More Show Action With Sport Truck & Mini-Truckin' At Havoc
During the weekend of June 17-18, 2005, we'll be holding the most highly anticipated show of the 2005 season at the Louisville Convention Center, in Louisville, Kentucky. There will be more than $5,000 in cash and awards up for grabs as well as plenty of draggin' action (at the show itself) and the most incredible rides you've ever seen. In addition to draggin' and braggin', we're planning a two-day party within the confines of the Louisville Convention Center. This includes a show-'n'-shine event that'll have all the best builders of the best sport trucks of all varieties going head to head for all that prize money. We'll also have a manufacturers midway, with lots of the hottest and newest products right on site so you can get a hands-on evaluation before you buy. In addition, we're planning to have installation displays, a wild bikini contest, and live entertainment, with the entertainer to be announced at a later date.

New 425HP 6.1l Hemi
The Chrysler Group says it will offer a beefed-up version of its popular engine this spring. Unfortunately for sport truck enthusiasts, the all-new 6.1L 425hp Hemi V-8 engine will only be available in the Chrysler 300C SRT-8. The engine generates 25 percent more power (85 horses) than the 5.7L Hemi engine and is said to push the Chrysler 300C SRT-8 from 0-60 mph in the low-5-second range, with a quarter-mile time in the high-13-second range.

For you hard-core Hemi fans, the 425hp naturally aspirated 6.1L Hemi will be the highest specific-output V-8 engine ever offered by the Chrysler Group. Its 69.8hp-per-liter rating exceeds even that of the legendary 1966 Street Hemi. Its torque rating is listed as 420 lb-ft. All this performance talk has us thinking of the possibilities of this engine in a Ra - or even sicker, a new Dakota. SRT Group, are you listening?

5th Annual State 2 State Cruise/Havasu Spring Break
Entering its fifth year of existence, the State 2 State Cruise is on the move again. This year, we've moved the location, the size of the event, and the fun to beautiful Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The event is brought to you by Truckin', Sport Truck, and Mini Truckin' magazines, with presenting sponsorship provided by Chevy Trucks and Vortec Engines and official tire sponsorship provided by Toyo Tires. The cruise and show previously held in Las Vegas at the Fremont Street Experience has simply gotten too large, so a new venue was sought. With much forethought, Lake Havasu City was picked as our final destination point as the culmination of the 5th Annual State 2 State Cruise. Please plan on attending this event on Friday, March 18, 2005 as well as entering the Havasu Spring Break Nationals on Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20, 2005. This weekend is also the biggest Spring Break weekend during the month of March.

With an average of 300 custom trucks and SUVs, the State 2 State Cruise participants will be welcomed at five different aftermarket manufacturers' facilities, with a shop tour, goody-bag items, a chance at a raffle prize, and a poker card for the poker run. The cruise will officially end at Lake Havasu City at a culmination party hosted by AIM Industries.

As if that were not enough, on Saturday please make your presence felt with attendance at the Havasu Spring Break Nationals located at the London Bridge Resort Golf Course once you've left the confines of our host hotel, the London Bridge Resort. This is a show-'n'-shine event that promises to pit the best of the best trucks, tow rigs, classic trucks, SUVs, golf carts, and mini-trucks against one another. In addition, there will be a manufacturers vendor village with live samplings of products as well as installation displays, a super-wild bikini contest, and a live-entertainment concert Saturday night with the band to be announced later. This will be held at Kikomo's, the host bar for the entire event. Plan on attending the in-water boat show located on the beautiful beaches of the Lake Havasu channel. This is a spectacle that simply must be witnessed. Joker's Wild Promotions will be hosting an in-water poker run for any participants' or manufacturers' boats wishing to participate. This poker run will be separate from the State 2 Sate Cruise poker run, so please plan accordingly.

Keep checking back each month as we add even more exciting details.

STS First to Market With Boosted Hemi RamAdd 154 hp
Since the reintroduction of the Ram Hemi pickup, enthusiasts have gone insane over the Hemi's power, but most of all, they've been waiting for a supercharger system from the aftermarket. Well, Hemi fanatics, your wait seems to be over. STS Turbo Systems, the pioneers of remote-mounted turbocharging, offers the first-ever commercially available forced induction system for the Ram Hemi pickup.

Remote-mounting the turbo replaces the factory muffler, boosting power a reported 59 percent and torque by 61 percent on pump premium fuel. The company reports that by mounting the turbo in the back of the vehicle, turbo temperatures are lower and intake air temperatures drop significantly, due to ambient airflow over the intake tubing. The key to the STS technology is the patented oiling system, which lubricates the turbo without tapping the oil pan.

