode.”

A Stock Chevy Colorado ZR2 Competes for Hall Racing

here was just one midsize stocker at the Best in the Desert General Tire Vegas to Reno Race presented by Fox, and it was named first in Class 7300. What was it? A stock Colorado ZR2 with Chad Hall and Frank DeAngelo of Hall Racing doing driving duty. The Colorado did have the mandated safety items, including a 44-gallon racing fuel tank and rollcage, plus some must-haves like two-way radios and KC HiLites racing lights. And there was a Chevy Performance exhaust. Also, some prototype performance parts. OK, but other than all that, completely stock.

T

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 15


RPM

What’s »» Happening In The Industry

 Baja Designs: You’re 25 years old. But then you probably knew that.

Midnight Edition ’18 Nissan Titan, Titan XD, and Frontier

 New 4 Wheel Parts in Ogden, Utah: You’re officially open. But then you probably knew that.

idnight Editions of the Titan, Titan XD, and Frontier will be joining the Pathfinder as part of Nissan’s growing blacked-out fleet of offerings. We still don’t know what it’ll cost, but we do know it’ll give you a black grille, black rims, body-colored bumpers, and more. The Titan can be had in Midnight Crew Cab SV and SLs, while the XD is also Crew Cab SV and SL—but only for 4x4s with the Cummins diesel. Frontier Crew Cab SV two- and four-bys with auto trans can Midnight.

M

 Superchargersonline.com scored a gig as the first Eaton authorized service center.  Jay Leno’s Garage Advance Vehicle Care line has products

related to that. If you wax, one of its new ones is Spray Wax. Not for legs, etc.  Rugged Radios took a Polaris and turned it into a WWII-ish Willys Jeep-like vehicle called Rugged General.

’18 Ram 3500 Gets More Torque, Unique Hitch

he ’18 Ram 3500 has 930 lb-ft of torque and 30,000-pound tow capabilities with a fifth-wheel hitch. The 6.7L Cumminsequipped truck has a hitch designed by Ram Engineering. This setup will cost you $1,395. (It’s part of an upfit package.)

T

OnDemand This Month Catch these shows on motortrendondemand.com Nov 3 Nov 3 Nov 3 Nov 3 Nov 4 Nov 6 Nov 6

LIVE! Virgin Australia Supercars, Auckland SuperSprint Auto Mundial FIM Motocross World Championship, Season Review Motorsport Mundial LIVE! Virgin Australia Supercars, Auckland SuperSprint Engine Masters, Episode 28 Mobil 1 The Grid

16 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

Check Out this One-of-a-Kind Ford Raptor

his would be the Ford F-22 F-150 Raptor, and it was inspired by the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor fighter jet. It went up for auction at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Oshkosh and raised $300,000 for the org’s Young Eagles, which as you can probably guess is about kids getting stoked about flight. fw

T

Nov 8 Nov 8 Nov 9 Nov 9 Nov 10 Nov 10 Nov 11 Nov 16 Nov 16 Nov 16 Nov 17 Nov 17 Nov 17 Nov 17 Nov 20 Nov 21 Nov 22 Nov 23 Nov 24 Nov 24

GP Confidential, Post Mexico + Preview Brazil Head 2 Head, Episode 96 Ferrari Challenge Europe, Mugello Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 5 Auto Mundial Motorsport Mundial LIVE! 24H Series, Circuit of the Americas LIVE! Lamborghini Super Trofeo – Europe, Imola FIA World Rallycross, South Africa Roadkill Garage, Episode 24 LIVE! Lamborghini Super Trofeo – Europe, Imola Auto Mundial Motorsport Mundial Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Bathurst Mobil 1 The Grid Dirt Every Day, Episode 71 GP Confidential, Post Brazil + Preview Abu Dhabi HOT ROD Garage, Episode 59 LIVE! Virgin Australia Supercars, Newcastle 500 Auto Mundial

Nov 24 Nov 24 Nov 24 Nov 27 Nov 29 Dec 1 Dec 1 Dec 1 Dec 4 Dec 4 Dec 5 Dec 6 Dec 6 Dec 6 Dec 7

Motorsport Mundial Roadkill, Episode 72 Trans Am Racing Series, Circuit of the Americas LIVE! MOTOR TREND Awards, Los Angeles, CA FIM Freestyle MX World Championship, Shenzhen, China Auto Mundial Motorsport Mundial Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Gold Coast Engine Masters, Episode 29 Mobil 1 The Grid SKUSA SuperNationals, Las Vegas FIM Freestyle MX World Championship, Sofia, Bulgaria GP Confidential, Post Abu Dhabi + Post Season Modified, Episode 7 Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 7

Schedule Key: Racing, Original Programs * The program information provided is subject to change.

fourwheeler.com


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Parts Rack

ECODIESEL LIFT

TRACK CLAMPING

Rancho now offers a 4-inch Performance Suspension System for the ’13-’17 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel model pickup. The kit also fits gas-powered Ram 1500 trucks. Each kit features Rancho’s fully boxed, welded subframe along with ductile iron extended-length steering knuckles. The system is designed to accommodate up to 35-inch tires with minor trimming. A pair of inner and outer tie-rod ends, brake lines, sway bar extensions, extended-length coil springs (rear), and other required hardware for installation are all included. The kit is backed by Rancho’s limited lifetime warranty. INFO: Rancho, 734/384-7806, gorancho.com

HandETrack introduces its cargo management bolt-down fitting for use on logistic rails. It fits the existing E-track, A-track, or X-track rails found in many common applications like enclosed trailers, truck beds, cargo vans, and semi-trailers. The bolt-down fitting connects to the track system providing a rigid connection point with two hardened steel ¼-20 or 5 ⁄16-18 threaded bolt-down points. They can be easily relocated across the various anchoring slots of the rails and feature a flush-mount fit. The HandETrack gives you the ability to bolt down everything from spare tires and tools to custom fixtures for mounting unique items that complement your job or lifestyle. Every HandETrack is engineered and manufactured in the USA. INFO: HandETrack, 888/967-6653, handetrack.com

HD AIR

Hellwig Products has released its new aftermarket air spring suspension system for the ’17 line of Ford Super Duty trucks. The new 2,800-pound springs are said to give Super Duty owners the ability to tow and haul heavy loads with improved safety, stability, and comfort by maintaining a level ride height and improving overall drive control. The new air springs are available for single-rear-wheel F-250 and F-350 trucks with up to a 4-inch rear lift. Kits are also available for the F-350 and F-450 dualie trucks with a stock ride height. Each kit includes 2,800-pound air springs and heavy-duty brackets. The larger diameter air springs are said to require less air pressure for the same load, resulting in a softer spring rate and a more compliant ride. An optional compressor and tank are available to make for quick load corrections without assistance. INFO: Hellwig Products, 800/435-5944, hellwigproducts.com 20 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

BOTTLED SIN

Sinister Diesel now offers the new Degas coolant overflow bottle for ’99.5-’03 Ford Power Stroke diesel trucks. It joins Sinister’s Degas bottle for the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke in the company’s line of high-performance aftermarket parts. Both Degas bottles are made from 6061 aircraftgrade aluminum. Each bottle is TIG welded and pressure tested. They are said to be significantly stronger than the factory molded plastic tanks, which are prone to cracking and leaking. In addition, the aluminum construction dissipates heat better than plastic. Sinister Degas bottles feature a sight glass for easy level inspection, and they are direct bolt-in replacements for stock reservoirs. They are available in a raw finish or powdercoated Sinister Blue for added corrosion resistance. INFO: Sinister Diesel, 888/995-0766, sinisterdiesel.com fourwheeler.com


BY JOHN CAPPA EDITOR@FOURWHEELER.COM

BRAKE BETTER

Alcon introduces the latest addition to its motorsport caliper lineup. The new Alcon R5 caliper is said to be the most competitive in weight and stiffness on the market. The design allows for integrated cooling features and stainless steel ventilated piston end caps for better heat management. They fit a disc range of 300 mm to 355 mm. The calipers are internally drilled, so there are no external crossover pipes to be damaged in harsh environments. Each four-piston, radial-mount caliper is machined from aerospace-grade aluminum billet and features differential piston diameters that are said to minimize pad taper wear. INFO: Alcon, 704/799-2723, alcon.co.uk

QUICK CAMPER

Rooftop tents have exploded in popularity, but most of us don’t need them mounted to our 4x4 every day. Normally, removal requires tools and wrenching in tight spots. Front Runner’s new Quick Release Tent Mount Kit makes tent removal in seconds possible. No tools are needed to remove or install the tent. Once the four quick-release brackets have been mounted onto the roof rack and the base brackets have been installed, the tent base can be slid into the brackets and latched. Removal is just as simple. The tent is said to stay latched into place with no rattles. The brackets are small and can be left on the roof rack when the tent is not mounted. They are made of stainless steel and powdercoated. INFO: Front Runner, 866/840-0321, frontrunneroutfitters.com

TOOL GRAPPLE

Looking to make more space inside your 4x4? Get your shovel and other large tools out of there with the Rhino-Rack Pioneer shovel/spade/axe mounting bracket. The RhinoRack mounting bracket attaches directly onto the Rhino-Rack Vortex crossbars or RhinoRack Pioneer systems. The bracket is said to allow for easy installation and removal as well as multiple mounting configuration options. Brackets can be inverted to position the item above or below the tray and the hinged design allows mounting of a wide variety of handles. Each mounting bracket is constructed from steel with a powdercoated finish and is backed by a three-year warranty. INFO: Rhino-Rack, 303/706-9700, rhinorack.com

COLOR TOP

Bestop is now offering popular soft tops in five new color options. In addition to the traditional black top, the new soft top color selection includes Crushed Red Pepper, Navy Blue, Granite Grey, Pebble Beige, and Oak Tan. Currently, the new top colors are available for the ’07-’17 Jeep JK Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. Colored top models include the Supertop, Trektop NX Glide, Trektop NX Plus, Trektop NX, and the Trektop Pro. Each colored soft top is made from acrylic twill and comes with window panels and all necessary hardware for a complete installation. For mix-and-match styling, colored window panels are sold separately. INFO: Bestop, 800/845-3567, bestop.com fw fourwheeler.com

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 21


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Feature

4x4 WINTER PR Essentials to help you and your 4x4 dominate the cold months By Tori Tellem

editor@fourwheeler.com

Photos: Courtesy of the manufacturers

Y

OU’VE HEARD ABOUT WINTER TIRES, SPORT-

ing that snowflake certification to signify they are winter-ready, such as the Toyo Open Country C/T. You’ve heard about lights designed for better eyesight during winter snow. There are windshield scrapers (no, not credit cards), winter-based emergency kits, and seasonal clothing. You know how to prep a vehicle for winter, such as checking fluid levels and hoses, and you know how to put it away for the season. But what about the products that protect the vehicle, improve performance, clear the road, and keep the interior warm, among other necessities, when you’re planning to use it in winter? They’re right here.

VINTAGE AIR HEATER RETROFIT FOR TOYOTA FJ40 Cold product: Is your ’68-’83 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 minus a heater (and A/C)? This Gen IV SureFit kit equates to a bolt-in system with electronic controls—and with improvements over the previous SureFit model. Cool tech: A bigger condenser assembly and redesigned mounting bracket (and with pulleys and optional high-output alternator available), plus separate cooling and heating coils combined with a blend-air door are

among the gets. There’s also a microprocessorcontrolled ECU. Company’s chill quote: “This ‘electronic brain’ not only allows for precise control of the Gen IV’s door stepper motors, but it also monitors the internal A/C coil temperature with a thermistor, eliminating the need for a traditional thermostat and capillary tube, simplifying installation and operation.” Cost: Around $770. Contact: Vintage Air, vintageair.com

CABELA’S ATV/UTV SNOW PLOW

INTERIOR HEATER FROM ARCTIC FOX

Cold product: A warm interior and frost-free windows? Yes, to all the above. Cool tech: This interior heater mounts on the floor or under the dash, and can be used in various types of vehicles, including light-duty and recreational. Company’s chill quote: “900 watts, 120-volt AC, compact size, 3,000 Btu, and includes a blower fan.” Cost: N/A Contact: Arctic Fox, phillipsandtemro.com/solutions/specialty 24 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

Cold product: This guy is pretty much one-stop plowing, since it includes a snow blade wear bar, universal plow mount, snow flap, corner markers, and push tube. Cool tech: The universal mounting system means the push tube attaches under your rig, then double-connect pins attach and remove the plow fast and easy. The 12-gauge steel plow blade comes in 50-, 60-, and 72-inch sizes. Company’s chill quote: “Bright-orange corner markers help locate the plow path to keep the plow blade from impacting curbs and other solid objects. Corrosionresistant powdercoat finish.” Cost: Starts at $350 for the 50inch blade. Contact: Cabela’s, cabelas.com fourwheeler.com


RODUCT GUIDE JUMP STARTER AND POWER BANK FROM TRUCK GEAR

Cold product: Your battery died, and it’s cold out there. And you’re alone out there. Truck Gear by Line-X offers the Jump Starter and Power Bank, which is a portable battery starter. Bonus points: You don’t need a set of jumper cables and a second vehicle, and there are two USB ports for also charging electronic devices. Cool tech: For the price of admission, you’ll get 12-volt DC and 110-volt charging cables, plus an LED flashlight with a hazard/strobe setting. Works on gas engines up to 9.0L and diesels up to 5.0L. Company’s chill quote: “18,000-mAh lithium polymer battery provides 300 cranking amps/600 peak cranking amps of starting power.” Cost: MSRP is $140. Contact: Line-X, linex.com

FLIP CAP RECEPTACLE FROM ZEROSTART SUMMIT RACING INTERIOR HEATERS

Cold product: It’s cold inside that vehicle, and you don’t have heating. Cool tech: This line of automotive heaters features a multiple-speed fan, and connects to the wiring and plumbing you already run. Various Btu offerings exist, including 12,000 or 28,000 grille vent, and up to 40,000 triple front vent. Company’s chill quote: “They’re a great alternative to replacing a worn-out or hard-to-reach heater core.” Cost: They start at about $150. Contact: Summit Racing, summitracing.com

fourwheeler.com

Cold product: This flip cap receptacle functions as a solid connection between the engine-block heater and a standard 120-volt outlet. You’ll have access to the heater plug via six aftermarket cords. Cool tech: Silicone connector plug types for standard engine-block heaters. Company’s chill quote: “Provides convenient access to plug in the engine-block heater, eliminates dangling power cords; low-profile flip cap receptacle.” Cost: N/A Contact: Zerostart, phillipsandtemro.com/solutions/specialty

WARN PLOW FOR ATVS AND UTVS

Cold product: For when nature calls—and it’s calling for a versatile plow system. Cool tech: Various blade lengths and plow styles are available, plus you can pick from different plow mounting configurations. Company’s chill quote: “Accessories such as plow skids, corner markers, control flaps, and lifting mechanisms.” Cost: Blades start around $239. Contact: Warn Ind., warn.com FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 25


