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

Remembering Pre-Trip Items

Things to remember about trying to remember necessary items for pre-trip inspection

If you’re doing it from memory, you might be missing some important steps

We found this great article from truckinginfo.com about pre-trip inspections.

How good are you at doing a pre-trip Inspection on a trailer? It’s supposed to be done just before the vehicle is pulled away from a parking place and heads for the highway. There are post-trip inspections, too, but let’s concentrate on the pre-tripper.

If you do it from memory, you’re probably missing something. See if you’d cover all these points as offered by East Manufacturing:

1. Inspect for any apparent damage. Look for oil, water and fuel and other fluid leaks.

2. Check to see that all lights function, and that all reflectors are in place and not obscured.

3. Is the kingpin engaged and locked within the fifth wheel?

4. Examine the landing gear for proper road clearance, and make sure the crank handle is securely stowed.

5. Check that the rear stairway door, if ther trailer has one, is securely latched before moving.

6. Check that all air springs are inflated, if it has an air suspension.

7. Make sure the spare tire is secure in the carrier, and that the carrier is securely bolted to the chassis.

8. Check tire air pressures. Tires should be inflated to tire manufacturer’s specifications.

9. Check wheel lug nuts for proper torque on disc wheels.

10. On wheels with see-through hubcaps, check the oil level in the wheel hubs. Add oil as needed, or get a shop guy to do it.

11. On wheels with solid hubcaps, pull plug and check oil level in wheel hubs, adding oil as needed (likewise about the shop).

12. Visually check the brake shoe lining and brake drums for wear […]

By |November 1st, 2016|Bentley News & Events, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Remembering Pre-Trip Items

Winter Weather Equipment Solutions

With the winter weather right around the corner, there are some precautions that you should keep in mind.

For instance, maintaining an electrical system that works to the best of its ability should be a main priority. With a well working electrical system, lighting for vehicles should face no difficulties, but just in case you do find yourself running into some problems with your electrical system, we are here to give you some helpful tips.

For starters, it is known that corrosion is the culprit of problems directly related to electrical/lighting issues. All electrical interfaces are exposed to both moisture and chemicals during the winter months and these interfaces will need protection to eliminate the stages of corrosion. As soon as corrosion has taken over the harness system, the entire harness is open to problems occurring immediate or in the near future.

Some tips that can potentially eliminate the start of corrosion include:
· Checking wiring for any cut or nick that could allow for moisture to enter

· Using only glue-filled, heat-shrink connectors when repairing wiring

· Ensuring connection of wires regularly

· Inspecting connectors regularly and replenishing grease when needed

It was found that the most susceptible to corrosion includes the J560 plug and socket because they are frequently exposed to elements that can attract moisture. When using the J560 plug, remember to keep it greased, but do not use dielectric grease on any plug that contains silicone. The dielectric grease will not allow proper sealing.

It is also very important to keep in mind that […]

By |September 21st, 2016|Bentley News & Events, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Winter Weather Equipment Solutions

Cooling System Preparations for Winter – Tech Tip Tuesday

One of the most important tasks that should completed before the cold of the winter sets in is to ensure that the cooling system in your vehicle is properly protected from the harmful weather conditions.

The coolant mixture used to defend against the cold should be a priority for all who want to keep their vehicles in good condition throughout the winter.

The American Trucking Association

The American Trucking Association’s Technology and Maintenance Council provides a checklist for all truck owners to help them practice safe habits when it comes to caring for their trucks throughout the cold season. This Recommended Practice states many different regulations concerning what types of coolant mixtures are best-suited for specific types of trucks, as well as the dangers of mixing more than one type of coolant.

Concerns and Cautions

One of the biggest and simplest mistakes that a truck owner can make during the winter months is to incorrectly mix the coolant used to protect the cooling system of the truck. Purchasing more than one brand of mixture can be costly because, if coolant is combined with a different brand, the engine may not function at its full capacity. A couple easy ways for a truck owner to make this mistake are if they use two different mixtures because they are constantly topping-off their engine, or if there is a leak in the system and they are being cautious and adding more coolant unnecessarily.

Keeping tabs on the types of coolant used in your trucks is a priority to ensure maximum productivity from your vehicles. Because there are some coolants that are compatible with one another, mixing can sometimes not produce negative results. However, as coolant mixture producers move farther away from […]

By |November 17th, 2015|Bentley News & Events, Commercial Trucking Industry, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Cooling System Preparations for Winter – Tech Tip Tuesday

Tips for Better Trailer Maintenance – Tech Tip Tuesday

 

 

 
9 Tips for Better Trailer Maintenance
When talk turns to maintenance, it’s usually the tractor that gets all the attention. While today’s trailers are designed to last longer, they still need some TLC.

The following trailer maintenance tips can help ensure your trailers are always in top operating condition.

1. Check the air

Tires are a major expense, so they deserve your attention. “Proper tire air pressure is key to tire longevity,” says Mike Goor, president of Contract Leasing Corp., a trailer leasing, sales and service company. Since drivers are often too busy to check tires as they should, he recommends tire pressure monitoring or inflation systems.

