Archive for March, 2015|Monthly archive page

Protect Your Auto Investment

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be an ASE-certified automotive technician, consider this: In the span of one career, automotive engine technology alone has advanced from purely mechanical devices that need periodic adjustments to sophisticated, computer-controlled systems that can actually compensate for normal wear.

The same can be said for virtually every major system on today’s vehicles, from brakes to transmissions. And the technicians who service and maintain our vehicle fleet have had to learn it all. In fact, to be an ASE-certified automotive technician today is to commit to a lifetime of training just to keep abreast of changing technology.

Maintenance more necessary than ever before

Modern vehicles are wonders of engineering. In just the past decade, maintenance intervals for things like spark plugs, emissions and cooling systems have been stretched out to 100,000 miles in some vehicles.

But the need for periodic maintenance hasn’t changed. In fact, given the longer life expectancy of today’s vehicles, the need for periodic maintenance has never been greater if you expect to get the most from what has become the second biggest investment most individuals will ever make.

To protect this investment and to get the maximum reliability and safety from the vehicle you depend upon daily, you need to establish and follow a maintenance plan. The best place to start a maintenance program is by reading your owner’s manual. In it you will find the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

This schedule is based on “normal” driving, but remember that very few of us drive “normally.” The roads are typically dusty and strewn with potholes and speed bumps. Look at the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule as a starting point for your vehicle maintenance plan, not the final authority.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the non-profit organization that tests and certifies the competence of individual automotive repair technicians, knows a few things about vehicle maintenance too. ASE offers some general recommendations, which apply to all types of cars and trucks, to help you build a comprehensive vehicle maintenance plan.

Lube for life

The engine is the heart of your vehicle and probably the most costly to repair when something goes wrong. Modern electronic controls have eliminated a lot of adjustments, and what we used to call a “tune-up” has evolved into something akin to a complete physical, where most of the work involved is designed to verify proper operation of computer control systems.

While it’s true that new cars and trucks run cleaner than ever before, the engine and all its related control systems must be kept operating exactly as designed to prevent increased engine emissions and a host of driveability problems.

The one thing experts agree on that you can do to add many miles to your engine is regular oil and filter changes. Most auto manufacturers recommend oil and filter changes every 7,500 miles or six months under “normal” conditions, but repair experts believe a better interval is every 3,000 miles or three months. By changing the oil regularly, the inside of your engine will stay clean, and you’ll avoid damaging sludge buildup.

Keeping cool

Today’s cars also tend to run hotter than previous models. With the trend to downsize vehicle components to save space and weight, cooling system components are being asked to do more than their older counterparts.

The best thing you can do to maintain the cooling system at peak efficiency during the life of your car is to replace the coolant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Although some of the newer coolants last longer, antifreeze does wear out. By replacing the coolant periodically, you insure that the corrosion inhibitors are fresh and are helping to eliminate the scale and corrosion that builds up inside the cooling system.

Fluid facts

Probably the most ignored fluid in the car — and the most important — is the brake fluid. Brake fluid is not a petroleum-based product, so it does absorb moisture from the air. This hygroscopic quality diminishes its effectiveness and lowers braking performance.

Sludge will also build up over a period of time, blocking the valves inside antilock brake (ABS) units and resulting in costly repairs or replacement. In addition, this sludge may cause calipers and wheel cylinders to leak, also resulting in repairs or replacement. Experts recommend having the brake fluid flushed and refilled periodically, although manufacturer recommendations vary as to how often.

The transmission fluid also needs to be changed on a regular basis to help keep the transmission in tip-top shape. Here again, some manufacturers have increased maintenance intervals to 100,000 miles for transmission fluid changes, but these systems still need periodic maintenance. Most transmission failures can be directly traced to a lack of maintenance. When planning your maintenance schedule, consider that even one transmission replacement will probably greatly exceed the cost of all the fluid and filter changes for the entire life of the car.