Feature 4x4 Winter Product Guide SNOWEX SPREADER FOR REMOVING SNOW AND ICE

Cold product: A scenario: Snow and ice on the road, like, your driveway, so you can’t get to the trail, or the route to the trail is coated with snow and ice. Enter: A SnowEx spreader, such as the SR-210, which can be attached to pickups, SUVs, ATVs, and other vehicles. It has a 25foot range for spreading bulk stuff, such as bagged rock salt or calcium flakes. Cool tech: This particular spreader has wireless controls, so you won’t need to route a wiring harness to the cab; it’s plug-and-play. There’s a 2-inch receiver mount, but other styles of mounts are available. Company’s chill quote: “An electric motor drives the spreader—meaning no engines to fuel and no pulleys, sprockets, belts, or chains to maintain. The patented low-maintenance, dual 12volt electric drive/maximum torque transmission system is completely sealed within a weatherresistant enclosure.” Cost: You’re looking at $833. Contact: SnowEx, snowexproducts.com

ZEROSTART ENGINE BLOCK HEATER

Cold product: We’ve used engine block heaters in a variety of 4x4s and can confirm that they dramatically improve cold engine start-ups in frigid conditions. Cool tech: They help with increasing the oil circulation to help with lubing engine parts faster, and a warm engine means a warmer interior, faster. Not to mention, less engine wear. Company’s chill quote: “Provides direct heat to the engine block. Ensures quicker winter starts.” Cost: N/A Contact: Zerostart, phillipsandtemro.com/solutions

BATTERY HEATERS FROM TEMRO

Cold product: This will take the guesswork out of cold-weather starts. Cool tech: The heaters put direct electric heating on the battery, and are available as blanket style (wraps around the battery), silicone pad (for under the battery), or box battery warmers (a preset thermostat to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Company’s chill quote: “They maintain available cold cranking amps and efficient direct-heat transfer, improve battery recharge time, and can be installed in subzero temperatures.” Cost: N/A Contact: Temro, phillipsandtemro. com/solutions/ specialty

26 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

SLUSH FLOOR MATS FROM MOPAR

Cold product: Not all floor mats are created equal. Like, these were designed with knowing how slush performs and transforms and deforms once it gets inside your Ram, so they’re meant to maintain a dry interior. Cool tech: The mats cover the entire footwell area. There’s also a raised Ram’s head on the mats. Not a real one, that is. Company’s chill quote: “Set includes two front row mats and two second row interlocking mats, providing full floor coverage.” Cost: $125. Contact: Mopar, mopar.com

SEAT HEATER FROM 4 WHEEL PARTS

Cold product: This universal-fit carbon-fiber seat heater goes in between the seat cushion and seat-cover material. As in, your vehicle doesn’t have a heated seat? There’s this. Cool tech: It has a built-in thermostat, giving you high, low, and off settings. The heating pads (the kit comes with upper and lower) can be cut to fit for one seat. There’s also a relay harness with fuse that’s already wired. Company’s chill quote: “Fully water-resistant and poses no problem with damp winter clothes, spilled beverages, or wet pets.” Cost: Around $85. Contact: 4 Wheel Parts, 4wheelparts.com

FLEXA-LITE MOJAVE HEATER

Cold product: This universal, compact heater produces 12,000 Btu. Cool tech: It connects to your engine’s cooling system, like how a factory heater would. And the internal electric fan draws 8 amps and makes 130 cfm of airflow. Company’s chill quote: “An optional plenum is available to help direct airflow and connect ducting for defroster events.” Cost: $265. Contact: Flex-a-Lite, flex-a-lite.com fourwheeler.com


Feature 4x4 Winter Product Guide SYNTHETIC LUBRICANT WITH PTFE FROM PERMATEX Cold product: You know how your grandma always complains that her joints ache in the winter? Worn out components, such as the door latches and hinges, suspension bushings, cams, O-rings, mechanical linkages, or other moving parts sound a lot like your grandma when it’s cold out. Cool tech: This lubricant utilizes a greasebased formula. Company’s chill quote: “Withstands temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit and is safe for use on most surfaces. It will last long and is easy to use. Just shake, spray, and brave those winter roads.” Cost: $8.99. Contact: Permatex, permatex.com

AGRI-COVER SNOWSPORT PLOW

Cold product: You’ve already got a 4x4—how about putting it to work? The Snowsport HD Utility Plow will easily attach to your vehicle and allow you to bypass using a snow blower or shovel. Cool tech: You’ll get a model-specific front mount, aluminum blade, push frame, and angling interceptor. There are no hydraulic or electric parts. One thing to note: Suspension mods, like bigger tires and lift kits, could result in improper fitment. Company’s chill quote: “Now you can plow from the comfort of your heated truck or SUV and clear snow in less than half the time.” Cost: Starts at $1,650. Contact: Agri-Cover, agricover.com

WEATHERTECH FLOOR MATS

Cold product: These All-Weather floor mats can trap snow (and therefore the water it will turn into). Plus, during the rest of the year, they’ll collect mud, sand, and other elements. Cool tech: Deeply sculpted channels do the heavy lifting of collecting the mess. Company’s chill quote: “The All-Weather floor mats are engineered to prevent curling and cracking in subzero weather.” Cost: Depends on your make/model, but figure it starts around $45. Contact: WeatherTech, weathertech.com

SEVERE GEAR SYNTHETIC LUBES FROM AMSOIL

You Might Also Need…

W

hile we were on amazon.com, we spotted a few winter fronts, including grille inserts and bug-deflector combos. The point of sporting one of these is, first and foremost, to make for quicker engine warm-up in cold times. We spotted this custom front from Fia, which uses a 3M-backed stud for no-drill installation, and there were still a few Lund grille inserts available as we went to press.

28 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

Cold product: The name of the product says it all: Severe Gear Synthetic Extreme Pressure Gear Lubes. Cool tech: Severe Gear is available in five viscosities. In addition to cold-weather performance, they’re good for towing, off-roading, high ambient temps, and more. In other words, this excels in hot and cold extremes. Company’s chill quote: “An exclusive blend of highviscosity, shear stable synthetic base oils, and an extra treatment of high-performance additives. They’re engineered to protect gears better than conventional gear oils, resisting acid, carbon and varnish formation, and oxidative breakdown.” Cost: Starts at around $16. Contact: AMSOIL, amsoil.com fw fourwheeler.com


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Feature

A rockcrawler and overlander in one By Jake Headlee

editor@fourwheeler.com Photos: Jake Headlee

BETSY’S REGRET:

W

HEN YOU THINK OF A WORK TRUCK,

generally the image of an older, all-white standard or extended cab truck decked out with tools and equipment specific to a job comes to mind. With “Betsy’s Regret,” an ’02 Ford F-350, you’d be pretty close, though this truck isn’t your typical construction-site work truck.

THE ROCKLANDER 32 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

fourwheeler.com


“I’D JUMP IN THIS TRUCK TOMORROW AND HEAD TO ALASKA WITHOUT HESITATION.”

—JOHN MEARS

 Betsy’s Regret was designed to survive extended periods of time away from civilization, carry all the gear, and make it home in one piece.

John Mears is the owner of Betsy’s Regret, and he is a rockcrawler of a whole different sort; he is a geologist. Working for private mining companies, John often heads out into the great, unknown wilderness to take rock and soil samples, conduct mapping and surveying, and even road construction. These trips take him to extremely remote areas for weeks at a time. His rig has to be able to get there and back, all while carrying his gear, both camping and work related. We had the opportunity to ride with John on a Fullsize Invasion trail run while at the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. While running down Gold Bar Rim trail in his Super Duty, we coined a new term. We talked about fourwheeler.com

how the truck was obviously an overland expedition vehicle, and since we were traveling over Jeep-sized boulders it was also a rockcrawler. Betsy’s Regret was a whole new breed, so we smashed the words together like they were a celebrity couple: rocklander. Prior to owing Betsy’s Regret, John had built an ’01 F-350, named Betsy, as a Baja chase truck, and it served him very well. John thought he was ready to move on, and so he sold the truck. He regretted it immediately and quickly bought the F-350 you see here. Over the years, Betsy’s Regret has been sold off twice, and then bought back twice. John believes he’s done letting her go. The ’02 Super Duty was built for an eight-

 The extra length behind the rear wheels of a Super Duty can be a bit of a drag, but a beefy custom-built rear bumper helps solve tail-dragging woes. Sharpeyed readers may notice the bed doesn’t match up to the ’02 truck. This is the third bed that has been installed on the truck due to various run-ins with nature; it’s from an ’11 F-350.

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 33


Feature Betsy’s Regret: The Rocklander week-long run through Alaska and then Montana. The trip was demanding, and included high-water crossings that required the truck to be designed with water intrusion in mind. Most everything is manual. Windows, locks, and even the transfer case had to be able to survive. All of the breather lines were extended and come together at an ARB differential breather filter near the top of the cab. The interior carpet was ditched and replaced with a rubber floor mat, and a TJM snorkel was installed with a K&N intake system to keep the 7.3L turbodiesel engine breathing easy all the time. The 7.3L Power Stroke was a very important selection. John often can’t get diesel fuel on these long trips, and he ends up running on jet fuel. “That’s one of the reasons why I like to run the old 7.3,” John explained. “It can run on just about anything. When we have to, we will mix Jet A with trans fluid and it’ll run all day long.” Some of the long outings will have aerial support. The helicopters must have jet fuel but diesel generators and trucks like this one can adapt. It is a lot easier to bring one fuel type and not have to stress about accidentally putting the wrong fuel in the helicopter. The severe duties that Betsy’s Regret endures require some strong body protection. Up front, there is an ARB Bull Bar with a Warn

 John’s truck needed to be able to carry all sorts of gear. The custom-built bed rack holds a Hi-Lift, PullPal, multiple lights, and can support a full rooftop tent system.

M12 12,000-pound winch with winchline.comsourced synthetic rope. Custom-built rock rails and rear bumper help keep the long wheelbase truck from becoming wrinkled when all its weight wants to meet an obstacle on the trail. The bed rack was also custom built and has mounts for lights, a Hi-Lift jack, Pull-Pal, and dual spare tires. Additionally, the cage was built

 The truck rides on 40x13.50R17LT Toyo Open Country M/Ts wrapped around Double Standard wheels from Method Race Wheels. The factory hubs were tossed in favor of a Free-Spin kit from Dynatrac with Nitro Gear & Axle Front Drive Slug Kit.

 Because the wheelbase is so long, it was important for John to set the truck up with strong rock rails. The custom-built units are welded to the frame and are beefy enough to protect the heavy truck’s rocker panels from damage.

to support a rooftop tent with the weight of occupants and to fit underneath a camper shell. The front suspension is elevated by a set of BDS Suspension 8-inch-lift leaf springs and necessary brackets, while the rear suspension uses 6.5-inch BDS leaf springs. Both the front and rear of the rig benefit from Pro Comp monotube reservoir shocks, with dual shocks at each wheel in front. To help steer the massive 40-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires on Method Race Wheels’ Double Standard beadlocks, John made sure the truck had a PSC Motorsports hydraulic-assist system. Both front and rear sway bars were removed to ensure the suspension had all the articulation it could muster. The factory rear axle was beefed up with a set of Nitro Gear & Axle chromoly axleshafts and 4.88:1 gears, and an ARB Air Locker. Up front, the factory axle was ditched in favor of a Dana 60 from an F-450. The front saw the same treatments as the rear with Nitro Gear & Axle chromoly ’shafts and 4.88:1 gears, and an ARB Air Locker. Dynatrac’s Free-Spin hub conversion kit was installed with the Nitro Gear & Axle Front Drive Slug Kit. Both front and rear driveshafts were traded for custombuilt units from Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts. Betsy’s Regret was built to take a pounding and still get home. With the factory 36-gallon fuel tank and 80-gallon auxiliary tank, it has a long range. The truck started off as a government surplus truck with around 70,000 miles on the odometer. It now has 250,000 miles on the clock, most of which were off-road. “I’d jump in this truck tomorrow and head to Alaska without hesitation,” John remarked. fw

AT A GLANCE GENERAL Vehicle: ’02 Ford F-350 Owner: John Mears Stomping grounds: All over the place

DRIVETRAIN Engine: Ford 7.3L Power Stroke turbodiesel Transmission: 4R100 automatic Transfer case: NV273F Low range ratio: 2.72:1 Crawl ratio: 35.97:1 Front axle/differential: Dana 60 from an F-450, Nitro Gear & Axle chromoly axleshafts and 4.88:1 gears/ARB Air Locker Rear axle/differential: Sterling 10.5-in, Nitro Gear & Axle chromoly axleshafts and 4.88:1 gears/ARB Air Locker

SUSPENSION Front: 8-in-lift BDS Suspension leaf springs, dual Pro Comp monotube reservoir shocks Rear: 6.5-in-lift BDS Suspension leaf springs, Pro Comp monotube reservoir shocks Steering: PSC Motorsports hydraulic-assist

TIRES/WHEELS Tires: 40x13.50R17LT Toyo Open Country M/T Wheels: 17x9 Method Race Wheels Double Standard

MISCELLANEOUS

 The factory front axle was removed to make room for a Dana 60 from an F-450. Each front and rear differential is loaded with a 4.88:1 ratio gearset, ARB Air Locker, and Nitro Gear & Axle chromoly ’shafts. Steering pressure is increased with a PSC Motorsports hydraulic ram system.

