Equipment

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September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

CNG: Monarch Beverage Spends $16.5 Million to Convert Fleet

Monarch’s highway tractors like this Kenworth T660 run enough miles to pay off the investment in CNG equipment within three years, according to the fleet’s calculations.

By Tom Berg

Monarch Beverage Co. of Indianapolis is spending $16.5 million to convert its truck fleet to natural gas.

Tags: Kenworth, Cummins, Freightliner, Natural Gas Vehicles, Monarch Beverage Company, Alternative Fuels & Hybrids

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Cover Story

Alternative Fuels: Many Options

By Deborah Lockridge & Jim Park

Natural gas. Biodiesel. Dimethyl ether. Hybrid. Electric. Algae-based diesel. Hydrogen fuel cells. There’s a virtual smorgasbord of available and potential fuel sources to power medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The critical question becomes which one, or which combination of fuel sources, represent the best path for fleets, manufacturers and the industry.

Tags: Alternative Fuels & Hybrids

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Steer Axle Weights Have Increased: Are Your Steer Tires up to the Challenge?

Underrated steer tires can be hazardous. Steer axle loads approaching 13,000 pounds are not uncommon today.

By Jim Park

It’s not uncommon to find highway trucks with front axles and suspensions rated for 13,200 pounds. While 12,000-pound axles were the industry norm for many years, the move to 13,200-pound axles came with the addition of all that emissions reduction gear. Are you running a steer tire rated for that weight?

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Continental, Bridgestone, Wheels, Steer Tires, Steer Axles, Tires

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Studies Indicate TPMS and ATIS Are Money Makers

Soft, underinflated tires increase rolling resistance and shorten tire life. TPMS and ATIS systems solve both problems at once.

By Jim Park

There are lots or reasons not to embrace fuel-saving technology (some better than others), but validation exists for tire-pressure mitigation systems. And the payback is significant.

Tags: MPG, TPMS, Tires, ATIS, Inflation

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

The Current State of the Dry Bulk Business

Although the fracking boom has retreated, an upsurge in home building is giving dry bulk a boost.

By Kate Harlow

During the early years of the Great Recession, almost all trailer manufacturers experienced a sharp drop in demand for their wares. Dry bulk pneumatic trailers, however, were about to get a boon. Read more about the state of the dry bulk pneumatic trailer segment, how fracking has affected the industry, plus trailer-spec’ing tips.

Tags: Trailers, Fracking, Dry Bulk

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Test Drives

Test Drive: Redesigned Terex

This six-axle FDB6000 for Ohio has three air-suspended lift axles, including a hydraulically operated rear booster that stays down even when the barrel’s empty to reduce chassis bounce.

By Tom Berg

Time is money, and that’s the essence of a front-discharge mixer. It drives right up to where concrete’s needed and, after the driver adds chute extensions, starts offloading. Terex/Advance Mixer in Fort Wayne, Ind., makes rear-discharge drums for mounting on conventional truck chassis, but its heart is in the front-discharge version that it builds all-new and as glider kits.

Tags: Terex, Test Drive, Vocational, Mixer

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

7 Factors to Consider When Installing an Inverter

By Truckinginfo Staff

Power inverters – the devices that convert standard battery (DC) power to AC household power – are becoming more commonplace in the trucking industry. Depending upon whom you ask, that’s to the delight, or chagrin of fleet and maintenance managers, who often have a love/hate relationship with inverters.

Tags: Xantrex, Inverter, Idle Reduction, Batteries, Electrical System

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

But Which Fuel?

Daimler's Mark Lampert says diesel and natural gas are the fuels to watch going forward.

By Jim Park

Natural gas. Biodiesel. Algae-based diesel. Hydrogen fuel cells. Dimethyl-ether. Hybrids. There's a virtual smorgasbord of potential fuel sources or supplements for truck and engine makers to choose from. The critical question becomes which one, or which combinations of fuel sources, represent the best path forward.

Tags: Natural Gas, Fuel and Oil, Alternative Fuels & Hybrids, Engines, Daimler Trucks North America

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Brakes: Shorter Stopping Distances, Again

Tractors with gross-weight ratings of over 59,600 pounds, like this heavy haul model, are among those affected by FMVSS 121’s requirements for shorter stopping distances.

By Tom Berg

Coming up: another “non-event” for brakes? That’s what Phase Two of new federal stopping-distance requirements will be for truck operators, according to people we talked with. Stronger, higher-performance brakes on certain vehicles won’t even cost much more in most cases. But like Phase One two years ago, which was hardly noticed by truckers, Phase Two represents a lot of work for brake makers and truck builders.