Power steering is another fluid that is often ignored. It is recommended that it be flushed and refilled at least as often as you replace the brake fluid.

Replacing the differential fluid is something that is most often overlooked. A regular fluid change will help the differential last the life of the vehicle. If your vehicle is four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, change the transfer case fluid as well.

Get out the grit

Filters play a critical part of a regular vehicle maintenance plan. Air and fuel filters keep dirt and abrasive grit out of the engine. Problems arise when these filters get dirty and start to clog up. Many driveability problems, such as hesitation and rough idle, can stem from dirty air and fuel filters. For maximum effectiveness, they should be replaced about every 15,000 miles, but driving in dusty conditions can require more frequent air filter changes.

A filter that is often overlooked is the carbon canister filter. It is an important part of the emission control system and filters the incoming air that this system uses. The canister is an integral part of today’s engine management system, and a clogged canister filter can also result in driveability or emissions problems.

Some cars still have a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) filter, also called a breather element. This filters the air for the PCV system to ensure clean air enters the engine crankcase. Most cars today draw air for the PCV system from the air cleaner housing so this filter is not needed, but if your engine has one, replace it at 15,000 mile intervals as well.

Speaking of the PCV system, the PCV valve (if equipped) should be replaced on a regular basis, too. When you put the new PCV filter in, replace the PCV valve as well. Many cars now use a metered orifice instead of a PCV valve and this should be checked periodically for free flow.

Today’s ‘tune-up’

Ignition systems have become much more reliable over the years. Many engines don’t even have distributors anymore; they use a DIS or Direct Ignition System. These systems can either mount one ignition coil on each spark plug, or share one coil for two plugs, thus eliminating the need of a distributor.

On engines that still use a distributor, it is a good idea to replace the distributor cap, distributor rotor and ignition wires according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The spark plugs need to be replaced on a regular basis as well. Even though some manufacturers have extended those intervals to 100,000 miles, this doesn’t apply to all engines. The best plug to use is the one the manufacturer recommends. This information is usually found on an engine decal located under the hood.

Belt basics

Perhaps the most critical engine component these days is the timing belt. Most manufacturers suggest replacing the timing belt every 60,000 miles.

Not all engines use a timing belt, but on those that do, it’s critical that it be replaced before it breaks. If your car has an interference engine where the valves and pistons occupy the same place in the combustion chamber at different times, serious engine damage can occur if the belt breaks while operating. If your car has a non-interference engine, the worst that will happen is you get stranded somewhere.

Other engine drive belts should be checked on a regular basis — about as often as you change oil. In general, you should look for excessively cracked, glazed or frayed belts. Many accessories — including the alternator, power steering pump and coolant pump — are operated by drive belts. If these belts break or slip, the components they drive will fail to work, leaving you stranded.

One more thing to check while you’re looking at the belts is the battery. Virtually all batteries are maintenance-free these days, except for a periodic terminal cleaning and inspection for cracks or leaks. In addition, ensure the battery is mounted securely.

Tire tips

Tires are one of the most important maintenance items under your car. The best way to get the most out of your tires is by having them rotated and balanced on a regular basis, about every 7,500 miles. This ensures they wear evenly and last as long as possible.

Balancing is important to eliminate vibration at road speeds, and a properly balanced tire reduces the stress and strain on shocks, struts and steering parts. Keeping the tire pressures set to specification will also go a long way in extending tire life and fuel economy.

Seeing clearly

Finally, you should get in the habit of replacing your wiper blades once a year. The Car Care Council recommends replacing them each spring, when you set your clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time.

Wiper refills are the most inexpensive safety feature on your vehicle. And if you doubt having good wipers is a safety feature, try driving with bad ones in a downpour at night.

If you live in an area that suffers cold and snowy winters, you may want to change to winter blades in the fall and go back to regular blades in the spring.

Following a regular vehicle maintenance program is the best insurance you have against unexpected breakdowns and expensive repairs. It also pays dividends by allowing you to get the most out of your transportation investment.

