Big Haulers Make News
While we were out testing the trucks for our 3/4-ton diesel pickup shootout (page 54), Ford and Ram were upgrading their bigger brothers in the quest for best-in-class towing.
First out of the gate was Ford, which beefed up the frames and hitches in the 4x2 and 4x4 F-350 and F-450 dualies to bring those trucks’ conventional tow capacities to 17,500 pounds when equipped with the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel. The revisionstronger steel in one of the frame’s crossmembersalso boosted the F-350 4x2 dualie’s max payload to 7,070 pounds and its fifth-wheel tow capacity to 22,600 pounds.
Just two days later at the Chicago Auto Show, Ram announced a new tow rating of 22,700 pounds for the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty. The new number is the result of engine management recalibration that raises the 6.7L Cummins diesel’s peak torque to 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (and increases torque output between 1,200 and 2,800 rpm). Trucks with the upgrade will receive a special High Output Cummins badge on their tailgates.
The 1-ton Rams can now be fitted with a Max Tow Package that features 4.10 gears, a new rear-axle pinion, upgraded bearings, and a finned aluminum differential cover. The Ram 3500 also gets a new engine-mounted, oil-to-coolant transmission cooler.
Cummins engines in the 3/4-ton trucks will also receive the new engine calibration and torque boost, provided they’re fitted with an automatic transmission. The manual-trans versions still get the Cummins with just 610 lb-ft of torque. Because they’re single-rear-wheel vehicles, the 34-ton trucks will not receive the Max Tow Package.
Win an Arcstation
Miller Electric has announced a contest in which six lucky contestants will win a new 30FX F-Series ArcStation, what Miller describes as the first- ever portable workbench for welding and metalworking. Better still, one grand prize winner will receive a stationary 60SX S-Series ArcStation (shown here) with accessories including X-clamps, a tool chest, a weld curtain, a vise, and an assortment of shelving options.
To enter, visit www.millerwelds.com/arcstationcontest and answer two questions: What would you build with a new Miller ArcStation workbench, and what would you add to the Miller ArcStation to make it the ultimate workbench? Entries will be accepted through April 15.
New Toyo for Haulers
One more tow-related item: Toyo has announced the availability of its Open Country M/T tire in LT285/70R18 and LT275/70R18 sizes for heavy-duty pickups including the Ford Super Duty and the GM HD trucks. These 10-ply tires are designed to fit OE wheels and have an E load rating.
This Just In
More news from Chicago: Jeep CEO Michael Manley said the upcoming Wagoneer will be an upmarket offering to compete with luxury SUVS like the Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes-Benz GL, according to Automotive News. The new Jeep will share a platform with the Grand Cherokee, but the wheelbase and the rear overhang will be lengthened to improve comfort in the second and third rows of seats. With Grand Wagoneer we can continue to build on Grand Cherokee’s momentum with a proper three-row, seven-seater. That is where the real opportunity lies, he said. Unfortunately rumors from Jeep Design say there will be no woodgrain paneling.
SEMA has been keeping an eye on several bills that could affect the car (and truck) hobby. Among them: SEMA is opposing Arkansas legislation that would allow cities to remove inoperable vehicles from private property if the vehicle is deemed a nuisance under a local ordinance. The bill provides no reasonable safeguards for legitimate automotive hobbyists who choose to work on inoperable collector vehicles on private property and establishes no provisions that would enable vehicles kept out of public view to avoid being classified as abandoned.
Also, a bill has been introduced in the North Dakota State Legislature to prohibit the modification of any motor vehicle that alters the manufacturer’s original suspension, steering, or brake system unless the state highway patrol issues an inspection certificate.
Now some good news: A SEMA-supported bill has been introduced in Arizona to exempt all vehicles more than 25 years old, without condition, from the state’s mandatory biennial emissions inspection and maintenance program. Existing law in Arizona only exempts pre-’67 vehicles and vehicles designated as collectible.
Want to watch last year’s Baja 1000? SCORE and Aura360 have released a 60-minute DVD of the race including footage unseen in the TV broadcast plus five additional bonus chapters. The DVD is available at www.thebajaunlimited.com.
You can get a $75 rebate on a DynoMax cat-back exhaust system now through August 31 through the exhaust company’s Sound Off promotion. Rebate forms are available at www.dynomax.com.
Seven-time Supercross champion and off-road racer Jeremy McGrath has returned to Team Toyo Off-Road to compete in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. McGrath will race a 900hp Pro 2 Ford truck on, what else, Toyo tires, in his case 17-inch Toyo Open Country M/T-Rs.
No Flaws In Toyota Electronics
A team of Transportation Department investigators, assisted by NASA engineers, found no electronic causes of the unintended acceleration events that had been reported for Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The 10-month investigation included a rigorous examination of nine Toyota vehicles driven by consumers who complained of unintended acceleration, said Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHood. The investigation included the review of 280,000 lines of software code, tests of the mechanical components, and even the use of electromagnetic radiation on the vehicle electronics to try and replicate the acceleration events.
We feel that Toyota vehicles are safe to drive, said LaHood, as quoted by the Associated Press.