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2011-2016 Toyota Tacoma: Recall Alert

2011-toyota-tacoma-recall
By Patrick Masterson

Vehicles Affected: Model-year 2011-16 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks equipped with accessory hood scoops installed by Southeast Toyota Distributors or SET dealers are among the approximately 3,500 vehicles being recalled with model year 2011-16 4Runner SUVs 

The Problem: The adhesive attaching the hood scoop may weaken, allowing the hood scoop to detach from the vehicle, creating a road hazard and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Dealers will mechanically fasten the scoop to the hood for free.

What Owners Should Do: SET will begin notifying owners Aug. 28. Owners can call SET at 954-429-2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov to check their vehicle identification number and learn more.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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Tools Every Pickup Owner Should Have - PickupTrucks.com

Tools Every Pickup Owner Should Have
PickupTrucks.com
Owning a pickup truck provides opportunities as well as responsibilities that don't exist if you own a smaller vehicle. Towing trailers, driving rougher roads, moving couches and hauling dirty, stinky items that aren't wanted inside of a vehicle are ...

2018 Ford F-150 Police Responder Review: First Look

F150PoliceResponder_01 II

Ford revealed the first pursuit-rated pickup truck in the form of the 2018 F-150 Police Responder. Unveiled Thursday in Dearborn, Mich., the Responder gets 375 horsepower and 475 pounds-feet of torque from its 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, the most offered by any pursuit-rated police vehicle, according to Ford. It also can reach 100 mph.

Engineered for on- and off-road terrain, the Responder will be suitable for use in rural environments such as those patrolled by sheriff departments, border patrol or fish and game authorities.

The Police Responder is based on the F-150 FX4, which is a four-wheel-drive crew cab equipped with heavy-duty cloth seats, a center console delete, a column gear shifter, vinyl rear seating and heavy-duty vinyl flooring in front and back.

Under the hood, the Police Responder's down-rated twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost is mated to a 10-speed transmission. It also gets upgraded brake calipers, 18-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires and a full complement of underbody skid plating. Additionally, this police pickup will have a high-output 240-volt alternator to run the communications and database equipment different law enforcement agencies use.

There is no word about Ford offering a consumer version of this package.

Manufacturer images

F150 Police ResponderA II

F150PoliceResponder_08 II

F150PoliceResponder_09 II

F150PoliceResponder_10 II

How Much Do You Know About Pickups?

8 Chevy II

In our tireless search to bring you information about all things pickup trucks, we run across some unique websites and stories.

Some of you may be familiar with the "How Stuff Works" book and magazine series and their common-sense approach to just about everything. The website of the same name is no different.

The site recently challenged pickup truck enthusiasts who take pride in their knowledge of pickup history and engineering with a 35-question quiz.

We took the test and missed seven. Not stellar. But we also found mistakes in at least two questions. See if you can find more, and feel free share those discrepancies with the rest of us in the comments section below.

Cars.com photo by Mark Williams

 

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class First Ride | Truck deluxe - Autoblog (blog)

Autoblog (blog)

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class First Ride | Truck deluxe
Autoblog (blog)
Cornering at 60 miles per hour in the passenger seat of the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class midsize pickup, it's poise and agility impress. Following its global unveil in South Africa on Tuesday night, we're given an early ride-along the next day on a ...
Mercedes-Benz adds a Dash of Luxury to the Midsize Pickup MarketThe Manual (blog)
A look at the swanky new Mercedes truckChron.com
Mercedes X-Class Trailer Points To Luxury And VersatilityCarscoops
Top Speed -India Today
all 145 news articles »
V-Maxx G2 Hopper Spreader

Equipped with updated controls and enhanced material spreading features, the new SnowEx V-Maxx G2 hopper spreaders offer greater performance and operating efficiency for contractors and municipalities on large ice control applications, according to the company.

A new dual variable-speed control is more compact than on previous models. This digital, self-diagnosing unit allows independent adjustment of spinner and auger speeds, while convenient buttons offer easy control of the standard vibrator and optional accessories. It includes an auto reverse function to clear auger jams. The control only requires a single 4-pin wire to enter the cab, making it less obtrusive and providing more location options when mounting.

The V-Maxx G2 lineup includes eight different V-box models, ranging in capacity from 1.5 to 6.0 cubic yards. Designed for use with full-size pickups, flatbed trucks, or dump-bed trucks, each spreader has a polyethylene-constructed, multi-angled material hopper that helps provide a continuous flow of material to a heavy-duty auger drive. An attached vibrator shakes the patented inverted “V” baffle to reduce material clumping for continuous material flow, whether spreading salt, sand or both.

For maximum material placement and control, the spinner starts at the desired speed setting on the dial, rather than blasting upon starting up. A wider operating range allows for slower speeds to provide more efficient use of materials, while high speeds are still available for servicing larger properties. Spread width is infinitely variable up to 40 feet.

The V-Maxx G2 is entirely electric powered – with no engines, pulleys, sprockets, belts or chains to maintain – and features an efficient direct-drive auger transmission. Located in an enclosure on the spreader and featuring weather-resistant molded connectors, the FLEET FLEX electrical system provides a consistent electrical platform and complete fleet interchangeability between all V-Maxx G2 spreaders.

Optional accessories such as lights, strobes, and pre-wet systems easily plug into the control module and are operated with simple on/off buttons on the control. Liquid tank systems for pre-wetting material are available for each model.

Other standard features include a top screen, fitted tarp, and an auxiliary LED brake light. All SnowEx spreaders include a two-year parts and labor warranty.

 

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Fatigued driver blamed for fiery interstate wreck; no serious injuries - Burlington Times News

Burlington Times News

Fatigued driver blamed for fiery interstate wreck; no serious injuries
Burlington Times News
HAW RIVER — A fatigued tow-truck driver on Interstate 40-85 eastbound started a chain reaction Thursday morning leading to a three-vehicle collision, a fire, a three-hour traffic jam and a diesel-fuel spill, but no serious injuries, according to the N ...

