Saturday, September 5, 2015

Going to Extremes: Ford's Cold-Weather Testing in the Sunshine State Leads to Enhanced Vehicle Quality Globally

  •     Ford vehicles of all sizes – from Focus to F-Series Super Duty – annually submit to subzero testing in the U.S. military’s all-weather laboratory designed to re-create nearly every weather condition on earth
  •     Extreme cold-weather testing at the Florida lab in the summer contributes to continuity, collaboration and efficiency in Ford’s product development cycle and, ultimately, to enhanced global vehicle quality
  •     Ford customers worldwide can approach winter with the assurance their vehicles are designed – through extensive testing – to start and run in frigid weather conditions

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fl., August 13, 2015  -- Each year, Ford brings global prototype vehicles and a team of engineers to the world’s largest climatic test facility – McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle – to push the limits of extreme cold-weather testing in order to improve vehicle quality and performance for customers.

In this sophisticated, all-weather facility used by the U.S. Air Force to test every aircraft in the Department of Defense inventory [1], Ford engineers can get temperatures down as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit in a span of just 10 hours. The hot, humid climate of northwest Florida in August has no impact on conditions inside the lab – making it ideal for simulating winter in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay or Canada’s Yellowknife region.

So when it’s the middle of a development cycle, or the middle of summer, and there’s no access to a natural environment where engineers can evaluate whether a vehicle is starting as robustly as it should in below-freezing temperatures, McKinley Climatic Lab allows Ford to simulate, calibrate and validate – all under one roof.

The opportunity to accommodate 75 global prototype vehicles of all sizes for rigorous testing – plus house a versatile team of 54 engineers and technical experts – creates efficiency in the company’s product development cycle that helps Ford learn in just three weeks what could take twice as long in a smaller facility. Collecting multiple data sets, analyzing results, and comparing and contrasting enables Ford engineers to quickly implement changes that enhance vehicle quality and ultimately benefit the customer.

Optimum performance in the most extreme weather conditions means different things for customers in different parts of the world. That’s why Ford engineers strive to account for all variables when seeking assurance that customers who live and work in cold climates will be able to reliably start and run their vehicles in subzero temperatures. Specific situations engineers test for include:

  •     In the oil fields of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, Ford F-Series trucks are not only a mode of transportation, but also a safety device for workers who need a warm cabin to retreat to on-site to prevent cold-weather injury on the job. Ford engineers conduct idle tests at the lab – running the engine week after week as temperature fluctuates from 40 degrees to minus 40 degrees, and examining the exhaust as it heats up then cools back down – to help ensure the needs of these customers are met
  •     For those customers who depend on their vehicles for work commutes and to transport their families around town, Ford testing at the lab ultimately seeks to provide them with the assurance that their vehicles are designed to start and run in the bitter cold. As temperatures in the lab drop to minus 22 degrees, Ford engineers examine the volatility of 13 different types of fuel commonly used by customers across the globe to calibrate the cold start
When running tests at such low temperatures inside McKinley Climatic Lab, engineers make changes daily to help ensure engine start and vehicle driveability, and that Ford is meeting the high quality standards its customers expect. Learnings from these cold-weather tests helped Ford engineers perfect the 6.7-liter engine that powers the current F-Series Super Duty. Engineers found that replacing metallic plugs with ceramic gold plugs enabled the engine to heat up more quickly, for a more robust start.


About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

Friday, September 4, 2015

Schwarze Supervac Updraft Sweeper

Schwarze Industries, manufacturer of some of the finest, most durable, quality power sweeping equipment in the world, has developed a patent pending, fuel-efficient, stainless steel, low profile twin engine sweeper on a Half Ton V6 chassis. See more about Schwarze Industries offerings at

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Road Sighting: 4x4 Ford Super Cab Chassis with Harbor Low-Pro Service Body with a Twist

I was at Ford Lincoln Fairfield in Fairfield CA last week and noticed this very interesting truck. It may have been in for service, but I had to take some shots of it so I could share it. First, it is on a Ford 60"CA 4x4 Super Cab F350 Chassis so it has a great foundation. Next, it has a 9' low-pro Harbor Service Body. On the low-pro model, which you don't see very often, the top of the Service Body lids is at about the bottom of the rear window. The standard height body is up to the middle of the rear window. The low-pro looks more like a pickup in that respect.

