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2018 Detroit Auto Show

eTorque, Steel Beds, & Rangers--Oh My!

Ford Ranger by Nestor Galina

They're bringin' Ranger Back! The return of the Ford Ranger in 2019.

Picture by Nestor Galina.

Rolling Out Our First "Normal" Post

Cass spinning whiskey

So while post zero was more of an interview with Cass, filling in the historical gaps about Midwest Aftermarket and how the company came to be, this time around we'll be establishing our "normal" blog routine. The plan: don't f$@%er it up on the second attempt. Yeah, that.

This week we are diving into the news surrounding the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Honestly, there's so much coming out concerning trucks this year that we are going to struggle to limit ourselves just to three topics: the relaunch of the Ford Ranger, the eTorque mild hybrid on the new Ram 1500, and the redesign of the Chevy Silverado with Dynamic Fuel Management. Let the raging commence. Or maybe we'll start by telling you what the heck this all means exactly. That's probably best.

Aftermarket After Hours Blog Post Structure

Cass and Dan Chatting it up

While this is still just our first "regular" blog post, we came up with a tentative organization, so if you'd like to see what we are planning on covering each week, here's the outline:

  • Intro: we introduce & mention our main topic this week

  • The Parts Professor's Product Spotlight: highlighting aftermarket product we are particularly excited about at the moment

  • Night Edition News: Updates on our project truck, 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 Night Edition

  • In the Garage this Week: Our Main topic for the post

  • Outtro: rotating goofy endings including--

  • --Cool Stuff Cass Buys Online

  • --Fun Personal Questions that aren't really related to the post

  • --Off-topic Crypto-Currency rants & more,

but we'll keep it short cause "ain't nobody got time for that."

The Parts Professor's Product Spotlight

The Parts Professor's Product Spotlight:

BAK Revolver X4 Hard Roll-up Tonneau Cover

BAK Revolver x4

To call myself a BAK fan-boy is probably an understatement, but let me try to tone it down and explain. Since I started a 10 part series on BAK's tonneau lineup last year, I have seen just about every product related to tonneau covers BAK has to offer. I was admittedly a pretty huge fan of the X2. The X4 is an update and upgrade for the X2, with all the sweet stylings of the original Revolver X2 plus one vital new feature: a slick matte black finish.

For me, the Revolver series combines everything I love about a hard tonneau cover, like a tri-fold, with the ease of access of a roll-up cover, and the visual appeal of vinyl. The top of the truck bed cover sports a vinyl material that is finished in an attractive matte black. But hidden just beneath the surface are strong aluminum interlocking slats. This tonneau is one of the most durable and secure we've ever carried. Brand new for 2018, if you are in the market for a tonneau make sure you check out BAK's entire line, including the BAKflip MX4, the BAKFlip VP vinyl tri-fold, and this brand new BAK Revolver X4. BAK in Matte, babies!

Night Edition News

Night Edition News: EGR & Recon

These last couple weeks we dove right into our 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 Night Edition, equipping her with not one, not two, but three new aftermarket products. We added on a couple protective layers from EGR, including a Bug Shield and some Vent Visors. Then we upgraded our 3rd tail light, RECON style. Let's start with dealin' with those pesky buggers.

If you drive at night at all in the country or on many of our illustrious country's highways and biways, then you know the danger bug guts expose your paint job too. Alright, danger might be a strong word. But they those insects can be a real pain in the ass to clean off your hood nonetheless. This alone was one of the reasons I originally invested in a pressure washer for my home garage, but that's another story.

Tired of dealing with all those bug guts? It's time to invest in a bug shield or hood shield, like EGR's Superguard, shown at the right/below. This protective add on not only deflects bugs away from your hood and windshield, it also guards against rocks and pebbles thrown up by other vehicle's tires. We've all been there. Your about to pass a semi, when it throws a gaggle of pebbles back at your sweet paint job and windshield. Installing a hood shield helps protect your truck against paint and glass chips from unavoidable impacts.

EGR Bug Shield & Vent Visors

EGR Bug Shield and Vent Visors

Now with both our EGR Superguard Bug & Hood Shield and our Vent Visors, we opted to keep the Night Edition theme alive and well by going with a matte black smokey finish. One of the biggest draws we found of the Night Edition, after all, was all that matte black accent. While we want to soup her up, we don't want to discredit her soul. Hence, we're staying true to the matte black. It is just a bonus then that we find this new trend in matte black aftermarket accessories so damn pleasing to the eye too.