In addition to the added power, one of the chief benefits of the remote-mount system is the super-easy installation. The Hemi turbo system uses the factory tailpipe and leaves the undercarriage as well as the engine compartment unscathed from cutting and welding. With easy-to-install instructions, the Hemi STS kit can be bolted in place in four to six hours with simple handtools, producing 5 to 15 psi of boost.

The company says it recently dyno-tested a Hemi Ram test mule on a Dynojet dynamometer and it showed a 154 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque gain at the rear wheels. We drove one at the 2004 SEMA Show, and the STS system offered a significant improvement in power, with no impact to the driveability of the truck.

Each Hemi kit comes complete with TiAL wastegate, Garrett T04E 60-1 trim turbocharger, K&N filter and Precharger, patented turbo oiling system, HPC-coated plumbing, electrical harness, stainless-steel hose clamps, silicone turbo hoses, and proprietary engine and drivetrain management. To boost performance even further, STS says it offers upgrades such as easy-to-install in-line water/air intercoolers, methanol injection systems, TiAL blow-off valves, Electronic Boost Controllers (EBCs), and Garrett GT turbos.

The kits are backed by a manufacturers warranty on parts and craftsmanship for 12 months, and each STS kit is hand-assembled in the USA. STS claims CARB exemption was in final stages at press time, but you can call the company to get the latest. For more information, contact Squires Turbo Systems at (866) WE-TURBO (938-8726), www.ststurbo.com

Toyota to Create Consolidated R&D and Manufacturing Operations
Toyota announced that it plans to consolidate its North American engineering and manufacturing into one company. The new company will be called Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA) and will be launched during the first half of 2006.

TEMA will operate with three centers: The Toyota Technical Center will continue to direct R&D activities from Ann Arbor, Michigan; the Toyota Operations Center will oversee Toyota's manufacturing locations in North America from Erlanger, Kentucky; and the Toyota Planning Center will oversee planning and administration from Erlanger, Kentucky.

TEMA will use existing facilities and workforces, and there are currently no plans for a new building to house the combined company. The workforce of the combined organizations, including manufacturing operations, will be approximately 27,000.

GM Reminds FullsizePickup Owners to Respond to Safety Recall on Tailgate Cables
General Motors is reminding owners of certain '00-'04 fullsize pickup trucks to have their tailgate cables replaced at their dealers as soon as possible.

GM is conducting a safety recall of 4.1 million trucks, because on some of these vehicles, the galvanized-steel tailgate support cables that retain the tailgate in the fully open horizontal position may corrode, weaken, and eventually fracture. Owners of the trucks were mailed letters about this recall in March and October of 2004 and will receive reminder postcards every two months until repairs are completed.

If both cables fractured, the tailgate could suddenly drop and strike the top surface of the rear bumper. Anyone sitting or standing on the tailgate could be injured in a fall.

Regardless of the condition of the tailgate cables, the GM owner's manual cautions against standing or sitting on the tailgate when the truck is moving.

Involved in the recall are certain '00 Chevrolet CKs, '00-'04 Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierra trucks, and '02-'04 Cadillac Escalade EXT and Chevrolet Avalanche trucks.

GM dealers have stainless-steel cables available as free replacements, and owners are urged to contact their dealer to make a repair appointment.

'06 H1 Alpha: The Original HummerGets Duramax 6600 Diesel
The '06 H1 Alpha, featuring GM's Duramax 6600 diesel engine, takes Hummer performance to its ultimate extension and represents the single greatest advance in the 14-year history of the original Hummer. Arriving in dealerships in early 2005, the H1 Alpha delivers more power, more torque, and enhanced on- and off-road capability, with significantly improved fuel economy. GM's award-winning Duramax 6600 (6.6L) turbodiesel engine and Allison 1000 five-speed automatic transmission give the H1 Alpha dramatic performance improvements and add to the H1's legendary off-road capabilities.

Preview: '06 Honda Ridgeline
Honda Has a pickup Truck?

by John Stewart
The long-rumored Honda pickup, now officially known as Ridgeline, will come to market in March as an '06-model 1/2-ton. The Ridgeline is a daily driver/weekend warrior, especially designed to please riders who own a Honda motorcycle or ATV.

It's a unitized-body pickup, but it also has a unique seven-crossmember ladder frame, heavily braced and made from fully boxed steel. The Ridgeline is about as long as a compact pickup or SUT, such as the Explorer Sport Trac or Toyota Tacoma double cab, but nearly as wide as an F-150. The bed itself is 5 feet long - 6-1/2 feet with the tailgate down - meaning it can fit plywood sheets or haul two of Honda's largest off-road bikes, or one fullsize ATV.

