Rumors, Ramblings and Robots From 2017 SEMA Show

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There was a lot to see at the 2017 Special Equipment Market Association Show. The four-day automotive trade show filled the Las Vegas Convention Center and even spilled outside. Imagine miles of carpeted walkways with booth after booth filled with new products, booming audio systems, giant project trucks, towing technology and much more.

As you might expect, it was hard to see the whole show, but we did see quite a few cool things. Here's just a sampling of what we found:

 

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Front Camera Option

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In the name of making the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 even more capable off-road, especially if you don't have a spotter on your favorite steep-cliff trail, GM Accessories showed off a front camera option to allow the driver to see what's directly in front of the pickup through the navigation screen. The software will already exist in new ZR2s and will be touchscreen accessible when installed by a dealership. Pricing to come.

 

Robot Trailer Trolley

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The Camper Trolley stopped us in our tracks, mostly because there was a huge crowd around the booth watching a guy with a small remote control take a large trailer for a spin in the booth. This camper trolley makes moving a large and cumbersome camper, horse- or car-hauling trailer a simple procedure. It allows you to be more precise about where you want to park the rig.

 

Twin 5.9-Liter Cummins Engines

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We found a gorgeous 1970 Dodge with two side-by-side, 5.9-liter inline-six-cylinder Cummins engines under the hood, which we'll put under the category labeled, why? We were told it makes more than 1,200 pounds-feet of torque, thanks in large part to the custom-made splitter box that takes both output shafts and transfers the power to a single prop shaft, eventually going into a rear Dana 70 axle. How this pickup doesn't tip over on its nose is a miracle.

 

Ford F-150 Raptor 'Rides'

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In its outdoor Ford display, Ford Racing offered "static" rides in a real 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, where passengers could not only see what it's like racing for three minutes in an actual desert race (thanks to a massive, bendable video screen over the front windshield with all the other windows blacked out), but they also got to feel what it would be like inside the truck during the race, thanks to the fact that each wheel was hydraulically connected to the computer screen. It was rather Disneyesque.

 

XBox Virtual Raptor Rides

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To celebrate the release of the newest version of the popular video game console, Xbox offered its own 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Xbox One X Edition at SEMA, allowing attendees to experience the One X system for themselves. In early 2018, this One X Edition of the Raptor will be available to players of "Forza Motorsport 7."

 

Slot-Car Exhibition and Race

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The folks who make Hypertech plug-in computer modules came up with a good idea: Why not let SEMA visitors actually race while at the show? Hypertech's slot-car racing exhibition and impromptu novice race clinics proved to be quite popular. As you might expect, most of the car choices were Mustangs and Camaros; there were no pickup truck choices to be seen.

 

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Rumors

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Walking a show of this size, with so many connected engineers and suppliers in attendance, you overhear a lot of rumors. One of the more significant ones we heard from several sources was that the coming 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is likely to have two new engines: one a powerful twin-turbo four-cylinder gas engine, the other a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter. The V-8 will remain.

 

Colorado ZR2 Durability Testing

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Chevrolet took the opportunity to display several new GM Accessories parts designed to make the Colorado ZR2 even more durable and capable of handling punishing desert terrain. A taller suspension lift with stronger undercarriage parts allow the ZR2 to run bigger tires at faster speeds through rougher terrain. GM worked with Hall Racing as well as its own in-house engineering team. Look for more upgraded parts to come out for both the ZR2 and Silverado 1500 pickups down the road.

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry, Mark Williams

 

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Comments

After all the hate towards Ford's twin turbos I'd expect gm fans to b disown the girly girl four cyl engine. Wonder if it will have enhanced audio?

@dudleydoright:
The V8 will remain, that's all that matters.

A 2019 GM 1500 diesel would be a nice addition. Hopefully it lifts the status quo bar.

A 2019 GM 1500 diesel would be a nice addition. Hopefully it lifts the status quo bar.

Regarding the old Dodge pickup with twin Cummins.

The weight distribution isn't as tricky as it seems.

The snout of each engine's crank needs to be right in line with the ball joints. Too much of the engine forward of the ball joints turns the sweet old truck into a beast. In a custom build locating the engines is a simple matter of fabbing up your own motor mounts anyway.

You gotta admit, the concept is cool and the old Dodge would sure win the truck-pull contest.

Papa Jim is going to love the 2019 4 cylinder Chevy Silverado.

@Trucker

Just put TWO of the little 4 cylinder motors side/side like the old Dodge above and the darn little Chevy will run like a scalded dog.

Oh those GM supporters..., C'mon, sing along..., Everything is Beautiful - In it's own way...

"The weight distribution isn't as tricky as it seems.

The snout of each engine's crank needs to be right in line with the ball joints. Too much of the engine forward of the ball joints turns the sweet old truck into a beast. In a custom build locating the engines is a simple matter of fabbing up your own motor mounts anyway. "

Ok- you stepped in it with that one- there isn't enough length from the axle center line to the firewall for a 6cyl Cummins. Even in a MD truck the oil pan is still stepped over the axle. Oh, and they're about 3ft tall, too, so the frame rail that would be right on the center line of each engine has to go. Forget a steering column. Brakes have to go under the floor. "simple matter of ...motor mounts" ROFPMPfL

If the rumors are true, then the Silverado 1/2 ton may have a Diesel in place before the F-150. Once again, Ford will be following GM's lead.

