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Rough Country News

  • Ram 1500 Outdoorsman named ones of the best-value deals

    Most of the budget you have set aside for your vehicles will likely be relegated for use on truck modifications, such as installing a lift kit. If you want to make sure you have enough funds for investing in the right truck mods you'll need for off-roading, then you usually have to make some sacrifices when purchasing the car itself. However, that does not mean you have to sacrifice quality just to fit within the constraints of a budget. There are many options for top-of-the-line trucks or off-road vehicles that won't hurt your wallet, including some great deals that are among the best in the entire auto industry. 

    Save money with the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman
    A recent study from TrueCar.com looked at the best value vehicles currently on the market. The organization selected the winners based on a combination of savings off of the manufacturer's suggested retail price, according to average retail costs. The 2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman landed the No. 2 spot on the list and was the highest-ranking truck. 

    The Ram 1500 Outdoorsman truck earned recognition thanks to its affordable pricing, even on new cars - in fact, the truck currently offers drivers an average savings of $4,330 off the suggested retail price of $37,370. That is a total savings of 11.6 percent of the truck's value, and that chunk of change could be used to purchase the right Dodge lift kit or truck suspension instead. 

    "If you're especially picky about the color or particular configuration of your new car, this would be a great time to go kick the tires and still get some of the best deals of the year on 2013 model-year vehicles," said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for TrueCar. 

    EcoDiesel engine
    Want another way to save money with the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman - or any other Ram truck? Then you may want to consider investing in a model with the EcoDiesel engine. This motor should provide enough power to fuel off-road driving adventures while also saving owners money in the long run, as diesel engines are more efficient than their traditional counterparts and burn less fuel over extended periods of time. 

    The EcoDiesel engine is slated to be available on future Outdoorsman models, as well as the Ram Tradesman, SLT, Big Horn, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn. 

  • Retail price of used trucks increasing

    Drivers who are considering purchasing a used truck for their future off-roading adventures may want to think again. The cost of used trucks and SUVs remains high, making it more difficult for you to find great-value deals. It may also mean it's harder to get an off-road driving career started, leaving you with the task of making truck mods to other vehicles. 

    Prices up midway through 2013
    According to recent data from the NADA Used Car Guide, pre-owned trucks were in high demand through the first half of 2013. In fact, the average cost of used full-size trucks and SUVs is bucking seasonal trends and remains at a high level. Through the first sixth months of the year, there was a 7.7 percent increase in the average price of used trucks, compared to drops of 1 to 2 percent for almost every other category. 

    "June closed out the first half of the year with average auction prices of used vehicles up to 8 years in age nearly equal to last year's level," said Jonathan Banks, an executive analyst with the NADA Used Car Guide. "Given the stability observed in used-vehicle prices year-to-date, we expect to close out the year with prices essentially unchanged from the historically high average of $15,664 in 2012." 

    These higher prices mean it may be more difficult to try and find good value on used car lots. It could also mean that drivers looking for an off-roading vehicle or an automobile to make truck mods on may have to get a bit creative. 

    How to combat cost
    While the cost of used trucks and SUVs may be high, that doesn't mean drivers are left out in the cold when it comes to improving their off-road vehicles. Making truck modifications is easy with the help of the right tools, and drivers can generally find affordable methods for installing a lift kit that could help get an existing vehicle ready for mudding. 

    If all else fails, drivers may just have to wait until this cycle of high used-car prices ends and there is a drop in average costs. However, there's no telling how long that might take. 

    "Seasonal effects aside, consumers should expect trade-in prices to remain high through at least the end of the year, especially for full-size pickups and SUVs because of lower supply and increased demand from a recovery in construction," Banks said. 

  • The difference between body and suspension lift kits

    Entering the world of truck mods can be overwhelming for anyone not well versed in off-roading. They may have the desire to start embracing this hobby, but there are a few things these individuals have to learn before they can dive into the world of off-roading. 