Versatility will be the primary benefit. The Ridgeline, with a wide interior and innovative storage layout, can carry five people in comfort and significant cargo payloads, with towing capability of as much as 5,000 pounds. The tailgate opens both ways - swings or folds - and has a 300-pound load capacity. A fulltime four-wheel-drive system, which Honda calls Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel Drive, is intended to supply all-weather traction, plus improve off-road and towing performance.

The "secret weapon" is a lockable trunk under the bed, which keeps clean cargo, such as helmets or golf clubs, separate from dirty cargo in the bed. (We also notice the trunk, which has a drain plug, can accommodate one full keg on ice, or two half kegs.)

Inside, the two rear seats fold up against the rear wall, so something such as a mountain bike can fit lengthwise inside, where it can be locked. There is also a large storage area under the rear seats that can fit a golf bag, shotguns, and toolboxes - anything that needs to be locked up, out of sight. We tested the rear seats ourselves, and there seemed to be plenty of legroom, even with 6-footers up front.

On the road, the Ridgeline drives more like a high-end SUV. The interior space is large and quiet, with the kind of advanced airbags and antiskid technology usually reserved for SUVs.

The engine is a 3.5L V-6, developing 255 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. Honda does not make a V-8 as yet, but small engines are a Honda specialty. This engine is highly advanced, with four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, dual-stage intake, direct ignition, and drive-by-wire throttle system. Backed by a five-speed automatic transmission with a low First gear, the engine gets loads started easily and comes on strong in the midrange. We had a chance to drive the Ridgeline loaded with 1,550 pounds of gravel and tow a 5,000-pound trailer. Both tasks were accomplished with ease. With no load, the Ridgeline seemed more comfortable - and more fun - than any 4x4 we've driven lately.

We also tried an off-road course, the kind of loose-dirt track you might find on the way to a remote trailhead. The Ridgeline doesn't have the ground clearance or Low-range gearing to rockcrawl, but thanks to a locking rear differential, it will readily slog through muddy crossings and claw up loose hills. Fitting larger tires will be difficult due to wheelwell space, but we think the Ridgeline is more likely to be lowered for street use. The suspension uses MacPherson struts with 7.3 inches of wheel travel and a 0.9-inch stabilizer bar. Although Honda engineers seemed dubious about improving the stock suspension, Honda executive Dan Bonawitz noted, "The Ridgeline will make a great platform for customization, and we think people will be truly surprised by the capabilities of this new Honda truck."

SPECIFICATIONS
Engine: J35A91
Type: 60-degree V-6
Displacement: 3,471cc
Horsepower: 255 @ 5,750 rpm
Torque: 252 @ 4,500 rpm
Redline: 6300
Valvetrain: SOHC 24-valve VTEC
Induction: multipoint EFI
DRIVETRAIN
Type: 5-speed automatic
Ratios: 2.693:1 (1st)
1.566:1 (2nd)
1.023:1 (3rd)
0.729:1 (4th)
0.531:1 (5th)
1.889:1 (rev)
Front differential: 4.533:1
Transfer case: 0.537:1
Rear differential: 3.384:1
BODY
Type: integrated closed-box frame with unibody construction
Front suspension: independent/MacPherson strut
Rear suspension: independent multilink with trailing arm
Steering: variable-ratio power rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 42.6 ft
BRAKES
Type: power disc, with 4-channel ABS
Front: 12.6x1.1-inch discs, dual caliper pistons
Rear: 13.2x0.04-inch discs, single caliper pistons
WHEELS & TIRES
Size: 17x7.5J styled steel
Tires: P245/5R17 All Season radials
DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase (in): 122
Length (in): 206.8
Height (in): 68.1
Overall width (in): 76.3 with mirrors folded
Track (in, front/rear): 67.1/66.9
Bed length (in): 60
Bed depth (in): 20.7
Bed width (in): 49.5 between wheelwells
Max bed length (in): 79.0 w/ tailgate down
Bed tie-down cleats: 6
INTERIOR DIMENSIONS
Seating capacity: 5
Headroom (front/rear): 40.7/39.1
Legroom (front/rear): 40.8/36.4
Shoulder room (front/rear): 63.2/62/6
LOAD RATINGS (LBS)
GVWR: 6,050
Curb weight: 4,503
Towing capacity: 5,000
EPA DATA
Mileage (est.): 16/21
Fuel tank (gal.): 22
Max range: 462 miles
Emissions: Tier 2 Bin 5/ULEV-2
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