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Dodge offers Class 4-5 chassis
Dodge unveiled the Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs, expanding into the Class 4 and 5 markets from the Class 3 Ram 3500 chassis cab introduced last year. The new trucks, offering gross vehicle weight range of 14,000 to 19,500 lbs., feature a 305-hp Cummins Turbo Diesel engine with 6.7-liter displacement and 610 lb.-ft. of torque, and a six-speed automatic or manual transmission with power takeoff (PTO) capability. The truck also has the largest standard fuel tank (52 gallons) in its segment, Dodge says.

“With commercial performance, durability and capability, the 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs offer dominant powertrain packages, a commercial-grade upfit-friendly chassis, and bold, ‘big-rig’ Ram styling,” says George Murphy, senior vice president of global brand marketing for the Chrysler Group.

Dodge also touts the largest brake rotors (390 mm) and largest caliper pistons (66 mm) in their class, as well as best-in-class first-gear launch. The trucks feature standard 34-inch frame rail spacing and a one-piece C-channel rear-frame rail fashioned from 50,000-psi steel. As with the 3500, the company emphasizes the trucks’ upfit-friendliness; all chassis components are below the frame surface, improving adaptability. Offered in dual-rear-wheel models, four cab-axle lengths (60, 84, 108 and 120 inches) are available.

The engine is compatible with biodiesel up to a 5 percent (or B5) blend. A standard diesel exhaust brake system offers extended brake life and increased driver control, Dodge says. Two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models feature a recirculating ball system that provides precise response and an on-center steering feel through lower internal friction. The rear suspension on two- and four-wheel-drive models is equipped with leaf springs and includes standard two-stage springs as part of the spring design for greater load-carrying capability.

Among the safety and security features of the Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs are an enhanced seat belt reminder system; an energy-absorbing steering column; an enhanced accident response system that turns on interior lights and unlocks doors following air bag deployment; knee bolsters to further protect occupants during frontal impacts; and a theft deterrent system that uses a transponder in the engine key to ensure authorized operation.
Dodge Commercial Vehicles

Isuzu’s 2008 N-Series
Isuzu Truck’s N-Series low cab forward medium-duty truck for model year 2008 will feature more cab room, more power and enhanced safety features, the truck maker says. The N-Series also meets more stringent federal and California diesel emissions requirements that took effect at the beginning of this year.

“As with other recent enhancements, the all-new N-Series was developed with direct input from those who know this vehicle best – our customers,” says Joe Totaro, executive vice president and general manager for General Motors Isuzu Commercial Truck. “It’s why we say that the 2008 N-Series was designed by our customers, for our customers.”

The greatest focus in the 2008 model enhancements was driver comfort. Features include an improved cab mounting that delivers a smoother ride and a larger cab with more side-to-side and front-to-back room, providing more seat travel and increased head, shoulder and leg room. To help with ingress and egress, the 85-degree swing-out door opening is wider, as is the self-cleaning entry step.

Other changes to improve driver convenience include:

  • A new dashboard featuring a 5-din opening for optional electronic equipment such as radios, GPS systems and rearview cameras;
  • An easy-to-remove panel at the front of the cab for easy access to the wiper motor and linkage, electrical cab connections and air intake filters, facilitating maintenance of these items;
  • New storage areas in seat backs, the dashboard and the glove box as well as overhead storage shelves and rear storage organizer;
  • Large map pockets incorporated into the new, fully trimmed door panels;
  • Standard power windows and door locks;
  • Cup holders in the center console for extra-large fountain drinks and in the dash for regular-sized cans and cups;
  • An auxiliary power outlet for a cell phone or other electronics; and
  • Door-mounted ashtrays.

While reducing emissions, the overhead cam 5.2L 4HK1-TC turbocharged, intercooled, diesel engine in the 2008 model N-Series features an increase in horsepower to 205 at 2400 rpm – up from 190 hp. Torque increases to 441 lb.-ft. at 1850, up from 387. The engine covers GVW ranges from 12,000 to 19,500 pounds and has a B10 durability rating of 310,000 miles, meaning 90 percent of the engines should reach this mileage before a major component failure, assuming that good maintenance practices have been followed.

Isuzu N-Series diesel models include the NPR, NPR HD (regular and crew cab) NQR (regular and crew cab) and NRR.