What's more interesting about this is the camper style shell or truck cap that just happens to fit perfectly in the bed area and makes this to be like a raised cargo bed enclosure. The barn doors make it easy to get in and out, and a custom rack has been added. What would make this a dream would be a bed slide inside the compartment. Based on the sticker, the shell was provided by Campway, and based on another sticker, this may have been sold as a used vehicle by Victory Commercial Trucks in Petaluma CA, since they are a Chevrolet, RAM, and Isuzu Truck dealer.

All in all, this was quite a sighting. An unusual and interesting combination of products. The owner of the truck is on the door: Euro-Machines, Vineyard and Winery Equipment, whose west coast location happens to be Fairfield CA. Nice rig.

Telecom, Cable, Utility Construction Package #1 - GM Full-Size Vans

Part # 022658CKP
Telecom, Cable, Utility Construction Package - Full Size Vans

Packed with standard features including plenty of drawers and cabinets.  Provides efficient storage of tools and equipment.  Perfect work solutions from industry experts.  Add ladder racks, accessories, and safety equipment to tackle any job.
Features & Benefits

    Adjustable Dividers
    Small Parts Drawers
    Large Parts Drawers
    Cable Reel Holder
    Hook Storage
    Hard Hat Holder
    Parts Trays

Package Consists of
    Part #     Description     Qty.
1     022264KP     Parts Tray Module
36"H x 43"W x 12"D     1
2     022466KP     Lockable Storage Cabinet
24"H x 18.5"W x 18"D     1
3     022685KP     Parts Cabinet w/ Dividers
46"H x 43"W x 16"D     1
4     024056KP     Cabinet, 4 Drawer, Large
22”H x 18.5”W x 18” D     1
5     025527KP     Triple Utility Hook     1
6     027088KP     Standard Steel Partition w/ Hinged Door     1
7     027250KP     Steel Partition Attachment Panels - GM Full-Size Vans     1

Find out more at:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ford Smart Mobility Tour Kicks Off

The Ford Smart Mobility Experience  visits five cities – Louisville, Orlando, Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles -- this summer and fall. Company leaders will share Ford’s Smart Mobility Plan which is our plan to deliver the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data.  The tour also showcases the company’s driver assist technologies that help improve the driving experience. Participants will get the chance to experience  the company’s current semi-autonomous and driver assist technologies including active park assist, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping aid and Pro Trailer Backup Assist as well as SYNC 3, Ford’s all-new communications and entertainment system.
About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

GM Invests $877 Million for Flint Assembly Upgrades

New body facility links assembly plant with Flint Metal Center
FLINT, Mich. – General Motors’ oldest assembly plant in North America, a popular destination for pickup truck customers who want to watch their vehicles being built, will undergo transformation in the coming years.

GM officials today announced plans to invest $877 million to build a new body shop for the assembly plant, locating it closer to the Flint Metal Center, which supplies sheet metal and other parts used in the Chevrolet and GMC full-size pickups produced in the assembly plant.

The investment will also cover improvements to the general assembly area inside Flint Assembly, as well as retooling and the installation of new equipment at the plant.

“This investment will allow us to use a more innovative approach to deliver material between two critical facilities, reducing handling and the time it takes to ship parts,” said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations vice president.

Since 2011, GM has announced investments topping $1.8 billion for Flint Assembly. This includes $600 million for plant upgrades and a new standalone paint shop that is under construction and slated to open in 2016. Work on the 883,000-square-foot body shop is expected to begin in the first half of 2016, with completion slated for 2018.

“In the last several years, GM’s investments in the city of Flint have topped $2.5 billion, creating hundreds of construction jobs and an economic boost for the community,” said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. “This investment not only strengthens the ties between GM and the city, it demonstrates that Flint continues to play an important role in the resurgence of manufacturing in Michigan and the rest of the United States.”

Opened in 1947 as part of a post-World War II building boom by GM’s Flint Assembly has produced more than 13 million vehicles. The plant’s “View Builds,” as they are called, allow customers to see their heavy-duty Silverados or heavy-duty Sierra trucks being assembled and roll off the line after a series of quality checks by members of UAW Local 598.

