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February 29, 2012 Vol. 8, No. 5

There’s a ‘weasel clause’ at the end of this newsletter in which I state what should be obvious: that I don’t explicitly or implicitly endorse any of the products I write about here. Yes, once a year I declare 10 or so faves but that’s as far as it goes, and I figure I’m entitled to an opinion after all this time.

Nor do I have the resources to test products, with some rare exceptions like little iPad apps. I certainly don’t have the means to conduct SAE Type-whatever tests to determine things like fuel consumption.

That weasel clause has been there for eight years now but I feel the need to remind you guys about it. This arises because an old friend of mine, a very smart guy, an engineer and SAE member, recently noted that I allowed a fuel-efficiency claim to appear as fact. He was right, to a point. Now, 999 times out of 1000 I’ll write that company ABC “claims” that its magic gizmo saves X% fuel, as I did in this case – with the exception of one final sentence where I forgot to insert the “claims to save” qualification.

My buddy may seem to be picking nits here but he's not. In the particular case he was referring to, the claimed saving is actually in dispute. If I'd known that, I would have written differently. I don't yet have the whole story so I won't name names, but the point is a general one anyway: I can only report, and while I do try to verify claims when I think there may be doubt, I don't have the time to dig endlessly.

Truth be told, I couldn't count how many times something has been presented to me as a magic potion of some sort, yet when I ask for proof all I get is a testimonial by an obscure five-truck fleet in Timbuktu. I ask, has an SAE test been done? Most times the correspondence stops there and you never hear about said potion.

Anyway, I'm just sayin'...

amidst all the flutter about natural gas. Specifically, Hino Trucks was honored at the recent National Biodiesel Conference in Orlando. The National Biodiesel Board gave the truck maker its 2012 “Eye on Biodiesel Impact Award”.

This represents the biodiesel industry’s top honour, I'm told, an award given to companies, groups or individuals that have helped carry the biodiesel torch, encouraging broader use of the fuel. Hino was nominated for serving as a trailblazer by becoming the first truck manufacturer to support the use of B20 biodiesel blends in a hybrid-electric truck, as well as in its complete product line of class 4 and 5 cabover and class 6 and 7 conventional trucks.

All 2011 and later trucks powered by Hino’s J-Series engines are approved to use B20 biodiesel blends that contain biofuel blend stock (B100) compliant to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D6751, and blended fuel compliant to ASTM D975. B20 biodiesel meeting these standards is also approved for use in Hino’s new diesel-electric hybrid cabovers.

Hino trucks built prior to the 2011 model year are approved to use B5.

All biodiesel fuels used in Hino trucks must be purchased from a fuel handler licensed under BQ9000.

I should note that Cummins also allows a B20 biodiesel blend, and I think it's alone with Hino amongst engine makers. Detroit Diesel, I know, maxes out at B5, and a quick web search failed to give me any clues about the others. I'll ask.

B20 is approved in these current-model on-highway Cummins engines: the ISX, ISM, ISL, ISC and ISB engines certified to EPA ’02 and later emissions standards. Many off-highway engines also qualify, as does the Dodge Ram truck when in municipal, government, and commercial fleet use only, and only with select model-year vehicles.

Like Hino, Cummins is pretty particular about the biodiesel fuel used. The original B100 must conform to ASTM D6751 prior to blending, and the finished B20 blend must conform to ASTM D7467. A Cummins online FAQ on the subject says this:

"ASTM D6751 specification for B100 has been revised to now include a cold soak test. The B100 fuel is cold soaked and filtered in order to catch impurities or incomplete reactions resulting from the production process.  As mentioned in previous communications, the stability requirement is still in effect and is a critical requirement when B100 is blended with petrodiesel to produce a B20 blend.

"ASTM D7467 is a new specification which applies to biodiesel blends of B6 – B20 and includes an oxidation stability requirement.  This specification replaces Cummins’ previous Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) B20 specification requirement.  

"Customers are required to purchase the biodiesel blend from a BQ9000 certified marketer. The B100 fuel used in the blend must be sourced from a BQ9000 Accredited Producer."