For Isuzu N-Series customers who prefer a gasoline engine, NPR and NPR HD models are available with the Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine. For 2008, the Vortec 6.0L delivers 325 horsepower – 25 more than the previous version – and 360 lb.-ft. of torque. These models are mated to the Hydra-Matic 4L80 four-speed automatic with lockup torque converter and overdrive.
Isuzu Truck Commercial Vehicles

Specialty application retread
Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. and its subsidiary, Oliver Rubber Co., says its APWs specialty application retread features a technologically advanced tread compound called Tri-Cor. The APWs retread – which is suited for the steer axle and is suitable for drive and trailer positions – is engineered for tough applications that encounter cornering and scrubbing, and is available in sizes ranging from 220mm (9) to 270mm (14). Designed for 70 percent on-road and 30 percent off-road applications, the APWs has a large, aggressive tread pattern and deep tread depth to help provide traction and longer tread wear. The wide squared-off solid shoulders are hallmarks of the tread, which also includes stone ejection capabilities to further protect the casing. Oliver says the APWs also boasts its VDiplus tread concept, designed to reduce foreign material retention and help decrease the usual stone drilling conditions and casing penetration issues that typically occur in specialty applications. The three circumferential self-cleaning grooves, which have a depth of 26/32 (21 mm), are designed to expel embedded objects.
Cooper Tire and Rubber Co.

Heavy-duty wiper blades
Sloan Transportation Products now is marketing Michelin branded wiper blades to the North American heavy-duty aftermarket. The Michelin Heavy Duty Wiper Blade – offered in both a regular and winter blade model – is polybagged with a Michelin label and comes 10 blades per box. The wiper blade has a graphite coating over the rubber blade designed to reduce friction and extend blade life; hardware components are manufactured from heavy-duty 304 stainless steel. The high nickel content of the 304 helps provide added strength as well as protection from rust and corrosion, while metal rivets are used to provide added strength to the assembly. The multi-arm connector fits 90 percent of blades on the market, ensuring a quick blade change with little downtime, according to Sloan. The winter blade model contains a premium silicone boot designed to resist cracking down to -40 degrees. The boot repels ice, snow and road chemicals away from internal working parts, the company says.
Sloan Transportation

Ford 2008 F-Series Super Duty
Ford launched its 2008 F-Series Super Duty work truck, the industry’s best-selling pickup in the over 8,500-pound truck segment. The 2008 product line comes in three cab styles – Regular Cab, SuperCab and Crew Cab – and two bed lengths. The new Super Duty trucks have a new 6.4-liter Power Stroke Diesel, a new look and several unique features including a

With its 2008 launch, Ford has expanded its Super Duty trucks to include the new F-450 pickup for pulling a heavier trailer while maintaining ride comfort. The F-450 incorporates a new rear leaf-spring suspension and dual rear wheels to offer a maximum payload of more than 6,000 pounds and towing capacity of more than 24,000 pounds – a 5,000-pound increase over the F-350.

The all-new 6.4-liter Power Stroke Diesel is cleaner and 10 decibels quieter than the 6.0-liter engine in 2007 models, the company says. The new engine delivers 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque starting at 2,000 rpm. It uses Ford Clean Diesel Technology, which includes, among other features, a high-pressure, common rail fuel system, Piezo-electric fuel injectors and an advanced diesel particulate filter system. The engine reduces particulate output by more than 90 percent and posts emissions numbers on par with gasoline engines, according to Ford.

On the inside, the new trucks have a prominent center stack that houses most of the vehicle’s switches, integrating all functions into one easy-to-reach central area. The auxiliary switches and Trailer Brake Control system are now fully integrated into the center stack for a cleaner, user-friendly appearance. Super Duty utilizes several technologies to provide a quiet cabin, the company says. Quiet Steel, a unique composite laminated steel sheet, makes up the vehicle’s dash panel and works with extra sound padding in the dash and floor. A rear bulkhead panel and thicker side glass helps keep unwanted noise out of the cabin.

All audio systems now are MP3-capable and feature a standard auxiliary audio input. The input allows an MP3 player to play through the vehicle’s stereo system. A DVD-based navigation system with an in-dash screen is available on FX4 and Lariat SuperCabs and Crew Cabs.

The larger, more prominent grille, sharply sculpted fender flares and fender-mounted air vents are just a few of the new design features. The larger grille also helps improve cooling, which in turn improves, among other things, trailer towing capability.

The optional tailgate step is housed in the tailgate with the lower step becoming the center of the top rail of the tailgate when not in use. A grab handle folds up and out of the tailgate to provide extra support when using the step, supporting up to 300 pounds. When not in use, the grab handle fits snugly into a channel molded into the tailgate inner-liner. For added safety, the tailgate liner has an added coating, creating a nonslip walking surface.

