Genuine M151A2 Military Surplus JeepHere's something you can't pass up-a kit for building a Growler UV100 series vehicle based on the M151 military 11/44-ton military truck. A company called Carolina Growler got its hands on a ton of surplus components, then combined them with a replacement body. Ta-da! The Growler UV100 series was born. The vehicles are ready for everything from rocky roads to slick streets. In fact, the Growler series originated for the international market, and the company says that it has sold about 1,000 kits to such countries as Poland, Algeria, and Pakistan.
The kit comes with a complete set of components, a new 12-gauge steel unitized frame/body packaged with all the nuts, bolts, and washers required to build your own M151A2. In fact, all of the mounting brackets are welded to the frame, so your work is bolt-on. Need even more info to be convinced? The Growler kit also includes a U.S. military-spec 2.3L inline-four engine, a 24-volt ignition system, a transmission, differentials, five unidirectional military tires and rims, lights, windshield wipers, a fuel tank, a new exhaust system and muffler, a complete brake system with shoes and drums, two new 12-volt batteries, a new electrical wiring harness, and gauges. Again, those are all part of the standard kit. Options include a new radiator, a fording kit, a heater, a 12-volt conversion kit, a new top, a rollbar, and a rear seat and upholstery. Need to know the maximum operating speeds? First Gear is 11 mph; Second is 21 mph; Third, 40 mph; Fourth, 65 mph; and Reverse is 9 mph.
The kit is said to be so easy to assemble, you can do it with regular old handtools, although the toughest task will be having to roll the body onto its side to mount the suspension, and installing the engine and the transmission will require about three other sets of hands or an engine hoist.
For more information, contact Carolina Growlers at 877/M151KIT (615-1548), www.carolinagrowler.com.
Campfire TalkCould a pickup be in Honda's future? Funny we should ask: We're hearing Tundra-sized and V-8'd. There's talk that Mercedes-Benz might offer a fullsize pickup with four doors and a V-8 for the '03 model year. Could it be that this untitled Benz and the concept Dodge Power Wagon will share a platform if they make it into production?
The redesigned Chevy S-10 will likely borrow styling cues from the all-new '01 Avalanche sport/ute and have three new engines, including a V-8 from the Silverado.
The return of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer is thought to be a dead idea. Instead, a fullsize SUV could come from DaimlerChrysler with Dodge badging, based on the next-gen Ram platform and with a V-10. There's a hot vehicle in Russia-the armored Lada from Bronto. Turns out most of us in the building were wrong: Home-run hero Hank Aaron is alive and well and president of the brand-new Hank Aaron BMW in Union City, Georgia. It's the first new BMW franchise to open in seven years, and the first one ever in south Atlanta. Forget road rage-parking rage is now, well, all the rage. Things are turning violent when it comes to parking spaces in such places as malls and grocery stores. Holley has purchased Flowtech Exhaust Systems. Detroit Diesel and Hyundai are getting it on-they'll collaborate on two new diesel engines. DaimlerChrysler is eyeballing Nissan Diesel, the Japanese truck maker. The Insurance Information Network of California is asking people who are brand-new owners of an SUV, and particularly ones making the leap from driving small cars, to spend a lot of time behind the wheel getting comfortable and familiar with their trucks before heading for the busy highways. Next year's GM cars will feature voice-activated Internet service.
Buick is rolling out a minivan-based sport/ute called Rendezvous. Hey, we never talk about motorhomes, so here goes: In 1999, Class A deliveries to dealers were up more than 15 percent from the previous year.
The Nation's Worst TrafficHere's a shocker-Los Angeles wins yet another award. The people-happy city was among the places with the worst traffic spots, according to a study by Cambridge Systematics for the American Highway Users Alliance, with four congested sites on the list. The group also found that fixing nearly 170 bottlenecks nationwide would, over the 20-year time of improvements, prevent 290,000 crashes, reduce carbon monoxide by 45 percent, cut carbon dioxide emission by 71 percent, and reduce delays by 19 minutes per trip (or nearly 40 minutes if you're fighting before- and after-work rush hour). The top 18 bottlenecks are located in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
In another study, the Texas Transportation Institute's annual deal involved state and federal commuting figures of 68 U.S. cities. It found that, although traffic hasn't increased that much in the last five years, 82 hours every year are devoted to sitting (that also adds up to two weeks you're losing), and for the average driver, about four extra tanks of gas each year in the 35 most congested cities are donated to the environment. In fact, traffic is seriously picking up in smaller cities, such as Indianapolis. Let's hear it for Los Angeles, again, for ranking number one, followed by Washington, D.C., Oakland, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, and Detroit.
