Truck News


CFMS covers all the bases

TORONTO, Ont. - The 2004 Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar, held in May at the Inn on the Park in Toronto, kicked off with a seminar introducing delegates to new products and programs.

MINI: The MIni-Marker is less prone to damage. It lies flush with the trailer.
MINI: The MIni-Marker is less prone to damage. It lies flush with the trailer.

TORONTO, Ont. – The 2004 Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar, held in May at the Inn on the Park in Toronto, kicked off with a seminar introducing delegates to new products and programs.

Suzanne Moyer, a training consultant for the Ontario Apprenticeship Board, took the podium first to tout the apprenticeship program for truck mechanics. (More information on the program is available at under “training.”

Next came Terry Scullion, sales and product supply manager for Detroit Diesel, introducing the DDEC V electronic control module for the new Series 60 2004 engine, released in December 2003.

The module, upgraded every four years, has increased memory and processing speed and has two 68 pin connectors instead of the previous six. Benefits of the new module include the increased ability to add further options to engines, improved seals to prevent water intrusion on the connectors and improved integration with other vehicle control systems, said Scullion.

The module also has a slimmer profile, improved harness retention and sealing and still doesn’t need extra cooling, he added.

Hardware improvements include stud guides to assist technicians, easier access on the face of the module and a corrosion resistant plated connector.

All with the same mounting footprint as the DDEC IV, Scullion hastened to add.

The application and installation manual is now available on the DDC Extranet. For more information on the DDEC V and access to the Extranet visit

Robert Topping, national accounts manager for Con Met (Consolidated Metco), spoke about the Simplex SE fifth wheel top plate.

While the new design maintains its 12-component operating mechanism with five moving parts (for quick rebuild), and its no-lube polyurethane shoes and pads, the top plate has been retooled to maximize surface contact and extend product life.

The new top plate also includes a new eccentric pin design allowing for finer increments of slack adjustment, a new handle design for improved driver ergonomics, a visual safety indicator to let the driver know the wheel is properly coupled and a new jaw return spring to prevent the jaw from closing during bobtailing.

Topping also mentioned the Simplex SE Slider, which he said is 42 lbs. lighter than the company’s previous design.

The one-piece saddle plate casting reduces the number of components for weight and complexity reduction, while modular segments streamline the assembly operation, he said.

For more information on the SE top plates and slider visit

Jonathan Fava, safety division account manager for Groenveld CPL Systems, provided an introduction to Groenveld’s Rear Obstacle Detection Active System.

The system provides continuous detection while the vehicle is in reverse, in cab display, and both audio and visual alerts. Single or multiple sensors are available, Fava said.

Six interactive sensors are standard, he added, and the system can detect up to five objects simultaneously. The detection area is limited to the blind zone behind the truck, Fava added.

For more information on Groenveld’s rear obstacle detection systems visit

Delco-Remy’s Intelli-Check II systems analyzer was the subject of the presentation by Canadian sales and service manager Jack Shantz.

Shantz described how to use the hand-held systems analyzer to conduct voltage drop tests.

The programmable device is designed to detect low batteries and alternators that overcharge, have less rated output, or don’t charge at all.

According to Shantz the Intelli-Check permits technicians to accurately analyze any vehicle’s charging system in five minutes or less. Since it computes and interprets results for technicians, specialized training is not required.

For fleets, this represents a cost saving opportunity, since alternators are often removed unnecessarily due to lack of proper tools or lack of knowledge about how to use and/or interpret the tools.

For more information on the Intelli-Check II visit

Next on the panel was Steve McCallum, territory (GTA) service manager for Roadranger, with a talk on the Eaton-Fuller UltraShift 10-speed automated transmission.

Introduced in 2003, the UltraShift includes an optional “Cobra” hand shifter for drivers (the keypad shift control is standard).

The two pedal system also includes an inertia brake for fast shifts, that serves as a clutch brake and clutchless “float shifting” between gears, as well as clutch abuse detection technology.

It is offered in four torque capacities from 1,050-lb.-ft. to 1,650-lb.-ft. Features and benefits also include an automatic start with no clutch pedal, “skip-shifting” provided as operating and load conditions allow, and an Eaton Fuller “DM AutoClutch.”

