Friday, January 13, 2012 03:39
As much as we appreciate a pickup for hauling loads, its carrying capacity can have some disadvantages: The bed is open to the weather and prying eyes (or even hands). Installing a tonneau cover not only provides some climate protection, but also improves aerodynamics.
In an open bed, the wind swirls around, creating drag and increasing fuel consumption. Driving tests indicate that a tonneau cover can improve fuel economy by as much as five to even ten percent. It also helps to organize cargo and keep stuff from blowing out of the bed while driving.
Tonneau covers come in a variety of materials and configurations, from soft folding vinyl to rigid fiberglass to retractable metal units. We went with the latter for its durability and ease of use. Even though a fiberglass lid is sturdy, it’s also heavier and cumbersome, and prevents carrying tall objects. Also, if not properly latched, a strong wind can lift it up and cause damage.
Installation typically takes a couple hours or even less, depending on the configuration. This particular unit shown here with an electric motor went on in about an hour or so, with a couple of experienced technicians working together. A few simple hand tools are all that’s needed. Be sure to drill drain holes in the front of the bed before beginning. It’s a two-man job to put the canister assembly and rails in position. More...
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 06:00
Remember that time you left your pick-up outside the hardware store and were annoyed when you came out and found some jerk had parked so close behind you that you couldn’t open your tailgate? That guy might have done you a huge favor, because in some areas of the country tailgates are replacing hubcaps as the preferred target of opportunity of thieves who prey on unattended vehicles.
Tailgates are pretty easy to remove from most trucks––many can be taken off silently, with no tools, in under a minute––and they sell new for anywhere from $1000 to $1300 for late-model trucks. Some, such as those with rear-view parking cameras in them, can go for as much as $3600. Many victims concerned about deductibles or higher insurance rates don’t even report the thefts.
Tailgates that disappear from parking garages and dark streets often turn up later on Craigslist or for sale at shady body shops for a fraction of the cost of a new one, giving victims the chance to buy back the very tailgate they lost.
One car dealer in the Detroit area is fighting back by taking the tailgates off of all the new trucks on his lot, or backing them up to brick walls so there’s no way thieves can get at them. If you drive a truck, be careful and watch its back.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 05:35
Many people, regardless of race, color, or creed enjoy going into the backcountry to hunt, fish, hike, and camp. These activities are time-honored traditions that many, if not most, Americans still hold dear. However, a strange phenomenon occurs when people from the urban centers of America travel to rural areas to partake in these activities. Over a period of time, they start to drop their Rs, loosen their grip over their vowels, and generally forget to pronounce the last few letters of any word in the English language. This change in speaking comes from a certain identity or image that many people start to adopt as soon as they get into the woods, that of the cowboy and the rugged outdoorsman.
While the horse-riding, quick-drawing, gun-slinging, cattle-rustling, harmonica-playing cowboy of yore is almost extinct; people still try to connect with our historical past through the new horse of the west—the truck.
The truck is a platform that allows people to exhibit their personal devotion and appreciation of the backcountry way of life. By ruralizing, or for those less politically correct, red-necking, their vehicles, they are proclaiming to the world that, despite the caramel macchiato in the cupholder and their custom pre-ripped jeans, they are rugged individuals who weather whatever nature throws at them and take life by the horns.
The following is a general guide for the aspiring cowpoke, cattle rustler, or ranch hand: More...
Monday, January 10, 2011 05:12
Americans are buying more large trucks again. Say it with me—workin’ folks need workin’ trucks. They’re not easy to park, they don’t get much mileage, and they prefer lumberyard lots to Macy’s mall madness—but they work.
Nobody built an Econosaurus, but there’s at least one Truckasaurus, and with good reason. More info is available on Fox Business, “Ford's November US Sales Climb 24%" And "Trucks Lead Month's Gains.”
I found these facts in a story that was less than new—about two months old—but because I was searching for evidence to support a theory of mine (that the measurement of specific groups of cars and how their purchase rates rise and fall can predict what segments of the American economy are doing better or worse), slightly older stories are okay. The info is still the info. Just the facts, ma’am.
The irony of this post is that, although article source is not fresh, the point still is. You might even be hearing this pro-truck news here first—probably because the fact that Americans are still buying lots of pickups—big, gas-guzzling workboxes—flies in the face of pop-think and the safe-bet media. The point is not stale, though, and its validity is of consequence because it indicates the roots of a growing trend (or what we hope will be a trend): Americans who get dirty for a living are getting back to it. More...
Friday, September 17, 2010 02:00
An aspiring gearhead’s first car (or truck) needs to be easy to work on, inexpensive to own (not cheap, but inexpensive), and relatively indestructible because, let’s face it, folks are frequently stupid. That’s not a problem, though – broke, newb or a space cadet, we’ve got a few good rigs that’ll get anyone started toward being a gearhead – plus the reasons why.
Toyota Tacoma – 1995-2004. Earlier pickups are good too, as are the matching 4Runners. The later generations started getting heavy and plasticy. Race it, rice it, dirt or sand, rocks or work, Toyota Tacomas are versatile, adaptable, simple to wrench on, and there’s a gazillion cool aftermarket parts. Tacos do tend to hold their value more than comparable mini trucks (so they cost a little more at tip-in), but that’s because they’re better trucks. Two-wheel drive? Turbo it and tighten up the suspension, then find a canyon, or bag and cruise it. Four-wheel drive? A tidy lift and some knobbies will keep you happy in the dirt for ages. Pickup runners-up are the fuel-injected Ford F-150s from 1980-’97. More...