With a little forethought and TLC, that family chariot can reliably deliver a couple of hundred thousand miles of service.

Read more at: http://www.ase.com/News-Events/Publications/Car-Care-Articles/Protect-Your-Auto-Investment.aspx

The 2015 Nissan Murano goes head-to-head with the Ford Edge

If you decide that you want a stylish, roomy mid-size utility vehicle—one that drives like a car—and you don’t need a third row, or any rugged pretense, then the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano are two of the better picks on the market. And if you narrow your priorities to vehicles that look conceived for adults—not just as rolling cribs and diaper bins—then the Murano and Edge stand atop an even smaller list.

Both models are indeed stylish, mature, and sophisticated, but in very different ways. The Murano wears an especially bold face, with the new corporate ‘V-motion’ grille and boomerang headlights and taillights that frame some especially handsome contouring. Inside, the Murano has a swoopy, V-shaped design that’s equally radical, and distinct trims verge away from the woodgrain, piano-black plastic, and excessive brightwork that’s so common in premium interiors. The Edge, on the other side, looks sporty and athletic, with its contours and details feeling carefully calculated to fit right in with Ford’s existing lineup. On the inside, the Ford hits all the right cues for sporty and premium, although we think the Murano’s distinct look inside and out gives it a solid advantage in styling.

Performance-wise, these two models are polar opposites as well. While the Ford Edge now relies mostly on turbocharged, so-called EcoBoost engines and six-speed automatic transmissions—a non-turbo V-6 is there as more of a token offering—the Murano goes a more traditional route underhood, with a naturally aspirated V-6 the sole engine for the lineup. In the Murano, it’s paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that does its job in keeping engine revs under control while all you notice is plenty of acceleration on tap when you need it—with little of the rubber-band responses that plagued former CVTs. On the other hand, you’re much more aware of the powertrain in the Edge, as it has crisp, well-coordinated shifts. And hold on before you think you’re getting a much more fuel-efficient vehicle with the EcoBoost Edge; it’s a virtual tie against the V-6 Murano.

Ride and handling is very different between these two, with the Edge offering a rather firm but muted feel—more in line with German luxury crossovers, really—while the Murano has an equally quiet yet more plush ride that makes it a closer counterpoint to the Lexus RX. The Edge has a serious edge in handling, we think, as its precise steering and well-tuned suspension allow it to feel like a lower vehicle than it is when the road gets twisty. But considering the Murano’s strong, unobtrusive powertrain, we give the Edge only a slight edge here.

One note: The Ford Edge is offered in a performance-oriented Edge Sport model, which adds a twin-turbo, 2.7-liter V-6, making 315 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. With suspension and steering changes that bring a firmer, more communicated, plus serious appearance changes on the outside—most notably, brightwork replaced with a blacked-out look.

Inside is where the Edge and Murano compare most easily in an A-to-B sense. While the two feel (and are) a virtual tie when it comes to cargo space, versatility, and general usability, we have to give the Edge demerits here for its flat, unsupportive seats. The Murano’s back seats especially shame those in the Edge, with their excellent contouring in outboard positions, while in the Ford the frame of the Vista Roof can interfere with headroom for taller occupants.

Full crash-test results aren’t yet available for either of these recently redesigned models. Both of these models save some of their best active-safety technology—like Predictive Forward Collision Warning on the Pathfinder, or Lane Keep Assist and inflatable rear seatbelts on the Edge—for option packages on top-of-the-line models.

Feature-wise, both of these models are presented with a sort of two-pronged approach: with tantalizing value-oriented base models that offer an interesting alternative to smaller, more mass-market models, as well as fully-kitted-out top-trim models that match up against luxury-brand models in all but the badge. At the base level, the base Murano S comes with a bit more than the Edge—with dual-zone climate control and a decent apps-compatible infotainment system standard—but at the top end we’ll call the Edge the winner in the features race by a slight bit, as it can be equipped with things like an Active Park Assist system that will let the Edge park itself, even into a perpendicular spot, as you manage the accelerator and brake pedals.

