Exterior colors: Silver Ice Metallic and Blue Topaz Metallic replace Sheer Silver Metallic and Mocha Steel Metallic (late availability for Blue Topaz Metallic)
Hard-drive navigation radio with AM/FM/XM stereo and CD player, USB port, Time Shift Recording capability and available SiriusXM Weather Service
Leather-wrapped heated steering wheel is standard on LTZ
StabiliTrak stability control system now includes electronic trailer sway control and hill start assist
Heated seats are now standard on LT models
2012 Chevrolet Avalanche: Highlights
The Chevrolet Avalanche is one of the industry’s most flexible utility vehicles, combining the passenger-comfort attributes of a SUV with the cargo capability of a truck, thanks to the exclusive Midgate. It opens to extend the cargo-carrying capability from the cargo bed’s 5-foot-3-inch-long (1.6 m) length to 8 feet 2 inches (2.5 m). It is available in LS, LT and LTZ models, with 2WD and 4WD.
Some Two-Up Cautions
While it’s true that passenger safety is much improved on a manufacturer engineered two-up ATV, it’s not a cure-all. As the rider, you are responsible for the safety of your passenger. Providing thrills in the form of aggressive riding is not in the best interest of your passenger. Off-camber situations on the trail need to be carefully evaluated.
Additionally, steep uphill climbs that require technical maneuvers should be avoided with your passenger on board. If you’ve ever stalled an ATV on a steep climb, you know it’s one of those situations that can get a bit dicey. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I prefer a quad over a side-by-side on our mountain trails out west – in a dire emergency you can bail off, which is not a good option with a passenger. Let your passenger off of the machine before negotiating extreme terrain.
Aftermarket seats can address some of the safety concerns for ATV passengers, but they do not address wheel base length and generally don’t provide adequate passenger floor boards, seat backs, handgrips, and spring rates. Proximity to the driver remains a major concern.
While some women like to ride their own machines, many others would love to go but don’t want to be responsible for the operation of an ATV on the trail. Honey, let’s buy a new two-up quad, just for the two of us. Work it, gentlemen, you can add the buck hauling rack to replace the seat later.
Many of the same principles discussed here for quads also apply to side-by-sides in terms of number of passengers. Stay with the machine’s design. Seat belt count is a good indicator. Some UTVs have a bench seat with belts for three. The fast and fun Polaris Ranger RZR 4 is built with four bucket seats. Polaris also makes a Ranger Crew with seating for six.
Earthquake and Tsunami News from Honda [http://www.honda.com/newsandviews/article.aspx?id=5977-en]
“Everyone at Honda would like to express our sincere sympathy, condolences and wishes for an early recovery to the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in northwestern part of Japan on March 11, 2011. Honda associates in the U.S. and from around the world have joined together as one to support the recovery. To those of you who have joined us in supporting the people of Japan at this difficult time – thank you!
More than 80% of Honda products sold in the U.S. are produced in North America. And, the vast majority of the parts and materials we use to build products in America come from 600 suppliers based in North America. However, for global efficiency, a few critical parts continue to be supplied from Japan.
We remain focused on minimizing the impact of any reduction in production on our associates in Alabama, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Canada and Mexico who build Honda all terrain vehicles, power equipment and Honda and Acura automobiles for our customers. “
When I was a kid, my dirt bikes were obnoxiously loud and they didn’t like idling along at slow speeds, which is why I spent quite a bit of time hunting from the back of my dad’s motorcycles. It beat hiking, but the tougher the trail, the tougher the challenges for both rider and passenger.
ATVs have replaced motorcycles for most hunters, but they generally don’t come ready for two riders. In fact, as I travel throughout the land test riding ATVs, one of the most common safety violations I see is multiple riders on machines designed for one. It goes against manufacturer recommendations, it’s illegal in many jurisdictions and it’s just a bad idea.
Single-rider ATVs were not designed for passengers, which is why the manufacturers strongly warn against multiple rider use. This warning should give riders pause before taking on passengers. Engineers designed and tested the machines for one rider. It’s not just a matter of seating and foot position. Weight distribution, suspension components, brakes, tires and controls were all optimized for one rider.
