Trailer Talk

Squinty Tail Lights Have a Reliability Benefit

July 2, 2014

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While driving a semi around the streets of Melrose Park, Ill., back in May, I spied this nice-looking aluminum flatbed up ahead. It had a spread tandem – something that for some reason usually gets my attention – and as I got closer I could see that it was a Fontaine.

What really caught my eye were its wide and squinty tail lamps, which I had not seen before. So while stopped for traffic (there’s always a lot of that in Chicagoland) I shot a couple of pics.

This week I called the number printed on the mudflaps and was connected with Tom Greifhahn, a sales representative at ILoca Trailer Sales in Aurora, Ill. He exactly knew what I was asking about.

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“That’s a Fontaine Revolution flatbed, a really advanced design with a number of features,” he said enthusiastically. “It has Grote LED light bars with sealed wiring and a 10-year warranty, one of the things they’re using to reduce problems.

“With CSA [the federal compliance, safety and accountability program], there’s more concern about reliability, so instead of multiple pigtails at the rear for separate lights, there are just three pigtails,” one for each of the tail/stop/turn-signal lamps and one for the center marker lamps, also LEDs.

“Fontaine and Grote will stand behind those light bars to where if one diode among all of them goes out, they will replace that light bar,” he said. “You have to go through channels – bring it in to a Fontaine dealer and they’ll replace it.”

According to Grote’s website, those light bars are made specifically for the Fontaine Revolution trailer.

Each light bar is nearly 24 inches wide and just 2 inches high, resulting in that squinty look. Each has 18 light-emitting diodes divided into two panels, one working as stop/tail lamps and the other as a tail/turn-signal lamp.

Along with the center marker lamp’s nine diodes, there are a total of 45 red LEDs and lots of lumens facing to the trailer’s rear. The lamps are recessed in a full-width channel, which protects them from impacts.

Fontaine’s Revolution series includes flatbed and dropdeck trailers with aluminum or steel main beams, hidden crossmembers and extruded side rails.

Greifhahn noted that in addition to winch tie-downs at the sides, optional chocks can be slid into channels on the deck, and the chocks serve as tie-down points to secure loads fore-and-aft.

 

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Author Bio

Tom Berg

Senior Editor

Truck journalist 35 years; joined us in 1978. CDL-licensed; conducts road tests on new trucks, specializing in light and medium-duty, vocational and hybrids.

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