TopKick it up a notch

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The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation has released the latest update of medium/heavy truck standards for technician training programs. E-mail [email protected] for more information.

Kenworth is now offering Dana Spicer ESD225 air disc brakes on its T600 and T800 models. The company also offers the DENSO 130-Amp Brushless Alternator as an option.

Chevron Delo Gear Lubricant ESI has been selected by Volvo Trucks of North America as the factory fill for its VN Models.

Petro-Canada’s Duron 15W-40 and Duron XL Synthetic Blend 15W-40 heavy-duty engine oils have met the American Petroleum Institute’s CI-4 Plus specification for use in new, low-emission engines.

ArvinMeritor and Raydan Manufacturing have entered into a licensing agreement for vocational suspensions.

IdleAire will install its Advanced Travel Center Electrification ShorePower system at all TravelCenters of America locations across the country under a long-term agreement.

Freightliner is now supplying Tundra refrigerators as optional factory-installed equipment for sleeper compartments on its new trucks.

The Commercial Graphics Division of 3M has launched an interactive tool showcasing Scotchprint Graphics for Transit Wraps at

For 2005, GMC offers factory-engineered four-wheel drive on its C4500 and C5500 TopKick models. These vehicles are available in a variety of wheelbases, ranging from 152-235 inches, in both Regular Cab and Crew Cab configurations. They’re powered by either the standard Vortec 8100MD, 8.1-liter, V8 gasoline engine, rated at up to 325 hp @ 4000 rpm and up to 603 pound-feet of torque @ 2800 rpm; or the Duramax 6600 6.6-liter, V8 Turbo Diesel, rated at up to 300 hp @ 3100 rpm and up to 705 pound-feet of torque @ 1600 rpm. Both powerplants are mated to Allison’s 1000 Series 5-speed automatic transmission.

For serious off-roading, the vehicles feature an electronically controlled New Venture Gear 2-speed transfer case, and an instrument panel-mounted rotary selector for 4L, 4H and 2H drive. Manually activated front-locking hubs and a skid plate to protect the transfer case round out the picture. Note: During a recent trip to GM’s Milford Proving Grounds, your humble editor tested the robustness of said skid plate by bellying a C5500 on a huge log. No harm done.

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According to GMC, TopKick’s wider front track permits a 53-degree wheel cut, resulting in a turning diameter as tight as 47 feet. In addition, the sloped hood and a windshield that’s 40 percent larger improve visibility. For greater interior versatility, along with room for a center passenger, the center console and cupholder have been nixed.

All new TopKicks share a stamped, straight-section, C-channel frame, says GMC, providing strength and a clean back-of-cab design for easy body and equipment installations. By using three variations of frame strength, TopKick Class 4-5 models ensure weight- and load-carrying capability for their intended applications.

The TopKick C4500 and C5500 Series are also available in cutaway chassis cabs and in vocational packages to cover school bus, fire and rescue, shuttle bus, wrecker and snowplow requirements.

Smooth operator
Hendrickson is ready to launch its HTB premium, rear air suspension for Class 8 trucks, offering what the company promises to be a combination of smooth ride and low maintenance.

Reportedly, the lightweight, non-torque-reactive suspension weighs in at 570 pounds, including axle brackets, saving up to 250 pounds over industry-standard 40,000-pound suspensions.

Moreover, “HTB’s parallelogram geometry eliminates the frame rise that is characteristic of trailing arm suspensions,” says Michael Brannigan, program manager. “Driveline angles are maintained throughout axle travel, thereby minimizing suspension-induced driveline vibration.”

Dual support structure, frame hangers and torque rods, says Hendrickson, are designed to reduce weight while improving durability. Large, direct-acting air springs carry 100 percent of the vertical load, compared to trailing-arm suspensions, where vertical load is shared between air and leaf springs. Most components in the HTB are designed to last the life of the truck.

Indeed, after a visit to the company’s headquarters and R&D facility in Woodridge, Ill., where rigorous lab testing precedes proving-ground and field testing, we have no doubt that Hendrickson knows how to torture suspension components and expose weaknesses that could lead to premature failure.

During our visit, Hendrickson also rolled out several other new products, which we’ll cover in future issues.

Top 10 corrosion cures
Phillips Industries wants to help reduce the effects of corrosion on vehicles caused by harsh chemicals and temperature extremes. The company has produced a poster itemizing specific practices that, when done consistently, decrease the accumulated costs associated with corrosion to fleet equipment, especially during winter weather operation. To obtain a copy of the poster, contact your authorized Phillips distributor, call (800) 423-4512 or visit this site.

Capacity, equipment up for Q3
Fleet Sentiment survey responses indicate that fleets are likely to be adding capacity for this quarter. Trailer purchases, on average 38 percent, are planned to add capacity, while 71 percent of the fleets polled are planning to purchase power units in the next six months, with 20 percent slated for added capacity.

The Fleet Sentiment questionnaire is distributed quarterly by CK Marketing & Communications ( to about 100 fleets with a total of 117,000 medium and heavy duty power units and 140,000 trailers.

For more information, e-mail [email protected].

Equipment Puzzler
In September, we asked: How many valve events occur per second in a 6-cylinder engine with a 4-valve head, turning at 1500 rpm? (Count each valve’s opening and closing as separate events.)

At press time, we’d received no correct answers, so we’ll let this one simmer until next month. Be the first to e-mail the correct answer to [email protected], and receive a chrome CCJ pen and Air Brake Book. Same goes if you send in a puzzler of your own and we print it!

This month’s Puzzler:
What’s the difference between a conventional, low-silicate coolant and a fully formulated one? (Hint: The answer can be found in this issue.)