34 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

Lighting: Lifetime LEDs on front bumper, Hella and offbrand LEDs on bed rack Armor: ARB Bull Bar, custom-built rock rails and rear bumper Cool stuff: Custom-built bed rack, ARB Fridge Freezer as center console, 80-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, TJM snorkel, Warn M12 12,000-pound winch with winchline.comsourced synthetic rope

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Feature

Is this the high-performance midsize 4x4 truck you’ve been waiting for? By Ken Brubaker

ken.brubaker@fourwheeler.com Photos: Courtesy of GM

2017 CHEVY COL G

O BIG OR GO HOME. IT’S A SAYING WE’VE

all probably uttered at some point, but Chevy applied that philosophy to the new ’17 Colorado ZR2. Chevy took the Colorado body-on-frame midsize pickup truck and integrated a collection of upgrades that transform it into a highly capable off-road machine without sacrificing its on-road refinement. Before we go any further, let’s reflect on the ZR2 Regular Production Option (RPO) moniker. It was used on several GM vehicles in the past in the U.S., including the Chevy S-10 and GMC Sonoma pickups, and the Tracker SUV. ZR2 denoted a special off-road suspension package. Prior to the ’17 Colorado, the ZR2 package was last used on the 2005 model year Blazer and Jimmy. With the resurrection of ZR2 it’s back stronger than ever. The Colorado ZR2 package

36 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

includes a mind-bending array of upgrades. Compared to a non-ZR2 Colorado, it has a 3.5-inch-wider track width (with cast-iron front control arms) and a 2-inch-taller ride height. It rolls on rugged and very capable Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires that are 31 inches in diameter and use 17-inch wheels. The truck also has electronically actuated locking differentials front and rear and Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) damper technology. You can read about the fascinating DSSV technology in the included sidebar. But that’s not all. There are functional stainless steel rock sliders, a high-clearance front bumper with integrated skidplate that protects the radiator and oil pan, high-clearance rear bumper, transfer case skidplate, and an off-road mode that allows for fully disabling traction

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LORADO ZR2

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FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 37


Feature 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 control and stability control. Additionally, a bed-mounted spare tire will be available as an accessory. “The bed-mounted spare tire adds a rugged look to ZR2, and serves a functional purpose. By relocating the spare to the bed, ZR2’s departure is improved and prevents any damage to the spare when you’re crawling over obstacles,” said Rich Scheer, director of design for Chevrolet Truck. And since we’re on the subject of angles, it’s worth noting that the ZR2 boasts a respectable 30 degrees of approach angle and 23.5 degrees of departure angle. These measurements are almost identical to the ’17 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab that won the Four Wheeler 2017 Pickup Truck of the Year (PTOTY). However, the ZR2’s approach angle is slightly less than the 35-degree approach angle of the ’17 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which we also tested at PTOTY, but the departure

ZR2 First Drive

A

fter strapping on our safety gear, the Chevy team gave us an opportunity to sample the ZR2 in both gas and diesel varieties on an approximately two-mile shortcourse-style track near Gateway, Colorado. Once used by racer Ricky Johnson (but now catering to vacationers willing to pay top dollar for the experience of Baja), this track features nearly 20 turns, multiple jumps and tabletops, and a couple of really long and fun decreasing radius turns. Having hosted countless media hot laps prior to our access, the course was chewed up with formerly hard-packed corners reduced to deep and rutted silt. In other words, it was perfect for our testing, allowing the ZR2 to showcase the wider track, more aggressive tires, and the spool-valve-equipped Multimatic DSSV shocks. We began a brief familiarization run in a V-6 model while under the careful watch of the Colorado’s electronic nannies (and our Chevy representative in the passenger seat). After becoming comfortable with the truck and track, we were allowed to open it up for a few laps, pushing the ZR2 a little harder than other less experienced outlets. Our favorite setting for fast driving was with the T-case in 2WD with the rear locker on and with the electronic “driving aids” turned completely off. This is about as pure a driving experience as you are going to get this side of the Ford Raptor. And like the Raptor, the ZR2 also offers settings for 4-Hi, Auto 4-Hi, and 4-Lo. For those who want to drive fast with a safety net, Chevy’s “off-road mode” is very good, changing throttle maps and allowing more slipping and sliding,

38 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

angle of the TRD Pro is almost identical (23.9 degrees) to the ZR2’s. Exterior styling was also massaged to match the ZR2’s impressive performance. The truck gets ZR2-specific 8-inch-wide aluminum wheels and a “more aggressive” grille and hood. The ZR2 also gets a healthy dose of standard equipment including the trailer package and integrated

while still keeping you safely away from going over the ragged edge. With the V-6, we found that the Colorado was lively and fun. It was easy to steer with the throttle, especially when the eight-speed automatic was operated in manual mode to prevent upshifting and to hold higher rpm. It was also noted that GM’s electronic power steering setup in the Colorado means that you’ll never overdrive the pump at speed. As much as we tried, steering assist never diminished. More impressive though, is how 8.9 inches of front travel and 10 inches of rear travel can feel more akin to 10-plus and 12-plus inches. It’s what we started to refer to as “Multimatic magic.” We found the ZR2 soaked up jumps and crossed ditches with aplomb, and what the engineers have done to maximize the amount of energy absorption in such a short amount of space is nothing short of phenomenal. Sure we were reminded of the relatively short travel when airing the ZR2 and could feel the suspension droop out off the ground, but each time the landing was pillowy soft with zero harshness or secondary ride motions. Amazing, especially when you consider we never saw any shock fade or excessive heat from the Multimatics on trucks that were driven at these extremes all day. The Duramax-equipped ZR2s felt much like the gas model on the track, with suspension tuning that makes them nearly indistinguishable from one another. However, with a narrower powerband, the diesel was a bit harder to keep on the boil in the fast sections where we appreciated the 308 horsepower of the gas truck. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy the 369 lb-ft of torque of the

brake controller. Even with all the ZR2’s offroad-centric upgrades, the truck can tow up to 5,000 pounds or carry 1,100 pounds of payload. Get a grip on something because there are more impressive features on the ZR2 that are going to rock your world. Namely, the ZR2 can be outfitted with a Duramax turbodiesel I-4 engine that produces 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque

Electronic-locking differentials are standard equipment on the ZR2.

diesel, because it would also easily hang tail, much to our amusement. Chevy, wanting to prove the front-locker, skidplate, and rockrail-equipped ZR2 was not just a one-trick pony, brought us to nearby Bangs Canyon to also experience the truck in slow motion. The midsize nature of the ZR2 makes it a good vehicle for exploring the backcountry and trail riding. The Multimatics once again showed their magic with a compliant ride and good control of head toss. Hill Descent Control also works well on the trail and feels less intrusive than the system on the Toyota Tacoma. We are pretty sure adventurers will prefer the Duramax ZR2 for the increased range and the fact that all that torque makes wheeling technical trails effortless. In fact, the ZR2 team successfully ran the Rubicon with development mules in order to find the limits of the ZR2’s capability and further refine the concept. On the highway, the Multimatic shock tuning is better than the base Colorado or upmarket Z71, so other than a little extra noise from the more aggressive Goodyear DuraTrac tires, you give up nothing in ride and handling by checking the ZR2 option box. Like we said, “magic.”

With the addition of the electric lockers and the AutoTrac transfer case, the ZR2 boasts nine drive configurations.

When looking at the competition, the ZR2 seems to have a bullseye right on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, landing somewhere on the offroad awesome spectrum between the TRD Pro and the Raptor, and depending on use, maybe even the Wrangler Rubicon. The reality is that the ZR2 outclasses the Tacoma in nearly every area. The chassis is stiffer with better suspension feel and better tuning; it has a front locker, and a rear one that can be operated in 2WD; it has two better drivetrains, the electronic stability program can be defeated, and the list goes on and on. Whereas in the Tacoma, the intrusive electronics are omnipresent and can’t be relieved of duty, the rear suspension kicks hard in the whoops, and overall the Tacoma feels old and unrefined. After our experience behind the wheel, it is clear that the Chevy has hit the Goldilocks sweet spot with the Colorado ZR2. It’s not too little, not too big, not too expensive, but just right. It is hands down the best midsize off-road truck (if not one of the best all-around trucks) you can buy right now (and you should). —Sean P. Holman, Four Wheeler Network content director

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and is mated to a Hydramatic 6L50 six-speed automatic transmission. The base engine is an all-new 3.6L V-6 gasser that produces 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a Hydramatic

8L45 eight-speed automatic transmission. No matter which powertrain the ZR2 is equipped with, it’ll have a two-speed AutoTrac transfer case that offers nine drive configurations, thanks

Inside The ZR2’s Multimatic DSSV

W

hen Chevrolet set to engineering the Colorado ZR2, it could have easily tapped industry stalwarts Fox, King, or Bilstein. Instead, it commissioned the engineers at Multimatic, who were behind the revolutionary dampers used on the ’14 Camaro Z/28, to design and build the shock absorbers for the company’s new off-road warrior.

The Multimatic DSSV Multimatic is a privately held corporation based out of Ontario, Canada. The company provides many different parts to several of the OEs, including control arms for GM pickups, the tailgate step

for Ford, and the tailgate damper assembly for Nissan and Toyota. Multimatic first designed the Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) damper technology for racing applications in the early 2000s. The idea was simple: replace the traditional piston and shims with a pair of spool valves. Spool valves have been used for fluid control in hydraulic systems for decades, but never before in a suspension damper. In 2002, Multimatic had its first racing success with the new DSSV technology with Newman/ Haas Racing’s championship win in the open-wheel CART Series. From there, DSSV went on to be The Multimatic DSSV dampers on the Colorado ZR2 are unlike anything seen before. These shocks have a main body where the shaft rides and the extreme compression spool valve is housed; a middle chamber that houses the on-road compression and rebound spool valves; and a third chamber that acts as a fluid reservoir and separates the nitrogen charge from the hydraulic fluid. As the piston moves through the on-road zone, oil is forced into the spool valves housed in the middle chamber through special orifices in the body. When the shock is compressed outside of the normal zone, the third spool valve mounted on the shaft takes over damping duties. And during extreme rebound situations, such as having the wheels off of the ground, a special rebound valve at the base of the main body controls the motion. All of this combines to create a damper that works exceedingly well on the highway and in the dirt, with almost no compromise.

The ZR2 is available with the 2.8L Duramax I-4 turbodiesel. This engine makes 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Also available is a 3.6L V-6 gas engine that produces 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to automatic transmissions.

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in part to the electronic-locking differentials. So what’s it like to drive the ZR2 on- and offroad? We have a full report in the accompanying sidebar. fw

the series-mandated damper for the 2006–2007 Champ Car Atlantic Series, the US F2000 National Championship in 2007, and Indy Lights from 2015 until now. Most notable is that Red Bull Racing won its four consecutive Formula One titles (2010–2013) on DSSV dampers, and several teams continue to run them today. The first General Motors application of DSSV technology was on the track-meets-street ’14 Camaro Z/28. When GM first approached engineers at Multimatic about doing a pickup damper, they thought they were being pranked. But as the realization set in that the Colorado engineers were indeed serious, the crew actually got excited and set to work. To date, the only road vehicles with DSSV dampers are the deMacross Epique GT1, Camaro Z/28, Aston Martin One-77 and Vulcan, Mercedes AMG-GT, Ford GT, and Colorado ZR2.

Why Spool Valves In Multimatic’s DSSV dampers,

spool valves replace the traditional piston and shims. Each spool valve has a spring-loaded valve that opens and closes at a variable rate depending on the speed of the damper’s shaft. Further, the orifices in the spool valve can be adjusted, allowing engineers to make the dampers firmer or softer depending on the amount of force being applied to the spool valves. For example, the Keyholes (as Multimatic calls them) can be tuned so that under light pressure (such as cruising down the road) the

dampers are soft and compliant, and then under heavy load (such as large bumps while off-roading) the dampers can firm up. While velocity-sensitive damping is nothing new, spool valves offer a much higher degree of repeatability, predictability, and accuracy when tuning compared to traditional valve shim stacks. Since DSSV damping curves are predictable, they can easily be calculated using the math that governs hydraulic equations. This means that the desired damping curves can be calculated and executed without the extensive trial and error of typical shock tuning. Also, due to the flow characteristics of spool valves the shock’s oil viscosity has far less of an effect on performance, meaning that as the shocks heat up with extended use, their performance won’t degrade like a typical off-road race-type damper will. In order to make the Colorado ZR2 equally as good on the highway as off, the team at Multimatic needed to create a DSSV damper that was not only velocity-sensitive, but position-sensitive as well. The answer to this riddle is what lies in the ZR2’s oddly shaped dampers. Multimatic moved the spool valves that control on-road ride into a chamber in the middle of the damper and placed a third spool valve on the shaft in the main body that handles extreme compression events. What it created is a bypass shock that doesn’t compromise onroad handling for off-road comfort. —Jason Gonderman, editor,Truck Trend

A bed-mounted spare is one of the accessories available on the ZR2, and aside from making tire changes easier, it also helps improve the departure angle of the ZR2.

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 39


Feature

GOING STRONG

The Spring 4-Wheel Jamboree rocks Lima, Ohio By Ken Brubaker

ken.brubaker@fourwheeler.com Photos: Jeff Luckey Photo/Family Events and Ken Brubaker

Y

OU KNOW SOMETHING IS GOOD WHEN IT LASTS

32 years. Case in point is the Spring 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals. First held more than three decades ago, the event is still going strong. For 2017, it rocked the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio, a place it has called home for the last several years. History lesson: The “Spring Jambo” hasn’t always been in Ohio, as a matter of fact, we attended the event 42 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

when it was in Pecatonica, Illinois, in 1989. What is a 4-Wheel Jamboree? Well, think of it as a weekend that celebrates four-wheel drive. There’s a Performance Marketplace containing 4x4-related vendors; monster truck, Tough Truck, and mud racing; a huge show-’n’-shine truck show; burnout competition; monster truck rides; a UTV side-by-side shootout; and lots more—all conveniently located in one place. In

addition to the Lima, Ohio, Jambo there were two additional Jambos on the roster for 2017: one in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and another in Indianapolis, Indiana. Spring weather in Ohio can be unpredictable. For 2017 it threw a wide range of surprises at Spring Jambo participants and spectators, including chilly temps, wind, and rain. Nonetheless, the mood was festive and folks came out in fourwheeler.com


 One of the main ingredients of a Jamboree is mud racing of some variety. The Spring Jambo had National Mud Racing Organization (NMRO) mud racing as well as a seven classes of mud bog/hill-in-a-hole racing called the Mud Bog Challenge.  Tough Trucks are a Jambo staple, and folks love ’em. Us included. The Spring Jambo had Mickey Thompson Tough Trucks Challenge stock and modified racing with room to run. This is Mark Noto in the rig he calls After Burner. Mark finished in Eighth Place in Lima. Adam Blankenhorn snagged First Place in his rig called Adamosity.

 The action in the mud was awesome. Track technicians started from scratch in the Allen County Fairgrounds infield and created some great mud tracks for the Spring Jambo. Spectators watched the action from the fairgrounds’ spacious grandstand seating.

The Best One Tire Burn Out Competition was a crowd favorite. This is the event winner, Jake Chittenden, sending up plumes of smoke from his diesel-powered ’75 Ford F-350.

 No matter what your preferred flavor of 4x4, there was something for everyone at the Spring Jambo, like this solid-axle GMC pickup.  From tires to lockers and recovery straps to suspension kits, the Performance Marketplace was the place to shop. Over 40 vendors were in attendance and folks could peruse companies’ wares and speak with knowledgeable reps.

droves. The result was another example of how the Spring Jamboree is going strong. If you’re interested in attending a Jamboree you can get more info, view upcoming events, see photos and video of past events, and even register for upcoming events at 4wheeljamboree.com. For a gallery of photos and a video from the 2017 Spring Jamboree please visit fourwheeler.com. fourwheeler.com

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 43


Feature Going Strong  Family Events says that 30,000-plus spectators funneled through the gates of the Spring Jambo. Most perused the vehicles in the Dick Cepek Show-NShine, which included trail rigs, tall show trucks, and daily drivers. Naturally, there were scores of awards doled out for participants in the show-’n’-shine event. And speaking of participants, the Longest Distance award went to Brad Lewis who traveled 726 miles from Odessa, Missouri.

