Is Your Snow Equipment Ready?

 By: Steve Taylor 

Truck Mounted Snow Equipment can take a beating when you put it to work removing snow and controlling ice. Before you put it to use every season, check and repair problems while they can be fixed in the garage, not when the equipment is out there in a storm under the stress of removing and controlling snow and ice. Plan ahead; don’t wait for a breakdown that will cost you dearly for towing, middle of the night repairs and maybe even lost customers.

At the end of each season, have the equipment gone over to look for structural weaknesses, bending metal, cracked paint, broken welds, cracked hoses, weak hydraulic solenoids, loose wires and corroded connectors, etc. Each plow manufacturer generally knows which parts are chronic problems when their plows are used in service. They each have a recommended replacement parts list for each model. That’s a good sign that you need those parts on hand in case of a breakdown, or better still for replacement before a breakdown as you have noticed a part that needs replacing before it fails.

But don’t rely on the manufacturer to provide all the information that you need, use your social network including other plow users, contractors and websites such as Plowsite.com to keep up with how your model plow is performing in use and what issues are being found in the field. At Plowsite.com use the http://www.plowsite.com/forumdisplay.php?f=3 to find each make and model plow and read the user posts on breakdown experiences. If you read a number of these posts even going back in history, you may find issues which may tip you off on what to look for on your own equipment.

In addition to going over the plows and spreaders, have the truck looked at as well. Plowing and Spreading puts big loads on the truck, sometimes these loads will cause extra wear on the frames, axles, steering, transmissions, etc. For example your truck frame may have a small crack that has developed over time and using it to plow might load the frame more and propagate the crack failing the frame. That’s something you definitely don’t want to happen, especially during a storm!

Further, if you are having recurring problems of the same nature, don’t take for granted that the equipment manufacturer is aware of it. Make sure you report it back to the dealer or distributor where you purchased your equipment. Ask for their feedback and the factory recommendations for corrective action. Make sure you know if it is covered under factory warranty or maybe even a recall campaign. Read what others are reporting on the same issues and make sure you let it be known if you suspect you might have product that is part of a chronic problem. And if you are not satisfied with the resolution, you can even email me (see below) as I might have other suggestions for you.

By Steve Taylor:  A consultant in the Truck Equipment business with over 30 years in the snowplow and truck body manufacturing business. He specializes in the design and quality/reliability field and may be reached by email at steve@truckarchitect.com. You may visit his website at http://www.truckarchitect.com/.

How to Save Money and Fuel by Reducing the Residual Weight in Your Work Truck

Whether you own one truck or are responsible for a fleet of work trucks and vans, you probably should take a close look at the “residual weight” that is carried every day in the vehicle whether it’s needed or not! By residual weight, I mean the weight of tools, parts and equipment carried within the truck body used in the work performed on a regular basis. 

Many work trucks are driven around carrying unnecessary tools, equipment and inventory. Tools and parts that are only seldom needed!  There’s a tendency to carry “everything that you might need” - a reality check might show that it is only used once a year! Not only are you burning more fuel by carrying unnecessary weight, in many cases this may cause a heavier than necessary vehicle being specified for purchase. 

Even if you have no plans to specify and buy new trucks, you will save fuel by carrying the right stuff in your existing trucks. If you are looking at new trucks and debating alternative fuels and engines, knowing what your payload needs to be is surely the right first step in considering what to buy!

In a plan to define the type and size of vehicles needed for specific operations, owners and fleet managers might want to initiate a study into the tools and equipment and the parts needed every day for each activity where vehicles are used. If the tools, parts and equipment inventory can be reduced, there will be a resultant payload weight reduction. The benefits of reducing weight are less fuel consumption, potentially less work body tare weight, and perhaps a smaller truck or van.  

Conduct a study to show what tools, parts and equipment are actually used; daily, periodically and only on rare occasion.