IMT Names New Sales Team Members

Iowa Mold Tooling Co., Inc. (IMT), an Oshkosh Corporation company and manufacturer of service vehicles, truck-mounted cranes, hydraulic loaders, and air compressors, announced two new hires for its sales team.

<p>SMUCK</p>

Derek Smuck has joined IMT as a Sales Associate. A native of Mason City, Iowa, Smuck will be coordinating the promotion and administration of direct, national, and fleet accounts.

Smuck is a recent graduate of Iowa State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences. 

<p>NELSON</p>

Jeff Nelson has joined IMT as a Sales Engineer. Nelson’s primary responsibility will be working cross-functionally within IMT and the IMT distribution network to support the sale of lube trucks.

Nelson and his family recently moved to North Iowa from the Chicago area, where he owned and operated a business that designed and manufactured custom shipping containers. 

 

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Hybrid Wheel Loader

With funding provided by the California Energy Commission,  Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has demonstrated a hybrid wheel loader, a piece of equipment widely used in the construction, refuse, and agricultural industries, that achieved a 50 % improvement in fuel efficiency.  The announcement was made at the Redwood Landfill in Novato, Calif., where the prototype had been operated and tested by Waste Management Inc. 

In contrast to a standard wheel loader which uses a 13.0L engine, comparable to an engine used to power a big rig truck, the Volvo CE prototype was powered by a combination of a much smaller 3.0L engine, batteries, and an electric motor. CALSTART, a non-profit clean transportation technology industry organization, conducted independent testing of the prototype and confirmed the 50 percent improvement in fuel efficiency on average.

This advanced technology development and testing program were funded by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC’s) Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The CEC program provides funding to help both develop next generation transportation technology components and vehicles, as well as speed the deployment of lower carbon transportation product available today. Volvo provided matching funds for this technology demonstration project.

Waste Management Inc. was an integral partner in the project, operating the advanced prototype at landfills both in Northern and Southern California. The feedback provided by the Waste Management Inc., operators will help Volvo CE improve the product and develop a second generation version.

The engine in the prototype hybrid wheel loader used 100% renewable diesel, which was supplied by Golden Gate Petroleum. Renewable diesel uses organic feedstock and has significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil diesel.

 

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METRO Compact Electric Utility Vehicle Arrives in U.S.
Billed as a “modular compact electric utility vehicle,” the Cenntro METRO work truck will be hitting dealerships in 22 states within the next few weeks.METRO Compact Electric Utility Vehicle Arrives in U.S.
Billed as a “modular compact electric utility vehicle,” the Cenntro METRO work truck will be hitting dealerships in 22 states within the next few weeks.Ford Reveals 2018 F-150 Police Responder
This fall, Ford will add one more vehicle to its law enforcement fleet, the 2018 F-150 Police Responder.Ford Reveals 2018 F-150 Police Responder
This fall, Ford will add one more vehicle to its law enforcement fleet, the 2018 F-150 Police Responder.Mercedes-Benz Just Built its 300,000th G-Class
The 300,000th G-Class was built at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria, the same plant that started G-Class production in 1979.Mercedes-Benz Just Built its 300,000th G-Class
The 300,000th G-Class was built at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria, the same plant that started G-Class production in 1979.Demand More From Your Fuel Card Provider

<p>How satified are you with your company's fuel card provider?</p>

Many fleets use fuel cards to help control and track spending on fuel, and since fuel is one of the largest expenses for most fleet managers, it’s imperative that we manage this cost. The benefits of using fuel cards include tracking driver spending at the pump and potential discount to retail fuel price.

The advantages of tracking driver spending can't be overstated, as the data provided can help fleet managers assess if drivers are efficiently purchasing fuel, as well as identify high-performing vehicles and drivers who can serve as examples to the rest of the fleet. 

Automotive Fleet recently conducted a survey that probed fleet owners and operators about their fuel spending habits.

It’s interesting that somewhat larger fleets seem to be relatively more satisfied with their current fuel card providers than midsize fleets. I thought that perhaps larger fleets might be getting a better deal from their fuel card providers because bigger customers equals more money to spend. That provides more leverage. 

This wound up being the case. More than 60% of larger-sized fleets were able to receive at least 1% off retail price for fuel, and more than 30% were able to get at least 3% off. Compare this to the roughly 41% of midsize fleets that were able to get at least 1% off the retail price and the 37% that didn’t even get 1% off.

Larger fleets appear to have more power to negotiate better deals than midsize fleets. Importantly, midsize and larger fleets report similarly in areas with larger discounts, but are extremely different in the less than 3% discount range. Larger fleets might be more used to pressing hard on negotiations and trying to get the maximum discount possible. The majority of fleets with more than 500 vehicles pay nothing for their greater-than-3% savings, while midsize fleets pay regular fees for the same discount.

<p>How much does your company save on the retail price of fuel because of your fuel card provider?</p>

All this goes to show that perhaps midsize fleets should push harder in negotiations with fuel card companies; they aren’t seeing the same savings as larger fleets. This also presents an opportunity for fuel card companies, as around 17% of midsize fleets recently stopped using or switched fuel card providers due to fees being too high. Since the vast majority of fleets have used the same fuel card for more than five years and don't have plans to switch soon, perhaps fuel card companies could entice the fleet managers with promises of higher discounts and lower fees.

Ultimately, fuel cards are a fantastic tool in the fleet manager’s arsenal, but also have room to be used more effectively, especially in midsize fleets. Large fleets have large resources to push on these bottom -line negotiations, and midsize fleets should take a page out of their playbook.

