Thursday, February 27, 2014

Historic Snowfalls, Vintage Sleds

The weather this winter has been something like the tide, cresting and retreating. Except in our case, the fluctuations seem to be between extreme cold and extreme quantities of snowfall. As soon as we get relief from the cold, we get battered by snow. As soon as we get a break from the snow, the icy fingers of Jack Frost grab us by the throat again.

For true winter sports enthusiasts, the combination of snow and cold is actually a blessing. The longer it stays cold, the longer the snow remains for snowmobilers, skiers and the like. And one thing all of us do when there are temperature extremes is look back over our shoulders toward past winters to see if we've ever experienced something like this before. In one sense, there's nothing new under the sun. But some things do change with time... like the snowmobiles we ride.

Chuck Steffens, of Carlton Dental Ceramics in Minnesota sent us photos featuring a few of his vintage snowmobiles. He's a collector with more than thirty such sleds and an ongoing passion for riding, as well as a strong appreciation for AMSOIL.

Seeing his photos inspired us to page through some of our own archives to find photos of some of the snowmobile racers AMSOIL sponsored circa 1980. These were the days before snocross riders jumped hills and ridges of snow in the X-treme manner that appeals to fans today.

AMSOIL had a strong presence in the oval racing circuit with racers like Bobby Donahue and Tim Bender of Team Aaen. Team manager Olav Aaen, who began his career in snowmobiling in 1970, was eventually inducted in the Snowmobile Hall of Fame. Aaeon and crew helped get the word out regarding AMSOIL synthetic 2-stroke oil for snowmobilers .

While we're talking about nostalgia, the essence of it is a sentimental feeling about the past. Eventually every experience we have today will be part of your past, and that is why it's a good thing to make the most of your present so you have things to remember with that special glow in your twilight years. One such memory we will be giving soon is a four-day, three night all expenses paid trip to Montana in the Big Sky Sweepstakes. You can read the details here, or simply skip right to the entry form. Be sure to read the rules regarding eligibility. And good luck. Perhaps one of you reading this here will make some memories of your own to look back on in your golden years. 

Pictured above: Chuck and Joelene flank grandsons Michael and Wesley on a vintage ride. The sleds here include a 1970 Polaris TX Playmate, 1972 Polaris ATX, 1978 Arctic Cat Jag and a 1978 Ski Doo factory Cross Country RV racer.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ellis Reflects On Parker 425 and Looks Toward Baja

A few weeks ago we covered Randy Ellis as he prepared for the Parker 425 Best in the Desert event in Parker, Ariz. This race is an unrelenting journey through 425 miles of desert conditions that can take out even the mightiest of rigs. Its demanding terrain leaves many racers facing flat tires, broken parts and bruised egos as it methodically eliminates competitors along the entire course.

Ellis and his team started strong but ran into an obstacle (literally) almost 300 miles in. They went out in spectacular fashion after a valiant effort, but the Parker 425 had claimed another casualty. Read below for a recap of how it all went down in Ellis’ own words.

Off the line at 8:30 a.m. and into the sun for the first 27 miles of dust with very limited sight. We made good time and passed a few cars but kept a reserved pace, it was going to be a long race. We had moved up to 12th on the first lap of 145 miles and pulled into our scheduled pit stop for fuel. The team made a very fast fill and check of the car, and we did not lose any position. About 8 miles out from the pit an unlimited car hit us hard and pushed us off course. Flat tire, but Awesome Burmer changed it fast.

Now on our second lap we could tell the course was getting rougher, but we pushed a little harder and moved up a few more spots. Towards the end of the second lap in 6th position, about 290 miles in, we had a problem. We flew over a road crossing and landed pretty hard and a little sideways, straightened the car up and went to grab 5th gear at about 85 mph. That’s when it happened; the steering became unattached from the rack and we kicked a little sideways, straight for a large steel power pole. It was full brakes and hold on, BAM! We hit it with the right front tire. The pole spun us around and we came to a stop in a cloud of dust. Wow, we were OK! Two guys ran up to us and were so excited, saying “DUDE THAT WAS FREAKING AWESOME!!! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?!!!” We both answered yes.

