The best new products for pickups from SEMA 2010
by Larry D. Walton
Long before I reached my destination I could hear the scream of tire tread on dry pavement. I could see and smell the tire smoke as I entered the convention center.
It wasn’t hard to find the exhibition of off-road race pickups putting on a show for the gathering crowd. After exhibiting some serious drifting skills, they attacked a jump that launched them, side by side, into the Las Vegas skyline.
Welcome to the Show!
Every year I go to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. SEMA is the Specialty Equipment Market Association, a trade association that consists of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, publishing companies, auto restorers, street-rod builders, restylers, car clubs, race teams and more. What they have in common is a love for cars.
What they do is make, buy, sell and use all kinds of specialty parts and accessories to make vehicles more attractive, more convenient, faster, safer, more fun and even like-new again. And every year they bring their newest and coolest offering to the SEMA Show.
SEMA is the ideal place to research the latest in ideas, equipment and upgrades for the owners of pickups used by professionals. There are so many things we can do to improve the functionality, comfort and looks of our pickups and often the best of these can be seen for the first time at the SEMA Show.
We hiked miles of rows of the latest in wheels and tires. We talked to the makers of power steps and nerf bars. We interviewed suspension engineers and chatted with the makers of receiver hitches and a variety of towing accessories.
We looked at GPS systems, backup cameras and in-cab office components, and talked to manufacturers that want to make your pickup taller, run smoother, more powerful, weather proof and unique.
What we came up with are some of the latest ideas in equipment to upgrade your pro pickup from the SEMA Show in Las Vegas:
Cobra iRadar Detection System
The Cobra iRadar system combines radar/laser gun and speed/red light camera detection technology with the ease of use of iPhone to create a revolutionary 360-degree detection system. The system consists of a Cobra radar detector and the Cobra iRadar App for iPhone. The system uses Bluetooth wireless technology to connect iPhone to the detector and the iPhone Multi-Touch display to control the detector’s settings, which enables motorists to view, hear and log alerts for radar/laser guns as well as upcoming speed/red light cameras and other potential hazards. The Cobra iRadar detector unit also works as a standalone detector when not paired to the app, ensuring that it is in radar/laser gun detection mode at all times. Cobra Electronics; www.CobraiRadar.com; (773) 889-3087
DashCommand is a touch-screen-friendly software application that is designed to integrate OBD-II data monitoring and logging into the in-car computing experience. Use DashCommand’s capabilities to create and display virtual dashboards with many styles including digital gauges, analog gauges, indicator lights and more. The dashboards are designed to look great on any screen size. DashCommand is available on two different platforms, Windows and the iPhone/iPod Touch. The Windows version is available at www.palmerperformance.com. The iPhone/iPod version is available from the iTunes App Store.
Toolbox/Refueling Tank Combo
Transfer Flow’s 30-gallon and 50-gallon toolbox/refueling tank combos work great for manually filling your fuel tank as well as filling other vehicles or equipment. The 30-gallon unit will fit short- and longbed pickups, while the 50-gallon unit is designed specifically for longbed pickups. The DOT-approved combos come pre-assembled with a 12-volt pump located inside the locking storage compartment. The fuel nozzle is mounted on the outside of the toolbox, and comes with an 8-foot hose. The storage compartment of the 30-gallon unit has about 5 cubic feet of space, while the 50-gallon unit has a storage area of about 8 cubic feet. The tanks are made from 14-gauge aluminized steel for superior rust resistance and strength, and are mounted inside the bright aluminum diamond plate shell of the toolbox. The tanks are baffled to reduce fuel sloshing. Transfer Flow; www.transferflow.com; (530) 893-5209
Indexing Double Box Ratcheting Wrench
GearWrench’s indexing double-box ratcheting wrench was developed as a result of end-user input. Two ratcheting box ends index and lock into position. This saves technicians time and eliminates the need to switch wrenches while working on fasteners that are difficult to access. The wrench features an extra-long, forged-steel beam with indexing lockable joints at each end enabling each ratcheting box end to pivot over 180 degrees. The wrench is available in six metric size combinations. Apex Tool Group; www.gearwrench.com; (800) 688-8949
Smittybilt Contractor’s Rack
When you’re looking for a full-featured, heavy-duty lumber rack for your pickup look to Smittybilt to have you covered. Each powder-coated rack is manufactured from heavy gauge 2-inch tubing for strength and durability. Rack carries 800 pounds and has special adjustment features to allow it to fit any full-size truck in any bed length or cab configuration. Rear and center crossbars are removable for taller loads. Smittybilt; www.smittybilt.com; (888) 717-5797
Tomahawk 375 Air Plasma Cutting System
Lincoln Electric’s Tomahawk 375 Air is a new plasma cutting system line designed for on-site maintenance, service tasks, small construction sites, HVAC work, demolition and rental applications. The Tomahawk 375 Air includes an internal air compressor, eliminating the need for an external air source. This machine can be used anywhere 208- or 230-volt single-phase 60-Hz power is available. Lincoln Electric; www.lincolnelectric.com; (216) 481-8100
