Factor 55 Soft Shackles, Kinetic Rope, and 3/4″ Crosby Shackles.

Factor 55’s 10″ and 20″ Soft Shackles, Kinetic Rope, and 3/4″ Crosby Shackles, at Overland Expo West 2019.

Tell ‘em you saw it on RoadTraveler.net.

James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved

Resource:

Factor 55

SEMA 2016

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

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. 

PERFORMANCE/MAINTENANCE
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

-Lower EGT

-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.

BD Diesel Perfomance Screamer Turbo

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

BD Dana 70 Rear Diff Cover

Patriot Plug

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

BD Patriot Plug fuel cap

TOWING/HAULING
BOLT

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

Off Vehicle Couple Lock from BOLT

CURT Manufacturing

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

TruTrack 15,000 lb. 2” hitch from CURT

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

7500 XL LoadLifter from Air Lift

Trailer Legs

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

Off Season Trailer Legs supports

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

40-gallon Transfer Flow tank that works with OE fifth-wheel pucks

GENERAL ACCESSORIES
A.R.E. Caps

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

Automotive-style windows for A.R.E. truck caps

Rear glass with tailgate contour

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

Versatile ADAPT lights from Rigid

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

Tow Guard 3/8” thick flaps

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

Extreme Outback Products Endura compressor

 Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved.

Power Tank Worthington 6-pound propane bracket review

Bottle test fit before the roll bar clamps arrived.

Power Tank Stainless Steel Propane Bottle Mount

Having extra propane for our Hallmark Milner camper on long remote trips, or winter camping adventures that consume more fuel, has been a long-term goal. The question was how to mount another LPG bottle safely and securely. I’ve owned the tall, narrow Worthington aluminum 6-pound propane tank (#299494) for 10 years, which has been part of various camping setups, and was an obvious choice for extra Milner LPG. Six pounds is a small reserve, but some beats none.

Several months ago I visualized how a fire extinguisher mount could provide a solution, and did substantial preliminary research that convinced me a good match was available. Fitting the Worthington to an extinguisher bracket would be the first hurdle, and attaching it to my camper the second, and potentially more troublesome. Hose clamps to the roof ladder were planned if nothing better presented itself. I postponed buying the parts and making stuff work, but with a big, cold trip North in my immediate future, last month it became time to either create or buy something.

Power Tank’s small roll bar clamps will fit 1.5″ to 2″ diameters, using spacers for anything smaller than 2″.

Lucky Find

Additional Internet searches steered me to Power Tank, a company I was familiar with and known best for their portable CO2 on-board air systems. They also offer mounting brackets for many of their tanks, and I found one I thought would work well for the (299494) Worthington cylinder. A telephone call to explain my intended use and place an order was rewarded with a welcome surprise; Power Tank had just added a bracket made specifically for this 6-pound propane bottle to their catalog. It got better. The same roll bar clamps used to mount CO2 tank holders worked with the new propane bracket.

Excellent

Installation

After waiting for the backordered clamps arrive, it was time to get the parts fitted. My initial mock-up indicated mounting the bracket to the Hallmark Milner camper’s rear ladder would work as I’d envisioned. Power Tank’s small clamps are designed to work on 1.5″ to 2″ diameter tubing. Rubber spacers are provided for 1.5″ or 1.75″ bars, and the Hallmark’s ladder rails are approximately 1.5″ diameter. Needing spacers was a positive; the rubber mounting provides grip and protects the ladder finish. The clamps were tightened until a bulge appeared both above and below (tight). The bracket looks and feels very secure.

Using the larger rubber spacers, the clamps were tightened until a protective bugle appeared above and below the clamp lips.

With the bracket mounted the LPG tank was fitted. The padded band is just the right size when tightened, without excessive unused bolt thread. To slide my bottle past the middle welded seam, the nut must be removed and reattached after the slightly larger section of the tank has passed the clamp. The band above the seam makes it very unlikely the bottle will slip.

This Power Tank bracket and how it was mounted appear specifically made for this camper application. The Worthington tank is almost perfectly inline with the port side of the camper; just one inch of the base extends beyond the side of the camper.

Looks like this Power Tank bracket was made specifically for this application, it fits the space perfectly.

BOLT Locks

Theft happens. I’m a fan of prevention and helping keep people honest, which means locking my stuff when possible and practical. Over the past year I’ve become a huge fan of BOLT Locks one-key technology, using their locks whenever possible. One of their cable locks was used to secure the Worthington bottle to the top of the ladder. For more information about these fantastic locks read my article located here: RoadTraveler BOLT Locks review

BOLT Locks have earned my admiration over the past year, and I’ve added several to this ’14 Ram Cummins and Hallmark Milner camper. LOVE THEM!

Resource links:

BOLT Locks

Power Tank

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved.

