New LED WhiteLight Lamps Deliver Twice the Light of Incandescents, Use About One Quarter of the Power

MADISON, IN — Grote Industries, a world leader in high-performance LED lighting technology for the transportation industry, announced the introduction of a purpose-built LED lighting solution that can bring fire rescue vehicles into NFPA 1901 lighting compliance quickly and efficiently.
Guidelines to support fire fighters during response and on-scene activity are reflected in the NFPA 1901: Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, 2009 edition and pertain to apparatus ordered on or after Jan. 1, 2009. Grote’s new LED lighting solution can be specified on any new vehicle, but offers departments the opportunity to bring their existing vehicles into compliance swiftly and conveniently.

“We’re helping departments meet the standard with easy-to-install, locally mounted lighting that is much more practical than existing solutions such as pole-mounted scene lighting,” Scott Robertson, product manager of LED WhiteLight for Grote Industries said. “Pole-mounted lighting is significantly more costly to purchase and maintain and the excessive power draw associated with these high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps often means that firefighters have to turn off other vehicle lighting or electronic equipment to compensate.”

Robertson explained that if one examined incandescent and LED lighting by comparing two identical vehicles with 14 lamps each, the incandescent-equipped vehicle would need to devote over 30 amps to its electrical overhead alone. Conversely, an LED-equipped vehicle would need only about 8.4 amps to power its lighting, leaving it with plenty of power to run the vehicle’s other mission-critical equipment. Robertson also pointed out that the LED-equipped vehicle would have the added advantage of having twice as much usable light at its disposal.

Unlike incandescent and HID lamps, Grote LED WhiteLight lamps are rated for tens of thousands of hours of service life and are virtually impervious to the types of shock and vibration that would disable conventional lighting equipment. The lamps resist water spray and are listed for wet location usage.

Grote has recently produced an NFPA 1901 compliance catalog to help fire department decision makers learn how its LED WhiteLight lamps address the standard. The catalog cites specific language from the NFPA 1901 guidelines and features lamp specification and easy-to-understand graphics that depict the called-for illumination. The catalog covers lighting for specific areas of fire rescue vehicles including the hose bed, work surfaces, steps and walkways, interior spaces, compartments and panels. Lighting options for the ground surrounding a vehicle and scene lighting are also included in the catalog.

The catalog can be obtained by contacting Grote industries toll-free at: (800) 628-0809, ext. 5, or by contacting an authorized Grote distributor. Grote has also created a catalog micro-site that includes all the content in an easy-to-navigate format that can be accessed at: http://grote.com/FireRescue

At more than a century old, Grote has earned a reputation for designing purpose-built lighting that addresses the specific needs of the vehicle manufacturer and ultimately the vehicle’s end-user.

Grote’s lighting engineers make it a practice to understand a vehicle and its lighting requirements before they begin designing a lighting solution. Grote conducts initial fieldwork, often meeting with the OEM design team to gain insights relating to the nature of the illumination needs as well as the vehicle’s operating environment.

Operational requirements are increasingly dictated by government regulations. Lighting standards and mandates are often a response to safety concerns and are an acknowledgement of the critical role lighting plays in people’s ability to function. Grote has helped countless OEMs comply with the lighting regulations unique to their industry.

“Proper lighting directly equates to enhanced firefighter safety,” Robertson said. “Grote’s LED WhiteLight lamps help make fire rescue vehicles of any age safer and more efficient to operate and that’s something we’re very proud of.”

High-resolution images of the catalog cover and its products––Trilliant LED WhiteLight (part number 63901), Trilliant 36 LED WhiteLight Conversion Bulb (part number 63821-5), S100 LED WhiteLight Motion-Activated, Surface-Mount, Dome Lamp (part number 61411)––can be found here:


Equipment Displays Set Record for The Work Truck Show®

The Work Truck Show 2011 is officially sold out, with more than 550 exhibiting companies filling over 500,000 square feet of the Indiana Convention Center with the latest work trucks and equipment. The 2011 Work Truck Show will be the largest ever hosted by the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), with 16 percent more trucks and equipment on display than at the 2010 event. This year, more than 75 companies have already announced plans to introduce new trucks, components and equipment at the event.

The Work Truck Show 2011 is held in conjunction with the 47th Annual NTEA Convention at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. The Work Truck Show runs March 8-10, 2011, with educational programming, including the Green Truck Summit, beginning March 7.

Produced annually by the NTEA, the Work Truck Show showcases Class 1-8 vocational trucks and equipment. It brings together thousands of work truck professionals, including fleet managers, equipment buyers, maintenance personnel, manufacturers, distributors and dealers.  

To register, visit http://www.ntea.com/ or call 1-800-441-NTEA (6832).

2010 - Successful Foundation Year For Isuzu Truck South Africa

As Craig Uren, Isuzu Truck South Africa Chief Operating Officer, points out that in “2010 Isuzu Truck SA and their dealers have grown again according to plan in a highly competitive truck market hampered by a shortage of finance.” Uren expects the South African 2010 truck and bus market to end around 21700 units with a similar pattern and a forecast of 23500 for 2011.

