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2004 TRUCK & SUV Gear

The year's standout products to enhance appearance, performance, and versatility.

Editors of Truck Trend
Jun 22, 2004
Photographers: The Manufacturer
December Truck & SUV Gear
Truck & SUV gear from such manufactures as Krause Publications, Valvoline, Covercraft, Putnam Hitch Products, Gale Banks Engineering, and PML.
Photo 2/37   |   Towing Is HistoryEver since the first Model T broke down, tow trucks have been there to carry them to safety. "Tow Trucks: A Photographic History" shows the evolution of the hard-working hauler, from its simple origins in the early 1900s to the technological wonders of today. The book also uncovers some of the colorful characters behind the towing industry and features the most interesting trucks from eras past. The book sells for $21.99. Krause Publications; 888/457-2873.www.krause.com
Photo 3/37   |   Aging GracefullyMaxLife Synthetic from Valvoline, available in 5W30 and 10W30 grades, is made to slow engine aging. It has conditioners to soften seals that have become brittle over time, slowing leaks and oil consumption. The oil also contains antiwear additives that reduce friction and cleaning agents to decrease deposits and sludge. MaxLife's thermal stability helps reduce oil burnoff and maximizes output. Valvoline; 800/TEAMVAL (832-6825).www.valvoline.com

Photo 4/37   |   Plush Puppy Pet PadIf Rex likes to ride in your sport/utility's cargo area, Covercraft's Cargo Area Pet Pad may be the ideal addition. It's quilted on one side for when your pup is clean and dry. After a day at the park or the lake, turn it over, and Rex can rest on the dirt-resistant vinyl side. The pad sells for $70-$90 and comes with surround bolsters that fold to adjust to the size of your vehicle's cargo area. For pets who prefer to sit in the passenger seat, Covercraft also offers a Pet Pad Seat Protector. Covercraft; 800/426-8377.www.covercraft.com
Photo 5/37   |   Quick ConversionsPutnam's Freedom Gooseneck/Fifth-Wheel system has an inverted fifth-wheel design that lets you use a truck's bed when not towing. To convert from fifth wheel to gooseneck or to a standard pickup setup, pull a lever and remove a pin. The system relocates the fifth-wheel hardware from the back of the truck onto the trailer, and the inverted fifth-wheel hitch connects, upside down, to the trailer's pin box. Suggested retail: $1220. Putnam Hitch Products; 800/336-4271.www.putnamhitch.com

Photo 6/37   |   Banks Six-GunThe Six-Gun Tuner is said to give 1994-2003 7.3-liter Power Strokes six levels of power, adding up to 70 additional horsepower over stock with pushbutton control at the driver's fingertips. The two-inch gauge-mount Six-Gun displays exhaust-gas temp, boost, or percent of fuel increase. It allows the driver to adjust the upper EGT limit, from 800 to 1500 degrees F, and warns before reaching the preselected limit. This tuner starts at $449. Gale Banks Engineering; 800/277-1991.www.bankspower.com
Photo 7/37   |   Getting DeepPML's newest extra-capacity pan is made for Ford 4R44E, 4R55E, and A4LD transmissions. These four- and five-speeds are most commonly found in the Ranger, Explorer, and Bronco II. The pan can hold three more quarts of oil than the stock pan and has internal baffles to make sure the filter's immersed in oil. The increased oil capacity reduces its temperature, a plus when towing or driving off-road. The pan features a thick gasket flange for a better seal and a magnetic drainplug for easier oil changes. It starts at $165. PML; 310/671-4345.www.yourcovers.com
October Truck & SUV Gear
Truck & SUV gear from such manufactures as Leatherman Tool Group, Tow Truck in a Box, Quick Draw Hitching Systems, Green Filter USA, Standard Hamilton Company, and California Car Cover.
Photo 8/37   |   In a PinchA tool should be judged by its utility. With nearly two years of continual carry and use, the Crunch has served Truck Trend well--on the road and in the office. The locking pliers, knife, bottle opener, screwdrivers, and 1/4-inch bit adapter make it a potent, pocket-size tool kit. Our 100-percent stainless-steel Crunch looks like new despite tumbles down hillsides and occasional, dirty-engine-bay duty. Collapsing into a neat 4x1.25x0.5-inch, six-ounce package, it's easily carried on the belt in the supplied leather sheath. Leatherman Tool Group; 800/847-8665.www.leatherman.com
Photo 9/37   |   Tow Truck in a BoxThis three-plate system is designed to get trucks unstuck in any type of terrain or weather. The plates, made of aircraft-quality aluminum alloy, hinge together to provide a solid pathway out of snow, sand, or mud. You can hinge as many plates together as the situation demands. And a complete set weighs less than three pounds. The setup comes with a carrying case the size of a small lunchbox. The three-piece device retails for less than $30. Tow Truck in a Box; 877/386-9269.www.towbox.com