Involve your workers, make them part of the process. Ask them to report what tools and equipment are used on a daily basis. Also record what inventory of parts is consumed daily as well.  Make a spreadsheet list with the tools, equipment and parts being line items and the categories being columns. Collect this data every day. Summarize it weekly and monthly.

The summary should show what “everyday tools are, what is rarely used, and everything in between.  Determine what tools, parts and equipment must be carried every day. 

Here is a guideline showing improved fuel consumption for 1000 lbs. of reduced payload weight:

Avg tare weight
Fuel economy improvement
for each 1,000 lbs of tare weight reduction
14,001 – 16,000
16,001 – 19,500
19,501 – 26,000
26,001 – 33,000
33,001 – 60,000
60,000 +

Let’s face it - workers do not want to be without anything that they need and may resist reducing their tools and equipment; they do not want to be caught short and have to travel back to the facility to get tools, parts or equipment to complete their work.

The workers should know the goals of the program.  Realize that by reducing the tools, equipment and parts that they carry, there may be cases where they will be short of tools and equipment unless they have prior notification of specific needs. It will be a lot easier if they are involved in the process of change, pre-plan and maybe develop a special process to handle the unexpected tool or equipment requirement.

Of course the ultimate goal is to satisfy the customer. Keep in contact with them and get their feedback on their experience with any changes to their service.  A successful program will evolve and improve over time. The workers should know that they will not be held responsible for the occasional problem caused by implementing the new program. They will likely have suggestions on how to solve issues if they are included in the process,

Steve Taylor

Business Improvement Specialist


Roadcheck inspection blitz put one of five trucks inspected out of service

Roadcheck 2013, the 72-hour inspection spree done annually by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, saw out-of-service rates bump up slightly from 2012′s historically low numbers, but only slightly, as 24.1 percent of the 73,023 trucks and buses inspected were placed out of service. In 2012, 22.4 percent of the 74,072 vehicles inspected were placed out of service.

Moreover, 4.3 percent of the 71,630 drivers inspected this year were placed out of service, compared to 3.9 percent last year.

CVSA said in this year’s Roadcheck, held June 4-6, it placed an emphasis on cargo securement, which accounted for 11.7 percent of the out-of-service violations issued — one out of every 50 trucks inspected. That number is down from 2012′s 12.3 percent.

Brakes generally stand out as the main cause of out-of-service violations, CVSA said, and 49.6 percent of the vehicle out-of-service violations came from brake adjustment or other brake system violations. Lights violations accounted for 12.6 percent of the violations, and tires and wheels made up 10.1 percent of OOS orders.

Of the roughly 3,000 drivers placed out of service, hours-of-service violations accounted for 51.8 percent of OOS orders, on part with last year’s 50.2 percent. False logs accounted for 13.2 percent of OOS orders. Disqualified drivers made up 10.2 percent of the violations, and suspended licenses accounted for 5.2 percent.

Of the total number of vehicle inspections, 47,771 of them were Level I inspections, CVSA says, in which vehicles and drivers are assessed for violations of both state and federal regulations. The remaining inspections in this year’s Roadcheck were either driver-only or vehicle-only, CVSA says.

In the 72-hour event, roughly 10,000 CVSA and FMCSA inspectors participated at 2,500 locations around North America.

Enterprise Fleets Improve Seat Belt Use by 88 Percent with inthinc Technology

inthinc Technology Solutions Inc., a global provider of telematics, fleet management and driver safety solutions announced its customers have improved seat belt use by 88 percent on average. Using inthinc waySmart®, a comprehensive fleet management and safe driving solution, fleet managers are able to accurately monitor seat belt use of any fleet or vehicle and provide real-time alerts to drivers.

“One of the most common excuses we hear from drivers who fail to wear a seat belt, is they simply forgot,” said Josh Moore, Cintas Corp. project manager. “With inthinc in the vehicle reminding drivers to buckle up, there really is no excuse and so drivers are complying with our seat belt policy more frequently.”

