The SEMA show is a convention for manufacturers of automotive accessories held every year in Las Vegas. It's open to industry folks and retailers looking to buy and sell the latest widgets and upgrades for everything on four wheels. The place is a meeting house for makers of all kinds of parts, whether it's 22-inch wheels for a lowrider, the latest big power engine induction, or anything you could ever want to attach to your 4x4 truck, van, or SUV. We go there looking for all the coolest new parts and pieces from that last category.
With the turtle-slow economy, the show was smaller than previous years, but the innovations and ingenuity of the aftermarket manufacturers haven't slowed down. There were still a ton of neat new parts to drool over, and here are our top 10. Find even more at www.semadigital.com.
2 in 1 shocks
Looking for shocks for your next go-fast trail machine? King Shocks introduced its new Coil Pass Shocks, which combine the weight carrying ability of a coilover and the infinite tunability of a bypass shock. Information: King Shocks, 714.530.8701, www.kingshocks.com
If you live in a state with stringent smog requirements on later-model vehicles, then GM Performance Parts has one of the best solutions ever. The new E-Rod crate engines are smog-legal to swap into any OBD-I vehicle ('95 and older) and any new kit car being built. There are four options in the works: a 6.2L, a 5.3L, a 7L, and a supercharged 6.2L V-8. These engines come with a designated control module, a wiring harness, catalytic converters, exhaust manifolds, a fuel tank evaporative canister, an air filter, a drive-by-wire accelerator pedal, and various sensors. Information: www.gmperformanceparts.com or your local GM dealership's parts counter
Running dual batteries is simple as pie with the new Painless Performance Digital Power Management. The control module ensures that the main battery has enough power for starting, engages the second battery under hard use (such as winching), and charges the main battery before sending power to the second. Information: Painless Performance, 800.423.9696, www.painlessperformance.com
Daystar (top) and TeraFlex (bottom) both had a version of a new bumpstop that made us go, "Why didn't I think of that?" As a cheaper alternative to nitrogen-charged bumpstops, both the companies offer a polyurethane foam-filled bumpstop cylinder.
It looks like an air bump, works similar, but costs less. Information: Daystar, 800.595.7659, www.daystarweb.com or TeraFlex, 801.288.2585, www.teraflex.biz
American Expedition Vehicles offers its groundbreaking new rear bumper for Jeep JK Wranglers. Designed as a spare tire carrier, storage space for a Hi-lift jack, and a winch anchor and including a 2.3-gallon water tank, this bumper should get you there and back with no headaches or rattles. Information: American Expedition Vehicles, 248.926.0256, www.aev-conversions.com
Rock Slide Engineering was displaying an ingenious mixture of trail-tough rock sliders and electric steps for Jeep JKs. Designed to tuck up tight against the rocker panels of the Jeep and then drop out for easy entry, these slider steps should easily solve two problems. Information: Rock-Slide Engineering, 435.752.4562, www.rockslideengineering.com
Getting your busted rig off the ground when you're off road is never easy, but Baja Design's new KwikJak helps. Powered by a small CO2 canister like those used in a paintball gun, this jack can raise 2,400 pounds up to 18 inches. Information: Baja Designs, 800.422.5292, www.bajadesigns.com
Yukon Gear and Axle is answering the call for serious beef from big diesel truck owners with its new 38-spline chromoly axles and spools for the AAM 11.5 rear axle found in GM and Dodge diesel trucks. Whether sled pulling or mud whomping, these axles are ready to rip. Information: Yukon Gear and Axle, 877.349.1369, www.yukongear.com
Mud bogging is fun. Clean up isn't. Paramount Extrusions now offers Slick Offroad Wash. This biodegradable soap is designed to remove dirt quickly without washing away bearing grease. Information: Paramount Extrusions Co., 808.456.4566, www.slickoffroad.com
Ground clearance is everything off road, and the new Atomic Axles just might be what you're looking for. Consisting of a 9-inch centersection, a fabricated steel housing, and internal CV axleshafts, these axles claim to offer 7 inches of ground clearance versus a Dana 60. Information: Atomic Axles, 877.758.5308, www.atomicaxles.com