Favorite driver's magazines

"Four Wheel", March 1, 2013



BY Fred Williams


2013 IS BULGING AT THE SEAMS WITH COOL new stuff: axles, suspensions, wheels, tires, tools, winches, wires, lights, and more. Every cool new part gets us excited and fuels dreams of bigger, better, and badder built 4x4s. It’s amazing how we can stop in our tracks when we see something new and rethink our old project trucks, scheming of ways to integrate the cool new item. We’re sure some of these new products will solve problems you’ve been having, or at least help you devise problems as an excuse to order some of this stuff for your next buildup.


A year ago MSD revealed the easy fuel injection system Atomic EFI for carbureted and throttle body engines. Now MSD is back with a dirt-simple system to make a junkyard GM LS engine run and drive. This kit includes a wiring harness and controller, plus a set of fuel rails that have additional electronics integrated into them, resulting in less wiring and a cleaner engine bay. Plus, this new system has self-learning technology so there is no need to have the large factory ECU flashed and then find a mounting location for it. The result is a clean, easy way to make either a Gen III or Gen IV GM engine run. INFORMATION: MSD Atomic EFI, www.atomicefi.com.


The GM Corporate 14-bolt is strong, but it is also big, and the lower lip of the centersection is prone to acting more like an anchor than an axle. TMR Customs has developed a 14-bolt shave kit that offers near Dana 44 ground clearance for the do-it-yourself axle builder. The kit involves shaving your housing and turning down your ring gear before welding on a new bottom plate and using a supplied differential cover that has higher ground clearance. INFORMATION: TMR Customs, 877.503. TMR1 (8671), www.tmrcustoms.com.


The new Ibex chassis from Goatbuilt is a DIY buggy in a box. With all the tubes notched and bent, all that is required is simply matching up the marks and welding it all together. The chassis kit is designed to fit a V-8 engine, automatic transmission, and an Atlas-style transfer case with a linked suspension; however, it can be adjusted and tuned to fit the builder’s needs and desires. Two- and four-seat versions are available. Drivetrain, interior, wiring, and plumbing not included. INFORMATION: Goatbuilt, www.goatbuilt.com.


Dynatrac has a new performance axle, the ProRock 80. It is based on a standard 11¼-inch Dana 80 gearset, but from there it just gets better. The ProRock 80 axles are designed around a massive 40-spline axleshaft and are perfect for 4x4s running 40-inch and larger tires. The huge 4-inch axletubes fit into a proprietary centersection casting that has been sculpted to have just a fraction of an inch less ground clearance than a standard Dana 60 housing but gobs more strength. Plus, when compared to the venerable Pro Rock 60 that Dynatrac is known for, the ProRock 80 only adds 30 pounds more weight. If you are building a heavyweight Jeep Wrangler, Dynatrac can set up one of these to bolt right in, and if you are considering making a fullsize wheeling rig, then the ProRock 80 should be on your radar. INFORMATION: Dynatrac Products Inc., 714.596.4461, dynatrac.com.


Wilwood Engineering has introduced a brake kit for the ’07-to-present Wrangler JK. This kit features Wilwood’s forged billet Superlite four-piston calipers in black powdercoat clamping down on oversized 14x1¼-inch GT asymmetrical face slot pattern rotors. The kit includes aluminum hats, caliper mounting brackets, and all necessary hardware for an easy, bolt-on installation. Drilled and slotted rotors are also available, and high-performance street pads round out the kit. Other brake pad compounds, including those for off-road applications, are also available. The kit is configured for off-road environments and is compatible with the original master cylinder and ABS system. INFORMATION: Wilwood Eng., 805.388.1188, www.wilwood.com.


Fox is known for shocks, and Fox’s new Adjustable Through Shaft (ATS) steering stabilizer brings years of shock technology to steering dampers. The shaft of the stabilizer passes through the body of the damper so that there is no displacement of fluid or resulting odd steering handling, nor are dual stabilizer required. The stabilizer also has a 24-point adjustable body for easy tuning depending on driver preference. The aluminum body is a benefit against rust and for cooling, plus an additional reservoir adds oil capacity and cooling. Mounting systems help locate the stabilizer up out of harm’s way. INFORMATION: Fox Racing Shox, 800.369.7469, www.foxracingshox.com.


