We've got a brand-new commander in chief and the financial world teeters on the brink of disaster, but we just don't care because there are new trucks to think about. Ford captures our attention this month its just-released 2009 F-150, which we'll review in the next issue.
Somebody hand me a spatula...
What if you could drive a truck powered by the same fuel that lets you grill bratwursts outside? Great, because Detroit's Roush Industries can make it happen. The magic fuel is liquid propane (which is actually a waste by-product of refining gasoline and natural gas), and it can power almost any 2007-2008 Ford F-150 with a 5.4-liter Triton V-8.
Roush loaned us a converted Super Crew XLT for a few days, and we came away mighty impressed with how normally the truck ran. The conversion focuses on the fuel system and it begins with storage. Roush offers two fuel tank sizes: a bagel-shaped 25-gallon holding cell that occupies the same location as the truck's discarded gasoline tank, and a larger 59-gallon drum-type that fits in the bed (according to Roush, most customers go for the larger tank because of its 500-plus-mile range.) Forward of the tank, Roush replaces everything fuel-related including billet fuel rails, which carries the propane in liquid state to custom injectors. Roush engineers also reprogrammed the F-150's engine control module. The resulting output matches the gasoline-fired F-150 at 300 hp and 365 lb-ft torque.
Driving the Roush-modified F-150, there's nothing to tip you off that you're driving a propane-powered truck except how it starts. When you key the ignition, except for the gauges and radio coming to life, nothing happens. If it's cold out, the fuel system takes up to 10 seconds to pressurize itself. Then, once it's darn good and ready, the starter motor magically engages and the truck fires. On warmer days, or after when the engine is at operating temperature, the starting sequence requires less than three seconds.
On the road, the LP truck drives just like the F-150s we've come to know and love. Wide-open throttle lays two patches of rubber. Initial concerns about carrying 59 gallons of fuel above the axles quickly evaporated. The Super Crew is designed to carry more than 1,700 pounds of payload, so a full 59-gallon, 250-pound load of LP doesn't begin to stress out the Ford.
If you manage a fleet, contact Roush because its $10,500 conversion will save you money in the long run once you factor in the Federal Tax Credit and calculate your savings on fuel (LP costs about 75 percent of what gasoline usually runs). More information is available at www.propanetrucks.com.
2009 Ford F-150 SFE
Gets 21 MPG Highway!
Even before it officially let the media drive its all-new F-150, Ford announced a Superior Fuel Economy model that delivers up to 21 highway mpg with 7,500 pounds of towing capacity. This model takes on the new GM trucks with the XFE badges we told you about last month.
Ford creates the SFE model by carefully combining engines, gearboxes, and tires. The SFE is a two-wheel-drive featuring a Super Crew cab and the short box (5.5 feet) powered by the three-valve 4.6-liter V-8/six-speed automatic transmission. To this lightweight combination, Ford adds a tall 3.15:1 rear axle and low-rolling-resistance P265/60R18 tires. Overall, the '09 F-150 is significantly more aerodynamic (6-percent) than the outgoing model, so these improvements combine to deliver a relatively fuel-efficient fullsize truck with fullsize capabilities. The SFE is a no-cost option on XLT trim levels but will set you back and extra grand on XLs.
Banks Sets Another Record
The Banks Sidewinder S-10 diesel drag truck ripped off a spectacular 7.87-second e.t. at 175.45 mph at the National Hot Rod Diesel Association's "Desert Diesel Truck Nationals" at Speedworld Dragstrip in Wittmann, Arizona. Driven by drag racing veteran Wes Anderson, the S-10 diesel pickup's record-setting run was made with "tire smoke only," exemplifying Banks' unique CleanTune technology. The following week, the team was already back at the race shop continuing their work on a new, Spitzer-chassis, 276-inch-wheelbase, all-out rear-engine dragster, which will be seen for the first time at this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas. And yeah, this new machine is a Duramax too!
A New Racetrack!
Palm Beach International Raceway partners, Scott Revell, Ron Dixon, and Keith Wilson, announced their substantial stake in a partnership, which has transformed the newly renovated Palm Beach International Raceway.
Revell commented, "With our combined experience, we are working with our new partners, Joe Lubeck and J.C. Solomon, toward completing the facility in its entirety over the next 12 months. The results will yield one of the finest motorsport parks in North America, with Palm Beach, Florida, as a destination.
"The road course and drag strip are now completed," continued Revell, "and testing at the tracks will commence in four weeks."
Partner Ron Dixon and father of current Indy 500 winner and twice IRL champion Scott Dixon, said, "I've never seen a better road course surface than this, and we are soon to announce its FIA certification."
Concerning the future of the drag strip, PBIR is currently in discussions with NHRA's Tom Compton, Graham Light, and senior vice president Gary Darcy with PBIR's drag strip track master, the legendary George Case.