On a related note, the Census Bureau said that we currently have a population in the U.S. of more than 274 million.
GM in CourtGeneral Motors was just ordered by a jury to pay $14.2 million to the family of a woman who died after being run over by her GMC Sierra. She had gotten out to pick up some wooden chairs that someone was throwing out when the truck "suddenly lurched backward and ran over her." GM was held partially responsible for her death, which the family blamed on a faulty transmission.
Although the deceased was found 40 percent responsible, GM was asked to fork over $4.2 million in compensatory damages plus $10 million in punitive damages.
GM says there was no basis for the award: "This unfortunate incident occurred when [she] left her vehicle with the engine running, the transmission not in Park, and without setting the parking brake, as instructed in her owner's manual." GM is appealing the verdict.
Your 4x4 in This MagazineEveryone dreams about it, so here's exactly how to get photos of your truck in 4-Wheel & Off-Road. There are two routes you can take. If you want to try to score a full-blown feature, send photos of your pride and joy and a convincing letter to Shoot My Truck Please, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. We'll need to see photos showing the exterior, interior, underhood, and any other interesting parts of your 4x4.
If Readers' Rides is more your style or you want to cover all your bases, fill out the following form as completely as lawyers in your state will allow, and mail it along with a clear photo of your vehicle to Readers' Rides, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
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|Tire Type and Size: ||Wheel Type and Size: || |
|Lift Type and Height: |
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Airbag NewsFord's Volvo division recalled more than 122,000 '98 models because customers have complained about the passenger-side airbags going off while they were washing their cars.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering regulating airbags, beginning with the '03 model year. NHTSA is proposing a new system for testing airbags to prevent children and small adults from being killed by inflating airbags, which would hopefully eliminate between 60 and 95 percent of airbag-related deaths.
Survey SaysJ.D. Power and Associates' newest finding is that Ford has the industry's most loyal owners. A whopping 61 percent followed up their purchase with another Ford vehicle. The industry average is currently 46 percent, the highest loyalty average since the mid-'80s. Next in line for repeat business were Lexus with 57 percent, Toyota with 55 percent, Mercedes-Benz with 54 percent, and Chevrolet with 52 percent. The J.D. guys also noted that Ford's win is likely linked to its fullsize trucks. The bad news was for those mini-utes; a mere 20 percent of buyers returned to the same brand.
Diesel Reaches One-Million MarkYou know that 7.3L Power Stroke diesel found in the Ford F-Series Super Duty? Well, Navistar International Transportation Corporation says that it just produced the millionth one of 'em, which went into an F-550. Navistar probably wasn't too surprised by the landmark, there has been such demand for the mill, the plant has had to crank out 1,400 each day and manufacture 330,000 each year. The company also announced that it let the California Air Resources Board know that it has the ability to reduce harmful emissions and clean up California's air. It introduced an International-brand school bus with a low-emissions engine running on ultra-low-sulfur fuel, so there's none of the fumes associated with diesels.
I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Hamburger TodayFive McDonald's restaurants have signed a deal with a local transportation authority to make it so that people who find the typical 131-second wait at the drive-thru just unacceptably long can shave off a whopping 15 seconds. Eager eaters in Orange County, California, can take advantage of the same basic technology used to avoid stopping on toll roads. A transponder on cars will send a signal to an antenna at the Mickey D's, and then it will calculate the fee and bill the driver for the food.
4xWebIf you're searching for axle articulation (and what serious off-roader isn't?), you may wish to check out the installation and test of Metal Made Rite's new Revolver Shackles on 4x4review.com. The shackles seem to defy the laws of physics with their swing-away design to allow axles to droop considerably more while still providing a stable ride. 4x4review.com explores how well they really perform in the rigors of off-roading.
The Web site also takes a look this month at the Gearless Locker from Tractech. After a short marketing sabbatical, the hyped locker hits the retail stores. With all the convenience of a drop-in locker, Tractech claims this to be a great investment for the budget minded traction seeker. Follow along in 4x4review.com for the review, full installation, and testing to see how easy it is to install one and how well it performs off-road.
Quick Test: 2000 Dodge DurangoDid you dig the looks of the Durango when it debuted in 1998? The midsize with available third-row seating? The awesome towing capability? The way it fits easily into parking spaces? Then you'll love the 2000 model.
There have only been a few updates, but the big news for 2000 is the addition of the 4.7L V-8 and R44E transmission. With just the driver in the vehicle, it'll smoke a 5.2L-equipped Durango. It turns the otherwise lethargic Durango into something that's fun to drive.
New for 2000 is the replacement of the 5.2L engine with the 4.7L engine and a lighter, yet stronger, front axle. The Durango SLT Plus we tested had a 4.7L engine, a 46RE four-speed automatic trans, and a part-time NP231 transfer case. A full-time transfer case is optional.
The Durango drove nice and was easy to handle, although we did find the ride just a bit rough, particularly over stretches of asphalt highways. The leather interior was comfy and there's plenty of leg- and headroom in the front and second row seats. Dodge heard our calls about leaving a lever to engage the transfer case (yeah!) and even revised it for easier operation. Since the vehicle already has a console, however, we'd like to see the tranny shifter relocated from the steering column down to the floor.
As for flexibility, the second row of seats collapses, allowing you to fit lots inside. It has an impressive tow rating of 5,750 pounds. So with the optional third-row seat, you can take seven of your buddies with you and haul a boat that will hold everyone.
Specs Manufacturer: DodgeModel: 2000 Durango 4x4 SLT PlusBase Price: $27,975Price as Tested: $31,740
Options Tested: Customer Preferred Package 26G: power six-way driver seat, roof rack, fog lamps, floor console, front and rear floor mats, body color bumpers; SLT Plus Decor package: leather seats, overhead console, security group, AM/FM/cassette/CD/equalizer, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, 31x10.50R15 all-season tires, 15x8 aluminum wheels, fender flares, auto day/night mirrors, woodgrain accents
Engine: 4.7L V-8Transmission: R44E 4-speed automaticTransfer Case: part-time NP231Front Suspension: IFSRear Suspension: Chrysler 811/44 solid axleAxle Gear Ratio: 3.55:1
Political & Environmental Beat*DaimlerChrysler and, more recently, Ford bailed on involvement with the Global Climate Coalition, which opposed a global-warming treaty. GM is still a part of the coalition.
*DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and General Motors are receiving kudos from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 for their efforts to eliminate PCBs (a group of toxic chemicals) from the environment. It's part of the Great Lakes Bi-national Toxics Strategy, in which the companies were challenged to voluntarily reduce PCBs in electrical equipment by 90 percent in 2006, as well as to have a better handle on disposing and controlling PCBs so they aren't accidentally released into the Great Lakes Basin.
*Legislation has now been enacted in the District of Columbia to permit the optional display of vintage year-of-manufacture license plates instead of D.C. Historic Motor Vehicle license plates on historic vehicles.
*United Four Wheel Drive Associations has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service for closing logging roads used by ORV enthusiasts. The Forest Service is expected to issue a transportation rule that will use the latest technology available to decide where, when, and how often to build, close, and destroy roads. Because this rule covers road engineering, you're encouraged to let the Forest Service know what you think about the permanent ban. For a sample letter, go to www.wi4wda.org/carlaboucher/index.html.
*The Australian Outback was named one of the 50 wonders of the world by National Geographic.
*Brooklyn has a new law that fines cell phone users who are talking while driving. Hands-free chat is OK if both hands are on the wheel, and an emergency situation is also an exception.
*It looks like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will add brake ratings to its list of crash safety tests, which already includes side, front, and rear impact ratings.
*The U.S. Department of Transportation is requiring that the 20-year-old mandatory rollover warning labels in SUVs be made brighter and more prominent.
To voice your support of or objection to a cause, visit Congress.org, a Web site that will help you contact your state rep. You can also check out the Bureau of Land Management (www.blm.gov) for information on this land that's your land.