To safely ride an ATV in off-road situations, you need the elbow room to quickly operate the handle bars in their full range of motion without passenger interference. You also need the entire seat so you can maneuver front to back and side to side to maintain vehicle stability in off-camber situations and to take corners at speed.
If you think that the manufacturers’ recommendations are not law, you might be wrong. States are adopting ATV passenger laws that site the manufacturers’ recommendations as part of the law. The West Virginia law, for example, says “No ATV may be operated in this state with more than one passenger unless more passengers are allowed under manufacturers’ recommendations,” which raises questions, but at least attempts to cite the owner’s manual.
We will probably see more ATV laws pointing to the manufacturers’ recommendations as various groups lobby for stricter regulations. When legislators address ATV manufacturers with safety concerns, the manufacturers point out that many rides ignore the safety warnings posted in the operating instructions and on warning stickers.
Aside from state and provincial ATV laws, there are additional governing bodies that regulate ATV use in areas where you may ride. The Mark Twain National Forest regulations include “No operator of an ATV is allowed to carry passengers unless the ATV was designed by the manufacturer to carry passengers.”
Rules for the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system in West Virginia are clear where their state law is ambiguous: ”No passengers on any ATV unless the ATV is manufactured for the driver and a passenger.”
Even if you are not in violation of ATV laws or a riding area regulation, your legal problems will not be over if your passenger gets hurt when you are operating an ATV in a manner not in keeping with the manufacturers’ recommendations as stated on warning stickers and in the owner’s manual. You can bet that prosecutors in a manslaughter trial and representatives for the injured party in a civil case will site the manufacturer’s safety warnings in court.
If you are going to carry a passenger on your quad, you need one of the two-up machines built by the North American ATV manufacturers. Arctic Cat’s TRV, Can-Am’s Max, and Polaris’ Touring machines are all designed to safely carry a passenger.
While the passenger seats are easy to spot, there are several other design features that make these machines well suited for the task of passenger transport.
The primary design difference for the two-up models is a longer wheel base, which provides better front to back stability while making enough room to properly place passenger legs and feet without interfering with the driver’s operation of the machine.
The passenger seats themselves are elevated to give the passenger a better view. The seats include a back, which enhances passenger comfort, minimizes fatigue and greatly improves stability to keep the passenger on board during acceleration and hill climbs without need to hold onto the driver.
The hand grips are ergonomically designed to provide a variety of good hold points, which the passenger can choose as the machine’s angle changes on the terrain – all without interfering with the driver.
Passenger floor boards are also elevated to match the seat height. They provide steps for the passenger to climb on board. They have enough room for the passenger to change foot position for comfort and to help machine balance in off-camber situations. The floor boards are also a very important component to help keep the passenger on the machine because they can brace with firm footing as terrain changes the angle of the machine.
Of course, two-up ATVs can be operated without a passenger and most models quickly convert to single operator mode with increased cargo room. Arctic Cat has one model, the TRV 700 GT, with a 3-in-1 set up, which includes the passenger seat, an optional rear rack or an optional heavy duty cargo box. The longer wheel base of the two-up machines can be a big help in rough terrain.
If you have a family, you’ll buy a pickup with enough seats for the people you intend to transport. Do the same with your ATV.
Long before I reached my destination I could hear the scream of tire tread on dry pavement. I could see and smell the tire smoke as I entered the Convention Center. It wasn’t hard to find the exhibition of off-road race pickups putting on a show for the gathering crowd. After exhibiting some serious drifting skills, they attacked a jump that launched them, side by side, into the Las Vegas skyline. Welcome to the Show!
Every year I go to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. SEMA is the Specialty Equipment Market Association, a trade association that consists of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, publishing companies, auto restorers, street-rod builders, restylers, car clubs, race teams and more. What they have in common is a love for cars. What they do is make, buy, sell and use all kinds of specialty parts and accessories to make vehicles more attractive, more unique, more convenient, faster, safer, more fun and even like-new again.
The 2010 version of the SEMA Show kicked-off on Tuesday, November 2, drawing more than 100,000 attendees and 1,800 exhibitors.