Who’s the winner here? The Edge only has it if you place more weight on handling, and a more European feel (especially with the Edge Sport), or if you really must have the edge on technology features. Otherwise it’s the Murano, as its like-no-other styling, plush ride, confident performance, and very comfortable seating add up to something that’s quite compelling.

As read on: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1097256_nissan-murano-vs-ford-edge-compare-cars

Durango R/T gets optional red Nappa seats

Two years after they were shown in a concept car, Dodge is providing optional “Radar Red” Nappa leather seats on the Dodge Durango R/T. They were previously only put into the Dodge Charger and Challenger, and are now an $1,195 option (black Nappa leather, already available at this price, will continue).
red-seats

The 2015 Dodge Durango R/T also adds a new standard glossy “Granite Crystal” (gray) set of 20-inch wheels. It continues to be differentiated from other Durangos by a sport-tuned suspension with a 20mm lower ride height, black headlamp bezels and LED daytime running lamps, embroidered leather seating with contrasting red or black stitching, 8.4-inch touchscreen telematics with nine speakers, power liftgate, and HID low-beam headlamps.

The R/T’s 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine produces a best-in-class 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque with a best-in-class tow rating of 7,400 pounds.

As read on: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/03/durango-rt-gets-optional-red-nappa-seats-28180

Nearly Half Of All U.S. Drivers Are Over 50: Is That Good News Or Bad?

If you like statistics and factoids, you’re going to love the ones that the U.S. Department of Transportation has uncovered regarding American drivers. They’re being used as part of something called Beyond Traffic (PDF) — a strategic plan that makes projections about transportation in the year 2045 and discusses ways to nip anticipated problems in the bud.

The DOT’s statistics are based on data from 2013 (the most recent year for which complete figures are available), and include these tidbits:

– The U.S. had a whopping 212.2 million licensed drivers in 2013.

– Nearly half of that number — 93.5 million, to be precise — were over 50 years old.

– The number of older drivers is rapidly increasing due to the surge of aging Baby Boomers, the last of whom earned their AARP cards in 2014.

– In fact, the number of drivers over 50 grew a staggering 22 percent in the decade between 2003 and 2013.

– But that’s not all: the fastest-growing demographic of drivers is those over 85. Their numbers nearly doubled from 1.76 million in 1998 to 3.48 million in 2013.

– By the time we reach 2045, the number of drivers older than 65 is likely to have grown 77 percent.

But what about younger drivers? Where do they fit in?

As we’ve reported time and again, a significant number of younger Americans simply aren’t interested in getting behind the wheel. Many will change their minds, of course, once they get a bit older, begin earning reasonable salaries, and start families. However, increasing urbanization, the growth of car-sharing, and a host of other factors could put a long-term dent in the number of Millennials (and their children) who want to drive.

What does that mean in practical terms? According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, it means that we need to start preparing now for the needs (and safety) of mature motorists:

“Knowing that older drivers are one of our fastest-growing populations helps us realize the importance of transportation investment – especially for research. In the decades ahead, our roads will serve even more older drivers – making it critical that we invest in our nation’s infrastructure and use state-of-the-art research to ensure the road system is ready to meet their needs.”

Proposed improvements include basic things like better, brighter roadway markings, as well as high-tech tools that will allow cars to drive themselves, taking the onus off aging drivers.

Of course, it’s no coincidence that this report — and the accompanying plea for funding of transportation projects — comes at the exact moment that the U.S. Congress is engaged in serious budget debates, which naturally include the funding of agencies like the DOT. Foxx and his friends know that they need all the statistics they can muster to keep their budget high.

