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WHEEL SECURITY AND A REACH

November 9, 2011 Vol. 7, No. 25

A review of simple wheel-security tools was my main topic last time out, and I chose to do that because... well, with safety compliance getting tougher and with the penalties bigger than ever, I just thought it was time.

But there was one interesting product I didn't include, only because I couldn't confirm in time that it was still available. It is. I'm talking about the Skirt Nut distributed here in Canada by Safety Trigo

Last week I wrote about the Hub Alert decal from Spectra Products, the Lug Lock from SKF, and the bud-eze airtight fastener cover from bud-eze Systems (yes, lower case, not a typo). They each approach the task in a different way, and the Skirt Nut adds another route to wheel safety.

The Skirt Nut isn’t new, invented back in the 1980s by an experienced U.S. fleet operator, James Holmes, but it seems not to be widely known. I first wrote about it back in 2008. It replaces the standard flange nut on hub-piloted disc wheels and is said to eliminate torque loss while improving tire wear -- by a minimum of 25%, the manufacturer claims.

The idea here is that it will prevent ‘clocking’ or side-slipping of the wheel relative to the nut head. No matter how well or how often a standard flange nut is torqued, torque loss is created if a wheel is allowed to ‘clock’. A severe impact with a pothole, a very heavy brake application, a ‘torque twister’ jump start, or stress on the clamped joint resulting from excessive disc flexing – any of these can cause the wheel to clock. Even a stretch of rough road or an out-of-round tire can cause it, Safety Trigo says. 
 
That clocking action creates vibration because the wheel is rotating out-of-round to the hub. In turn it causes loosening as the nut threads begin to vibrate against the stud’s threads, followed by accelerated ‘clocking’ that’s often severe enough, the Skirt Nut maker says, to damage and elongate the stud hole, damage the stud, and cause rapid torque loss. If not checked the result will be catastrophic loss of wheel-end components.
 
"The problem isn't the level of maintenance," says Dave Brennan of Safety Trigo. "It isn't even related to the quality of the product being used, although that seems to be all over the map.
 
"The problem has very little to do with the wheel or the hub, either. The entire blame lies in the design of the wheel-attachment system, and specifically, the wheel nut. In a nutshell, you have a 22mm stud passing through a 26mm stud hole in the wheel. The other end of the stud is anchored firmly in the hub. That 4 mm difference allows the wheel to 'clock' back and forth on the stud circle."
 
The Skirt Nut is said to prevent that side-sliding, stress flexing or clocking, so the flange nuts simply won’t loosen, even under heavy load conditions or severe road vibration. Holmes’ solution was to build a nut that had a shank or ‘skirt’ that partially penetrates each bolt hole, in effect filling the space between the stud hole and the stud, eliminating the possibility for the wheel to move on the studs.
 
There’s just one part number, by the way, to fit all wheel positions on heavy-duty trucks and trailers, as well as school buses and coaches, using hub-piloted disc wheels and 22mm studs.

PRODUCTION HAS BEGUN FOR THE REACH, the new walk-in van from Isuzu Commercial Truck of America  and Utilimaster. It's being built at the latter’s assembly facility in Wakarusa, Ind., and trucks should be arriving at Isuzu’s network of 285 dealers about now.

I like this truck, for what it's worth, first shown this past winter at The Work Truck Show. It sports a clean Utilimaster body atop the Isuzu NPR chassis and is powered by Isuzu’s 3.0-litre diesel. It's said to get 35 percent better fuel economy than a traditional commercial van while offering the functionality of a custom-built work truck with the styling and ergonomics of a cargo van. Isuzu says the Reach offers best-in-class fuel mileage, delivering what it calls "a dramatically lower cost of ownership than traditional walk-in vans."

“We believe the Reach will truly revolutionize the commercial van market," says John Marshall, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Utilimaster. "We have worked extensively to design a body that offers significantly more interior height and width than other commercial vans, and it will have multiple design options to maximize utility and driver productivity.”
 