Video Your Boosted Burnouts and Win Cash!
If you've got a ProCharger in your truck, then chances are good that you've happily roasted through a few sets of tires enroute to a blistering exhibition of speed. Well you can finally get paid for your good deeds: ProCharger announces the ProCharger Video Challenge. The first of its kind in the industry, the ProCharger Video Challenge is a chance for ProCharger owners to win a $5,000 Grand Prize for the best video that allows them to share their ProCharger-inspired accomplishments in their own words and videos.
In addition to the $5,000 Grand Prize, the online voting will also determine the Runner Up, as well as Third through Fifth Place finishers. The Runner Up will earn $1,000; Third Place will get $500; Fourth Place receives $300; and Fifth Place will get $200.
Entrants are encouraged to use their imagination in their video creations-from how they use their ProCharger power to their favorite experience or even their racing and performance accomplishments, to what they would tell someone who was asking about how they can get more power for their ride. Owners could even create their own idea of the ultimate ProCharger commercial.
A panel of judges will then select the Finalist, and these videos will be uploaded onto ProCharger's youtube.com channel where the viewing public will determine the winners. Winners will be announced before the end of April 2009.
ProCharger supercharger owners and future owners can visit the ProCharger website, www.procharger.com, for more information about the Video Challenge. Official Rules will be announced on or before October 24, 2008. Videos may be entered into the ProCharger Video Challenge starting on November 1, 2008, until March 31, 2009. The ProCharger Video Challenge is open to U.S. residents and citizens only.
10 Mostly Worthless Facts
Truck Run Edition
1. Sleeping under your tonneau cover in the bed of your truck at your first truck run will only keep your friends from finding you for the first night. They are bound to find you before the run is over and deal with you appropriately.
2. Hot sauce, although quite tasty when you are really hungry, is no substitute for Visine.
3. The talent to hold a full beer can in your teeth and drink it with no hands is totally lost on the ladies.
4. The driveshaft in a '94 Toyota mini-truck will snap in half during wheel-hopping burnouts if you let the air out of your rear air shocks, remove all but the longest leaf springs from the rear suspension, and fail to properly clearance the crossmember directly underneath the rear of the cab.
5. Any beverage is a good one when it's free and coming from a stranger when you are stumbling around a truck run and can't find your tent.
6. Cleaning your truck at a run is totally optional. So is actually entering it in the show.
7. Bathing is mandatory at a truck run. No matter how much game you think you have, it's not enough to impress the ladies when you're covered in dirt and stale beer.
8. The keys to a great truck run are women, sunshine, frosty cold beverages, killer trucks, lots of truck clubs, and an obnoxiously funny guy walking around with a bullhorn.
9. Throwing your own three-day truck run is a good way to achieve legendary status and go broke. The legend part only works if there are chicks.
10. Bob Hase is the oldest mini-trucker alive and throws down kickass truck runs.
Say What?The staff speaks and you listen. It's that simple. This month's question is:
You can go back in time . Where in time would you go and why?
Kevin: I think I would go back to the year 1962 because that's when my GMC was new. Though I don't have much money, what I do have was worth more back then. So, with my cash I would purchase a truck like the one I have. I think it would be cool to be there when it was still on the showroom floor. After driving it around, I would use the rest of my money to store it for a few decades. Then I would have a like-new classic truck in the present day.
Calin: I think I would go back to 1970. It was the pinnacle of high-horsepower muscle cars, and I would love to drive a brand-new SS 454 Chevelle with the LS6 engine. Just think of it, I could go to a dealer's lot and flog one of these monsters. I would also stop at a Dodge dealer and try out a Hemi 'Cuda.
Mike: I'd make several stops. First, I'd go back to May 27, 1977, because that was the day that Smokie and the Bandit hit the movie theaters. I'd make sure to see it on the biggest movie screen I could find because that's the best movie ever. Then, I'd hop in my time machine and jump forward to April of 1994. I'd go to Spring Splash, the best truck run ever, and pour some ketchup and hot sauce in Kevin Kuenzie's eyes to pay him back for doing it to me that weekend. Good times!
Andy: Man, this question is just like asking somebody what they would do if they won the lottery. There's so many choices of places and things you could see and do. Where does one start? Providing one of the parameters is I could not get hurt or killed or alter the future in any way, I think I'd start my journey way back in time and visit some dinosaurs just to see what they were like. I'd follow that up with visiting any point in time where great history was made. I'd probably spend the rest of my days getting into all sorts of adventures.
Sport Truck Slang Term O' The Month
#2,795: cherry picker (chere piker) n. A real cherry picker is a type of aerial work platform that consists of a platform or bucket at the end of a hydraulic lifting system originally designed for use in orchards. For the automotive market, cherry pickers are engine hoists used to remove an engine.