For the Vent Visors we decided to go matte black and in-channel install. The finish I think has been well explained. The in-channel design works on a number of levels. First, the ease of the install is a great added reason to go with EGR. Since these Window Visors don't require any glue or 3M strips or drilling, the installation is something you can easily do at home and alone, in the comfort of your own garage. You just press the visor up into the window channel and your done. Roll up the window, let it sit a few minutes and you're ready to rock.

The second reason we opted for this 4 piece set was the low-profile design. Since in-channel visors install in such a way, the don't extend out away from your window. We like this sleek profile look. The sick look adds a lot to our Night Edition's appeal.

RECON Smoked LED 3rd Brake Light

Recon Smoked 3rd Brake Light

While we were at it with those EGR protective guards and visors, we decided to upgrade our 3rd Brake Light too. While this part didn't make our initial list, when Cass say it, he about flipped and just had to have it. Why, you might ask? What a silly question. Smoked. Nuff said.

The RECON Smoked LED 3rd Brake light is everything we wanted for our Night Edition and more. First, she's plug and play. Even our non-mechanically inclined co-workers could install this bad boy in minutes. You just pop out the old light and put in the new. Alright, there is a little 3M tape too for added stability, but it was still super easy to install.

Next we wanted to focus on the LED element. Not only do LED's offer great brightness at reduced electrical currents, they also have serious longevity. Replacing your stock lights with professional grade LED's is likely a one time purchase, as good LED lights, whether they are brake lights or headlights, are very likely to last the entire lifetime of the vehicle.

Finally, the aesthetics of the 3rd Brake Light. I mean, just look at that sick smokey black finish. That so called "Murdered Out" look really makes our Ram look fierce. Very nice.

In the Garage this Week

In the Garage this Week: 2018 Detroit Auto Show

eTorque, Steel Beds, & Rangers--Oh My!

We wanted to add our own two cents into the Auto Show conversation, focusing on Trucks and Jeeps, of course. For us the big announcements out of Detroit this January included the Ford Ranger's return to the States, Chevy's new Silverado equipped with dynamic fuel management, and Dodge's release of the first every hybrid truck engine option, eTorque, for its 2019 Ram.

The Prodigal Return of the Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger FX4 in Blue

The Mid-sized truck option from Ford makes a comeback in the US of A. Ranger is back this 2019 season, and she's ready to roll. Equipped with a 2.3L EcoBoost Turbo 4 Cylinder engine, we expect her to have great pickup and go as well as some decent fuel economy or as Cass likes to say it, "Twisted-seal & sex appeal!"

While some consumers go after Mid-sized trucks because they are a bit more on the affordable side, we hope that Ford's offerings of three separate models, the XL, XLT, and Lariat, you will be able to pick your trim level and get all the bells and whistles you desire.

While some analysts have feared a decrease in full-size pickup sales as mid-sized starts to make a comeback, here at Midwest Aftermarket we have to say we find that unlikely. If anything, more options likely means more truck buyers, not less. And we believe that these mid-sized offerings, like the new Ford Ranger, actually appeal to a whole different group of potential truck buyers: younger people and city folk.

Full Size Trucks Vs. Mid Sized Trucks

Ford Ranger more for City Folk?

While most of us who grew up in the country already have truck cause duh, some of the younger generations and those who grew up in more urban areas are now coming of age and getting started in their careers. Many of these adventurers love to escape the city life on the weekends and go out hiking, exploring, kayaking, and other cool activities.

Trucks like the Ranger are perfect for this demographic. They offer better fuel economy, a smaller frame for parking in the city, but still have the ability to haul sporting equipment and hit the trail when you want to get away from the busy city streets for a long weekend.

We are incredibly excited about the return of the Ford Ranger. In fact, we are so psyched, we're already thinking ahead for our 2019 project truck. Maybe we'll go mid-sized this time around. What do ya'll think? Hit us up on socials and let us know your thoughts about the Ford Ranger's prodigal return.

