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Rancho 4.5-Inch Suspension System

Engineered to accommodate the different upper control arm materials being used by Chevrolet and GMC, the new Rancho 4.5-inch performance suspension system enhances the ride and appearance of the popular truck models, including 2017-14 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500s.

The kits are available in two configurations to match OE upper control arm materials, including Rancho engineered and fabricated steel upper control arm (RS66308B) or aluminum or stamped steel upper control arm (RS66309B). Each kit includes Rancho’s fully welded subframe for superior strength and ductile iron steering knuckles.

Designed for a fast and easy installation, the Rancho engineering team maintained the factory’s rack and pinion location for OE-quality steering characteristics and minimized bump steer by maintaining OE geometry overall.

Each kit includes a pair of CV spacers, brake line brackets, sway bar relocation brackets, rear tapered block, u-bolts, and other required hardware.

To make installation easier and faster, Rancho engineers provide a thorough, full-color step-by-step guide for the new Silverado/Sierra system.

The new Rancho Silverado/Sierra performance suspension system is compatible with any of Rancho’s performance shock series, including RS5000X, RS7000MT, and RS9000XL shocks. 

The Rancho Silverado/Sierra 4.5-inch performance suspension system is also backed by a Limited Lifetime warranty.

 

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Daimler Taps Daum to Head Global Truck & Bus Business

<p><strong>Martin Daum</strong><em> Photo: Daimler</em></p>

Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, has been named to head the Daimler’s global trucks and bus operations. On Feb. 27, the Supervisory Board of Germany-based Daimler AG appointed Daum, 57, as the Board of Management member with responsibility for the Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses divisions.

Daum's appointment, effective March 1, is for a term of five years. He will succeed Wolfgang Bernhard, who resigned from the board earlier this month.

In June, 2009, Daum was tasked with leading Daimler Trucks North America and its affiliated companies, including Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks, Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and Detroit Diesel Corporation. Before that, he was a member of the management of Mercedes-Benz Trucks in Europe as vice president-- production for Mercedes-Benz Trucks. At the same time, he was responsible for the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth, the world’s biggest truck plant. He started his career in the trainee executive group of   Daimler-Benz AG in 1987.

“With Martin Daum, we are appointing a very successful and experienced executive to the Board of Management as Head of the Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses divisions,” said Manfred Bischoff, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG. “He looks back on 20 years of experience in the industry and knows the cyclical commercial-vehicle business from all perspectives. We are convinced that he will successfully meet the upcoming challenges in the next years, continue along the successful path of Daimler Trucks & Buses and further strengthen their worldwide leading positions.”

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, noted that with Daum’s international management experience, “the right course is being set at the top of Daimler Trucks & Buses for the long term.

The company stated that the “important commercial-vehicle business in the U.S. and in the NAFTA region has developed very successfully under the leadership of Martin Daum and is of key importance to the Daimler Group.” 

Daimlr AG has made no mention yet of who will be appointed to succeed Daum as chief executive of Daimler Trucks North America.

Related: Truck Sales Headwinds Don't Daunt DTNA

 

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Blog: Model-Year Versus Calendar-Year Terminology

One challenge to global fleet management is adjusting to different fleet terminology for different regions. One example is the difference between the use of “model-year” and “calendar-year” in describing the year of a fleet vehicle.

Most of the world uses calendar-year to designate a vehicle date; however, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada use model-year. Generally, under the model-year system, new models are “officially” introduced Oct. 1 of the preceding calendar-year.

Why the difference? Here is a history of how the model-year concept arose in North America and how it has evolved to today.

The practice of identifying automobiles by “model-year” started in the U.S. when Alfred Sloan, the long-time president and chairman of GM, decided to extend the idea of yearly fashion change from clothing to automobiles in the 1920s. Slow vehicle sales due to the Great Depression prompted other U.S. OEMs to also start selling “next” year’s vehicles in October of the preceding year.

But, as global fleet managers know, this isn’t a universal practice. For instance, vehicles sold in Japan are classified on a calendar-year basis. Similarly, the U.S. model-year concept was never universally adopted in Europe. One exception is VW, which switched in 1966, but chose Aug. 1 to start selling next model-year's vehicles.

In later decades, the model-year (October-September) became entrenched in the U.S. as new-model advertising was coordinated to the launch of the new television season in September. This allowed for a stronger marketing program by placing more resources in a concentrated timeframe.

Nowadays, the term “new-model introduction” in the U.S. has almost become a misnomer in today’s sales climate. When a new model is “introduced” has little to do with the calendar as new models in the U.S. are now introduced throughout the calendar-year. Year-round new-model introductions are facilitated by the U.S. government (NHTSA), which allows vehicles to be designated the next model-year if manufactured by Jan. 1 of the preceding calendar-year. For instance, in the U.S., a vehicle produced Jan. 1, 2017 could be designated by the OEM as a 2018 model-year vehicle. The advantage of mid-year vehicles for fleet is the benefit of 16-18 months of use, but the vehicle is depreciated for only 12 months based on its model-year.

Other reasons why OEMs selling in the U.S. market have adopted early introductions include CAFE averages (government mandated fuel economy requirements), competitive leapfrogging, keeping the lineup fresh, maintaining year-round floor traffic at dealerships, and parts availability. I don’t think we'll see all the manufacturers in the U.S. line up and introduce new models at one specific time each year ever again.

Let me know what you think.

mike.antich@bobit.com

 

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2017 GMC Sierra HDs Gain Power With New Duramax

2017_GMC_HD_Dually_A17_1351[3] II

By Bruce W. Smith

Towing a 26-foot, 9,600-pound Jayco Eagle HT fifth-wheel trailer up the twisting 8 percent grade between Paradox and Telluride, Colo., can put a strain on a pickup truck as the elevation closes in on 10,000 feet. But behind the wheel of the 2017 GMC Sierra 3500 Denali dually I recently drove, the travel trailer barely affected driving performance, requiring little more than a light touch of throttle to maintain speed.

The all-new 6.6-liter LP5 Duramax turbo-diesel under the Sierra Denali 3500 hood is one of the strongest engines on the road in a heavy-duty pickup, with a factory rating of 445 horsepower (tops in its class) and 910 pounds-feet of torque (second place in its class). Combined with a well-appointed interior and sound levels rivaling a library, GM's marquee full-size heavy-duty pickup should be on the radar of anyone who tows big trailers long distances.

"The typical Denali buyer is a self-made individual that is a disciplined achiever, highly organized, with high standards," said GMC Marketing Manager Stu Pierce. "They typically tow big trailers in both their business profession and as part of their personal lifestyle, all of which is what attracts them to GMC Sierra Denali HDs."

The Denali trim level is undeniably the flagship of the GM heavy-duty pickup lineup when it comes to style and luxury, but it's the new 6.6-liter V-8 Duramax LP5 diesel engine that will be the attention grabber for anyone thinking of stepping into a one of GM's 2017 HDs, be it a GMC or a Chevrolet at any trim level.

Inside the Duramax LP5

While little has changed structurally with the 2017 HD pickups, including their appearance, the changes to the hood and what lies beneath the diesel are significant. The new hood sports a multistage air-induction hood scoop that now provides more than 50 percent of the air to the LP5's intake, supplementing the previous generation's intake located in the fender well (as before). The induction system provides the coolest air source into the charge air cooler, which is especially helpful during the summer.

That supply of fresh, cool air dumps into a new BorgWarner turbo that flows more air than the outgoing, less powerful LML Duramax. In fact, in addition to the new turbo, 90 percent of the parts on the LP5 are also new. The only common part shared between the two turbo-diesel engines is the 90-degree V-8 block.

The LP5 turbo-diesel has new heads, valve-train parts, rods, pistons, camshafts, crank, turbo and injectors. They combine to give this latest-generation Duramax 19 percent more torque (910 pounds-feet compared with 765) and 12 percent more hp (445 versus 397) than the previous engine. The new engine delivers 90 percent of its peak torque by 1,500 rpm.

According to Eric Stanczak, vehicle chief engineer of GM full-size trucks and SUVs, who accompanied me on that Colorado drive, the LP5's heads flow 20 percent more air, the internal sealing is tighter, the rods are stronger and the forged crankshaft has larger journals. This combination of upgrades allowed GM to bumped up the cylinder pressure 20 percent higher than the LML.