Following the successful launch of the technological class-leading N-Series in 2008, the Isuzu F-Series ‘Flippin-Fantastic’ launch in 2010 established an Isuzu presence never experienced before in the SA truck market. The all-new F-Series launched in 2010 includes a 13-model line-up compared to the previous 9-model range. Isuzu F-Series now offers GVM’s stepped from 10000kg to 11000kg, 13500kg, 15000kg, 16000kg, 22500kg, 24000kg and 26000kg.
Five new Isuzu FX/GX models, positioned as the heavy-duty end of the F-Series range were launched in October 2010. The entire Isuzu F-Series model line-up now consists of more than 18 models with gross vehicle masses (GVM) from 3550kg to 28000kg, and gross combination masses (GCM) from 7050kg up to 45000kg. There is an Isuzu F-Series GVM and a GCM for every task and application. It is the most formidable freight carrier line-up available to South African operators.
Isuzu Gigamax tops the model range in the extra-heavy class.


Independent Rear Suspension Or Independently Minded. . .

I suppose the question was, how much sand and how many bags of cement can we put in this truck before the truck gives way? About that much. . .


Harbor ComboMaster Customized For Forklift Service

Harbor Truck Bodies of Brea, CA sent us a photo of a 12' ComboMaster Body with raised front compartment and some other customized features for Pacific Forklift Service. This unit also has the master locking system and even on the raised compartment. Pacific Forklift Service can be reached at 714-671-2000 and their website is http://www.pacificforklift.com/. To see more from Harbor, visit their website at http://www.htbi.net/.


RSP_Flex - Henderson's Flexible Snow Plow!

Henderson's reversible snow plow with a flexible moldboard.

Watch is change shape right before your eyes. http://www.henderson-mfg.com/


Road Trip! Subaru Outback Through the Outback

Not exactly a commerical truck, but I couldn't help but share this awesome video! Enjoy!

We take Subaru's Outback to its namesake to find out if it deserves the title.

Read the full story here:

Shot by: Jim Gleason
Edited by: Jim Gleason

Also find Motor Trend on:


Sortimo Products At NTEA 2010

Sortimo promotes the relationship of technicians with their service vehicles. It is a special bond that requires a mobile service technician to understand.


New Nissan NV Commercial Van Walkaround

Peter Bedrosian, Senior Product Planning Manager, Nissan North America, gives quick overview of the all-new Nissan NV, the first entry in the company's new Nissan Commercial Vehicle lineup in North America. The NV was unveiled at the 2010 National Truck Equipment Associations (NTEA) annual Work Truck Show in St. Louis, MO.


Mike Cairns discusses Ram Chassis Cab at 2010 NTEA Fall Show

Ram Truck Vehicle Line Executive Mike Cairns describes the National Truck Equipment Association 2010 fall show and the new 2011 Ram Chassis Cab

Ram Chassis Cab at the 2010 NTEA

Check out the Ram chassis cab, one of the industry leaders in the commercial truck market, at the 2010 National Truck Equipment Association's Work Truck Show.


The Work Truck Show® 2011 to Serve as Launching Pad For New Work Trucks and Equipment

More than 60 companies plan to introduce products at event

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI (Jan. 6, 2011) — More than 60 companies have announced that they will launch new work truck chassis, bodies, power systems, components, accessories and service equipment at The Work Truck Show® 2011. Some of the truck and body manufacturers planning launches at the event include Ford Commercial Truck, Hino Trucks, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc., Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc, Ram Trucks, Supreme Corporation, Utilimaster Corporation and Western Star Trucks.

In keeping with growing interest in green technology, many of the new products are related to improving fuel utilization, reducing idling and minimizing environmental impact. For example, BAE Systems will launch its HybriDrive® Parallel hybrid electric propulsion system for vocational trucks, and ROUSH CleanTech will introduce its dedicated liquid propane injection fuel system for the medium-duty truck market. For more information about green products and programs at the Show, including the Green Truck Summit, visit www.ntea.com/worktruckshow/greenproductsandprograms/.

The Work Truck Show 2011 is held in conjunction with the 47th Annual National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Convention at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. The Work Truck Show runs March 8-10, 2011, with educational programming, including the Green Truck Summit, beginning March 7.

“The Work Truck Show continues to be the best place to find the latest work trucks and equipment for your business,” says Steve Sill, NTEA Convention chairman and president of Aspen Equipment Co. (Bloomington, MN). “As North America’s largest work truck event, it’s the perfect venue to check out what’s new and to compare products from a wide range of suppliers.”