Photo 10/37   |   Magnum ForceQuick Draw Hitching Systems' Magnum Hitch is highly versatile: With 12 different towing heights and six inches of height adjustment, it can be moved up/down the pin block in one-inch increments. The universal double-ball hitch stores underneath the bumper when not in use, and a dead-bolt lock system is offered for added security. The Class-IV hitch is available in black powdercoat finish, and the pins are 303 stainless steel. The Magnum is also available in 8-, 10-, and 12-inch drops. Quick Draw Hitching Systems; 866/237-8448. www.quickdrawhitch.com
Photo 11/37   |   Chevy IntakeGreen Filter's newest cold-air intake was designed for Chevrolet/GMC trucks and SUVs with 4.8-, 5.3-, or 6.0-liter engines. This system is said to increase horsepower by 10 percent, increase torque, improve fuel economy, and boost throttle response. At the core of the system is the company's unique filter, which uses two layers of woven cotton, pleated for increased surface area. With proper maintenance, the filter can last the lifetime of the truck. Green Filter USA; 724/430-2050. www.greenfilterusa.com

Photo 12/37   |   DIY Dump TruckThe Dump-Pro allows you to convert your pickup into a dump truck. The insert, which weighs less than 400 pounds, uses a Warn Works winch to lift and dump cargo and provides a 60-degree dumping angle. The 3000-pound-capacity Dump-Pro can be added or removed in minutes. While this model is for trucks with eight-foot beds, compact sizes will soon be on the market. Pricing ranges from $1997 to $2495. Standard Hamilton Company; 866/438-6777. www.dump-pro.com
Photo 13/37   |   Jeepers KreepersThe Kreepster creeper combines a lightweight aluminum frame with heavy-duty construction. It's ergonomically designed for comfort and has lumbar support and an adjustable headrest to reduce neck strain. It offers tool trays, making sure everything you need is within easy reach. It even has drink holders. This creeper costs about $260. California Car Cover Company; 818/998-2100.www.calcarcover.com
August Truck & SUV Gear
Truck & SUV gear from such manufacturers as Boss Truck Accessories', A.R.E., Muscle Machines, Auburn MetalFab, and Schefenacker Vision Systems...
Photo 14/37   |   Ramping Up Anyone who owns an ATV, dirt bike, or snowmobile knows that loading one into the bed of a truck can be tricky. Boss Truck Accessories' retractable ramp system makes it easier, as it bolts onto the truck bed and replaces the stock tailgate. Extend the 71/2-foot ramps when it's time to load your toy, and retract them when you're done. The heavy-duty ramps won't shift while in use and will fit any truck with a six- to eight-foot bed. The system retails for $599. Boss Truck Accessories; 866/999-4766.www.bosstruckaccessories.com
Photo 15/37   |   Keeping Neat and TidyA.R.E.'s Contractor's Package includes two steel toolboxes, a Tower Series roofrack, two painted aluminum side doors, and a painted aluminum rear door. The Contractor's Package is an option with the CX, MX, and M-Pulse fiberglass truck caps. Pictured here is the CX Series, which includes recessed side windows, an LED brakelight, and a recessed rear door, designed to fit your truck's tailgate. Each box has a 120-pound capacity. A.R.E.; 800/649-4273.www.4are.com