Tags: Volvo, Freightliner, Western Star, Mack Trucks, Bendix, Meritor, Brakes, Daimler Trucks North America, Air Disc Brake, Drum brakes, NHTSA

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Cover Story

Trailer Update

By Kate Harlow

Whether it's dumps or dry vans, flatbeds or tank trailers, trailer makers have been focusing on making trailers lighter to improve freight capacity and fuel efficiency, safer for drivers, and stronger to extend the trailer’s life cycle. We contacted trailer manufacturers and learned about the latest in trailers, manufacturing, product innovations and corporate news.

Tags: Trailers

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Study Finds Total Cost of Ownership Similar for Electric and Diesel Delivery Trucks

By Truckinginfo Staff

A research team from Georgia Tech compared medium-duty electric and diesel urban delivery trucks for a range of scenarios and discovered the total costs of ownership were very similar – but the cost-competitiveness of the electric truck drops in drive cycles with higher average speed.

Tags: Smith Electric Vehicles, EVs, Alternative Fuels & Hybrids, Freightlner

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Transmissions: Automating for Fuel Savings

Drivers still have some control over automated manual transmissions, but the equipment will usually do a better job of improving fuel economy if it’s simply left alone.

By Jim Park

Traditional thinking on automated manual transmissions has it that AMTs are the great equalizers – bridgers of skill gaps between the best and the worst drivers in the fleet. While that’s still true, AMTs now bring even more to the fuel-economy table, offering fuel savings in their own right beyond what even the most professionally driven manual transmission could accomplish.

Tags: Fuel Savings, Cummins, DTNA, Eaton, Volvo Trucks, Mack, Transmissions, Automatic Manual Transmissions, Volvo I-shift, SuperEconodyne, Allison Transmission

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

How to Navigate the Great Credit Search

Credit: AmeriQuest

By Neal Weeks, AmeriQuest

You know that it’s time to upgrade a certain portion of your fleet. But you assume that, in the current economic environment, getting credit can be difficult. So how do you get the equipment you need, when you need it?

Tags: AmeriQuest, Lease Agreement, Equipment

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Making the Case for Fuel-Efficient Tires

The more rubber you have on the road, the sooner the improvements become obvious.

By Jim Park

You get 30% less tread on some fuel-efficient tires, they cost 15% less up front and they run fewer miles to take-off, but does the money saved on fuel because of the lower rolling resistance make up for the shorter overall life? Many fleets are struggling with that question today. The answer is often anything but clear.

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Continental Tires, Bridgestone, Tires, GITI

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Telematics Unchained

By Jim Beach

You probably have a pretty good idea what a telematics system is, even if you don't know it by that name. You may know it as a fleet management system or GPS fleet management system or GPS vehicle tracking system.

Tags: Telematics, GPS, Technology

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Getting Around Tarping

Rolling tarp systems, like TarpStop’s FasTrack, protect loads but can be opened or closed in a couple of minutes.

By Tom Berg

It takes special people to be flatbedders. Tarping, however, is usually not on their list of favorite activities. A single tarpaulin can weigh 65 to 100 pounds or more. It must be half thrown and half dragged over the load, spread evenly with corners properly folded and tucked in, and the whole piece of slippery fabric secured with straps and bungies.

Tags: Trailers, Tarping, Side kits, Rolling tarps, Curtain-sider

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Test Drives

Test Drive: Kenworth's T880 Day-cab Tractor

The new steering gear set up provides up to 9 degrees of additional wheelcut, making this 189-inch wheelbase extremely maneuverable.

By Jim Park

Equipment Editor Jim Park still recalls his first meeting with a T800. It was in the fall of'86, the year the truck was introduced and a little more than a year after the T600 had made its game-changing debut.

Tags: Kenworth, Test Drive

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Test Drives

Driving impressions: Electronic Assist Systems Help New Sprinter’s Handling

The Sprinter chassis features independent wheel suspension at the front with transverse leaf springs, something that contributed to a comfortable ride and an absence of feeling tracks and bumps in the more worn parts in the pavement.

By Sven-Erik Lindstrand

The day after its introduction in Dusseldorf, in northern Germany, we reporters had a chance to drive Mercedes-Benz’s new Sprinter van for a few hours on various surfaces, from a test track to a dirt road and on a nearby Autobahn.

Tags: Cargo Vans, Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Test Drive

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

What You Need to Know About Wide-base Singles & Offset Axles

Wide-base single tires are popular for weight and fuel saving, but not everybody likes them. Spec'ing to revert back to dual tires at resale needs special consideration.

By Jim Park

Everything you need to know about switching from dual wheels to wide-base singles you can learn at a playground. Picture a teeter-totter with a big kid on one end and a little kid on the other. The big kid is on the ground, while the little guy's legs are dangling in the air. The load is unevenly distributed. If you moved the fulcrum closer to the big kid, the beam would eventually balance.

Tags: Tires, Wheels, Wide-base tires, Offset axles

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Rise of the 6x2

At a Meritor demonstration last December in North Carolina, soapy water and slipper plastic couldn't keep this tractor's SmarTandem from getting a grip and starting up the incline at a loading dock.

By Tom Berg

It's still an oddball spec in road tractors, but some believe the 6x2 — a single drive axle with two powered wheels among six total wheel positions — will someday become more common as truck operators look for ways to save fuel and cut tare weight.

Tags: Meritor, SmarTandem, Dana Spicer, EconoTrek, Bendix eTrac, Meritor Wabco

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Millions Available for Hybrid/Electric Vehicles Through California’s HVIP Program

By Truckinginfo Staff

Greening a fleet can be a daunting prospect, but as fuel prices continue to rise, the opportunity to save money has increased. Significant and easily accessible funding is now available in California through the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP)

Tags: California, Alternative Fuels & Hybrids, EVs, HEVs

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

The High Cost of Tires

By Jim Park

Ten years ago, you could buy a decent steer tire for $300. Not anymore. But, then again, you're not buying the same tire anymore either. Long-term pricing trends show that the cost of raw materials used in tire manufacturing has gone up over the past decade, along with the shelf prices for tires, but consumers haven't seen the price swings for tires that manufacturers have seen for materials over the same period of time.

Tags: Goodyear, Continental Tires, Yokohama Tire Corp., Stemco, Guayule

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Co-op-owned container chassis coming

By Tom Berg

Drayage operators will soon obtain more container chassis from trucker-owned pools than from ship lines and railroads, which signals part of a transition under way in the intermodal industry. A recently formed North American Chassis Pool Cooperative has won government approval and has begun purchasing chassis.

Tags: Intermodal, NACPC, Chassis

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Test Drives

Cummins and Navistar Reunite

The cockpit is familiar territory, except for the DEF tank level gauge.

By Jim Park

Red engines have been fixtures under Navistar hoods since the late ‘90s. Except for the recent hiatus, you have to go back some 75 years to the days when Cummins and International trucks weren't almost synonymous in North America.

Tags: Cummins, Navistar, Test Drive

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

The Return of the Glider

Brothers Robert Fitzgerald (standing) and Tommy Fitzgerald Jr. run the enterprise begun by their father, Tommy Sr. In addition to Freightliners and Western Stars, the specialty manufacturer also assembles Peterbilt gliders, like this Model 389, and will soon start on Kenworths.

By Tom Berg

Glider kits — new trucks and tractors that get rebuilt or remanufactured powertrain components — make up a small percentage of total new-truck purchases, partly because most truck operators know little about them.

Tags: WheelTime Network, Glider Kits, Fitzgerald Gliders

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

What's New in Used Trucks?

By Tom Berg

Every day, thousands of used trucks change hands. Last year, 190,000 were sold, and though this year's tally might be lower, it's still a healthy business that sometimes mirrors new-truck sales. That this market is intrinsically tied to new trucks becomes more apparent at times like now, when supplies of late-model power units are growing scarce.

Tags: Schneider, Used Trucks, Arrow Truck Sales, NTP

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Tire Makers Look for Alternatives to Natural Rubber

Guayule is a rubber-producing plant that could offer a domestic, and thus more stable, supply.

By Jim Park

Although we're in no danger of running short of our primary source of natural rubber, prices have risen dramatically over the past 10 years, contributing to rising prices for tires. Several tire makers are researching other sources of rubber.

Tags: Tires, Rubber, Guayule

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Dumps: Views of the market and trends from dealers and manufacturers

This East Hybrid uses a half-round bottom joined to Genesis-type, double-wall sides for extra stiffness and stability while tipping.

By Tom Berg & Kate Harlow

When the economy took a dive in 2008 and the construction industry's work dried up, so did much of the market for dump trailers. As construction begins coming back, there's a growing demand for new dumps. Demand also is being driven by other emerging trends in the market.

