Dick Cepek Trail Country EXP first look

The folks at Dick Cepek/Mickey Thompson introduced a new hybrid truck tire just before the SEMA Show, the Trail Country EXP. I love the appearance of this new tread, less aggressive than the Dick Cepek Fun Country I wrote about here Fun Country review, but with deeper tread and more void than the much more conservative Trail Country (no EXP) 5-rib design. I love hybrid light-truck tires, and have tested several of the EXP’s competitors.

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler

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Resource: Dick Cepek Tires and Wheels

 

Truck camper suspension upgrade planning

Flatbed camper truck suspension tinkering and changes are not risk free, and I like to say that often “modifications lead to modifications.” Followup mods might be desirable upgrades, or unwelcome consequences.

Application specifics matter. Assuming that standard tweaks which work well on the typical unloaded/lightly-loaded truck are also good for a much heavier outfit, are often naïve.

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler

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Elongator Tailgate

Elongator Tailgate

The SEMA Show’s size makes it difficult to visit all the booths I have on my list, let alone discover or pay attention to new and interesting things that one might otherwise wiz past. I had glanced at but dismissed the Elongator booth the first time I walked by, thinking the product was just another unimpressive bed-slide or extender. I took a closer look the next day and was impressed.

Elongator calls their replacement tailgate, the “Swiss Army Knife” of tailgates, which is an appropriate description. This replacement tailgate system is installed or removed as easily as any modern factory tailgate. When closed it fits snugly to the rear of the bed just like the factory piece. The Elongator can be opened and used like a traditional tailgate, but using the tools contained within is what it’s really about.

Elongator tailgate system

After opening, extending the initial top plate of the Elongator lengthens the tailgate about 20”. The gate and extension are on the same plane, and the extension is designed to handle an impressive 850-pound load. Sliding a robust, full-width pin allows the extension to pivot toward the ground at a 28-degree angle. Two aluminum ramps contained inside the Elongator can be removed and hooked into the end of the extension, completing a ground-up ramp for loading motorcycles, ATVs, lawnmowers, or almost anything. There are several slots for the ramps, allowing the owner to choose the appropriate placement.

Extension opened

Latched Elongator with fiberglass rear skin

Obvious differences when viewed from the rear include the Elongator name, and a fiberglass skin instead of metal. When closed, it fits snug against the bed, and nothing rattles. The introductory price is about $2,800, depending on options, which I don’t consider expensive for the utility provided. The warranty is three years. As a guy who routinely uses my truck to haul things, I can envision getting much use out of an Elongator.

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler

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Resource: Elongator

Warn M8274-70 winch

70th Anniversary Warn M8274-70 Winch

Warn is arguably the most known, respected, and legendary name in the aftermarket four-wheel-drive world. From manual-locking-hubs, winches, bumpers, recovery gear, and more, they have now been building for 70-years. Warn introduced several new products at SEMA in 2018; my favorite is their new M8274-70 winch.

Even those less familiar with four-wheel-drive stuff can spot the traditional, upright design of Warn’s iconic 8274 winch. This legendary self-recovery winch has been a familiar sight on the front bumper of countless Jeeps and old-school Dodge trucks from the Mopar before Mopar Was Cool days or yore. The 8274 has a reputation for speed, reliability, being underrated, while offering 150′ of winch line. There are substantial cosmetic upgrades to the 70th anniversary winch, but Warn did much more than add bling.

Using the 6-horsepower motor from their 9.5xp model, the rated capacity increased from 8,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds. They made a fast winch 25% faster at full-load. It is now the fastest winch under load that Warn has ever made. A Waterproof Albright contactor replaces solenoids for increased reliability and efficiency, and there are other internal upgrades. This is a bitchin’ piece of gear. Guess what; they’re not giving them away.

The existing 8274-50 model was already one of Warn’s more expensive (and best) winches, the current street price is $2,000. The Made-in-USA 8274-70 is limited to 999 units worldwide, and the retail price is $3,200! At the time of the SEMA Show, Warn had already received orders for over one-third of the run. I’m interested, but none of my rigs have bumpers that would accept an upright winch like the 8274… maybe I need a new diesel Jeep JL with a 3.0L EcoDiesel?

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler

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Resource:  Warn Industries