Photo 16/37   |   Military MiteMuscle Machines, makers of outrageous collectible diecast automobiles, explore their military options with six ground-pounding MVs. Outfit your 1:64 scale army with a DUKK, Hummer, Half-Track, Jeep, 6x6 Track, or Sherman Tank. Vinyl tires and tracks roll for maximum fun factor. A number of military paint schemes and wacky graphic treatments are available. Retail price range: $2.99-$3.45.www.musclemachines.com
Photo 17/37   |   SSuperchargerVortech's V-2 SQ S-Trim supercharger is now available for the Chevrolet Silverado SS. The CARB legal system is said to increase horsepower by 120, and torque goes from 380 to 494 pound-feet. All components needed to install the system on a stock truck, such as brackets, fuel-system upgrades, and fasteners, are included. Recommended retail-price range: $5626-$5862. Vortech Engineering; 805/247-0226.www.vortechsuperchargers.com

Photo 18/37   |   Retractable Bed ExtenderWhether you'd like to make the most out of a short bed or have to haul cargo that's longer than the bed's length, the Xtender can do the job. Unlike flip-down extenders that take up bed space when not in use, the heavy-duty bed Xtender is designed to fold down to two inches when stowed. It's made of heavy-gauge diamond-plate aluminum, bright-guard finished to protect against oxidation. Pricing starts at $350. Auburn MetalFab877/288-9100.
Photo 19/37   |   With a Name Like Schefenacker...Schefenacker Vision Systems has expanded its telescoping trailer-tow mirror line to include applications for many Ford, GM, and Dodge trucks and SUVs. The mirrors have up to 41/2 inches of extension, allowing a driver to see past a load up to 102 inches wide. When driving through narrow passages, the tow mirrors can fold against the vehicle. They come with a choice of manual operation; power and heated; or power and heated with LED turn signal/clearance lights. Schefenacker Vision Systems; 877/888-6472.www.ttt-mirror.com
June Truck & SUV Gear
Truck & SUV gear from such manufacturers as Glasstite, Edge Products, Meguiars, PWM Enterprises, and My Snow Sport.
Photo 20/37   |   It's a BreezeGlasstite's newest tonneau is named Breeze because it's made to be easy to install. The Breeze has a mechanical system that acts as a lever, allowing the owner to lift the lid open with one finger and pull it down with one hand. The lid mounts to the bed using a strap-and-clamp attachment, and uses an aluminum subframe with adjustable front hinges. Each tonneau is preadjusted and foamed for the specific application. Glasstite; 507/695-2378.www.glasstite.com
Photo 21/37   |   Living on the Edge Attention Ford Power Stroke owners: Want more horsepower and torque? The Juice power module is reported to install in less than 10 minutes and uses factory-style connectors to intercept and modify the signal between the stock computer and the engine. Five settings are offered, which can add 40, 60, 80, 100, and 120 horses, depending on your needs and situation. The Attitude In-Cab Controller allows the driver to control the power modes on the fly. Edge Products; 801/476-3343.www.edgeproducts.com

Photo 22/37   |   Lock and LoadTowing safety and security have been taken to a new level with TFP's HitchHold. The system prevents accidental decoupling and theft with its unique design, securing the trailer on the tow-vehicle ball mount. The HitchHold will help prevent decoupling with mismatched couplers and balls, nonsecured couplers, or loss of the ball nut. Three models are offered, each available in all classes of receiver ball mounts. Suggested retail ranges from $40 to $50. HitchHold; 800/949-1370.www.tfpusa.com
Photo 23/37   |   Don't Get SnowedMany states dealt with a tough winter this year, so it's no surprise that personal-utility plows are becoming more popular. The Agri-Cover SnowSport, designed to be used with midsize and full-size pickups and SUVs, now offers a plow blade with three separate angle settings: left discharge, straight, and right discharge. Made of durable metals and plastics to limit corrosion and damage, the SnowSport could make you the most popular plow guy in the neighborhood. Agri-Cover Inc.; 800/233-4655.www.mysnowsport.com

