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General information about the various mods available to 4x4 vehicles covering pros and cons to assist in the decision of "Is this the right mod?"

John Stewart

OnStar Launches Stolen Vehicle Slowdown®

New technology will assist public safety officials in OnStar stolen vehicle cases, help save lives

DETROIT – General Motors (GM) and OnStar today launched Stolen Vehicle Slowdown on more than 1 million model year 2009 GM vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is the latest enhancement to OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Assistance service and enables OnStar to further help law enforcement in the recovery of subscribers’ stolen vehicles, while helping to reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from police chases. Working with law enforcement and utilizing its unique built-in technology, OnStar can remotely send a signal that interacts with the vehicle’s engine, gradually slowing it down, aiding in a safe recovery.

“No other automaker provides its’ customers the peace of mind that OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown does,” said Chet Huber, OnStar president. “Our subscribers have told us they don’t want their vehicle to be the instrument of harm.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show 30,000 police chases occur each year, resulting in approximately 300 deaths. Stolen Vehicle Slowdown will help take high speed pursuits out of the equation, as well as the probability that a subscriber’s stolen vehicle will be crashed during a chase.

“Prior to Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, there were only three ways to stop a police chase; the officer elects to terminate the chase, the vehicle being pursued decides to stop or in the worse case scenario there is a crash,” said David Hiller, national vice president, Fraternal Order of Police. “With OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown we now have an additional and obviously far safer method. We congratulate GM and OnStar for working with law enforcement as they developed this product.”

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Prepare Your Car for a Safe Summer on the Road

Prepare Your Car for a Safe Summer on the Road
 
CHARLOTTE, NC – (June 9, 2008) – With summer just around the corner, Americans are planning their summer getaways.  And with rising fuel costs, more and more of them will forego air travel in favor of road trips.  Make no mistake, with the high price of gas, there are few travel bargains this year, but there are a number of ways consumers can prepare their vehicles – particularly their tires – for the coming travel season, to help improve fuel economy and keep them safe on the road.

“First and foremost, we can’t stress enough the importance of making sure your tires are properly inflated,” said Joerg Burfien, Director of R &D, Continental Tire North America, Inc.  “It’s one of the easiest ways to help improve fuel economy, while also prolonging the life of your tires, and keeping your family safe on the road.”

Properly inflated tires not only improve gas mileage, they last longer.  Proper inflation ensures safe handling, better ride quality, longer tread life and improved fuel economy.   Burfien recommends that consumers get into the habit of checking their tire pressure, including the spare, once a month.  

“It’s hard to believe, but each month, three out of four drivers wash their cars, but only one out of seven correctly checks their tire pressure,” he said.  
 
The correct tire pressure for your car is listed on the vehicle placard, which can be found in the following places:
-- in the car's owner manual
-- on the gas tank lid
-- on the driver's side door's edge
-- or on the door post

“When you check your tire’s inflation pressure, be sure the tires are cool - meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile,” he said. “Because air is a gas, it expands when heated and contracts when cooled – even when it’s the air in your tire. And most parts of North America experience a major climate change in the fall and early winter months when tire inflation pressure is likely to go down.”

Here’s a good rule of thumb:  For every 10° Fahrenheit change in air temperature, a tire's inflation pressure will change by about 1 pound per square inch (PSI) – increasing with higher temperatures and decreasing with lower temperatures.

Next, be sure to check the tread.  For safety purposes, tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch – Continental recommends 4/32 of an inch – in order to prevent skidding or hydroplaning. Before heading out on the road, visually check tires for signs of uneven wear -- high or low areas, or areas that are unusually smooth. Also check for signs of damage.  Here’s an easy test:  Place a penny into a tread groove. If part of Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're driving with the proper amount of tread. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to replace the tire.

Some other things to consider before you depart:  

Alignment: A bad jolt from hitting a curb or pothole can throw your front end out of alignment and damage your tires. Have a tire dealer check the alignment periodically to make sure your car is properly aligned.  Proper alignment helps increase the life and performance of the tires, and it also contributes to greater fuel economy.

Rotation:  Regular rotation helps extend the life and performance of tires. Regularly rotating your vehicle's tires will help you achieve more uniform wear. Unless your vehicle owner's manual has a specific recommendation, the guideline for tire rotation is approximately every 6,000-8,000 miles – or sooner if tires begin to show uneven wear. And if you have a full-size spare, this tire should be included in the rotation process, too. According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, (RMA), 71 percent of drivers do not check the tire pressure in their spare tire.

Balancing: A wheel that is unbalanced will tramp up-and-down or shake. Unbalanced tires also put undue stress on the front-end parts, causing tires to wear out well before their tread life warranty.

If properly cared for, tires can last a long time — usually from 40,000 to 80,000 miles, depending on the application, according to the RMA.  Practice these good driving habits, which will help keep your tires in good condition:
-- Obey posted speed limits.
-- Avoid fast starts, stops and turns.
-- Avoid potholes and other objects on the road.
-- Do not run over curbs or hit your tires against the curb when parking.
-- Do not overload your vehicle. Check your vehicle’s tire information in the owner's manual for the maximum recommended load for your vehicle.