For more info visit

Don Raitzer, from product engineering at Hayes Lemmerz International, introduced delegates to the new Motor Wheel ADI (austempered ductile iron) hubs.

ADI hubs are comparable to aluminum hubs in terms of weight, and have high strength and damage resistance, Raitzer explained.

Of course galvanic corrosion is not an issue, he added.

Austempered ductile iron is ductile iron casting with a special heat treatment that gives it extra strength, Raitzer explained.

It has twice as much ductile strength as ductile iron, he said.

For more information visit

Last but not least came Greg Jordon, Canadian area director for Truck-Lite, introducing a number of new lighting options, including the 960 series turn signal switch, the Super 44 security flange, the Super 44 series security grommet, the LED strobe, the Model 40 auxiliary lamp, designed specifically for trailers, front and read end loader all LED retrofit kits, and the new Signal Stat LED, available in four models, with high count LED and epoxy-encapsulated.

But the new LED mini-marker was the highlight of the presentation.

The world’s smallest LED marker (depth and diameter are the size of a dime) exceeds legal requirements (DOT and SAE), has a single diode pattern, and is available with a grommet or flange mount.

With a hardwired lamp design, it’s easily retrofitted, draws less current, allowing more power for other vehicle requirements and completely sealed in epoxy to resist corrosion and moisture, Jordon added.

The mini marker is ideal for trailers and rear doors because it’s so flexible, he said.

Not to mention its potential as a decorative item, he added.

Jordon also made mention of Truck-Lite’s LED strip lighting, the company’s interior trailer lamp, and the LED headlamp.

For more information on the above products visit

Performance based brake testing – friend or foe?

There should be a standard level for brake testing, according to Jamie Collishaw, with the traffic support unit of the Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P.) and a member of the CFMS panel on performance brake testing.

Collishaw said he uses PBBT, a physical measurement of the braking force produced by a vehicle when it brakes, for accident and collision investigations with Class A vehicles.

“PBBT is fast and non-intrusive, it quantifies the brake operation and timing and it is a dynamic test of a dynamic system. It would provide a more thorough means of looking at the supply system than conventional methods like checking for chaffing of hoses.”

Panelist Miles Fuller, president of Vehicle Inspection Systems, a consulting company for service shops, said service shops are adopting PBBT technology quickly, because there is a direct profit motive and fleets have indicated some interest as well. But cost savings are not yet well understood.

The insurance industry is beginning to offer incentives for fleets which h
ave employed the PBBT technology because there are huge safety benefits to using the testing procedure, he added.

PBBT is also a good idea for fleets because it distinguishes whether or not other problems can be attributed to the brake system, said Dale Holman, president of Truck Watch Services.

“We tested 5,000 vehicles and over 90 per cent of those vehicles had some form of brake defect, but yet many of them didn’t think their problem had to do with the brake system,” said Holman.

With PBBT, panelist Jamie Shaw of ECL Carriers found his drivers learned more about their rig and the way it works and ultimately they felt more confident.

“It’s more important to be able to stop quicker than to go quicker,” said Shaw.

“We’ve tested our engines for years to see why we aren’t the first to the top of the hill, so why aren’t we testing our brakes to see why we are the first to the bottom?”

For more information, visit or

Wide base wheels

The debate over the use of wide-base wheels continued at CFMS with a morning session entitled “Wide Base Wheels – Knowing the Facts.”

“Today’s dual tires are more fuel efficient and safer and give better traction than years ago, however, we still have to continue to progress and a wide-base single tire is the way to do that,” said panelist Ralph Beaveridge, marketing director for Michelin North America.

A wide base tire improves braking ability, is more stable and decreases the amount of weight per axle, said Beaveridge, adding drivers say they provide better handling.

But wide base tires do raise questions about retreading and maintenance. Al Eagleson, district sales manager for Bandag was on hand to discuss the capabilities of retreading the wider tires.

“The retreading process considers buffing capabilities, expanding the hub and a proper curing envelope,” said Eagleson.