Photo 24/37   |   Keep the Shine Your truck or SUV has it tough: Its paint is assaulted by smog, acid rain, bird droppings, mud, and more. Meguiar's NXT Generation Tech Wax is said to create a flawless-looking swirl-free finish, while delivering the deepest, clearest shine. It contains inhibitors to block UVA/UVB rays and resist the damaging effects of the sun. A tough polymer barrier includes anti-corrosive agents to offer the most durable protection available for $14.99 per bottle. Meguiar's; 800/347-5700.www.meguiars.com
Photo 25/37   |   Zero-to-Smoothie in 20,000 rpmPWM Enterprises now has an essential tool for every tailgate party. The new RPM blender, Model 228, has a 900-watt motor, variable speed control (from 500-20,000 rpm), and a built-in tachometer. The tach is embedded in a uniquely shaped brushed-metal block base. With commercial-grade stainless-steel blade, heavy-duty polycarbonate pitcher, and smoothie stick and funnel cone, pricing starts around $150. PWM Enterprises; 800/826-8810.www.pwmenterprises.com
April Truck & SUV Gear
Truck & SUV gear from such manufacturers as Valley Industries, Keystone Restyling Products, Dunlop Tires, AEM, and Rancho...
Photo 26/37   |   All-in-One Hook-up-and-HaulIf you infrequently tow a boat or toy trailer, Valley Industries has a Towing Accessory Kit for you. The all-in-one kits include everything needed to hook up and tow boats, Jet Skis, snowmobiles, quadrunners, or lightweight trailers. The standard kit includes a Class III ball mount rated at 6000 pounds (8-inch length, 21/4-inch drop), a 5/8-inch hitch pin and clip, a 2-inch chrome trailer ball (factory torqued), and receiver hitch cover. The deluxe kit replaces the hitch pin with a locking unit, and the 3-inch ball is an interchangeable 17/8- and 2-inch model. Both come in a durable storage case. Expect to pay $39.99 for the standard and $59.99 for the deluxe kit. Valley Industries; 800/423-6707.www.valleyindustries.com
Photo 27/37   |   Two Scoops To GoIf you own a 2002-2004 Dodge Ram, and you want a hood to make it look hotter than the SRT-10, Keystone Restyling Products has a new functional twin scoop hood that'll fit the bill. The hood is made from gelcoated composite material, is fully finished on both sides, utilizes all factory attachment points, and comes with a three-year warranty. The six-pack design allows full cold airflow to the Hemi engine, maximizing the intake charge and keeping the engine bay cool. Expect to pay around $695. Keystone Restyling; 888/575-3453.www.keystonerestyling.com

Photo 28/37   |   Roving RubberIf you've been looking for a multipurpose tire for your light truck or SUV that'll tackle tough trails and provide durable on-road capabilities, Dunlop has your rolling stock. The new Rover RVXT features an extended tread design to protect the sidewall from off-road hazards and a 48-pitch/five-element/four-rib tread design for harsh off-road challenges, while providing a quiet highway ride and a ventless design for a clean appearance. The new tires are available in 31 sizes, ranging from 15- to 17-inch wheel diameters, and the tire is designed for use in severe snow conditions. Depending on size, each Rover RVXT should cost $69-$130. Visit your local Dunlop dealer.www.dunloptire.com
Photo 29/37   |   Deep BreathingDodge Cummins, Ford Power Stroke, and GM Duramax diesel owners can easily add an average of five horsepower and 17 pound-feet of torque to their rigs with a new Brute Force intake from Advanced Engine Management. Constructed from 6061 aluminum, each system is tuned to deliver maximum torque and power at every throttle position. AEM also uses a four-layer cotton-gauze element for maximum filtration with minimum restriction. A stainless-steel heat shield, all hardware, and a limited lifetime warranty comes with each kit. Intakes run $290-$350 depending on application. AEM; 310/484-2322.www.aempower.com

