Nerd’s Eye View: SEMA 2013 – Part I



Here is another comparison. This time involving a pair of off-road trucks. One is Rob MacCachren’s truck which races in the TORC series; it’s designed to race on a closed course with a field of other trucks banging fenders and wheels. The other truck belongs to Matt Lovell and is designed for racing in the open desert. Off the bat, it’s obvious Rob’s truck is hunkered down in comparison to Matt’s truck. In the TORC series, the tracks are relatively smooth with big jumps. The trucks still have a lot of suspension travel to absorb the landings, but the lower ride height helps the handling in the corners. Out in the desert, there’s no telling what size bumps, mounds, hills, and jumps will be encountered.
Rob’s truck uses upper and lower control arms for the front suspension. Matt’s truck, I don’t know what to call that, but it’s super beefy!

Here is another view of the front suspension on Matt’s truck. Yup, it’s strong stuff. The suspension setup also utilizes the straps to control droop travel (thanks to MIQ readers for teaching me that last year).
The two trucks have similar rear suspension designs, but Rob’s truck has a rear anti-roll bar (they do spend a lot of time turning). Matt’s rear trailing arm link (I think that’s what it’s called) is much beefier to handle the rigors of the desert. Or Rob’s truck, you can just make out the skinny trailing arm link visible behind the coil spring.

sema 2013

This is the link on Matt’s desert truck…. Yeah, it’s strong.
On Rob’s truck, about a foot inboard of the rear shocks are these bump stop damper things. I noticed these on many of the off-road vehicles. Matt’s truck has more straps attached to the rear axle. I’m always impressed with how neatly the hydraulic hard lines are routed on these trucks, but maybe I’m just a dork like that.
The cockpits of the two trucks are just a wee bit different. Rob sits in a cocoon protected mesh. A whole lot of dirt, mud, and other objects get flung up in your face in the wheel-to-wheel truck racing that is the TORC series. The air filter for the engine rides shotgun. Matt actually has a human being riding shotgun with some fancy GPS navigation system.
Behind the cockpits, Rob’s rear shock mounting point appears to be higher as compared to Matt’s. That would help to explain the reduced ride height for Rob’s truck while appearing to have equally massive length rear shocks. Check out the box section tubing and the pretty welds on Matt’s truck where the shocks mount up. Amazing stuff! Rob’s truck has the radiator mounted back here, probably for protection whereas Matt has a spare driveshaft. On top of the light bar are the GPS antennas I’d guess. It would suck to get lost in the middle of the desert.

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