“Not many shops in Canada are equipped for proper buffing, a new piece of equipment is likely necessary for hub expansion and some companies would have to get a similar enveloping system to Bandag’s.”

The wide base tire question is a challenge for the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) primarily because of pavement rutting and the effects the tires may have on the infrastructure.

“There needs to be a balance between highway safety, environmental issues, interjurisdictional harmonization, industry productivity and infrastructure damage,” said Ron Madill, project manager – vehicle weight and dimension reforms for the MTO.

For more information visit or or

Is stability control worth the investment?

Installing tractor and trailer stability control options is an effective way to reduce rollover accidents in fleets, CFMS delegates learned, at the Monday afternoon seminar entitled “Roll Stability.”

While education about load positioning and keeping truck speeds down are the most immediate and least costly ways of dealing with rollovers, panelist Mark Mellatat, with fleet sales and training at ArvinMeritor, said the problem that drivers face is that rollover potential changes with the load they’re hauling.

“The higher the centre of gravity, the greater the potential for a rollover,” he said. “…By the time you recognize (you’re in a rollover situation) it’s too late.”

And rollovers are costly. Wayne Scott, maintenance director for Challenger Motor Freight, one of the nation’s largest carriers, said the bill for a rollover could run over half a million dollars when the cost to replace the truck and trailer, pay for the clean up, damage to the load and WSIB costs in the event of a fatality are included. Never mind higher insurance premiums and lost CVOR points.

Challenger is looking at dealing with the issue through the installation of a tractor stability control system. It has been testing the system on 15 of its rigs for the past eight months, said Scott. The system costs about $800 per truck.

“The system does work,” Scott said. “It’s hard to put an ROI on it because you won’t know how many accidents it has prevented but I don’t understand how it can not be a standard spec’ in your fleets. Rollovers represent about five per cent of accidents. If I save one accident I could put it in 65 of our units.”

Automated transmissions in the future

The three-pedal ballet may be a trucking industry fixture but it’s no longer the most efficient way to manage shifting of heavy rigs, a panel on automated transmissions told delegates at the seminar entitled “Automated Transmissions – then and now.”

Liz Woodhull of Arvin Meritor said her company’s Freedom Line of automated transmissions can deliver three to five per cent fuel savings on average over manual transmissions. She acknowledged, however, that when compared against the best drivers, automated transmissions may deliver only about a one per cent difference in fuel savings.

“You are going to see your biggest gains in your beginning drivers,” Woodhull said.

The shifting efficiency of drivers on manual transmissions is also compromised by the growing list of tasks they are expected to handle while driving – receiving and sending satellite messages, speaking on mobile phones and dealing with increasing traffic gridlock, she added.

There is also a generation gap that needs to be addressed.

“The drivers today may have never seen what a manual transmission looks like. To attract drivers from other than the usual pool, you are going to have to change your technology,” she said.

Panelist Mark Osinski, program manager with Eaton’s heavy duty transmissions, said a manual clutch can take 50-60 pounds of force to press to the floor, making it difficult for women and smaller-bodied people to handle.

Woodhull said future advances in automated transmission technology will focus on increased electronic integration, making shifts even faster.

There will also be benefits on the maintenance side, with electronics providing greater accuracy in fault detection.

Osinski, however, pointed out that space on the J-1939 data link is getting busy.

“We are starting to see some limits,” he said.

Power basics

A rig’s power has to be maintained and cared for just like any other part of the truck, according to Blair McLaughlin of Exide Batteries, who addressed CFMS delegates at the Tuesday morning session about basic power unit electrics.

“Over 80 per cent of batteries fail because of sulfation,” said McLaughlin.

Sulfation occurs when soft lead crystals form on the surfaces of the positive and negative plates of the battery, so in order to help combat this, batteries should be fully charged and cleaned as part of a regular maintenance program, he said.

The best way to charge a battery is at low amps, said McLaughlin, but often times mechanics want to get the vehicle in and out of the shop quickly so that doesn’t always happen.

The average shelf life of a battery is six months, he added, depending on storage temperature.

“Batteries have a self discharge rate of 10 per cent per month and the warmer the storage area, the faster the self discharge rate is, so cooler temperatures are better,” McLaughlin said.