Then again, the DOT’s ask isn’t unreasonable. Infrastructure in the U.S. has been underfunded for years, and our roads, bridges, and tunnels are crumbling. Foxx isn’t the only one in D.C. who understands that infrastructure isn’t just about safety, it’s about economic stability, too.

Read more at: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1097411_nearly-half-of-all-u-s-drivers-are-over-50-is-that-good-news-or-bad?fbfanpage

2015 Nissan Murano Test Drive

I’m technically old enough to be an empty nester, but I got started with the family thing a little late in life and still have a good 12 years to go before I officially qualify.

Nevertheless, I’ve got plenty of physical ailments, I wake up in the middle of every night and I love few things more than whining about how hard easy chairs are these days. So I think I’m more than qualified to evaluate the 2015 Nissan Murano.

I’m serious. Nissan has gone out of its way to point out that its all-new midsize crossover is a semi-premium play for folks who are dancing into their golden years footloose and kid-free, who don’t need a big SUV anymore but just can’t give up the comfort and commanding view that one provides.

As far as views are concerned, the Murano delivers them inside and out. Its body is abstract art, and as polarizing as that usually is. It’s a collection of voluptuous curves, origami creases, boomerang-shaped lights and a grille that appears to be a doorway to infinity (the unattainable destination, not Nissan’s upscale brand.)

An optical illusion makes it appear that its roof is supported by the blackness of space, but there’s more chrome than you’ve seen since the 1950s, too. If you showed up at an auto show in this thing, I’m pretty sure they’d let you drive right through the front door and onto the stand.

Slip through the Murano’s door and you’re surrounded by a paradise of plushness not typically available for a starting price of $30,455. If this actually were an Infiniti, you’d never be the wiser. It’s lavished in soft touch surfaces and modern lines, and it’s trimmed with a material called Jasper Pearlescent, which I’m pretty sure is named after the stone, not Abe Simpson’s best friend at the Springfield Retirement Castle.

So, what about the chairs? No complaints here. The Murano’s “zero gravity” seats are constructed using a NASA-inspired design and purport to promote a neutral posture while reducing pressure points and complaints. As much as I’d like to discount that backstory as marketing mumbo jumbo, they feel … different, and a painless five-hour drive into the frozen wasteland that is upstate New York circa 2015 proved their worth. Adaptive radar cruise control, collision avoidance and lane departure warning systems also helped reduce stress along the way.

The rear seats are similarly comfy, and there’s so much legroom back there that your friends might think they’re in a limo the next time you all go to a nostalgia rock concert at the local outdoor performing arts center. The cargo bay floor is a little high, but a week’s worth of luggage for four fits fine. The only thing missing is a pass-through down the center for skis, but there’s space for those newfangled snowboards. Better still, if you’re lazy like me, the rear seatbacks can be folded and restored to their upright position remotely.

The Murano shares its platform and drivetrain with the larger but less expensive and less impressive Pathfinder. Nissan’s familiar 260 hp 3.5-liter V6 moves things along through a continuously variable transmission and a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel-drive. Both versions have a highway fuel economy rating of 28 mpg, which is stellar for the class and achievable in the real world, even in the loaded, all-wheel-drive Platinum model I tested that was fitted with mud and snow tires and priced at $43,955.

The Murano isn’t a sporty car, but it feels strong when you stomp on the throttle. It sounds good, too. There’s a nice growl from the engine bay that’s missing in many cars today. It gets along fine on a twisty road, but the steering is a little limp and the suspension is too soft to encourage you to push it.

It’s a champ on snow, however. I spent a week driving around the very white roads of Lake Placid in stormy, sub-zero temps, and it never put a foot wrong, despite my best attempt to do a four-wheel Eric Heiden impression in an empty, icy parking lot.

One feature that should satisfy children of all ages is the available NissanConnect infotainment system, which represents the company’s latest tech and is a snap to use. It has large icons, a quick-reacting touchscreen and plenty of redundant buttons and knobs if you prefer old-school inputs. An expanding collection of web-enabled apps will eventually offer Facebook and Twitter. For now, it includes Google search, which can be used to find destinations, among other things, using voice commands.