Some of the new products to be displayed at the Work Truck Show 2011 include:

Booth #

300 Below – Cryo Rotor
Cryogenically treated brake rotors

Aero Industries Inc
Tarp system lock

BAE Systems
Hybrid electric propulsion systems

C.E. Niehoff & Co.
Pad mount brushless alternator

24-inch-wide work truck step

Certified Power Inc
Rear view monitoring system

Chelsea Products Div of Parker

Cole Hersee Co
Battery management

Collective Data
Fleet management software module

Cyclone Air Power
PTO-drive under-chassis systems

DewEze Manufacturing
Snow plow valve system

Dow Kokam
Battery pack systems

Eberhard Manufacturing Co
Security locking products

Energy Xtreme
Power management systems

EZ Connector Inc
4- and 6-pin adapters

FORCE America
GPS-based tool for snow removal

Ford Commercial Truck
2011 medium duty truck

Gage Bilt Inc
Bobtail installation tool

Golight Inc
Remote HID lighting system

GPS Fleet Solutions
Engine diagnostics with GPS tracking

Multi-purpose machine

Hino Trucks
Class 4 and 5 diesel and diesel-hybrid cab over engine truck

InterMotive Vehicle Controls
Programmable relay-driven power center, idle timer controller

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America
Gas-powered truck

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America/Utilimaster Corporation
Commercial van

Jergens Specialty Fasteners
Flange lock nuts

Karmak Inc
Heavy-duty management software

Koolant Koolers by Dimplex Thermal Solutions
Electric system for refrigerated delivery trucks

Ladd Industries/Deutsch Industrial
Electrical connector

Leyman Lift Gates
Steel wedge platform

Maranda Inc
Service capsule

Maxon Lift Corp
Bolt-on liftgate

McLellan Industries Inc
Engine-driven stainless steel water pumps, hydraulic oil pump, fuel tanks, tire truck body hose reel, stainless chemical tank bodies, chemical dispenser/washout system, vapor recovery truck body

Meyer Products LLC
Snow plow for skid steers

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc.
Class 3 through Class 5 medium-duty cab over trucks

MTE Hydraulics
Hydraulically driven generators

Muncie Power Products
Clutch-shift PTO

Noregon Systems Inc
PC-based diagnostic tool

Preco Electronics Inc
Object detection system

Roll-Rite LLC
Remote control tarping

Rotary Lift
Two truck lifts

ROUSH CleanTech
Liquid propane injection fuel systems

Rumber Materials Inc
Products made from recycled materials

Sage Oil Vac Inc
Lube skid

Shanghai Xin Baien Industrial Co
Lift gates

SoundOff Signal
Under mirror light

Supreme Corporation
Aerodynamic body

GPS tracking/vehicle monitoring system

Terex Utilities
Stored energy system

The Reading Group
Hybrid truck body

Truck Accessories Group - LEER Fleet / Pace Edwards
Fiberglass commercial truck cap, retractable utility bed cover

TUF-TUG Products
Spare wheel stowage systems

Vanair Manufacturing Inc

Vanner Inc
Hybrid idle reduction system

WALTCO Lift Corp
Heavy duty flipaway tailgate

Weather Guard/Knaack
Steel, low-profile saddle box; storage for the Ford Transit Connect

Western Star Trucks

Xantrex Technology USA Inc
Sine wave inverters

Zanthic Innovations Inc.
PTO Controller

Zolatone AIM
Urethane rust sealer

Many of these companies are participating in the New Product Spotlight and/or Green Product Showcase programs. These programs provide an online sneak preview of new products at the show. To learn more about these products, visit www.ntea.com/worktruckshow/, select “Floor Plan” from the “About” drop-down menu, and then click on “Featured Exhibitors” to see a list of current participants. Click on a company name for more information about its new product(s).

Produced annually by the NTEA, The Work Truck Show showcases 500,000 square feet of Class 1-8 vocational trucks and equipment from more than 500 exhibitors. It brings together thousands of work truck professionals, including distributors, dealers, equipment buyers, maintenance personnel, manufacturers and fleet managers. The event also includes more than 40 educational and technical training programs.

To register, or for more information, visit www.ntea.com or call 1-800-441-NTEA (6832).

Established in 1964, the NTEA is the leading association supporting the work truck and trailer industry. The Association currently represents nearly 1,600 companies that manufacture, distribute, install, sell and repair commercial trucks, truck bodies, truck equipment, trailers and accessories. Buyers of work trucks and the major commercial truck chassis manufacturers also belong to the Association. The NTEA provides in-depth technical information, education, and member programs and services, and produces The Work Truck Show. The Association maintains its administrative headquarters in suburban Detroit and a government relations office in Washington, DC.

Chevrolet Sales to Small Businesses Rise Dramatically

DETROIT – The pessimism of the Great Recession is being replaced by optimism for a growing number of small business owners like Mark Fischer.

Fischer, vice president of Katch Kan USA in Houston, provides support for the oil-drilling industry in Texas, which Fischer estimates saw a 50 percent decline in activity during 2008 and 2009. As industry activity recovered in 2010, it has helped Katch Kan triple in size.

