SEMA Show 2005

Text and Photos by John Lee

 

Superwinch

Superwinch

The main reason we attend the SEMA Show is to find new products for EE. The Superwinch booth was one of my first stops at this year's SEMA Show, as the contents of this booth are always of particular interest to me.

Superwinch AC Series

Superwinch has expanded its line of AC winches, for those applications where DC power is not available. All of the new models were on display.

Superwinch

The top winches on this display are the new AC3000 and AC2000. The winch at the bottom appears to be the new EP12.5, a larger version of the current Superwinch EP9.0 that we already sell. Superwinch also produces an EP16.5 winch as well.

Superwinch

Top to bottom are the AC1500, SAC1000, and the AC1000.

Superwinch

Top to bottom are the ATV3000, GP3000, S5000, and what appears to be an EPi9.0.

Superwinch

On top is the EPi9.0 and below that is the EP6.0.

Superwinch

Superwinch also offers its Freedom Switch, a wireless system for all Superwinch winches. The unit is claimed to have a range of 150 feet, much longer than most winch lines.

Superwinch

Unlike other wireless systems, the Freedom Switch is a supplement to the standard wired remote system and actually plugs into the standard winch remote plug. The wired remote system is not completely replaced on the Superwinch system. Thus, the user has the choice of operating his winch with wired or wireless remotes to suit the application. If the user is alone and must stand atop his Pull-Pal Land Anchor while simultaneously spooling in his winch to set the Pull-Pal, he can do so with the Freedom Switch. If he wants to use his wired remote for standard winching from within the vehicle and observe standard winching safety protocols, he may continue to do so. I have a personal bias against wireless remotes for potentially dangerous devices like winches, but I must admit that Freedom Switch could open up a myriad of different solo recovery techniques.

Superwinch Remote

The remote is very small and easily lost and could be difficult to use while wearing heavy-duty recovery gloves. The side orientation of the buttons is not intuitive either, and could cause confusion if you're facing the vehicle from the driver's side.

Superwinch

The folks at Superwinch are fond of attaching the Freedom Switch to the lanyard on the wired remote control to prevent inadvertent loss of the Freedom Switch, and also to keep the Freedom Switch handy at all times. The Freedom Switch is very small and could easily be misplaced.

 

Bloomfield Manufacturing

Hi-Lift Jack

Bloomfield Manufacturing's booth is just as interesting to me as the Superwinch booth, and I always stop by to take a look at the latest recovery products from Bloomfield.

Hi-Lift Jack

Bloomfield displayed its new jack, called the "Hi-Lift X-Treme" if you can believe it. The new Hi-Lift Jack is an All-Cast Hi-Lift Jack with a dark metallic gray finish instead of the standard, bright red finish. The handle features a gold zinc finish instead of the standard black. The base is secured with a clevis pin with spring-loaded detent instead of the standard cotter pin. The differences appear to be cosmetic and the working load limits and features of the X-Treme appear to be identical to those of the All-Cast Hi-Lift Jack. There is, however, one critical difference between the All-Cast and X-Treme models. Replacing the top clamp on the X-Treme is a new device similar in concept to that of the JackMate.

Hi-Lift Jack

Here is a view of the other side of the device. Unlike the JackMate, the new device does not slide over and encapsulate the Hi-Lift's standard. Instead, the device mounts to the side of the standard mates with the standard's I-beam shape. The unit is secured with a bolt and wing nut instead of a clevis pin. The unit is rated to the Hi-Lift Jack's load limits, so the user may clamp and expand to the Hi-Lift Jack's working load limits.

Hi-Lift Jack

The unit features a chain slot to facilitate manual winching with the Hi-Lift Jack. Holes in the clamp and the top of the unit accept bow shackles. Unfortunately, Bloomfield said that the new device would be available only with the Hi-Lift X-Treme and will not be available separately, at least for its initial introduction. Let us hope the new device will be offered separately.

Hi-Lift Jack

Also on display was the array of different recovery tools that mate with the Hi-Lift Jack and turn it into a small system of various recovery tools.