Using waySmart’s In-Cab Real-Time Verbal Coaching technology, drivers are alerted when performing an unsafe driving behavior—including not wearing a seat belt—and given a 15-second grace period to comply. Violations not corrected within the grace period are wirelessly reported to the acting fleet manager via the web-based inthinc.com Management Portal. Using the data provided in the portal, managers can quickly identify their safe drivers and those in need of additional training. inthinc’s new seat belt click monitoring capability will also allow managers to identify how many times a seat belt is engaged each day, ensuring drivers are using the seat belt appropriately at all times.

“The seat belt is a life-saving tool and we want our customers to have all the data necessary to ensure their drivers are using them correctly,” inthinc CTO, Corey Catten said. “Thousands of lives are saved every year because of seat belts and we are committed to saving more with our technology.”
inthinc waySmart is designed to safe guard lives while also improving fleet efficiency and regulatory compliance. In addition to seat belt monitoring, waySmart driver safety solutions also include:

    • ·       In-Cab Verbal Coaching for Speeding and Aggressive Driving
    • ·       Idle Monitoring and Alerts
    • ·       Live Fleet Visibility
    • ·       Crash & Roll-Over Detection
    • ·       Emergency Call Button

To learn more on how inthinc can help fleets improve driver safety, click here.

About inthinc
inthinc is a global company centered on telematics, fleet management and driver safety solutions. Its breakthrough technologies are designed to safeguard lives, save money and protect the environment. inthinc technology has been documented to reduce accidents by 90 percent, reduce speeding by 86 percent, decrease maintenance costs by 20 percent and reduce fuel costs. For more information, please visit http://www.inthinc.com.
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NHTSA Recall Notice 9.23.13

Please click on the following NHTSA Campaign ID links to view the recall information.

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V412
Manufacturer : Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)
Make / Model Years : ACURA / 2003
HONDA / 2003-2004
Subject : Inadvertent Air Bag Deployment

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V407
Manufacturer : BMW of North America, LLC
Make / Model Years : BMW / 2008-2010
Subject : Tail light Failure

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V406
Manufacturer : Corp. Micro Bird Inc.
Make / Model Years : MICRO BIRD / 2013
Subject : Panel Glue/FMVSS 221

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V404
Manufacturer : Homesteader, Inc.
Make / Model Years : HOMESTEADER / 2006-2010
Subject : Interior Side Door Lock May Become Inoperable

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V401
Manufacturer : Daimler Trucks North America
Make / Model Years : WESTERN STAR / 2009-2014
Subject : Seatbelt Anchorage Point may be Weak

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V398
Manufacturer : Oreion Motors LLC.
Make / Model Years : OREION / 2011-2013
Subject : Ungoverned Speed/Missing Reflectors/Incorrect GVWR


Visit Knapheide at the ICUEE Demo Expo In Louisville Oct 1st - 3rd, 2013

You are invited to visit us at ICUEE 2013, The Demo Expo, happening October 1-3, 2013, in Louisville, Kentucky, USA

The Knapheide Manufacturing Company

The Knapheide Manufacturing Company will have the widest range of commercial vehicles on display in Booth L199, from compact commercial vans to medium duty trucks. Knapheide, the leading manufacturer and provider of commercial vehicle solutions, will have some new and exciting products on display.

Visit us at booth L199

ICUEE: The Demo Expo

October 1-3, 2013

Tomorrow is right around the corner. For utility contractors and municipalities, ICUEE has the keys to prepare for it. Learn about new technologies, innovations, insights and trends affecting the utilities industry—ranging from electric to telecom and water/wastewater to gas.

Demo the latest equipment. Meet with the experts. Network with peers. Put the future in your hands at ICUEE, the International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition.

Register today

ICUEE Show Management
Association for Equipment Manufacturers
6737 West Washington Street, Suite 2400 Milwaukee, WI 53214-5647
TEL 414.272.0943


NHTSA Recall Notice 9.16.13

Please click on the following NHTSA Campaign ID links to view the recall information.