“While the plant has received numerous awards for initial quality and long-term durability and reliability, our latest investments in the plant will raise the bar in vehicle quality and customer satisfaction,” Clegg said.

For starters, when the new paint shop opens in 2016, trucks will be painted using a wet-coat process that results in a smoother, more durable finish. The new body shop will be constructed north of the Flint Metal Center, reducing transportation time and handling between facilities.

“This announcement is due to the hard work and dedication of our UAW members in Flint,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who leads the UAW GM Department. “This proves once again that when we work together in a collaborative approach, UAW members continue to come up with innovative ways to grow the business, which provides jobs and improves the quality of the products we produce. This is both good for the Company and good for our members.”

Today’s announcement completes the $5.4 billion in investments GM and the UAW announced at the end of April. Since June 2009, GM has announced U.S. facility investments of approximately $17.8 billion, including $12.4 billion since the end of the 2011 UAW-GM National Agreement. These investments have created approximately 6,250 new jobs and secured 20,700 other positions. 

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Road Sighting: Royal Dually Service Body On GM Crew Cab

Another interesting road sighting in Fairfield CA. This one is a 9' Royal Service Body with master lock system, HD cab shield, and a liftgate. It appears to be an aluminum platform liftgate with two bumper extensions on each side. It is mounted on a GM dual rear wheel crew cab. The bottom shot was as close as I was able to get to it. I see that it is a diesel based on seeing the tailpipe. I was unable to see the name of the company. Nice truck.

FUSO Contractor Work Trucks

Whether you’re a plumber, roofer, electrician, HVAC or other contractor, a dependable truck is the most important tool of your trade. Mitsubishi Fuso’s line of contractor, construction and dump trucks have a well-earned reputation for reliability. Just like you. Be prepared for the new Canter to take your work ethic to the next level while lowering your cost of ownership through superior fuel economy. In testing, the Canter delivered 8.45%* better fuel economy than an Isuzu commercial work truck, and improved to 13.8%* better when the Canter’s ECO Mode was engaged.

It will transport you, and up to 2,200 pounds more equipment, tools and supplies than an Isuzu can carry, to any job site. With its rugged, ladder-style steel frame, a Canter contractor truck can haul it all — from self-contained utility bodies, storage and tool boxes to shelving, racks and more. And with its short turning radius and excellent visibility, you’ll be in and out of work sites and residential neighborhoods safely and quickly, and on to the next.

Choose a model:

Monday, August 31, 2015

All-new Ford F-150 Raptor Prototype Trail Testing

Ford Performance engineers are busying trail testing prototypes of the all-new F-150 Raptor, the toughest, smartest and most capable Raptor ever. The all-new Raptor is able to tackle even tougher hills, ruts and bumps along trails than the previous model. Here an early engineering prototype that combines parts from the 2017 Raptor with the 2015 F-150 climbs tight two track trails in Northern Michigan, where the team is testing the new truck’s components over challenging terrain. The 2017 F-150 Raptor has better ground clearance than the first-generation Raptor and comes standard with new 3.0-inch FOX Racing Shox with custom internal bypass technology. The shock absorption technology works to damp and stiffen suspension travel over rough terrain. An all-new four-wheel-drive, torque-on-demand transfer case further improves Raptor’s trail performance. The new transfer case, which manages power distribution between the front and rear wheels, combines the best attributes of clutch-driven, on-demand all-wheel drive with durable, mechanical-locking four-wheel drive. You’ll be able to test the all-new Raptor for yourself in Fall 2016.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

Autogas: Propane as an Engine Fuel

Propane autogas, the term for propane when fueling an on-road vehicle, has the attention of fleet and transportation managers for a few reasons: economics, energy security, and the environment. It is a safe, sustainable, and domestically produced fuel with a robust infrastructure and economic efficiencies.

As an approved clean alternative fuel under the Clean Air Act of 1990, propane autogas qualifies as an alternative fuel eligible for various federal tax incentives and programs. Currently propane autogas powers more than 270,000 propane autogas vehicles in the U.S., including school buses, shuttle buses, trucks, vans, and taxis. More than 15 million vehicles run on propane autogas worldwide. Countries such as South Korea, Poland, Indian, and Japan have a significant percent of their transportation vehicles running on propane autogas. About 40 percent of vehicles in Turkey are fueled by propane autogas.