I cover the Show every year as an automotive journalist but this year I had the privilege of taking in the Show with the interests of you, our ProPickup readers, in mind. SEMA is the ideal place to research the latest in ideas, equipment and upgrades for the owners of pro pickups. There are so many things we can do to improve the functionality, comfort and looks of our pickups and often the best of these can be seen for the first time at the SEMA Show.
Upstairs in the South Hall of the Convention Center is a cavernous facility with hundreds of booths and thousands of products designed solely for the purpose of improving pickups. We checked out the latest in electronics, fuel tanks, tools, side steps, caps, tonneaus, cargo management, hitches, tires, exhaust systems, suspension, bumpers, grille guards, differentials, intake systems, chips, programmers, batteries and lights.
We hiked miles of rows of the latest in wheels and tires. We talked to the makers of power steps and nerf bars. We interviewed suspension engineers and chatted with the makers of receiver hitches and a variety of towing accessories.
We looked at GPS systems, backup cameras and in-cab office components.
We talked to manufacturers that want to make your pickup taller, run smoother, more powerful, weather proof and unique. Here are some of the latest ideas in equipment to upgrade your pro pickup from the SEMA Show in Las Vegas:
Cobra iRadar Detection System (MSRP: $169.95)
The Cobra iRadar system combines industry-leading radar/laser gun and speed/red light camera detection technology with the ease of use of iPhone to create a revolutionary detection system. The system consists of a state-of-the-art Cobra radar detector and the Cobra iRadar App for iPhone. The system uses Bluetooth® wireless technology to connect iPhone to the detector, and the iPhone Multi-Touch display to control the detector’s settings, which enables motorists to view, hear and log alerts for radar/laser guns as well as upcoming speed/red light cameras and other potential hazards.
“The Cobra iRadar Detection System is truly revolutionary,” said Sally Washlow, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Cobra Electronics. “It pairs Cobra’s industry-leading radar/laser detection technology with iPhone’s exceptional display and GPS capabilities to create a truly new standard for detection systems. What makes using Cobra’s iRadar system so remarkable is that it not only provides drivers an unprecedented amount of crucial information, it does so with clarity and convenience.”
The Cobra iRadar detector detects all radar and laser guns on the market and alerts motorists to upcoming threats from all directions with its 360o protection. Its large, crisp speaker provides clear and precise warnings while its escalating audio alerts let you know the distance to any threat. The Cobra iRadar detector unit also works as a standalone detector when not paired to the app, ensuring that it is in radar/laser gun detection mode at all times.
Drivers can control all the settings of the iRadar detector including which alert notifications it will provide and the audio volume at which they will be provided. In addition, the app allows drivers to view past alert locations on a map, mark user locations, and view their speed, compass heading and car battery voltage. Cobra Electronics Corporation; www.CobraiRadar.com; (773) 889-3087
DashCommand (MSRP: $49.99)
DashCommand is a touch screen friendly software application that is designed to integrate OBD-II data monitoring and logging into the in-car computing experience. Use DashCommand’s capabilities to create and display stunning virtual dashboards with many styles including digital gauges, analog gauges, indicator lights, and more! The dashboards are designed to look great on any screen size.
DashCommand is available on two different platforms, Windows and the iPhone/iPod Touch.
The Windows version is available at www.palmerperformance.com. The iPhone/iPod version is available from the iTunes App Store.
DashCommand features include skid pad, race track, virtual dashboards, inclinometer, and OBD-II data logging & diagnostics (find out why your check-engine light is on). Using WiFi technology and a supported hardware interface, you will be able to connect your iPhone to your OBD-II compliant vehicle and monitor, log, and playback vehicle information and parameters.
DashCommand provides interactive capabilities that allow objects such as buttons to be added to dashboards which can then trigger switching of dashboard screens and changing the state of objects on screen. You can now create a set of dashboards that suits your needs.
DashCommand also supports the scripts written in ScanXL. The scripts can be imported to supplement the data that can be displayed in the dashboards. Write scripts to calculate fuel consumption, boost pressure, power, torque, and many more based on data from the OBD-II values.
