Interlift Minifix Liftgate For Sprinter By North Bay Truck Body

Here's a 2010 Sprinter 2500, Hi-Roof Series Van with a great design liftgate. This is a nice setup for getting those big, bulky or heavy things into the van. It is the Interlift Minifix Liftgate with up to 1,100 lbs capacity and a huge, yet manageable extruded aluminum platform that is 62" x 55" in size. This job also included installing E-Track inside the van to help contain and manage the cargo and keep it out of the drivers seat.

Our thanks to Kris Cushing at North Bay Truck Body for the great shots! Much appreciated. See more of North Bay Truck Body's specialties at www.nbtb.com.


Ford Super Duty Customer Testing Extended; More Power, Fuel Economy Reported

  • Based on customer demand, an unprecedented testing program of 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty diesel trucks is being extended as commercial customers push the preproduction trucks to their limits
  • Two Texas-based companies, Reynolds Asphalt & Construction and TexOp Construction, are using their trucks through the busy road-construction season and into winter for a year’s worth of severe-duty testing; Florida Power & Light Company is working its trucks in challenging environments that include the swamps of the Florida Everglades; those four trucks have racked up an average of nearly 22,000 miles since the testing program began late last year
  • Customers report significantly increased fuel economy – up to 25 percent over the truck it replaced depending on use
  • In May, for the second month in a row, sales of the all-new Super Duty more than doubled Ford’s heavy-duty truck sales objective; Ford owns about 60 percent of the fleet and commercial sales market, and fleet sales were up 32 percent in May
  • Regular field test fleet updates are available at www.fordvehicles.com/2011superduty under the “Field Work” pull-down menu
DEARBORN, Mich., June 25, 2010 – The new 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty is fitting in so well on the job that it’s being asked to stick around longer. Based on customer requests, Ford Motor Company is extending its unprecedented Ford F-Series Super Duty fieldwork evaluation program through the end of 2010 to select extreme-duty commercial customers. That means these preproduction Super Duty models will have earned their keep for a full year in some of the toughest work environments around.

The overwhelmingly positive feedback from these severe-duty users – and their desire to extend the program – confirms the thoroughness of the rigorous testing procedures developed for the 2011 Super Duty as it evolved from raw data to computer images to actual vehicle.

“We tested the 2011 Super Duty in every situation imaginable throughout the development process, but nothing can replace these real-world scenarios,” said Chris Brewer, chief engineer of the 2011 Super Duty.

In Texas, for example, two businesses are working their 2011 Super Duty trucks to the extreme during the busy road-construction season. Both Reynolds Asphalt & Construction Co. of Euless and TexOp Construction of Roanoke have evaluation trucks equipped with the new 6.7-liter Power Stroke® V-8 turbocharged diesel engine and the 6R140 heavy-duty TorqShift™ six-speed automatic transmission.

The vehicles used by Florida Power & Light Company are driven all around the Sunshine State, on-road and off-road, often traveling up to 600 miles a day. They also power through swampy terrain in the Florida Everglades or bull across inaccessible roads to get power back online and respond to other customer needs.

Outstanding fuel economy while standing up to harsh conditions
Reynolds Asphalt has a 2011 Super Duty F-550 4x2 dual rear-wheel chassis cab upfitted with a mechanic’s bed to use as a service truck for the company’s heavy-duty equipment. Essentially a garage on wheels, it services rollers, pavers and other support equipment. The F-550 chassis cab, with class-exclusive Live Drive PTO (power takeoff), carries welding equipment, compressors and a crane body to expedite repairs.

The Live Drive PTO output gear is linked through the torque converter to the engine crankshaft. The power is available any time the engine is running, with the vehicle moving as well as stationary.

“The 2011 Super Duty is a big key to boosting productivity because we can use it to get to locations not easily accessible and get equipment repaired,” said George White, equipment manager of Reynolds Asphalt.

The total weight of added equipment approaches the maximum payload limits of the class-leading 19,500-pound GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of the F-550 truck.

“We definitely have it loaded down, but the fuel mileage has been excellent – about a 20 to 25 percent improvement in highway situations over the truck it replaced,” said White.

The work will get even tougher in the coming months, as Texas already has seen 100-degree temperatures.

TexOp truck busy day and night
TexOp Construction is working a 2011 Super Duty F-350 4x4 Crew Cab XL dual rear-wheel pickup outfitted with toolboxes to assist with maintenance. It also tows Bobcats and other equipment on a double-axle tandem gooseneck trailer to job sites.

“This truck has a lot more power and better mileage,” said Richard Webb, equipment and construction manager for TexOp Construction. “The throttle response and acceleration are outstanding. We’re glad to have it during this upcoming busy season.”

The Super Duty F-350 is used on the highway and off-road in about a 50-50 split. “We have to drive it on basically what’s going to be the base of the road, which can be slick mud,” said Webb. “It’s kind of an obstacle course, really.”