2017 Duramax Emblem Hood IMG_6457[5] II

Another upgrade that has a significant performance impact is the LP5's use of aluminum pistons that have bowl rims "remelted," which is a strengthening process similar to what's used to harden steel. Stanczak said GM is the first automaker to use this technology in a full-size pickup engine, which should help limit or prevent "thermal-cycle fatigue," a failure commonly seen as hairline cracks radiating out from the center of the piston after heavy use, caused by the ever-changing temperatures inside the combustion chamber under repeated high-load, high-stress, high exhaust gas temperature situations such as towing.

Change in Fuel Delivery

The LP5 received another big change: It now uses solenoid-activated injectors instead of the earlier piezo type. Tom Dye, the lead development engineer for GM HD pickups, said going to solenoid-activated injectors allowed engineers to fine-tune the LP5's overall performance in many different situations.

Dye said the computer controlling the injection system can activate as many as "seven distinct injections in a cylinder during a single combustion event, allowing fuel to be delivered at precise timing and amounts depending on the engine load and operating conditions."

There have been changes getting the fuel to the high-pressure fuel pump and how the turbo is used. The new engine now employs a low-pressure electric lift pump to prime the fuel system faster, and the BorgWarner turbo has a newly refined variable-vane system to help increase engine exhaust braking in different stages. The turbo system can now deliver 75 to 180 brake hp between 1,600 and 2,800 rpm, according to Dye.

The LP5 also employs a dedicated turbo oil circuit separate from that of the engine, which is specifically designed to keep the bearings cooler, improving long-term durability. On the downstream side to better reduce emissions, the diesel oxidizer catalyst has been relocated from the truck's exhaust that runs under the floor so that it now connects at the turbo. Dye said this change was done to provide the maximum heat in the shortest amount of time to the catalytic converter, firing off the catalysts, which lowers nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions, making the LP5 the cleanest and most environmentally friendly diesel GM has ever produced.

Speaking of emissions, GM said the 2017 HDs' selective catalytic reduction system has been improved, reducing the number of regens per tank. It now uses a 7-gallon diesel exhaust fluid tank, replacing the smaller 5.3-gallon tank and giving owners more miles between fill-ups. Unfortunately, GM continues to locate the DEF tank under the floor of the front passengers, making it quite exposed to underbody damage. Thankfully, it remains well insulated.

More Downstream Upgrades

2017 GM LP5 Illustration[3] II

In addition to the engine changes, the Allison 1000 transmission received a few changes in its solenoid control pack so it would continue to respond seamlessly and handle the extra power and performance increases from the new engine. For example, the six-speed automatic now provides the driver with three separate modes of grade braking: Manual, Tow/Haul and Cruise Control, each of which has a unique set of parameters and capabilities.

We saw the direct results of those improvements during our drive event, with near instant cold starts and the strong exhaust braking coming down several steeper grades (one as much as 8 percent) where we never had to touch the brakes during our descent. Both the transmission and software upgrades are big improvements over the 2016 Duramax powertrain.

Bumping up torque by 145 pounds-feet and hp by 48 also necessitated a couple of upgrades in the drivetrain to ensure long-term reliability under demanding conditions. Those upgrades include stronger and thicker drive shafts for both the 2500 and 3500 models, and the use of bigger Dana Spicer 1485 series universal joints to hold it all together. Model-year 2016s used the Spicer 1410s.

From new hood technology to stronger U-joints, the 6.6-liter V-8 LP5 Duramax/Allison 1000 combo in the 2017 GM HD pickups will make them a force to reckon with in the towing world. Moreover, the luxury level of the GMC Denali trim wraps all the new-found power and performance in refined elegance. While we know pricing for these trucks pushes $70,000, the upgrades and improvements make a strong value case at this level — especially if you've got a big trailer and a lot of miles in your future.

We'll have more to say about this new Duramax in May when we roll out our 2017 3/4-Ton Premium Truck Challenge. For that competition we brought together four crew-cab 4x4 luxury-level diesel pickups for a head-to-head competition in scores of categories. We'll have more to tell you in the coming weeks.

Cars.com photos by Bruce W. Smith

 

2017_GMC_HD_Dually_A17_1369[3] IIThe 2017 GMC Sierra 3500 Denali dually is rated to tow up to 23,200 pounds when equipped with a gooseneck/fifth-wheel hitch. GMC only offers one axle ratio with the 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 turbodiesel: a 3.73:1 gear with an auto-locking limited-slip rear differential.

 

2017 GMC Denali 2500 ATV Trailer[3] IIGeneral Motors no longer requires the use of a weight-distributing/weight-equalizing hitch when towing trailers "on-the-ball" up to the 2017 HDs' maximum 14,500-pound weight-carrying capacity. We were told that's because of the way the receiver hitch is attached to the frame; the front receiver attachment point on the frame is almost to the rear axle, allowing it to achieve similar results to what a typical weight-distributing hitch can accomplish.

 

2017_GMC_HD_Dually_A17_1364[5] IIGM's LP5 turbo-diesel has new heads, valve train, rods, pistons, camshafts, crank, turbo and injectors, all combined to give this latest-generation Duramax 19 percent more torque (910 pounds-feet versus 765) and 12 percent more horsepower (445 versus 397) than the LML it replaces. The new engine delivers 90 percent of its peak torque by 1,500 rpm.

 

 

The Mercedes-Benz pickup truck could be coming to America - Business Insider

Business Insider

The Mercedes-Benz pickup truck could be coming to America
Business Insider
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class may be the most highly anticipated pickup truck in recent memory. Unfortunately, Mercedes-Benz Vans — the ... Last October, Mercedes-Benz gave the public its first look at the company's upcoming pickup truck in the form of ...

and more »
Truck and Van News: Fleet-Only Options

Our web editor dove into the fleet-only options from Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Recognition and a recall also made the news recently.

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler's 2017-MY Fleet-Only Options

Ford

Ford's 2017-MY Fleet-Only Options

General Motors

General Motors' 2017-MY Fleet-Only Options

Honda

Honda Ridgeline Earns Top Safety Ratings

Mercedes-Benz

Sprinter Vans Recalled for Air Bag Control Unit

Mercedes-Benz Metris Concept Highlights Van Upfitting 

Workhorse

Workhorse Touts Efficiency of Electric Delivery Trucks

For up-to-date news every day, visit http://www.worktruckonline.com/news/list.aspx

 

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WardsAuto Test Drive | GM's New Duramax Diesel Whisper Quiet ... - Ward's Auto

Ward's Auto

WardsAuto Test Drive | GM's New Duramax Diesel Whisper Quiet ...
Ward's Auto
The re-engineered 6.6L pushrod diesel V-8, now available in '17 GMC and Chevrolet HD pickups, is nearly vibration-free at idle and during steady-state cruising ...
2017 GMC Sierra HDs Gain Power With New Duramax ...PickupTrucks.com

all 2 news articles »
Pros and Cons of On-Site Fueling

It’s a given, truck fleets require fuel to operate, whether it’s gasoline, diesel, or one of the many alternative-fuel options.

To acquire the fuel they need, fleets have three main routes: They can choose to utilize gas stations, install an on-site fueling station, or use a combination of the two options.

While our nationwide fueling infrastructure for gasoline and diesel fuel has grown to a size sufficient to support the needs of most fleet operations, there are several reasons why it can be useful to operate an on-site fueling station. However, adding on-site fueling to a fleet operation isn’t for everyone and several factors should be considered before installing a facility.

The Pros

Before a fleet decides whether an on-site fueling station for gasoline or diesel is the best option, important items to consider include the fleet’s annual fuel usage, total annual fuel spend, the type(s) of fuel utilized, and whether the fleets return to base often or remain on the road.

“When done right, on-site fueling can be very favorable,” according to Bernie Kavanagh, SVP and general manager of Large Fleet at WEX. “For example, construction companies that transport heavy equipment and use flatbeds to move tools and equipment to job sites often find it easier to fuel up on-site before the workday begins. Also, transport companies that employ a ‘hub and spoke’ model, or house a fleet in one central location, often find it useful to fuel on-site.”