"After all the hate towards Ford's twin turbos I'd expect gm fans to b disown the girly girl four cyl engine. Wonder if it will have enhanced audio?"---- Posted by: Dudleydoright


Anyone want to bet that the turbo four will end up a popular choice? Ford's problem has been the historic lack of reliability in its EcoBoost, though I will acknowledge that it's improved according to the more recent lack of complaints. On the other hand, GM has taken a long time to bring in the turbos, which means they're either more comprehensively designed or they're finally realizing that the turbo four offers an economy advantage when unladen while still offering V8 power when needed. Still, unless that four is bigger than 2.5, it could still be underpowered for a 5,000 pound truck (before payload.)

"Ok- you stepped in it with that one- there isn't enough length from the axle center line to the firewall for a 6cyl Cummins. Even in a MD truck the oil pan is still stepped over the axle. Oh, and they're about 3ft tall, too, so the frame rail that would be right on the center line of each engine has to go. Forget a steering column. Brakes have to go under the floor. "simple matter of ...motor mounts" ROFPMPfL"---- Posted by: Mr Knowitall

As I recall, those old trucks tended to push the engine right back up against the firewall with a huge transmission tunnel intruding into the cabin. As such, it might not be as hard as you imagine to put those Cummins engines as far back as described. I won't comment on the height of the engines but I do recall that the old trucks tended to have a LOT of spare room under the hood, so even that may be covered better than you think. Note also that some sports cars actually make the engine block a part of the suspension and it is not inconceivable that something similar was done here.

Without seeing the truck for ourselves, we simply can't make assumptions on how it was done.

Those twin Cummins would be a lot cooler if they were mounted behind the cab, for a mid-engine pickup. Way better weight distribution, bed would probably still be as long as today's typical four-door truck, and you have room for a huge trunk under the hood in front of the cab, complete with spare tire.

Room for the tranny might be a little tight....may have to mount the engines backwards with trans running toward front axle, then an offset driveshaft running back to rear axle, like an old PowerWagon. Probably have room for a PTO, too...

here isn't enough length from the axle center line to the firewall for a 6cyl Cummins

@Knowitall

This is a custom truck.

You can easily see that they fabbed-up the firewall. They installed a very thick radiator, so it's easy to see that the long Cummins motors had to be installed further back in the frame.

here isn't enough length from the axle center line to the firewall for a 6cyl Cummins

@Knowitall

This is a custom truck.

You can easily see that they fabbed-up the firewall. They installed a very thick radiator, so it's easy to see that the long Cummins motors had to be installed further back in the frame.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah a four cylinder truck hahahahahahahahahah

More junk from garbage motors.

Just curious what “V8 power” means?
A NA 2.5 is 200 hp, 191 lbs.ft of torque. But that horsepower peak is at 6300 rpm. On paper, that 2.5 is better than the venerable TBI 350 used in over 8600 lbs GVWR (190hp).
What about the near or over 400 hp and 400 lbs Ft of torque newer V8s? That kind of “power” from small displacement requires FUEL and BOOST.
Those numbers look great, but just as a 3.5 EcoBoost F150 isn’t a match for a 6.2 F250 for constant towing and work, the big dog V8 is overkill in a fleet vehicle that idles feequently, does local/light deliveries, or lots of highway miles. Turbos will make it competitive with the 4.3, with lower per mile costs.
One has to wonder if the 4.3 or the 6.2 has a short life in half-tons?
Ironically, when the new 4.3 debuted, the Hp and Tq curves were widely discussed as superior to first gen 5.3s I many ways. Yet, it still doesn’t have a huge take rate.
A diesel, if it can be clean, reliable. Efficient, and perform well, it has really good potential.
I’d like a hybrid diesel set up where the motor can run as a larger generator for the job site or camp site, the electric motor function can assist acceleration and hill climbs, and the 8 or 10 speed trans can keep the diesel in the sweet spot for max fuel economy.

Wish there was more in this artiicle about the new Silverado. I own an F159 with the 2.7L Ecoboost that is wonderful, but really, I would have no problem with owning a full size with a turbo charged 4. It makes more sense for light-duty applications than a twin turbo V6 with a whopping 400 ft-lbs and a $1000 premium over base.. The cost of a single turbo and two fewer cylinders would mean that, instead of offering four engines or more like Ford does, this cheaper turbo could replace the current base engine with near-equal horsepower and much higher and much more truck-like turque curve as the current 4.3L NA V6. Then you add a small diesel and then a gas- guzzling V8 for all the muscle heads at a high premium until which point those unneeded engines lose favor with the public, and then at that point, whenever that might be, the other two domestics can drop those V8s with larger displacement turbos. Ram is thinking right with a future inline 6. The advantages with regards to V engines versus I engines are minimized with turbo charging and an inline would cost less andd consumers will appreciate the simplicity.

So what you end up with at the end are a 4 cylcinder turbo, a 6 cylinder turbo and a 6 cylinder diesel for the rich and crazy.

Wish there was more about the next-generation cylinder deactivation called DSF with respect to upcoming Silverado and Sierra V8s that promise 20% improvement in FE.

Think of it this way. A 2.7ish 4 cylinder turbo could be tuned for extreme durability and still generate 270 hp and 335 ft- lbs at 2700 RPM. That's better performance than the 4.3, could achieve 28 mpg on the highway after the truck is lightened and ten speed added in when under light load, would be more refined due to more torque down low, and they could sell it for the same price. It's a win, win!

And as far as customers disowning. No matter how much hate some people think Ford has for downsizing and turbo charging, 2.7L is their best seller, and by the end of 2018, I prefict that the 3.5 EB will over take 5.0 for number 2. The only thing holding back the bigger Ecoboost is it's $3000+ premium, but for 2018, the 5.0 has a $2000 premium. Up from previous models and more than competitors' V8s.



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