That was the end of the race for us. Broken spindle, steering rack and bulkhead torn off, upper and lower control arms bent, mounts at the chassis bent and numerous other things. All said and done, we ended up 19th in class with a good amount of points to carry forward into the season.

In a follow up to this re-cap, Randy sent us a further update on his plans for 2014. After their unfortunate accident at this years Parker 425 they decided to change gears a bit. Instead of running races with Best in the Desert, they are going to put their efforts into this year's Baja 1000. The 2014 Baja 1000 will be a "peninsula run", which means it will start at one end of Baja and end at the other. After over 20 years of exploring Baja in 4 wheel drives and motorcycles, chasing and helping teams race this beautiful, desolate and wild piece of Mexico, Ellis and team are now going to race it. "I believe our car is dialed in and our team is up to the adventure more than ever before," Ellis said.

The 2014 Score Baja 1000 will start in Ensanada and end in La Paz, about 1130 miles for 2014. The race is November 12th-16th. "This will take a lot of planning and logistics, we are starting this procedure now," he added. We'll keep you posted.

Friday, February 21, 2014

It's That Time of Year

One of our employees shared this photo from last night's major snow dump here in the Northland. According to one news item we heard this week, Florida was the only state in the Continental United States that did not see snow this month.

One difference between the Northern tier states and the rest of us is that Northlanders are equipped to deal with it. Snow shovels are suitable for in town perhaps but once you are set back from the road a pace the essential piece of equipment is a snow blower.

Whether you have an Ariens, Toro, Craftsman or some other brand, the one thing they all have in common is that they all share a pair of common maintenance needs. First, like all two-stroke and four-stroke engines, they need lubrication. When was the last time you changed your oil? This is just a reminder that if you have not read your user's manual in a couple years (or since you bought the thing) it may be a good move to check it out.

Just so you know, we don't just make racing oils or passenger car oils. We make oils for nearly everything with moving parts, and that includes you snow blower.

But lubrication isn't your only need. Due to changes in fuel formulation, you will need to address a potentially serious issue with regard to the gasoline you use. You know how it is. You have gas sitting on hand for your snow blower in winter and lawn mowers in summer. You may not be aware that if moisture is introduce into the container as it sits in the garage, phase separation will occur. This can be bad for your equipment.

The solution her is a product called Quickshot. If you're not concerned about phase separation you will still want to make sure you are using a gasoline stabilizer since gasoline is not formulated for long term storage and will oxidize in a relatively short period of time if it sits idle.

When springtime comes, there's still another product AMSOIL recommends as you put your winter equipment -- whether snow blowers or snowmobiles -- into storage. That's AMSOIL Engine Fogging Oil. It's a really great product as it protects internal parts during the off season while your equipment sits in storage. According to the write of this blog entry, his push lawn mower never started so easily in the spring after an idle winter.

Alas, winters make us a heartier breed. But their much easier to deal with when our machines are running properly.

Monday, February 17, 2014

What's Your Take On Driverless Cars?

For nearly twenty years automakers have been meeting to create a new means of transportation: driverless cars. That is, we may sit in the driver's seat, but all the decisions will be run by the vehicle itself. At least nine states have been discussing legislation regarding self-driving cars, so we know that the issues this advanced technology raises will be getting some discussion. But is the public ready?

A Harris Poll showed that 88 percent of U.S. adults would be worried riding in a driverless car. Nearly 80 percent would worry about equipment failure of some kind, from brakes to sensors. And then there are the liability issues. If your car is driving itself and hits a dog or a child, is it the automaker's fault or yours?

Then there are those who fear a hacker will break into their computer system and either steal the car or maliciously drive it off the road.

The fears are many, and even if 95% of what we worry about never happens, it's going to be a hurdle for those who will be pushing for widespread acceptance. Then again, maybe the up-and-coming generation is going to have a different attitude here, living a life surrounded with technology from cradle-to-grave.