This 2011 F-350 leads a double life, working on a 3,000-acre Texas ranch, pulling horse trailers and hauling hay and ranch equipment.

Florida Power & Light trucks ready at a moment’s notice
Florida Power & Light Company employs a 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty XL Super Cab 4x4 and an F-250 XLT Crew Cab 4x2. The 4x2 truck is used for towing about 20 percent of the time with the 4x4 truck towing and/or off-road about 80 percent of the time.

The main use of the truck is to keep underground – and underwater – power cables online. This entails driving all around Florida’s highways and “off the beaten path” to areas inaccessible to most vehicles.

“In our business, we need a truck that delivers outstanding fuel economy on the highway and also is capable of tackling the wetlands, swamps and ditches,” said Ray Haering, acquisition specialist for Florida Power & Light. “Our Super Duty pickups have been outstanding meeting those needs.”

The new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel engine is significantly quieter than the outgoing product, which makes using the available hands-free SYNC® system that much easier – and more productive.

“Before, you literally had to pull over and shut off the engine to talk,” said Joe Heatherly, Florida Power & Light driver. “This new engine is so much quieter, and with the SYNC system, we’re now much more productive.

“We can stay on the road and conduct business, stay in contact with the office or contractors or customers – all without driver distraction. We run up 3,000 or 4,000 minutes a month on our phones, so this has been a tremendous time saver and a huge benefit and more valuable than I would have imagined.”

The towing capability of the new Super Duty has been put to the test by both a 9,000-pound long-bed trailer that tows a 26-foot boat that aids in service efforts and an enclosed box trailer.

“With the power, torque and off-the-line performance, with the revs so low, it’s like there’s nothing back there – it’s that easy,” said Heatherly.

Heatherly has been impressed with the new diesel’s power and fuel economy as well as the new Super Duty’s off-road capability – even with his two-wheel-drive truck.

“The off-road performance has been close to what you might expect with a four-wheel-drive truck. I was shocked,” said Heatherly.

Florida Power & Light also regularly takes advantage of the new Super Duty’s increased biodiesel capability. The new diesel engine is B20 compatible, which allows customers an additional fueling option that uses blends of up to 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel. This option is increasingly important to companies looking to “green” their fleets.

“Because of the extensive development work done with the 2011 Super Duty, especially with the new diesel engine, we had every confidence that even preproduction examples would be outstanding performers,” said Doug Scott, Ford Truck marketing manager. “With these trucks delivering outstanding capability and fuel economy, it’s understandable why these businesses want to keep them on the team as long as possible.”

Customer contacts

  • Reynolds Asphalt & Construction Co.: President and co-owner: Gary E. Reynolds; Equipment manager: George White; 817.267.3131
  • TexOp Construction: Owner: Danny Simpson; 940.648.1455
  • Florida Power & Light: Acquisition specialist: Ray Haering; 561.881.3420
See video previously posted today.

2011 Ford Super Duty - Field Work


Reading Aluminum Service Body with Raised Cargo Enclosure

Here's a nice lightweight service body for this single rear wheel Ford. Installed by West Coast Truck Equipment in West Sacramento, CA, this is a Reading Aluminum 8' Service Body with a Raised Cargo Bed Enclosure. Notice how wide the rear doors go to allow easy access to the entire interior. I also thought it was interesting how the Forklift Loadable Rack was mounted. I don't think I've seen it done exactly that way before. Nice work! See more at http://www.westcoastruckequipment.com/


Pumping Industrial Waste With The Power Of Isuzu

It's not a glamorous job but it's a necessary one: sucking up dirty, hazardous industrial waste and transporting it to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disposal site.

To get the job done safely and efficiently, Queensland company Power Pumping recently purchased an Isuzu Giga CXY 455, set up in a Quad Dog Vacuum Tanker configuration.

The Giga is used exclusively to recover and transport industrial liquid waste, oily water, mud, dirty water, sewerage, dry waste and sand.

Fitted with a 600-cubic-feet-per-minute pump system, two vacuum tanks, tipping hoist and full rear opening door, Power Pumping's Isuzu CXY 455 delivers a maximum payload of 28 tonnes on each run to the waste processing facility.

Convenience and ease of operation are improved by pneumatic operated valve controls, retracting safety hand rail and a detachable dog trailer vacuum tank, which can be left on site.

When Director Lucas Cavanagh took over Power Pumping's operations in 2006, the company had one truck and a handful of customers. By capitalising on growth opportunities from large government projects, Lucas and his team have expanded their business over the last three years to a staff of five and four new trucks – including the Isuzu Giga.

According to Lucas, the most crucial factors in keeping a healthy balance sheet have been specifying the right truck for the application and ensuring commonality in plant equipment.

"At Power Pumping, commonality is very important to us, which is why all our trucks are Isuzu," Lucas said.

"We choose Isuzu trucks because of the reliability we have experienced with them in the past – our very first truck was an Isuzu.

