F-150 Investigation Grows
NHTSA has expanded its investigation of rusted fuel tank straps to include some 2.7 million ’97-’01 Ford F-150 pickup trucks. The agency has reviewed about 300 complaints about the rusted straps, which, if they fail, could cause the fuel tank to tip or even fall out of the truck, potentially causing a fuel leak or fire. Two fires have been reported; one resulted in the loss of the truck. No injuries have been reported.
The investigation upgrade could lead to the agency asking Ford for a vehicle recall. Ford is working with NHTSA “and will continue to cooperate,” said a spokesman, quoted in a Detroit News story.
Is There a Ute in Your Future?
Government plans for ever-higher fuel economy standards (see “Earth Watch”) mean new challenges—or headaches—for the vehicle makers as they try to meet those numbers. One idea that GM President Mark Reuss floated to members of the press at the New York Auto Show is to bring lighter-duty trucks to market. GM already makes such a vehicle, the Holden Commodore Ute currently for sale in Australia. It’s a car-based truck, like the old Chevy El Camino and Ford Ranchero. Reuss formerly worked for GM Holden in Australia, “where fuel prices are $5 a gallon,” he said. “Lots of tradesmen will use a ute with a tray on the back to do lots of different things. They don’t need the bandwidth of a big pickup truck.”
We understand the concept. But unless that Ute can sit a lot higher off the ground, we will need the “bandwidth” of a big truck.
1 Million & Counting
Why is Gary Mueller smiling? He has managed to log some 1,020,000 miles on his ’02 F-350 Super Duty, and he has no intention of parking. To the contrary, he plans to put even more miles on the Power Stroke–powered pickup. After retiring, Gary found a new calling: delivering RVs to buyers across the country. He bought the F-350 new in 2002 and has been hauling with it ever since, putting in anywhere from 600 to 800 miles a day. So far he has been to 48 states and seven Canadian provinces. He has lost count of the total number of trailers he has delivered, but he figures that he hauled about 40 just in the first four months of 2011.
Adam Householder Wins Silver State 300
Despite qualifying in 28th position, Adam Householder drove his Dethrone Royalty-sponsored Chevrolet to win the Trick Truck class (the equivalent to SCORE’s Trophy Truck) at the Best in the Desert Bilek Silver State 300.
“Qualifying was really tight,” Householder said. “We were only 18 seconds back, but that was enough to push us back to 28th. We ran conservative in qualifying and saved our best for the race.”
Householder had “zero issues” with the truck, pitted just for fuel, and beat the favored BJ Baldwin by less than a minute.
• Aug. 4-6: 4x4 Blast by the Two Rivers Jeep Club, Pittsfield, IL. Info: www.trjc.com
• Aug. 6: Getting Started Off-Road 4x4 Skills Clinic, Hungry Valley SVRA, Gorman, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
• Aug. 6-7: JeepSkool, NE Ohio. Info: www.jeepskool.com
• Aug. 6-7: East Coast Race (sand drags, obstacle course, eliminator hill) by the Tri County Four Wheelers, Elkton, OH (near Lisbon). Info: 740.491.0571, 724.898.1236, 330.530.2461
• Aug. 7: Advanced Beginner Off-Road Driving Clinic, El Paso Mountains, Mojave, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
• Aug. 11-14: Sierra Trek, near Truckee, CA, by the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs. Info: www.cal4wheel.com
• Aug. 11-14: Rubicon Trail Jeep Jamboree, near Lake Tahoe, California. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
• Aug. 12-14: Bantam Jeep Festival, Butler, PA. Info: www.bantamjeepfestival.com
• Aug. 12-14: Great Lakes Jeep Thing Summer Bash, Badlands Off-Road Park, Attica, IN. Info: www.gljt.org
• Aug. 15: Rubicon Trail, near Lake Tahoe, CA, by Badlands Off-Road Adventures. Info: 310.374.8047, www.4x4training.com
• Aug. 18-20: TSCO Vegas to Reno off-road race, by Best in the Desert. Info: www.bitd.com
• Aug. 19-20: Great Northern Trail Ride, Mole Lake, WI, by the Wisconsin Off-Highway Vehicle Association. Info: www.wohva.com
• Aug. 20: Fall Crawl Competition held at Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, Mapleton, KS. Info: www.ksrockspark.com
• Aug. 20: Trail Master Challenge, Twisted Trails Off-Road Park, Copemish, MI. Info: 231. 651.9548, www.twistedtrailsoffroadpark.com
• Aug. 20: Lucas Oil Regional Off Road Series, Glen Helen Regional Park, San Bernardino, CA. Info: www.lucasoilregional.com
• Aug. 20-21: Iron Range Offroad driving school, Iron Range OHV Park north of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. Info: www.ironrangeoffroad.com
• Aug. 21: Mud bogs by the Tri County Four Wheelers, Elkton, OH (near Lisbon). Info: 330.501.7316, 330.386.3264, 330.692.0948
• Aug. 24: Gravelrama, Cleves, OH, by the IOK Four Wheelers. Info: www.gravelrama.com, www.iokrock.com
• Aug. 25-27: Big Horn Mountains Jeep Jamboree, Dayton, WY. Info: www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
• Aug. 26-28: SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Primm 300, Primm, NV. Info: 818.225.8402, www.score-international.com
• Aug. 27: Battle of the Boulders rock competition, Gravelrama site, Cleves, OH, by the IOK Four Wheelers. Info: www.gravelrama.com, www.iokrock.com
• Aug. 27: Virginia 4x4 Expo, Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, VA. Info: www.va4x4expo.com
• Note: If you have a 4WD event you want us to publicize, please send the date, location, a description of the event, and contact info—phone numbers and/or email/website address—to Calendar, 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 310.531.9368; email 4wheeloff firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit your info at least four months in advance of the event due to our press lead times.