One thing for sure, cars will continue to have maintenance needs, one of these being the need for lubricants  to protect engines and drivetrain components. Whatever you drive, make sure you take care of yours.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Another Day, Another AMSOIL-Lubed SEMA Project Magazine Feature

Back in September we gave a shout out to Blaine Hawkins and his 2011 Dodge Mega Cab Dually as he was preparing for its debut at the 2013 SEMA Show. He came to AMSOIL in search of quality lubricants suitable for protecting his daily driven, yet show-worthy, truck so we got on board and sent him some product. He delivered on his promise to turn heads throughout the week at the show, and has since caught the editor’s eyes at Truckin’ Magazine. Truckin’ is a national publication always on the hunt for new and fresh feature project builds, and Hawkins’ Dually fit the bill. Recently Hawkins met with their feature editor/photographer and hit the road to get some great shots for the magazine. The story and photos are being laid out now, so look for the issue in the coming months. In the meantime, check out the cool shots Hawkins sent to hold us over.

To keep his engine and differential running peak, Hawkins runs AMSOIL Premium Synthetic 15W-40 Diesel Oil, AMSOIL Ea Oil Filter and AMSOIL Severe Gear 75W-90 Gear Lube.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

AMSOIL-Lubed 2013 Jeep Wrangler Lands Cover of DUB Magazine

AMSOIL is often approached by extremely talented vehicle builders in search of the best lubricants on the market to complete their masterpieces and ensure they perform as well as they look. Shaun Freilich of Complete Customs in McKinney, TX is no exception, approaching us back in September as he was preparing several project vehicles for SEMA. One of those vehicles was a 2013 Jeep Wrangler to be featured in the Bedrug Truck Liners booth. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be involved with such an impressive build. As it turned out, neither could DUB Magazine when they saw what he was working with. Freilich’s Jeep has landed a cover on the Premiere Issue of their new magazine, hitting newsstands at the end of this month.

Check out a sneak peak of the photos below, and then pick up the next issue of DUB Magazine to see how Freilich’s vision for this truck came to be realized.

The following AMSOIL products are installed throughout, giving Freilich peace of mind when it comes to his overall performance.

AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil
AMSOIL Manual Syncromesh Transmission Fluid 5W-30
AMSOIL Signature Series Multi-Vehicle Synthetic ATF
AMSOIL Severe Gear 75W-90 Gear Lube
AMSOIL Antifreeze and Engine Coolant
AMSOIL Dominator Coolant Boost
AMSOIL Series 500 High-Performance Brake Fluid
AMSOIL Synthetic Multi-Purpose Grease
AMSOIL P.i. Performance Improver Gasoline Additive

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

AMSOIL Hits 100,000 “Likes” and Likes It

This afternoon AMSOIL passed a social media milestone, hitting 100,000 Likes on Facebook. Heavens, that was fun. Check out the Thank You Video our team produced for the occasion.

Closing In On 100,000 "Likes"

It seemed like yesterday we were at 70,000. All of a sudden we're sitting in a meeting and realize that we're less than 700 away from that very special milestone of 100,000 Facebook "Likes" and growing.

Some people say social media is supposed to be about people, not businesses.The reality is, most businesses that we know of are made up of people. And the truth is, we appreciate our friends and fans.

Following a business by hitting their "Like" button is useful because it's one way to find out what events they are going to be at, what they will be doing and more.

For the record, we update our Facebook wall daily so you know you'll always have the most current or interesting bytes we can dream up for you, as relevant in importance as the vehicles you drive and the dreams you dream.

Like us today and you'll soon see what we've dreamed up for when we hit that milestone. The countdown has already begun.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Totally Out There... Top Truck Challenge Footage Puts Off-Roading In Perspective

Mud Pit action from 2011 Top Truck Challenge
What's your idea of a good time? For off-road enthusiasts, being part of the Four Wheeler Top Truck Challenge is pretty much the ultimate in excitement. AMSOIL has been a co-sponsor and official lubricant of the event for years now, and the editors and publishers keep amping the stakes. The carnage is heart-stopping.

And yet, the skill sets displayed are equally remarkable as the various challenges put their vehicles and their wits to the test. Nearly competitor has watched the videos, so they think they know what they're in for. But the real thing gets pretty spiky and each year the mag adds a new twist, a new delightfully wicked challenge.

Here's some footage from last year's competition featuring the Obstacle Course, the Hill Climb and the Coal Chute. June is just around the corner.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Turtle Expedition, Revisited

Turtle Expedition near medieval village of Besalu, Northern Spain
Cat Stevens once sang, "There is so much left to know and I'm on the road to find out."