With its original style and move in an upmarket direction, the Murano now honestly competes against both the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKZ, and it even makes a strong run at the Lexus RX — the reigning king of luxury crossovers. It’s working so far, with sales up over the last-generation model.

Those darn whippersnappers may think they’re all that, but sometimes they are.

As read on: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/03/06/2015-nissan-murano-test-drive/

How to Store Your Vehicle Long Term

If you are headed out for a long trip away from home or need to put your car away in safe storage for an extended amount of time, you’ll need to know that you cannot just park it and walk away. Beyond security concerns, there are several things that need to be taken care of so that your car will run properly when you come back.

Note that it’s possible to park your vehicle for a couple of months at a time without serious consequences, but beyond that, batteries begin to drain, fuel begins to separate and other issues can begin to wreak havoc on your car. From paint to motor oil, here are the things you need to know when storing your car for the long term.

The longer you store your vehicle, the more you’ll need to pay attention to the details in our list. For storage beyond a year, you will need to do a lot more preparation than we’ve given here. It’s best you consult a professional in those cases and consider either selling the vehicle or finding someone who can care for it while you’re away.

To begin with, do the following to ensure that your vehicle is ready for storage, no matter the length:

– Change the oil and filter. Use a good oil at the viscosity recommended for your vehicle or a synthetic of the same caliber.

– Top off the engine coolant. Make sure the coolant mixture is the recommended antifreeze to water ratio.

– Wash the car well, including the undercarriage, and give it a good triple-coat (heavy coating) of wax. This protects the finish and gets rid of the grime and potential road salt that can cause havoc over time.

– Buy a thick, sturdy car cover that will fit your car well.

– Add fuel stabilizer to the tank to keep it from separating.

– Fill the fuel tank (doing this after adding stabilizer better mixes the stabilizer).

– Drive the car for a few miles to circulate the new oil, protected fuel, etc.

– Inflate tires to the proper, recommended pressure.

– Park it under cover, preferably in a garage or storage facility, and use your car cover to completely protect the car’s exterior. A car cover helps keeps dust off of the paint and makes it difficult for thieves to see what is being stored.

– Chock the tires in both directions to prevent movement.

The longer the storage term, the more preparation you should put into protecting your car while you’re away. The above list is good for a 2-3 month storage period where the weather will not fluctuate much (day and evening temperatures remain above freezing). After about six months, though, things get a little more complicated. For very long-term storage, remember that bushings, tie-rod covers and other rubber parts begin to break down from disuse over time. Engine seals can also dry out, eventually leading to serious repairs.

For a three- to 12-month storage period, you’ll need to do a lot more to preserve your vehicle. Start by doing all of the above items. Then add the following before putting the cover on:

– Consider adding a gasket sealer or keeper and circulating it through your engine (by running it) to help prevent gaskets from drying out. This is usually added to the engine oil.

– Remove the battery and store in a safe place away from the car, preferably a temperature-controlled location. Consider selling the battery and just buying a new one when you return. Over time, batteries lose their charge and if the weather becomes very cold, they can freeze or corrode.

– Lift the car and set it on jack stands so that the tires are just off the ground. This keeps the tires from warping and takes pressure off of the suspension system.

– Plug the exhaust with a rag to keep debris from blowing in or rodents from taking up residence.

– Remove the windshield wipers and store indoors or give them away. These will likely become brittle over a long period without use. Carefully wrap the wiper arms in small towels before placing them against the windshield. This keeps them from scratching the windscreen and helps absorb moisture so that the hinges and springs in the arms don’t rust. Alternatively, you can remove the wiper arms themselves and store them inside the car.

– Do not set the parking brake. The brake pads/shoes can stick to the rotors and cause problems when you attempt to drive again.