There are two different ways vehicles may be powered by propane autogas — dedicated and dual-fuel:

    Dedicated vehicles, fueled only by propane autogas, can be converted from gasoline powered vehicles or can be delivered direct from select original equipment manufacturers.
    Dual-fuel vehicles, installed by certified technicians, can run on either propane autogas or gasoline.

Propane autogas vehicles operate in a similar way as gasoline fueled vehicles. Only a few modifications to the vehicle must be made. The system can be a vapor or a liquid fuel injection. In a vapor injection, propane is vaporized and mixed with combustion air in the intake plenum (enclosed chamber) of the engine. Traditionally, vapor systems are less expensive but result in a loss of power. In a liquid system, liquid propane autogas is injected directly into each cylinder’s intake port. The liquid fuel vaporizes in the cylinder, cooling the air and resulting in no loss of horsepower, torque, or engine performance.

Propane autogas vehicles have the longest driving range of any alternative fuel — more than 250 percent farther than compressed natural gas, about 60 percent farther than methanol, and 25 percent farther than ethanol. This is due to a number of reasons, including the fact that propane autogas requires a smaller storage vessel than other pressurized alternative fuels to go the same distance.

Propane autogas vehicles meet the same standards for safety as conventionally fueled vehicles. Propane autogas vehicle tanks are constructed from carbon steel under code developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME4196), are 20 times more puncture resistant, and can withstand far more pressure than typical gasoline, methanol, or ethanol tanks. ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel tanks are designed to hold a capacity that maximizes the number of miles driven between fill ups.

Propane autogas offers more energy per unit mass and has a higher octane rating than gasoline. Propane as an auto fuel does have a slightly lower fuel economy, due to the lower British thermal unit (Btu) content of propane as compared to gasoline — it takes more fuel to create the same amount of power.

Many propane autogas vehicle fleets have reported two to three years longer service life and extended intervals between required maintenance when compared to their gasoline vehicles. The cleaner burning nature of propane and the lack of carbon build up in the engines leads to this unique benefit of propane autogas. ROUSH CleanTech customer testimonials prove the on-road performance of propane autogas matches research documented in trials, including the same horsepower, torque, and towing capacity as gasoline-fueled vehicles.

Ease of refueling a propane autogas vehicle has helped grow the use of this alternative fuel. With thousands of refueling stations across the U.S., a robust national infrastructure is in place to support its implementation as a primary fuel. In addition, some fleets choose to work with their local propane marketer to establish a propane autogas refueling infrastructure on-site at little or no cost.
To learn more about propane autogas, visit:

Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy

Clean Cities Coalitions

Propane Education & Research Council

Autogas for America

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Road Sighting: 11' Harbor Raised Compartment Service Body

A few weeks back coming into Yuba City CA, I spied a Ford F450/550 crew cab with an 11' Harbor TradeMaster Service Body with dual front raised compartments, master locking system, liftgate and cab shield. Sometimes they call this a Welder's Body, as those raised compartments are good for the gas bottles storage, but those raised compartments are quite nice with just shelves or drawers. So much more storage area. This one appears to be owned by Spray-Chem Chemical Company, out of Durham CA, between Yuba City and Chico CA. Nice unit!

Ford F-150 Raptor on Patrol in Park City

Thanks to a local businessman, Park City, Utah, has a very special Raptor that the police department uses to draw attention to special activities and to help get the public involved in positive programs.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