Well, that seems in part what Gary and Monika Westcott are doing with their Turtle Expedition. It's a global adventure that has been taking them across some of the most remote regions of the world.

As we noted in 2009 the Westcotts have seen more sights, sounds and places in the world than most will in a lifetime. Experienced travelers, they have made it their goal to do the impossible at times. It not only gives them something to talk about, but also something to write about. In addition to adventurers they are writers as well.

In 1996 they drove completely across Russia (including Eastern Siberia) in an adventure both American and Russian experts said could not be done. With 600 miles of driving on frozen Lena River, to arriving at the northernmost city in the world that can be driven to in Hammerfest, Norway, these voyages are not for the faint of heart.

The photo in the dust (left) was taken a few years back when they were researching the historic Hastings Cutoff, the mistaken route taken by the doomed Donner Party. Wescott's story was published in Four Wheeler magazine and Power Stroke Registry.

Currently the Turtle Expedition is in Greece, and Wescott writes, "The Turtle V is running like a Swiss watch, or perhaps a little louder. Thanks to the AMSOIL Dual-Filter system we use, we have not had to change the oil now for over 6,000 miles, and it still looks clean." Because of the nature of their travels much of the journeyis in second and third gear at speeds under 35 mph. In Turkey they plan to change the smaller main oil filter and add the necessary AMSOIL 15-40 Heavy-Duty Diesel/Marine Oil from their 12-gallon reserve tank built into the Tortuga expedition camper. Their next maintenance is slated for when they reach Kirgizstan and the Chinese border.

You can follow their story and see other fascinating pictures at their Turtle Expedition website.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

This '66 Malibu Is A Beauty

Here's a cool car worth eyeballing... John Barkley's '66 Malibu. Barkley, associate publisher at Street Rodder magazine, bought the car 2 years ago as an SS big block 4 speed clone. It now has a 495 hp 6.0 liter LS motor with 4L60E TCI trans, Wilwood 4-wheel disc brakes, Detroit Speed suspension, Vintage Air.

When Barkley acquired the car it was like new having undergone a complete frame off restoration which included media blasting the frame and body panels to bare metal. All chassis & engine /transmission rebuilt as new. The car only had 8 miles on it at the time. The proud owner says it is a very nice driving and handling road car.

This past summer he shipped it to Louisville, Ky to be in the Street Rodder booth at the NSRA Nationals. Then he and his wife joined the AMSOIL Street Rodder Road Tour -- a group of 40 hot rods -- and drove to Bonneville, Utah for Speedweek. After that it was over to Reno for the last days of Hot August Nights and back to Southern California. It's a rough life being a car guy.

The car looks pristine on the outside and gets equally considerate attention on the inside with AMSOIL. Thanks, sir, for sharing these pictures with us here.

To find the right oil for your vintage car, visit our website

Monday, February 3, 2014

Win Four Days and Three Nights of Big Sky in the Specialized Oil Sweepstakes

Just because it's winter doesn't mean life grinds to a standstill. For a lot of us winter is when life really begins. No need to hibernate. All kinds of activities await us, from skiing and snowshoeing to sledding to snowmobiling.

If you're the kind of person who enjoys all kinds of weather and not just balmy ones, you may want to enter the AMSOIL Specialized Oil Sweepstakes. Grand prize is an all-expenses paid trip to Montana's "Big Sky" country that includes airfare, 4-day/3-night hotel lodging, sled rental, 2-day guided snowmobile tour and $500 in spending cash. This once-in-a-lifetime AMSOIL-sponsored getaway opportunity will be a memorable life experience.

Contest entries can be found at any of the following AMSOIL-sponsored snowmobile racing series events taking place now through March 31, 2014:
  • AMSOIL Championship Snocross (ISOC)
  • Canadian Snocross Racing Association (CSRA)
  • East Coast Snocross (ECS)
  • AMSOIL Eagle River Snowmobile Derby
Online entry forms can be found at No purchase necessary, some restrictions apply. The Specialized Oil Sweepstakes is only eligible for participants in the United States, District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec.) Sweepstakes ends March 31, 2014. Visit this link for the complete sweepstakes rules.