This 2016 SEMA Show post is centered around diesel pickups, and towing and hauling. Originally written for and published in my Still Plays With Trucks column, for the Turbo Diesel Register magazine.
Was it Ford’s Year to Shine At SEMA?
The publisher of the Turbo Diesel Register suggested that I gauge enthusiasm for the new 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks based on how many were used for SEMA projects. There were certainly several new Super Dutys prominently displayed and flying Ford colors at various booths. One of my favorites was Mickey Thompson’s Tall Boy, created by X-Treme Toyz, which had a 6.2L gas V8 under the hood instead of a Power Stroke Diesel. As big and bad as the Tall Boy is, it is tastefully moderate compared to many of the ridiculous and all-show-but-no-go trucks. But that is SEMA, and I’m guilty of being too practical. Sporting Mickey Thompson’s new 20” Sidebiter wheels and 40” Baja MTZ P3 tires, the front bumper and grille treatment tastefully subdued Ford’s huge and blinding factory pieces. mickeythompsontires.com
Tall Boy 40 Mickey Thompson Super Duty Project
Noting a few new Fords was fine, but my personal bias favors the Ram/Cummins combination. Despite 18-years of Ford Power Stroke ownership (a good-old 7.3L) I never loved the sound of the rattling V8 compared to the inline-6 tractor music of the Cummins ISB. Even in its quieter modern form, there is simply no comparison. Despite the race to upstage each other with the highest power, torque, and/or tow rating numbers, the venerable inline-6 still delivers, admittedly with less horsepower, as an inline-6 doesn’t like to rev like the V8s. However, personal biases aside, all the heavy-duty diesel pickups offered in North America these days are insanely capable and cool. Pick one. For my 2016 SEMA Show assignment for Turbo Diesel Register, I focused on some of the new stuff, some of it Ram-specific, and the remainder good for most any truck.
BD Diesel Performance
New for the 2007.5 to 2016 6.7L Cummins is the BD HE351VE Screamer Turbo, which offers:
-Drop-in replacement for the factory turbo; no downpipe or air intake mods required
-New Ballistic 64.5mm 7+7 blade compressor wheel, and new 70mm 12-blade turbine
-Exclusive BD turbine profile to reduce back pressure and increase turbine flow
-Supports up to 690 HP
-NEW Holset VGT actuator
BD’s Brian Roth explained that one of the problems observed with the 6.7L engine is high exhaust temperatures and high-drive pressures (the amount of pressure it takes to drive the turbo—or resistance), even on stock trucks without increased fuel delivery. This drop-in replacement turbocharger was designed to address these issues, while supporting 90HP injectors and a tuner set on “extreme”, delivering up to 690 horsepower.
It’s noteworthy that BD includes a new control module atop these turbos, which is important because it’s one of the more failure-prone components, even on the OE turbos according to Brian. He cautioned that often rebuilt turbochargers employ used electronics of unknown reliability. This isn’t surprising because the controllers are about $1,400, but BD focuses on quality and reliability and doesn’t want worn electronics on their new turbo. The MSRP for the new Screamer Turbo is $3,000, and the very good factory exhaust brake button on the newer trucks will still work.
Fewer performance products have been available for late-models trucks, partially because of increased emissions testing and enforcement, which helps make this bolt-on product even more significant. Of course, it takes extra fuel to make more power and torque, so the Screamer is intended to complement fuel-delivery modifications. Diesel Tech Magazine liked the Screamer Turbo enough to award BD one of their top five “Show Stopper” awards.
BD Dana 70 Diff Cover
There is no denying that high-capacity, replacement aluminum differential covers are functional, sharp, and come with none of the possible compromises associated with some high-performance modifications. This new BD cover is for 1981 to 2002 Dodge trucks, and features:
-Baffled design to keep the oil on the gears
-Extra oil capacity
-Internal and external cooling fins
-Stainless-steel Allen cap screws and fill plug
-Magnetic drain plug
-Gasket-less, reusable O-ring-sealed cover
The aftermarket’s response demonstrates that many enthusiasts are not comfortable with the capless fuel filler on new Ram diesels. BD joins the fray with their anodized billet aluminum filler cap. It has a magnetized base, a bottle-opener feature, and a gun-cylinder-styled handle that accepts spent 9mm shells. dieselperformance.com
TDR readers know from my TDR93 SPWT column that I love BOLT’s ignition-key locks. (BOLT Lock review on RoadTraveler) Their new Off Vehicle Coupler Lock makes it virtually impossible for someone to hookup and move your trailer. I hope to give this piece more attention in an upcoming article. boltlock.com
The A25 fifth-wheel hitch from Curt includes:
-25,000 pound rated fifth-wheel hitch (20k was the largest before), designed to work with the factory Ram fifth-wheel prep option
-360-degree locking jaws
-Release lever that rotates in an arc around the pivot pin, instead of pulling straight out
-Patented yoke system under the head provides 10-degrees of movement in all directions
-Auto resetting jaws allow coupling without a manual reset
-Green, yellow, red coupler condition indicator
TruTrack 15k weight distribution system for 2” shank receivers:
Building on the existing TruTrack system that integrates sway-control into the weight-distribution hitch, Curt revealed a new 15,000-pound version. Trailers and ratings continue to climb, but not everyone wants a 2.5” receiver, preferring to keep their 2” hitch.