Although some might argue that large fleets have an edge because of the volume of purchases (and they do), that doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for bigger discounts. In our study we found that even fleets with as low as 50 vehicles are able to obtain greater than 3% discount to retail fuel prices.

Even if your fleet doesn’t have the same firepower as a massive 5,000+ vehicle fleet, you can still push for more savings.

 

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Pickup Trucks 101: How to Lift a Pickup

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By Matthew Barnes

You just got a new pickup truck and don't like how the rear end sits higher than the front. You've had your truck for years and keep scraping the bumpers getting in and out of your favorite fishing spot. The old truck just doesn't look good anymore and you want to do something to make it stand out.

One solution to these issues is to give your pickup an aftermarket suspension lift, but what kind of lift should you get? How much lift do you need? Why spend thousands of dollars when you can get the same amount of lift for a couple hundred? We've got the answers below.

Leveling Versus Lifting

Pickup trucks and full-size SUVs are the vehicles most commonly leveled. Many vehicles are built with the rear end higher than the front; this compensates for the rear end dropping when a vehicle is loaded with heavy cargo and/or is towing a trailer. Leveling raises the front of the vehicle to the same height as the rear. This gives the vehicle the level look that many people prefer. Because leveling kits don't change the rear suspension at all; the load capacity remains identical. Leveling the vehicle also allows for slightly larger than stock tires to be used, but be careful as this can decrease your rear departure angle. If the truck will be used for off-roading, then a full lift — for both the front and rear suspension systems — is likely a better option.

Lifting a truck can include leveling, but it also involves lifting the rear. For example, if a pickup is lifted 2 inches and leveled, that means if the rear is lifted 2 inches, the front might get lifted 3 1/2 inches so the vehicle is not only higher front and rear but level as well. Like leveling, lifting a vehicle typically allows for larger than stock tires to be used; as a result, ground clearance and approach, departure and break-over angles are all increased.

It's important to note that leveling and/or lifting a vehicle can negatively affect steering geometry. Larger tires also add stress to suspension and steering components. This is especially true for lifts of 3 inches and more. To compensate for this, other components may need to be added or replaced.

There are many types of lifts. We define them below and explain what they do.

Types of Lifts

Body lift: Body lifts place a spacer between the frame and body mounts. They are used to fit larger tires, add room for larger engines and transmissions, and add power takeoff implements. Body lifts don't change the steering or suspension geometry, which helps retain the factory driving feel. Because the cab and bed are raised off the frame instead of raising everything, the center of gravity isn't raised as much with a body lift as compared to a suspension lift. Body lifts are often less expensive than full suspension lifts. Because body lifts don't change the suspension, they don't increase the suspension travel or change the ride. Sometimes wiring and other components need to be lengthened to accommodate the larger gap between the body and the frame.

2017 Chevy 3500 Body Mount II

Spacer lift: Spacer lifts are also inexpensive and are generally used to lift the vehicle 1 to 2 inches. A spacer is placed between the suspension and the mounting location for the suspension. For coil springs, the spacer can be placed on top or bottom.

Xterra Spacer Lift 1 II

Leaf spring spacers, also referred to as blocks, are placed between the leaf spring and the axle. Air suspension lifts can benefit from a spacer to lower the amount of air needed to lift the vehicle when adjusting the ride-height sensor.

2012 Silverado Leaf Block II

Torsion bars: Torsion bars are one of the easiest ways to lift a vehicle when lifting in small amounts. Most torsion bars have a bolt that can be used to adjust the suspension height in small increments. For larger lifts, bracing is needed to lower where the torsion bars connect to the frame of the vehicle. The torsion bars also can be replaced with stronger ones to handle extra weight from steel bumpers, larger tires and front-end implements, such as a snow plow. Replacing the torsion bars also can change the spring rate for a stiffer or smoother ride.

2003 F-150 Torsion Bar Drop 1 II

Coil springs: To lift a vehicle with coil springs without using a spacer, the spring needs to be replaced. Coil springs can be custom-made for the exact height and spring rate desired. Replacing the springs can change the ride quality and suspension travel distance.

2015 Ram 2500 Front Coil Spring Lift II

With a coil-over suspension, there are aftermarket solutions that change the spring perch location on the strut to raise or lower the spring. There are even struts with adjustable perches so that the ride height can be changed as needed. The difficulty of installation varies with coil springs, coil-overs and vehicles, but all generally take the same amount of time as adding a spring spacer.

2013 Tacoma Adjustable Coilover II

Leaf springs: Leaf springs can be entirely replaced to lift the vehicle or a single leaf can be added. Like coil springs, leaf springs can be made for a smoother ride, more articulation or less sag when carrying heavy loads. Leaf spring suspensions also can be lifted by replacing the shackle where the spring mounts with a larger one. Most leaf spring lifts are easy to install and aren't visible to the casual observer.

Xterra Add A Leaf Lift II

Air suspension: Air suspensions are the easiest way to lift in small amounts. However, when lifting beyond 1 to 2 inches, they become difficult and may require expensive custom work. For small amounts, the ride height sensors can be moved to trick the vehicle into thinking that it is lower than it really is. To compensate for the low ride height, the vehicle adds air to raise the vehicle up to the height it thinks it should be. Without a spacer, this will increase the stiffness of the suspension and decrease the amount of down travel.

Ram Rebel Front Air Spring II

Independent: Independent suspension lifts more than 2 inches will cause the constant velocity joints and axles to be at sharper angles. This will cause more wear and tear on the boots and joints. To compensate for this, the front differential should be lowered according to the height of the lift. Lifts more than 2 inches benefit from having the upper, and in some cases the lower, control arms replaced. New control arms will allow the vehicle to be properly aligned, creating more stability and even tire wear.