Building up a battery bank is a good way to cut costs and make a mechanic’s job easier, said panelist Fraser Cox of Quinte Alternator & Starter Ltd.

“Determine the date of each battery, charge the good ones and label and store properly,” said Cox.

“For long haul trucks, batteries generally last two years but locally run truck batteries usually last three years or sometimes even more.”

Multiplexing is becoming more prevalent in heavy duty trucks, added panelist Len Copeland, product support manager for Freightliner.

“Multiplexing is doing more with less,” said Copeland.

“A multiplexed vehicle has 40 per cent fewer wires so there is definite advantages when it comes to vehicle weight
and design flexibility.”

Starters and alternators are also important components of a truck’s electrical system and low system voltage causes failure and ultimately causes cost increases, said Randy Andis, fleet operations director for Delco Remy International.

“The closer the starter and alternator are to the battery, the better electrical system you’ll have in your truck,” said Andis.

For battery testing procedures, visit

Focus on trailer liability

Tuesday’s “Hooking on to Responsibility and Liability” seminar focused on trailer liability issues.

The seminar drove home the point that carriers are, more often than not, responsible for trailer malfunctions, once the trailers are hooked to their power units, whether or not they own them.

Presenter Dale Holman, of Truck Watch Services, based in Georgetown, Ont. took the podium first, to emphasize the importance of completing a pre-trip report verifying that trailer lights work, that there are no flat tires, and that trailer brakes appear to be in adjustment.

He then described potential hazards, for example poor compatibility between tractor and trailer brake characteristics, faulty or worn connections, dust covers which make checking the condition of brakes difficult, the potential that dust covers have to fly off and cause accidents or damages, and brake wear and adjustment flaws, as well as faulty valve assembly.

Holman pointed to on-road service as a potential source of faulty brake repairs and valve replacements, and the importance of checking repairs when tractors and trailers arrive at the terminal.

For more information on safe maintenance practices, visit

Next came Gordon Russell, safety and compliance manager for Canada Cartage System, who described the responsibilities of management, dispatchers and drivers when it comes to pre- and post-trip inspections (drivers at Canada Cartage are paid for the time they spend doing inspections, he pointed out), and the importance of adopting preventative strategies to reduce carrier liability.

Education of carrier sales staff when it comes to developing new accounts is foremost said Russell. Sales staff must not agree to haul for a new customer until that customers’ trailers are thoroughly inspected by the carrier’s own mechanics.

Sales staff must also cost services according to the type and condition of trailers.

And policies and procedures for trailer repair must be established with the client up front.

Like Holman, Russell said trailers and tractors must be properly matched.

For more information on Canada Cartage Systems, visit

Ray Camball, fleet sales manager for Trailmobile, came last, with tips on how to spec’ trailers.

Choose a design that will avoid problems that take the trailer off the road, Camball advised. Ontario and the East Coast present the greatest challenge for trailer longevity because of corrosion, and the fact that payloads in these areas tend to be 20 per cent heavier than elsewhere.

Cold weather and salt causing corrosion, cracks and bends, light and wiring wear, contamination in air lines, faulty brake design and repair mistakes, damage to interiors and exteriors as well as ice and debris damage are what commonly put trailers off the road, Camball said.

Trailer spec’ers in high corrosion areas should also avoid stainless steel doorframes for aluminum frames, added Camball. Galvanized door frames protect the panels and threshold.

To avoid corrosion of aluminum rails, avoid the use of aids and brighteners, he said.

Rusted wheels cry out to inspectors, he added, and are more difficult to repair on the road.

As for connector maintenance, some trailer owners spray the outside of the connector annually with a liquid corrosion inhibitor, Camball said.

Filters can be used on gladhands to prevent airline contamination. They can also be used on supply lines.

And alcohol should not be used to thaw out frozen valves. Air drain cables should be routed or supported somehow to avoid ice problems.

As for finding out before it’s too late that your air tank is low, a pressure switch connected to a warning light could easily be attached to the front wall.

When it comes to trailer brake spec’ing, pick your priority system – spring or service reservoir. Brakes should also be balanced, match your linings, axle loads and AL factor (chamber area versus slack adjuster length.)

