commercial truck tech tips

Camber and Caster Alignment – Tech Tip Tuesday

Helpful information on Camber and Caster Alignment Information for Technicians

Camber or Caster or a combination of the two seem to be one of the most popular settings for alignment technicians. To be clear, Camber is the inward or outward tilt of the tires relative to vertical and Caster is the forward or rear ward tilt of the king pin relative to the same. Camber is built into the axle and caster is accomplished by elevating the mounts for the front or rear of the leaf springs combined with tapered wedges between the springs and the axle. Since the axle is built with little or no difference in caster from one side to the other (no more than .5 degrees) and is intended to remain that way, use of wedges on one spring stack and not the other, or wedges place in opposition to one another is not a recommended practice. Many alignment techs use Caster and Camber to try and control the tendency of the vehicle to pull in one direction or the other. In fact all manufacturers of axles used in North America that I am aware of: “Expressly prohibits bending of axle beams (hot or cold) to change camber or for any other purpose.” This quote is from the Dana Service Manual and similar statements can be found in all other axle manufacturer’s manuals. This is one of the reasons that I do not spend time on these settings. The other reason is that the steer axle is not the dominate axle under the vehicle.

Consider this: In the US, a standard highway tractor will have one steer axle and two drive axles. The steer axle will carry a normal load of about 12,000 […]

By |November 8th, 2016|Bentley News & Events, Commercial Trucking Industry, Safety & Compliance, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Camber and Caster Alignment – Tech Tip Tuesday

Maintaining Shock Absorbers and Air Springs

Suspension performance suffers if they’re not in working order.
Air suspensions cushion the ride for drivers, vehicles and loads. Among their components are the springs themselves and shock absorbers, which help control the movement of the bags and the rest of the suspension. These parts are subject to wear and aging, and must be regularly inspected and repaired or replaced when necessary.

The American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council recently revised its Recommended Practice 643A, Air Ride Suspension Maintenance Guidelines.

“Generally speaking, air springs are very durable components,” says John Healy with Stemco, which offers Goodyear brand air springs.

Because they’re made of rubber, air bags usually “age out” before they wear out, notes Dave Vanette, new business development manager at Firestone Industrial Products. “This aging out process has a lot to do with the heat history of the part and exposure to ozone,” he explains. If an air spring is run predominately where the average temperature is high, it accelerates this process.

Read the full article here.

Visit our Tech Tips section here.

Contact us to share your preventative maintenance tips and tricks.

By |December 29th, 2015|Commercial Trucking Industry, Preventative Care, Tech Tips, Truck Parts, Truck Service|Comments Off on Maintaining Shock Absorbers and Air Springs

The Importance Of Keeping DEF Pure – Tech Tip Tuesday


What can you do to ensure the purity of the DEF you put in your trucks?

Since the 2010 emissions regulations, Selected Catalytic Reduction has been a fact of life, and with it Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

SCR doesn’t work without DEF. SCR is an aftertreatment technology that injects small amounts of DEF into an engine’s hot exhaust stream to reduce NOx emissions. DEF is made from urea, an ammonia-based chemical, and dionizeddeionized water. The proper solution is 32.5% high-purity urea mixed with very high-purity water.

When working properly in the exhaust, DEF vaporizes and forms ammonia and carbon dioxide. When the exhaust gas and ammonia are passed over the catalyst, NOx is converted to nitrogen and water. Not much can go wrong in the process as long as the DEF is properly formulated. But problems can occur when DEF is blended incorrectly or it becomes contaminated in the distribution process through incorrect procedures and handling.

Poor quality DEF can cause problems in the injection system that introduces the DEF into the exhaust. It can also cause premature failure of the catalyst. If the DEF has been contaminated and therefore is not cleaning the truck exhaust properly, a downstream NOx sensor will send a fault code to warn the driver of a problem. It will also light up the malfunction indicator light and in extreme cases cause the engine to derate.

What can you do to ensure the purity of the DEF you put in your trucks?

One way to ensure the quality of the DEF is to make sure it is API registered and meets ISO 22241 standards.

You should also always use equipment dedicated exclusively for dispensing and storing DEF. Don’t use funnels or bottles from other products. If you […]

By |December 16th, 2014|Tech Tips, Truck Service|Comments Off on The Importance Of Keeping DEF Pure – Tech Tip Tuesday

Get Ready for Winter with these Tips – Tech Tips

Tips for Getting Winter Ready

Now is as good as ever to conduct a pre-winter check on your truck. Cold weather is tough on vehicles. Snow, freezing temperatures, ice, slush and salt can wreak havoc on trucks. Keep your truck moving as temperatures fall with the below tips:

1. Monitor tire pressure and tread depth for a safe and economic trip. Rule of thumb is that for every 10 degree change in temperature, tires adjust by one PSI. Under-inflated tires wear quicker and cause loss of fuel mileage; they can also overheat and fail at highway speeds. Uneven or excessive tire wear may result from improper alignment or the need for a suspension adjustment. Some states implement tire chain laws early.

2. Load test batteries to maintain power to the unit. Cold weather can make starting more difficult and as batteries age and deteriorate, material degrades or falls off and plates become less powerful. Batteries that pass gravity or open-circuit voltage tests may still have a hard time maintaining voltage when electrical loads consume large amounts of current.

3. Inspect heaters and cooling systems to stay warm as temperatures drop. Check the radiator, hoses and belts for any issues that may worsen in colder temperatures and could lead to engine damage. Maintain the accurate freeze protection level in coolant. Replace cabin filters, blow debris from heater cores and ensure any shut off valves are reopened.

4. Prevent line freezing by checking all components of the air system. Any moisture found in the air system has a higher chance of freezing as temperatures drop. Ensure the air dryer is operating properly and drain air tanks daily. Check the fuel and water separator and drain the bowl so it does not freeze […]

By |October 21st, 2014|Safety & Compliance, Tech Tips, Truck Service|Comments Off on Get Ready for Winter with these Tips – Tech Tips

Cruise control in your truck equals safety

Cruise Control can help

This week’s tech tip post is about cruise control, safety and commercial trucks. We found this interesting article on the Fleet Response website about cruise control and your commercial truck.

Cruise control can be beneficial when used under proper road, climate and traffic conditions. It enables you to maintain a safe speed without keeping your foot on the gas pedal thereby reducing driver fatigue during a long trip. While there are benefits it is important to know when it is appropriate to use the system.

In order to be a safer driver, only use cruise control when:

-The pavement is dry (no rain, sleet, ice or snow
-The road is straight and clear ahead (not under repair, no barricades or posted detours
-Traffic is light and all lanes are moving at reasonable speeds

It is not safe to use cruise control when:

-You cannot drive at a steady speed
-You are driving on winding roads or in heavy traffic
-The road is under repair or construction with obstacles or barricades on the roadway
-You do not have clear visibility of the road ahead
-There is heavy vehicle or pedestrian traffic or signal control lights at frequent intervals

By |March 26th, 2014|Bentley News & Events, Commercial Trucking Industry, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Cruise control in your truck equals safety