2003 F-150 Front Diff Drop II

Solid axle: Solid axles may require some additional components, depending on the size of the lift. These parts include longer control arms, longer track bars and drop-limiting straps, which keep the axle from articulating so much that the coil spring falls out. With solid axles, lifts more than a couple of inches will need shims placed between the axle and the springs to correct the angle of the universal joints.

 

Other Things to Consider

Shocks: Longer shocks, or extended shock brackets, should be added for lifts of 2 inches or more to allow full travel of the suspension. If the shocks aren't changed, they can easily bottom out when driving over a hole or dip.

Steering: Larger tires put extra stress on steering components and the lift can change steering geometry. This may cause the vehicle to wander, bump steer and have a loose on-center feel. To accommodate for the changes in steering, stabilizers can be added and track bars and Panhard bars can be adjusted or replaced.

Headlights: Leveling and/or lifting a vehicle can change the angle that the headlights point. Be sure to check the headlights after adding any lift or leveling kit and tires.

Brakes: Larger tires can overload the brake system because of the extra mass. There are a variety of ways to upgrade the brake system: Install high-performance or larger pads, rotors and/or calipers. Many companies make big brake kits designed specifically for lifted vehicles and vehicles that regularly haul heavy loads.

Speedometer: When adding bigger tires, the speedometer will show a lower speed than the vehicle is actually traveling. This also affects the odometer. On modern vehicles, this is fixed electronically, and on older vehicles there are gears that can be changed.

Gearing: Putting nonstock tires on a vehicle changes the effective gear ratio. Larger tires will make the gearing taller, thus reducing the rpm at a given speed. Smaller tires will increase rpm at a given speed. Larger tires decrease low-end torque, which hurts acceleration. Smaller tires will increase low-end torque, improving acceleration. New gearing can be put into the axles to get the desired ratio for a given tire size and specific vehicle.

Final Thoughts

Before starting a lift project, decide what lift height you want for your pickup. Next, select the type of lift that best suits your truck. Different lift types can be combined to reach an overall goal. That may mean that a single vehicle has a body lift, spring spacers or blocks and longer springs. These same ideas apply to lowering a vehicle as well, but by using smaller tires, and shorter shocks and springs.

Spacer lifts and small lifts of 1 to 2 inches are inexpensive when compared to higher lifts that will require the replacement of more suspension and steering components. Lifts that cost thousands of dollars will often contain components that correct steering and alignment issues, provide for more wheel travel, have larger diameter shocks to reduce overheating and have adjustable suspension components to adjust the damping and/or height as desired.

Cars.com photos by Matthew Barnes

 

2012 Silverado Lifted 8 inches II

 

Mercedes Targets Quad-Bike Loving Wealthy With Luxury Pickup - Bloomberg

Bloomberg

Mercedes Targets Quad-Bike Loving Wealthy With Luxury Pickup
Bloomberg
Mercedes-Benz, reeling from a massive recall over concerns about diesel emissions, is stretching its refined image with its first ever pickup truck, betting that upscale car buyers are ready for an open-bed hauler with leather seats, oak trim and ...
This Is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup TruckRoadandTrack.com
The Mercedes Pickup Truck Is Finally Here, Sort OfFortune
Mercedes-Benz X-Class revealed: The Mercedes of pickup trucksAutoblog (blog)
Car and Driver (blog) -CNET -Jalopnik -YouTube
all 244 news articles »
EPA Certifies AGA's Natural Gas System for 2018 GM Trucks

<p><em>Photo of 2017 Silverado 2500HD courtesy of GM.</em></p>

The Environmental Protection Agency has certified AGA Systems' bi-fuel and dedicated compressed natural gas fueling system for General Motors' 2018 lineup of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500, 3500, and 4500 trucks, the company announced.

AGA's EcoSync HD CNG system would be used by a vehicle modifier converting a factory truck to run partially or fully on CNG fuel. The trucks must be equipped with the 6.0-liter V-8 engine that's typically fueled by gasoline.

AGA gained certification in late 2016 for the 2017 models of these trucks.

 

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Bet your grandpa's old truck couldn't do burnouts like this classic Ford pickup - Digital Trends

Bet your grandpa's old truck couldn't do burnouts like this classic Ford pickup
Digital Trends
The central — and, arguably, most impressive — part of the build is a 5.9-liter diesel engine borrowed from a Freightliner truck. Through extensive tweaks, it belts out 1,200 horsepower and a mighty 2,000 pound-feet of torque. It's all sent straight ...

Mobile Truck Washer Fleet Clean Enters St. Louis

<p><em>Photo courtesy of Fleet Clean.</em></p>

Mobile truck washer Fleet Clean USA is expanding into the St. Louis market next week and hopes to enter several other southern and Midwest markets by the end of the year, including Chicago, Indianapolis, Memphis, San Antonio, Jacksonville, and Birmingham, Ala.

The franchise business based in Melbourne, Fla., has grown revenue by 49% for the first half of the year in what the company pegs as the $12 billion truck washing industry, said Scott Marr, the company's CEO.

"We're really looking for new franchise owners to join the system," Marr said. "We're hopeful that in those markets we can find solid franchise owners that are looking to join a system like ours that’s fast growing and want to be a part of what we have."

The company now operates in 15 states and about 200 cities with 23 franchises and five corporately owned businesses. The company uses Ford F-650 or Freightliner M2 rigs set up with pressure washers and wash recovery equipment such as hose reels and containment for the wash water.

It's clients include Waste Management, FedEx, Sysco Corp., and US Foods.

Fleet Clean began in 2009, and hopes to open seven new locations by the end of 2017. The initial franchise fee costs between $25,000 and $75,000.