Heavy-duty alternators
Remy Inc. says its new heavy-duty alternators are designed to ensure adequate alternator output in spite of increased underhood operating temperatures. The high-temperature alternators – the Delco Remy 28SI, 36SI and 40SI – are engineered and tested to provide unsurpassed output in underhood operating environments up to 257 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Delco Remy:

  • The 28SI heavy-duty brush-type alternator delivers up to 180 amps of power at highway speed and 130 amps at idle. The design features a dual-internal-fan technology that helps ensure optimal cooling efficiency within tightly packaged heavy-duty engine compartments;
  • The 36SI premium brushless alternator produces 160 amps at highway speed and 110 amps at idle; and
  • The 40SI is engineered to deliver 300 amps at road speed and more than 200 amps at idle.

All three alternators feature a variety of technologies – including a “Flex-Lead” diode-bridge design and higher-capacity, press-fit diodes – suited to applications with higher underhood temperatures and increased vibration, the company says. Each also is available with Delco Remy’s Remote Sense technology, designed to adjust output automatically based on voltage at the battery terminals to help ensure the optimal state of charge.
Delco Remy

Chain tightening system
Tire Service Equipment Manufacturing Co. says the Chain-It-Tight ratchet tightening system is a quick, easy and safe way to tighten chains on any vehicle. Chain-It-Tight is available in three sizes: CT-40 for ATVs; CT-50 for cars, trucks and SUVs; and CT-60 for commercial trucks.
Tire Service Equipment Manufacturing Co.

Two-stage DPF cleaning system
The Donaldson Pulse Cleaner is a self-contained system designed to dislodge diesel ash and soot from a diesel particulate filter. The removed ash and soot are captured in a filter located in the lower portion of the system’s cabinet for easy removal, the company says; the average cleaning cycle is 15 minutes or less, depending on the level of contamination. For extremely plugged filters that require a more intense cleaning process, Donaldson offers the DPF Thermal Regenerator, a unit specially designed for removing hydrocarbons and unburned soot through a timed heating and cooling cycle.

Insulated nut drivers
Klein Tools has expanded its insulated nut driver product line to include nine new insulated nut drivers with 6-inch-long shafts. The drivers have a full hollow shaft designed for work on long bolt applications, allowing full engagement with the nut to hold fasteners securely in place. It also provides additional distance from energized sources, especially when working on stepped blocks within panel boxes, according to Klein. The new drivers have two layers of insulation designed to provide protection against electric shock, and also feature the company’s patented Tip-Ident, with color codes, that can quickly identify the nut driver and size. A cushion-grip handle facilitates greater torque and comfort. Klein also has two new nine-piece insulated nut driver kits, one with the new 6-inch full hollow shaft and the other with 3-inch and 4-inch full hollow shafts. For tool protection, each kit includes a custom Cordura nylon carrying case that has an interior document pocket for added organization.
Klein Tools

Heavy-duty wheel lift system
Gray has introduced a 40,000-pound-capacity portable wheel lift system designed to eliminate the need for a dedicated bay, keeping downtime to a minimum. The system is 100 percent air-operated and can use shop air to raise one end of a variety of vehicles with a wheel diameter between 14 and 24.5 inches, the company says. The wheel lift system – which is suited for raising heavy vehicles such as motorcoaches, fire apparatus and military vehicles – is designed to double as a vehicle support stand and can raise one end of a vehicle 30 inches, according to Gray.
Gray Manufacturing Co.

Electric tarp system
Roll-Rite says users of hand-crank cable-style tarp systems can quickly and easily convert to a direct drive electric system with its TaskMaster Power Kit. Designed to accommodate a 1-inch cross-shaft, the power kit can be mounted in under four hours, with no coupling or cutting required, the company says. Operated by an in-cab rocker switch, the TaskMaster kit offers increased safety, convenience and control, according to Roll-Rite; the kit can be mounted anywhere on the front cross shaft to keep the motor away from the outside of the trailer where it easily could be hit and damaged. The kit is powered by the TaskMaster, one of several Roll-Rite direct-drive electric gear motors that work without chains or sprockets. Included with the kit is 85 feet of 6-gauge dual conductor wire, 15 feet of 14-gauge 3-conductor wire, and an aluminum mounting bracket. An optional wireless remote control also is available.

Bug deflector
Spray Control Systems, manufacturer of Minimizer poly truck fenders and accessories, has introduced the Minimizer Bug Deflector, which is made using a composite poly material and is available in a variety of colors, including chrome. With a quick bolt-on design, each bug deflector is individually made to fit a variety of manufacturers’ models, including Freightliner, International, Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt, Volvo and Western Star.
Spray Control Systems

Enhanced air dryer
Haldex says that its Multi-Treatment Cartridge Plus (MTC+) soon will be available as standard on Haldex DRYest and PURest Air Dryers. The coalescent filter on the outlet passage of the MTC+ removes 40 percent more of the fine oil and hydrocarbon particles from the air brake system than competitive air drying cartridges, according to the company; once the air has passed through the desiccant bed of the cartridge, the coalescent filter removes the oil particles remaining in the air stream.