Tags: East, Mac Trailer, Clement, Dumps, NTDA, Beall, Trailers, Vocational

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Test Drives

Test Drive: Meritor's 6x2 SmarTandem

What better place to traction-test a 6x2 drive axle system than Michigan's Upper Pennisula in February?

By Jim Park

The 6x2 concept isn't new, but it's not popular on our side of the Atlantic Ocean. Meritor aims to change that with its new SmarTandem single-drive-axle tandem configuration. Equipment Editor Jim Park reports on his driving impressions.

Tags: Meritor, SmarTandem, Test Drive, Winter

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Not Your Father's Air Filter

Aerodynamic truck styling is one factor that has moved the air-intake system and filter under the hood instead of hung alongside it.

By Tom Berg

There was a time when fleet managers and owner-operators specified many components on their new trucks and tractors, but that's been seriously curtailed by vertical integration — the practice of manufacturers controlling the design and spec'ing process using parts they build themselves or get from a few suppliers.

Tags: Air Filter, Maintenance

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Watch for Changing Powertrain Technology to Meet Fuel Economy Regs

Kaufman cited the SuperTruck, a project being done with the Department of Energy by Peterbilt, Cummins, Eaton and other partners, talking about powertrain technologies coming down the road.

By Deborah Lockridge

What type of engine systems and parts will you be dealing with in the future? From electric-drive turbos to waste heat regeneration, Derek Kaufman, president of C3 Network, examined powertrain trends during Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week earlier this year.

Tags: DPF, Aftermarket, HDAW, Engines

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

HDT's '13 Top 20

By HDT Staff

Which are the best of the best new products and equipment from last year's introductions? We've gone through an extensive process to determine HDT's 2013 Top 20 Products.

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Tires for multiple applications

By Evan Lockridge

The economic recession had profound effects on trucking, but one of the most surprising is a greater need for tires on trucks that need to be used in more than one application. That's the opposite of another trend, which is more single-application-specific tires.

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Continental Tires, Bridgestone, Tires, Retreads

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

7 Trends in axles and suspensions

When it come to trends in axles and suspensions, it's all about efficiency.

By Deborah Lockridge

When it come to trends in axles and suspensions, it's all about efficiency. Fleets are constantly looking for ways to become more operationally efficient, whether it's fuel economy, increased payload, lower maintenance costs, longer equipment life, or driver productivity.

Tags: Firestone, Reyco Granning, Meritor, Suspensions, Hendrickson, Axles, Dana Spicer

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

And the Envelope Please

Heavy-duty Truck of the Year candidates await judging.

By Jim Park

How do you compare a luxurious Ford F-650 with an Isuzu Reach cargo van? Two completely different trucks with different purposes in life. Such was the challenge of five trucking media judges at the 2012 American Truck Dealers Association's Commercial Truck of the Year competition.

Tags: ATD, Dealers, Commercial Truck of the Year, Medium-Duty Trucks, Class 8

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Calculate True Capacity Before Buying Your Next Trailer: Part Three

By Greg Smith, Talbert Manufacturing

Long before a single load is booked or any wheels turn, someone – usually a fleet manager – needs to determine exactly what is going to separate the road and the load.

Tags: Trailers

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Dos and Don'ts when Spec'ing Dry Vans

By Kate Harlow

When you are getting ready to put a dry van trailer out to pasture and begin the process of searching for its replacement, there are many things to consider: maintenance costs, fuel-economy regulations, payload and the weight of the trailer, to name a few. One way to navigate through the maze of options is to follow some tips a few trailer manufacturers shared with us.

Tags: Trailers, Payload, Dry Vans, Capacity, MPG, Fuel Economy

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Test Drives

Test Drive: WorkStar 7600

By Tom Berg

The sloped hood on International's WorkStar 7600 was first shown off at the World of Concrete show in 2010, but with vocational-truck business seriously down during the recession, it only went into production last fall.

Tags: International, Workstar, Test Drive, Navistar, Vocational

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Calculate True Capacity Before Buying Your Next Trailer: Part Two

By Greg Smith, Talbert Manufacturing

Long before a single load is booked or any wheels turn, someone – usually a fleet manager – needs to determine exactly what is going to separate the road and the load.

Tags: Trailers, Talbert, Speed, Payload

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Tires & Wheels: 5 Ways to Stretch Your Tire Budget

By Jim Park

If stretching your tire budget means buying cheaper tires, you may be cheating yourself. You'll get more tires for less money — and that looks good up front — but does that theory hold up after six months or a year?