Spec’ according to your loads, said Camball. For further info on trailer spec’ing visit

Data bus overload

“Data bus overload” was the title of the seminar that kicked off Wednesday’s seminars.

Roger Morin, education services manager for Volvo and Mack Trucks, Canada, took the podium first, with a basic introduction to how the data link works.

Most technicians are now familiar with the J1587/J1708 communications standards used in heavy truck applications, he explained. The link uses a twisted pair of wires to communicate data for the operation of gauges, diagnostic messages and to perform programming functions.

Due to the increased number of functions that have been added to trucks, data links have become more complex.

That’s why the high speed control link J1939 was created, to operate in conjunction with the J1587 link and help carry even more data, in the form of electronic pulses to the vehicle controls and/or diagnostic tools. The J1939 is now crucial to the operation of many of the vehicle’s systems, Morin said.

The developmental history of the data links was the subject of Lyle Adams’ presentation.

The regional sales and operations manager for Detroit Diesel described the introduction of electronic engines from 1985 to 1994, during which the J1587 was first added, and the subsequent introduction of the electronic instrument cluster in 1995, followed quickly by the ABS ECU 9 electronic control unit, and the transmission ECU, which necessitated the addition of the J1539 data bus.

With its speed and ability to allow engine control from outside devices such as traction control, and optimized idle, the J1939 has a major role to play in 2007 EPA-compliant engines, said Adams.

The data bus will handle particulate filter management, as well as on-board diagnostics, he predicted.

For more information on how Detroit Diesel plans to meet the 2007 challenge for on-highway trucks, visit

Mark Spong national maintenance manager for Ryder Logistics, followed up with his view of the benefits and the pitfalls of ECUs.

Benefits include improved emission compliance, engine/transmission and component management, fuel economy and driver management, he said. Pitfalls include increased up front and repair costs, increased training costs and difficulty when it comes to roadside repairs.

Spec’ing considerations on late model trucks should include questions about diagnostic equipment requirements, Spong said.

What will OEMs read and or repair? And just how many functions can one diagnostic tool perform?Can the tool in question live in your shop? Are upgrades in software easily available?

And is training and/or other support included with purchase?

Keep your future growth in mind too, as your fleet mix will determine the future cost of tools.

Manufacturer support is vital, Spong said, as is printing out ECMs to provide supporting documentation for warranty claims.

For more information on Ryder Logistics and Transportation Solutions Worldwide, visit

Scott Rains, technical regional manager for Roadranger, closed the seminar with a brief description of mobile diagnostic tools and how they talk to the data bus, specifically J1587 which communicates diagnostic information to the technician.

Rains predicted J1939 will eventually replace J1587. But for the time being the data bus links vehicle ECUs to each other.

hnicians should be trained to recognize system failures, said Rains, such as those due to missing terminating resistors, a damaged wire harness, connectors not being seated properly and ECU/ECM failure, linked to a shorted ground or battery, an open link or CAN message errors.

J1939 system failure symptoms include: a transmission that won’t shift, a throttle pedal with no effect, engine rpms decreasing or increasing, the vehicle feeling like it’s in neutral or cruise control malfunctions.

For further information on mobile diagnostics, visit

Health and wealth

“Regulator requirements in the workplace” was the subject of the last seminar held Wednesday.

The seminar focused on shop safety practices, management responsibility, legal requirements and what to expect during an audit.

Joel Rabideau, national safety, health and security manager for Ryder mounted the podium first, with a talk on shop health and safety practices.

Dennis Tshirhart, a consultant with the Industrial Accident Prevention Association followed with a briefing on the contents of the “little green book” – the Ontario Health and Safety Act and its requirements.

And Workwell evaluator Jan Maklak, with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario followed with a summary of what you can expect out of an audit if your company is judged to have one too many workplace safety-related accidents.

All of the above emphasized the importance of adopting compliance procedures as a preventative measure.

And they all emphasized the importance of documentation in the course of an audit or investigation.

For more information on the requirements of the Ontario health and safety Act and compliance requirements, visit and

Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
All posts by

Print this page

Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *