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February 2013 Power Bits

All The Torque That's Fit To Twist

Text By Tori Tellem, Photography by The Manufacturers

Super Duty Gets Higher Towing Capacity
Ford has increased the towing capacity of the ’13 Super Duty to 18,500 pounds. And with this comes payload capability of 7,260 pounds. In case you were wondering, yes, there’s an improved braking system as well.

Army Research Lab Wants to Create “Super Engine”
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is trying to figure out how to make military ground vehicles; smaller, unmanned air vehicles; and power generators all share the same kind of fuel. JP-8 has been used since a Department of Defense mandate in the late ’80s, but there have been incompatibility issues among the various machines, including that the fuel systems weren’t built for JP-8. One of the things ARL and the Army Material Systems Analysis Activity are focusing on is a fuel injector in the Caterpillar engine found in the Stryker vehicle.

Diesel Exhaust Worse Than Gas Exhaust— Says U.C. Berkeley
We opened up our latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (OK, truth be told, we stole it from our neighbor’s mail) only to discover that it featured a study by researchers at U.C. Berkeley suggesting diesel exhaust is the source of 65 to 90 percent of a region’s vehicle-based secondary organic aerosol, a key element in smog. They noted that diesel exhaust contributes 15 times more of that than gas emissions per liter of fuel burned. Prior to this study, the finger was pointed at gasoline vehicles. The California Air Resources Board and the EPA helped support the research, according to the study.

New Magnesium Sheetmetal Process Being Tested by GM
GM is conducting what it calls an industry-first thermal-forming process and corrosion-resistance treatment for lightweight magnesium sheetmetal. Whew, where’s our glass of water? We’re now parched from that sentence. Anyway, it will allow for more chances to use the magnesium over aluminum or steel. It makes for a lower-weight vehicle.

VW Beetle Convertible Diesel Power
The third-gen topless Beetle is now available with the 2.0L TDI four-banger worth 140 horses and 236 lb-ft of torque; when paired with the six-speed manual, it looks to be worth 41 mpg on the highway.

Rumor of the Moment:
About a quarter of the diesel being sold in Northern Ireland is from illegal fuel sources… we’re talking smuggling.

There’s Totally Gross Stuff in Your Truck
No amount of Purell can help you here—microscopic organisms (and even mold and mildew) are lurking on the surfaces of your truck’s interior, making it a breeding ground for the unseen. To respond to that disgusting revelation, engineers with the Ford Research and Innovation Center are working with the University of Michigan to sort out the growth of microbes in vehicles. And believe us, so far it’s been a barf-worthy revelation—they swabbed the steering wheel, radio buttons, door handles, shifter, window switches, and cupholders, and discovered there’s loads of bacteria growth in all spots. The steering wheel and cupholders take the cootie cake. Adding antimicrobial-treated products like coatings that have a long lifespan are probably in our future.

Ford’s New Diesel Engine
In development at the Ford Technical Centre in Dunton, Essex is a next-gen 2.0L diesel. The UK is currently the hot spot for Ford’s powertrain production and think-tanking.

Diesel Market to Grow in 2013
Visiongain analyzed the global car and truck diesel engine market and believed there will be 11.54 million sales in 2013. It was part of “The Passenger Car & Light Duty Vehicle (LDV) Diesel Engine Market 2013-2023” report authored by Visiongain (also stolen from our neighbor’s mail), through which trends were noted in the diesel market. The “trends” here are notably because of the better fuel economy and lower emissions.

New, Award-Winning Diesel Technology
Parker Hannifan’s Racor Filter division won the Grand Prix at the British Engineering Awards. It’s for a diesel engine design worked on with Leeds University. The Racor Super Impactor crankcase ventilator could reduce engine emissions and increase fuel economy—and it would not need a filter. This is the fourth year for the award, which is about promoting engineering design in the UK.

Rumor of the Moment:
Nissan will be adding more than 800 manufacturing jobs in Tennessee. Because a diesel is coming?

Australians Using Diesel More Than Ever
G’diesel? The Australia Bureau of Statistics announced via the page-turner “Environmental Issues: Waste Management, Transport and Motor Vehicle Usage” that Australian households are using diesel-powered vehicles in a record-setting way—to the tune of 1 million. It was 13 percent of households in 2012 compared to 9 percent in 2009.

Firestone Facebook Page and Blog Site
If you’re a Ride-Rite customer, Firestone is making it easier to track your Ride-Rite lifestyle—facebook.com/firestoneriderite is the Facebook page to see people’s trucks, tow info, stories, and much more. The blog site is www.thepowerofair.com. Check ’em out.

BFG Outstanding Trails 2013
Nominations are being accepted for the BFGoodrich 2013 Outstanding Trails programs, through which off-road clubs can submit their trail for consideration of receiving a grant for trail maintenance. To post a nom, go to facebook.com/bfgoodrichtires or Twitter at @bfgoodrichtires. You have until January 31.

Diesel Bits
There’s a video game/driving course available online from Ford Driving Skills for Life, which was developed out of a partnership with Michigan State University. It simulates real-world driving scenarios—how quickly distracted driving can hose you, what the dangers are while driving under the influence, what happens when a deer crosses your path—to help teens and others improve driving skills and safety. It can be found at drivingskillsforlife.com.

State Highway 130 Segments 5 and 6—welcome! Dubbed Pickle Parkway, they’re part of a new 41-mile roadway in Texas stretching from Mustang Ridge to I-10 in Seguin. Now you can go 90 miles on a toll road and skip the clogs between Seguin and Georgetown to the tune of $12.

The Ford F-series was named the Hottest Truck for 2013 via the SEMA Award given to hottest things.

Navistar commenced the public offering of about 10 million shares of its common stock.

Lincoln Electric is introducing a line of welding gear for the ladies.

Ottawa, Canada may dump its hybrid-diesel buses in favor of its old-school days of diesel-only buses.

GM and Ford are working together on nine- and 10-speed auto transmissions.

Ram Truck has become an official sponsor of FIM Snowcross world champ, Tucker Hibbert.

By Tori Tellem
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