NEW PRODUCTS FEATURED AT SEMA 2001
Page:  
Each year the SEMA show has provided the automotive world a peak at new parts and accessories that could become the "next big thing" in vehicle customization, and the 2001 show was no exception. Vendors large and small from all over the world show off their new products to drum up consumer enthusiasm as well as to get the attention of manufacturers and distributers. While there's no chance of covering each of the hundreds of booths at the SEMA show, here's a quick sampling of products I saw.
CounterAct : Protect Your Vehicle From Rust
Targeted towards industrial vehicles, consumer vehicles, and even stationary equipment, the CounterAct Eletrostatic Corrosion Control product uses patented state of the art corrosion control technology to reduce corrosion migration around stone chips, small dents, and scratches. The process is called "capacitive coupling", and essentially creates an electric charge over your entire vehicle body, thus reducing the ability of oxygen to attack exposed iron in the vehicle. (Click here for technical info on the rusting process at CounterAct's website)
CounterAct's benefits are best realized in corrosive environment, such as any coastal area or region where road salt is used. You don't hear much about problems with body rust here in San Jose but CounterAct says they've had incredible success in coastal areas such as Australia, where the majority of folks live close to the ocean and deal with rusting vehicles as a recurrent problem.
The CounterAct system connects with your vehicle electrical system and therefore drains your battery over time. I was told it has the intelligence to disconnect from your vehicle battery and shut itself off before the battery charge gets too low to start the engine. Using about as much electricity as an LED clock, it can protect a unused vehicle for several weeks before shutting off. Solar cells are available for unlimited protection.
Two things impressed me about CounterAct. First, the technology, covers every part of your vehicle that's grounded electrically to the body, including all metal body panels, any bolts and nuts that contact the body, as well as your exhaust system, powertrain, etc. Contrast this with a spray-on solution, which could miss spots or wear off over time. With CounterAct you're assured continuous coverage of all parts of the vehicle. Second, I was impressed by the depth of testing that had been done by independent laboratories on the product and the number of positive experiences CounterAct customers have had. I was told about an industrial application that increased the life of its equipment from 18 months to 43 months with the use of CounterAct. Sounds like this product is a lot more than just hype.
Plywood and Surfboards : Three Racks For Your Truck
There was no shortage of folks offering rack solutions for consumer and industrial trucks. These racks allow you to easily transport items much longer than the bed of your truck, be it PVC pipe, sheets of plywood, or your longboard, and they provide plenty of spots to tie down your gear.
QuickRack - Drilling Free and Easy to Handle
The first thing you'll notice about the QuickRack is that the uprights aren't made of metal, they are a high strength composite. Using these lightweight parts, the entire shipping weight of the product is a mere 34 pounds. But the QuickRack is guaranteed to support 500 pounds and has been tested to over 1500 pounds.
The QuickRack ships with six uprights and three anodized alumninum cross beams. The most popular American trucks have pre-sized cross beams, other applications will have to cut the cross beam to length and drill bolt holes in the alumnium using easy to follow instructions. The uprights clamp to the rails of your bed using a common hex-head bolt with an alumnium spacer on the bottom and a rubber spacer on top to protect the vehicle's paint.
QuickRack is based in Phoenix. Their products can be purchased online from www.onestoptruckshop.com or www.pickuptruckaccessories.com.
ProRack - Theft Resistant and Drilling FreeThe more traditional ProRack rack also features bolt-free installation. No cutting is required, the cross beams adjust using basic tools. With a shipping weight of 95 pounds, the ProRack is significantly heavier that the QuickRack because it features an all metal construction and beams running the length of your bed (in addition to the uprights and cross beams).
The ProRack attaches to your vehicle in a similar way as the QuickRack -- a rubber pad sitting on the rail is clamped against a bolt underneath the rail. Instead of a standard hex head bolt, QuickRack uses a square bolt that is recessed into the frame, this makes it easy to use the supplied tool to remove but inaccessible to a thief's hex socket or crescent wrench.
ProRack produces two different styles of overhead rack as well as a motorcycle rack to brace two bikes in the bed of your truck. Check their site for details.
ProRack is manufactured in California and can be reached online at http://www.prorack.com or by phone at 1-866-776-7225.
Slide-In - Sturdy and Versatile
For those that prefer the confidence of a bolt-on solution, Slide-In racks provide just that. Each upright fits into a base with a metal plate that is bolted directly to the bed of your truck.
One of the most interesting features of Slide-In racks is that the cross beams can be removed and the uprights rotated 90° in the base. With a little creativty, these L-shaped uprights can then form the support for a lean-to, a picnic-shade, tailgate party rain-cover, or a perch for your camping lantern.
Slide-In racks are currently sold locally in Sacramento, although a wider distribution is in the works. Customer service can be reached at 1-888-552-4400.