Maxtrax is a lightweight nylon, vehicle extraction device that fits in your four-wheel drive ensuring an easy way out, if your vehicle encounters a sticky situation. Maxtrax stows easily with the rest of your day tripping, camping or picnicking gear. You can even use Maxtrax upside down as a shovel to remove excess material from around your tires. Large cleats on Maxtrax sink their teeth into the tire tread and the terrain under your four-wheel drive vehicle to help it out of mud, snow or sand. MAXTRAX; www.maxtrax.com.au; (855) MAX-TRAX (toll free)
Bridjit Curb Ramps
Bridjit Curb Ramps are a green solution designed to help homeowners reduce the jarring and underside vehicle damage that occurs from a roll-over curb driveway entry. Simple to install, the Bridjit Curb Ramp is made from recycled tires and is generally sold as a set of three, 4-foot modular sections that provide 12 feet of driveway coverage. The only tools required are a hammer and screwdriver. Bridjit; www.bridjit.com; (877) 522-6611
A.R.E.’s ActionKover is a fiberglass tonneau cover available for most current shortbed and extra-shortbed trucks, including the Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram. Features include an aluminum base rail system, heavy-duty front hinges, Eberhard palm handle and Lift Assist gas strut system that makes the lid easy to open and close. A DuPont base coat/clear coat paint finish gives the cover an original-equipment look. A.R.E.; www.4are.com; (330) 830-7800
DCU Truck Cap
A.R.E.’s product lineup for the 2011 Ford Super Duty includes its Deluxe Commercial Unit (DCU). Specially built to withstand the rigors of any work situation, the DCU has a rugged, fully welded aluminum frame construction. More than 200 options are available, including door and window configurations, toolboxes, custom ladder racks and cap height design. A.R.E.; www.4are.com; (330) 830-7800
Portable Steel Tool Box
Montezuma’s 30-by-19-inch, 16-gallon steel construction tool box with welded seams features a powder coat finish and holds both metric and S.A.E. tools. The lid secures tools in position when closed and a locking latch prevents unauthorized use. Lock cylinder has double-cut keys for easier locking and unlocking. Weather stripping creates a tight seal against dust and moisture, and a gas spring raises the lid. Sturdy side handles make moving the tool box easy. Montezuma Manufacturing; www.montezumamfg.com; (800) 759-5157
Electrical Towing Connection System
EZ Connector’s EZ Self-Closing 7-Pin (EZS7) is a seven-pin electrical towing connection system with robust magnets, spring-loaded pins, flat contacts and a water-proof design. Unlike the common blade plugs available in today’s market, the patented EZ Connector uses spring-loaded face-to-face contacts so that drawbacks such as arcing and contact abrasion from use are eliminated. The combination of spring-loaded pins and fixed contacts also allows for electricity to easily pass from socket to plug, and mitigates problems such as voltage drop due to increased contact deterioration and corrosion, and the resulting failure of brakes and lights. EZ Connector; www.ezconnector.com; (559) 686-5889
The CrossContact LX by Continental Tire delivers crisp handling and all-season traction — even in light snow. The tire’s Asymmetric Tread Pattern is engineered to allow both sides of the tread to perform independently of each other. This computer-optimized tread face is designed to deliver a greater surface contact patch, with large, stiff blocks on the outside of the tire, a stabilizing rib to reduce shoulder wear and subtle tread elements on the inside tread for enhanced traction. An innovative Tri-Net Silica Tread Compound adjusts to road conditions, cushions the ride, improves traction, lowers rolling resistance and prolongs tread life for greater fuel economy and long wear. Continental Tire; www.continentaltire.com; (800) 847-3349
The Grabber HTS is General Tire’s premium all-season tire for today’s light trucks, crossovers and SUVs. Duragen ultra-high-strength steel belts, micro-fiber casing reinforcements and a broad contour produces a strong, durable tire that provides even tread wear for longer mileage and confidence in challenging driving conditions. Response Grooves, Stabilink Bars and three kinds of siping result in an excellent all-season tire that promotes enhanced steering response and provides reliable performance when braking, accelerating and cornering. General Tire; www.generaltire.com; (800) 847-3349
Super Duty Exhaust System
Posting an additional 16hp and 13 foot pounds of torque aon the dyno, the new DynoMax 2008-10 Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty cat-back system gives owners a boost of horsepower and torque while freeing up exhaust backpressure. The DynoMax system (p/n 39469) – built to match OE routing and provide added performance and sound enhancements. The new system includes 3-inch stainless steel mandrel-bent piping to protect against corrosion. It also includes a DynoMax Ultra Flo Welded muffler, for maximum exhaust flow and an aggressive tone. Tenneco; www.DynoMax.com; (734) 384-7806
Ram 2500 Suspension System
The Rancho 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 suspension system fits 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 gas and diesel truck models and the 2010 Dodge Ram Mega Cab. Compatible with up to 37-inch tires, the 4-inch Rancho Ram 2500 system includes a forged pitman arm, new front track bar relocation bracket, and heavy-duty tubular-style front links. The system also works with stock wheels. Rancho engineers maintained the OE location of the rack and pinion while maintaining proper driveshaft angles to minimize vibrations. Rancho Suspension; www.gorancho.com; (734) 384-7809