Palmer Performance Engineering; www.palmerperformance.com; For product questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Toolbox and Refueling Tank Combo (MSRP: $1,724.35 30-gallon / $1,907.13 50-gallon)
Transfer Flow’s 30-gallon and 50-gallon toolbox and refueling tank combos work great for manually filling your fuel tank as well as filling other vehicles or equipment. The 30-gallon unit will fit short and long bed pickups, while the 50-gallon unit will fit long bed pickups only.
The toolbox and refueling tank combos come pre-assembled with a 12-volt pump located inside the locking storage compartment. The fuel nozzle is mounted on the outside of the toolbox, and comes with an 8-foot hose. The storage compartment of the 30-gallon unit has about 5 cubic feet of space, while the 50-gallon unit has a storage area of about 8 cubic feet. The tanks are made from 14-gauge aluminized steel for superior rust resistance and strength, and are mounted inside the bright aluminum diamond plate shell of the toolbox. The tanks are baffled to reduce fuel sloshing.
Transfer Flow’s refueling tanks come with a Department of Transportation special permit number, allowing them to carry gasoline and diesel fuel. In addition, an optional riser kit is available that allows you to store several sheets of plywood or sheetrock under the tank. Transfer Flow, Inc.; www.transferflow.com; (530) 893-5209
Indexing Double Box Ratcheting Wrench
GearWrench’s indexing double box ratcheting wrench was developed as a result of end user input. Two ratcheting box ends index and lock into position. This saves technicians time and eliminates the need to switch wrenches while working on fasteners that are difficult to access. The wrench features an extra-long, forged steel beam with indexing lockable joints at each end enabling each ratcheting box end to pivot over 180 degrees. Currently available in six metric size combinations. Apex Tool Group; www.gearwrench.com; (800) 688-8949
Tomahawk 375 Air Plasma Cutting System (MSRP: $1,589.00)
Lincoln Electric’s Tomahawk 375 Air is a new plasma cutting system line designed for on-site maintenance, service tasks, small construction sites, HVAC work, demolition and rental applications.
The Tomahawk 375 Air includes an internal air compressor, eliminating the need for an external air source. This machine can be used anywhere 208 or 230 volt single phase 60 Hz power is available.
The 375 Air features continuous output control to focus the plasma arc for recommended 5/16 inch steel. The machine produces 10-25 amps output and is rated at 25 amps at 90 volts, 35 percent duty cycle. Tomahawk plasma cutting systems are designed for cutting mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Lincoln Electric; www.lincolnelectric.com; (216) 481-8100
MAXTRAX (MSRP: $595)
MAXTRAX is a lightweight nylon, vehicle extraction device that fits in your 4WD ensuring an easy way out if your vehicle encounters a sticky situation. MAXTRAX stows easily with the rest of your day tripping, camping, or picnicking gear. You can even use MAXTRAX upside down as a shovel to remove excess material from around your tires. Large cleats on MAXTRAX sink their teeth into the tire tread and the terrain under your 4WD vehicle to help it out of mud, snow, or sand. MAXTRAX; www.maxtrax.com.au; (855) MAX-TRAX (toll free)
Bridjit Curb Ramps (MSRP: $299)
Bridjit Curb Ramps are a high-quality green solution designed to help homeowners reduce the jarring and underside vehicle damage that occurs from a roll-over curb driveway entry. Simple to install, the Bridjit Curb Ramp is made from recycled tires and is generally sold as a set of three, 4 foot modular sections that provide 12 feet of driveway coverage. The only tools required are a hammer and screwdriver. Bridjit Inc.; www.bridjit.com; (877) 522-6611
A.R.E.’s ActionKover is a new fiberglass tonneau cover available for most current short bed and extra short bed trucks, including the Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram.
Features include an aluminum base rail system, heavy-duty front hinges, Eberhard palm handle and Lift Assist gas strut system that makes the lid easy to open and close.
“Our talented team of engineers and production crew has designed a tonneau cover that not only looks great but has a great price point as well,” said Bryan Baker, director of Marketing, A.R.E.