Hi-Lift Jack LiftMate

The Lift-Mate mates with the Hi-Lift Jack's lifting tongue and permits the user to lift a vehicle's wheel. This tool lets the user lift the vehicle by the wheel instead of a bumper or rock slider, and there is no need to lift the vehicle beyond its suspension limits to fill the hole beneath the tire with earth, carpeting, sand ladders, and so on.

Hi-Lift Jack LiftMate

The Lift-Mate's coated hooks engage the openings in wheels, and will not scratch the finest alloy wheels.

Hi-Lift Jack ORB

The Off-Road Base expands the area of the Hi-Lift Jack's base and prevents the jack from sinking into soft soil, mud, or sand.

Hi-Lift Jack

Bloomfield also displayed its Handle-Keeper. This unit is different in concept from the Daystar Hi-Lift Jack Handle Isolators in that the Handle-Keeper is designed to be removable with the Hi-Lift's top clamp fitted.

 

ARB

ARB @ SEMA

ARB USA's booth was as complete as ever and showed the fine array of off-road equipment manufactured by ARB Australia or imported by ARB USA.

ARB @ SEMA

ARB introduced the top-quality freezer fridge to American fourwheelers, and these units are still being sold by ARB. The ARB units are identical to the Engel Freezer Fridges but have a different color.

ARB @ SEMA

The ARB Transit Bag is distinctly different from the Engel Transit Bags, both in color and design. I really like the ARB Transit Bags.

ARB Locker  @ SEMA

A key product for ARB is its revolutionary Air Locker, and the ARB booth had a display that demonstrates how the Air Locker operates. The knurled bars on the sides of the demonstration locker simulate halfshafts and the user may feel the Air Locker lock and unlock.

ARB Air Locker @ SEMA

The user may engage and disengage the skeletonized Air Locker and see how the Air Locker's internals move.

ARB Air Locker @ SEMA

For those unfamiliar with the operation of the Air Locker, instructions are provided.

ARB Air Locker @ SEMA

In the photo above, the Air Locker's splined side gear as moved to the right and the unit is now locked. Releasing air pressure lets the splined side gear move to the left and let the Air Locker operate just like an open differential.

ARB Air Locker @ SEMA

Air Locker users now have another compressed air source available, as ARB now has available a smaller compressor designed for use only with the Air Locker and not for inflating tires.

ARB Air Locker @ SEMA

The new compressor is considerably smaller than the RDCKA Air Compressor. The idea behind the smaller compressor is that the ARB Air Locker needs high pressure but not high volume to operate. This compressor is small enough to be mounted in very tight confines, and yet it has enough power to operate the Air Lockers reliably. For those who use their air compressor both to operate Air Lockers and as a compressed air source, we recommend the RDCKA Air Compressor or a Power Tank.

ARB @ SEMA

Also new from ARB is a dual-battery management system, for those users who prefer two batteries in isolation rather than in parallel.

ARB @ SEMA IPF Lights IPF Lights

The ARB Booth also displayed the wide array of IPF auxiliary lights.

Xjack Xjack

ARB USA will soon import an exhaust jack called the Xjack.

 

WARN

WARN Winch

WARN always has a huge booth at the SEMA Show, and this year was no exception.

WARN Winch 9.0RC

New in WARN's line is the 9.0Rc. The "Rc" stands for Rockcrawler, as this winch is purportedly designed for rockcrawling applications.

WARN Winch 9.0RC

The 9.0Rc features a shortened drum that holds 50' of 3/8" synthetic winch line. The shorter width and lighter weight make the 9.0Rc suitable for use on competition vehicles. I don't like this, as I see it as just one more way competition vehicles stray away from real offroad vehicles. Modern fencing has almost nothing to do with personal combat with edged weapons, and the equipment used in fencing competition bears little resemblance to the weapons using in sword fighting. Modern target shooting has almost nothing to do with shooting persons or animals with the rifle and pistol, and the target rifle and pistol are not suited for anti-personnel use or hunting. And so rockcrawling competition moves farther and farther away from field use of vehicles. It would seem that this is the nature of competitions.