<p><em>Photo courtesy of Fleet Clean.</em></p>

 

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Another House Bill Aims to Delay ELD Rule

<p><em>Photo: Paccar Financial</em></p>

Another Hail Mary Pass has been flung to try and slow the advance of the electronic logging device rule. On July 18, Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) introduced the ELD Extension Act of 2017 (H.R.3282) to extend the current initial implementation date for the ELD mandate from December 2017 to December 2019. The bill has been referred for consideration by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The day before Babin’s bill came out, the House Transportation Committee attached a rider to the DOT funding bill that could end up delaying or repealing the electronic logging device mandate.

Both Babin’s bill (either as a standalone act or attached to other legislation) and the committee’s rider would have to survive the legislative maw of the House and Senate — even tougher to do in this very turbulent year on Capitol Hill — to end up as final legislation and then be signed into law by President Trump before the ELD mandate could be slowed or stopped.

The political reality is that it is only remotely possible that either measure will become law. And even if one did, it would more than likely not be in place before the mandate kicks in this December.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association applauded the new bill. “We thank Rep. Babin for realizing the serious problems associated with implementation that can only be avoided by putting off the mandate,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president.

“The agency has failed to answer important questions from Congress and industry stakeholders about this mandate,” he continued. “This includes issues related to enforcement, connectivity, data transfers, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and many other legitimate, real-world concerns.”

Related: Could House Bill Slow or Even Stop ELD Rule?

 

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Truck Trend’s 1-Ton Challenge: Introduction
Battle of the HeavyweightsTruck Trend’s 1-Ton Challenge: Introduction
Battle of the HeavyweightsFinancial Report Suggests Jeep Worth More Than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas placed Jeep’s market cap at 120% of Fiat Chrysler.Financial Report Suggests Jeep Worth More Than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas placed Jeep’s market cap at 120% of Fiat Chrysler.2017 Ford F-150 with 10-Speed

<p><em>Photo by Vince Taroc.</em></p>

Some marriages are made in heaven. The 2017 Ford F-150's pairing of its new 10-speed automatic transmission with its revamped 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 is such a holy union.

While higher-gear transmission have traditionally been reserved for European luxury sedans, Ford's application of the gearbox to its leading seller is so inspired a choice that it almost feels inevitable.

As we pointed out in "High-Gear Transmissions: How Many Gears Are Enough?," such a move is a way to add fuel efficiency without sacrificing power. And, of course, this truck is a towing monster.

The transmission, which was jointly developed with General Motors, will be offered in several other nameplates, including the 2017 Expedition and 2018 Lincoln Navigator. The engine and transmission can also be found in the new F-150 Raptor (albeit with a much higher power rating).

Power output increases 10 hp to 375 hp and 50 lb.-ft. to 470 lb.-ft. of torque.

What's remarkable about this truck is the way it can quickly shift through four or five gears depending on how much you lean on the accelerator. The first gear is short, which allows more engine power to move the pickup, and the higher gears are tall, which provides better fuel consumption at highway speeds.

<p><em>Photo by Vince Taroc.</em></p>

When paired with the rear-wheel-drive system, the F-150 can attain 25 mph in highway driving. The F-150 4x4 can achieve an EPA-rated 23 mpg on the highway.

Other engines offered with the 2017 F-150 include the base 3.5-liter V-6, 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost, and 5.0-liter V-8. Those carryover engines continue to be paired with a six-speed automatic.

Ford has also evolved its stop-start system, which is more responsive and accurate to pedal input.

We tested out the F-150 4x4 SuperCrew with the 145-inch wheelbase and the 5.5-foot bed. Our test model would retail for $52,105.

 

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Spied: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500

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There is a lot of speculation about how much new powertrain and suspension technology will get stuffed into the next-generation GM half tons. If our most recent set of (admittedly only a few) images are any indication, it looks like GM engineers are taking more precautions to keep prying eyes away from their new platform.

Here's what our spy shooters just sent us:

"This weekend, we caught up to the next-generation Silverado/Sierra in Arizona, but GM's on-duty guard wasn't too happy about it. After our photographer took some shots of the next-gen trucks in a hotel parking lot, GM's security ran up to our photographer's vehicle and tried to remove the camera out of his hands. Our guy left the hotel unharmed, while GM's security gave a peace-out sign.

"The Silverado/Sierra is in line to get a major redo for 2019 with a possible aluminum-intensive body to save weight, just as the Ford F-150 has already adopted. However, it will sport styling much like that of the current model, including an innovative running board that seems to also incorporate a step into the bed.

"A turbocharged V-6 option is also said to be a possibility with the new-generation GM truck, as is a diesel V-6. The 10-speed automatic already seen in the Camaro ZL1 (and in the F-150) should replace the current eight-speed unit in many, if not all, versions of the Silverado/Sierra. A brake-by-wire system will also debut here, and an air suspension (such as the one on the Ram 1500s) may also be offered on the Sierra for the first time, as well.

"The Silverado/Sierra should be revealed next year, with an on-sale date late in 2018."

SpiedBilde images

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Ferrari Actually Planning on SUV Utility Model for 2021
We've joked about it before, but since truth is stranger than fiction, Ferrari is in fact going to build an SUV for 2021.Ferrari Actually Planning on SUV Utility Model for 2021
We've joked about it before, but since truth is stranger than fiction, Ferrari is in fact going to build an SUV for 2021.Choosing the Best Truck for Your Homestead - Grit Magazine

Grit Magazine

Choosing the Best Truck for Your Homestead
Grit Magazine
These purpose-built utility vehicles are often more affordable than a road-going pickup. They are available in gas, diesel, and electric models, and can often be customized for specific tasks. Those who require the grunt of a full-sized truck should ...

California's Climate Change Deal May Increase Fuel Prices

<p><em>Photo by Vince Taroc.</em></p>

California's Legislature has voted to extend the state's cap-and-trade program through 2030, which could result in an increase to the gasoline tax and would codify the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) into law.

Legislators approved the signature legislation from Gov. Jerry Brown, who hopes to roll back greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. AB 398 received the neccessary two-thirds in each house. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), while companion bill AB 617 was sponsored by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens).