Storing your car for the long term can be a chore, but coming home to your well-preserved car makes it worth it. If you can, have a trusted friend or relative check on the vehicle once in a while to make sure it hasn’t been broken into, stolen, or otherwise bothered. You may also consider loaning it to a friend or relative you trust while you’re away so that they can maintain it for you and keep it running while you’re gone.

Whatever you do, don’t just park your car and forget it until you return. A little bit of preventative maintenance will go a long way when you get back behind the wheel.

Read more at: http://www.carfax.com/blog/store-your-vehicle?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Storage

Original Jeep to appear at 75th Anniversary Bash

While the original Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC), known as the Pilot, was destroyed during Army testing, a painstaking 3,500-hour recreation of the Pilot was built by Duncan Rolls of Longview, Texas, between 2004 and 2008 and it will be on display during the Fifth Annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival from June 12-14.

The BRC will be joined by the Bantam BRC-40, Willys MA and Ford GP, early jeep (actually “truck, 1/4 ton, reconnaissance”) models along with a Willys CJ-2A fire truck and Ford’s amphibious GPA, sometimes called a “seep.”

The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is organized by the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau and a group of Jeep enthusiasts. It celebrates Butler’s role as the birthplace of the jeep. (See Curtis Redgap’s Bantam Jeep article)

The Festival will take place in Downtown Butler and at the Butler County Fairgrounds along Route 422, just west of Butler. Organizers hope is to create a premier annual event that attracts Jeep enthusiasts from more than 25 states and Canada.

On Friday, June 12, festival organizers are hoping to beat their own Guinness World Record for the largest parade of Jeeps. In honor of the 75th anniversary, plans call for the first 75 Jeeps in the parade to each represent one of the 75 years of production.

For more information about the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, visit the event’s website http://www.bantamjeepfestival.com.

As read on: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/03/original-jeep-to-appear-at-75th-anniversary-bash-28124

Compass: “Honey, I shrunk the Grand Cherokee!”

Today, artist SuzyQ044 provided a rendering of the coming Jeep Compass, following Allpar sources’ claims that it will look like a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee shrunk down to Jeep Renegade size.

We have been told by insiders that the coming “MP” Compass will share its underpinnings and drivetrain with the just-released Renegade. The cars are so close that Compass mules are reportedly out and about, except that you cannot tell that is what they are as they are all cleverly disguised as Renegades.

One insider said the rendering was close, but to make it even more Grand Cherokee-like.

The Compass name itself has not been confirmed, but does not appear to carry enough baggage (or connotations that could be an issue in a worldwide car) to justify a name change.

Theoretically, it could be built at any of the three Renegade/500x plants in the world (Italy, Brazil and China), but it could make more sense for to be domestically produced. If that happens, could the Renegade also find a domestic production line? There is room at the old 200 plant at Sterling Heights, at Toluca in Mexico, and, once the current Compass and Patriot stop, at Belvedere. The question is, which cars can be built on the same lines as each other — and which plants are ready for it?

Read more at: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/03/compass-honey-i-shrunk-the-grand-cherokee-28086

Hellcat Challenger picks up 34whp with only a tune (video)

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful muscle car of all time, with a supercharged 6.2L Hellcat Hemi producing a bone chilling 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, according to the official marketing materials.

From the time that the first media outlets got hold of the Hellcat Challenger, it looked as though the 707/650 figures were a bit underrated; and the owner of the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat in the video below wanted to see just how much power his new Mopar muscle car made in stock form, so he took it to a dyno shop for a baseline dyno run and for tuning – tuning which turned out some incredible numbers.

hansen-hellcat-dyno

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat shown below in Sublime Green is owned by Ohio resident John Michael Hansen. Mr. Hansen is no stranger to high performance vehicles; his current garage is occupied by a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, a built Lancer Evolution X, a built Nissan GTR, a built MKIV Toyota Supra, and a supercharged Ram 1500 SRT10.