A DuPont® base coat/clear coat paint finish gives the cover an original-equipment look. A.R.E.; www.4are.com; (330) 830-7800
DCU (Deluxe Commercial Unit) Truck Cap
A.R.E.’s product lineup for the 2011 Ford Super Duty includes their Deluxe Commercial Unit (DCU). Specially built to withstand the rigors of any work situation, the DCU has a rugged, fully welded aluminum frame construction. More than 200 options are available, including door and window configurations, toolboxes, custom ladder racks and cap height design. A.R.E.; www.4are.com; (330) 830-7800
Portable Steel Tool Box (30” x 19”) (MSRP: $1,130)
Montezuma’s 16 ga. steel construction tool box with welded seams features a powder coat finish and holds both metric and S.A.E. tools. The lid secures tools in position when closed and a locking latch prevents unauthorized use. Lock cylinder has double-cut keys for easier locking and unlocking. Weather stripping creates a tight seal against dust and moisture and a gas spring raises the lid. Sturdy side handles make moving the tool box easy. Limited Lifetime Warranty. Montezuma Mfg., Inc.; www.montezumamfg.com; (800) 759-5157
EZ Self-Closing 7-Pin (EZS7) Electrical Towing Connection System
EZ Connector’s new EZ Self-Closing 7-Pin (EZS7) is a 7-Pin electrical towing connection system with robust magnets, spring-loaded pins, flat contacts and a water-proof design. Unlike the common blade plugs available in today’s market, the patented EZ Connector uses spring-loaded face-to-face contacts so that drawbacks such as arcing and contact abrasion from use are eliminated. The combination of spring-loaded pins and fixed contacts also allows for electricity to easily pass from socket to plug, and mitigates problems such as voltage drop due to increased contact deterioration and corrosion, and the resulting failure of brakes and lights. EZ Connector Inc.; www.ezconnector.com; (559) 686-5889
CrossContact LX (MSRP: Starting at $96)
The CrossContact LX by Continental Tire delivers crisp handling and all-season traction — even in light snow. This tire’s Asymmetric Tread Pattern is engineered to allow both sides of the tread to perform independently of each other. This computer-optimized tread face is designed to deliver a greater surface contact patch, with large, stiff blocks on the outside of the tire, a stabilizing rib to reduce shoulder wear and subtle tread elements on the inside tread for enhanced traction.
An innovative Tri-Net Silica Tread Compound adjusts to road conditions, cushions the ride, improves traction, lowers rolling resistance and prolongs tread life for greater fuel economy and long wear. Acoustic Alterra Technology minimizes tire noise. Interlocking sipes add lateral strength, excellent traction and directional control in all conditions — even mud and snow. Continental Tire; www.continentaltire.com; (800) 847-3349
Grabber HTS (MSRP: $105)
The Grabber HTS is General Tire’s premium all-season tire for today’s light trucks, crossovers and SUVs. Born from the Baja, the Grabber HTS is built on the technology that went into engineering the company’s Grabber off-road competition tires. Duragen ultra high strength steel belts, micro-fiber casing reinforcements, and a broad contour result in a strong, durable tire that provides even tread wear for longer mileage and confidence in challenging driving conditions. Response Grooves, Stabilink Bars and three kinds of siping result in an excellent all-season tire that promotes enhanced steering response and provides reliable performance when braking, accelerating and cornering.
This latest-generation tread compound significantly improves fuel economy by reducing rolling resistance. General Tire; www.generaltire.com; (800) 847-3349
DynoMax 2008-10 Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty System]
Posting an additional 16 horsepower and 13-ft. lbs. of torque at the dyno, the new DynoMax 2008-10 Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty system gives owners a boost of horsepower and torque while freeing up exhaust backpressure.
The new DynoMax system (p/n 39469) – built to match OE routing and provide added performance and sound enhancements – fits 2008-2010 Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty 2WD/4WD 5.4L/6.8L V8 trucks. The system does not fit 2008-10 Ford F-350 Chassis Cab trucks.
The new system includes 3-in. stainless steel mandrel-bent piping to protect against corrosion. It also includes a DynoMax Ultra Flo Welded muffler, for maximum exhaust flow and an aggressive tone.
The single, cat-back system also includes necessary OE-grade band clamps, u-bolt clamps and 4-in. stainless steel slant cut, logo-embossed tip. All of the necessary instructions are included for fast and easy installation. Tenneco Inc.; www.DynoMax.com; (734) 384-7806
Rancho® 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 Suspension System
The new Rancho® 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 suspension system fits 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 gas and diesel truck models and the 2010 Dodge Ram Mega Cab model (manufactured from April 2010 and newer).