    The basic function of a lift kit is to raise the body or suspension of a truck to allow for more clearance between the ground and the underside of an off-road vehicle. Lift kits are also helpful when you want to put larger tires onto a machine. Before you can get started on making improvements to your vehicle, however, you'll have to decide which kind of lift kit is right for your needs and then find one that fits. 

    Body lift kits
    A body lift is classified by additional space between the cab and bed of a truck. While the body itself is higher, the suspension and wheels remain at the original height. You end up with about one to three inches of space, allowing you to install larger tires without affecting the driving experience or handling. 

    One of the major advantages of a body lift kit is that is tends to be more affordable than its suspension counterpart. It also is relatively easier to install, so novices may find that it's more manageable as they continue to get acclimated to the world of off-roading. 

    On the other hand, body lifts leave a distinctive gap between the truck frame and the bed, which some motorists don't like, but there are gap guards that can get rid of the open space. It also doesn't increase the overall ground clearance, which limits the off-roading benefits you'll receive. There will also be added stress on the bolts of a vehicle - a fact that could spell trouble later on if you aren't careful. 

    Suspension lift kits
    Most of the truck modifications you'll be making will likely lend themselves well to the use of suspension lift kits. These kits do increase the ground clearance of a vehicle, and for that reason are frequently found on trucks and 4x4s headed for dirt trails. You can usually get between four and six inches of additional height with the help of a suspension lift kit, but in some cases, it can be as much as 18 inches. 

    Many off-roading enthusiasts prefer a suspension lift kit to a body lift kit because of the extra clearance it provides. It may be more expensive than a body lift kit, but some don't mind paying to have the added benefit of higher clearance.

    It does take a bit more effort to install a suspension lift kit onto a vehicle. It also drastically affects how a vehicle drives and handles, which could potentially make it more dangerous for novices. Experienced off-roading enthusiasts may be able to handle these challenges without a problem, but it is something beginners will have to think about. 

    Finding the right lift kit
    The right lift kit for your project will depend on the make, model and year of the car. You'll also need to consider the size of the tires you want to install on the vehicle, as this will impact the amount of clearance you need. At the very least, you'll have to look at the new tire diameter and width, as well as the rim offset. 

    Once these details are figured out, you can start shopping around for the right Jeep lift kit, Toyota lift kit or other tool that helps to make modifications to a vehicle. 

  • Summer is the perfect time to check out a mud bogging event

    Putting the finishing touches on a round of truck mods can be thrilling. You've invested plenty of time and money into the off-road vehicle in an attempt to outfit the truck with the latest and greatest tools, and now you want to show it off - but where do you go? For many, the answer may be their local off-roading trails, but other fans of mudding make the decision to seek out a slightly more festive atmosphere. 

    Competitive mudding
    Mud bogging is a popular pastime across North America, and many drivers make time to test out their truck modifications in the challenging setting. That's exactly what happens at mud bogging events, as drivers essentially do whatever they can to navigate their truck or jeep through a course, with the help of off-road driving techniques and vehicle modifications. It's a race against the clock - and each other - but it's also a personal challenge that drivers take very seriously. 

    For some, mug bogging is all about proving you have what it takes to outfit your truck with all the right tools and have some fun in the process. 

    "Mostly it's a badge of honor," Ron Pare, president of the Maine Mud Bog Association, told The Franklin Sun Journal. "My theory is that there are those of us who are grown adults who weren't allowed to play in the mud as children and we're acting out." 

    The Maine event
    Summer is a great time to enjoy mudding, as you can revel in the nice weather and take in the party atmosphere of many mud bogging events. These competitions typically take place all around the country, but a great spot to check out the action is in Livermore, Maine, where a series of great events fills the calendar each summer. 

    People from all over New England head to Livermore for the Barnyard All Terrain mudding competition. What started in the early 2000s as the efforts of one family to revamp their farm has quickly turned into a top mud bogging event. With the mud kept at about 18 inches thick, the space is ideal for testing out truck mods while also reaching high speeds - even in the tough conditions. 

    This year's event is scheduled for Aug. 2 to 4, but there are several other off-roading events that take place in the area throughout the summer. 