Some of the top benefits related to an on-site fueling station are convenience, accessibility, product security, and best price economics. “This is particularly true for those with the infrastructure to receive and transport quantity deliveries,” said Scott Effinger, southeast government and fleet card business unit manager for PAPCO. “On-site fueling also helps eliminate driver downtime, which, in turn, reduces operating costs and improves productivity.”

Also, fueling up at retail stations isn’t always a quick in-and-out. “Because the sites are not open to the general public, it’s likely more time-efficient and logistically easier for larger vehicles to enter and exit,” said Jeff Pape, global transportation product and marketing manager for U.S. Bank.

For fleet managers struggling to maintain an accurate fuel budget, “fuel at private sites is typically purchased on a contractual wholesale basis, making it easier to budget and likely to be lower than the street price,” Pape said.

Emergency situations also come to mind, especially for fleets that operate in harsher environments.

"Fleets with on-site facilities have “the ability to control their own fuel inventory in case of shortage or emergency as well as the ability to have ample storage in case of emergency,” according to Joe Basile, VP, Hardware Solutions for AssetWorks.

Kavanagh agreed. “On-site fueling is also advantageous in the event of emergency or disaster situations — many governmental agencies in areas that often experience natural disaster situations utilize their own private fueling sites.”

The Cons

Some potential concerns related to an on-site fueling facility include overall cost, monitoring and tracking issues, as well as environmental liability and changing laws.

As typically lower fuel prices were one of the main pros for an on-site fueling facility, it is important to note that this may not always be the case.

“At times, the contract price of your fuel could be higher than the street price, but if fleets negotiate better pricing, they can minimize this ‘con,’ ” said Pape of U.S. Bank. “Fleet managers need to truly understand their fueling needs in order to not leave anything on the table from a wholesale/bulk fuel contract perspective.”

Also, fleet managers must ensure they are up-to-date with environmental laws and regulations.

“One of the cons of an on-site fueling station relates to the costs of ownership with ever-changing environmental laws, not to mention possible environmental issues such as spills or leaks,” said Basile of AssetWorks. “Also, fleet managers must ensure proper staffing to manage sites and infrastructure.”

Effinger of PAPCO agreed, noting the need for additional “detailed monitoring and tracking of fuel allocation to all assets (vehicles, tanks, and equipment). Fleet managers should also consider the impact of inventory cost exposure related to product turn rate, which could unnecessarily tie-up working capital.”

In addition, there may be the potential for greater fraud.

“Some private sites still use manual, paper-based processes to conduct their transactions. This practice introduces substantially greater fraud and fuel tracking risks. Such risks can be largely eliminated through electronic card-based processing via a point-of-sale device or site controller,” Pape said.

One thing to remember is that on-site fueling stations are a long-term investment, not intended for short-term gains due to the cost of the infrastructure involved.

“A clear setback is the price of the equipment and the risk of a leak or spill. It can be very expensive to purchase and install underground tanks with the required leak protection and monitoring systems. In the long run, fuel will be cheaper, but companies will have to pay off all the equipment they’ve purchased. As such, they may not see a tangible return on this investment for several years at least,” said Kavanagh of WEX.

For fleets that utilize multiple fuel types, having an on-site fueling station for each fuel type may not be a feasible option, so a combination of using an on-site station for one fuel type, such as compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane autogas, may be the best option.

Impact of Alternative Fuels on On-Site Fueling

While the nationwide infrastructure is able to support most fleets that operate gasoline or diesel trucks, the alternative-fuel infrastructure is still growing.

For fleets that utilize an alternative fuel, such as compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane autogas in their fleets, there are additional considerations related to on-site fueling infrastructure.

“On-site fueling is a common method for fleets making the conversion to natural gas as their fuel for choice. By having on-site fueling, fleets are able to control their fueling needs and requirements,” said Dan Bowerson, director, Technology & Development for NGVAmerica.

One pro of an on-site natural gas fueling station is related to cost control and budgeting.

“Fleets with an on-site natural gas station are able to control their fueling needs and requirements. These fleets often have long-term contracts with fuel suppliers, allowing the fleet to more accurately plan for future,” Bowerson said.

In addition to whether an on-site station is needed, fleets need to look at the time available for fueling a natural gas vehicle.

“Fleets will need to determine if they need a fast-fill station or if a time-fill station will accommodate. Time-fill stations are common for fleets that return to base every day and can fill overnight. Fleets have confidence that fuel will be available when needed,” he added.

As to propane autogas, perhaps the most obvious pro for on-site refueling for work truck fleets is reduction in total cost of ownership, noted Mike Walters, VP of safety and training for Superior Energy Systems.

“While convenience is important, and so are space considerations, work truck fleet managers should be looking at total cost of ownership as their largest factor in deciding to switch to propane autogas,” he said. “Total cost of ownership is basically everything – fuel cost; cost of installation of not only the components on the vehicle but the dispensing apparatus; and the costs associated with operating the dispensing apparatus, including maintenance and electrical bills.”

For example, Walters said, the cost of a propane autogas dispenser itself, along with installation, maintenance, and electrical costs, is typically less cost-intensive than other alternative fuels. In addition, total cost of ownership can be managed, in part, by the data measurement capabilities of propane autogas dispensers.

Just as with gasoline and diesel, there are reasons fleets may not want to utilize an on-site fueling facility for CNG.

“If fleet activities or priorities change, it can be an additional cost to change from a time-fill station to a fast-fill station. In addition, it should not be considered a con, but just like other fueling stations, on-site fueling requires maintenance, which can be handled internally by the fleet or by contracting an outside firm,” Bowerson said.

According to Walters, “As to cons for propane autogas, there really aren’t any. Certainly, space availability is necessary, but space considerations are a factor no matter what alternative fuel is implemented. It’s part of the process.”

In addition to natural gas and propane autogas, many fleets are going electric, including utilizing hybrid-electric pickup trucks.

Due to the time to charge vehicles and more limited nationwide infrastructure, as well as lower costs to install on-site charging stations, many fleets with electric units choose to utilize on-site charging stations.

 

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1881TM Tractor-Mounted Boom Truck

Elliott Equipment Company is launching a major redesign of their 1881TM tractor-mounted boom truck model.

The redesigned 1881TM boom truck features an 18-ton lifting capacity and Elliott’s proven five-section 81-foot telescopic boom with a compact stowed length and a 91-foot tip height.

The new 1881TM model includes integrated out-down main outriggers with full and mid-span settings. This allows for improved setup in a variety of terrain and jobsite conditions.

Along with new out-down main outriggers, the 1881TM model incorporates a number of significant new features, which includes:

  • Elliott’s Hydraulic Load Limiter (HLL) overload alert system with full and mid-span charts
  • Wireless anti-two-block (A2B) system allows for simple maintenance
  • Front bumper winch stow control to reduce teardown times
  • High visibility operator stations
  • Electronic foot throttle controls
  • Proprietary wear pad design for extremely smooth boom operation
  • Optional outrigger short-jacking system.

The 1881TM model boom truck is designed to serve a range of applications including home construction, truss delivery, pipeline service, and more. The boom can stow over the cab to provide space behind the crane for the connection of a trailer using a chassis with a 5th wheel or with the boom sitting over a flatbed.

 

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Payload Requirements Are the Foundation to Properly Spec’ing a Truck

Specifications should be defined by the application and mission requirements. With this in mind, trucks must be spec’ed to handle very specific fleet applications, which requires correctly specifying a multitude of components such as the right drivetrain, suspension, and body. It is critical to understand day-to-day fleet applications when spec’ing a truck. Without fully understanding the fleet application requirements and operating parameters, it is impossible to spec the best chassis, powertrain, and body necessary to optimize productivity. But, most importantly, determining the fleet application determines the payload requirements.

Properly identifying payload parameters is the foremost consideration to properly spec’ing a truck. To illustrate this fact, the weight of the payload will determine the engine, transmission, size of tire, frame, and just about everything else. The first step in calculating payload is to determine how much weight a truck will need to carry in its daily work application. It is important to determine the maximum need here, not an average. The vehicle must be able to do the job every day with the maximum load at any given time. In addition, you need to make sure that the truck can carry not only the payload, but also any additional equipment you put on the truck. It is important to factor in the body and equipment weight, as well as, any tools or other material that may be stored or transported by the chassis.