 The General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags drew Bigfoot, General Tire Monster Truck, Snakebite, Tailgator, Stinger, and Master of Disaster. In addition to side-by-side racing they also performed freestyle competitions.  A cool feature at the Spring Jambo was the 2017 SEMA Show’s Young Guns competition, which is part of the larger 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders. It was professionally judged and open to 27-year-old or younger participants who built their vehicle primarily by themselves. The winner at the Spring Jambo was Jacob Neuenschwander with his ’04 Dodge 1500 (third vehicle from right). Among other things, Jacob wins airfare and lodging for him and a guest, and transportation for his Dodge to the 2017 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Additionally, he has automatic entry to the 2017 Battle of the Builders.

We Got Schooled

W

hile at the 2017 Spring 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals we had the chance to visit the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) in Lima, get a tour of a portion of the campus, and hang out with the UNOH OffRoad Club. Wait, what? An off-road club? Yep, but more on that in a moment. UNOH is an entrepreneurial, not-for-profit, university founded in 1920. The campus is situated on over 200 acres and facilities include apartment-style dorms that can accommodate up to 1,400 students. There are five colleges within the university: College of Applied Technologies, College of Business, College of Occupational Professions, College of Health Professions, and the Graduate College.

UNOH currently has more than 4,500 students enrolled from 40 states and 49 countries. At UNOH there is no out-of-state tuition, the cost is the same whether a student is from Ohio or Australia. UNOH offers more than 50 different programs of study including Master’s, Bachelor, Associate, and Diploma programs. UNOH’s College of Applied Technologies offers degree programs in Automotive Technology, Diesel Technology, High Performance Motorsports Technology, Agricultural Equipment Technology, Robotics and Automation Technology, and HVAC/R Technology. The University’s College of Applied Technologies has a limited student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1. Programs are 70 percent handson and 30 percent classroom work, plus all tools needed during their education are provided by the

university. All of the students have the opportunity to take ASE tests to become ASE Certified. As a benefit, the university will cover the cost of up to two ASE tests for each student. So what’s this about an off-road club? Well, the UNOH Off-Road Club exposes students to the growing field of off-road motorsports. Club members participate in two types of

 We had the opportunity to tour the UNOH High Performance Motorsports Technology facility and we were amazed. It was stocked with almost every tool and machine imaginable that one would use for repair and fabrication. The Ford Explorer pictured is an ongoing project that is currently getting a four-link coilover rear suspension.  Eleven vehicles owned by members of the UNOH Off-Road Club are pictured on the UNOH “Off-Road Hill.” This welldesigned off-road area offers hillclimbs with varying degrees of difficulty as well as other off-road obstacles.

44 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

activities. First, students may choose to attend day or weekend trips to offroad parks within a four-hour radius of the university. On the weekend trips, members usually camp at or near the off-road park. These trips are when the club teaches and enforces the “tread lightly” motto, teaching members to respect nature while enjoying their motorsport of choice. Also, during these trips the club teaches basic off-roading skills such as rockcrawling, recovery skills, and on-trail repairs. In addition to the off-road park trips, students regularly attend “Hill Days,” which are days that students are able to test their skills on UNOH’s Off-Road Hill. Students in the club also get together and help build or repair each other’s rigs; learning how to modify their own at the same time. Moreover, the UNOH Off-Road Club has a Ford Explorer that members continuously modify and wheel. That way if a club member does not have a rig of their own they will be able to ride along in the Explorer. It is through all these projects that club members will learn how to modify a rig correctly, which is especially helpful when they start working on their own off-roading vehicle now or in the future. Want more info on the University of Northwestern Ohio? Visit unoh.edu. fourwheeler.com


Feature

BACKWARD GLANCES

Have Bronco, Will Travel 1967 Bronco Sport/Utility Service Truck

F

OR THOSE OF YOU NOT OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE

experienced everyday car life in the 1960s, it was the day of the full-service gas station. You pulled up for gas and not only got your tank filled by a crew-cutted kid in a uniform, but also your front and rear glass (often your mirrors and headlights as well) were made spotless. Plus, you got an underhood check, and many times your tire pressures were updated. You didn’t lift a finger except to proffer the $5 needed to fill your tank with “the good stuff.” Seems like there was a “Marty” at every gas station—a trustworthy guy with a red rag in his pocket who seemed to know it all and could fix anything on four wheels. If the pump-jockey saw a bad fan belt, Marty usually had time to slip on a new one for you. All the corner gas stations had service bays, and that’s where you went to get maintenance work and most small repairs done. The station owner was often at

his desk in the office and loved to chew the fat with his customers as they waited, tell tales of his World War II exploits, and listen to some of yours. It was a friendly, slower-paced time with much more human interaction. When the Ford Bronco debuted for 1966, it helped speed the light four-wheel-drive market evolution from primarily commercial to recreational. The 4x4 evolved into something that could be driven daily as a combination second car and recreational vehicle, but that didn’t end their commercial use. The Ford Bronco pickup made a great service truck for the typical corner station, especially in rural areas or snow country. It was compact but could unstick that Ford Galaxy in the snowbank with ease. It was burly enough to mount a light wrecker for bringing Marty the no-starts from the nearby neighborhoods. It had a big enough bed to make parts runs or haul the station trash. It was civilized

enough to schlep customers home when they dropped their cars off. You could hang a snowplow on it and keep the station lot clear, and maybe earn a few extra bucks by plowing parking lots at night. The Bronco was a horse that could earn its keep in a variety of ways. The Bronco you see here was built to celebrate the good old days of the neighborhood full-service gas station, and one specific station in Bentleyville, Pennsylvania. In 1925, young Kenyon Nicholl opened what was, at the time, one of only four dedicated gas stations in Washington County, Pennsylvania. In those early days, drivers often bought their gas from a local hardware or general store, but Amoco was the company that innovated the drive-through gas station. Kenyon jumped onto that bandwagon and stayed there for more than 50 years. That station finally closed in 1977 and Kenyon passed away in 1987, but it’s hard to find an old

Is it 1967 or 2018? Don Peroni (right) recreates a vintage service call to aid a fellow Bronco owner, in this case played by Bobby Tennell and his ’66 U14 pickup. The ’60s was an era when cars and trucks, even good ones, commonly had troubles. Batteries and tires weren’t as good as today, points-type ignition systems could be unexpectedly troublesome, and carbureted engines could be flooded. Sometimes you had to walk a ways to find a phone booth, too.

46 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

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BY JIM ALLEN EDITOR@FOURWHEELER.COM PHOTOS: JIM ALLEN  A single 14.5-gallon tank, the base painted bumpers, and a bed-mounted spare all indicate a basic trim-level Bronco. The pickup bulkhead was bolted in, but with the cab top, it could be removed to make a wagon or a roadster. This Bronco started off as a U14 pickup. These “U-Numbers” were Ford’s internal designation for the different variations—U13 designated an opentop roadster, and U15 a station wagon with a full-length top. The 1967 model year was when the popular Sport Bronco package debuted and the U14 could have had it. It included an Argent (dull silver) grille; chrome bumpers; bumper guards; the “Sport” emblem; bright trim around the windows, grille, lights, and so on; vinyl door panels and armrests; a bit of bright trim inside; a headliner; pleated seat; and a lighter.

This ’67 U14 pickup was built as a plain Jane, with few options. From the factory, it got a 289ci V-8, 4.11 gears with a rear limited slip, heater, AM radio, and a hand throttle. To help it play the role of a service truck, Peroni added a few dealer-installed accessories including a Koenig 8,000-pound PTO winch, 16-inch rims with 7.50-16 Super Traxion bias-ply mudders from Coker, a roof spotlight, a ball hitch, and a passenger-side bed step—plus the Nichols graphics. The Amoco logo was one seen from about 1970 to about 2002.

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FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 47


Feature 1967 BRONCO SPORT/UTILITY SERVICE TRUCK family in that small town with some member that didn’t work for Nicholls at some point. In his honor, Don and Drew Peroni built a tribute Bronco, not only for Kenyon, but also for all those all-but-forgotten corner gas station operators from back in the day. If you are wondering why a guy named Peroni is so involved with the Nicholl family, it’s because he married into it. Don married Kenyon’s daughter Luanne, who spent a fair bit of her youth in that station. Now she can relive those years by driving the service Bronco Don

built for her. To answer the inevitable question, no, Kenyon never had a Bronco service truck, but this Harbor Blue halfcab represents what it might have looked like if he did. Don and his son Drew run a small Bronco restoration business out of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, as well as making reproduction Bronco striping and decal kits. They are working word of mouth and staying low profile, but this restoration highlights their talents. You can track them down at the Classic Broncos forum (classicbroncos. com) using “Broncitis.”

The ’66-’77 Ford Bronco was a trendsetter and is one of the most coveted of all the collectible 4x4s. For many years, they were primarily a buildup rig—and a fantastic one—but now uncut Broncos are being restored to factory configuration. Few of them are restored to commercial splendor, making the Peroni Bronco even more fantastic to behold. It was shot at the annual Bronco Super Celebration that takes place in Townsend, Tennessee, usually in April (broncodriver.com/index.php/ events/bronco-super-celebration). fw  Plain and simple! Without the Sport option, you had standard metal door panels, no headliner, a rubber floor mat, the standard Parchment bench seat, and little else. This one was ordered with the optional AM radio, and the Peronis added the optional dealerinstalled chrome passenger grab bar.

This is what a ’67 Bronco 289 engine compartment looked like on the showroom floor. The 289ci two-barrel was rated at 200 hp at 4,400 gross, which equated to 150 hp net. Similarly, torque was advertised at 282 lb-ft at 2,400 rpm, but was 242 net lb-ft. That was potent power for a bobtail in those days. The Ford engine line had only recently gotten paper air filters but an old-style oil bath was optional for the Bronco. The Bronco 289 came standard with a 42-amp Autolite alternator standard, but a 55-amp unit was optional. The heavyduty cooling option got you a radiator with 13 finsper-inch versus the standard 11. The 1967 model year is when Bronco got dual-circuit brakes.

 The Bronco version of the Dana Model 20 transfer case was a special order from Ford. The other version of the D20 at that time had a 2.0:1 low range while the Ford unit was 2.46:1. You can see here the Koenig PTO that replaced the transfer case pan.

 The 8,000-pound Koenig Iron Works PTO winch kit was a factory authorized, dealer-installed accessory that came painted in the Ford favorite Argent color. It was driven off a PTO adapter on the Dana 20 transfer case. The Ford V-8 kit even had a Ford part number, C6TZ-19E536-C. It included all the mounting brackets, PTO, and PTO shaft. It weighed 200 pounds, so Ford recommended the optional heavy-duty springs go with it. In the case of the V-8, that would be the 1,000-pound springs (capacity at pad), which equated to a 230 lb-in rate (versus the standard 205 lb-in). The winch carried a generous 150 feet of 5⁄16-inch wire rope and included a roller fairlead. Ford allotted four hours for installation.

AT A GLANCE

 The Bronco was the first 4x4 to field Dana’s new Model 30 front axle. When the Bronco was originally spec’d in 1964, it was planned to use a Dana 27 closed-knuckle axle. When Ford got wind of the beefier Dana 30 shortly thereafter, they wanted in on that action. It’s said Ford was the major motivation behind the openknuckle design, which made it the first 4x4 to have it, and it delivered a much tighter turning radius. The openknuckle axle soon became the industry norm, but the Bronco had it first.

48 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

Vehicle: ’67 Bronco U14 Sport/Utility Pickup Owner: Luanne Peroni Estimated value: $35,000 Engine: 289ci V-8, two-barrel Power (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 4,400 (gross) Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 282 @ 2,400 Bore & stroke (in): 4.00 x 2.87 Comp. ratio: 9.3:1 Transmission: Ford 3-spd, column shift Transfer case: Dana 20, Ford spec. Front axle: Dana 30 Rear axle: Ford 9-inch, 2,780-lb rating Axle ratio: 4.11:1 (std. 3.50:1) Tires: 7.50–16 Wheelbase (in): 93 GVW (lb): 3,900 Curb weight (lb): 3,285 Fuel capacity (gal): 14.5 Min. grd. clearance (in): 8.50 Approach angle (deg): 46 Departure angle (deg): 31.4

fourwheeler.com


B&W TOW & STOW

B&W’s Tow & Stow line is available for 2- and 2.5-inch receivers in multiple ball sizes or with drop-down pintle shown open. This allows 14 inches of vertical adjustment, up to 16,000-pound trailer weight, and protected hardware when not towing INFO: B&W, turnoverball.com, 800/248-6564

B&W COMPANION

B&W’s “turnover” approach mounts a fifth-wheel (sliding or fixed) or gooseneck to the same under-bed point, leaving the bed completely clear when neither is needed (have a friend or hoist since fifth-wheels approach 300 pounds). Fixed and sliding fifth-wheels are also available to fit The Big Three puck systems. INFO: B&W, turnoverball.com, 800/248-6564

The proper hookup can make all the difference By G.R. Whale

editor@fourwheeler.com

Photos: Courtesy of the manufacturers

E

VEN IF YOU NEVER TOW ANYTHING, A HITCH

receiver is beneficial as a convenient mount for racks, a winch, or tools—and a bonus for resale value. Herein, a wide variety of ideas to make your towing experience better and your hitch more useful.