Under the state's current system, emissions are capped and pulluers must obtain permits for the greenhouse gases they emit. Companies can trade for more capacity on the private market or at a state-run auction.

The passage of the bill was greeted enthusiastically by groups representing alternative fuels, including the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas.

"In addition to extending cap-and-trade, state law will now also recognize low-carbon transportation alternatives for purposes of allocating future Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds (GGRF) from related auction revenues — funds that are needed to realize increased in-state development, deployment and utilization of RNG." said Nina Kapoor, the coalition's manager of legislative and regulatory affairs.

The Low Carbon Transportation Fund hasn't provided money for in-state biofuels production and cap-and-trade-related Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) in the past, and hasn't focused enough attention on reducing air contaminants and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) other than methane from the dairy sector, accordiong to the coalition.

The codification of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard provides "additional market certainty that the industry needs to continue developing RNG for transportation fuel use both in California and across the country," said Johannes Escudero, the coalition's CEO.

 

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LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Plus Air Spring Suspension

The LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Plus air spring suspension line from Air Lift Company offers the same benefits of the company’s other Air Lift load support products but features upgraded components for Class 3 trucks.

Upgrades to the support kit include stainless steel mounting hardware, roll plates, and a braided air line. Stainless steel provides protection from sharp edges and road debris for air springs, according to Air Lift Company. The company also added military-grade AN fittings that thread together for a metal-to-metal seal that doesn’t require air line cutting.

The LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Plus kits feature double-bellow air springs with an internal jounce bumper, built to provide improved load-leveling capabilities with full adjustability and better ride quality. The air springs are built like a tire, with durable 2-ply fabric and ultra-strong nylon composite end caps, which are light and corrosion-resistant.

The internal jounce bumper is added to absorb shock and protect loads, and is maintenance-free, allowing for the air springs to run safely at zero air pressure in emergency situations. The air springs can hold anywhere from 5 to 100 p.s.i., allowing the air pressure to be adjusted for different load requirements.

Adding LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Plus air springs to 1/2-, 3/4-, and 1-ton pickups will help to evenly distribute the weight of the load to all four wheels, eliminating vehicle squat which causes poor braking, unresponsive steering, and trailer sway. The kits work with the vehicle's existing suspension to provide up to 5,000 pounds of load-leveling capacity and are built to be a highly durable solution to uneven headlight aim, body roll, bottoming out, and a rough ride.

Most LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Plus air spring kits require no drilling into the vehicle frame and are compatible with fifth wheel and gooseneck hitches. The standard Installation can usually be completed in two hours or less, according to Air Lift Company. 

 

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Bike Hotspot Warning System

Sentinel Systems' new warning sign system, Bike Hotspot, is designed to reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists and commercial vehicles.

The Bike Hotspot uses LED lights to give cyclists approaching from the rear of a vehicle a clear warning that the vehicle is about to turn left. The LED Cycle Sign can be fitted along with the Bike Hotspot system to the rear of the nearside of the vehicle or as a standalone product.

The Bike Hotspot system works by fitting sensors on the nearside of the vehicle, and the sign will activate at speeds lower than 10 miles per hour. The sensors are linked to a choice of alarm, including in-cab sounds, LED lights and external speakers that warn cyclists to move away from the vehicle. Installing the sign onto vehicles will give cyclists a visual indication that the vehicle is about to maneuver, giving them time to stay out of the way of any potential harm.

 

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Glass Glitz Window Cleaner

Glass Glitz is a glass cleaner from E-Zoil, formulated to be streak-free and able to dissolve film, light to heavy soils, fingerprints, bugs and other difficult to remove items.

The cleaner is made for cleaning vertical surfaces because it thickens when shaken to grip the glass and not run. Glass Glitz also contains an odor neutralizer designed to kill odors at their surface.

Available in a 32-ounce bottle, Glass Glitz won’t evaporate on hot surfaces and is ammonia-free. All E-Zoil performance cleaners are designed for tough cleaning jobs and are safe for the environment when used as directed, according to the company.

 

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On The Day Its Luxury Pickup Debuts, Germany Forces Daimler To Recall 3 Million Cars - Forbes

Forbes

On The Day Its Luxury Pickup Debuts, Germany Forces Daimler To Recall 3 Million Cars
Forbes
An indignant Germany has called Daimler's bluff on its dirty diesels and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, has folded, almost immediately. On Monday, Daimler denied a Der Spiegel report that Germany's transport ministry, the KBA, was fed up ...

and more »
Mercedes-Benz Enters Global Pickup Market With X-Class

MB X-Class Reveal 1 II

At a special event in Cape Town, South Africa, Mercedes-Benz officially revealed its new X-Class global mid-size pickup truck. However, the X-Class isn't scheduled to be brought to the U.S. market — yet.

According to Mercedes-Benz, there will be two variants: a Powerful Adventurer and a Stylish Explorer. It seems as though the automaker has learned a few things from the introduction of the Metris (currently on sale in the U.S.), when it was criticized by some for offering the Metris only in the utility segments of the work van market.

However, with this new pickup — which shares a platform with the new Nissan Navara, a truck we will likely be getting in the form of the new Frontier next year — Mercedes seems to be learning that its brand can accommodate both work-truck and more luxury-minded buyers with a single vehicle. (Mercedes-Benz initially partnered with Nissan a few years ago in order to more quickly expand its commercial truck division into the growing world pickup markets.)

According to the press conference, there will be three trim packages for the initial run of X-Class pickups: Pure, Progressive and top-of-the-line Power. It will go on sale in Germany first, then spread out slowly across Europe. The price in Germany will be approximately 37,000 euros, or (given current exchange rates) about $43,000. Of course, to compete in the U.S. market, Mercedes would have to work on getting that pricing down considerably.