Canadian Arctic trip countdown

2014 Ram/Cummins, cold testing for a Canadian Arctic trip

Canadian Arctic adventure countdown…we are less than four weeks out! Does it look cold? It was, but it’s nicer when the sun is out and the wind isn’t blowing. This was during a recent cold camp and drive test in Northern Nevada. The VisionX 4.5″ Light Cannons, Factor55 UltraHook, Fairlead 1.5, and a HitchLink 2.0 secured by a BOLT receiver lock, all look good mounted on the aluminum Buckstop bumper, which protects a Talon 12.5k Superwinch. Hard to see under the truck is an AEV front differential cover that completes the beam front axle. Surely the lights will see regular use on our big trip to the North. Hopefully the other stuff is not needed often.

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved.

Resources: 

AEV: AEV

BOLT: BOLT Locks

Buckstop Truckware: Buckstop

Factor55: Factor55

Hallmark Campers: HallmarkRV

Superwinch: Superwinch

VisionX: VisionX 

 

BOLT Locks

September 18, 2016

tdr93_spwt019

Many of the chores we use our trucks for involves working with toys, trailers, gear, and paraphernalia that we want to stay until we decide it’s time for removal. This means securing things, as unattended and unlocked stuff sometimes disappears, while secured items are removed with much less frequency. Locking is an obvious solution, but it’s doubtful many enjoy adding extra keys to their ring and pocket clutter.

2-inch chrome plated, 5/16-inch diameter hardened steel shackle padlocks

2-inch chrome plated, 5/16-inch diameter hardened steel shackle padlocks.

Occasionally products are introduced that help organize, improve, and simplify the gearhead experience. This was the case when I discovered and started using BOLT’s locks earlier this year (five years after their introduction). With the advent and popularity of automotive FOBs and keyless entry, traditional keys are increasingly less common for starting trucks. However, we still need them for many things, and the old-fashioned key is not leaving our world anytime soon. The primary test vehicle for BOLT’s products was a 2014 Ram Cummins 2500, but they make locks for several brands.

Any OE-style key will work, including the slide-out key from the end of a modern Ram FOB, or the larger spare door key I always carry.

Any OE-style key will work, including the slide-out key from the end of a modern Ram FOB, or the larger spare door key I always carry.

BOLT is a subsidiary of STRATTEC® Security Corporation, who has been making automotive locks, keys, and access-control products for OEMs for over 100 years. BOLT is an acronym for Breakthrough One-key Lock Technology. They have received numerous awards for their technology that mechanically reads, then sets the code to your OE ignition/door key the first time it’s inserted and turned. Brilliant. There is a detailed, short video on BOLT’s website that shows exactly how they do it: boltlock.com/how-it-works

Before discovering this alternative, a mishmash of systems were on my Ram. I was using four padlocks on my Hallmark camper, two on the front turnbuckles, and two for the AT Overland fuel can carriers on the back wall. The front and rear hitch receivers were both secured, and another padlock and cable held the heavy, portable, and expensive ARB suitcase compressor I carry behind the driver’s seat (to eliminate a potential projectile during a collision and to prevent theft). Discovering I could use one key for all these items sold me!

Towing is so popular these days, most could probably use receiver and coupler pin locks.

Towing is so popular these days, most could probably use receiver and coupler pin locks.

BOLT products in-use on my Ram include: two 5/8-inch receiver pins, one travel trailer coupler pin, a cable for my spare tire, and several 2-inch padlocks. What a time saver, convenience, and pleasure when working on my truck and needing to open something; I just reach into my pocket for the factory key I always have. I liked this system so much I ordered a few for my Toyota 4Runner, which also pulls trailers, has a gas can carrier, and other things that need securing.

Stainless steel key shutter prevents dirt and moisture entry.

Stainless steel key shutter prevents dirt and moisture entry.

The padlocks are weatherproof, have a plate tumbler sidebar to prevent picking and bumping, and a stainless steel key shutter to keep out dirt and moisture. The hitch and cable locks also have a tethered cap to protect the mechanisms further.

During a 2000-mile, two-week road trip in June, including 100 miles of off-pavement travel, we camped on dirt every night, and had windy and gritty southwest canyon conditions for several days. Then mountain puddles deposited a layer of mud, all of which took hours to remove once home. The locks continue to work perfectly.

One BOLT padlock took the place of two smaller locks on my AT can carriers. Fit is snug with no rattle.

One BOLT padlock took the place of two smaller locks on my AT Overland can carriers. Fit is snug with no rattle.

It is important to note that these don’t just use an automotive key. They exude quality, are smooth and precise, and have a limited lifetime warranty. The BOLT products are not inexpensive, the 2-inch padlock retails for $22. However, most truckers probably don’t want as many locks as me, and can spend less money. For about $100 you can lock your hitch receiver, trailer ball, and spare tire.

I like that BOLT’s cable lock will help keep the spare with the truck should the OE winch fail. I’ve read horror stories about heavy aftermarket tires/wheels falling.

BOLT’s cable lock will help keep the spare with the truck should the winch fail. I’ve read horror stories about heavy aftermarket tires/wheels falling.

© 2016 James Langan/RoadTraveler.net

Source:

BOLT: boltlock.com, 844-972-7547, info@boltlock.com

A version of this article was also published in the Turbo Diesel Register magazine.

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler.net