Dodge Ram 1500 Improved Cylinder Deactivation
The Dodge boys poured huge development dollars into their all-new '09 Dodge Ram. Even though the 5.7L Hemi is known for power, its enhanced cylinder-deactivation technology makes it pretty efficient. Because the improved '09 Hemi produces 390 hp when running on only four cylinders, it still produces enough juice to keep the Ram cruising at 70 mph. This gives the new 1500 the ability to score 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway.

Also, compared to '08 models with the Hemi, when half the engine shuts down on '09 models you notice it whereas in past years you couldn't. Being able to tell when the engine is running more efficiently is a tool fuel-conscious drivers can use to squeeze out more miles from every gallon.

News & Fun Stuff
Who's not sick of higher fuel prices and the never-ending whining that seems to go with pump-price sticker shock? Well, GM and Dodge care about your pain and are happy to sell you brand-new trucks that get better mileage than pre-'09 units.

GM's XFE Models
General Motors just started building new XFE-Xtra Fuel Economy-models of the '09 Chevy Silverado, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra, and GMC Yukon. The vehicles use a combination of mechanical, aerodynamic and mass-reducing enhancements to deliver a 5-percent increase in EPA-estimated highway fuel economy and more than 7-percent improved mileage in city driving.

The aero enhancements make Silverado XFE and Sierra XFE more aerodynamic than standard models. The XFE twins (two-wheel-drive Crew Cab body styles only) achieve a 0.412 coefficient of drag (Cd). This isn't far off from the all-new Dodge Ram 1500, which slips through the wind at only 0.399 Cd (Regular Cab Sport trim).

The new XFE models are available on 2WD vehicles equipped with the 5.3L V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission. They achieve 15 city and 21 highway mileage ratings versus comparable non-XFE models' 14/20 ratings. Most importantly, the increased efficiency does not come at the expense of capability. Towing ratings increase from 6,600 pounds (2,994 kg) to 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg) due to the new six-speed transmission and high-capacity cooling package.

The new XFE models use the 5.3L flexible-fuel V-8 (LC9) engine that's built with a mass-reducing aluminum cylinder block and heads. It is rated at 315 hp and 338 lb-ft of torque. The engine is backed by a Hydramatic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission with high-capacity cooling. A fuel-saving rear-axle 3.08 ratio with an automatic locking feature is also standard, as are lightweight aluminum wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires.

Other XFE-unique content includes: a soft tonneau cover, an extended front lower air dam, and lowered suspension for improved aerodynamics, plus aluminum lower control arms and aluminum wheels to reduce mass.

Escalade Hybrid
GM's blingmeister, the Cadillac Escalade, is now available with a two-mode hybrid powertrain. The Electra-lade uses the same system as Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra hybrids. These feature an all-aluminum 6.0L with variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, and a sophisticated electrically variable transmission (EVT). The EVT includes four fixed gears plus two sets of electric motors powered by 300 volts of juice stored in batteries located under the second row of seats.

The '09 Escalade hybrid gets 50-percent better city mileage and posts 20-mpg-city/21-mpg-highway EPA numbers. The hybrid model only costs $3,600 more than a regular Escalade, bringing its retail price to $71,685.

Compared to most hybrids, the premium for the Escalade hybrid is minimal, and as good as the system is we don't know why every buyer wouldn't want the hybrid. Chrome reflects green too.

10 Mostly Worthless Facts
1. If you were to spell out numbers, you'd have to go all the way to 1,000 before using the letter A.

2. Monster-truck tires are 66 inches high and 43 inches wide.

3. In 1925, Ford introduced its first factory-produced pickup truck, the Model T Runabout With Pickup Body.

4. Mike's thinking about swapping the carburetor on the LS2 in his '67 C10 for a fuel-injection arrangement. The puny 11-gallon fuel cell might be the reason for the change.

5. Kevin and Calin's trucks were almost on the cover of this issue. You'll have to wait a couple more months to see them.

6. If you happen to see our show promoter, Eddy, at a show, please feel free to throw plantains at him. He really enjoys that sort of thing. Really.