Warn Winch

The 9.0Rc's synthetic winch line features a very nice steel tube thimble and safety hook. Most WARN winches don't even come with thimbles, so it's nice to see WARN fitting such a nice thimble to the 9.0Rc's line.

Warn Winch remote control

The 9.0Rc's remote is completely new. The remote features a flashlight integrated into the unit, which is a very thoughtful touch. Many times during night winching, the user must wear a headlamp to illuminate the winch or have a dedicated light mounted above or near the winch. Having a flashlight integrated into the remote, if executed properly, is a nice tough. I don't like the direction of the buttons on the new remote though. Rocking the button to the right to winch in and left to winch out doesn't make intuitive sense. It's too easy to get confused when facing the winch from the passenger side of the vehicle. It is much more intuitive to rock the switch toward you to winch line and away from you to winch out. Also, the new rocker switch looks to me to be too cumbersome to use with winching gloves on, as the switch is small and the thumb would have problems indexing properly on the switch's shape with gloves on. Having to deal with a poorly designed remote is yet another reason to remove the gloves, which is a bad thing. Bill Burke would not approve.

warn 3200AC-R

Like Superwinch, WARN also had some new AC winches on display, like this 3200AC-R. The WARN winches are much better packaged and nicer looking than the Superwinch versions.

Warn SnoWinch 1.5

Also new is the SnoWinch 1.5, a very cute miniature winch, presumably for snowmobile use. The selector on this model swings side-to-side like the very nice selector on the Superwinch Husky 10, which is much easier to use than the standard WARN selector. Also note the synthetic line on this winch. So WARN now has at least two winches that come standard with synthetic lines. Both the 3200AC-R and SnoWinch 1.5 come standard with safety hooks, also a nice touch. Both winches, however, lack thimbles in the lines.

 

Ramsey

Ramsey Triple X

Ramsey displayed its Triple X line of winches. No one under 18 allowed.

Ramsey Triple X

The Triple X comes standard with a synthetic winch line made from Technora. Ramsey's line is very well thought out, with cordura chafe guard, steel thimble, and hook with safety clasp.

Ramsey wireless

Ramsey also offers a wireless remote. Just like the Superwinch Freedom Switch, the Ramsey unit is very small and is bound to get lost unless tethered or otherwise secured to something else. And just like the Superwinch and WARN remotes, the IN and OUT are located left and right instead of down and up, and would be impossible to use with heavy winching gloves.

Ramsey Triple X

Unlike the bipole Superwinch design, the Ramsey wireless system uses a single wire antenna.

 

Michelin

Michelin Tires

Michelin displays every year at the SEMA Show, and I'm always interested to see what the Michelin booth contains.

Michelin Tires Renault F1 Renault F1

On display was one the Renault F1 cars. 2005 was an especially good year for the Renault F1 team, as it scored the constructors' championship and its driver Fernando Alonzo won the drivers' championship.

Renault F1 SEMA

Alonzo won the championship on Michelin tires.

sema2005 010_.jpg

Year by year, it seems the F1 cars look more and more like sharks. I still remember the days when the shark noses were new. The F1 cars today hardly resemble those cars.

SUBARU Rally

The Michelin booth also contained a Subaru rally car.

SUBARU Rally

This car was sporting, of course, Michelin tires.

SUBARU Rally Michelin Tires

The sidewalls on these tires look a lot like the sidewalls on Michelin XZL's, but of course with a lower aspect ratio.

 

Ford

Bling Range Rover Sport

The SEMA Show is mostly about stupidly excessive bling, and this year was no different. Ford had a very large display of vehicles and this Range Rover Sport was there. Absolutely hideous.

Range Rover Sport

This paint job took over 250 hours to finish. The result is not an offroad vehicle. Nor is the result an elegant town cruiser that the RRS is. I'm not sure exactly what the result is. I don't want to know either.

 

Toyota

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Toyota displayed the FJ Cruiser.