There's no doubt it will be quite a while before a Mercedes-Benz pickup truck is sold in the U.S., but we will be seeing the new ladder-frame Nissan Frontier next year. And if this recent decision by Mercedes to offer both an upper- and lower-level trim package is any indication of how versatile and how capable the new mid-size Nissan can be, then that bodes well for the U.S.-version of the next-gen Frontier.

Manufacturer images

 

MB X-Class Reveal 1A III

MB X-Class 3 II

MB X-Class 1 II

MB X-Class 2 II

 

Stertil-Koni Vehicle Lifts Featured in New Video

<p><em>Photo courtesy of Stertil-Koni</em></p>

Heavy duty vehicle lift manufacturer Stertil-Koni today announced that the latest episode of its popular, customer-focused “We Care” video series incorporates advanced cinematography and editing technology to dramatically showcase a new, state-of-the-art maintenance facility located in Plainfield, N.J., that utilizes the company’s award-winning vehicle lifting systems.

In the latest installment of “We Care,” the customer under the spotlight is D’Annunzio & Sons, a top East-Coast heavy construction company that provides infrastructure work at airports, bridges, roads, runways, foundations for commercial buildings, airport hangers, rail yard maintenance facilities, water and sewer transmission facilities, and more.

It also recently moved into a new, classic brick building that in addition to 14,000 square feet of executive offices, features a modern maintenance shop with approximately 7,500 square feet of usable floor area — all situated on a 20-acre parcel. There, efficient vehicle maintenance is critical, and that’s why D’Annunzio & Sons, selected state-of-the-art heavy duty lifting systems from Stertil-Koni, including two in-ground scissor ECOLIFTs and a modern 2-post Freedom Lift.

The video takes the viewer on a behind-the scenes look at the new D’Annunzio & Sons headquarters in action and delivers never-before-seen images of the facility.

In making today’s announcement, Stertil-Koni’s Marketing Director Paul Feldman noted, “D’Annunzio & Sons, working with Stertil-Koni’s exclusive New Jersey distributor, Hoffman Services, shows how careful advance planning and sophisticated maintenance shop design — coupled with the very latest in advanced heavy duty vehicle lifting systems — can help keep the busiest of construction companies operating at peak performance. That’s what our new video brings to the viewer — in dramatic fashion.”

 

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Omnitracs Self-Certifies its ELD Solution

<p><em>Screenshot via Omnitracs</em></p>

Omnitracs has completed testing the Intelligent Vehicle Gateway electronic logging device solution that meets the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD Mandate, which is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 18.

Omnitracs offers an application package for its telematics devices that tracks hours of service, a key component of the ELD mandate. Following its testing process, Omnitracs Intelligent Vehicle Gateway is registered with the FMCSA on their self-certification list which means that Omnitracs solutions will be compliant with the ELD Mandate prior to the deadline.

To prepare for the ELD Mandate, Omnitracs says it enhanced its system architecture and security measures to handle the anticipated increase in data traffic. To improve the user experience, Omnitracs also updated its entire suite of applications to improve safety, productivity, and ease-of-use.

“Although many of our customers have been using AOBRDs for years, the mandate means that fleets must take a closer look at their practices to ensure compliance,” said David Vice, Omnitracs CSO. “Early on, we committed the resources necessary to develop and test a road-ready solution. We take our position as a leader and innovator in the fleet management industry very seriously and are committed to maintaining a standard of excellence with our product offerings and customer service initiatives.”

For more information about Omnitracs’ compliance solutions, click here

 

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2017 Ford F350- Leveling the Load
Air Lift’s new LoadLifter 7500XL system offers max load support with greater driving comfort.2017 Ford F350- Leveling the Load
Air Lift’s new LoadLifter 7500XL system offers max load support with greater driving comfort.Ford's 2017 F-150 with 10-Speed

Ford has introduced one of the most advanced transmissions on the market with its 2017 F-150 pickup. The 10-speed automatic transmission improves fuel economy to 25 mpg on the highway for the rear-wheel pickup and 23 mpg highway for the 4x4 model. Read our driving impressions herePhotos by Vince Taroc.

 

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Could House Bill Slow or Even Stop ELD Rule?

<p><em>Photo: FMCSA</em></p>

[Updated] The House Transportation Committee has attached a directive to this year’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill that could end up delaying or repealing the electronic logging device mandate set to go into effect on Dec. 18. Also added to the bill was a directive calling for a review of the technology platforms of ELD suppliers.

The committee voted 31-20 late in the evening of Monday, July 17, to send the bill to the full House. The legislation also moves forward with a rider long sought by trucking interests that would prevent states from enacting laws dictating meal and rest break requirements for truckers.

Also still included is a rider that would prevent advancing a safety-fitness determination rulemaking until the DOT Inspector General has issued certain certifications required by law.

As for ELDs, the House THUD bill now directs the Department of Transportation “to analyze whether a full or targeted delay in ELD implementation and enforcement would be appropriate and, if so, what options DOT has within its statutory authority to provide temporary regulatory relief until all ELD implementation challenges can be resolved.” In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is directed to “provide a report on its findings to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations within 60 days of enactment of this Act.”

The second directive calls for FMCSA to review ELD manufacturers' technology platforms  “to confirm that devices not only meet standards and specifications necessary for all affected industries and fleet sizes to be compliant, but also provide a user interface that is reasonably easy to navigate.” There is no deadline for complying with this order.

In its report on the bill, the committee justified its concern by noting the “heavy burden of this mandate, especially on small carriers.” It also stated that the mandate is “projected to cost over $2 billion to implement,making it one of the most expensive of all transportation rulemakings advanced under the previous administration.”

