Winch to Hitch: Aftermarket or Afterthought?

November 2017 Column, Feature Trevor Mason

There’s never been a better time to be a diesel enthusiast! As time marches on, things are always going to get better, and more options become available for outfitting your truck with the latest and greatest aftermarket items. Of course, the technology underneath everything is also continually improving, making our trucks run more efficiently and with greater power than ever before. That said, there’s one area where things are lacking: the brand-new truck market.

Everybody wants the newest, latest, and best products, but to really take advantage of what the aftermarket has to offer, you honestly need to own a truck that’s been out for a few years. To me, nowhere has this been more readily apparent than with the Nissan TITAN XD. It’s been about a year (give or take a few months) since it made its debut on the market and there are precious few enhancements to be had for the 5.0L Cummins turbo diesel under its hood. Sure, there’s a whole host of accessories for the truck’s exterior, but you’re not going to be left stranded on the side of the highway because your tonneau cover doesn’t roll up or your fender flares came off. I did a quick search for TITAN XD performance upgrades and man, is it a wasteland. To be fair, there are a few things that will definitely improve how the truck runs, such as intercoolers, radiators, hose kits, fuel tanks, and the aforementioned exterior modifications. But you’ll notice there are a few missing words, such as turbo, transmission, horsepower. There just isn’t anything out there to actually get that truck to make more power and torque. I did find that aFe offers a tuning solution called the Scorcher HD module, which claims to give an increase of 60hp and 100 lb/ft of torque, but there’s only so much your electronics are going to do without the physical hardware to back it up. Dedicated shops could no doubt whip up a custom, bespoke setup that’s unique to them, but that’s hardly a solution for the daily driver who just wants their factory-fresh truck to be little less conformist and a little more unique to them.

I guess that’s ultimately my issue: it takes too long for performance upgrades to come out for these new rigs. I understand that R&D takes a lot of time for the aftermarket companies, but that’s kind of my point: it’s frustrating that the auto manufacturers don’t let other companies have access to the new vehicles ahead of release. It’s not like they’re getting a corner on the market by denying the opportunity, either. When was the last time you or anyone you know bought a truck of any variety and said, “Yup, stock is the way to go! I’m never putting an aftermarket product on this puppy!” It just doesn’t happen.

Now, this problem is a little more unique to the XD since it’s a new truck platform, the Cummins engine and its legacy notwithstanding, but the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon also suffers from a lack of performance upgrades in much the same way. Elsewhere, brand-new Chevys, Fords, and RAMs all have a dearth of engine component upgrades when they’re first released, but they catch up a lot quicker since the pipeline is already complete and they’re going to be somewhat similar to the previous model year’s offering.

If it sounds like I’ve got a lot of heartburn about this situation, well, yeah, I guess I do. But in the meantime, it’s nice to know that not only are these solutions coming, but that with enough digging, you can find a lot of good accessories to get you on the road and looking fly. For example, the TITAN XD we featured in our Winter 2017 issue was packed to the gills with great off-roading features, and our very own Duramax-powered Colorado was bought and built with the full intention of making it the best outdoorsman-friendly truck around. So we’ve got options. We just have to be a little patient.

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