GM Lansing Delta Township Plant Builds 2 Millionth Vehicle

White Frost Tricoat Buick Enclave 
is milestone large crossover


LANSING, Mich. – A 2016 Buick Enclave, painted in White Frost Tricoat, rolled off the production line at General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant today, the 2 millionth vehicle produced at the automaker’s newest assembly plant in North America.
"This milestone directly reflects the dedication and hard work that our employees put into these crossovers every day,” said Mike Trevorrow, Lansing regional plant manager. “This team has established a strong foundation since opening to enable us to produce our 2 millionth vehicle in nine years, which is quite an accomplishment.”
Opened in 2006, Lansing Delta Township Assembly blends best practices and the newest technology in one facility. It was the first automotive manufacturing facility in the world to be a Gold Certified Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Since starting production, Lansing Delta Township has manufactured the Saturn Outlook, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Acadia Denali and Buick Enclave. A white Outlook was the first vehicle produced on May 24, 2006.
The plant currently employs approximately 3,200 employees on three shifts.
GM has announced more than $580 million in investments for Lansing Delta Township facility over the last two years, including $63 million in 2014 to expand the plant by nearly 263,000 square feet and $520 million earlier this year for tooling and equipment associated with future new vehicle programs. 
“Producing the 2 millionth vehicle would not be possible without the great people we have here,” said UAW Local 602 President Bill Reed.
While most vehicles follow somewhat of a bell curve for sales during their lifecycle, the Enclave has continued an upward trajectory after more than seven years. Minor dips in 2009 and 2012 reflected overall trends in the recovering auto industry, but record-setting 2014 sales represented a 39-percent increase over the Enclave’s first full year of production. As of June 2015, more than 500,000 Enclave models had been sold worldwide.   
“The Enclave led Buick’s product renaissance, redefining what consumers should expect from a full-size luxury crossover,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “It is fitting that an Enclave is the 2 millionth vehicle to roll off the line in Lansing, demonstrating continued consumer demand.”
This milestone for Lansing Delta Township is part of GM’s celebration of 500 million vehicles built globally, more than any other automaker.
About General Motors Co,
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets.  GM’s brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at

About Buick
Buick is an international modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors and thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models in North America and China. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at, on Twitter @buick, on Instragram, or at

Tommy Gate's G2 Series Liftgate

Tommy Gate's G2 Series is the latest in parallel-arm technology. Dual hydraulic cylinders apply direct power to both sides of the platform for increased consistency in motion and stability. With reduced maintenance requirements, wide variety of platform options, and vast hitch compatibility, G2 Series hydraulic lifts are a strong, versatile lift that are convenient, efficient, and make trucks work better.

Liftgate Features

    Dual hydraulic cylinders
    Maintenance-free components
    Recessed control
    Larger platforms
    Fully-enclosed hydraulic system

Friday, August 28, 2015

F-150 transmission has Mustang feel with pickup capability

Have to make a difficult choice between a Ford Mustang and an F-150? Well Ford’s new F-150 has got you covered. Kind of!

Jason Cannon

The all-new 2015 Mustang and F-150 were developed on a similar time line and share certain automatic transmission technology. Engineers often drove both vehicles on the same trips used for testing.

“Our team realized how well the new F-150 handled and responded to acceleration due to its reduced weight,” says Karl Jungbluth, Ford transmission calibration engineer. “So we decided we could adapt the sport mode capabilities of the six-speed automatic transmission from Mustang to F-150 to enhance the overall driving experience for truck customers.”

Sport mode on F-150 is activated by pushing the tow/haul mode button twice. An amber S appears in the lower-right portion of the tachometer indicating that sport mode is active.

The feature changes the frequency of gearshifts, allowing the truck to stay in the powerband “sweet spot” and holds lower gears longer to, as Ford puts it, “make driving more fun.”

There is some practicality of Sport mode beyond fun. It provides for less shifting on twisty roads and rolling hills. Instead of shifting gears up and down for peak efficiency, the transmission holds a specific gear longer to make driving more responsive.

Sport mode also reduces the frequency of having to step on the gas pedal to reach peak torque, resulting in quicker acceleration with less pedal travel.

An advanced feature of F-150’s six-speed automatic transmission is its ability to match engine rpm as it downshifts in slowing for a corner. Electronics calibration for this feature comes straight out of Mustang.

Sport mode makes Mustang come alive, and we feel it does the same thing in F-150,” Jungbluth says.

F150 SportMode is similar to F-150’s tow/haul mode, which also changes shift points under acceleration, keeping the truck at a higher rpm and further up in the power range while driving over rolling terrain for an improved towing experience. The technology limits the transmission from shifting up when the vehicle crests a hill, and provides downhill brake support that allows engine-compression braking to slow the vehicle and maintain a steady speed.

Sport mode is standard with every F-150 engine and can be activated in two-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive automatic and four-wheel-drive high settings.

By Jason Cannon