The report also makes this argument for Congress to step in: “While large carriers already deploy similar technologies for fleet management, smaller carriers will disproportionately bear new costs associated with the mandate and with no compensating benefit to their bottom line. The committee is concerned by reports of serious complications associated with implementation. Many significant technological concerns remain unresolved, including certification of devices, connectivity problems in remote locations, cyber vulnerabilities, and the ability of law enforcement to access data."

Echoing the concern about the impact on smaller carriers expressed by the committee, Todd Spencer, executive director of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, told HDT that “clearly, members of Congress have heard concerns about the mandate from their constituents. The agency has failed to answer important questions from Congress and industry stakeholders about this mandate.

“This includes issues related to enforcement, connectivity, data transfers, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and many other legitimate real world concerns,” he continued. “The agency refuses to certify any ELD as compliant with the rule, thus leaving consumers with no idea if a device they purchase is indeed compliant.” 

On the other hand, the American Trucking Associations lambasted the directive to revisit the ELD rule.

“ATA is disappointed that this misguided provision was included in this version of the FY 2018 T-HUD appropriations bill,” ATA Executive Vice President of Advocacy Bill Sullivan told HDT. “It would take a step to potentially weaken the electronic logging device mandate due to go into effect this year…  This is a nakedly transparent effort by opponents of ELDs to chip away at a rule that will ensure compliance with hours-of-service and improve safety. 

“We will work to ensure members are educated about the difference between the existing hours of service rules and the basics of logging, whether electronically or on paper,” he added. “As this appropriations bill moves to the House floor and through the Senate, we believe that members in the Senate or in conference will not support this language becoming law. ATA is committed to helping FMCSA as it moves toward meeting the December implementation deadline for this critical safety rule.” 

In a joint statement, Steve Williams, president, and Kevin Knight, vice president, respectively, of the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (aka the Trucking Alliance) also took exception to the committee’s stance on the ELD rule.

“Contained within the legislation is language that would delay the installation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) in all interstate commercial trucks," stated Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick Transportation, and Knight, executive chairman of the board of Knight Transportation. 

“There’s no valid reason to delay this much-needed truck safety measure,” they argued. “In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is doing an admirable job to meet the timeline by the date which requires that all commercial interstate trucks install these electronic devices.” 

The two prominent trucking executives pointed out that they had warned DOT Secretary Elaine Chao back in April that “certain small segments of the trucking industry would try and delay this important safety measure. The House appropriations committee’s action appears to bear this out. We want to reemphasize in this statement the importance of what we wrote to Secretary Chao just four months ago.” 

They also stated that the ELD rule “will improve highway safety and lower the number of large truck accidents” and also “enable both trucking companies and their drivers to proudly demonstrate their enviable work ethics, but within the legal framework of federal hours-of-service rules. Industry-wide compliance will ensure that the nation’s commercial truck drivers are rested, safer and more secure in their jobs. 

“The ELD rule is one of several current safety reforms that must be adopted to reduce large truck accidents, injuries and fatalities,” added Williams and Knight. “Our industry shares the highways with millions of people each day. We must keep the public’s trust, by ensuring the public that commercial drivers are properly trained, rested, drug and alcohol free and compliant with the law. The ELD rule is critical to achieving that goal.” 

Offering an ELD supplier perspective, Pete Allen, executive vice president of MiX Telematics, said that “the rider has little chance of surviving” the legislative process. “The original bill mandating the use of ELDs passed through a Republican House and Senate. How likely is it that a Republican House and Senate will repeal their own bill?”

Allen also pointed out that there are benefits to ELDs beyond compliance. “Most fleets we talk with are interested in much more than compliance. They are investing in ELD solutions to improve safety and efficiency, and as a result are saving $50 to $100 per month, per vehicle –even after taking into account the cost of the technology.”

Still, the ELD passage in the bill report is certainly hard-hitting. If nothing else, it signals that Republicans on the committee wanted it on record that they proposed delaying the implementation of the ELD rule if not chucking it altogether — even at this late date.

It’s the sort of legislative language that may look good on paper to certain constituents, but has little chance of staying in a bill that is ultimately passed by Congress.  

What’s more, the timing does not bode well for anyone hoping to slow or stop the rollout of the ELD rule.

The mandate kicks in five months from now. So, for the committee’s directive to have any impact, a final THUD bill would have to be passed by both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Trump no later than mid-October.

But wait – then the full Congress would still have to pass and get signed a separate bill (based on what the DOT report finds) directing DOT to delay or reverse the mandate.

Updated 2:15 p.m. EDT 7/18/17 to add OOIDA and ATA comments

Updated 3:15 pm EDT 7/18/17 to add comments by Williams and Knight

Updated 4:00 pm EDT 7/18/17 to add commments by MiX Telematics

 

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1960 Chevy Suburban Meets New-School Diesel Performance
1960 Chevy Suburban combines a love for classics and diesels in one cool rig.1960 Chevy Suburban Meets New-School Diesel Performance
1960 Chevy Suburban combines a love for classics and diesels in one cool rig.Porsche Will Decide Fate of Diesel by End of Decade
Since the Cayenne Diesel was introduced in 2009, Porsche has relied on its diesel products to account for 15 percent of its global sales and will have to decide soon.Porsche Will Decide Fate of Diesel by End of Decade
Since the Cayenne Diesel was introduced in 2009, Porsche has relied on its diesel products to account for 15 percent of its global sales and will have to decide soon.A.R.E. Tonneau and DCU Installed on 2017 Nissan Titan XD Cummins
2017 Titan XD Diesel Gets the A.R.E. TreatmentA.R.E. Tonneau and DCU Installed on 2017 Nissan Titan XD Cummins
2017 Titan XD Diesel Gets the A.R.E. TreatmentMercedes-Benz Reveals Production 2018 X-Class Pickup
Mercedes-Benz Vans unveiled the production version of the upcoming 2018 X-Class pickup today, showing off the company’s newest utility offering