Trendsetting truck and SUV accessories, towing gear and tuning technology from the world’s largest automotive-equipment event
Every November for decades, tens of thousands of people representing the automotive aftermarket from around the world have converged in Las Vegas to attend the four-day Specialty Equipment Market Association Show, better known as the SEMA Show. Last fall’s event attracted an estimated 140,000 people, from manufacturers and retailers to journalists, who came to see amazing customized vehicles and the latest accessories. As we do every year, we browsed the sprawling New Product Showcase, with more than 3,000 products on display from some 800 manufacturers. Here’s a sampling of the gear and gadgets that caught our attention for outfitting tow vehicles and making RV towing safer and more efficient.
Squadron Sport LED lights attach to any flat surface to shine 1,800 lumens of flood-type illumination on hitches, storage compartments, interiors or anywhere additional lighting is needed. O-rings seal the compact housings to the mounting surface, and the wiring harness holds the switch. The bright lights come in square or round housings in white or black and carry a 30-day money-back guarantee.
866-335-7050 | www.bajadesigns.com
Named Best New Exterior Accessory at the SEMA Show, the HDX LED Grille combines form and function. Made of 16-gauge steel mesh, the stylish textured-black grille houses a double-row LED bar in the center and single-row LED bars on either side. The replacement grille comes with a wiring harness and bolts onto the front of newer Ford, GM, Ram, Nissan and Toyota pickups with no drilling.
MSRP: From $1,733.32
626-960-6762 | www.westinautomotive.com
CT Johnson Enterprises
Theft is always a concern for trailer owners.
The all-in-one Hitch and Trailer Anti-Theft Lock Kit stands guard with a DeadBolt Blockhead coupler lock, a coupler latch lock and a receiver lock, plus a single key to open all three. The hitch lock blocks the receiver so it cannot be slipped over a hitch ball. The TSK1-AS lock set works on 17⁄8- and 2-inch couplers, and the TSK3-AS works on 2- and 25⁄16-inch couplers. Both kits fit all Class III and IV hitches.
503-226-2011 | www.deadboltlocks.com
Robert James Innovations
The patented RJ Lock adds another level of trailer protection by preventing access to the ball nut itself. Now available for 1- and 1¼-inch ball-mount shanks, the keyed locking mechanism replaces the existing nut on the ball, preventing thieves from taking off the nut and moving the ball to the shank on another vehicle — with the trailer still attached.
949-929-2677 | www.rjlocks.com
Tuffy Security Products
Ford F-150 XLT owners can safely stow valuables with Tuffy’s Security Console Insert for 2009 to 2014 models. Named the SEMA Show’s Best New Product Under $500 by the Light Truck Accessory Alliance, the welded and powder-coated 16-gauge steel insert has a 1⁄8-inch-thick Pry-Guard locking system for serious security. The insert installs easily into the center console without drilling, according to the company, and allows access to existing USB and power outlets. Similar inserts are available for GM and Ram full-size pickups.
800-348-8339 | www.tuffyproducts.com
Pareto Point Industries
Engine oil is the lifeblood of a diesel pickup. To keep it clean, the Filteröl serial advanced filtration system from Pareto Point is designed to remove particles as small as 2 microns, continuously clearing wear-causing debris that standard filters can’t trap. This simple yet elegant filtration kit is an easy bolt-on application, with no engine modifications, and can result in improved mileage, longer service intervals and extended engine life, according to the company.
323-726-2199 | www.paretopoint.com
With the UltraGroove Electric retractable truck-bed cover, truck owners can securely store cargo beneath the tonneau and haul bulkier items on top. A built-in expansion system allows use of Thule or Yakima racks to carry bikes, kayaks, surfboards, paddleboards, skis or snowboards above the padded-vinyl-covered aluminum panels. No drilling is required. This new electric version allows for remote opening and closing with the touch of a button.
800-338-3697 | www.pace-edwards.com
State-of-the-art latching and edge-sealing systems in the new Latitude trifold tonneau protect the truck bed and the cargo stored inside it. The soft cover’s self-tensioning system stretches the material tightly, cushion-type seals keep water out, and adjustable latches allow the tonneau to be opened with one hand from either side. No-drill installation makes it easy to use and remove.
MSRP: From $399
Ram and GM HD owners can boost truck performance with an assortment of new products from Banks Power. The Six-Gun Tuning Bundle for 6.6-liter Duramax diesel-powered vehicles combines an iDash digital monitor and a Derringer tuner claimed to add 98 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque to 2017 and newer models. The Ram Cold-Air Intake (shown on the left) and 3.5-inch Monster-Ram Intake systems more than double airflow into Ram 6.7-liter engines, according to Banks.
MSRP: From $383.33
800-601-8072 | www.bankspower.com
Made of high-quality stainless steel, Bully Dog’s emissions-compliant Performance Diesel Particulate Filter is designed to increase airflow by as much as 21 percent, reduce exhaust gas temperature (EGT) by up to 12 percent, and improve horsepower and torque. Available for the 2007 and 2008 Dodge Ram 2500/3500, 2008 to 2010 6.4-liter Ford Power Stroke and 2009 to 2012 Ram 2500, the Performance DPF replaces stock units that have been prone to maintenance challenges.
