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April 21, 2010 Vol. 6, No. 8

Man, life’s been busy in the last month or so. First, the Work Truck Show in mid-March, then Mid America late last month, and just this past week it was our own Truck World 2010. In each case, especially the first two, there was a ton of product news to report, but I haven’t had the space in this little newsletter to cover it all.

It makes me wonder, frankly, if there’s reason to change the frequency of Lockwood’s Product Watch. Would a weekly e-newsletter be too much? I might be scraping the bottom of the barrel in the slow summer and winter months, but certainly not in the Spring and Fall.

Let me know what you think. Please.

AT TRUCK WORLD I WAS A BIT SURPRISED, but also very pleased, to see quite a few product introductions. Not just things first shown in Louisville but new to Canadian eyes, rather gizmos new to the world at large. Canadian shows don’t often carry such news.

But there was Fontaine Fifth Wheels using Truck World to launch its new Ultra series, a family of four new models with more to come at a later date.

One of the new units is a first for the company’s aftermarket division, Fontaine Parts Connection, namely a retrofit item for use on non-Fontaine fifth wheels. The new Ultra HR is designed to be a direct replacement for competitive standard-duty fifth-wheel top plates, while also incorporating a number of Fontaine-specific features — like its patented lock that prevents dangerous high hitching and an automatic secondary lock.

The new cast steel Ultra HR is similar in shape to the top plate it replaces and will fit existing lower bracket assemblies. No adapters are needed. The company is also offering a repair kit and OEM replacement parts for the Ultra HR fifth wheel.

Read more about the Ultra family in the individual items below.

We also saw the launch of a new engine oil at the show, Petro-Canada’s Duron-E Synthetic 5W40, that’s said to be well suited to extended drain intervals.

SEVERAL CANADIAN PRODUCTS first saw the light of public day at the show, perhaps the most interesting being an aerodynamic and fuel-efficient container chassis.

Whaaat? How on earth can a container chassis become aerodynamic? Well, you just add a skirt. I say ‘just’ but I think the design boys at Innovative Trailer Design Industries of Mississauga, Ont. worked pretty hard at this, an industry first. The ITD prototype at the show was a 53-ft tridem chassis with both skirts and wide-base single tires. It’s predicted to improve fuel efficiency by a whopping 10 to 15%. The chassis only weighs about 9700 lb, compared with 11,500 lb for a conventional type.

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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