Curt is still a U.S. manufacturer of truck accessories, making their products in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. curtmfg.com
Air Lift LoadLifter 7500 XL
Designed for owners of heavy-duty pickups, the new LoadLifter 7500 series provides up to 7,500-pounds of load-leveling capacity for towing heavy gooseneck and fifth-wheel trailers or hauling big slide-in campers. The 7” bellows were engineered for maximum loads, but like most air springs they can be run anywhere between 5 and 100 psi. airliftcompany.com
Are you concerned about flat spots and the overall health of your trailer tires as they sit motionless for months during the off-season? Pulling onto Trailer Legs rotates them into position and lifts your trailer axles, allowing the tires to rest without supporting the weight of the trailer. Each stand is rated to hold two tons, or 8,000 pounds per axle. trailerlegs.com
Transfer Flow 40-Gallon In-Bed Tank
This 40-Gallon in-bed auxiliary fuel tank system for 1999 to 2017 Ram trucks is available for both long and short bed pickups. It is designed to fit the newer pickups that come equipped with OEM fifth-wheel pucks in the bed. The tank will also work in RamBox trucks. As with all Transfer Flow tanks, it’s made from 14-gauge aluminized steel, with internal baffles, in Chico, California, USA. transferflow.com
Windows for the pickup shell industry are mostly aluminum-framed products very similar to those used in RVs. They work, but there are some limitations. A.R.E. is raising the bar by installing front and side windows using a new urethane adhesion process. These widows eliminate the frames and screws, provide exceptional sealing, and a seamless integration of tempered automotive glass to the caps. This also means that a local glass shop can replace a broken window easily. A.R.E. is also introducing all-glass rear doors that are contoured to fit modern tailgates, precisely. In early 2017, both the urethane adhesion windows and contoured rear doors will be offered for current trucks and a few recent models. 4are.com
Rigid LED Lighting
The new ADAPT series from Rigid are capable of adjusting from a wide flood to a spot beam based on vehicle speed. Drivers can also use a dash controller to select eight different beam patterns from 60-degrees to a mere 5-degrees as well as any RGB-W accent light. All this from a single light bar that is available in several lengths. rigidindustries.com
Luverne Truck Equipment
New Baja Guard uses 2” tubular one-piece construction, Made-in-USA, and powder coated black with vehicle-specific mounts for 2014-forward Ram trucks.
O-MEGA II 6” Oval Steps are an updated design featuring T6 aluminum 6” oval steps, vehicle-specific brackets, boards that are trimmed to the desired length, with the stainless-steel step pads (screwed-in) placement as chosen by the owner/installer.
The Tow Guard slides over your receiver, allowing 3/8” thick textured rubber flaps to deflect road debris, protecting your trailer. This 4-month-old product is designed for the most common 2” receiver, but Luverne is working on a version for 2.5” and 3” hitches. luvernetruck.com
Extreme Outback Products Endura Compressor
Possibly the most powerful 12-volt compressor I own is an older ExtremeAire from Extreme Outback Products. However, that portable, metal toolbox-mounted version is not the smallest or lightest unit, and Extreme Outback’s new Endura was designed to fit a smaller space while still providing plenty of air for many needs.
The Endura can be permanently mounted (in any orientation), the compressors are waterproof, with a 30-amp motor rated for 1.2 CFM @ 100 psi, and they have a 100% duty-cycle at 70-degrees Fahrenheit. The Endura is ideal for air-suspensions, air-horns, or the occasional tire inflation chore. Single- or dual-compressor portables mounted in stout plastic boxes will also be produced. Like all Extreme Outback Products, the Endura employs only the highest quality fittings and hoses. This is just the latest addition to a complete line of 12-volt automotive compressors and recovery gear from Extreme Outback. extremeoutback.com