Author: Vitaliy Dadalyan

30 Sep by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Love’s to expand truck maintenance services nationwide

Company announced it will begin offering more maintenance options in 2017

Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. announced it will expand its truck maintenance program at all travel stop locations nationwide to include additional services to existing truck tire care and light mechanical options.

The additional maintenance offering focuses on oil changes to the motor, transmission and gear boxes and is complemented by preventive maintenance services including fluid levels, fluid and filter quality checks and lube services, Love's said.

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29 Sep by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

SuperDuty Pickups Ably Tow, and Back, Heavy Trailers

<img width="150" src="http://www.automotive-fleet.com/fc_images/blogs/m-img-20160727-122633140-1.jpg" border="0" alt="

This Load Max gooseneck trailer, laden with block and stone, weighed 29,960 pounds, a Ford engineer said. The F-450 easily handled it. Photos: Tom Berg

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This Load Max gooseneck trailer, laden with block and stone, weighed 29,960 pounds, a Ford engineer said. The F-450 easily handled it. Photos: Tom Berg

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Trailer towing is a big deal for some pickup-truck owners, and Ford says its next-generation 2017-model SuperDuty pickups are more capable than ever. Tow ratings have gone up and weight has come down, as we've previously reported.

Ford showed reporters how good the new SuperDuties are at a demonstration in and near Denver in late July. Three “waves” of magazine writers, including me, traveled to the Mile High City (it's official altitude really is 5,280 feet, but you probably knew that) to experience the new trucks. We got to pull several types of trailers with pre-production F-250, 350 and 450 pickups.

The heftiest trailer was a Gladiator Load Max gooseneck utility, loaded with eight pallets of concrete blocks and decorative limestone. A Ford engineer told us they were very close in weight, one scaling at 29,900 pounds and the other at 29,960 pounds. Each was hitched to an F-450 pickup, whose emphasis is on towing rather than hauling (that's the F-350's role), though the 450 will carry a lot, too.

Gross combination weight of this “tractor-trailer” was about 40,000 pounds, the F-450's former maximum GCW rating. It's now 41,800 pounds, thanks to higher torque (925 lb-ft, up from 860) of the revised, second-generation PowerStrike diesel. Those of us with commercial driver's licenses were encouraged to take one for a spin, and I was the first to climb behind the wheel. Three other people, including that Ford engineer, also piled in (raising our GCW closer to the new maximum).

I headed out of the hotel's parking area and onto wide boulevards that climbed up and down rolling hills in the upscale, hotel and office-populated neighborhood west of Denver. The PowerStroke ...Read the rest of this story

29 Sep by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Cummins Brings X12 to North America

<img width="150" src="http://www.automotive-fleet.com/fc_images/articles/m-cummins-x12-1.jpg" border="0" alt="

The new X12 from Cummins is based on the global ISG platform. It's not a rebranded ISX12. Photos: Jim Park

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The new X12 from Cummins is based on the global ISG platform. It's not a rebranded ISX12. Photos: Jim Park

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Are smaller displacements the engine trend of the future? Cummins seems to think so and is hedging its bets on the question. The Columbus, Ind.-based global engine manufacturer now has very capable engines at both ends of the Class 8 spectrum: the 14.9-liter X15, and a brand new engine platform, the 11.8-liter X12.

Recent introductions from other engine makers suggest there's an appetite for smaller block engines that can deliver Class 8 power for regional and urban applications as well as the vocational market. With ratings up to 475 horsepower and 1,700 lb-ft of torque, the X12 will be running with the big boys. But the X12 is nearly 1,000 lbs lighter than the X15, so weight-sensitive fleets will be looking very closely at this engine.

The X12 is derived from the ISG platform first introduced in 2013 as a global engine platform. It made its first appearance a year later in a joint venture with the world's largest independent engine maker, Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd. of China. Foton now uses the ISG diesel in a new truck series developed with Daimler of Germany.

Cummins says the engine in ISG trim already has more than a billion miles under its belt and is ready to take on North America. We will see it here in 2018 as the X12.

This is not a rebranded ISX12. The diesel version of that engine will be sunsetted at the end of 2018, although Cummins will continue to stock parts and cover service for decades, and production of the natural gas version will continue into the foreseeable future.

Instead, the X12 is a clean-slate design from the oil pan up. It was engineered to be a robust, lightweight, high-output ...Read the rest of this story

29 Sep by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

SmartValve’s a Back-Saver at Meijer Logistics

<img width="150" src="http://www.automotive-fleet.com/fc_images/articles/m-meijer-1.jpg" border="0" alt="

Meijer Logistics driver Ron Diamond points to the button that can save him considerable work and time — and prevent an injury — during a hookup.

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Meijer Logistics driver Ron Diamond points to the button that can save him considerable work and time — and prevent an injury — during a hookup.

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Ron Diamond is typical of the drivers who run out of Meijer Logistics' distribution facility in Newport, Mich., south of Detroit. He drops and hooks trailers about 10 times a day, and it can be tiring. But dropping and hooking are integral to the operation of Grand Rapids-based Meijer Stores, which has 228 tractors and 2,850 trailers in its private fleet.

“Cranking the landing gear is the hard part,” Diamond says. Cranking is required not only to raise and lower the gear for travel and parking, but also to adjust the nose height of trailers before coupling onto them with the tractor's fifth wheel.

Even if the landing gear is in low range, it takes arm, shoulder and back muscles to raise a nose so the upper coupler plate and kingpin matches the height of the fifth wheel. Of course, it's harder if the trailer's loaded. Dan Scherer, Meijer Logistics' fleet maintenance manager, says back injuries can be a plague to drivers and employers alike.

But those injuries may be a thing of the past because Meijer has adopted the Hadley SmartValve, which turns the tractor and its air suspension into a jack that does the heavy work.

The Hadley SmartValve is primarily an adjustment valve that keeps the tandem suspension at a preset height. If a trailer's nose is too low, using the normal dump valve bleeds air from the bags and lets the tractor's rear end settle down so the frame and fifth wheel slides under the nose. If it still can't get under, the driver backs up a bit more so two ramps atop the frame rails — specially spec'd by Meijer — wedge against ...Read the rest of this story