Compatible with up to 37-in. tires, the new 4-in. Rancho Ram 2500 system includes a forged pitman arm, new front track bar relocation bracket, and heavy-duty tubular-style front links. The system also works with stock wheels. Rancho engineers maintained the OE location of the rack and pinion while maintaining proper driveshaft angles to minimize vibrations. Rancho includes rear leaf spring blocks and a front track bar relocation bracket. The system contains all of the necessary alignment hardware and highly detailed information on the installation of the system. Rancho Suspension; www.gorancho.com; (734) 384-7809
Premier 6” Oval Side Bars
Westin’s Premier 6” Oval Side Bars offer the largest step area for sure footed entry into full sized trucks and SUV’s. Available in 4 universal lengths to accommodate full sized trucks and SUV’s. Vehicle specific mounting systems utilizing Westin’s current 22 Series Mounting Brackets are already stocked by most WD’s and Jobbers. The Premier 6” Oval Side Bars are OE styled for a finished look and are available in polished stainless steel and black powder coated finish. There is no drilling required for mounting the 6” Oval Side Bars making installation a clean and easy process. Westin Automotive, Inc.; www.westinautomotive.com; (626) 960-6762
Rancher Grille Guard
When you need extra protection from road debris and off-road brush, go with the Rancher Grille Guard from Go Industries. The one-piece, fully welded guard provides protection for the headlight and grille areas of your pickup. Constructed of 1.9”, 14 gauge steel tubing and one-quarter inch, laser-cut steel uprights, the grille guard has a center section made of 16 gauge steel with one-half inch punched holes and features a powder coat finish. Each Rancher Grille Guard is designed specifically for each vehicle model, contouring to the lines of the vehicle while providing an easy, no drill, hassle-free installation. A built-in, wide “Step Plate” allows easy access to the hood and engine on today’s big pickups. Go Industries; www.goindustries.com; (800) 527-4345
Cummins/Duramax Differential Cover (MSRP: $342.50)
aFe Power builds a rear-end differential for Dodge Ram pickups that provides a 5 quart lube capacity to replace the stock 4 quart version. Features include a magnetic drain plug and a magnetic tipped fill plug. Internal and external fins provide improved heat transfer. A large oil level site glass has a calibration plug to eliminate overfilling. aFe-advanced FLOW Engineering Inc.; http://afepower.com; (951) 493-7100
63 Series AirCharger® Intake Kits (MSRP: $320.99)
Guaranteed to provide more hp and increased acceleration, K&N’s 63 Series intake system is easy to install and lasts up to 100,000 miles before service is required (depending on driving conditions). The air filter is washable, reusable and comes with a million mile limited warranty. The kit works with the OEM computer systems and is street legal in most states (not street legal in CA – Check part number or vehicle listing for specific CARB status). K&N Engineering, Inc.; www.knfilters.com; (800) 858-3333
Insight CTS (MSRP: $448.88)
The new Insight CTS by Edge Products offers the most advanced technology in engine monitoring available today. The Insight CTS is compatible with any OBDII-enabled vehicle 1996 and newer. Features include a full-color, high-resolution, 4.3-inch touch screen (CTS). Displays available SAE data from your vehicle’s computer and is a great value because it monitors much more than just a typical 3-gauge cluster. Sounds user-defined audible alerts. Displays peak values such as speed and RPM. Performance testing: 0-60 and quarter-mile times.
Displays include fuel rail pressure on Duramax engines and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Regeneration Status on new diesels with DPF traps.
Add-ons include EGT pyrometer and back-up camera (sold separately).
MyStyle Software (included) allows users to choose from a variety of Edge custom background images. You can also upload an image of your choice. Edge Products; www.edgeproducts.com; (888) 360-3343
E-CON Power Programmer (MSRP: $435.99)
Hypertech’s new E-CON Economy Power Programmer is designed for the driver who needs better fuel mileage and more power, but doesn’t want to pay for other high-performance features. Every E-CON is programmed with Hypertech’s Max Energy Tuning, Diagnostics, and Back to Stock options. The E-CON also comes with a USB cable and a CD containing software to enable quick updates over the internet.