"By sticking with the one manufacturer, the maintenance of our trucks is simple as we have only one supplier and we can expect a quality service every time," Lucas added.

Thanks to rapid development in the Southeast Queensland region, Power Pumping recently added a new Isuzu FVR 1000 vacuum tanker to its fleet to accompany the 50 tonne Giga, 15 tonne F Series model and the five tonne light rigid model.

According to Lucas, the Giga SiTEC Series II 455 engine's Euro V rating allows Power Pumping to meet the stringent emissions requirements expected by both government and environmentally conscious private clients.

"It is crucial that we use the most environmentally friendly equipment, as we contract to large multi-national commercial and industrial companies across a wide variety of industries, who are all under very tight environmental scrutiny," Lucas said.

In addition to its strong environmental credentials, Lucas said the Giga's power is also a standout feature.

"The truck's engine has no problems hauling its maximum gross weight of 50 tonnes and powering the Power Take-Off unit, which is the main artery to the truck's vacuum pump, hydraulic systems and air valves," Lucas said.

"The Giga is able to tackle any road condition with ease, whether it is slow crawling on industrial sites, congested city conditions or higher speeds on the freeway."

According to Lucas, the comfort features inside the Isuzu cab, along with some optional extras, have helped Power Pumping reduce Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) hazards and improve operational efficiency – not to mention the creature comforts of the cooler box and Bluetooth infotainment unit.

"The drivers are very happy with the Isri 6860 air suspension driver's seat, as it makes sitting in the truck all day much more comfortable," Lucas said.

"With the extra leg room in the cabin and the installation of two reversing cameras, Power Pumping is also able to minimise risk by increasing visibility on work sites and on public roads."

See more at http://www.isuzu.com.au/.


West Coast Truck Equipment Is New Knapheide Distributor!

Jack Schmidt of West Coast Truck Equipment of West Sacramento, CA, has become one of Knapheide Manufacturing's newest distributors! Here's one that just came out of the shop and is getting ready for delivery and this one is a 9' Knapheide with the Plus 50 Transverse Compartment with 3 Drawers on the streetside where the drawers are long because they go all the way to the other side of the body. Sweet! Check out the optional hooks and tie downs in the bed area. All that mounted on a nice Ford Super Cab Chassis. So, Jack doesn't waste any time. There's another Knapheide body right behind this one.

Call Jack at 916.376.0690. He's always moving, so if you need to leave a message, make sure and say you want to buy 6 Knapheide bodies and I'm sure he will return your call. Check out Jack's website at www.westcoasttruckequipment.com


Isuzu Truck Oasis At Nampo 2010

The 2010 NAMPO Harvest day was held near Bothaville in the Free State ranking as South Africa’s biggest agricultural exhibition – it is also one of the greatest world-shows focused on farming. And farmers have always been an important segment for Isuzu Truck South Africa who, for the third consistent year as an independent truck company, rolled out the red carpet for South Africa’s farmers.

This year in glorious May sunshine and with over 60,000 visitors NAMPO drew more than 600 exhibitors spread over the 24 hectare exhibition area. An additional 80 hectares are allocated for equipment demonstrations. Isuzu’s truck exhibit was on their high-profile corner stand and no better place to create a ‘trucking oasis’ – the concept and theme behind the display area.

The fully homologated Isuzu NPS 300 4x4 Game Viewer on display was an instant draw-card and discussion point for farmers engaged in eco-tourism. Apart from that the 4x4 model NPS 300 has many other applications and cargo body configurations where its outstanding ‘go-any-where’ grade-ability of 80% in low-range first gear can be applied. A feature of the NPS 300 is the limited-slip rear differential that automatically locks up to increase rear traction as soon as any wheel-spin occurs.

In trucking terms 2010 belongs to Isuzu F-Series, launched nationally during March this year. NAMPO was the ideal venue to present the new range as Isuzu F-Series trucks have been farmer favourites for more than 25 years. There were over 36,000 Isuzu trucks on SA roads by January 2010 of which around 17,000 are Isuzu F-Series models. The new Isuzu F-Series on display were:

  • FVR 900 fitted with a 7,9m cattle body – this unit has a useful gross combination mass (GCM) of 32,000kg and can operate with a 9,1m drawbar trailer. 882Nm of engine torque combines with a 9-speed transmission that includes a 9,48:1 crawler gear ratio to ensure this unit is productive at maximum GCM.
  • FTR 850 equipped with a 6,6m van body – the new Isuzu FTR 850 replaces the very successful FTR800 and with increased gross vehicle mass (GVM) at 15,000kg, including payload ability, is destined to create an even better reputation. The new FTR 850 also has a boosted GCM of 24,000kg providing capability for a 9,000kg GVM trailer.
  • FRR 500 Chassis Cab – at 10,000kg GVM and a low chassis/cab tare mass this F-Series model has an outstanding body and payload capacity of approximately 6,780kg. A GCM of 16,000kg means this unit could tow a 6,000kg GVM trailer.
All Isuzu N and F-Series models displayed are equipped with the latest Euro-2 complaint common-rail engine technology. Standard turbo-intercooling throughout all Isuzu truck models ensures no power losses at altitude, cleaner exhausts and lowered fuel consumption. ABS braking systems are also a standard feature of all Isuzu trucks. The entire Isuzu truck range is environmentally-friendly with the latest safety technology included.

