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July 16, 2011

Recordsetting Truck Climb

First time out, Mike Ryan and Freightliner Cascadia set a new record in New Hampshire’s Climb to the Clouds. Ryan, the first competitor ever to race a heavy-duty truck in this event, reached a top speed of 94 mph and completed the course in an impressive 8:02 minutes, establishing a new record.

The Dirty Dozen - Leading Causes of Truck Breakdowns

Sifting the data from one of the nation’s biggest breakdown services shows where the biggest truck breakdown problems lie.

FleetNet America is one of the largest truck breakdown service agencies in the nation and the company’s customers call by the hundreds of thousands for a tow or a roadside repair. The boss is Oren Summer, an industry leader who has built an organization that utilizes a network of more than 60,000 truck repair vendors to assist in providing vehicle repair and emergency road service throughout the continental United States and Canada. Summer has looked back at the last five years of summary data to identify the Top 12 reasons for roadside callouts. Here are the most likely causes for breakdowns for anyone operating a class 3 through 8 truck.

July 14, 2011

Fifth Wheel Lubrication is a Messy Business

Most of the grease that you squirt or squeegee on to the fifth wheel is either peeled off on the front of the trailer or it squishes out between the upper coupler and the fifth wheel plate. Either way, it drops on the tractor frame or the trailer crossmembers and finally falls on the parking lot or the highway. The remaining lube washes off from road spray and then you have to put more grease on again.

Do the math: The grease plunked on America's fifth wheels every year adds up to 40 million pounds, or a thousand truckloads of grease that slips and drips its way on to the ground.

Heavy-Truck Glider Kits

Heavy-truck glider kits used to be popular when the truck manufacturers offered them. Some truck owners would go to extraordinary lengths to “build” their own trucks so they could get the specs they preferred. Bill Signs Trucking comes to mind. This heavy-haul outfit used to assemble fire-breathin’ Peterbilts like Pappa Clyde, a V8 Cat-powered truck that, back in the day, was opened up to win the 1,000-hp challenge on the Hawthorn Caterpillar rolling-road dynamometer.

July 13, 2011

Detroit Rolls Out Welcome Mat

Here’s something to make the day a little more interesting if you’re in Michigan next month. Detroit Diesel has announced that in recognition of all of the hard-working truck drivers that keep America’s economy rolling, it has designated August as “Detroit Diesel Driver Appreciation Month.”

July 12, 2011

Stay Safe POPH Drivers

POSH – a word that for more than a century has been used to describe upper-crust members of British society – is according to that somewhat doubtful reference Wikipedia, a backronym. A bacronym, says Wikipedia, is a word that’s wrongly assumed to be an acronym with the associated reference a manufactured phrase. In the case of POSH, it’s widely accepted to be the acronym for Port Out, Starboard Home.

July 11, 2011

Mack Moves Mountains

An interesting comparison between trucking in America and trucking in Europe shows that on the continent where the manual gearshift dominates the passenger car field, nearly all heavy trucks have automated gearshifts. Here in America, though, where virtually every car is an automatic, trucks are manually shifted.

That could be set to change if truck manufacturers can offer automatic transmissions as good as Mack’s mDrive, an automated 12-speed that’s smart, slick, and makes every driver a star performer. At the Mid America Show, Mack’s on-highway product planning manager Jerry Warmkessel said that the mDrive has been so well received that it could account for 40% of production within two years.