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V405
Manufacturer : Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.
Make / Model Years : SUZUKI / 2006-2011
Subject : Occupant Classification System (OCS) sensor mat

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V403
Manufacturer : Daimler Trucks North America
Make / Model Years : FREIGHTLINER / 2014
Subject : Caliper Mounting Bolts

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V402
Manufacturer : ShowHauler Trucks, Inc.
Make / Model Years : SHOWHAULER / 2006-2013
Subject : Interior Side Door Lock May Become Inoperable

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V400
Manufacturer : Winnebago Industries, Inc
Make / Model Years : ITASCA / 2013-2014
WINNEBAGO / 2013-2014
Subject : Child Seat Tether Position

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V399
Manufacturer : Columbia Northwest, Inc.
Make / Model Years : ALINER / 2006-2013
Subject : Interior Side Door Lock May Become Inoperable

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V397
Manufacturer : Navistar, Inc.
Make / Model Years : IC BUS / 2013-2014
Subject : Seat Restraining Barrier/FMVSS 222

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V394
Manufacturer : Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC
Make / Model Years : HEARTLAND / 2013
Subject : Incorrect Certification Label/Part 567

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V393
Manufacturer : Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc.
Make / Model Years : DUTCHMEN / 2014
Subject : Generator Fuel Line Clamp Installed Incorrectly

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V392
Manufacturer : Spartan Motors, Inc.
Make / Model Years : SPARTAN / 2009-2014
Subject : ABS Modulator Valve Fracture

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V391
Manufacturer : Indian Motorcycle Company
Make / Model Years : INDIAN / 2009-2013
Subject : Rear Wheel Rim may Crack

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V390
Manufacturer : Altec Industries Inc.
Make / Model Years : ALTEC / 2012-2013
Subject : Winch Bolts May Loosen

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V388
Manufacturer : Peterson Industries, Inc.
Make / Model Years : EXCEL / 2013-2014
Subject : Unexpected Unfurling of the Awning

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V387
Manufacturer : Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
Make / Model Years : KAWASAKI / 2009-2013
Subject : Police Use Modifications/Various Safety Issues


NHTSA Recall Notice 9.9.13

Please click on the following NHTSA Campaign ID links to view the recall information.

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V396
Manufacturer : Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing
Make / Model Years : LEXUS / 2006-2008
TOYOTA / 2006-2010
Subject : Inverter Failure may cause Hybrid Vehicle to Stall

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V395
Manufacturer : Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing
Make / Model Years : LEXUS / 2006-2011
Subject : Variable-Valve Timing System

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V386
Manufacturer : Bombardier Recreational Products Inc.
Make / Model Years : CAN-AM / 2013
Subject : Brake Master Cylinder Manifold Inlet may Melt

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V384
Manufacturer : Sunset Park & RV Inc.
Make / Model Years : SUNSET PARK & RV / 2014
Subject : Unexpected Unfurling of the Awning

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V383
Manufacturer : Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing
Make / Model Years : LEXUS / 2010
TOYOTA / 2006-2011
Subject : Rear Suspension Arm (Tie Rod) Corrosion

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V382
Manufacturer : Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)
Make / Model Years : HONDA / 2013
Subject : Premature Engine Piston Wear

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V381
Manufacturer : Starcraft RV, Inc.
Make / Model Years : STARCRAFT / 2014
Subject : Spare Tire Bracket May Detach

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V380
Manufacturer : Manning Equipment Inc. LLC
Make / Model Years : FORD / 2012
Subject : Insufficient Tailpipe Length

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V379
Manufacturer : DDT Mobility Inc.
Make / Model Years : DDT / 9999
Subject : Wheelchair Lift Armored Cable Short Circuit

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V378
Manufacturer : Altec Industries Inc.
Make / Model Years : ALTEC / 2005-2013
Subject : Current Leakage Monitoring Cable

NHTSA Campaign ID Number : 13V377
Manufacturer : Volvo Cars of N.A., LLC
Make / Model Years : VOLVO / 2014
Subject : CEM/Electrical Components may Work Improperly