Craig Uren, Isuzu Truck South Africa Chief Operating Officer, concludes – “Isuzu trucks match global standards for truck safety, economy and environmental care – we are sure this applies equally to the expectations of modern South African farmers. More important is the commitment we have as a specialist trucking company to the vital issues of parts and service support, for which our national Isuzu truck dealer network has invested over R350 million in the past 2 years. Isuzu Truck SA is there with a dedicated truck support network for the farmers of South Africa.”

See more from Isuzu Truck South Africa at http://www.isuzutruckssa.com/


Sweet Crane Body w/Unique Features by West Coast Truck Equipment

I've seen a lot of crane bodies, but this one is unique. It's not the crane; although it is a nice Venturo 6,000 lb crane. It's not the body, although it is a great looking body. And, of course this truck body has lots of bells and whistles including E-track, vise, additional upper box streetside and a lot more.  Those are all nice, but it isn't any of those things that caught my eye.

What caught my eye and my attention is the liftgate mount on the bumper extension aft of the outriggers--and it wasn't even that as much as the "tailgate," or in this case, we might call it a load divider. First, it is made out of diamond plate steel, second it is mounted on hinges to lay down and create a ramp for cargo to be offloaded from the liftgate into the truck which is at a higher location. I think it is ingenious. Pretty interesting in the photo with the tailgate down, don't you think? It's a first for me, that's for sure.

This unit was put together by Jack Schmidt at West Coast Truck Equipment, Inc in West Sacramento, CA. He loves to do custom work and does a great deal of it. You can see more of Jack's work at his website at http://www.westcoastruckequipment.com/, or call him at 916.376.0690.


Gas Giant Turns To Isuzu For LPG Deliveries

Elgas' Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanker fleet is the largest in Australia, transporting LPG to homes and business' across Australia and New Zealand. And it just got bigger with 10 new Isuzu tankers.

Established in 1984, Elgas is Australia's principal marketer and supplier of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). With one of the Southern Hemisphere's largest LPG storage facilities – 'The Cavern' – at Port Botany in Sydney, Elgas supplies LPG for home, business, industrial, transport and outdoor use through its distribution network of 49 sites around Australia and nine in New Zealand.

Joining Australia's largest dedicated LPG tanker fleet are 10 new Isuzu tankers with a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 32 tonnes. The Isuzu FVD 1000 and FVR 1000 trucks were purchased due to their performance, reliability and efficient maintenance costs, according to Elgas National Fleet Operations Manager, Damian Pennington.

"Elgas' metropolitan delivery fleet is required to travel around 55,000 kilometres a year and have engine hours in excess of 2,100 hours per annum," Mr Pennington said.

"We have had a very positive experience with Isuzu in terms of reliability and ease of maintenance in the past, hence our decision to upgrade with the same brand of trucks."

According to Mr Pennington, another defining feature of Isuzu trucks is their advanced engine technology.

"When we specify trucks into tanker applications, we require the truck to have a full electronic engine which interfaces with our Program Logic Control System (PLCS)," Mr Pennington said.

"A key decision in choosing Isuzu was the SiTEC Series II engine's compatibility with the PLCS. The PLCS also enables Elgas to maintain a high level of safety compliance. The logic program electrically controls valve timing and sequencing as well as the safety shutdown system, minimising manual intervention."

Specified for high density and high frequency local distribution routes, the Isuzu SiTEC Series II 295 engine has ample amounts of power (221 kW) and torque (981 Nm) to tackle both highway and congested city conditions, according to Mr Pennington.

"Isuzu's SiTEC Series II engine has a very good operational profile fit for Elgas' city delivery operations," Mr Pennington said.

"The trucks have plenty of torque to run the power take off unit; this is available low in the rev range which is good in stop-start city conditions.

"Performance is further enhanced by the easy-to-use Allison transmission, which relieves the stress of gear changes, enabling our trucks to be safely and confidently driven by operators of varying truck driving experience.

"We want our drivers to keep two hands on the steering wheel at all times," Mr Pennington added.

Complementing Elgas' high safety standards is Isuzu's ergonomically designed cabin which includes safety features such as Front Underrun Protection Device (FUPD), ECE-R29 cab strength compliance and driver airbag.
The trucks' cab-over design and cabin layout have received many positive comments by both operators and management, according to Mr Pennington.

"Isuzu is probably the best manufacturer on the market for forward vision in a cab-over design," Mr Pennington said.