BULLETPROOF HITCHES

From the go-big-or-go-home school, BulletProof offers this 3- to 6-inch drop solid USA “military-grade” steel ball mount rated for 30,000 pounds. Other hardware covers 2-, 2.5-, and 3-inch shanks, drops to 16 inches, with pintle and shackle attachments. INFO: BulletProof Hitches, bulletproofhitches.com, 941/251-8110

HITCHES, BALLS, MOUNTS

CURT XD

Curt was first to adapt their puck-system legs for quick installation of any Curt fifth-wheel hitch into a Titan XD. They use a three-point anchoring system, and the hitch can be adjusted to eliminate chucking noise. INFO: Curt Manufacturing, curtmfg.com, 877/287-8634 50 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

CURT ADJUSTABLE

This Curt Class V solid-shank channel mount for trailers up to 20,000 pounds offers two trailer ball sizes, two shank length choices, flip-over channel, and built-in anti-rattle system. INFO: Curt Manufacturing, curtmfg.com, 877/287-8634

CURT SUPER DUTY

This Curt Gooseneck for 2017 Super Duty pickups can be installed by one person with no frame drilling, no exhaust lowering, no truck bed removal, no spare tire removal, no bed flange trimming, and no welding. Maximum weight is 7,500 pounds on the pin and up to a 30,000-pound trailer. INFO: Curt Manufacturing, curtmfg.com, 877/287-8634 fourwheeler.com


Heavy Duty Transmission Pans and Differential Covers Often Copied, Never Duplicated

818.786.8325 Magnetic drain plugs

New Ford Dana M300

Magnetic dipstick Cast Aluminum A356-T6

Just Released Ford 6R140

Tapped for temperature probe 25 to 50ยบ Heat reduction ARP O-rings on Most applications Longer service intervals Quicker, cleaner maintenance

Perfect for that tow rig that will keep you on the road

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Feature HITCHES, BALLS, MOUNTS

DRAW-TITE MULTI-FIT

The universal frame hardly exists below Class IV trucks, but the DrawTite Multi-Fit receiver does work on many pickups and SUVs. Rated up to 6,000 pounds weight-carrying and 10,000 weight-distributing, it’s powdercoated and has a limited lifetime warranty. INFO: Draw-Tite, draw-tite.com, 800/632-3290

HENSLEY ARROW

DRAW-TITE ADJUSTABLE BALL MOUNT

For 2-inch receivers and trailers to 14,000 pounds, Draw-Tite’s adjustable ball mounts are available with dual and triple-ball plus pintle-mount options. Note also the mount’s knurled surface for better traction when used as a step. INFO: Draw-Tite, draw-tite.com, 800/632-3290

GEN-Y HITCH

The Hensley Arrow hitch, for trailers 6,00014,000 pounds (use Hensley Cub for 2,0006,000), uses a unique design to eliminate trailer sway rather than limit it by friction—no sideto-side motion is applied to the tow ball—for improved driving dynamics and safety. Return within 60 days if you don’t like it. INFO: Hensley Mfg., hensleymfg.com, 800/410-6580

ELECTRONICS

Gen-Y rubber torsion hitches are said to significantly reduce trailer inertia transfer to smooth the ride. Available for 2-, 2.5-, and 3-inch receivers, loads to 21,000 pounds (with built-in mechanical tongue weight scale), and 6- to 21-inch drop on the 2.5-inch models. INFO: Gen-Y, genyhitch.com, 574/218-6363

REESE STEADI-FLEX

BARGMAN ADAPTER HARNESS

This weight-distribution hitch (max. 1,400 pounds tongue, 14,000 trailer) has friction-pad sway control built in. The no-drill system is said to provide a smooth, quiet ride and use a pin-and-clip assembly to reduce wear on the head and friction pads. INFO: Reese Products, reeseprod.com, 800/632-3290

The Bargman 90-degree adapter will add a fifth-wheel/gooseneck plug to virtually any pickup and many flatbeds with a seven-way, 9-foot insulated cable (UL listed 10/2, 12/1, and 14/4 jacketed). INFO: Bargman, bargman.com, 800/632-3290

REESE AIRBORNE/ SIDEWINDER

This pin-box marries an air-ride system with the Sidewinder pin-box for minimizing clearance and maneuvering issues towing up to 16,000-pound fifth-wheels with a shortbed truck; many combinations can make a 90-degree turn. INFO: Reese Products, reeseprod.com, 800/632-3290 52 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

GARMIN DEZLCAM

The Garmin dezlCam provides navigation and continuous HD video recording, automatically saved to the 8GB micro SD card when internal sensors detect a collision. It provides lifetime updated maps, custom routing for your truck’s size and weight, and warnings for bridge heights, weight limits, steep grades, and so on. INFO: Garmin International, garmin.com, 913/397-8200 fourwheeler.com


WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

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EVRON 67 ASSEMBLY

MURET 67 ASSEMBLY

TIRED OF TRAILER TIRE FAILURES? Now you can upgrade 16” trailer tires to 19.5” for: 3,970-6,008/lbs. weight ratings, freeway speed ratings, +1.5-2/ mpg gains, 3x-7x extended tire life, and the least sidewall flex stress possible! Enjoy peace of mind when you upgrade your trailer to Boar’s 19.5” wheel & tire assemblies.

BOTH AVAILABLE AT: BOARWHEEL.COM OR 888-619-5622 & 605-745-4722


Feature Towing Parts Buyer’s Guide ELECTRONICS

MAGELLAN TRX7 CS

A one-stop shop for outdoor recreation, the TRX7 CS offers turn-by-turn navigation, more than 115,000 pre-loaded motorized-vehicle trails that don’t require cellular data, companion app (iOS and Android) HD camera/video, photo geo-tagging, a 7-inch display, and lifetime free map and software updates. INFO: Magellan GPS, magellangps.com

TEKONSHA MODULITE ZCI

For modern vehicles with fussy electronics, the Zero Contact Interface sensors simply snap around truck light wires—no cuts, splices, interference, blown parking light fuses, or melted headlight switches. It works on multiplexed, pulse-width modulation systems and 2/3-wire systems and is rated for 4.2-amp turn/stop and 7.5-amp running light circuits; simply add relays for higher loads. INFO: Tekonsha, tekonsha.com, 800/632-3290

TEKONSHA PRODIGY P2

The P2 offers proportional electric (and electric-over-hydrualic) braking for up to four axles. It features numerous mounting options, quickdisconnect, continual diagnostic checks, and a “boost” function to apply more initial braking action with heavier trailers. INFO: Tekonsha, tekonsha.com, 800/632-3290

HITCH-MOUNT CARRIERS

ALLOY CYCLE RACK

When you haven’t got room in your shortbed for another bike or a regular rack won’t handle your e-bike, Ultra-Tow’s aluminum motorcycle rack will carry a 400-pound bike, loaded easily with included ramp and weighing in around 50 pounds. INFO: Northern Tool, northerntool.com, 800/221-0516

THULE TRANSPORTER COMBI

Thule’s enclosed hitch (11⁄4- or 2-inch) box essentially adds 13 cubic feet and 150 pounds to trunk capacity. The Transporter Combi is lockable and weather-tight (but not submersible), has 4-pin rear lights (no backup), and tilts down for easier truck access. INFO: Thule Inc., thule.com, 800/238-2388

ULTRA-TOW CARGO CARRIER This tube steel rack from Ultra-Tow carries up to 500 pounds on its 60x20-inch deck with 6-inch walls, enough for a 50-gallon cooler full of water or anything that won’t fit, or you don’t want, inside. It folds upwards to extend less than a foot behind your truck when not needed. INFO: Northern Tool, northerntool.com, 800/221-0516

HITCHMOUNT RACK V.2

The Hitchmount Rack is made entirely of USA components and carries up to 140 pounds or 12foot loads without additional stability controls. An extendable base section allows wide-tire clearance, and the 1-inch-square crossbars fit most Yakima and Thule attachments. INFO: Hitchmount-Rack, hitchmount-rack.com, 888/993-6783

54 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

YAKIMA LONGHAUL

The Longhaul rack carries up to four bikes and incorporates Yakima’s ZipStrips, antisway cradles, folding arms, and same-key system, but it’s built to take the added abuse of being mounted on an RV with long overhang, all tested to 1.5 times their normal standard. INFO: Yakima, yakima.com, 888/925-4621 fourwheeler.com


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Feature Towing Parts Buyer’s Guide SUSPENSION AIR LIFT BAGS

The LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate setup, which offers up to 5,000-pound capacity across most popular pickup lines, uses air springs with internal jounce bumpers to mitigate harsh impacts on rough roads or run safely empty with zero air pressure. The system fits vehicles with integrated fifth-wheel gooseneck options. INFO: Air Lift, airliftcompany.com, 800/248-0892

KELDERMAN F-SD

This ’17 4WD-only Super Duty four-link air system from Kelderman includes all the hardware necessary to convert to adjustable rear air suspension, capable of dropping 3.5–4 inches for easier hitching or tailgate loading. Pair it with an optional control system and it will automatically level the truck regardless of load. INFO: Kelderman, kelderman.com, 800/334-6150

TIMBREN TRAILER SUSPENSION HELLWIG BIG WIG

With a 2,800-pound bag for each side, the Big Wig air spring kit for ’17-up Super Dutys allows big loads at moderate spring rates, variable side-to-side, compressor/tank optional. Available stock height for 250/350 SRW 2WD and dualies, with a 2-inch lift and 2- to 4-inch lift kits for SRW 4WD. Pair with a Big Wig adjustable rear sway bar for large trailers. INFO: Hellwig Products, hellwigproducts.com, 800/435-5944

RANCHO RS9000XL

Regardless of spring material, this shock controls it. The Rancho RS9000XL features nine settings for better ride control, whether you’re

Timbren’s “Axle-Less” rubber-spring suspension is rated at 2,000 pounds (per pair/one “axle”), offers 1.625 inches of compression travel, and comes with a 4-inch lift spindle to fit wider, taller tires, and has a mounting flange for various braking options. INFO: Timbren, timbren.com, 800/263-3113

towing a heavy load at speed or wheeling across moguls and want the best softness and flexibility. INFO: Rancho, gorancho.com, 734/384-7804

TRAILER WHEELS & TIRES BOAR WHEEL

With a 6,050-pound load capacity Boar’s Muret 67 aluminum 19.5x6.75-inch wheel pairs well with load range G tires for your heaviest toy hauler. Hub-centric for 5⁄8 -inch studs or lug-centric with 1⁄2 -inch or 9⁄16-inch threads, it weighs 38 pounds, includes a center cap, and is available in balanced tire/ wheel sets. INFO: Boar, boarwheel.com, 888/619-5622

MAXXIS ST M8008

Maxxis’ military-sounding M8008 is a dedicated (ST) steel-belted radial trailer tire. In nine sizes from 13- through 16-inch diameters, load capacity ranges from 1,360 to 3,420 pounds per tire, and Maxxis recommends a 65-mph limit towing a trailer. INFO: Maxxis, maxxis.com, 800/462-9947 56 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

fourwheeler.com


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A/T Sport

Super Swamper 16.5in Tires Available Irok Radial/Bias

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Mayhem Warrior

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Feature Towing Parts Buyer’s Guide TRAILER ACCESSORIES

BULLDOG WINCH

In ratings from 2,500 to 18,000 pounds (9,000 shown). Uses a patented cone brake structure to keep all brake heat outside the drum and promote longevity. Other features include a pull-and-turn T-handle clutch, three-stage planetary gearing, and a remote with LED overheating indicators. INFO: Bulldog, bulldogproducts. net, 800/632-3290

BOLT COUPLER LOCK

Like all BOLT locks, the coupler is set once to match your truck key so you’ll never fumble through a keychain to unlock it (the boat could be another matter). Protection is two-fold, visible to deter opportunistic thieves and hardened steel with a plate tumbler sidebar to minimize pick and impact access. INFO: BOLT, boltlock.com, 844/972-7547

BULLDOG HIGH-SPEED

In addition to trailer tongue jacks, Bulldog offers these Velocity jacks that have a 6-ton capacity and 24 inches of travel, said to be faster than hydraulics at comparable loads. A wired remote that is standard, wireless optional, and electric means no hoses, pumps, or hydraulic reservoirs to maintain. INFO: Bulldog, bulldogproducts.net, 800/632-3290

58 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

TUFFY SECURITY DRAWER

This 16-gauge steel Tuffy roller-bearing drawer is designed for secure storage in SUV cargo areas whether enclosed or not, but we’ve also seen them slung between open-deck trailer framerails for out-of-the-way safe storage without impeding ground clearance. INFO: Tuffy Security Products, tuffyproducts.com, 800/348-8339

SUPERWINCH EXP

The Superwinch EXP series is available in 4-, 5-, and 6-ton capacities, rated to IP69K (no dust/water penetration 1,100+ psi @ 80 C) with 100 feet of wire or synthetic rope, task lighting, auxiliary power port, and integrated or remote solenoid box installations. INFO: Superwinch, superwinch.com, 800/323-2031

LOCKING PIN SET

The Draw-Tite locking pin set for adjustable ball mounts comes with a 5⁄8 -inch pin for the two-inch receiver and a 3⁄4-inch pin to secure the head to the shank, keyed alike, for those times you’d rather keep the grubby hitch outside your truck. INFO: Draw-Tite, draw-tite.com, 800/632-3290

JOBOX LP

This JOBOX premium crossover 10.5-cubic-foot storage unit with dual rotary GearLocks has clearance underneath and maybe fifth-wheel clearance on top depending on your rig’s articulation, and the reinforced lid can handle the front axle of your ATV or side-by-side. Shown in aluminum, also available in steel. INFO: JOBOX, jobox.com, 800/643-0084 fourwheeler.com


YOUR DREAM CAR IS G N I T I A W TRUE DUALSPORT. DON’T SETTLE FOR JUST A LIFT. AEV DualSport Suspensions will not only give you the added ground clearance and wheel travel you need off road, it will give you the enhanced suspension and steering geometry to make your vehicle handle like a dream on the road. Experience real suspension engineering. NO COMPROMISE, NO COMPETITION.

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Feature Towing Parts Buyer’s Guide TRAILER ACCESSORIES

LIGHTING RIGID D-SS FLOOD

VIAIR ULTRA DUTY

The Ultra Duty onboard air system provides a 200 PSI rated, 100% duty cycle 480C compressor, 2.5-gallon air tank (upgradeable to 5), and components to install a working system capable of inflating even large tires, running light air tools and/or linked to air horns, air lockers, and air suspension. INFO: Viair, viaircorp.com, 949/585-0011

A compact flood light like this Rigid D-SS flood could go anywhere from underneath your buggy to see what you’re hung up on to the pickup bed for easier trailer loading. A 2.3-amp draw allows field repairs well into the night, it may out-live your truck, and with the amber or red lens cover could double as rear dust or snow lamp leaving the playgrounds. INFO: Rigid, rigidindustries. com, 855/760-5337

WARN TRAILER WINCH

Warn’s 4000 DC 1.9hp motor and 176:1 gear reduction peak at 4,000 pounds first-wrap pulling capacity…and the roller fairlead is standard. If that’s not enough to drag your broken buggy on the trailer, use all 43 feet of the wire cable and a shackle. Includes 6-gauge wiring and 12-foot-lead remote. INFO: Warn, warn.com, 800/543-9276

WARN UTILITY WINCH

BAJA FLUSH MOUNTS

For pulling recalcitrant wheeled devices onto trailers, pulling (never lifting) things around the shop, or closing the toybox door with broken springs or rams. Any 3⁄8 -or-larger drill powers the free-spooling Warn winch drill, capable of pulling 500 pounds on the first wrap. INFO: Warn, warn.com, 800/543-9276

Baja Designs’ angled flush-mount Squadron series (1,800 lumen Sport, 4,900 Pro) go on any flat surface, angled downward from above, sideways for hitch or low-headroom doors, or upward for ambient reflection, O-ring sealed to the mounting surface. INFO: Baja Designs, bajadesigns.com, 866/335-7050

PERFORMANCE

ATS AURORA

The Aurora 4000 fits tuned ’11-’14 6.7L Power Stroke pickups and cab/chassis (use 3000 for stock trucks), supports up to 700 hp, and is said to control EGT while maintaining stock spool-up. The drop-in kit includes upgraded up-pipes, hardware, and gaskets; uses stock plumbing; and has 5-year/500,000-mile warranty. INFO: ATS, atsdiesel.com, 866/209-3695 60 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

ATS STAGE II RAM 68RFE

The Stage II six-speed automatic transmission, for two- or four-wheel drive, is designed for towing and up to 600 hp, with a “Five-Star” torque converter rated for 2,500 lb-ft input. It uses reinforced hubs, shafts, planetary assembly, case, and clutch packs; deep pan, and a valve body that safely adds and controls line pressure. Limited 5-year/500,000-mile warranty. INFO: ATS, atsdiesel.com, 866/209-3695

BD 2 LOW UNLOC

The 2 Low Unloc system is basically an electric version of manual-locking hubs for a 4WD, allowing low-range reduction without driveline binding. Better throttle modulation and greater available torque make an easier job of low-speed maneuvering on inclines and controlling axle wrap while backing your large trailer. INFO: BD Diesel Performance, dieselperformance.com, 800/887-5030 fourwheeler.com


EVERY UNDISPUTED TIRE DESERVES AN UNDISPUTED WHEEL. SIDEBITER® II

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MM-489

MM-366

MM-164M

MM-164B

DEEGAN 38 PRO 4

DEEGAN 38 PRO 2

THESE NEW MICKEY THOMPSON WHEELS COME WITH OUR LIFETIME LIMITED WARRANTY.