Determining Payload Requirements

There are three components to determining payload requirement. The first is payload weight. How much weight will the truck need to carry in its daily workload? As mentioned earlier, you need to determine the maximum payload need, not an average.

Another determinant is the volume or size of the payload. The truck needs to be large enough to handle the volume. Payload weight will also help determine if the cargo can be loaded and unloaded by hand, or whether you will need a power liftgate or some other type of assist to get it up in the body or bed. And, you need to know how the payload will be loaded. Is it stackable? Can you stack it right to the ceiling? Or, can only the floor space be used? How do you secure the product? Getting any of these factors wrong can mean the vehicle will be spec’ed incorrectly.

The third component is the type of payload. Are you hauling loose gravel, pallets, or boxes of merchandise? This will determine the type of truck and body combination you need to choose.

Over-Spec’ing vs. Under-Spec’ing

Overextending a truck’s payload capacity beyond the chassis’ weight specifications is a good way to shorten the truck’s service life. Overloaded trucks will cause premature tire wear, decreased fuel economy, and downtime due to engine or transmission repair. In addition, overloading results in fines and possible impoundment of the vehicle by the authorities.

Determining the correct vehicle size for the intended payload often requires a judgment call as to how much over-capacity to build into the payload capacity of the vehicle when spec’ing its requirements. Spec’ing the truck to the minimum necessary payload rating (by basing it on an average load or looking at only today’s business needs instead of trying to anticipate future needs) means that the vehicle will be operating at peak capacity most of the time, which may compromise safety and the length of its service life. Using average payload for specs means that the vehicle will sometimes be overloaded – and that means excessive wear-and-tear, higher maintenance costs, and poor fuel economy.

It can’t be emphasized enough – to properly spec a truck you need to talk with the people in the field to understand what type of service the truck is expected to perform and how it will be used. You should solicit input from field personnel to ensure that local issues affecting the vehicle’s operation are taken into account.

In the final analysis, you need to view work trucks as revenue earning assets. To maximize the productivity of this working asset, it is necessary to optimize specs to fulfill the fleet application.

Let me know what you think.

mike.antich@bobit.com

 

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2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Exhaust Video: Perfect Tunes

17ford_f-150_raptor_es_71jpg_31774378920_oA

During our extended driving tour in the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor during our 2017 Monster Factory Off-Road Challenge, we had plenty of time to listen to the throaty and subtle fluctuations of the exhaust system at speed, in low range and at idle.

The new Raptor, like many other V-6-equipped F-150s, includes tone-technology that allows passengers to hear a slightly different engine sound than the one coming out the tailpipe, meaning it's given a more muscular and V-8-sounding tone. But Ford engineers also spent gobs of time and energy trying to provide the engine with the most rear-wheel power and the best sound they could find.

Here is the latest video from Ford showing how engineers tested and created the unique twin-pipe exhaust system for this latest-generation Raptor.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears

 

 

 

What's Been Driving Us Nuts? The Mercedes X-Class and Ford Bronco

Screen Shot 2017-02-25 at 7.46.05 AM II

At a time when there are plenty of political shenanigans that are seemingly designed to distract us from more important issues, there are two auto-related stories that are driving me crazy.

The first is when and how, as well as whether or not, Mercedes-Benz is going to bring its new mid-size pickup truck, the X-Class (check out our latest spy shots here), to the U.S. The segment has really heated up during the last few years, with Honda redoing the Ridgeline for model year 2017, Ford bringing back the Ranger in two years and GM kick-starting the mid-size revival with the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in model year 2015.

In all likelihood, the X-Class will not come to the U.S. as a luxury pickup, which seems to be what most automotive journalists are assuming based on the illustrations I've seen in other publications. These graphics make the Canyon Denali destroyer look like an S-Class sedan or GL-Class SUV. It's as if these media outlets are desperate for Mercedes to make a premium-priced, top-quality German competitor to fight the Japanese and American players. And I'm not sure that makes any sense.

I'm not calling this "fake news," but there does seem to be an uncomfortable, gentle push by the media for a luxury mid-size Mercedes pickup. For instance, stories from Automotive News continue to play up what we already know: that Mercedes is considering bringing the X-Class here, but it's taking a wait-and-see approach.

Ultimately, I think it's unlikely Mercedes will bring us a luxury mid-size pickup. Instead, I expect a commercial work truck along the lines of Mercedes' mid-size Metris Worker van. MB is partnering with Nissan/Renault for the platform of the X-Class, and I have no doubt it will make some significant changes to meet its own standards, but this pickup will be coming from Mercedes' commercial production arm, just like the Metris.

Mercedes has fueled this foolishness by releasing concept vehicle images that show some personal-use possibilities for the X-Class. It's important to remember that concept vehicles can be more about fantasy than reality.

Then there's the Ford Bronco saga. Ford announced at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit that a new Bronco SUV will go on sale for model year 2020, and it likely will be configured off a version of the new Ford Ranger platform. That makes sense since they're both being built at the newly reconstructed Michigan Assembly Plant (formerly the Michigan Truck Plant) in Wayne.

All we've seen since the announcement are several variations of simulated photos (we will call this fake news) of what the next Bronco will look like. And it was at this point that we painfully decided to go ahead and provide a photo of the abomination at the risk of further muddying the already murky waters. Our only hope is that our readers, excluding the ones who already know these photos are fake, will recognize these images for the pretend news that they are. Of course, there's nothing new about illustrations meant to suggest what the new vehicle might look like, but based on the number of people contacting us to comment on the looks of the new Bronco, that message is not getting out there. 

Real photos of the next-generation Ford Bronco will not be available for quite a while, and when they are available they more than likely will be out-of-focus or long-distance spy shot at some remote proving ground. When those images of the new Bronco are available (we already have spy shots of the new Ranger), we'll be ready to pass them along. In the meantime, we're hoping to get more information about the changes happening to the new Ranger/Bronco plant once that's figured out. More to come.

Manufacturer image above; Fourwheeler.com image below

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-25 at 6.50.54 AM II

 

2017 Land Rover Discovery

<p><em>Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.</em></p>

Land Rover vehicles are known for providing plenty of off-road capability in a luxury package with features such as selectable terrain modes and air suspensions that allow off-road drivers to configure the vehicles for particular terrain.

While the vehicles have been gaining more and more of a luxury sheen in recent years, the 2017 Discovery is somewhat of a return to the fundamentals as a vehicle that can survive the rugged southern Utah desert as well as a weekend trip to a high-end shopping mall.

We've seen the arrival of new sub-brands from Jaguar Land Rover's Land Rover division in recent years with the Discovery nomenclature reemerging for the 2015 model year with the Discovery Sport compact luxury SUV that replaced the LR2. The newly launched Discovery replaces the larger LR4 that evolved from the LR3 and earlier Discovery II models.

These more utilitarian vehicles compared to the trio of Range Rover models offer a subdued luxury and capability to burn.

We tested the Discovery, which was introduced ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, on a media drive that took us into the varied terrain along the Utah-Arizona border that includes icy, mountainous roads at 10,000 feet of elevation, rain-soaked sand dunes, and sloping rocky trails replete with Navajo sandstone and limestone painted with a red varnish.

Land Rover is offering the Discovery with a pair of engine choices, including a supercharged gasoline 3.0L V-6 that makes 340 horsepower and a 3.0L V-6 diesel model that makes 254 hp. Both offer plenty of power, and the diesel charged through several muddy tracks with an easy confidence.

The vehicle's Terrain Response 2 offers at least five modes to configure transmission, suspension and traction settings, including Auto, Rock Crawl, Mud and Ruts, Sand, as well as Grass, Gravel, and Snow.

On the inside, the Discovery provides an array of seating options to accommodate various seating configurations over two or three rows with storage for up to seven passengers. The Discovery offers cargo from 9.1 cubic feet with three rows up to 85 cubic feet when seats are folded down.