"Coupled with a very quiet cabin, a practical layout and Isri 6860 air suspension seat, the FVD and FVR 1000s are very user-friendly and comfortable trucks to operate."

See more at http://www.isuzu.com.au/.


Nectar Raises A Glass To New Bevan Bodies

Drinks distribution specialist Nectar has treated itself to an early 25th birthday present in the shape of a pair of 7.5-tonne trucks with the first fast access curtain slider bodies to be built by the Bevan Group.

The new arrivals are now delivering imported premium beers, wines and other alcoholic and soft drinks, to customers across the south of England.

Mounted in this case on Isuzu chassis, Bevan’s bodies feature curtains which are tensioned from front to back, rather than top to bottom as on a conventional curtainsider.

With locks at both ends and no time-consuming straps and buckles to contend with, drivers can slide back the curtains, concertina-fashion, in seconds, to gain access to the load. This configuration is ideally suited, therefore, to multi-drop applications.

And because Bevan’s body is built around an alloy frame with aluminium side raves and other components, it is also extremely light, an attribute that translates into highly competitive payloads.

Still family-owned, Wiltshire-based Nectar next year celebrates its 25th anniversary. The firm’s decision to invest in the two new vehicles, both of which represent extensions to its fleet, reflects soaring demand for its products.

Nectar now operates nine trucks, all of them 7.5-tonners. Working from the company’s headquarters in Zeals, near Wincanton, they deliver to up market hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, as well as private individuals.

Managing Director Fiona Jukes explains: “We can’t run bigger trucks because we need them to be sufficiently compact and manoeuvrable to reach our customers’ premises.

“When you’re transporting barrels of beer and cases of wine it’s always going to be weight rather than volume that is the constraining factor. So we’re delighted that, even with a driver on board, the lightweight bodies on our latest vehicles mean we have still achieved a very productive payload capacity of 3,950kg.

“And as our drivers can make as many as 25 deliveries a day, they greatly appreciate being able to get into their vehicles’ load areas so quickly and easily.”

The fast access curtain slider, which also features anti-vandal reinforced ‘pockets’ within the curtains, is the latest addition to the fast-growing Bevan Group’s comprehensive range of dry freight box and curtainside bodies for rigid trucks and vans. With production facilities in Halesowen and Oldbury, West Midlands, Bevan recently became the UK’s first commercial vehicle bodybuilder to be granted European Community Type Approval Status, more than five years ahead of the mandatory deadline.

See more from Nectar at http://www.nectar.net/, and more from Isuzu Truck UK at http://www.isuzutruck.co.uk/.

Some info on Bevan Group:

The Bevan Group offers a comprehensive design and body build service and comprises five specific business divisions:
• Bevan Bodywork builds high-volume, dry freight commercial vehicle bodies and specialist vehicles for specific business needs
• Bevan Repairs; Modifications carries out major repair and modifications to commercial vehicles
• Bevan Aftercare; Onsite Repairs offers an ongoing, pro-active maintenance and vehicle management programme, which includes on-site tail-lift maintenance and repair, and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and weight testing
• Bevan Paint is a specialist paint solutions provider
• Bevan Graphics designs and applies specialist vehicle graphics


Not Exactly A Commercial Truck, But We Had To Show It

Introducing the New BBQ Smoker Trailer designed and crafted by Jason Denney, Chief Fabricator at North Bay Truck Body in Cordelia, CA. Here's some specs on their creation:

The main horizontal cylindrical cooking chamber is 3/8” thick wall, 20” W x 48” L with two 1” angle frame meat racks with expanded metal cooking surface. Heat deflectors to minimize hot spots. The single door is framed in ¼” x 1” flatbar for tight heat seal, counterbalance for EZ operation.

The firebox is 20” x 20” x 20” x ¼” formed steel, adjustable air intake vent, fixed baffle between firebox and horizontal smoker for heat control. Fruit and nut hardwood logs are best for this off set style BBQ smoker.
The upright slow-smoker and hanging chamber is 20” x 20” x 20” x ¼” formed steel plate. Three 1” angle frame pull-out meat racks, 6” pipe, adjustable smoke stack and stainless steel china cap topper, 2” brass ball valve grease drain.

Two stainless steel 3” dial thermometer, stainless cool touch handles on all doors, stainless steel front work table, full length rear storage rack. Heavy duty brass pin piano hinge on all doors for no rust operation.
Trailer, 4” channel with a 3,500 lb axle with electric brakes and LED light kit. 2” Bulldog coupler and tongue jack with steel caster. The gross weight is 1,900 lbs.

Not only tows well, but cooks well.

Just in case you want one of these, call Bob Dias, the owner of North Bay Truck Body at 707-864-2700, or stop by for a test drive. BYOF.


Chrysler Group LLC to Invest $300 Million to Modernize Indiana Plants for New Fuel-Efficient Eight-speed Automatic Transmission

Chrysler Group LLC will invest $300 million into the Company’s existing transmission manufacturing facilities in Kokomo, Ind., to accommodate a new highly fuel-efficient eight-speed automatic transmission for future Chrysler Group vehicles.