Premier 6-inch Oval Side Bars
Westin’s Premier 6-inch Oval Side Bars offer the largest step area for sure footed entry into full-sized trucks and SUVs. The side bars are available in four universal lengths. Vehicle-specific mounting systems using Westin’s current 22 Series Mounting Brackets are already stocked by most WDs and jobbers. The Premier 6-inch Oval Side Bars are OE styled for a finished look and are available in polished stainless steel and black powder coated finish. No drilling is required for mounting the 6-inch Oval Side Bars, making installation a clean and easy process. Westin Automotive; www.westinautomotive.com; (626) 960-6762
Rancher Grille Guard
When you need extra protection from road debris and off-road brush, go with the Rancher Grille Guard from Go Industries. The one-piece, fully welded guard provides protection for the headlight and grille areas of your pickup. Constructed of 1.9-inch, 14-gauge steel tubing and one-quarter-inch, laser-cut steel uprights, the grille guard has a center section made of 16-gauge steel with one-half-inch punched holes and features a powder coat finish. Each Rancher Grille Guard is designed specifically for each vehicle model, contouring to the lines of the vehicle while providing an easy, no drill installation. A built-in, wide “Step Plate” allows easy access to the hood and engine on today’s big pickups. Go Industries; www.goindustries.com; (800) 527-4345
Cummins/Duramax Differential Cover
aFe Power builds a rear-end differential for Dodge Ram pickups that provides a 5-quart lube capacity to replace the standard 4-quart version. Features include a magnetic drain plug and a magnetic-tipped fill plug. Internal and external fins provide improved heat transfer. A large oil level site glass has a calibration plug to eliminate overfilling. aFe-advanced FLOW Engineering; afepower.com; (951) 493-7100
AirCharger Intake Kits
Guaranteed to provide more horsepower and increased acceleration, according to the company, K&N’s 63 Series intake system is easy to install and lasts up to 100,000 miles before service is required (depending on driving conditions). The air filter is washable, reusable and comes with a million mile limited warranty. The kit works with the OEM computer systems and is street legal in most states (not street legal in CA – Check part number or vehicle listing for specific CARB status). K&N Engineering; www.knfilters.com; (800) 858-3333
The Insight CTS by Edge Products offers the most advanced technology in engine monitoring available today, according to the manufacturer. The Insight CTS is compatible with any OBDII-enabled vehicle model year 1996 and newer. Features include a full-color, high-resolution, 4.3-inch touch screen (CTS). The Insight CTS displays available SAE data from your vehicle’s computer and monitors much more than a typical three-gauge cluster. It sounds user-defined audible alerts, and displays peak values such as speed and rpm. Performance testing: zero to 60 and quarter-mile times. Displays include fuel rail pressure on Duramax engines and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Regeneration Status on new diesels with DPF traps. Add-ons include EGT pyrometer and back-up camera (sold separately). Edge Products; www.edgeproducts.com; (888) 360-3343
E-CON Power Programmer
Hypertech’s E-CON Economy Power Programmer is designed for the driver who needs better fuel mileage and more power, but doesn’t want to pay for other high-performance features. Every E-CON is programmed with Hypertech’s Max Energy Tuning, Diagnostics, and Back to Stock options. The E-CON also comes with a USB cable and a CD containing software to enable quick updates over the internet. to the E-CON programmer is said to allow drivers to setup their pickups to use less fuel to maintain cruising speed, without torque converter unlocking and transmission downshifting to a lower gear, providing a substantial increase in fuel mileage. In addition, Hypertech’s E-CON Economy Power Programmers have the ability to read and clear Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) or “check engine” lights. Plus, all Hypertech products are 50 state “street legal.” Hypertech; www.hypertech.com; (901) 382-8888
Superwinch Talon 18.0 SR
Superwinch’s Talon 18.0 is an 18,000-pound winch that features a solenoid sealed against water, mud, snow and dust and has a venting feature that protects contacts from water while releasing condensation. The 100-percent load holding brake design puts zero drag on the cable and is located inside the gearbox away from the drum to eliminate heat transfer to the synthetic rope. The remote has a brilliant LED light for assisting in night-time winching. The Talon 18.0 is available with synthetic or wire rope. Superwinch; www.superwinch.com; 860-928-7787
Warn’s 16.5ti winch for heavy duty pickups features the full diagnostic ability of Warn’s thermometric technology, plus the extreme sealing, durability and reliability that the ti-series of winches are known for. The new, more efficient design delivers faster line speeds and lower amp draw. It’s beefed up for heavy pulls and features a new aluminum solenoid housing cover. Comes loaded with 90 feet of aircraft grade, 7/16-inch wire rope. Warn; www.warn.com; 800-910-1122
Invis-A-Rack comes fully assembled in the box and uses an integrated clamping system to mount to the bedrails without drilling. After assembly, the rack can be easily folded down and out of the way for use with fifth-wheel trailers, campers and goose neck trailers. The aluminum rack locks up into cargo hauling mode with a 500-pound capacity in less than a minute. There is no need to remove the rack. Invis-A-Rack; www.invisarack.com; 336-363-4984