Jaguar Land Rover has made a more aggressive push into the corporate car allowance market in recent years by offering a fleet program with incentives. With the popularity of small and mid-size SUVs, the Discovery would make an able choice for an executive with an active weekend lifestyle.

 

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Isuzu Recalls N-Series Cabovers for Transmission Issue

<p><em>Photo courtesy of Isuzu Trucks.</em></p>

Isuzu Technical Center of America is recalling 21,000 NPR HD, NPR XD, NQR and NRR trucks in the 2015 to 2017 model years to address a potential transmission problem, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

During manufacturing, the stamping equipment may have created burrs on the frame crossmember to which the transmission is mounted. These burrs may cause the transmission-mounting studs to break.

If the studs break, the transmission may not be properly supported, preventing it from shifting correctly and increasing the risk of a crash,” NHTSA warned on its website.

Isuzu dealers will inspect the vehicles and install a metal shim to prevent stress on the mounting studs. There will be no charge for this service.

The recall is expected to begin in April. Truck owners can reach Isuzu customer service at (866) 441-9638.

 

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MCHF13 Mach Flex Mobile Column Lift

Rotary Lift has expanded its Mach Flex powered by RedFire remote-controlled mobile column lift line-up to include the MCHF13 Flex. This smaller Mach Flex lift provides 13,000-pounds capacity per column, making it ideal for lifting medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Technicians control the mobile column lift with Rotary’s patent-pending remote control, giving them the freedom to walk around the vehicle and the bay to check for any issues while lifting.

The Flex line-up also includes the MCH19 Flex that provides 18,800 pounds of capacity per column. Both systems are available in configurations of two, four, six or eight columns. 

The Mach Flex lifting system is easy to set up quickly, according to Rotary Lift. The remote control guides the technician step by step, so there’s no need to stay at each column to sync it before moving to the next.

The MCHF13 Mach Flex comes packed with standard features, including:

  • Integrated vehicle height and weight gauges with digital display.
  • Patent-pending LockLight technology that shows at a glance whether the lift’s mechanical locks are engaged.
  • Joystick control for up and down (two speeds) movement.
  • Auto resume feature that makes using a previous set-up even faster.
  • 99 system IDs (channels) to improve reception.
  • Two controller locating systems, including compatibility with Tile technology.
  • Ability to make software updates without cords, keys, chips or even opening the lift panel.
  • New column controls with ergonomically positioned metal buttons and pictograph information screen.
  • Larger, easier-to-read five-digit information display.
  • Battery-operated with onboard charger: No cords needed in the bay.
  • Easy-to-move adjustable forks improve set up time without the need for reducer sleeves.
  • Spring-loaded steering and braking system.
  • Protected hydraulic cylinder that does not require maintenance.
  • Forklift pockets for in-shop mobility.
  • Lower-to-locks button.

The Rotary Lift Mach Flex powered by RedFire mobile column lifting system is third-party tested and ALI certified to meet industry safety and performance standards. Like all Rotary Lift products, the MCHF13 Mach Flex is backed by the industry’s largest factory-trained distributor network providing unmatched local service and support.

 Check out a set-up video below: 

 

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Rush Enterprises Names VP of Service Operations

Rush Enterprises, Inc., which operates a network of commercial vehicle dealerships in North America, announced it has appointed Victor Cummings as vice president of Service Operations. In this role, Cummings will be responsible for leading the company’s Service, Collision Center, RushCare and Telematics/Technology business units.

“Victor is intensely customer-focused and recognizes that reliable customer uptime, communication, and technology are the keys to our growth and success. He is skilled at building competencies with his employees, promoting teamwork and creating positive relationships with his customers and colleagues.  He also understands the critical role that disciplined processes play in driving a consistently positive and value added customer experience.” said Michael McRoberts, SVP and CEO at Rush Enterprises, Inc. “I am confident he will use these attributes to integrate and strengthen the service operations of our company."

Cummings joined Rush Enterprises in 2011 as General Manager of Rush Bus Center – Atlanta, then became District General Manager of the Northern Ohio Region and later the North Carolina Region. Most recently, he was Regional General Manager of the company’s Mid-Atlantic Region.  Prior to joining Rush Enterprises, Victor spent six years with McNeilus, first as a Branch Manager and later the Senior Director of Aftermarket Operations.

 

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Ford's 2017 F-250 4x4 Crew Cab

Ford's redesign of its Super Duty trucks adds strength and capability, while reducing about 300 pounds of weight with extensive use of aluminum body panels. Here's a closer look at the 2017 F-250 4x4 Crew Cab Platinum that's powered by the 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 diesel. Read more here. Photos by Vince Taroc.

 

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Google Parent Waymo Sues Uber, Otto, Alleging Stolen Autonomous Technology

<p><strong>Waymo self-driving car prototype</strong>. <em>Photo via Waymo.com</em></p>

Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo is suing Uber and its Otto autonomous trucking subsidiary for stealing the company’s autonomous vehicle sensor technology. Alphabet is also the parent company of Google.

In court documents, Waymo accuses Otto and Uber of taking the company’s intellectual property in order to avoid the risk, time, and expense of independently developing the technology on its own.

Waymo’s case centers around its custom-built Lidar (light detection and ranging) sensor technology. The sensors allow a vehicle to see a 3D picture of the world around it to detect and measure the shape, speed, and movement of obstacles. Not simply accusing Uber and Otto of copying the technology, Waymo’s was given a tip that Otto’s LIDAR design bore a striking resemblance to its own.

In its own investigation, Waymo found evidence that former employee and current Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski downloaded over 14,000 confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s hardware systems, according to a blog post from the company. These files included blueprints, design files and testing documentation totaling 9.7 GB of data.

Waymo accuses Levandowski of using specialized software installed onto his company laptop to achieve this. The company said that after he transferred the information to an external hard drive, he wiped and reformatted his laptop in an attempt to erase evidence.

“We believe these actions were part of a concerted plan to steal Waymo’s trade secrets and intellectual property,” the company stated in its blog post.

Waymo said that it has devoted seven years to research and development for the technology, building up more than 1.5 million miles of self-driving experience on public roads and even more than that in simulations.

 

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2017 Jeep Compass First Drive | 2013 Ford F-250 from 8 Lug Customs | 2017 Diesel Power Challenge Voting
2017 Jeep Compass First Drive, 2013 Ford F-250 from 8 Lug Customs, 2017 Diesel Power Challenge Voting and more in this Week in Review.2017 Jeep Compass First Drive | 2013 Ford F-250 from 8 Lug Customs | 2017 Diesel Power Challenge Voting
2017 Jeep Compass First Drive, 2013 Ford F-250 from 8 Lug Customs, 2017 Diesel Power Challenge Voting and more in this Week in Review.Startup Firm Unveils Prototype Autonomous Truck

<p><strong>Prototype autonomous truck in Nevada desert.</strong> <em>Photo: Embark</em></p>

Yet another startup tech firm has rolled into the autonomous truck arena. San Mateo, Calif.-based Embark publicly revealed its prototype self-driving truck on Feb. 24.

The company, which gained approval from the State of Nevada earlier this year to begin testing its truck on public roads, said its self-driving technology enables a truck “to drive from exit to exit on the freeway without any human input.”

Embark said its tractor-trailer setup uses a combination of radars, cameras and Lidar (light detection and ranging) depth sensors “to perceive the world around it.” The data points captured are processed via a form of Artificial Intelligence known as Deep Neural Nets (DNNs) that “allow the truck to learn from its own experience— much like humans learn from practice.”

“Analyzing terabyte upon terabyte of real-world data, Embark’s DNNs have learned how to see through glare, fog and darkness on their own,” said Alex Rodrigues, CEO and co-founder of Embark. “We’ve programmed them with a set of rules to help safely navigate most situations, how to safely learn from the unexpected, and how to apply that experience to new situations going forward.”

Embark’s truck is built specifically for “long, simple stretches of freeway driving between cities, rather than all aspects of driving.”

Like other autonomous truck designs, including the Freightliner Inspiration truck and the Otto (owned by Uber) truck, Embark's computerized truck is meant to be handed off to a human driver once it heads off the highway, who will then navigate local streets to the destination. “A human driver will still touch every load, but with Embark they’re able to move more loads per day, handing off hundreds of miles of freeway driving to their robot partners,” is how the company put it.