According to Hypertech founder and president, Mark Heffington, “With the rise of fuel cost, fuel economy is very important to our customers. So we developed the best-optimized fuel tuning programs possible for the E-CON that increases horsepower and torque. With the additional power, drivers use less fuel to maintain cruising speed, without torque converter un-locking and transmission down-shifting to a lower gear, providing a substantial increase in fuel mileage”.
In addition, Hypertech’s E-CON Economy Power Programmers have the ability to read and clear Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) or “check engine” lights. Plus, all Hypertech products are 50 State “Street Legal.” Hypertech; www.hypertech.com; (901) 382-8888
Spring fever is far more likely to hit fishermen than the flu, and when it does the urge to get the boat in the water and a rod in hand is hard to shake.
Invariably the mind focuses on getting the tackle box sorted out, hooks changed on lures, reels lubed and refilled with new line, and missing guides and broken rod tips replaced.
Then attention is turned to the boat making sure the batteries are good, the prop is good to go, the engine tuned up, rod lockers organized, the tag is current, and the proper safety gear in place.
With those rituals handled all that remains is to sit back and wait for the fever to break on opening day with that first hook-set, right?
Unfortunately a number of fishermen will find themselves a little late to the open day party because in the throws of spring fever they forgot to pay the same attention to their vehicle and trailer as they did their fishing gear and boat.
Let’s face facts: If you want to catch fish, you first have to get to the water – and to do so your vehicle (and boat trailer) needs to be in reliable mechanical condition.
Any pickup or SUV used by outdoorsmen is considered being used under severe service by the definitions posed in the vehicle owner’s manual. So between 3,000-6,000 miles (depending on the engine) your vehicle needs an oil/filter change. It’s also good to have the engine given a full tune-up. This ensures maximum performance and fuel economy during the rest of the year.
The air filter should be cleaned or changed, and wiper blades refilled. (I suggest replacing the factory blades with silicon-impregnated versions such as offered by Rain-X, PIAA and Tripledge.)
In addition the spring check-up should include close checks of all belts and hoses, fluid levels under the hood and in the differentials, and a thorough check of battery and cable connections.
Jack up and properly support the vehicle. Remove each wheel and inspect the brakes, brake hoses and wheel cylinders for leaks or wear. If this isn’t something you feel comfortable doing, have a good brake shop do the inspection.
This is a good time to check the shocks for any signs of damage or wear. If the shocks have more than 40,000 miles on them, put on a new set.
Inspect the tires for unusual wear patterns and rotate if they are still in good shape. Remember if the tread is below the top of Lincoln’s head when a penny is inserted upside own in the tread, the tire is worn out.
Don’t forget to check the hitch. Look for corrosion, cracks or scraping damage. Make sure all the mounting bolts are tight and that the trailer wiring and connector plug are in good condition.
Take an especially careful look at the towing ball. Is the locknut tight? Is the ball still smooth, or is it worn or gouged? Check for any signs of bending or stress cracks. If any problems appear, replace the ball – they’re inexpensive, but a critical link in towing safety.
While your back there makes sure the taillights, brake lights, parking lights and license plate lights are working properly.
It’s also wise to take a close look at the trailer coupler inside and out. The “jaws” should be adjusted to clamp securely to the ball and dabbed with a good marine grease.
The safety chains should be long enough to allow full trailer turn, but not long enough to drag on the ground. And, the ends that connect to the hitch should be of the snap or clevis variety, not “S”-hooks.
A good spring check-up also includes paying attention to the rest of the boat trailer. This means giving it a brake job, repacking the wheel bearings, replacing worn tires, repairing damaged bunks or rollers, inspecting the axle springs and hangers, checking the winch cable or strap and lubricating the gears.
Like the tow vehicle, the boat trailer’s tires and electrical system need to be checked and serviced as needed. (The two most common sources of trailer trouble are electrical systems and tires.) Repair/replace any damaged electrical plugs or wires.
None of the above tasks are difficult to do, but doing is essential if you want to get to the water safely all season long without drama along the way.