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Feature Towing Parts Buyer’s Guide PERFORMANCE

CENTERFORCE TWIN DISC

BD TAPSHIFTER

This kit gives fingertip lever shifting (using factory shift arms) and full manual control for 6.0L Power Stroke and ’01-’05 Duramax. Designed to be equally useful towing or doing dyno runs, the Ford kit uses the VVT for exhaust brake function with up to 70 psi backpressure, much like later 6.7L Power Stroke. INFO: BD Diesel Performance, dieselperformance.com, 800/887-5030

BORLA CRATEMUFFLER

Made of the same T-304 stainless as all Borla exhausts, these CrateMufflers are designed for crate engine swaps and installations. A variety of pipe sizes, accessories, and mounting endplates and hangers aid fitment, and two sound profiles (add Crate Resonators to either for quieter options) to avoid droning. INFO: Borla, borla.com, 877/462-6752

BULLET PROOF DIESEL COOLER

Recently announced for ’08-’10 Ford 6.4L Power Stroke pickups is this oil cooler relocation system from Bullet Proof Diesel. Designed, manufactured and tested inhouse, this system moves the cooler from engine valley to firewall and uses a spin-on oil filter. INFO: Bullet Proof Diesel, bulletproofdiesel.com, 480/247-2331

62 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

BD ATF COOLER

For ’05.5-and-up Ram diesels, this Centerforce twin-disc clutch is rated for 1,700 lb-ft of torque and said to offer quiet and smooth operation. It includes pre-bled hydraulics, billet steel flywheel, damped dual-disc assembly, centrifugal-weight pressure plate, and ARP fasteners. INFO: Centerforce, centerforce.com, 800/932-5882

The BD transmission fluid cooler uses the same extruded bar design as BD’s charge air coolers, with 200 passages for heat transfer rated at 33,930 Btu/hr. Furnace-brazed rails handle 300 psi, 5⁄8 -inch ports accept 5⁄16-, 3⁄8 -, and 5⁄8 -inch line, and the 800-cfm fan comes prewired with a loomed harness. INFO: BD Diesel Performance, dieselperformance.com, 800/887-5030

BORLA ECOBOOST TURBO

This Borla turbocharger upgrade kit for ’11-’16 3.5 EcoBoost F-150 is said to unleash up to 160 horses more. The system includes two BorgWarner turbos, SCT X4 tuner and 5-Star Tuning software, air filter, NGK iridium plugs, and Borla’s million-mile Cat-Back full-dual exhaust with ATAK or S (quieter) mufflers and side or rear exits. INFO: Borla, borla.com, 877/462-6752

PREDATOR RETURNS

DiabloSport’s tuner is back in Predator II form for gas and diesel, for power/economy programming, USB updating, data logging, user adjustable shifting/tire size/gearing, DTC reading/ clearing, and a blank “Pro” version for custom tuning. INFO: DiabloSport, diablosport.com, 866/404-6141


Feature Towing Parts Buyer’s Guide PERFORMANCE

EDGE EVOLUTION

The Evolution controller/programmer adds power; adjusts powertrain mapping and speed/ rev limiters; offers multiple parameters on the configurable display (with audible alerts); does data logging, testing, and recording; and is internet updateable. A rearview camera can be added and California models are available. INFO: Edge Products, edgeproducts.com, 888/360-3343

JET PERFORMANCE PRODUCTS

Jet throttle bodies are a direct replacement—no fiddling with electronic calibrations—and are designed to increase airflow. They’re available for most popular gasoline pickups and SUVs (the part shown is for the ’05-’15 Dodge/Ram 5.7L Hemi V-8). INFO: Jet, jetchip.com, 800/535-1161

MAG-HYTEC COVER

From the original O-ring sealed, magnetized, dipstick-fitted, serviceable finned cover and pan builder shown is the prototype for ’17 Super Duty F-350/F-450 rearends. Covers and auto trans pans are available for most pickups, and there’s an engine oil pan for the 6.7L Power Stroke. INFO: Mag-Hytec, mag-hytec.com, 818/786-8325

SUPERCHIPS DASHPAQ ENERGY MASTER SET

This Energy Suspension Hyper-Flex master set for all ’07-’10 GM HD 4WD pickups includes bushings for front control arms, antiroll bar mount and endlinks, front diff, and torsion bar crossmember, rear spring and shackle, and cab body mounts. This should improve alignment, handling, and towing stability. INFO: Energy Suspension, energysuspension.com, 888/913-6374

The Dashpaq on-dash monitor/tuner, for gas and diesel, uses a button interface for displays from multiple temperature and pressure accessories, settings, DTC, real-time driving efficiency, and maintenance scheduling, and you can log and export data for review in CSV file format. INFO: Superchips, superchips.com, 888/227-2447

HYPERTECH MAX ENERGY 2.0 A new update adds 20 hp and 20 lb-ft to GM 6.0 L96 (VIN code G) HD engines (on premium, 17/17 on regular) and is a free update via Hypertech Tuner to Max Energy 2.0 Power Programmer owners. It also adjusts for shifts points and firmness, tire pressure monitor (25-95 psi), tire size (up to 54 inches), speed limiter, axle ratio (2.56-5.13:1), and read/clear DTC. INFO: Hypertech, hypertech.com, 901/382-8888 64 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

PHOENIX FRICTION

This Stage 5 FeramAlloy solid flywheel clutch conversion kit for G56 Ram diesels replaces the stock system, includes a bolt-on upgraded prefilled hydraulic system, and is rated for long life/severeduty towing behind engines up to 620 hp and 1080 lb-ft. Other friction materials covering 390-715 hp and 675-1250 lb-ft are available for the G56. INFO: Phoenix Friction, phoenixfriction.com, 877/570-5630 fw fourwheeler.com


WRANGLER ADVENTURE RACK SHOWN WITH OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

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WWW.WILDERNESSRACKS.COM


Tech

Crafting a multifunctional off-road pickup By Tyler Adams

O

editor@fourwheeler.com Photos: Tyler Adams

UT OF THE BOX, THE TOYOTA TACOMA IS AN

impressive adventure vehicle. It has all of the qualities of an overland mule: superior reliability, off-road cred, plus creature comforts. One thing it’s lacking though, is utility. Even with the longer wheelbase model, such as the ’17 Tacoma we are outfitting for overlanding, we’ve run out of room to carry essential gear. With a family of four and a dog in tow, the storage capacity of the Taco

shrinks in a matter of a lab-sized dog crate. The solution to our dilemma was BajaRack’s bed and cab rack system. BajaRack is based in San Diego, California, with its sole manufacturing plant located in Ensenada, Mexico. BajaRack’s testbed is the Baja peninsula, home of the Baja 1000, where the company flogs its products on a daily basis through the toughest terrain Baja can dish out. Bed storage is crucial for multi-day camping

trips, and the BajaRack bed and cab rack system solves that problem. Try stowing your camp shovel, Hi-Lift jack, Powertank CO2 tank, propane tank, MaxTrax recovery device, water, fuel, rooftop tent, along with your general camping gear, and you end up requiring a trailer! The new BajaRack bed rack system for the third-gen Tacoma offers an abundance of mounting locations for overlanding accessories and opens up precious cargo space in the

SWISS ARMY TACOMA

66 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

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bed for portable refrigerators, cooking stove, camp gear, and the like. And, when you’ve maxed out your bed and bed rack with gear for a weeklong trip, BajaRack offers up a fully functional cab rack system for the ’05-’17 Tacoma. The BajaRack Utility (flat) Rack (with satellite antenna cutout) system we installed can accommodate a rooftop tent, bike rack, kayaks, fuel and water tanks, and the kitchen sink. The cab rack system is manufactured with 1.5-inch steel tubing and can handle up to 300 pounds of gear. Loaded for bear, we headed out to Utah for a weeklong trip, with family in tow. Follow along as we install BajaRack’s storage solutions, and a few other functional mods, on our ’17 Toyota Tacoma.

6 1. BajaRack’s modular bed rack system has five main structural pieces—two side frames and three upper support braces. The rear brace offers an integrated third brake light.

4

2. Utilizing the factory Toyota adjustable bed anchor points, the BajaRack bed rack’s side frames are secured by sliding a 1x6-inch steel sleeve into the C-channel. When the steel sleeves are lined up, the bolts can be torqued. 3. Once the upper support braces are placed according to the instructions and torqued to spec, the bed rack system is complete and ready for accessorizing. 4. The BajaRack Utility (flat) Rack (with satellite antenna cutout) system install begins by removing the rubber rain gutter rail and then cutting out the hidden roof rack mounting holes in the track. The holes are covered by a strip of tape and trimmed out with a blade. The supplied bolts can be threaded into the inserts. Reinstall the rain gutter and tap with a mallet to pinpoint the holes that will be drilled through the rubber strip. 5. With the factory rubber trim marked by the bolts, proceed to drill a 5⁄16-inch hole in the rubber trim.

1

6. Once the holes are established, mark the edges of the mounting feet and remove the first layer of rubber. Be careful in this step, because you don’t want to cut completely through the rubber trim piece, only the cab side. There is a thin piece of metal that runs parallel along the trim piece, so we used a Dremel tool and pliers to help cut out this section, enabling the rubber strip to rest evenly along the rain gutter.

5

7. The BajaRack Tacoma cab rack system ships as a single unit, along with the four mounting feet, which bolt into the factory rain gutter rail.

2

3 fourwheeler.com

7 FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 67


Tech Swiss Army Tacoma

15

8 12

8. The mounting feet are well labeled and require removing the in-gutter strip and marking the two holes on each foot. Make sure to grease the holes on the threads on each of the bolts before inserting them into the holes. It’s important not to overtighten the bolts. 9. When the mounting feet are set, it’s time to place the rack deck and torque to spec. There’s no drilling required and the slim rack profile only adds 4.5 inches to the roofline. 10. The BajaRack bed and roof rack system are now ready for accessorizing. The sky is the limit on how many products you can bolt up, providing you don’t exceed the 300-pound maximum weight rating.

9

13

11. Up top, we mounted our Maggiolina AirLand Plus rooftop tent. On the driver side, we mounted Rotopax fuel and water tanks, along with axe and shovel attachments. On the rear, we mounted Powertank’s matte-black PT10-5240 CO2 tank with Super Bracket and a Manchester 5-pound propane tank with Powertank aluminum tank bracket. ARB’s 6-foot awning mounts up conveniently to the BajaRack bed rack and puts out ample shade in sunny locales. 12. BajaRack offers optional accessory mounts for all sorts of overland tools. For example, the MaxTrax recovery device easily bolts up to the BajaRack and can be secured with standard locks. 13. Attachment points for the Hi-Lift jack are stout and use 3M cushion tape to reduce rattling. Each accessory mount allows the use of a locking bolt to prevent theft. 14. Rounding out the package, we installed a set of SOTA Offroad’s new 17-inch D.R.T. 5 simulated beadlock wheels and Mickey Thompson’s new Baja ATZP3 all-terrain tires in a LT265/70R17 size. The Powertank makes quick work of refilling tires after being aired down for off-road adventure. 15. All loaded up, the BajaRack bed and cab rack system organizes gear and opens up much more utility space for our ’17 Toyota Tacoma. fw

10

SOURCES

11 68 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

14

ARB USA

Mickey Thompson Tires

866/293-9078 arbusa.com

330/928-9092 mickeythompsontires.com

BajaRack

Rotopax

888/538-0588 bajarack.com

801/299-1885 rotopax.com

Hi-Lift Jack Company

Powertank

800/233-2051 hi-lift.com

209/366-2163 powertank.com

MaxTrax

SOTA Offroad

us.maxtrax.com.au

888/313-2580 sotaoffroad.com

fourwheeler.com


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BFG KM2 on XD Addict Black 285/70 R17--------------- on 17x9 ------------------$1765.92 305/65 R17--------------- on 17x9 ------------------- 1912.92 35/12.50 R18------------- on 18x9 ------------------- 2137.92 37/12.50 R18 ------------- on 18x9 ------------------- 2149.92 37/12.50 R17 ------------- on 17x9 ------------------- 1943.92 325/60 R20 -------------- on 20x9 ------------------- 2458.92

NEW BFG A/T KO2 on Tracker II Black 33/12.50 R15------------- on 15x8 ------------------$1231.92 315/75 R16 --------------- on 16x8 ------------------- 1453.92 34/10.50 R17------------- on 17x8.5 ----------------- 1805.92 37/12.50 R17 ------------- on 17x8.5 ----------------- 1928.92 35/12.50 R18------------- on 18x9 ------------------- 1975.92

33/12.50 R15------------- on 15x10 -----------------$1806.96 285/75 R16--------------- on 16x8.5 ----------------- 1846.96 285/75 R17--------------- on 17x8.5 ----------------- 2259.96 35/12.50 R17------------- on 17x8.5 ----------------- 2308.96 285/70 R17--------------- on 17x8.5 ----------------- 2302.96

M/T MTZ P3 on Moab STR Black/Machined 285/75R16 --------------- on 16x8.5 ----------------$1436.96 285/70R17 --------------- on 17x9 ------------------- 1644.96 315/70R17 --------------- on 17x9 ------------------- 1774.96 37/12.50R17 ------------- on 17x9 ------------------- 2046.96 35/12.50R20 ------------- on 20x9 ------------------- 2310.96

M/T ATZP3 on Method Racing 301

Toyo Open Country AT2 on Moab STR Black 285/70 R17E ------------- on 17x8.5 ----------------$1400.96 285/70 R17C ------------- on 17x8.5 ----------------- 1254.96 35/12.50 R17------------- on 17x8.5 ----------------- 1586.96 285/65 R18 -------------- on 18x9 ------------------- 1700.96 35/12.50 R18------------- on 18x9 ------------------- 1876.96

285/70R17 --------------- on 17X8.5----------------$1799.96 315/70R17 --------------- on 17X8.5----------------- 1969.96 37/12.50R17 ------------- on 17X9 ------------------- 2305.96 305/70R18 --------------- on 18X9 ------------------- 2246.96 All prices subject to change, check our website for the most current prices.