Aside from the Jeep, all of John’s cars are modified and all of them are supercharged, so it should come as no surprise that this horsepower junkie was one of the first people in line when the 2015 Challenger Hellcat went on sale.

Once Mr. Hansen took delivery of his 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, he took it to Accelerated Performance to see just how much power it made in factory stock form. The 2015 Hellcat Challenger in the video below made 646 horsepower and 585lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels; considering the official power numbers of 707hp and 650lb-ft of torque at the crankshaft, Hansen’s Hellcat is losing only about 9% of the power between the engine and the wheels, which is a clear indication that the car is indeed underrated or that the Hellcat Challenger has an extremely efficient automatic transmission, as most self-shifting cars lose at least 12% of their power at the wheels.

hansen-stock-hellcat-dyno-chart -2

After getting a baseline dyno reading on his 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, John Michael Hansen had Torrie McPhail of Unleashed Tuning see how much extra power they could squeeze from the stock Hellcat. Using an HPTuners tuning tool, McPhail was able to increase the output at the wheels from 646hp and 585lb-ft of torque to 680 horsepower and 616 torque.

With no other modifications, simply tuning the stock computer to optimize performance allowed Mr. Hansen’s Hellcat Challenger to pick up 34 horsepower and 31 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. Provided that we use the somewhat comical 9% drivetrain loss that we calculated above, this Challenger is making no less than 740 horsepower and 671 lb-ft of torque at the motor…from a car with no modifications and a simple engine computer tune.
hansen-tuned-hellcat-dyno-chart-3

Those are high stock numbers to begin with, and amazing tuned numbers for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat; and with Mr. Hansen planning to do more to his new Mopar muscle car, we could see even bigger numbers from this Sublime beast in the coming months. In the meantime, crank up your speakers and fall in love with the roar of this tuned Hellcat on the dyno.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.53.23 AM

Read more at: http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/03/hellcat-challenger-picks-up-34whp-with-only-a-tune-video-28067

2015 Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 SAE Tow Ratings

The 2015 Ram pickup trucks now have new tow ratings that were certified under the stricter demanding SAE J2807 regulation. Impressively, not a single model sees its ratings decline under the new certification process — and some even see ratings increase slightly. All versions of the 2015 Ram 1500, 2500 HD, and 3500 HD will henceforth have towing figures that meet the stricter tow ratings.

For light-duty pickup trucks, the 2015 Ram 1500 has SAE J2807 tow ratings as follows. Models with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission can tow up to 9200 pounds, trucks with the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 can manage up to 7600 pounds, and Ram 1500 models equipped with the 5.7-liter V-8 engine can tow as much as 10,650 pounds. For the 3.6-liter V-6, that’s an increase of 150 pounds compared to 2014 ratings, while the 5.7-liter V-8 see its maximum rating rise 200 pounds.

The 2015 Ram 2500 and 3500 are also subject to the new SAE J2807 ratings. With a 6.4-liter gasoline V-8, the 2500’s max tow rating is 16,300 pounds, or 17,970 pounds with the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel inline-six. Those figures are unchanged from last year. As for the 2015 Ram 3500, trucks with the 6.4-liter engine can tow as much as 16,420 pounds, while models with the 6.7-liter mill boast maximum tow ratings of 30,000 pounds.

Earlier this year, General Motors, Ford, and Ram all confirmed plans to adopt the SAE J2807 ratings. The new certification process is more rigorous and is designed to test the real-world towing abilities and safety of the trucks. It includes tests for the vehicles’ acceleration, braking, and cooling-system performance, as well as things like understeer and double-lane-change handling tests.

GM already confirmed the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s ratings under the SAE J2807 standards. The pickup truck saw some of its models’ ratings decline by 300-400 pounds, depending on engine and configuration, when switching to the new rules.

Source: Chrysler

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/autostrucks/2015-ram-1500-2500-and-3500-sae-tow-ratings-announced/ar-AA2T4pr