Rodrigues said he was inspired to launch Embark after blowing a tire on the interstate and waiting four hours for a tow. In that time, he said, “every single 18-wheeler that drove past had a sign on the back 'Drivers Wanted'. It was so clear there was a shortage of drivers.” He added that “Embark's goal is to increase productivity per driver and prevent the shortage from becoming a crisis.”

Rodrigues is no stranger to robotics, having built his first autonomous robot at age 13. According to the company, his robots have won international competitions and one of his autonomous shuttles transported over 1,000 passengers in demonstrations across California.

According to Embark, the company’s robotics team includes “talent from technology leaders including SpaceX, StanfordAI, and Audi's self-driving team. The team is backed by a multi-million dollar investment led by Maven Ventures. Maven’s previous investment in self-driving technology, Cruise Automation, sold to GM for $1B last year.”

In addition to its prototype autonomous truck, Embark noted that it also fields a fleet of five trucks to gather data to help accelerate development.  The company added that it plans to quadruple its engineering team within the next year and “aggressively expand its testing fleet to show their technology is ready for the nation’s highways.”

“We are committed to proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that this technology is safe and reliable,” said Rodrigues. “That means performing extensive tests and working with our partners in the government to get it— and the market— ready.”

 

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QUINN – Addiction Offroad’s Six-Door Excursion
Feature coming soon on Addiction Offroad’s six-door, 6.7L Power Stroke 2005 Ford Excursion.QUINN – Addiction Offroad’s Six-Door Excursion
Feature coming soon on Addiction Offroad’s six-door, 6.7L Power Stroke 2005 Ford Excursion.EnPak A28GBW Power System

Miller Electric Mfg. Co.'s new EnPak A28GBW is an all-in-one work truck power solution that delivers compressed air for jobsite tools, generator power for electrical needs, battery charging and crank assist, and versatile stick welding capabilities for field repairs. 

Service technicians can turn their trucks off and use the EnPak A28, saving on fuel and maintenance expenses associated with running a Tier 4-compliant engine.

The EnPak A28 dispenses 28 cubic feet of compressed air per minute, with the ability to power virtually any tool with an industrial grade rotary-screw compressor. A 5,500-watt generator lets users power jobsite tools and operate truck-mounted electric and hydraulic cranes. The battery delivers up to 100 amps of DC power for 12V/24V battery charging and up to 300 amps for crank assist. Field repairs can be completed with the versatile 210-amp stick welder, the first in the EnPak series to include built-in weld functionality.

The remote panel features simple, straightforward controls to eliminate the need for technicians to climb into the truck bed to start and operate the unit, saving time and reducing the risk of injury. Coming in t 45 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 24 inches tall, the EnPak A28 offers a small footprint and can save up to 550 pounds compared to using a PTO-driven air compressor and engine-driven welder/generator. A fully enclosed, corrosion-resistant case provides industrial quality for professional-level reliability, capability and appearance.

The EnPak A28 is rigorously tested to meet both ANSI and CSA standards and to withstand high temperatures, rain, dust, salt, impact, vibration and other challenges. In addition, the welding, auxiliary power, battery charging and crank assist systems are all tested to meet the highest applicable industry safety standards. The EnPak A28 is powered by a Kohler gasoline engine with industry-exclusive eChoke technology.

 

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Safety Tip: Exiting the Freeway

<p><em>Photo by Famartin via Wikimedia Commons.</em></p>

We’ve all seen it: A driver abruptly swings across multiple lanes and crosses solid lines to just barely squeeze into a freeway exit ramp. It’s a last-second maneuver that places everyone nearby at risk. Why didn’t the driver simply wait for the next exit and leave the freeway in a much safer manner?

It’s a lesson worth remembering. If you notice your exit at the last moment and can’t get over safely, remain calm. It's not a big deal. Just stay patient, take the next exit and reroute. Don’t overreact and create undue risks and drama for yourself and everyone near you. And don’t give other drivers cause for road rage.

Here’s some additional advice from the California Department of Motor Vehicles on how to exit the freeway safely:

  • When you plan to exit the freeway, give yourself plenty of time. You should know the name or number of the freeway exit you want, as well as the one that comes before it.
  • To exit safely, take these measures —

-- Signal, look over your shoulder, and change lanes one at a time until you are in the proper lane to exit the freeway.

-- Signal your intention to exit for approximately five seconds before reaching the exit.

-- Be sure you are at the proper speed for leaving the traffic lane — not too fast (so you remain in control) and not too slow (so the flow of traffic can still move freely).

 

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Spy Shots! 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Inches Closer to Production
LED Driving Lights, Backup Camera SeenSpy Shots! 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Inches Closer to Production
LED Driving Lights, Backup Camera SeenSPIED: Updated 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport in the Snow
Land Rover will give the Range Rover Sport a little nip/tuck for 2018, if these wintry spy images are to be believed.SPIED: Updated 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport in the Snow
Land Rover will give the Range Rover Sport a little nip/tuck for 2018, if these wintry spy images are to be believed.Video: Developing the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Exhaust System
Ford Says Raptor “Redefines the Sound” of Off-Road PerformanceVideo: Developing the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Exhaust System
Ford Says Raptor “Redefines the Sound” of Off-Road PerformanceVolvo Teases 2018 XC60 Sport Ute on Facebook
Fans of the Volvo XC60 should take notice, because the Swedish marque teased the all-new 2018 version of its popular compact SUV on Facebook.Volvo Teases 2018 XC60 Sport Ute on Facebook
Fans of the Volvo XC60 should take notice, because the Swedish marque teased the all-new 2018 version of its popular compact SUV on Facebook.2017 Diesel Power Challenge Voting - TruckTrend Network

TruckTrend Network

2017 Diesel Power Challenge Voting
TruckTrend Network
For those of you who aren't hip to what DPC is, the weeklong competition is our annual performance and endurance test for diesel-powered vehicles (usually pickup trucks) and their drivers and crews. The 10 competitors will be comprised of 2016 champion ...

Fiat Chrysler Announces 2017-MY Order Cutoff Dates

<p><em>Photo of Warren Truck Assembly Plant courtesy of FCA.</em></p>

Fiat Chrysler has set dates for when it will stop taking orders for 2017 model year vehicles and has set order-cutoff dates for its lineup of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles through August.

Fleets can order the Ram ProMaster full-size van until March 9. FCA has set the build-out dates for its Saltillo, Mexico plant for July 7.

Fleets can order the Ram ProMaster City compact van until April 20. The vehicle is built under a joint venture by TOFAS in Bursa, Turkey. The build-out date has has been set for July 17.

Other vehicles that must be ordered by April 20 include the Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Charger Pursuit, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango. The build-out date for the 300, Challenger, Charger, and Charger Pursuit at Brampton Assembly in Ontario, Canada has been set for July 7. The Grand Cherokee and Durango build-out date has been set for July 15 at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Michigan.

Vehicles that must be ordered by May 4 include the Chrysler Pacifica, Jeep Cherokee, Ram 1500 regular cab, Ram 2500, Ram 3500, Ram 4500, and Ram Cab Chassis. The build-out date for Pacifica minivans at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada has been set for July 21. The Cherokee build-out date has been set for July 22 at the Toledo North and Belvidere assembly plants. The build-out date for the trucks excluding the Ram 1500 has been set for July 29 in Saltillo. The build-out date of the Ram 1500 regular cab has been set for Sept. 1 in Saltillo.

Orders of the Ram 1500 Quad and Crew cabs must be received by May 25. The build-out date for those vehicles has been set for Aug. 12 at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan. May 25 is also the cutoff date for the Dodge Journey mid-size SUV and Fiat 500. That build-out date is Aug. 26 at Toluca Car Assembly in Mexico.

Orders of the Dodge Grand Caravan must be placed by June 15. The build-out date has been set for Aug. 31 at the Windsor plant.

Fleets ordering the Jeep Wrangler must do so by July 13. The build-out date is Sept. 30 at the Toledo Supplier Park in Ohio.

Orders for the Jeep Renegade or Fiat 500X must be placed by Aug. 10 for vehicles that have a build-out date of Nov. 13 at the Melfi Assembly Plant in Italy.