Among the vocational applications aimed at are everything from contractors to dry cleaners, florists to plumbers, moving and storage to food distributors. It's a pretty versatile machine.
 
The bio-diesel-compatible 4JJ1-TC 3.0-litre turbocharged engine generates 150 hp and is mated to an Aisin medium-duty six-speed automatic transmission. Both the engine and transmission have "class leading" B10 durability ratings of 310,000 miles, says Isuzu, meaning that 90% will reach that mileage before needing an overhaul. 
 
The Reach’s body uses lightweight composite materials that are said to deliver a 700-lb weight savings compared to traditional aluminum-and-steel construction. Its impact-resistant composite panels are designed to reduce overall maintenance costs. For example, in the event of a collision, the vehicle’s lower body cladding can easily and quickly be replaced with simple tools, reducing costly downtime.
 
The Reach is offered with a 151-in. wheelbase with either a 12- or 14-ft body. With an interior up to 27 in. higher than a conventional van, the cargo area can offer 540 or 630 cu ft of storage. The driver can quickly enter the cargo area without leaving the truck. 
 
An array of modular vocational packages offers buyers a choice of factory- or field-installed options designed to take full advantage of the van’s expansive aisle width and headroom, says Isuzu. The Reach is the only van to offer either rear swing doors or an integrated, composite roll-up door.  
 
Now, here's a pair of things I didn't know about Isuzu: it produced the world's first air-cooled diesel engine, back in 1936, and the first direct-injection diesel. Just FYI.
 
AND HERE'S A DAIMLER TRUCKS IDEA that I like, namely a day entirely dedicated to continuous improvement. Sounds a bit hokey on the face of it, maybe, but think about it. And think how often in your own work day you've said to yourself, 'Wish I could just step back for a minute and figure out how to do this better.' 
 
Happens to me all the time, but on-rushing deadlines and appointments and all the other claptrap of working life get in my way. I'm sure it's the same for you.
 
So at Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) they recently conducted their first 'Continuous Improvement Day'. The company-wide event involved all 3000 non-production personnel in offices throughout the U.S. and Mexico. 
 
All those employees spent the entire day working on nearly 1000 improvement projects focused on ways to improve day-to-day operations by jumpstarting new projects and re-energizing existing ones. They worked on improving workflows, implementing new processes, establishing best practices, and eliminating waste.
 
For example, says DTNA, one project tackled by the aftermarket group established best practices for finding alternate parts for customers when an original replacement part isn't available.
 

 
THIS NEWSLETTER IS NOW PUBLISHED every week. It's a heads-up notice about what's going on with trucking technology. I also write here about interesting products that may not have had the 'air play' they deserved within the last few months. 
 
I should remind you that I don’t endorse any of the products I write about in this e-newsletter, nor do I have the resources to test them. What you’re getting is reasonably well educated opinion based on more than three decades in trucking. 
 
If you have comments of whatever sort about Product Watch, or maybe you've tried a gizmo I should know about, please contact me at rolf@newcom.ca.

THREE HANKOOK TIRES

(November 02, 2011) -- New from Hankook Tire Canada are three tires aimed at short- and regional-haul work


DRIVER TRAINING

(November 02, 2011) -- Detroit Diesel launches new driver training video series


LUG-LOCKING DEVICE

(November 02, 2011) -- SKF's lug-lock mechanism flags loosened wheel nuts on hub-piloted wheels


COMPACT PTO

(November 02, 2011) -- Parker Chelsea introduces the new 870 Series PTO


IT'S CALENDAR SEASON

(November 02, 2011) -- Cool 2012 calendars from Kenworth and Shell

 
MAGAZINE ?

In This Issue

A look at Ontario's mandatory out-of-service quotas (Yup. They exist.), by Rolf Lockwood. Plus, a special focus on drivers, from retention to training — including the best fleets to drive for. And Jim Park explains how to choose the engine displacement that's best for you. That and much more in the April issue of Today's Trucking.

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