940-783-9914 | www.bullydog.com
Cool air helps diesels make power, and the Sinister Diesel Cold-Air Intake for 2013 to 2016 Chevy/GMC 6.6-liter Duramax LML engines is designed to supply just that through its mandrel-bent aluminum tube and high-flow filter. The intake extends from the filter to the turbo to promote maximum airflow, and silicone (not rubber) couplers provide durable, trouble-free connections, according to the company. Sinister also has cold-air intakes for Power Stroke and Cummins diesels, all with a distinctive blue finish.
844-550-5707 | www.sinisterdiesel.com
Engineered for a wide range of Ford, GM and Dodge/Ram diesels, the Stage 2 Diesel Performance Kit bundles an Evolution CTS2 Programmer with a Jammer Cold-Air Intake and all-new Jammer Exhaust. Edge claims the package reduces EGT while increasing horsepower, torque and fuel efficiency. Most applications are 50-state legal.
MSRP: From $1,189.95
888-360-3343 | www.edgeproducts.com
The Spectrum Brake Control takes charge of trailer-brake activity for smoother and more responsive stops on any grade, according to Curt. The main component mounts out of sight, while the in-dash user interface (shown above) operates with a simple pushbutton knob with 10 LEDs. Both modules install with a quick-plug harness.
MSRP: From $182.75
877-287-8634 | www.curtmfg.com
HANDLING AND STABILITY
The Stability Plus Stabilizer is an overload spring system from Australia-based Dynamic Suspensions that utilizes greaseable swing shackles to allow the helper spring to move and twist for maximum stability, load handling and ride comfort, according to the manufacturer. Adjustable for both light and heavy loads, the stabilizer is said to install easily and comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.
336-416-2083 | www.dynamicsuspensions.us
Hellwig’s lineup of truck and SUV accessories now includes a heavy-duty rear sway bar for 2017 Ram 3500/4500/5500 Chassis Cab trucks. Designed for towing applications, the U.S.-made 1¼-inch sway bar (part number 7767) works with the stock front sway bar to stop body roll in normal driving and tow/haul mode, according to Hellwig. Three mounting holes allow for adjustable positions to fit the truck and suit the load. Installation takes a few hours and requires basic hand tools.
800-367-5480 | www.hellwigproducts.com
Roadmaster Active Suspension
The RAS system converts the tow vehicle’s passive rear-leaf springs into a mechanical active suspension that instantly absorbs and dissipates load-force energy for a better ride, according to the company. The unique suspension upgrade is designed to reduce wheel hop and enhance vehicle stability when towing or hauling heavier loads. The system comes fully assembled and is available in standard and heavy-duty models.
800-398-5036 | www.activesuspension.com
AFTERMARKET FUEL TANKS
Titan Fuel Tanks
The 40-gallon Travel Trekker fits in truck beds with limited space, such as Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks, and Ram pickups with the RamBox cargo holder. The touch of a button switches sources to pump fuel from the auxiliary tank directly into the primary tank. Made of military-grade polymer, the tank has an in-cab controller that also serves as a fuel-level gauge.
800-728-4982 | www.titanfueltanks.com
Transfer Flow’s 60-gallon replacement fuel tank for 2017 and newer Ford Super Duty shortbed Crew Cab models nearly doubles the trucks’ driving range. Built with aluminized steel, the tank is baffled to reduce sloshing and comes with heavy-duty straps and mounting hardware. The company’s full line of replacement and auxiliary tanks includes models for other popular tow vehicles.
530-893-5209 | www.transferflow.com
For easy hookups, Blue Ox’s Super Ride 20,000-pound-capacity fifth-wheel hitch features a 360-degree latch and a self-locking head. Rubber springs cushion the hitch for a smooth ride, eliminating up-and-down and back-and-forth movement, and reducing stress on the truck and trailer. A full 11 inches of articulating travel keeps the trailer from striking shortbed cabs. The lightweight design allows the hitch to be installed and removed without a second person’s help.
800-228-9289 | www.blueox.com/super-ride
Fastway Trailer Products
Built for heavy-towing pickups, the latest addition to the Flash line of ball mounts features a drop shank that can handle trailer weights up to 20,000 pounds. Designed to fit trucks with 2½-inch receivers, the mount provides adjustable ball heights from 6 to 10 inches of drop. The powder-coated finish on the forged-steel shank should keep it looking good for years.
MSRP: From $199
877-523-9103 | www.fastwaytrailer.com
SuperLite fifth-wheel hitches feature a unique funnel receiver and kingpin adapter that make hooking up nearly effortless. The latest SuperLite (part number 2600) connects to any factory or aftermarket bed-mounted 25⁄16-inch gooseneck ball. The design allows two kingpin positions for towing a fifth-wheel or a gooseneck trailer. The hitch is rated to tow 20,000 pounds yet weighs just 64 pounds.
800-443-2307 | www.pullrite.com
Dead batteries are not an option when using the Reikken 12V Smart Charger. The 7.5-amp
microprocessor-controlled RSC7002 desulfates and reconditions batteries as it charges. Compatible with 12-volt SLI, SLA, VRLA, AGM and gel-cel batteries up to 250 ampere hours, the charger (part number RSC7002) comes with quick-disconnect battery clamps and ring terminals, and provides polarity protection and a polar mode for extreme
260-348-7003 | www.reikken.com
A respected automotive and RV journalist and longtime Trailer Life contributor, Bruce W. Smith has held numerous editorial titles at automotive and boating magazines, and authored more than 1,000 articles, from tech to trailering. He considers his home state of Oregon a paradise for RVing and outdoor adventure.