  • Ford to move forward on hybrid trucks without Toyota

    Ford and Toyota are rivals in almost all industry circles. The two automakers regularly compete against each other for a variety of things, not the least of which is market share, but that didn't stop them from joining efforts to work toward a new hybrid technology. 

    The original plan
    In August 2011, the manufacturers announced that they would be teaming up as they tried to create hybrid trucks and SUVs. In the nearly two years that followed, the companies put their heads together in an attempt to find new ways to meet fuel economy standards while maintaining the high quality of trucks and off-road vehicles that they have become known for.

    It seemed like a perfect partnership, as Toyota is one of the leading hybrid manufacturers in the world, and Ford just recently made major strides with the environmentally-friendly vehicles in the U.S., to go along with its iconic presence in the world of pickups and SUVs, Reuters reports. 

    While the collaboration now has come to a close, both automakers are eyeing the creation of large hybrid trucks and SUVs - a good sign for fans of off-roading who want to take care of the very environment they're driving through. 

    "After successfully completing the feasibility and development of the hybrid system project with Toyota, Ford is moving forward on its own with the development of a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system for Ford pickups and SUVs," the American automaker said in a statement, as quoted by USA Today. 

    What the future holds
    Ford also alluded to the possibility that it could have hybrid trucks on the market by the end of the decade. That is an interesting development for fans of the brand, which instead has been turning to turbocharged systems in trucks that save on gas in years past, according to the publication. 

    "We know what it takes to build world-class hybrids, and we now will build and leverage that expertise in-house," said Raj Nair, the vice president of global product development for Ford. "By continuing to develop a rear-wheel-drive hybrid system on our own, we can extend our advanced hybrid technologies to new vehicle segments and deliver even better fuel economy across our lineup." 

    Despite the fact that the joint effort for the hybrid ended, there could be more partnerships for Ford and Toyota down the line. The two manufacturers are considering teaming up to create infotainment systems and other, similar telematic devices, USA Today reports. 

  • Batman-inspired truck steals the show at Comic Con

    Most superheroes know how to get around in style. Whether it's Wonder Woman's invisible car or Superman's famous ability to fly, these iconic characters frequently make waves with their chosen mode of transportation. Another top-notch vehicle that made its way into comic book lore is the Batmobile, which Batman uses to make his way around Gotham. Fictional versions of the car are tricked out with plenty of special amenities and out-of-this-world gadgets, but the real-life models that have been created are nothing to scoff at. 

    One modern version of the Batmobile was recently revealed, and this model contains some distinct features that make it unlike anything else that has previously been made - such as the fact that it's the first Batmobile to come in the form of a truck. 

    The Ford Batmobile
    The first Batmobile was constructed in 1965, using spare parts from a hardware store and the body from a Ford Futura concept car. It sold for $4.2 million at a car auction in January 2013. George Barris was the mastermind behind that vehicle, and his grandson, Jared Barris, led the charge for this updated Batmobile truck as a way to pay homage to his grandfather. 

    During the opening day of San Diego Comic Con, July 18, one Southern California customizer unveiled "The Crimefighter." Constructed from a Ford F-150, this modified truck underwent a few rounds of repairs and upgrades to make it fit for a superhero. The finished product has a tuxedo black paint job with red accents - much like its famous predecessor. Its bed has fins added for a special touch and the appearance of speed, while the engine is a 5.0-liter V8. It may not have some of the extras that the original Batmobile did, but it's certainly a sight for fans of trucks. 

    Not your average truck mods
    The changes made to the Ford F-150 to create this new Batmobile are not among the popular truck mods that drivers make when customizing their off-road vehicle. However, that doesn't mean off-roading enthusiasts can't make some similar alterations to achieve a look like the Batmobile. 

    While you may have your own ideas in mind as you set out to make truck modifications, those drivers who are fans of Batman can recreate this Batmobile - for a price. No exact details about the cost of such a makeover have been released, but it's sure to cost a pretty penny and ring up a much higher sticker price than doing your own modifications.  

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