Tucson

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Mesa

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Phoenix

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7107 E. 22nd Street (520) 296-1200

3705 S. Palo Verde Blvd. (520) 790-8502

4453 S. Rural Rd. (480) 838-7800

1045 W. Broadway (480) 833-7300

10701 N. 19th Ave. (602) 973-9697

2421 E. Bell Road (602) 404-2244

5401 San Mateo NE (505) 881-0931 FW 0118


Tech

We up-armor our Toyota with off-road–worthy CBI bumpers and rocker guards By John Cappa

T

editor@fourwheeler.com Photos: Maher Boulos

HE ’16 TO CURRENT TOYOTA TACOMA HAS ADMIRABLE FRONT AND REAR BUMPER CLEAR-

ance, making it significantly more off-road friendly than most comparable 4x4s in stock form. However, if you ’wheel a Tacoma regularly, you’ll eventually find out exactly what the factory original bumpers are made of. The very thin sheetmetal and plastic bits are simply not designed for the dragging, bumps, and bruises that regularly occur off-road. After upgrading the suspension on our ’17 Tacoma, we began taking our truck farther up the trail and came to the conclusion that we needed more body protection. We also wanted a way to carry extra fuel and get the larger-than-stock spare tire out of our pickup bed.

TACOMA PROTECTION

70 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

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1

4 2

5

6

3 With these parameters in mind, we made a call to CBI Offroad Fab to order the T3 steel front bumper with a short center grilleguard, the T3 rocker guards/sliders, and the T3 rear bumper with a swing-away tire carrier and dual jerrycan holder. CBI Offroad Fab offers the parts in bare steel or with a satin black smooth powdercoated finish. Once the parts came in, we headed to SoCal SuperTrucks to have them installed on our third-gen Tacoma. The CBI Offroad Fab T3 sliders and rear bumper are straightforward bolt-on parts, but the highclearance T3 front bumper requires a bit of accurate trimming for a clean installation. 1. The crew at SoCal SuperTrucks removed the factory grille, front bumper, and other bits for the installation of the CBI Offroad Fab T3 front bumper. The upper portion of the original bumper is retained. 2. SoCal SuperTrucks techs marked where to trim the original bumper with masking tape as per the instructions. A cut-off wheel was used to slice the plastic, although any number of cutting methods will work. 3. Once the upper portion of the factory front bumper is reinstalled and the fender flares are cut to match, the front inner fender can be trimmed. The SoCal SuperTrucks techs used a utility knife for this cut.

fourwheeler.com

7 4. The high-clearance CBI Offroad Fab T3 front bumper is available in both steel and lightweight aluminum. The steel bumper weighs in at 102 pounds and the aluminum version is 42 pounds. We opted for the more robust steel version. 5. Our new bumper is cinched in place using existing holes in the frame. The original Toyota front skidplate is retained and reinstalled.

6. Out back, the SoCal SuperTruck techs removed the entire factory rear bumper assembly with the wiring. The harness is carefully unplugged from the chassis so it can be reused. 7. The entire factory rear bumper wiring harness is removed from the original rear bumper and installed into the CBI Offroad Fab T3 rear bumper prior to installation on the truck. All of the backup warning sensors are retained.

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 71


Tech Tacoma Protection 8. A large spindle and sealed bearings support the swing-out spare tire and fuel can carrier. The swingout assembly is installed after the bumper is cinched down and is held closed with a heavy-duty industrial cam latch. 9. The bolt-on CBI Offroad Fab T3 rocker guards attach directly to the frame for increased rigidity and body protection. They fasten in place using existing holes with no cutting, drilling, or welding required. 10. The tubular design of the CBI Offroad Fab T3 rocker guards not only protect the rocker area, the protruding tube/step helps keep rocks, logs, random branches, and shopping carts from making contact with the doors too.

8

9

11. There are several options available with the CBI Offroad Fab T3 rear bumper and swing-out tire carrier. Ours holds two 5-gallon fuel cans and gets the fullsized spare tire out of the bed of our truck. fw

SOURCES CBI Offroad Fab 866/522-0697, cbioffroadfab.com

SoCal SuperTrucks 877/807-6225, socalsupertrucks.com

10

11 72 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

fourwheeler.com


ALL THINGS TRUCK BOOKMARK TODAY

TRUCKTREND.COM


LONG-TERM TEST

2017 Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4 Third report: more miles, more things learned

S

INCE THE LAST LONG-TERM

report, we’ve used our 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year-winning Ram 1500 Rebel for a variety of offroading. We’ve pointed it onto a sandy beach and some two-track trails in South Carolina, down muddy farm roads in Illinois, and on some deep-sand forest roads in Florida. This is in addition to a significant amount of on-road driving, including a trip that took us across the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. And that nine-state trip was towing a 6x12-foot cargo trailer with a gross weight of 3,600 pounds, a cargo bed full of gear, and an interior packed with stuff. You’ll notice that the average mpg of

74 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

the Rebel is lower in this report because 12 of the 20 tanks of fuel used during this timeframe reflect towing and hauling. Continuing along the lines of the last report, the Ram 1500 Rebel has been completely trouble free and has been incredibly reliable, capable, and comfortable. It hasn’t given us one iota of trouble, has demonstrated outstanding towing and hauling characteristics, and at the end of our long nine-state trip we hadn’t wearied of the ride and seating. At the time of this writing, we’ve spent 10 months with the Rebel, but interestingly, we’re still learning some new, cool things about the truck. One small but neat tidbit we found is that the contents of the weathertight, lockable RamBox cargo bins

are accessible when we’re in the truck’s bed. We found this while in the cargo bed strapping down a heavy item for transport when we realized that we needed another ratchet strap, which was in one of the RamBoxes. Because of the way the RamBox doors are designed, we could simply reach into the RamBox and grab a strap without climbing out of the bed. This was way better than climbing out of the bed, procuring a strap, and climbing back in the bed, as we would have been forced to do if the straps were stored inside the truck. It’s the little things like this that make the RamBox Cargo Management

System so incredibly useful. One of the things we want to focus on in this report is the Rebel’s lighting. Lighting, both exterior and interior, is very important in any vehicle, but especially a pickup truck that is asked to do a number of jobs—jobs that are often not during daylight hours. The Rebel does not disappoint in this area. For forward-facing exterior light, the truck utilizes bi-function projector headlamps supplemented with LED fog lamps. The projector headlamps put out decent bright light in a good pattern on the low-beam setting and the high-beam setting really ups the game on dark, rural

 During the last few weeks we’ve had the Rebel on some South Carolina twotracks as well as on the beach, in addition to muddy farm roads in Illinois and deep-sand roads in Florida (shown). Through it all, the Rebel has been reliable and capable.

fourwheeler.com


BY KEN BRUBAKER KEN.BRUBAKER@FOURWHEELER.COM PHOTOS: KEN BRUBAKER

roads with good long-range light. When using the low-beam setting we leave the fog lights on all the time. They produce bright white light in a wide beam pattern that lights up the edge of the road and trail. There are two lights inside each RamBox, and they’re located at each end so contents are illuminated well at night. No fumbling around in the dark to find tools or gear. As a bonus, there is a yellow cancel switch for the lights in each RamBox, so if you want or need to leave the RamBox doors open when the lights aren’t needed you can switch them off to eliminate electrical current draw. Bed lighting is comprised of a standard cab-mounted light supplemented by a pair of LED cargo bed lights (part of the Luxury Group). The LEDs are on each cargo bed wall near the tailgate, and the LED array is aimed forward to illuminate the cargo bed and its contents. Our truck also has the optional exterior mirrors with courtesy lamps, which light the area to each side of the front doors of the

truck. Inside, lighting is standard, with two lights in the overhead console, one under each end of the dashboard lighting each footwell, and one overhead light in the back seat area of our Crew Cab. We love how the truck shines like a beacon with light when we unlock the doors at night with the remote keyless entry. Everything important lights up, even the cargo bed lights, so we can simply place gear

into the illuminated bed. At the time of this writing our Rebel has over 16,000 miles on the odometer and its time with Four Wheeler is drawing to a close. With only a few weeks left for testing, we’ll continue to tow, haul, and wheel the truck in an effort to gauge dependability and functionality, among other things. Stay tuned for the fourth and final report. FW

REPORT: 3 OF 4 Previous reports: Jul. ’17, Oct. ’17 Base price: $47,095 Price as tested: $54,210 Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time electronicallycontrolled, two-speed

LONG-TERM NUMBERS Miles to date: 16,246 Miles since last report: 5,426 Average mpg (this report): 12.8 (mostly towing) Test best tank (mpg): 17.7 (highway @ 70 mph) Test worst tank (mpg): 9.9 (towing a 6x12 cargo trailer with 1,200 pounds of cargo into a headwind)

MAINTENANCE Cargo bed lighting includes a cab-mounted light and a pair of LED lights, which do a good job of throwing light where it needs to be.

This period: None Problem areas: None

WHAT’S HOT, WHAT’S NOT HOT: Great exterior lighting, outstanding towing manners, and auto-leveling air suspension NOT: Huge Ram lettering on the tailgate

LOGBOOK QUOTES

“Love the exterior lighting on this truck!” “Whoever designed the RamBox is a genius.”

“AFTER A 12HOUR DAY OF DRIVING, THE COMFORTABLE CAB OF THE REBEL IS STILL SOMEWHERE I WANT TO BE.”

Options as tested

Luxury Group–LED Bed Lighting, Power Heated Mirrors with Power Fold Away, Auto-Dimming Exterior Mirror, Exterior Mirrors with Courtesy Lamps, Sun Visors with Illuminated Vanity Mirrors, Overhead Console with Garage Door Opener ($695); Protection Group–Transfer Case Skid Plate, Front Suspension Skid Plate ($225); 8-Speed Automatic 8HP70 Transmission; 17-in Aluminum Spare Wheel ($500); 5.7L V-8 Hemi MDS VVT Engine ($1,250); 32-gal fuel tank ($355); Uconnect 8.4 NAV- GPS Navigation, Sirius XM Traffic/5-yr Traffic Subscription, Sirius XM Travel Link/5-yr Travel Link Subscription ($700); RamBox Cargo Management System–4 Adjustable Cargo Tie-Down Hooks, Bed Cargo Divider/Extender ($1,295); Trailer Brake Control ($280); Spray-In Bedliner ($495)

fourwheeler.com

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 75


LONG-TERM TEST

2017 Ford Raptor SuperCab First report: unicorns and stormtroopers

F

OR 2017 FORD REDESIGNED THE

F-150 Raptor with a new frame, larger Fox internal bypass shocks, a lighter aluminum body, and more power. In fact, in a daring move, Ford replaced the raucous 6.2L V-8 with a massaged 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 and 10-speed automatic transmission. With these changes, it wasn’t much of a surprise when the redesigned Ford F-150 Raptor won our 2017 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year. Since then, Raptors have proven exceedingly popular, with the 2017 and 2018 allocations sold out at most dealerships. We’ve seen Raptors marked up

76 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

for more than $100,000 on the lot, and even the Raptor that won our contest had an as-tested price of $65,825. So if you’ve ever thought the price of a Raptor was out of reach and wondered what you get with a base Raptor, you are in luck, because we got our hands on the unicorn of Raptors for our long-term fleet. Wanting to jump right in to the cloth seats, we decided to fly to Michigan to pick up our truck from Ford and drive across the country back to our Southern California headquarters. With the first 2,000 miles rolled across the odometer in just a couple of days, we were immediately able

to make some observations about the truck. Our Raptor tester added to a base price of $48,325, Pro Trailer Backup Assist ($395), the Torsen front differential ($500), a spray-in bedliner ($495), and destination & delivery ($1,195), bringing the total to a palatable $50,910. Noting the 5,000-pound tow rating of the SuperCab model, we’d even ditch the relatively useless (in this application) Pro Trailer Backup Assist and save $395, or trade it out for the much more useful $275 trailer brake controller. Our truck skips the luxuries of touch screens and leather

for the basics of what makes a Raptor tick. If you want a truck with seat memory, push-button start, or keyless entry, this is not the truck you are looking for. Our test Raptor even lacks fairly commonplace features, such as a damped tailgate or HomeLink. However, it does have satellite radio (a necessity for cross-country travel), tinted windows, and an as sinister-looking maw as we’ve ever seen on a pickup. In Border Patrol, er, Oxford White, this thing just looks mean. Countless people have commented on our “stormtrooper” Raptor, and despite being the same color as your plumber’s truck, it turns heads as

fourwheeler.com


BY SEAN P. HOLMAN EDITOR@FOURWHEELER.COM PHOTOS: SEAN P. HOLMAN

much as anything else this side of a Crown Vic on Hell’s Revenge. No, really, look it up. Thanks to a dearth of options, this has to be one of the lightest Raptor configurations you can get, and with 450 hp, this truck just plain rips. The 10-speed transmission has so far proven to be unflappable, with quick shifts and accurate gear selection. The Raptor is also pretty comfortable on the highway with a smooth and relatively quiet ride. As you might imagine, off-highway and in the right terrain, the Raptor is an absolute beast. So far our biggest complaints are the inability to hear the music from the twin-turbo and directinjected 3.5L DOHC V-6 under load, thanks to fake engine noises pumping loud and proud through the stereo and a less-than-inspiring exhaust note that leaves one wondering why Ford replaced the V-8, on visceral grounds alone. However, our logical side sees the advantages of the V-6, such as lighter weight and a betterbalanced chassis. Our Raptor is also equipped

REPORT: 1 OF 4 Previous reports: First report Base price: $48,325 Price as tested: $50, 910 Four-wheel-drive system: Part-time/full-time, electronically controlled, two-speed

LONG-TERM NUMBERS Miles to date: 4,550 Miles since last report: First report Average mpg (this report): 14.3 Test best tank (mpg): 17.1 Test worst tank (mpg): 13.2

MAINTENANCE The Fox internal bypass shocks now have a 3-inch body, nine zones, and integrated bumpstops. Travel is 13 inches front and 13.6 inches rear.

with the fuel-saving Auto StartStop feature that shuts the engine down at stoplights. Or in stopand-go traffic, or in the drivethru, or whenever someone you want to impress pulls up next to you. In fact, nothing is more embarrassing than having your highprofile super truck shut off on its own, leaving you to explain how you didn’t just stall your Raptor

A thicker front aluminum skidplate protects the vitals and does a better job at resisting deforming from impacts.

and you actually are cool enough to be driving a Raptor because you are really saving the Earth. Maybe if the new and socially acceptable Raptor was around when you had that tree-hugging ex, you might still be together today thanks to this technology. Fortunately, Auto Start-Stop can be disabled by pushing a button on the dash or by cycling one of the many available modes to “Sport.” Because we find the Raptor can be caught off guard and feel sluggish, even boring at times in “Normal” mode, Sport is our preferred setting for everyday driving. In Sport mode, the Raptor is much more lively and playful, awakening the EcoBoost and delaying shifts from the 10-speed automatic. It makes us wish that Sport mode was the default mode, and Normal mode was labeled “Eco.” It just makes so much more sense when you think of it that way. Stoplight stories aside, our Raptor has been a fun companion both on and off the trail and we are looking forward to getting some more miles under our tires over the next year. Just know that if you catch us out in the world, you can safely bet which mode we’ll be driving in. fw

This period: None Problem areas: None

WHAT’S HOT, WHAT’S NOT HOT: Awesome power, sinister good looks, killer suspension NOT: Fake engine sounds, Auto Start-Stop

LOGBOOK QUOTES

“Cloth seats grip you and hold you in place.” “You know Auto Start-Stop isn’t going to be a crowd pleaser when your wife prioritizes turning it off from the passenger seat before she even buckles up.” “There is now a refinement to the Raptor that we almost take offense to.”