Tags: Tires, Retreads

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Calculate True Capacity Before Buying Your Next Trailer: Part One

If the payload is a 100,000-pound excavator that’s only 13 feet long, a trailer rated for the entire deck length, or even for 16 feet, won’t be right for the load. The ideal trailer will be one rated at half the deck length.

By Greg Smith, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Talbert Manufacturing

Long before a single load is booked or any wheels turn, someone - usually a fleet manager - needs to determine exactly what is going to separate the road and the load

Tags: Trailers, Talbert, Lowbed, Heavy Haul

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Meritor Aftermarket Launches Meritor AllFit and Meritor Green Series

Meritor displayed its new AllFit, Green and Genuine packaging at HDAW. The company borrowed from the retail market for the shock absorber packaging.

By Deborah Lockridge, Editor in Chief

LAS VEGAS -- Meritor launched two new product series, Meritor AllFit and Meritor Green, with new all-makes shock absorbers the first in the Meritor AllFit line

Tags: Meritor, Aftermarket, reman, all makes

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Selecting the Right Trailers for your Fleet

By Jeff Weber, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Ervin Equipment

Seems like an easy decision. Choose a trailer and go. But before adding just one or several hundred trailers, a fleet manager needs to determine what's right for the application. Considerations include space and weight capacities, laws and regulations, trailer age and regional-specific specifications

Tags: Trailers, Dry Vans, Ervin Equipment

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Engine Smarts: Owners Cite Woes with Engines, Dealers; Volvo Lists Some Remedies

J.D. Marshall, dayshift shop foreman at Nacarato Volvo Trucks in LaVergne, Tenn., demonstrates how the Volvo Assist system ties together all pertinent data on a truck to aid in quick diagnosis and servicing.

By Tom Berg

CORRECTED -- Volvo Trucks executives knew full well what a group of its customers would say about experiences with modern engines, but invited them to speak to press reporters anyway. Then the Volvo people explained what they're doing to alleviate service problems that customers have also experienced

Tags: Engine Smarts, Volvo, Dealers, Engines, Diagnostics

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Smaller truck tire buyers to benefit from greenhouse gas and CAFE regs

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

Mike Yap is a plumbing and heating contractor near Buffalo, N.Y. He operates two GMC 3500-series cargo vans and two utility trailers. He buys tires from a local auto supply jobber. He's a price shopper

Tags: Tires, light trucks

December 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Cover Story

Class 8 Update: The latest models and trends

By Tom Berg

"Uncertainty" is the word people at most truck builders used to describe this year's business mood. Sales started strong, then slacked off in the summer as many buyers seemed to be waiting to see what would happen in the general economy and the presidential election

Tags: Class 8

December 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Future Reefers

By Tom Berg, Senior Editor

Carbon dioxide, condemned for being a greenhouse gas and the target of diesel emissions regulations about to go into effect, is actually good when used as a refrigerant

Tags: Trailers, CO2, Thermo King, Reefers, Carrier Transicold

January 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Test Drive: Daimler's DT12 Automated Transmission

By Jim Park, Equipment Editor

The arrival of Detroit's DT12 automated manual transmission wasn't unexpected. Daimler AG, the parent company of Daimler Trucks North America and Detroit Inc., has been using such transmissions in Europe for many years in the Mercedes Actros line and earlier products

Tags: Test Drive, Detroit, Daimler

December 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Yokohama's Rick Phillips Talks Commercial Tire Trends

When it comes to commercial tire sales, 2012 could not have been any more contrasting from 2011, says Rick Phillips, Yokohama Tire's director of commercial sales. Phillips, a 35-year tire industry veteran, discusses what the challenges were within the commercial tire industry in 2012 and how they will affect truck owners in 2013

Tags: Economy, Tires

December 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Lighter-duty Commercial Trucks Get More Fuel-Efficient Engines

EcoBoost 3.5-liter gasoline V-6 and a naturally aspirated 3.7 V-6 in Ford's upcoming Transit vans will do the work of much larger and heavier V-8 and V-10 engines in current E-series vans. New 3.2-liter I-5 diesel will be optional.

By Engine Smarts column Tom Berg, Senior Editor

In all the years I've been doing update articles for HDT, particularly on Class 1, 2 and 3 cargo vans, I've repeatedly asked execs at the truck builders about trends in engines

Tags: Engine Smarts, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

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