The largest investment in the U.S. since the new Company was formed in June 2009 was aided by the approval of a tax abatement from the city of Kokomo. The investment will fund the installation of equipment and special tooling to modernize Indiana Transmission Plant I and the Kokomo Casting Plant. The project will extend the life of both manufacturing facilities and help retain nearly 1,200 jobs.

Chrysler Group has licensed the manufacturing rights from Friedrichshafen, Germany-based ZF Group to build the new eight-speed beginning in 2013. Included in this agreement is the purchase of transmissions manufactured by ZF.

”The new eight-speed transmission that we’ll be producing in Kokomo will transform our future product line, but equally important, ensures the future viability of our Kokomo facilities and our dedicated workforce,” said Scott Garberding, Senior Vice President and Head of Manufacturing, Chrysler Group LLC. “The support demonstrated by General Holiefield, Vice President and Director of the UAW Chrysler Department, and the entire UAW for World Class Manufacturing is one of the primary reasons we continue to make significant investments in our Indiana facilities.”

“In addition, the State of Indiana and Governor Mitch Daniels, the City of Kokomo and Mayor Greg Goodnight as well as Congressman Joe Donnelly, Congressman Dan Burton and the rest of the Indiana Congressional delegation have been valued partners as Chrysler Group works to bring the most technologically advanced and fuel efficient vehicles to market. This investment would not be possible without their continued support,” said Garberding.

"It's heartening to see the local unions and employees in Indiana embrace the principles of WCM and, as a result, see the company continue to make significant investments in both new technology and the Kokomo facilities,” said General Holiefield, Vice President and Director of the UAW Chrysler Department. “This action will give Chrysler a head-start on a new transmission and will help secure the future for Chrysler UAW-represented employees."

The new transmission will contribute to an overall fuel economy improvement across the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep® and Ram Truck product lineup. More sophisticated and efficient than traditional five- and six-speed automatic transmissions, the new eight-speed is proof of Chrysler Group’s commitment to fuel economy.

“The new eight-speed automatic transmission will offer our customers refinement and comfort while achieving greater fuel economy and performance,” said Paolo Ferrero, Senior Vice President—Powertrain, Chrysler Group LLC. “We look forward to integrating the new transmission into future Chrysler Group products and welcome its contribution to a corporate fuel economy improvement of more than 25 percent by 2014.”

Chrysler Group Powertrain engineers benchmarked the industry's leading automatic transmissions to set functional goals. After working closely with ZF, the result is a seamless shifting eight-speed transmission without sacrifice. Specific product information and timing for the new transmission will come at a later date.

Earlier this month, Chrysler Group announced that it would invest $43 million in new equipment and tooling to expand its operations in Kokomo to support production of the World Engine and improve processes for the 62TE transmission program. In December 2009, the Company announced that it would invest $179 million in its Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Mich., to produce the 1.4-liter, 16-valve Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE). In May 2007, Chrysler announced a $730 million investment in the Pentastar V-6 engine program, which began production at the all-new Trenton (Mich.) Engine Plant in March 2010—bringing the total powertrain investment to nearly $1.3 billion since 2007.


It's A Table, It's Platform, It Stashes Away Nicely. . .

Here's a great little add-on, build-in accessory. It's a slide-out table; writing table; add some heat and it's a griddle; temporary storage while getting up into the body area; tongue sticking out at you; work platform; craft area. . . well, that's enough. I've made my guesses, let's hear yours. It certainly does look like an interesting tool and I'm sure it has more than one use--maybe even one of my suggestions. However you might use this great sliding tray, shelf, platform, table, tongue, it is a nice idea by Knapheide Manufacturing of Quincy, Illinois and the world. Check out more of their clever tools and accessories at http://www.knapheide.com/. They've only been doing it since 1848, so I'm sure they have drawers full of ideas.


Drop Steps For Rear Step Bumper On Commercial Body

This is an interesting design for drop steps for are rear step bumper on a commercial truck body. Folded up and pinned when not needed (most of the time), pull the pins and reposition it when needed. I like the grip strut, keep-the-mud-off-the-bumper feature--the non-slip-grip-tread-and-keep-it-clean-at-the-same-time feature. Simple design and simply effective and while they are stored in the up position, there is still center access to the body. It all works. http://www.knapheide.com/.


Nice Custom Flatbed For Irish Construction by North Bay Truck Body

North Bay Truck Body in Cordelia, CA recently delivered one of many units for Irish Construction to the selling dealer, Paul Brown of  Larry Geweke Ford in Yuba City, CA. The client has specific needs in their flatbed fleet and Bob Dias at North Bay Truck Body was happy to work with Irish Construction to fulfill their needs. Based on what I saw in this truck, it is a sweet rig and well designed.