7. Did you know that comedian Joe Rogan had a 180-page book written about the buildup of his '70 Plymouth 'Cuda? It's called Build Book: From Concept to Reality, and sure it's a car but it's also a good inside look at how master builders like Troy Trepanier create rolling works of art.

8. Sport Truck has a sweet-ass mask collection growing above one of our filing cabinets. To date, we've scored several Mexican wrestling masks and one we can't identify but nonetheless is scary to look at.

9. Force is measured in newtons (N) and not Fig Newton cookies.

10. WD-40 stands for "water displacement, 40th attempt." WD-40 was invented in 1953 and was first used by Convair to protect the outer skin of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion. Another random WD-40 fact is that WD-40 dissolves cocaine.

250 Miles of open desert in Primm, Nevada, proved to be no problem for Curt LeDuc's Class 8 Ford F-150 truck and Toyo Open Country M/T tires. The five 50-mile laps began late, and LeDuc took First in his class and Fifth Place overall in the SNORE KC HiLites Midnight Special race.

Curt LeDuc of Cherry Valley, California, shared driving responsibilities with son Kyle and Macrae Glass of Kingman, Arizona. The team began the race in 51st Place and moved up to 10th Place after only the first lap. Their run lasted until approximately 2 a.m. the following morning when they crossed the finish line for their Class 8 victory.

Curt LeDuc has also competed with this same truck in the Best In The Desert series in 2008 and has won in every event entered this year. He is also the reigning 2007 Best In The Desert Class 8000 champion, continuing his dominance on Toyo Open Country M/T tires.

To learn more about the Open Country line of tires from Toyo, log on to toyo.com. Toyo manufactures and distributes a complete line of replacement tires for high-performance cars, luxury vehicles, light trucks, and SUVs as well as tires for commercial trucks, buses, and off-road and construction applications.

Big Custom
The Mothers car-show crew is hitting the road in style with the Chip Foose-inspired design on all 53-feet of this custom 18-wheeler. Equipped to satisfy the detailing needs of enthusiasts everywhere, the Mothers team is ready with new demonstrations and the latest detailing products. Check out www.mothers.com for a complete show schedule.

Say What?
The staff speaks and you listen. It's that simple. This month's question is:
You find a magic bottle of Boone's sitting in the gutter outside your favorite truck show. When you rub it, a genie pops out the bottle and grants you three wishes that can only be used during that truck show. Once you leave the show, whatever you wished for vanishes forever. What do you ask for?

Kevin: First off, I'm not one to pick up junk on the ground. Secondly, I don't know where that bottle has been so why would I fondle it? Anyways, if I did magically get a genie to grant me wishes the first thing I wound want it the ability to fly. That's an ability I have always wanted to have. Then I would wish for unlimited wishes. I would also wish for the show to have no boundaries and never end. That way I can keep my unlimited amount of wishes.

Calin: Wish #1) The ability to read minds, so I can hear the all the crap showgoers think about. Wish #2) The ability to fix things just by touching them. That way, I could restore my truck to showroom condition. Wish #3) The ability to manipulate time, so the truck show would last long enough for me to totally exploit my new powers. When I leave the show, I'll lose my new abilities but I'll know who really says what they think and my truck will remain brand-new.

Mike: Wish #1) Unlimited wishes is too obvious so I'll just wish for the sun to be permanently stuck in the 6 p.m. position so that all my photos look killer. Wish #2) I'll wish for every truck at the show to be owned and driven by a super-hot chick. Just imagine that for a few minutes. Wish #3) All the free beer I could drink.

Andy: I swear this actually happened to me the last time I drank a bottle of Boone's. No really, halfway into the second bottle a genie really did pop out of there and grant me three wishes. My first wish was to never drink a bottle of Boone's ever again and make the voices go away. The second wish was let me be invisible for the rest of the night so nobody could see me make a drunken ass of myself. I never got to the third wish because I had passed out by that point.

Sport Truck
Slang Term O' The Month
#85: Sick (si?k)dj.
Not to be confused with having a cold, sick in truck terms means very good. So if someone says your truck is sick take it as a compliment. If someone calls you sick that is a different story.

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