Editor's note: The build-out dates were initially listed inaccurately and have been corrected.

 

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Missouri Motorists May Have to Move Over for Utility Trucks

Missouri motorists may be required to move over for utility trucks at work, pending new legislation.

The state's "Slow Down and Move Over Law" requires motorists to slow down and change lanes when approaching law enforcement, emergency vehicles, first responders, and certain Missouri Department of Transportation vehicles with flashing lights, to leave the lane closest to the vehicle open.

With House Bill 85, private and public utility workers would be added to the list. The bill was approved by the House on February 20 and has moved to the Senate for further debate.

"Our law enforcement, first responders, and transportation and utility workers are out there year-round, working in all types of weather conditions. They are the ones responding to traffic accidents, maintaining our roads and bridges, and keeping our lights on. Unfortunately, with all the available technology we have today, drivers have more distractions than ever before thus endangering the lives of those who work on our roadways," State Senator Dan Hegeman said in a statement.

 

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Sterling Group Acquires Time Manufacturing Company

The Sterling Group, a middle market private equity firm based in Houston, Texas, announced that it acquired Time Manufacturing Company from O’Flaherty Holdings Limited.

Headquartered in Waco, Texas, Time is a global designer, manufacturer, and distributor of vehicle-mounted aerial lifts primarily for the telecom and electric utility end markets. Time has pioneered several brands within the aerial lift market, including the market-leading Versalift brand. The business had been owned by the O’Flaherty family for over 40 years.

“Sterling is the right partner for Time as we continue to pursue the significant growth opportunities that exist for the company today,” said Charles Wiley, CEO of Time. “The Time team is excited to partner with Sterling, and together we expect continued success in this next phase of our company’s history.”

“The team at Time has built the company into an industry leader that provides outstanding products and services to its customers, and we look forward to further supporting their future growth,” said Kent Wallace, a partner at The Sterling Group. Sterling has a long history of partnering with management teams of family- and entrepreneur-owned businesses in the industrial sector.

 

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NCCCO to Use Manitex 30100C for Testing and Demonstrations

A Manitex 30100C, provided by Nevada dealer, Nixon-Egli Equipment Co., will be the official test crane for all operators taking their telescopic boom — fixed cab practical exams on-site at CONEXPO/CON-AGG, which will take place March 7-11 in Las Vegas. Event attendees can also watch live practical exam demonstrations in NCCCO’s Lift Safety Zone.

This testing is part of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) “Visit CONEXPO — Leave Certified” program, which will offer new candidates and existing certificants the opportunity to take a wide variety of ANSI-accredited and OSHA-compliant CCO written, practical, and recertification exams and receive their results on site at the event.

On all five days of the show, CCO practical exams will be offered for mobile and articulating crane operators. On March 8 and 9, practical exams will be offered for the Signalperson and Rigger Level I programs.

“We are thrilled to have the Manitex 30100C boom truck as part of NCCCO’s practical exam offerings at CONEXPO. Having new machines from one of the leading equipment manufacturers ensures our candidates are testing on the most current equipment in the industry,” said Joel Oliva, NCCCO’s director of operations and program development.

The Manitex 30100C has a 30-ton capacity and 4-section, 100-foot proportional boom. It is an ideal materials handler for pump work, construction, or oil field operations. The crane being tested at CONEXPO is mounted on a Peterbilt 348; is backed by Manitex’s renowned, comprehensive UPTime customer support; and is for sale at Nixon-Egli Equipment in Las Vegas, Nev.

“The Manitex 30100C was designed for the kind of versatility that operators must demonstrate in their tests,” said Randy Robertson, director of sales at Manitex. “We are proud to introduce this crane to testing operators and allow them to demonstrate all that it can do.”

 

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Commission Ends Tariffs on Truck Tires From China

<p><em>Photo: Jim Park</em></p>

No tariffs will be assessed on truck and bus tires manufactured in China and imported into the U.S. The International Trade Commission upended the tariff investigation by voting against imposing tariffs on the products.

The ITC didn’t immediately publish an explanation of its vote, but instead issued a single sentence that it has "made a negative determination." As a result, the tariff investigation on truck and bus tires from China has ended and no tariffs will be assessed.

After its initial one-sentence announcement, the ITC provided one more detail on its decision. The five-member commission voted 2-3.

Commissioners Rhonda Schmidtlein and Irving Williamson voted in the affirmative (which was a vote to impose the tariffs), and commissioners David Johanson, Meredith Broadbent and F. Scott Kieff voted in the negative.

A sixth member of the commission, Dean Pinkert, did not participate in the case. Pinkert also recused himself from the separate investigation studying tariffs on off-the-road tires earlier this year.

Editor's note: This story initially appeared on ModernTireDealer.com, a sister publication.

 

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Peterbilt Announces Annual Dealer Award Winners

<p><strong>The Peterbilt Store's president and CEO John Ascott accepted the North American Dealer of the year with his two sons Jeff and Greg Arscott.</strong> <em>Photos: Peterbilt</em></p>

Peterbilt announced the winners of its Dealer of the Year awards at its Dealer Meeting in Palm Springs, Calif.

Winning Peterbilt’s North American Dealer of the year for its outstanding fleet sales and support, Paccar MX engine sales and territory acquisition was The Peterbilt Store dealer group. The dealer increased its area of operation to a total of 15 locations in seven states.

“The Peterbilt Store has been an outstanding Paccar partner since they joined the Peterbilt family,” said Kyle Quinn, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar senior vice president. “The Peterbilt Store is committed to achieving day-to-day excellence, and the results have been realized in sales growth and customer satisfaction.”

Peterbilt named Coast Counties Peterbilt of California its Medium Duty Dealer of the Year for its outstanding medium-duty sales and market share. The dealership sold more than 300 medium-duty trucks in 2016, resulting in 18% market share.

“We strive to be a complete solutions provider for all of our customers, and this award serves as validation for the hard work and commitment of the entire Coast Counties team to achieve maximum customer satisfaction,” said Craig Archer, dealer principal of Coast Counties Peterbilt of California.

<p><strong>Doug Danylchuk, dealer principal of Peterbilt Manitoba, accepted the award at Peterbilt&rsquo;s annual Dealer Meeting.</strong></p>

Peterbilt Manitoba was named the Peterbilt First Class Service Excellence Dealer of the Year. Peterbilt service locations were all measured by First Class Service Excellence performance criteria. Peterbilt Manitoba had the highest dealer group performance for First Class Service Excellence based on the comprehensive dealer group score.

The Paccar MX Engine Dealer of the Year award went to Camions Excellence Peterbilt for the dealer’s superior commitment and support of the MX engine. More than 83% of all Class 8 trucks sold by the dealer were powered by MX-13 engines, and the company invested in technicians, tools and training in support of the MX.

Receiving the Peterbilt Red Oval Dealer of the Year was Rush Enterprises. The award recognizes a dealer's integration of the Red Oval pre-owned truck program into its dealer operations. Rush led the Peterbilt dealer network last year with 60% of all Red Oval-certified units listed in their inventory. Rush Enterprises is a Red Oval Dealer Council member.

<p><strong>Rush Enterprises&rsquo; chairman, CEO&nbsp;and president W.M. &ldquo;Rusty&rdquo; Rush, senior vice president and COO&nbsp;Michael J. McRoberts, senior vice present &ndash; Peterbilt Dealerships Corey H. Lowe and senior vice president of Retail Sales James E. Thor accepted the award during Peterbilt&rsquo;s annual Dealer Meeting.</strong></p>

Citing a commitment to support and service that spans the entire truck ownership experience, Peterbilt  named The Larson Group as the 2016 North American Parts and Service Dealer of the Year. The Larson Group achieved outstanding performance in each Standard of Excellence category, maintained an excellent absorption rate and was the first Peterbilt network to open a TRP all makes parts store.

Lastly, Peterbilt of Atlanta was named the TRP Dealer of the Year for its exceptional sales performance and customer service, as well as the 2016 opening of a TRP all makes parts store in Conley, Georgia. Peterbilt of Atlanta was cited for committing to early installation of new product liens and its focus on connecting customers with TRP products.