The MTC+ – using a five-stage process to deliver the driest, cleanest air – also is designed to remove more than 99 percent of contaminants from the air brake system. This drying capacity does not impede air flow, Haldex says; by preventing oil contaminants from building up in the air system reservoir, the MTC+ ensures adequate air volume is available for air brake system components downstream of the air dryer. This reduces corrosion and freezing problems caused by inadequate air flow, according to the company.

The MTC+ cartridge’s drying capabilities also allow it to last longer, resulting in lower lifecycle cost, Haldex says. There are no hard-to-remove, spin-on cartridges where seizing can become a problem; instead, a 4-bolt slide-in and -out design is designed to allow for quick replacement of the cartridge while the air dryer is still on the vehicle. The MTC+ also is engineered for a direct fit, with no modifications necessary to DRYest and PURest Air Dryers already in operation.

Rolling tarp system
Aero Industries says its new Conestoga 2 rolling tarp system – the only system in the industry where steel wheels glide on a stainless steel track insert – features many innovations:

  • Aero’s proprietary bow shocks are designed to reduce road shock and add to the longevity of the tarp system; the standard double uplift bows reduce tarp sag to 8 inches, and the optional quad uplift bows reduce tarp sag to 3 inches, maximizing internal clearance.
  • A panelized tarp looks like it is one, smooth piece. Panelized tarps allow damaged sections to be replaced easily. The aluminum bows are hidden, providing a continuous surface for graphics.
  • The tarp fabric is formulated for the Conestoga 2 and has a urethane outer coat to provide a clean and shiny appearance. The tarp automatically seals between the track and bump rail, and an internal rubber seal minimizes air entry and stabilizes the tarp. The system eliminates the need for the cable in the bottom tarp hem. The bump rail, in addition to helping the tarp seal, also protects the tarp during loading with forklifts.
  • The rear locking mechanism allows the driver to determine and set the proper tarp tension, eliminating the need for periodic maintenance adjustments. It is operated easily from the ground, and the rear lock mechanism travels with the rear bow assembly; there are no cumbersome ratchet straps or bulky devices to remove and store. The front locking mechanism is a positive catch design, allowing the driver to simply turn a crank to draw the front bow securely to the bulkhead. It eliminates the risk of latches not locking.

Aero Industries

Fresher diesel fuels, tanks
Power Service Products says its Clear-Diesel Fuel & Tank Cleaner, an ultra-low-sulfur diesel-compliant additive, is effective in all diesel fuels, including ULSD and biodiesel. The additive is designed to disperse diesel fuel contaminants, remove water, prevent premature fuel-filter plugging, protect against fuel tank corrosion and keep fuel fresh with Stabiltec – providing maximum long-term storage stability.
Power Service Products

Refrigerant oils with UV dye
Tracer Products has introduced a line of POE and PAG refrigerant oils premixed with ultraviolet dye. Designed for mobile A/C systems, the oils contain super-bright, OEM-approved Fluoro-Lite fluorescent dye that is co-solvent free, the company says; the oils are safe to use with all types of refrigerants and compressors. In addition to R-134a miscibility, they also are formulated for enhanced lubricity and stability, and for excellent antiwear properties. Nontoxic and nonhazardous, the dyed oils work with any standard fluorescent leak detection lamp, Tracer says. Offered in 8-ounce, 32-ounce and one-gallon sizes and in all popular viscosities, the dyed oils are designed to make it easy to add the exact amount of fluorescent dye and oil in the proper viscosity to each system being serviced; they save time and money, minimize waste and mess, and are easy to use and store, according to the company.
Tracer Products

Updated software for vehicle testing
Lite-Check has released version 7.4 of its Inspector software for its 910B automatic vehicle tester. The latest version includes the following additions and enhancements, according to the company:

  • Bendix TABS-6 ABS controller joins existing ECUs from Haldex, WABCO, Bendix and Wabash on the list of ABS systems supported by the 910B’s “One-Button ABS” fault and troubleshooting system;
  • Automated fault management for older blink-code style Wabash and WABCO ABS
    controllers has been enhanced;
  • Tractor ABS cab lights can be inspected directly with the addition of “cab-on” and “cab-off” broadcasts directly from the tester; and
  • ABS fault code detail, along with troubleshooting and repair instructions for ABS problems, is easier to access through the improved computer display menus.

The Inspector 7.4 software upgrade is available for all Lite-Check Model 910B automatic testers produced since 1997, the company says, and it can be installed easily by the end user. Testers currently running software versions prior to 7.1 may require hardware upgrades to support the functionality of version 7.4.