Photo 30/37   |   Triple ThreatThe performance-suspension experts at Rancho have geared up a new class of suspension technology for late-model trucks and SUVs: triple-adjustable coil-over suspension systems that enable drivers to modify compression, rebound, and ride height from the cab while on the road. The shocks are initially available for the Nissan Titan and new Ford F-150. Kits for Ford Explorer and Expedition, Toyota Tacoma and Tundra, and Jeep will follow. The coil-overs are adjustable in nine stages, with independent front and rear adjustment with the push of a button. The all-inclusive kits cost around $700, depending on application. Rancho; 734/384-7804.www.gorancho.com
February Truck & SUV Gear
Truck & SUV gear from such manufacturers as Griots Garage, Bestop, Super Sharpener, Pana-Pacific, Agri-Cover, Mile Marker Inc...
Photo 31/37   |   Air Up Right You don't have to race trucks to appreciate the accuracy of this 160psi digital tire-pressure gauge from Griot's Garage. It features a large, digital readout, zero-out button that calibrates for altitude, and a valve that allows excess tire pressure to be bled off quickly. Griot's topped it off with a comfortable handgrip, swiveling stem, and a rubber housing to protect it from drops on the pavement or on the trail. Cost: $89.95. Griot's Garage; 800/345-5789.www.griotsgarage.com
Photo 32/37   |   Rearward ViewIt can be tough to see what's behind your vehicle when reversing course. Delphi's Forewarn backup aid is designed to keep you informed. The 16.4-foot zone from the radar-based system detects both moving and stationary objects and uses a progressive series of audible alerts heard inside the vehicle. Two models are available: a sensor permanently mounted to the rear bumper, or a removable unit, using a Class II trailer hitch. The system retails for $299. Contact Pana-Pacific at 800/726-2636.www.panapacific.com

Photo 33/37   |   What a Winch!Known for its military-spec hydraulic winches, MileMarker now offers a lightweight, heavy-duty electric 12,000-pound winch. Weighing in at a mere 94 pounds, it includes 100 feet of 3/8-inch diameter cable, roller fairolead, 12-foot remote, 5.5-horsepower motor, and an automatic brake, and it comes with a two-year warranty. Expect to pay around $959. Mile Marker, Inc; 800/886-8647.www.milemarker.com
Photo 34/37   |   Record Your Hairiest Off-Road Moment If you've ever wanted to tackle a tough trail and videotape your exploits, now you can with the MotoCam from CyberSpeed Technologies. The vibration-damped camera connects to all camcorders, and with the included LCD screen, can double as a backup aid. The water-resistant system comes in polished chrome, black, or brushed aluminum. The kit includes a full-color LCD display, high-resolution infrared color camera, multiflex vibration-absorbing mounts, and all the necessary cabling, and retails for $799. CyberSpeed Technologies; 206/523-6459.www.themotocam.com

Photo 35/37   |   Trap Your TarpIf you regularly use a tarp to cover items in your bed, extend the life of the covering, regardless of the fabric, by adding Super Snap reusable grommets. The portable, easy-to-install grommets are ideal for creating additional tiedown points, replacing grommets that ripped out, and making or repairing tarps. A package contains four grommets. Suggested retail is $3.95, and they're available at most Home Depot stores. Super Sharpener; (866) 869-8115.www.supersharpener.com
Photo 36/37   |   Fade to BlackAgri-Cover's LiteRider soft rollup tonneau cover has added a new sleek appeal. Black-anodized aluminum siderails have taken the place of the previous silver-anodized aluminum units. The LiteRider is tested and proven for years of trouble-free service by combining quality construction and quick clamp-on installation. The tonneau runs from $340-$360, depending on application. Agri-Cover; 800/233-4655.www.literider.com

Photo 37/37   |   Rack It UpSo, your truck or SUV is loaded to the gills, and you still have a cooler or a steamer trunk to carry? Bestop has the answer, with its new receiver hitch bracket and universal tray. The bracket comes in standard 11/4-inch and 2-inch hitch sizes and attaches to the polyethylene rack tray with four bolts. The assembly can carry up to 200 pounds. Recessed eyebolts aid in strapping down cargo. Expect to pay $111.95 for the bracket and an extra $121.95 for the tray. Bestop; 888/845-3567.www.bestop.com

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