Is a four-door JK Wrangler too long but a two-door too short? Kustom Koachworks is offering the JKL conversion to stretch a two-door JK to a longer, 106-inch wheelbase. The body and frame are cut and lengthened just behind the doors to give a longer wheelbase perfect for four-wheeling or hauling extra gear, but not so much length that you feel like you’re driving a bus down the trail. Conversions start around $7,500 and take at least three weeks. Soft tops will also need to be modified. INFORMATION: JKL Wrangler, 480.981.8293, jklwrangler.com.


EMF has a ball and socket joint perfect for full hydraulic steering systems. The ball and socket joint replaces the standard clevis and rod end design and results in a cleaner setup with tighter tolerances. The tighter these tolerances, the less possibility for steering slop. Plus, these heat-treated chromoly ball and sockets are fully rebuildable, long wearing, and adjustable to tighten or loosen the desired flexibility. Whereas a Heim joint in a clevis is dependent on the tolerances of the bolt, this joint is designed for the tolerances to be matching between the ball and socket race while allowing 360 degrees of free motion. INFORMATION: EMF Inc., 877.236.3545, www.emfrodends.com.


It has been nearly 20 years since the last factory-built TH400 rolled off the assembly line, but these tough-as-anvil automatics are still popular amongst off-roaders looking for a hardcore transmission. Reid Racing has experience building transmission cases and axle parts, so Reid is jumping in with a new heavy-duty TH400 case known as the Super Hydra 400. This case is thicker in material and is cast brand new for this application in America. The case has a bolt-on bellhousing, allowing easy adaptation to a variety of popular engines, and it is SFI certified for use in racing without requiring a steel scatter shield. INFORMATION: Reid Racing Inc., 925. 935.3025, www.reidracing.biz.


Though new to the U.S. market, ComeUp has been making its own winches, as well as private-label winches for other companies, for nearly 40 years. ComeUp offers a full line of winches for 4x4s, UTVs, and ATVs. The winches have a variety of benefits, such as both wired and wireless remotes, series-wound motors, and an external cone-style brake. Though offered with either steel or synthetic line, the external brake reduces heat to the winch drum unlike winches with the brake inside the drum, making no hazard to synthetic winch line. ComeUp offers winches from 9,000 to 15,000-pound ratings for the automotive market. INFORMATION: ComeUp USA Inc., 503.783.6142, comeupusa.com.


The Chevy Performance EROD crate engines took the aftermarket by storm a few years back when they touted easy installation and complete wiring and accessory kits in a package approved for stringent emissions testing. This year Chevy has revealed the EROD version of the LSA crate engine. The LSA is a super-charged 6.2L aluminum-blocked V-8 engine commonly found in the Cadillac CTSv. This monster pumps out 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque. The EROD package includes the engine and everything needed to make it run, with specific instruction on exhaust and fuel systems to help it pass smog tests. INFORMATION: Chevy Performance, www.chevroletperformance.com.


Miller Electric has introduced a small, portable welder perfect for shops and beginners looking for a versatile machine. The Multimatic 200 can run off of either 120 or 230 volts and allows the user to MIG-, TIG-, and stick-weld as needed. Packed in a 29-pound polycarbonate case, this machine offers a variety of welding performance depending on material and yet can be easily moved from shop to jobsite to a power-equipped base camp. The Auto Set Elite system allows the user to simply choose material and thickness, then the internal microprocessor adjusts and chooses the best settings. The Multimatic 200 is also compatible with a variety of welding gases and spool guns. INFORMATION: Miller Electric, 920.734.9821, www.millerwelds.com.


ARB has stepped into the ring of light that is the LED off-road light market with new Intensity LED lights. Unlike some competing light bars, these ARB lights retain the historic round light design, making them easier to mount on common light bars, bumpers, and, of course, ARB’s full line of bull bars. The lights have an 8.7-inch round aluminum body with sturdy stainless steel mounting bracket for off-road abuse. The Intensity LEDs are available in both a flood- and spotlight design with polycarbonate lenses and 32 LEDs per light, and they are submersible up to 9 feet. INFORMATION: ARB 4x4 Accessories, 800.761.8158, www.arbusa.com.

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