RSS Google+Author Archive for Benjamin

Benjamin Hunting is a freelance automotive writer who has been involved in racing, restoring and writing about cars and trucks for more than a decade. In his spare time he enjoys keeping the shiny side up on track days. You can find out more about Benjamin’s writing at his website, http://www.benjaminhunting.com.

SpitzLift Cargo Bed Cranes Offer Easy Pickup Truck Loading

Your pickup might be good at hauling cargo, but one area where it almost certainly doesn’t shine is when it comes time to load or unload any of the gear you have stashed in the truck bed.  With tall sides and a ride height that doesn’t exactly encourage OSHA-approved lifting practices, it can be a real pain to stuff your cargo bed with bulky or heavy items.  Even solutions such as ramps can only do so much, as you then either have to transport a dolly with you or resign yourself to walking up and down a gangplank for the duration of the loading process…assuming you can push or ride whatever it is you need to load/unload.

Tundra with Spitzlift crane holding BMW motorcycle

The Spitzlift Crane makes loading and unloading a manageable task - even for one person trying to load a heavy sport bike

A company called SpitzLift has come up with a tool that aims to solve pickup loading problems in a compact and easy to operate package.  SpitzLift’s main product is a small crane that can be mounted on your truck and assist you when it comes to filling or emptying your cargo bed.

A DIY Guide for TRD Supercharger Installation – Video

Strapping on a TRD supercharger is a dream for many Toyota Tundra owners, but only the most dedicated gearheads out there will actually be able to combine the skills required and the time needed to install this power-adder themselves.  Add in the fact that Toyota offers better warranty coverage for those who choose to have their superchargers put in by a dealer (5-years / 60,000 miles versus 12-months / 12,000 miles for a self-install), and the idea of a DIY supercharger installation isn’t quite as appealing as letting the pros handle the heavy lifting.

That being said, there are a number of resources available online which are designed to walk you through the steps required to slap a TRD supercharger on top of your Tundra’s engine.  Even if you intend to farm out the mechanical details to the technicians at your local dealership, there is a lot that can be learned about the Tundra by watching and absorbing the wisdom contained in these guides.

Clear Bra Tips for Truck Owners

Rock chips are the inevitable outcome of any extended period of truck ownership. No matter how careful you are, at some point an errant stone is going to get kicked up by the car in front of you and take a chunk out of your paint. You might even do it to yourself driving down a gravel road by shooting back rocks at your rocker and rear quarter panels.

Hood with chipped paint from rocks and gravel

Rock chips on your vehicle's hood are ugly and can hurt your vehicle's value

It used to be that the only real form of protection against rock chips was to install a hideous black ‘bra’ on the front of a vehicle. Usually made out of vinyl, these monstrosities were not only ugly, but cheaper models also introduced the very real risk of damaging the paint themselves by baking into the factory finish over time or by trapping water and “gunk” between the cover and the clear coat.

Thankfully, technology has advanced past the days of the black vinyl bra and introduced the “clear bra” – but not all clear bras are the same.

The Bilstein 5100 Leveling Kit – First Look

According to Bilstein, most spacer leveling kits are inferior to their new 5100 Series adjustable leveling shocks. Designed for truck and SUV applications, Bilstein’s 5100’s are meant to raise up the front end while avoiding the compromises that come with using spacer kits. Bilstein claims their kits offer 2 inches more of suspension up-travel while increasing ride height as much as 2.75″, without increasing coilover assembly length.

Breaking down the Bilstein 5100 Adjustable Leveling Kit - pros and cons

While we haven’t installed a set of these shocks on a truck yet, we have reviewed Bilstein’s literature and we have some notes for anyone considering buying this kit. First, however, before you can recognize the difference between Bilstein’s new adjustable height leveling kit and similar kits from ReadyLift, Truxxx, Low Range Off-Road, or Toytec, you’ve got to know a little bit about suspension lifts in general.

Two-Door, Tundra-based SUV – What Would You Name It?

There was once a time when you could saunter on down to your local car dealership and test drive one of several full-size, two-door sport-utility vehicles. In fact, the history books are filled with names like the Chevrolet Blazer, the Ford Bronco, the Toyota FJ40 and the Dodge Ramcharger, vehicles that each offered full-frame truck toughness on a short, easy-to-navigate-out-on-the-trail wheelbase.

Sadly, most of these models had disappeared by the mid-1990s, leaving us with only their full-size four-door cousins to take their place. Sure, the FJ Cruiser and the Jeep Wrangler are still around, but they aren’t in quite the same class in terms of brawn, towing capacity or passenger room as a full-size truck. While the Chevrolet Suburban and the Toyota Sequoia are certainly solid vehicles in their own right, they don’t offer the same amount of fun when thrashed across a mud pit, due to their size and weight. They are also harder to park and just don’t look as ‘sporty’ as the departed two-door SUVs of old.

Just because these trucks no longer ply the nation’s highways doesn’t mean that we can’t dream.