“WHILE WE MISS THE V-8 SOUND AND LOATHE THE FAKE ENGINE SOUNDS BEING PUMPED INTO THE RAPTOR’S CABIN, A LOT CAN BE FORGIVEN WHEN THERE IS 450 HP AND 510 LB-FT UNDERFOOT.”

Options as tested A functional hood vent helps to expel heat from the high-output twin-turbo EcoBoost.

fourwheeler.com

Pro Trailer Backup Assist ($395), Torsen front differential ($500), spray-in bedliner ($495), and destination & delivery ($1,195)

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 77


TECHLINE TACOMA LIGHTING

Q

I just installed a CBI front bumper on my ’17 Toyota Tacoma. It has a slot for a 20inch lightbar. I don’t want to go too crazy with too many lights, but I wanted to fill the space so that it’s not empty. Who builds the best lightbar for this application? Also, is the sPOD a good way to control the lighting without having to add individual rocker switches? MAHER BOULOS VIA EMAIL

A

Aftermarket add-on lighting can be incredibly useful when traveling down rural roads and dark trails at night. There are many different 20-inch LED lightbars available from companies like Baja Designs (bajadesigns.com), KC HiLites (kchilites.com), Rigid (rigidindustries.com), and Vision X (visionxusa.com), among others. Each LED lightbar has different advantages and features. For general off-road use, I’d recommend a combo-type LED lightbar. A combo lightbar will have spot beams in the center to reach out farther into the darkness and flood beams on both sides to light up the immediate area around the front of the 4x4. There are many different ways to install the necessary wiring and switches required to operate your new LED lights. Most 20-inch LED lightbars will draw just under 10 amps, so it’s best to use a relay of some sort. The use of a relay in the system is safer and will keep you from having to run a heavy-gauge wire from the battery, under the dash to a switch, and then out to the LED light. The switch panels and wiring kits from sPOD (4x4spod.com) are a clean way to add auxiliary switches to the center of the overhead console. Vehicle-specific sPOD switch and wiring kits are available for Jeep and Toyota 4x4s, including your ’17 Tacoma. The sPOD Tacoma kit requires that your truck has the factory sunglasses holder for placement of the switch panel. All other mounting brackets and hardware are included.

PENTASTAR POWER

Q

I’ve heard that adding a better air intake and muffler doesn’t make much difference on the 3.6L Pentastar V-6 in the ’12 to current Jeep Wrangler. Is this true? RONNIE LONGORIA VIA FACEBOOK.COM/JOHNCAPPA4X4

A

The actual power and fuel mileage gains provided by the many different aftermarket power adders vary depending on the application. Dollar for dollar, an open-element cold air intake will make the biggest difference in power and fuel economy of any bolt-on power adder. Of course, supercharger and turbo kits increase power output by as much as 100 hp, but they also cost significantly more. The open-element cold air intakes do have downsides though. They are usually not as water resistant as the factory intake system, which includes a plastic airbox. So if deep water and mud are your favorite off-road terrains, then you may want to stick with the factory air intake and maybe consider a snorkel kit from a company such as AEV (aev-conversions.com) or ARB (arbusa.com). Keep in mind that a snorkel kit will generally reduce airflow while it protects your engine from ingesting water. Another thing to consider is that few filters clean the air as well as the factory paper element. Oiled cotton filters will flow a lot better than paper filter elements, creating more

power and increasing fuel economy, but they can allow more dirt particles into the engine than a paper filter element. Aftermarket cold air intakes that utilize synthetic filter media do a great job of filtering out the dirt and provide increased airflow as well. The OEs spend millions of dollars to try and improve fuel economy and power on nearly every vehicle. Most modern factory exhaust systems are designed to milk every bit of available power and fuel efficiency from a stock engine. The original exhaust system on the Pentastar V-6 is no different. If you do decide to upgrade the exhaust, choose the system based on the sound you like. Many exhaust companies offer videos with sound clips of the aftermarket exhaust installed; some are from both in and outside the vehicle. Now, if you have made other significant modifications to the engine, such as a cam, turbo, or supercharger, an upgraded exhaust will make a big difference. The factory exhaust was never designed for the increased airflow that these products introduce, so opening up the exhaust will enhance the performance that they provide.

BRONCO HELP

Q

I’m an active-duty Navy guy down in Coronado, California. I’ve got a ’71 Bronco that I’ve been building for seven years and four deployments. It’s about 98 percent done. I just need to find someone to help me get the last 2 percent completed. It needs some minor fabrication work and some tuning. I’d like to find a shop that actually knows off-road vehicles and not just a regular mechanic. Do you have any suggestions? This truck has completely tapped me out and I’m so close, but so tired of not having a wheeling rig. Any help would be appreciated. JOE DAWSON VIA FACEBOOK.COM/JOHNCAPPA4X4

A

Chasing down and fixing those final assembly gremlins can be a hair-pulling experience. Fortunately, you are in an area that is ripe with high-quality fabricators that specialize in desert pre-runners and race trucks. Any of them should have no problem completing minor fab projects on your Bronco. Check out JD Fabrication (jdfabrication.com) in Escondido, California. The shop is not too far from you. The company can do any fabwork you need done and will know someone close by who can do the engine tuning.

BEST 35-INCH TIRE WHERE TO WRITE ave a 4x4 tech question you want answered in Techline, drop an email to editor@fourwheeler.com or message us through our Facebook page at facebook.com/fourwheelermag. All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

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78 JANUARY 2018 FOUR WHEELER

Q

I’m looking for your personal opinion. What is the best 35-inch tire for all-around use, other than street use? I don’t plan on hitting snow or ice. I have a lightly modified ’03 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Thanks for your input. SHANE BATLEY VIA FACEBOOK.COM/JOHNCAPPA4X4

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COMPILED BY JOHN CAPPA EDITOR@FOURWHEELER.COM PHOTOS: JOHN CAPPA

A

With so many off-road–worthy tires available today it’s extremely difficult to nail down the best all-around tire for a given application. A lot of it depends on driving style, vehicle weight, the terrain you frequent most, air pressure, and more. Personally, I generally steer into the more aggressive tires. Small amounts of mud and even slick wet grass can stop some of the less aggressive all-terrain tires in their tracks. Having said that, I have several favorites for the terrains I find myself in most often. Keep in mind that we don’t get much rain here in California, so mud use is infrequent, but I do make runs into the snow in the mountains occasionally. The BFGoodrich (bfgoodrichtires.com) All-Terrain, General (generaltire. com) Grabber X3, Goodyear (goodyear.com) MT/R, Maxxis (maxxis.com) RAZR MT, and the new Yokohama (yokohamatire.com) Geolandar G003 mud-terrain tires would be among some of my top choices for all-around use. However, each tire has its pros and cons. There really is no such thing as the “best tire.” It totally depends on how you plan to use it, plus my personal experiences in the terrain I frequent may be different than yours. I suggest you choose a tire with features that match your planned usage. If your trails include a lot of rocks, you might want to steer toward something with three-ply sidewalls for increased puncture resistance. If you hit slick clay-like mud regularly, you should consider a tire with large open voids. Light weight is also something to look for. Lighter tires will allow your 4x4 to accelerate quicker and stop in a shorter distance. A lighter tire and wheel combination will also ride and handle better onand off-road.

PROJECT PARTS COLLECTION

Q

I am looking for some help on building a trail rig with 35- to 38-inch tires. I have a ’95 Chevy TBI unit on a stock intake and a short-block with four-bolt mains (casting number 10243880). I would like to use heads from a different motor (casting number 14102193). Will these two work together? In terms of the driveline, I have many drivetrain parts including a Dana 44 front axle and a 14-bolt rearend with a disc brake conversion. Both axles have 4.10:1 ratio gears. I also have an SM465 manual transmission and an NP205

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transfer case. Is there anything that you would suggest I change with the gear ratio on the axles or transfer case? Also, what truck would you recommend I use to put all this in? I don’t have a lot of rocks around so that’s not that big of a deal for me. I plan to drive to the trailhead and not trailer it. HUNTER SHELDON VIA FACEBOOK.COM/FOURWHEELERMAG

A

Most Chevy engine performance enthusiasts will agree that you should steer clear of the heads with casting number 14102193. The factory TBI heads are said to be among some of the worst-flowing heads GM ever released. Valve springs, magnaflux, and a valve job will cost you a couple hundred dollars or more, and that money would be better spent on better heads. The best bang for the buck comes from swapping to GM Vortec heads, but they require a special intake from Chevrolet Performance (chevrolet.com) or Edelbrock (edelbrock.com). Watch out for used iron Vortec heads with 100,000 miles or more on them; many will have cracks caused by the longterm heat cycling. As for your drivetrain, your SM465 and NP205 combo will work fine for most general off-road scenarios. It’s an extremely durable combo that should handle pretty much whatever you can throw at it. The somewhat undesirable 1.96:1 ratio low range of the NP205 will be offset by the 6.55:1 ratio First gear in the SM465. When combined with the 4.10:1 ratio axle gears you’ll have an admirable 53:1 crawl ratio, which should be plenty slow for technical trail work. Speaking of 4.10:1 ratio axle gears, they should be fine with 35-inch tires on-road. If you make the bump up to 38-inch tires, you would likely be better off with 4.88:1 ratio axle gears. As you likely know, the Dana 44 front axle assembly will be your weak point in this combo. You’ll want to keep an eye on the axleshaft U-joints if you decide to run a

locker of some sort up front, especially with 38inch tires. For general 4x4 use with an open front differential you shouldn’t have any problems. You could conceivably slap this powertrain in any number of 4x4 vehicles, although you’ll probably want something with a wheelbase of at least 105 inches or so. A 110-inch wheelbase might be better. This will provide the necessary space for a proper rear driveshaft with the lift required to fit up to 38-inch tires. Look for a fullsize Chevy Blazer, GMC Jimmy, ’78-or-later Ford Bronco, or pretty much any standard-cab shortbed ½-ton pickup truck. The amount of suspension fabrication required will depend on the vehicle you select and what vehicle your Dana 44 front axle originally came from.

TITAN AXLE SWAP

Q

I am looking for a front axle upgrade for my ’08 Nissan Titan. I have found a rear axle replacement from Currie, which I think is tremendously awesome. It’s a Ford 9-inch and it looks like it bolts up fairly quickly without even undoing the brake lines. Do you know of any front axle replacements for this truck? I would surely sing your praises for such knowledge. Thank you very much! WARD S. WOOD VIA EMAIL

A

Unfortunately, you have run into the problem that many IFS truck owners have been dealing with for decades. The factory independent front suspensions and steering systems found on most modern 4x4s are not up for larger-thanstock tires and off-road abuse. If it’s just the axleshafts you are having trouble with, Rugged Rocks (ruggedrocksoffroad.com) offers heavy-duty RCV replacement halfshafts. They are significantly stronger than the stock halfshafts. Replacing the entire front IFS axle assembly is a much bigger job that will require cutting, welding, and fabrication. As far as we know, there is no bolton solid-axle swap for the Nissan Titan. However, WFO Concepts (wfoconcepts.com) is working on a kit to install a solid front axle into a Titan. The kit replaces the IFS and stock rack-and-pinion steering with a solid axle attached to the frame via radius arm suspension, coilover shocks, and a traditional steering box. You can see the progress and what’s involved on the company’s website. FW

FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 79


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CALENDAR COMPILED BY JERED KORFHAGE

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January 6-20

What: Dakar 2018 Where: Peru, Bolivia & Argentina Hosted by: Amaury Sport Organization Info: dakar.com

January 12-14

What: Winter Fun Festival Where: Grass Valley, California Hosted by: California Four Wheel Drive Association Info: cal4wheel.com

January 27-28

What: 27th Annual Arizona Military Vehicle Show 2018 Where: Tempe, Arizona Hosted by: Arizona Military Vehicle Collectors Club Info: armytrucks.org FW

WHERE TO SEND SUBMISSIONS

A

ddress your correspondence to: Calendar, Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245, or email jkorfhage@enthusiastnetwork.com. All submissions become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

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FOUR WHEELER JANUARY 2018 81


TRAIL’S END

BY JERED KORFHAGE JKORFHAGE@ENTHUSIASTNETWORK.COM PHOTOS: FOUR WHEELER ARCHIVES

Dusting Off Rusty, Trusty Tricks and Fixes

F

our-wheelers are problem solvers. Sometimes that means choosing the best way to scrape our way through that sketchy line on the trail; other times we find ourselves scratching our skulls, puzzling over how to fix the part that is now dangling from our rig’s underside. Either way, we are professionals in this field, and have been for decades. Back in the ’90s, Four Wheeler featured reader-submitted penny-pinching tricks, which we titled “Cheap Tricks.” We recently found ourselves in the archives closet chuckling at the innovative, borderline impractical, and sometimes outdated ways wheelers of the past have solved problems both in the garage and on the trail. We picked some that might make you laugh, and a couple that might stand the test of time and still be useful. Now we ask you, the ingenious reader, to tell us about your unconventional, comical, or unheard-of fixes and tricks. Send ’em to editor@fourwheeler.com and include a high-resolution photo of each. If we get enough submissions we’ll feature some of them in an upcoming story. FW

Anybody with a hitch has heard the telltale sound of steel on rock as the payload-pulling rear end of the rig contacts terra firma. Mark Harris made us laugh with this trick where he welded a wheel intended for a shopping cart to the hitch, allowing it to roll where it would have previously dragged. In hitchrelated news, Gabe Wegel found a sneaky place to stow the offending steel device to keep the departure angle at what the factory intended.

We’ve seen versions of this trick in recent years, but maybe Rick Anderson was a pioneer in the paperboard fastener organization field. Either way, anybody removing a valve cover might find this useful, unless of course all the bolts are the same size, or your memory is sharper than ours. After reading Daniel Cassada’s tip, we wondered if he was the genius behind the patents on the now-ubiquitous pumps available at auto parts shops. This fix holds true if anyone wants to avoid the $10 price tag on the modern fluid-filling contraption.

Justin Haviland had us checking the forums to see if anyone else in the last decade had dreamed up a similar soup can solution for vapor lock.

FOUR WHEELER (ISSN 0015-9123) January 2018; Vol. 55, No. 1. Published monthly by TEN: The Enthusiast Network, LLC, 261 Madison Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016-2303. Copyright 2017 by TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and at additional mailing offices. Single copy price is $5.99. SUBSCRIPTIONS: U.S. APO, FPO and U.S. Possessions $19.97 for 12 isssues. Canada orders add $12.00 per year and international orders add $24.00 per year (for surface mail postage). Payment in advance, U.S. funds only. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 707.4.12.5); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: Send address corrections to FOUR WHEELER, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.

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