The tool boxes were made by Harbor Truck Bodies and it is an open top box on one side and a closed top box on the other. The stainless steel lids is unmistakeable Harbor. The bed even has jack hammer tube holders, and a long list of other "little" features. Considering they do a lot of underground work, that is one of the main tools of their trade.

I see these trucks all over northern California and now Bob Dias will have a chance to show off some of his fine work with Irish Construction. Bob specializes in custom flatbeds, and you can see more of his creations at http://www.nbtb.com/.


Plug -n- Play Compressors Now Available

Garner, Iowa – American Eagle Accessories Group announces the availability of plug -n- play compressors. The most popular American Eagle compressors now operate using similar hydraulic flow. This upgrade allows for a quick and easy change-out from one compressor to another that is within the same group. This eliminates the time and expense of changing out PTO’s and pumps. To further streamline the change-out process, the mounting base-plates and hydraulic connections are now all common.

The first group of compatible compressors includes the SHD-43AFP and SHD-60AFP. They require 11 gpm. The SRS-40 requires 12 gpm. The second group of compressors includes the SHD-66P, SHD-132P, and SRS-65P. All of these compressors now require 18 gpm.

“The Plug -n- Play feature is another way American Eagle is working to make life better for our customers by reducing change-out time and related costs,” says Ivan Dodd, division manager of American Eagle Accessories Group.”

American Eagle Accessories Group was founded in 2002 as a division of Stellar Industries, Inc. and quickly became a major supplier of compressors and drawer systems to the work truck market. American Eagle manufactures and distributes truck mounted hydraulic air compressors, heavy-duty drawer sets, and other work truck accessories to the OEM and retail sectors.

See more on these products and more at http://www.stellarindustries.com/.


Great F650 Crew Cab Empty Chassis Available Immediately!!

The CTS Blog will try something new. Here is a truck that needs a new home and the dealer wants it gone yesterday. As you can see it is an empty chassis so that makes it pretty flexible for any medium duty application. Here are the specs:

If you can use this great truck, please contact Sheri Schoonover, Commercial Fleet Director at Tuttle-Click Ford Lincoln Mercury at 949-472-5216. You can email her at sschoonover@tuttleclick.net. Sheri is motivated to move this truck to a new home, so she will work with you to assist you. DEALERS WELCOME!! Call her today!


  • Ford tells top fleet customers it will introduce a new compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane (LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas) engine prep package for its 6.8-liter F-450 and F-550 Super Duty chassis cabs later this year
  • The F-450 and F-550 offerings expand the breadth of Ford’s CNG/LPG-capable commercial and government fleet lineup, including E-Series and – coming later this year – the 2011 Transit Connect, F-53 motor home chassis and new F-59 commercial strip chassis
  • Ford has shipped more than 3,000 E-Series vans with CNG/LPG engine prep packages since last November
  • CNG and LPG burn cleaner than gasoline, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions

DEARBORN, Mich., June 7, 2010 – Ford today told some 500 North American fleet customers that it will begin offering an alternative-fuels engine prep package for its 6.8-liter F-450 and F-550 Super Duty chassis cab.

At the annual Ford Fleet Product and Business Conference in Dearborn, Ford presented details of the conversion option, which will become available this fall and enables the use of efficient, clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane (LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas).

F-450 and F-550 Super Duty are Ford’s latest commercial vehicles to get the alternative-fuel conversion option. Since introducing the option to E-Series and other commercial fleet vehicles last fall, Ford has shipped some 3,000 E-Series vans with CNG/LPG-prepped 5.4-liter and 6.8-liter gas engines to fleet operators such as Verizon and Schwan’s Home Delivery Service.

Ford also offers the package on its Transit Connect, including its new Taxi offering with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine. This fall, Ford also will add CNG/LPG capability to the F-53 motor home chassis and new F-59 commercial strip chassis.

The alt-fuel advantage

F-450 and F-550’s 6.8-liter V-10 engine is well suited to CNG/LPG conversion. The engine comes with hardened exhaust valves and valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability for gaseous fuel systems.

CNG and LPG are increasingly popular choices for fleet operators looking to cut fuel cost and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the EPA, CNG is less expensive and burns cleaner than gasoline, resulting in reduced CO2 emissions. Propane also burns cleaner than gasoline.

“Compressed natural gas and propane offer more than sufficient power for vehicles because they are high-energy fuels,” said Rob Stevens, commercial vehicle chief engineer. “Other natural benefits for these fuels are overall lower emissions of greenhouse gases compared to gasoline and lower fuel/operating costs for their fleet.”

Nearly 87 percent of natural gas used in the United States is domestically produced. There also are government tax credit incentives for fleets to convert to alternative fuels.

Ford provides calibration guidance to numerous highly competitive CNG and LPG upfitters for E-Series, F-Series and Transit Connect. By following Ford recommendations published in the Body Builders Advisory Service QVM Bulletin Q-185, the converted vehicle maintains its factory engine warranty.

Ford fleet leadership

Ford, the industry leader in commercial and government fleet sales, is the only manufacturer to offer 100 percent of its fleet vehicles this year with fuel-efficient powertrains and other sustainable technologies – including battery-electric, hybrid, natural gas, propane, E85, biodiesel and EcoBoost™ – making the Blue Oval the industry’s greenest full-line fleet provider.

In 2009, Ford commanded the largest share of commercial and government fleet sales, with 32 percent and 44 percent, respectively.

Ford F-Series, Fusion, Escape, Taurus, Econoline and Ranger were the sales leaders in their respective commercial segments. F-Series, Crown Victoria and Econoline also were the top three sellers in the government fleet sector.

“Fleet customers are turning to Ford because our comprehensive product lineup provides solutions for virtually every need,” said Kevin Koswick, director of Ford North American Fleet, Leasing and Remarketing Operations. “The quality, class-leading fuel economy and strong resale values of our vehicles provide a compelling value proposition.”


New 7621 and 7628 Stellar® Telescopic Cranes

Garner, Iowa – Stellar Industries, Inc. is introducing the Models 7621 and 7628 telescopic service cranes. These new 44,000 ft-lb cranes boast a maximum reach of 21’ with the 7621 and 28’6” with the 7628 using all hydraulically operated extensions. Both can lift up to 7,500 pounds at 5 feet and are equipped with the Stellar® CDT™ system. They feature a hexagonal boom design for reduced flex and increased strength, and use a planetary winch system with a hydraulic/mechanical brake system that allows for a 60-foot-per-minute winch speed. The 7621 and 7628 feature a fully proportional, multi-function radio remote control as standard. Effective immediately, these new cranes will be replacing the inaugural Model 6620 crane and the Model 6628 crane.

The Stellar® CDT™ (Crane Dynamics Technology™) system is a proprietary collection of revolutionary, industry first features that control, power, and monitor the new cranes. The Stellar CDT equipped cranes will engage and communicate with the crane operator by using multiple sensory indicators when approaching maximum capacity. This will include the use of colored LED lights and pulsating vibrations. Some Stellar CDT systems will also allow the operator to go into a Boost Mode and operate at 118% of its normal operating capacity for a short period of time. The third revolutionary feature of the new Stellar cranes is the ability to function in safety mode when a safety feature is damaged or malfunctions.

“After ten solid years establishing ourselves and our cranes in this market, we have retired the 6620 and 6628 models and are replacing them with these enhanced Stellar CDT equipped models,” says Tim Davison, product manager, bodies and cranes. “It was a natural progression for us to introduce the 7621 and 7628 cranes, which both offer Stellar’s usual market-leading features and the new Stellar CDT Technology.” He continues, “All of these features on these new cranes will fit in nicely with the rest of our heavy-duty crane line and allow us to continue to offer our customers the most advanced and innovative telescopic cranes on the market today.”

Stellar Industries, Inc. was founded in 1990 in Garner, Iowa. It is an employee owned and operated manufacturer of hydraulic truck mounted equipment. Products include hooklift hoists, cable hoists, container carriers, telescopic cranes, articulating cranes, work truck accessories and the X-Tra-Lift pick-up loading device. Stellar also offers complete mechanic service truck and tire service truck packages. Stellar is a progressive company that focuses on its people, as they are the key to making the products and the company successful.

See more at http://www.stellarindustries.com/.


Sweet Drawer Setup in the Plus 50 by Knapheide

Who could use this sweet setup? Mobile repairs? Of course. Always needing a fitting, a bolt, a nut, a washer, or ten. Any kind of mobile service, really. Any kind of service too. I mean, who cannot find lots of little things they didn't think they needed, but they do and we dang well ought to take it with us just in case we need it, right? Of course. Heck, take out the dividers and carry other things. Or take out part of the dividers, or order optional deeper drawers. We all need deeper drawers, right? Of course.

This series of photos is called the Plus 50 and it is a transverse compartment that goes through the body to the back side of the opposite side--in other words, not all the way through. You loose a little bed space but that is a minor trade off for the wonderful addition of drawers. The Plus 50 is a Knapheide product and is available on their service bodies and other units. Pretty sweet!


SWB 10' Contractor Is Great Combination

This is a short wheel base (141") 60" cab to axles F350 Ford Chassis with a Carter Industries 10' Contractor Body with the Aluminum Box Package. It also has fold-down, removable gates around the rear, a HD Forklift Loadable Rack, Class IV Receiver. They did an extra tasty touch by adding stainless steel pieces to the top of the rack. Nice.

What's great about this combination to me is that the turning radius is very similar to a plain old 8' pickup truck, yet we have a 10' HD bed that can get a lot of gear to and from the job site. This gives the 60" CA chassis a good deal more maneuverability than the typical 12' Contractor on the 84" CA with a 165" wheelbase. Big difference. These shots were taken some time ago at Razzari Ford in Merced.