Toyota FJ Cruiser  ARB Winch Bar Front Bumper

The FJ Cruiser was a big hit and people were all over it like white on rice, so I could not really take photos of it.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser is definitely a distinctive vehicle. Believe it or not, the crew at Toyota Proving Grounds and Bill Burke completed the Rubicon with this same vehicle. You would not know it from looking at it, as it was pristine at the SEMA Show.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser's interior is modern and spartan.

Toyota FJ Cruiser  ARB Winch Bar Front Bumper

ARB has been working closely with Toyota on the FJ Cruiser project, and ARB already has a ARB Winch Bar ready for the FJ Cruiser.

Toyota Mega Cruiser

Toyota also displayed its Mega Cruiser. Just as one might say that the original FJ40 was a copy of the Land Rover (both in appearance as well as name), one might also say that the Mega Cruiser is a copy of a HMMV.

Toyota Mega Cruiser

The similarities between the Mega Cruiser and the HMMV are striking.

Toyota Mega Cruiser

Even the interior looks like a HMMV interior.

Toyota Land Cruiser Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota displayed some older Land Cruisers to complete the Land Cruiser ensemble.

Toyota Land Cruiser

There were also lots of other Land Cruisers on display outside. These Cruisers were restored by TLC, a Land Cruiser specialty shop in Southern California that does fine work.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

There was another FJ Cruiser on display near the building entrance.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Unlike the other FJ Cruiser on display that was fitted with the ARB Winch Bar, this one has a factoryish brush guard and stealth winch mount.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Here is a close-up of the fairlead. The result is very clean. If Toyota offered the FJ Cruiser with a winch, that would be quite a feat.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

The spare almost touches the rear bumper, so fitting larger tires to the FJ Cruiser may prove difficult, and you just know there will be those out there who must have 35's on their FJ Cruiser.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser may appear in 2006. Time will tell on this one.

 

Brembo

Brembo

Brembo's booth showed some rotors and lots of bling.

Brembo

Brembo displayed both drilled and slotted rotors. Unlike the DBA rotors, which have the holes in an eccentric pattern to prevent the rotors from cracking along the hole pattern, Brembo rotors have a curved radial pattern.

Brembo Range Rover Sport

One of the vehicles on display was a Range Rover Sport, a very popular show vehicle at this year's SEMA Show.

sema2005 114_.jpg

This is one of the wheels on that RRS. Bling bling.

 

Disc Brakes Australia

DBA DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA

Disc Brakes Australia had an impressive display of brake rotors.

DBA DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA

Unlike the Brembo booth, the DBA booth concentrated on displaying the DBA rotors instead of bling. Kudos to DBA for this, as the SEMA Show has degenerated somewhat from being a trade show to being a blingfest. Note the interesting slotting pattern on these rotors.

DBA DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA

The DBA booth was manned by DBA's principals like Phillip Joseph and Mark Joseph. I like beautiful showgirls as much as anyone, but I go to the SEMA Show to work and look for new products rather than be dazzled by bling. Men like Phillip and Mark Joseph are always on hand to answer questions about products and discuss the latest developments in brake design and production techniques.

DBA DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA Kangaroo PAW

A key feature of many of DBA's rotors is the Kangaroo Paw vent design.

DBA Rotors Kangaroo Paw

The Kangaroo Paw is DBA's proprietary vent shape.

Kangaroo Paw

Instead of solid vanes, the Kangaroo Paw features an array of different shapes designed to maximize braking performance.

DBA DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA DBA DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA DBA DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA

DBA products many different rotor designs, from drilled and slotted like DBA Longlife Gold Rotors, to drilled only, to slotted only. DBA even produces two-piece rotor designs.

DBA DISC BRAKES AUSTRALIA

DBA brakes are made in Australia.

 

Garmin

Garmin StreetPilot 7200

Garmin displayed its StreetPilot 7200. This unit supports XM Radio, XMWX Weather, XM NavTraffic, MP3 player, and two video inputs. If you're looking for more than just GPS and navigation, take a look at the 7200.

 

WD40

WD40

WD40 displayed a new nozzle design for its popular WD40 cans. The direction in which the straw is pointed controls the flow the WD40 to suit different applications. Hinge the straw upward for precision applications and downward for a powerful spray.

 

 

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