Peterbilt’s Dealer Meeting was a two-day business meeting includes presentations and breakout sessions, with focused reviews of the enhanced SmartLINQ connected truck technology and Paccar’s position on the competitive landscape of the commercial vehicle industry.

Peterbilt provides a comprehensive array of aftermarket support programs through more than 300 North American dealer locations that complement its full lineup of on-highway, vocational, and medium-duty products, including alternative fuel vehicles.

 

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2017 Jeep Compass First Drive - Orphan No More
Jeep’s Compass Goes from Afterthought to Front and Center2017 Jeep Compass First Drive - Orphan No More
Jeep’s Compass Goes from Afterthought to Front and CenterN.Y. Offers $3M to Municipalities and Utilities for EVs

<p><em>Photo via Flickr/marlordo59</em></p>

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $3 million in new funding to help eligible municipalities and rural electric cooperatives purchase electric vehicles for their fleets.

This new funding is part of the New York Power Authority's Municipal Electric-Drive Vehicle Program, which provides financial assistance to facilitate the replacement of less fuel-efficient vehicles.

All types of commercially available battery-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles are offered for purchase under the program, including passenger cars, pickup trucks, off-road specialty vehicles, and heavy-duty utility bucket trucks.

Municipalities and rural electric cooperatives that currently receive low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority are eligible to participate in this program. The funding builds on $5 million previously distributed under this program that has helped put 61 clean vehicles into service in 24 towns and villages across New York. 

The Municipal Electric-Drive Vehicle program works by providing zero-interest financing. The funds made available for the purchase of these vehicles are recovered over the course of three years.

New York Power Authority serves 47 municipal and four rural electric cooperative utility systems around the state, providing them with low-cost hydropower to help meet the electricity needs of their residents and businesses. 

 

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Truck Fleet Targets Niche Filming Market

<p><em>Angel Aerial's fleet includes&nbsp;Kenworth box trucks. Photo by James Miller</em></p>

Running a diverse fleet of trucks and equipment, James Miller caters his company to the film and television production industries shooting in and around New York City. “We used to be the largest New York-based company that supplied the film industry with vehicles,” says Miller, owner of Angel Aerial.

Before 2008, Miller maintained a fleet of 300 vehicles. Due to the slowdown of the movie industry in New York, Miller was forced to greatly downsize his fleet.

Tax incentives for film were victims of the 2008 budget in New York, according to Miller. “There was no film work in New York until several months later when the budget was signed by the new governor,” he says. “This, plus the financial crisis, was devastating to my company.”

Today in New York City, the movie and film production industry has rebounded and is a $9 billion per-year industry. Still serving this niche market, Miller is working toward a fleet of 50 trucks, which includes water trucks and box trucks. According to Miller, his goal is to maintain a fleet of newer vehicles (2012 and newer). He also offers equipment such as generators and lifts.

Specialized Fleet

Unlike his competitors, Miller buys new trucks and equipment for his film industry clients.

“Most of my competitors are maintaining older trucks so they can keep their rates lower and still make a profit,” he says. “To compete, I’m getting the rates that are closer to companies with older trucks. My goal is to have the best equipment that everyone wants.”

For Miller, he values buying American-made vehicles; his preferred truck brand is Kenworth. He purchases his box trucks and water trucks from local dealer Gabrielli Truck Sales.

When looking for his newest water truck, Miller chose a Class 8 Kenworth truck on a T880S cabin chassis. This water truck is registered at 46,000 lbs. GVWR and holds a 4,000-gallon water tank — to fulfill every director’s desire to have that wet street look for filming.

“I used to spend $50,000 on a new truck and now I try to stay at $100,000 for a new truck,” says Miller. “To build my brand-new water truck, it will cost over $200,000.”

The film industry companies use the box trucks to haul their equipment to the sets. Not only does Miller offer new box trucks; he also customizes them. To fit through most of the tunnels in New York City, Miller orders trucks at a 12-foot height.

“If the truck can’t fit in the tunnels, the driver will have to drive out of the way to one of the bridges,” says Miller. “A trip that might take 20 minutes could then take closer to 90 minutes.”

He also adds aluminum tailgates to his box trucks instead of steel tailgates. In addition to being lighter than steel, the aluminum tailgate is bigger and covers the whole back of the truck when closed — it isn’t as risky for workers to stand and hold the inventory on the aluminum tailgate, according to Miller.

Due to New York’s truck regulations, a truck box must be less than 35 feet. Therefore, Miller takes advantage of every inch of the truck for storing items. To create more storage room, Preuss Truck Body designed specialized underbody boxes for Miller’s trucks.

“The underbody boxes are oversized and made with a heavier dimension of steel,” says Miller. “Film crews will put items like sandbags and clamps in the underbody box — all things that need to be accessible so they don’t have to keep climbing into the back of the truck to get supplies.”

On-Demand Maintenance

Due to the fast pace of the film industry, Miller has set up a maintenance plan to get his trucks up and running as soon as possible. For lube and oil changes and other smaller repairs, Angel Aerial has an on-site shop set up. For bigger maintenance repairs, Miller works with a local dealership that prioritizes his trucks, as well as a tire store that can turn around a job in 20 minutes.

According to Miller, the film hiatus — from around Dec. 18th until the end of the year — gives his mechanics more time to work on serving all of the vehicles.

Most of his trucks and equipment will be rented for around 10 months to film a TV show, but about 80% of Miller’s fleet will be parked on-site nightly at his two-acre parking facility.

“This way, we don’t have to go out to the filming location to service the vehicles too often,” he says.

Special Projects

In addition to the film industry, Miller’s unique fleet of vehicles and equipment has been used to help the city of New York — particularly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“We pulled together people from the film industry to help out,” says Miller. “For example, since GPS systems hardly existed at that time, we had a transportation coordinator track out the driving routes for the trucks to reduce the amount of time on the road. He knew which roads were open and closed at the time.”

Miller’s “special projects” team also moved heavy pieces of debris, provided emergency lighting, and helped to get rid of dust at the disaster site.

Those same hoses that soaked the streets on film shoots were this time used in an advanced form of dust suppression, with hoses hooked up to Angel Aerial’s water trucks feeding into fire hoses.

A pipe from Miller’s dust suppression apparatus was wired to the last beam standing at the World Trade Center. “It was one of the most amazing things I have participated in,” he says.

<p><em>Angel Aerial used its water trucks to help with dust suppression after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Photo courtesy of Angel Aerial</em></p>

 

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2017 Jeep Compass Starts at $22,090
Trailhawk Starts at $29,690; Limited at $30,0902017 Jeep Compass Starts at $22,090
Trailhawk Starts at $29,690; Limited at $30,090SambaSafety Acquires Vigillo

<p><strong>Steve Bryan, Vigillo CEO </strong><em>Photo: Evan Lockridge</em></p>

SambaSafety has acquired Vigillo, enhancing the company’s driver risk management platform for U.S. Department of Transportation regulated fleets.

SambaSafety’s driver risk management solution will be combined with Vigillo’s CSA Daylight Suite to offer customers both driver MVR and CSA violation and crash monitoring. This will help users manage and track the performance of drivers in all 50 states and identify and mitigate high-risk driver behavior.

“Our regulated customers will benefit by utilizing a single risk identification and mitigation dashboard combining both MVR data and CSA data,” said Richard Crawford, CEO of SambaSafety. “Vigillo is the industry leader in CSA monitoring and this addition greatly fortifies our vision of better drivers, lower risk and safer communities.”

Data and software from both companies will be combined to provide a complete picture of drivers’ performance both on and off the clock. For DOT-regulated fleets, pre-hire, and post-hire driver records can be synchronized into driver qualification files to help ensure that safe, policy-compliant drivers are on the road.

Vigillo CEO Steve Bryan will remain in charge of Vigillo and the company will retain its name.

“I founded Vigillo 10 years ago with the vision to bring world-class data analytics to bear on the complex safety data that surrounds the trucking industry. Our mission and vision was, and remains, to push the boundaries of data analytics to give safety professionals in this vital industry the tools they need to save lives,” Bryan said. “This combination with SambaSafety will only serve to accelerate that mission.”

 

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