However, these systems need their own attention, notes John Morgan, senior product manager at Meritor. “Check the supply hose connection to the tire on a regular basis and occasionally look for leaks.”

Chris Steph, Stemco Intelligent Transportation Systems business leader, suggests these three simple checks:

• Verify that the system pressure is set correctly

• Check the auxiliary battery switch (ABS)/auxiliary power fuse

• Check the system shut-off valve position.

More specifically, check regulator pressure at least once a quarter and check the power fuse monthly, since the driver warning lamp will not illuminate without power. The system shut-off valve needs to be checked every time there is a visual inspection of the trailer.

If your tires are properly inflated but you’re still seeing tire wear, the problem is probably not with the tires, says Russ Franks, field service manager for Meritor. “Unusual tire wear is an indication you have something wrong with the undercarriage, suspension, shock absorbers or axle alignment.”

2. Inspect suspensions

Visually inspect suspensions looking for signs of irregular wear, tears or heat cracks on the air springs, advises Dave Vanette, new business development manager at Firestone Industrial […]

By |February 10th, 2015|Tech Tips, Truck Service|Comments Off on Tips for Better Trailer Maintenance – Tech Tip Tuesday

Truck Tips for Winter Maintenance

Helpful Information and Tips for Winter Commercial Truck Maintenance

We found this helpful article on the truckinginfo.com website. Save time and money on your fleet with these easy truck tips.

Make sure your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained before the winter season begins to keep your fleet up and running. The following steps will help you ensure that your vehicle is as prepared as possible to weather the winter roads.

Keep a vehicle running at highway speeds in extreme temperatures vs. idling so it can reach the temperature threshold required for the regeneration and Diesel Engine Fluid cycling processes.

Plug in the engine block heater on all diesel trucks each night – even when the temperature feels warm. The longer a truck sits, the more crucial it is to plug it in.

Be sure the vehicle is at normal operating temperature when you plug in your block heater. Block heaters maintain temperature; they are not designed to heat coolant from ambient temperatures.

Avoid cold soaks. Cold soaks occur when the engine fluids and the steel of the engine block drop to ambient temperatures. This happens when a vehicle sits for more than a day and it impacts starting and charging systems.

Be sure to get a correctly blended fuel with a cloud point additive to prevent fuel filter waxing, especially if you are not fueling at a Ryder location.

Base your fuel needs on your destination weather. Use winter weight fuel when driving north and consider fuel additives.

Check your tires often. Freezing temperatures can cause slippery driving conditions. Having correctly inflated tires in good condition will help prevent breakdowns and accidents.

Have drivers pre-trip their trucks daily. This should include inspecting their vehicle for frozen components like trailer doors, power cords, etc. If […]

By |January 6th, 2015|Bentley News & Events, Commercial Trucking Industry, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Truck Tips for Winter Maintenance

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

Driving in heavy traffic video for fleet drivers – Tech Tip Tuesday

Does and Dont’s for driving while in heavy traffic

We found this AAA video for drivers on the automtoive-fleet.com website.

In congested traffic, many drivers are more tempted to check email, send a text message, fiddle with the music player, or simply daydream. But it’s critical for drivers to maintain focus when traffic is heavy, rather than letting their guard down and becoming distracted.

Inattentive drivers make highway congestion worse because they fail to take measures that can help keep traffic flowing. These are simple steps that also promote greater safety and fuel efficiency.

Here’s a AAA video that explains what those measures are. You may want to pass this advice along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder. Click on the photo or link above to watch the video.

By |September 16th, 2014|Commercial Trucking Industry, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Driving in heavy traffic video for fleet drivers – Tech Tip Tuesday

Driving During a Dust Storm – Tech Tip Tuesday

Important safety infomration for truckers about driving during dust storms

We found this helpful article and video on the www.automotive-fleet.com website

Dust storms, in an instant, can dramatically reduce visibility and create driving conditions that can lead to major chain collisions. The biggest mistake that drivers make is failing to pull completely off the road when they see a massive cloud of dust approaching.

Here’s some advice, provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation, to educate your fleet drivers on how to respond to this extremely dangerous weather event.

,

• Always avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
• If you encounter a dust storm, immediately check traffic around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
• Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway — do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can.
• Don’t stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane. Look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.
• Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.
• Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
• Stay in the vehicle with your seat belts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.
• Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.

www.automotive-fleet.com

By |August 26th, 2014|Commercial Trucking Industry, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Driving During a Dust Storm – Tech Tip Tuesday

Cruise Control Can Help – Tech Tip Tuesday

Here’s some helpful info about cruise control for your fleet drivers

FROM THE DESK OF THE SAFETY PROFESSIONAL ON FLEETRESPONSE.COM WEBSITE: CRUISE CONTROL

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 |August 12th, 2014|Bentley News & Events, Commercial Trucking Industry, Tech Tips|Comments Off on Cruise Control Can Help – Tech Tip Tuesday