“We have experienced a lot of growth over the past couple of years,” said Fischer. “In 2008, we had six employees and two trucks in the field. Last week, we just added an eighth truck to the fleet, a new Silverado 1500, to support 25 employees working in the field 24/7.”

Chevrolet sales to small businesses such as Katch Kan USA have increased for three consecutive months. In the fourth quarter of 2010, Chevrolet dealers recorded a 36 percent increase in small business sales, almost three times the increase for the industry, indicating that small business across the U.S. are beginning to reinvest.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, sales to small businesses – those that purchase fewer than five vehicles per year – significantly outpaced the total sales increase for the brand nationally:

Small Business Sales
+15 %
+39 %
+54 %
Total Sales
+7 %
+18 %
+9 %

“Small businesses put off capital expenditures such as vehicle purchases in order to weather the economic storm,” said Don Johnson, GM vice president, U.S. Sales Operations. “With the continuing improvement in consumer spending, and improving profitability of these businesses, we’re beginning to see a significant influx of small business buyers to Chevrolet showrooms.”

That increase supports findings in a National Federation of Independent Business survey, which found that small business owners’ optimism reached its highest level in 2010 during the fourth quarter. The study also pointed toward an increasing likelihood that small businesses will begin hiring in the near term.

Business owners’ increased confidence, combined with the increasing age of U.S. vehicles, suggests small-business sales will continue to grow. According to RL Polk and Company, the average vehicle age has increased to 10.2 years through October, 2009 – the first time that the American vehicle fleet has ever been more than 10 years old. 

For example, Sunwest Air Conditioning in Costa Mesa, Calif. recently purchased two new Silverado HD trucks with service bodies to replace older vehicles in their fleet.

“We have nine trucks in our fleet, some with a lot of miles, said Sunwest owner Mark Dalessi. “In the beginning of 2009, we were just happy to have any work. But business started picking up towards the end of 2009, and 2010 turned out to be a decent year. As 2011 is shaping up to be a good year for us, we decided it was time to replace our oldest trucks."

In November, Dalessi bought a Silverado to replace a truck with 250,000 miles. He then bought another Silverado in December, replacing a truck with 200,000 miles.

“We buy our fleet vehicles expecting to drive them until they die,” Dalessi concluded, “and we have never had any issues with our Chevy trucks.”

Key facts about small business and the U.S. economy:
  • In Q4 2010, small businesses increased their employment by 127,000 from Q3 while large business added 14,000 more jobs.
  • The Small Business Optimism Index reached 101.3 in Q4, the highest it’s been since Q4 2007 indicating a likelihood of hiring by this sector in the short term.
  • In Q4 2010, more small firms expected the economy to improve while more expected the economy to weaken in Q1.
  • Of small businesses surveyed in Q4 2010, the percentage who say now is a good time to expand reached its highest level since Q3 2008.
  • Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3 percent in November from October, pointing to strong growth in overall consumer spending in Q4.
  • MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse showed retail sales, excluding autos, rose 5.5 percent Nov. 5 through Dec. 24, from a year ago. The best increase in 5 years.
About Chevrolet: Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates is centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of more than 4 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. In the United States, the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly" solutions, such as Chevrolet Cruze Eco with an EPA-estimated 42 miles per gallon highway, and the Chevrolet Volt offering 35 miles of electric driving and an additional 344 miles of extended gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at http://www.chevrolet.com/.


Ford F-150 EcoBoost Teardown from NAIAS - Part 3

Watch as our engineers complete the teardown of engine 448AA including how the pistons held up. The team also talks to Mike McCarthy, driver of the EcoBoost truck in the Baja Torture Test webisode, about his experiences with the engine.


Ford F-150 EcoBoost Teardown from NAIAS - Part 2

Watch as engineers begin to tear apart engine 448AA in order to determine how the engine's parts held up over the course of the Torture Testing. The engineers check out the state of the turbos and the chain that drives the crankshaft up through the cams.


Ford F-150 EcoBoost Teardown from NAIAS - Part 1

Meet the engineering team that will be executing the teardown of engine 448AA that endured over 160,000 miles of torture. Watch as engineers Jim Mazuchowski and Phil Fabien discuss the Torture Test program and how the engine got to Detroit for the teardown event. The event took place on January 15, 2011 live from the North American International Auto Show.


Interlift Liftgate And E-Track For Sprinter Van By North Bay Truck Body

Here's a small liftgate job recently done by North Bay Truck Body. This is a 2010 Pronter 2500 Series with the hi-roof and we installed an Interlift model Mini Fix Liftgate with 1,100 lbs capacity and a large aluminum extruded platform size of 62" x 55". We also added two rows of E-Track on each side inside the van.

Call North Bay Truck Body at 707-864-2700 and visit their website at http://www.nbtb.com/.


F750 Snowplow Dump Rig with Self-Contained Spreader

This is a Ford F-750 with a 5-yard steel dump body and a 10' Henderson self-contained salt and sand spreader with a Honda gas engine with controls in the cab. The SnowDogg straight blade stainless steel snowplow is electric over hydraulic with controls in the cab.

This unit was built for a customer by West Coast Truck Equipment. Give them a call at 916-376-0690 for more information on this unit or talk with them about any body application that may be the best for your operation. See their website at http://www.westcoasttruckequipment.com/.


While The City Sleeps - 1940 Film About The Value Of Trucks From Ford Motor Company

WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS, ca. 1940 - Ford Motor Company.

National Archives and Records Administration - ARC Identifier 93632 / Local Identifier FC-FC-4501


Choosing The Right Snow Removal Equipment: The Perils Of Being A New York City Mayor

The recent Christmas weekend snow storm in New York reminded me of pernickety nature of the snow removal business. Having been in the manufacturing end of the business for many years, I can empathize with Mayor Bloomberg!  In past positions I was responsible for planning material, labor, equipment and scheduling these resources one year in advance for an ever changing snowplow sales projection; frankly that would make Bloomberg’s job look easy!

Here is the way they plow neighborhoods in New York City:

And here’s a link the stuck front loader You Tube video for anyone who has not seen it! (Turn off the audio if the kids are around) 

Before I give my suggestions for the Mayor of New York, let me make a point: It’s likely that some of the readers are in the business of specifying truck equipment; my advice is: Always keep the Customer Needs your #1 Priority! To offer the best product or service, you should keep up with the changing products and services including software and technology advances. And learn from mistakes.

For those who have been specifying or selling for 20 years, there’s a lesson that to be learned from the Mayors mistakes! How long has he been in Office? The customer doesn’t care; they just want to get out and go to work! And for them to get out and go to work the snow must be gone! Sounds easy, just remove the snow, right?

About 40 years ago there was another New York Mayor, Lindsay, who was not reelected because of failing to remove snow in a timely manner. Now Mayor Bloomberg was not able to satisfy the customer. It’s not so easy I guess!

Now Advice to the Mayor:

Learn from the mistakes, consider that the whole snow control process needs to be reviewed and revised.

Form an expert study group to look at the existing process, comprised of external consultants and internal employees: meteorological experts, snow removal experts, snow equipment experts, public works and street department employees. Look to other heavy snow cities and other countries.

My Advice to this study group:
When optimizing a lean manufacturing process, using “just in time” criteria, you likely would not plan to use a multi-purpose machine as the sole source to produce two products needed at the same time! Similarly, why would you plan to use the same trucks to plow snow and remove garbage, when both are needed at the same time? I don’t think they pick up the garbage while they plow do they, or at least I hope not!

Don’t use a sledge hammer to nail a tack! Use the equipment sized for the job. Use equipment agile enough to clear snow around parked cars and other obstacles.

Consider assigning “snow captains” for each neighborhood, people who live there, who know the neighborhood and will be responsible for overseeing snow removal during big snow storms. They could coordinate a proactive and combination of cooperation between residents and snow removal by parking or moving their cars and a “right size” effort using snow blowers, shovels, pick up plows, bucket loaders, dump trucks, etc.

Knowing that a big storm is coming, declare a “garbage emergency” , ask residents to put out their garbage a day early, and schedule the garbage pick-up before the storm hits, using overtime if necessary. This should mitigate the garbage pick-up problem after the storm.

                Go to China, see how they do it.

Here’s a snow blower: It’s my daughter clearing snow from her 100 foot driveway during the Christmas storm in Maine:


Which of the equipment you have seen do you think is “right sized” for clearing in a brownstone neighborhood, with accumulating snow and jammed parked vehicles? 

Many years ago, my boss Dean Fisher, a pioneer in snow plow design and manufacture since founding Fisher Engineering in 1948, claimed that he could plow the same amount of snow with a CJ5 Jeep and a 6 foot blade as anyone could plow with a ¾ ton truck and an 8 foot blade. He then proceeded to demonstrate it in our parking lot during a snowstorm with his CJ5. The strategy was to begin plowing early, and “plow with the storm” not waiting until any substantial accumulation.

The result of this effort was remarkable. It was clear that with planning and preparation, there was no need for a larger truck and blade to plow this parking lot.

What equipment will best satisfy the customer? It’s probably not one piece but a combination of pieces: By starting early as the storm arrives, small hand operated snow blowers  would keep the whole neighborhood clear for traffic and parking cars, careful of where the snow is blown, and the use of other equipment to stack, load haul it away, etc.

Always challenge the way things are done, don’t listen to “we can’t do it that way. “ Ask why, and keep asking why to the answers until you don’t have to ask why, you have the answer!

Guest post by Steve Taylor. Steve is 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 Choose A Snowplow For Your Light Duty Truck

There are dozens of manufacturers of snowplows for light duty trucks and Utility Vehicles. How does one make the choice?

Will it be used to plow for commercially or for your own driveway? If you will be using it for your own driveway, you might decide to use an SUV and a small blade. If you will be plowing commercially, then you will probably want a ¾ ton or 1 ton truck and an 8 foot or 9 foot plow.

How much snow does your area generally get? If you live in the southern states, you may not use your plow for several years. And when it snows, you may get 3-4 inches. A smaller vehicle and a lighter blade will work to keep the snow plowed if you start early and keep ahead of the storm.

But if you live in upstate New York, you may be using the plow every day for a few months every year. You will probably want a larger blade to make the job more efficient if you have a lot of area to plow in a compressed window of time. And a larger blade means that you will need a larger truck to push it.

There are a lot of considerations to choose the vehicle and the plow make and model. Many truck dealers can be helpful depending on their experience and how well they understand your needs. Tell them of all the options you intend to install including spreaders and trailer towing, etc. Ask how long have they been specifying plows? I would recommend talking with other trusted sources including neighbors and contractors who use plows. Ask them about their experience with plow makes and their sales and service experience through the dealers and distributors. Call distributors listed in the Yellow Pages, ask them about their years in business, what brands they handle and their parts inventory, if they have extended hours during storms, etc.

If you plan to plow commercially and have no experience at it, then you will be wise to research a variety of plows and vehicles. Most commercial plow operators start by using straight blades. Blades that have no functions other than raise, lower, angle left and right. These are basic designs satisfactory for most plowing conditions. The straight blades most commonly used commercially are 8 ft. and 9 ft. Generally, the 8 foot will be mounted on a ¾ ton and the 9 ft. will be mounted on a 1 ton truck with dual rears. Almost all serious plow trucks are 4wheel drive.

Other brand model offerings are V-Plows, Extending Blades, Side Mounted Wings and Back Drag. My advice is to start with straight blades and learn from others about these other plows before you consider buying them. There are some advantages in all these models but you should consider are they worth the extra expense for your needs, and what other issues do they present for maintenance

You will find that certain brands have regional acceptance. They have become the “gold standard” for certain areas of the country. This can be true for a number of reasons. The manufacturer or distributor has built a very good and reliable product and service reputation and a loyal customer base. My advice generally is to give a lot of attention to these products, learn as much as you can about the products and the local service and if you want to look at other products, compare them against what you have learned about the local “gold standard.”

As much as brands have regional acceptance, so do particular designs. For instance, one of the major differentiating features of several brands is the design of its “trip function”. In other words, the blade will encounter a rock or curb under the snow and the blade will respond by either tripping forward as is the case of a “full trip blade” or it will remain upright because the bottom edge will “trip.” These are two distinctive designs, some manufacturers offer only one or the other and others offer both. Talk to others about their experience, you will find a variety of opinions if you were to ask the same question in every state that gets snow. Generally, the opinion is that the full trip gives the truck more protection as it trips while the trip edge may plow more snow as it keeps pushing ahead after a full trip blade has lost its load. Another feature I have found useful is that you may be stuck in heavy snow, as you use the power angle feature on a trip edge plow, the hydraulic force may help you get yourself out of the ditch as you angle the blade.

I would want to know the following about both the manufacturer and the distributor:

Years in business

Years manufacturing or selling/ servicing snow plows

Years those certain models (V-Plows, Back Drag, etc.) have been produced.

What are the daily hours of service operation, especially during a storm?

What parts do they consider high replacement parts – why?

Parts availability


You should be confident in specifying the snow plow brand and model you want mounted on your truck to the dealer if you have done your research. Most truck dealers work with more than one equipment distributor.

Guest post by Steve Taylor. Steve is 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/.


Henderson 10-Yard Dump Body With Snow Plow and Much More

Attached are photos of a Snow plow truck recently built by West Coast Truck Equipment. There is a lot to this truck that isn't necessarily visible.

The Body is a Henderson E-series body with asphalt rear. This body is designed to handle heavy loads with a 1/4" AR400 crossmemberless Floor. The rear body and tailgate slope is design to give better clearance when dumped so that it can be used with chip spreader machines and paving machines without hitting the hopper when dumping. The Typical Clearance on a dump when fully dumped is 25-30" with this design we can get 36" with a 42" chassis frame height.

The Central Hydraulic system is powered off the front crank shaft of the motor and is set up to run the dump body, snow plow up, down and angle right and left, as well as a v-box spreader with walking floor and rear spinner. The hydraulics for the rear spinner have been set up to spread the same amount of product on the ground despite variable truck ground speed, and is also capable of blasting material at a thicker rate if desired, all of which can be programmed for different spread rates.

Front and rear end hydraulic connections are of quick disconnect type for customer-supplied snow plow and v-box spreader which will be installed by customer later per their preference.

This versatile truck really shows how this customer is utilizing its fleet, from winter snow control to dump truck application as well assisting with asphalt machines and chip spreaders.

Call West Coast Truck Equipment at 916-376-0690 and visit our comprehensive website at http://www.westcoasttruckequipment.com/.


Custom Flatbed Can Be Confused With A Service Body

Here's a very interesting truck recently built by North Bay Truck Bodies in Fairfield CA. It has enough tool boxes to be a service or utility body, but is in reality a flatbed--indeed, a very useful flatbed.

This is a 12' x 8' flatbed with 60" underbed tool box mounted in front of the rear axle and 36" boxes in the rear. On the side with the welder compartment, a 24" box is substituted for the 60". The two topside boxes are closed-top and are approximately 88" x 24" high and 18" deep. There is space in front of the upper box for a welder, and there are two 50-gallon square liquid transfer tanks, one per side with top opening boxes mounted after. Each tank has a 12-volt Fillrite pump with auto shut-off nozzle and filter system.

The rack system has removable sections. The rear step bumper is 4" channel with a class IV receiver hitch. Notice how all the rope hooks have been set and the channel they are mounted in. Looks very clean and useful at the same time.

The oxygen/acetylene locker on the curbside front is cut into the bed. The locker is 63" high x 19" deep and is 32" wide with double doors and bottle bracket system and also includes a reinforced floor. Note that the bottom of the locker is level with adjoining tool box. All of this mounted on a Ford F-550 regular cab chassis.

Let North Bay Truck Body build you a great body! Call North Bay at 707-864-2700, and visit our website at http://www.nbtb.com/


While The City Sleeps (1940)

WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS, ca. 1940 - Ford Motor Company.

National Archives and Records Administration - ARC Identifier 93632 / Local Identifier FC-FC-4501


Spizlift Application Video 2011

Michael Spitsbergen of SpitzLift is presenting what I think is a super fine video. One of the best videos I've seen demonstrating his product line. Very well done. It appears that Michael has involved his whole family in the video as well. Great product and great vew. Thanks, Michael.

See more about SpitzLift Cranes at http://www.spitzlift.net/


Greg Hollis - Nor-Cal Mobility - Transit Connect Conversion

Greg Hollis of Nor-Cal Mobility, Inc. in Chico, CA demonstrates the rear wheel chair lift for the Ford Transit Connect at a Nor Cal Ford Truck Club event in October, 2010. Call Nor-Cal Mobility, Inc. at 800-225-7361 and visit their website at http://www.norcalmobility.com/.


Henderson Self-Contained Spreader In 5-Yard Dump On Ford F-750

Here's a couple photos from West Coast Truck Equipment in West Sacramento, CA on a Henderson self-contained spreader with a Honda gas engine and controls in the cab, mounted on a Ford F-750 and the body is a 5-yard steel dump. You can call West Coast at 916-376-0690, and see more from Jack Schmidt and team at http://www.westcoasttruckequipment.com/.


Congratulations Ford Motor Company! Great News!


  • Ford's full-year sales totaled 1.935 million, up 19 percent versus a year ago – the largest increase of any full-line automaker
  • Ford's December retail sales were up 17 percent versus a year ago; total sales of 190,976 were up 7 percent
  • Ford's market share up for the second year in a row; first back-to-back increase since 1993
  • Ford foundation set for continued growth in 2011 with its balanced line of high-quality, fuel-efficient products
  • Ford provides 2011 global economic and industry sales outlook

DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 4, 2011 – Ford’s full-year sales totaled 1.935 million, up 19 percent versus a year ago, marking the largest increase of any full-line manufacturer.

Ford’s December retail sales were the highest for any month since August 2009, up 17 percent versus a year ago. Total sales (including fleet deliveries) were 190,976, up 7 percent versus a year ago. The total sales result include a 40 percent reduction in deliveries to daily rental customers.

Ford’s U.S. market share was higher for the second year in a row marking the first back-to-back increase in market share since 1993. Ford’s U.S. market share in 2010 is estimated at 16.4 percent, up 1.1 points from 2009 and 2.2 points from 2008.

“With our balanced line of high-quality, fuel-efficient products, we have a solid foundation to deliver more sales and improved results in 2011,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Consideration for Ford is increasing beyond our traditional areas of strength – signaling that the seeds of growth already have taken hold.”

December Sales Highlights

Ford’s December retail sales increased 17 percent versus a year ago. Among brands, Ford retail sales were up 20 percent and Lincoln was up 3 percent. Mercury retail sales were down 29 percent, consistent with the company’s plan to discontinue the brand by the end of 2010.

Car retail sales increased 26 percent paced by record monthly sales for the all-new Ford Fiesta subcompact (5,212) and higher retail sales for the Ford Focus and Fusion and Lincoln MKZ. Fusion total sales of 22,629 were a record for the month of December.

Retail sales for utilities were up 17 percent paced by higher retail sales for the Ford Escape, and the all-new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. Ford Explorer retail sales were more than double a year ago buoyed by the introduction of the all-new 2011 Explorer.

Truck retail sales were up 11 percent as F-Series recorded its highest sales month (54,888) since December 2007. Demand for the Transit Connect, Ford’s new purpose-built commercial van, continued to grow as December total sales increased 41 percent.

Full-Year Sales Highlights

In 2010, Ford benefited from its full family of cars, utilities and trucks. For the year, cars were up 17 percent, utilities were up 13 percent and trucks were up 27 percent.

Among cars, the Fusion midsize sedan set a record with sales of 219,219, up 21 percent versus a year ago. This is the first time a Ford car has eclipsed 200,000 sales since 2004. Sales for the Taurus, Ford’s full-size sedan, were up 51 percent. Sales for the Focus, Ford’s popular small sedan, were up 7 percent. Fiesta debuted last summer and posted 2010 sales of 23,273.

Utilities were paced by record sales for Escape, Ford’s small utility. Escape sales totaled 191,026, up 10 percent versus a year ago. Sales for the Edge, Ford’s midsize crossover, were 118,637, up 34 percent.

Sales for Ford’s F-Series truck were 528,349, up 28 percent. The F-Series was the best-selling truck in America for the 34th year in a row and the best-selling vehicle, car or truck, for the 29th year in a row. In the commercial van segment, sales for the Ford Econoline totaled 108,258, up 26 percent and Transit Connect added sales of 27,405.

New Products

Ford begins 2011 with several new high-volume products hitting the U.S. market. In December, the first all-new Ford Explorers were delivered to customers. In addition, the first 2011 model F-150s, with all-new powertrains, were delivered. In the first quarter, Ford expects to begin shipments and deliveries of the all-new 2012 Ford Focus.

In addition, Ford will benefit from a full year of the new F-Series Super Duty, all-new Edge and MKX crossovers and the Fiesta.

2011 Global Economic and Industry Sales Outlook

Ford expects the global economy to expand 3 to 4 percent in 2011 and global sales to be in the range of 75 to 85 million – a record sales level. In 2010, global auto sales are estimated at 72 million, which was 11 percent higher than the 65 million sales recorded in 2009.

In the U.S., Ford expects the economy to expand 3 to 4 percent in 2011 and industry sales to be in the range of 12.5 to 13.5 million.

In Europe, the outlook is mixed with some markets undergoing budget cuts and restructuring of banks. Other European markets, such as the U.K., Germany and France, are growing. Overall, Ford expects industry sales in the Euro 19 markets to be in the range of 14.5 to 15.5 million, compared with 15.3 million in 2010.

“The global economy is reaching a dynamic phase,” said Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Ford’s chief economist. “Several indicators in key markets around the world suggest the potential for industry sales to continue to grow.”


Commercial Truck Success Blog Passes 1,000 posts

1,000 Posts!

On January 4th, Commercial Truck Success has passed the 1,000 posts mark on our blog. Woo-hoo!

Probably only a milestone for us, and thank you for reading!

Custom SRW Flatbed Construction By West Coast Truck Equipment

Here are photos of the finished product of a 8' flatbed on a F350 Ford Super duty with Apitong Hardwood floor, contoured prepunched window with two work lights facing the rear tied to the Ford body up-fitters switch in the cab.
This truck is ready for towing with a 30,000 lb rated goose neck ball hitch and a 10,000 lb rated factory receiver hitch that we incorporated the ICC dock bumper around. All lights are led the stop tail turn lights have back-up LED lights incorporated around the stop, tail, turn, brake lights
This is a good example of a body being built to customer specifications by West Coast Truck Equipment in West Sacramento, CA. Call them at 916-376-0690 and see more at http://www.westcoasttruckequipment.com/.


TriVan Truck Body - Oilfield Trailer

Custom oilfield trailer, used for processing water at an oilfield. Our customer is in Everett, WA, and their proprietary system for processing oilfield process water will be installed in this custom built / configured trailer. All details worked out with customer to arrive at a vehicle that does exactly what they need it to do!

This is an excellent presentation of this truck and a wonderful sales tool. Great job Cason!
Call them at 866-874-8261 and visit their website at http://www.trivan.com/


Innovation Keynote Speaker Jeremy Gutsche - Excellent 30 Minute Talk

Innovation keynote speaker http://www.jeremygutsche.com/ Jeremy Gutsche is an innovation expert, futurist, trends expert, founder of TrendHunter.com and "one of North America's most requested keynote speakers." In this innovation keynote speech, Jeremy is speaking for 3,000 Meetings Professional International members sampling his: strategy, marketing and innovation keynote speech, Exploiting Chaos.


All-new Ford Ranger Tows Steam Locomotive

A bit of fun from down under. . .

In an impressive showcase of its exceptional capability, Ford's latest global compact pickup hauled a 160-tonne historic steam locomotive out of its shed in Victoria, Australia. The all-new Ranger was not modified at all for this challenge, relying on the 147 kW of power and 470 Nm of torque from its 3.2-litre, five-cylinder diesel engine. See it to believe it!