2019 Chevy Silverado

The 2019 Chevy Silverado

As a big Chevy fan, I'm excited for the 2019 lineup even if Cass is ready to criticize. Let's start with the pros before I let him get his two pence in. *wink*

The new 2019 Silverado has dropped a whopping 450 lbs. in weight while still managing to keep that all steel truck bed that GM (and I) loves to go on and on about. They've managed all this and more by switching to a "mixed material" strategy, meaning they have some composite material parts and aluminum body panels, coupled with a lighter powertrain, and suddenly you've got fuel economy gains up the wazoo!

As if that weren't enough--here comes Cass' sigh now--while sticking with 3 different V-8 engine options, Chevy has severely stifled their power gains by introducing their new "dynamic fuel management system" or DFM for short. This is basically a new and allegedly improved version of active fuel management. The DFM upgrade though means that whereas AFM could take you from 8 working cylinders down to 4 all in the name of fuel economy gains, DFM manages to take you from 8 down to 1. Fun times. Shoot me now.

While this innovative system does seem to have answers to many of our wear and tear issues that we associated the AFM with, it still hampers your engines maximum performance. Never fear though, because even if we have to opt for a PCM swap if these puppies be locked, we'll find a way to disable this bull$hit pronto.

2019 Dodge Ram with eTorque"

2019 Dodge Ram with eTorque

As if DFM wasn't enough to get my fellow gear heads up in arms, Dodge is introducing the first ever hybrid truck engine, their eTorque system. I know. WTF?! For seriously though. While most of us are preparing for the worst, this is actually something that really is brand spanking new, so we should really wait until she's released into the wild before we panic.

Here's the lowdown we know so far. Known as a "mild hybrid," this 48 volt system is a Killer Instinct style combo of traditional gas V6 or V8 engine and an electric motor that subsidizes it. We imagine this will be similar to auto stop/start, which comes equipped on lots of vehicles these days. And I don't know about you, but auto stop/start is kinda the bane of my existence. But hey, don't panic. We'll have a performance tuner and/or PCM/ECU swap ready to go as soon as these babies hit the market or shortly thereafter.

On a positive note, this years model of Ram shaved off 200 lbs. of weight and added a more aerodynamic front end, all of which should add more fuel economy on top of this eTorque nonsense. And if you're curious why all these auto start/stop, DFM/AFM, and mild hybrid noise is popping up year after year, well you have no one to blame except all those Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations or CAFE for short. Oh, and that one guy. Yeah, thanks, Obama. At least we'll get some fuel economy gains when on the highway, and hopefull we'll still be able to modify these engines so you can use every g-darn cylinder the way you want when you want. You hear me?! Yeah, you hear me.

Outro

Achates Power Shows off a 37 mpg F-150!

Achates Power 3-Cylinder OP

For this weeks outro, Cass and I tried to wrap our heads around Achates Power's 3-Cylinder Opposed Piston Engine. At the Detroit Auto Show, Aramco & Achates demoed this 2.7L installed in an F-150 and claimed it could get an estimated 37 mpg combined city and highway. And our jaws dropped.

With everyone scrambling to try to meet CAFE regulations on mpg for 2025, trying out all sorts of electric engines and frankly gimmicky nonsense like auto stop/starts, Achates took it in another direction entirely using a diesel engine with less cylinders. Woot?!

While we are still a little skeptical, we can't argue with the results. We are still learning about opposed-piston technology, but diesel OP engines may very well be the future of modern trucks here in America and throughout the rest of the world. And we're excited.

Review, Like, & Subscribe Por Favor

Vintage Dodge RAM MWA Style

We hope you enjoyed our first attempt at a "normal" blog post entry. If you liked what you heard, or saw, or read, please like and subscribe. Better yet, write a review and tell all your buddies about us. As we grow the blog and our Youtube we hope to get into more great discussions about aftermarket truck and Jeep accessories, and maybe even interview some industry reps to talk about new product and innovative design in aftermarket parts.

A quick preview for future posts: we plan to discuss our prediction for the top 10 aftermarket parts for 2018. Let's see if we can agree on any of 'em. Pedal Commander, perhaps? Maybe Cass and I will even make a little wager on our lists. Who knows?!

Until then, remember when you think Truck & Jeep accessories, think Midwest Aftermarket. We'll help you:

Dream It. Build It. Drive It.

Goodnight everybody!

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