TOWING
If you’ll be pulling a trailer, boat or RV, proper tire inflation is key, not only to prevent a blowout from too much weight, but also to keep the load steady and balanced.  A tow vehicle’s tires may require a higher tire pressure for towing, especially heavy loads, so be sure to abide by the manufacturer’s recommendations for fully-loaded tires, Burfien said.

 

According to the National Department of Transportation, the ability to handle and control a tow vehicle and trailer is greatly improved when the cargo is properly loaded and evenly distributed. Refer to your tow vehicle and trailer owner’s manual to find out how to: Balance weight from side to side; distribute cargo weight evenly along the length of the trailer; secure and brace all items to prevent them from moving during travel; adjust the height of the tow vehicle/trailer interface; and apply load leveling (weight distributing hitch bars).

Proper tire care also helps the environment, because underinflated tires waste fuel. Properly inflated tires help promote better fuel economy, and regular care helps tires get the most potential wear so they don't need to be replaced as often, Burfien said.  

Aside from checking tires, he also advised motorists to regularly check their belts, hoses and fluids before setting out so they don’t run into trouble on the road.

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For media information, visit www.ctnamedia.com.

With targeted annual sales of more than $40 billion for 2008, the Continental Corporation is one of the top automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for the powertrain and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, the corporation contributes towards enhanced driving safety and protection of the global climate. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Today, the corporation employs approximately 150,000 people at nearly 200 locations in 36 countries.

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John Stewart

PACE EDWARDS POWERGATE LOCKS YOUR TRUCK’S TAILGATE QUICKLY AND EASILY

PACE EDWARDS POWERGATE LOCKS YOUR TRUCK’S TAILGATE QUICKLY AND EASILY

Lots of tonneau covers can be locked to secure your stowed items—but what good is that if the thief can still open your tailgate? The PowerGate from Pace Edwards offers a convenient and very effective solution to this problem. Easily installed inside the tailgate using Pace Edwards’ plug-and-go wiring harness, the PowerGate locks your tailgate electronically every time you lock the vehicle’s doors using the original remote key fob. Made in the USA, the PowerGate includes a stainless steel backing plate and slide bolt with a nylon guide block for smooth operation. For vehicles without power door locks, Pace Edwards also offers an optional switch kit. The PowerGate is the perfect compliment to any Pace Edwards retractable truck bed cover. Pace Edwards, (888) 640 5902; www.pace-edwards.com

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Pace Edwards has been the industry leader in premium retractable truck bed covers for more than 20 years. Located in Centralia, Washington, Pace Edwards covers are known for their innovative designs, quality construction and true functionality. Part of the Truck Accessories Group, Pace Edwards is a SEMA and NTEA member and proudly manufactures its products in the U.S.A.

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Rebuilding Aisin Manual Hubs


When I first got my 4Runner, I had to lock/unlock the hubs with pliers because it was too difficult to turn by hand.  I figured a hub rebuild was in order.  There are several excellent write ups on the internet for Toyota Aisin hubs.  Here are some links:

Pirate4x4.com

4x4Wire.com

Off-Road.com

After following procedures from the above links, my hub dial now turns freely with ease.  When I disassembled my hubs, they were bone dry and there was lots of surface rust.  I cleaned everything up and applied a light coat of grease.  Here is what they looked like

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Replacing Alternator Brushes


By: Adam Fertig. 10/2003

If you have a early model Toyota 4Runner or pickup (same parts work for 3vze and 5vze) and the charge and brake lights on the dash light up at the same time, there is a good chance that your alternator will soon need replacement. This is exactly what happened to me. The brake light first came on for a day or two. I checked all of the brake components and could find no problems. Then all of the sudden the charge light and brake light lit up at the same time. This was puzzling since the battery read 13 volts while running. After a few days I encountered a major problem. On my way home from work, the CD player quit working, and my dash lights went dim. I looked at the volt meter in the dash, which was at the half way point. I began to put the turn signal on to get into the other lane, and the voltage dropped below half. Next the motor cut out, and the headlights went dim. This was a sure sign of a bad alternator. Had the battery been the culprit, the problem would not have been likely surface while the vehicle was running.

 

Fortunately there is a low cost alternative to a new alternator. All that is likely to be needed is a new set of alternator brushes for $10-$20! You can find these brushes at most major auto parts stores, or directly from the dealer using part number 27370-35060. The part from Toyota is a complete brush set, including the bracket that holds the brushes. The parts store piece consists of only the two metal brushes, with a long wire attached to each. The brushes have copper leads attached to them that runs though the middle of a spring, and then goes out the back of the brush holder, and is soldered in place. The Toyota part requires no soldering, as it is a drop in unit. The parts store piece requires removing the old brushes, routing the copper wire though the spring and out the back of the holder, and soldering it back into place. Save yourself the trouble and order the Toyota part as soon as your charge light comes on. Retail is $23 for the genuine Toyota part and $9 for the parts store piece.

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OutdoorWire, 4x4Wire, JeepWire, TrailTalk, MUIRNet-News, and 4x4Voice are all trademarks and publications of OutdoorWire, Inc. and MUIRNet Consulting. Copyright (c) 1999-2019 OutdoorWire, Inc and MUIRNet Consulting - All Rights Reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission. You may link freely to this site, but no further use is allowed without the express written permission of the owner of this material. All corporate trademarks are the property of their respective owners.