Go here to see what BQ9000 certification entails.

HERE'S PROOF THAT NATURAL GAS is coming on strong, as if we needed more. 3M and Chesapeake Energy Corporation have announced an agreement to collaborate in designing, manufacturing, and marketing a broad portfolio of compressed natural gas (CNG) tanks for use in the transportation market.

As things stand, the fuel tank on a CNG vehicle is its most expensive single component so there's money to be made here. And I believe the market has been dominated almost exclusively by Agility Fuel Systems, whose plant in Kelowna, B.C. has supplied Cummins Westport with tanks and valves and other parts of the fuel storage and delivery system. They're about to have competition.

The new CNG tanks developed through the 3M and Chesapeake are made of composite materials and are claimed to reduce costs. Less expensive tanks will enable greater market adoption of CNG as an alternative fuel, the companies say. They'll be on the market by year's end.

3M’s CNG tank combines the company’s proprietary liner advancements and thermoplastic materials. Using something called nanoparticle-enhanced resin technology, 3M will create CNG tanks that are claimed to be 10 to 20% lighter with 10 to 20% greater capacity, all at a lower cost than standard vessels. The 3M technology is also claimed to produce safer and more durable tanks than those currently on the market, though -- remembering what I wrote a few paragraphs ago -- I have no way to verify any of this. Nor do I have reason to doubt it, I should add.

Chesapeake is the second-largest U.S. producer of natural gas and the most active driller of new wells in the country, headquartered in Oklahoma City.

It has pledged an initial $10 million toward design and certification services, market development support, and a commitment to use the new tanks for its corporate fleet conversion to CNG. The company’s investment will be provided by Chesapeake NG Ventures Corporation (CNGV), which has committed $1 billion over the next 10 years to help fund various initiatives to increase demand for natural gas.

You can follow @3MNews on Twitter.

, a new business unit that will help extend the useful life of trailers and container chassis, all brands included.

The refurbishment is performed in an ISO-certified factory where tired and worn-out trailers are "transformed to like-new condition" by an 11-station, 152-step process.

Candidates include -- but aren't limited to -- platform trailers, dropdeck trailers, military trailers, and container chassis. Customers have the option to upgrade lighting, electrical, air and braking systems, and wheel-ends can be upgraded to the latest technology.

It's a new concept for fleet customers, but Fontaine says its military clients have been using such refurbishment services for years.

AND FINALLY, MORE BENDIX RECALLS. More recalls were announced last week of trucks with Bendix ATR-6 traction relay valves. In very cold weather, intermittent air leakage in these valves can affect braking action, but service brakes and anti-lock functions continue, Bendix says. All told, some 50,000 to 60,000 trucks are affected, says Bendix.

In extremely cold conditions, the Bendix valves may potentially develop internal leakage, leading to air pressure being delivered to the brake, causing continuous brake application. This can cause the brakes to overheat and lead to a fire, or cause the driver to lose control. The brakes also may be applied without illuminating the brake lights, posing a danger to other drivers.

Navistar is recalling 18,959 vehicles. It affects model year 2012-2013 IC Bus HC and International 9400 trucks; model year 2011-2013 DuraStar, PayStar, WorkStar, TranStar, LoneStar, ProStar, 9200 and 9800 trucks; and model year 2013 International 9900 vehicles, manufactured from Dec. 2, 2010, through Jan. 26, 2013.

Autocar is recalling 269 model year 2011-2012 ACX Class 8 vehicles, manufactured from Dec. 22, 2010, through Dec. 4, 2011.

Caterpillar is recalling 104 model year 2012-2013 CT660 trucks, manufactured from Dec. 2, 2010, through January 26, 2012.

Earlier this month, Volvo announced a recall of up to 22,383 model year 2011-2012 Volvo VHDs and model year 2011-2013 Volvo VNLs and VNMs, manufacturing from Dec. 2, 2010 through Jan. 18, 2012.

Only 11 Mack trucks are affected.

Paccar also previously announce a recall, which includes 21 Kenworth and Peterbilt models.

Dealers will provide a free temporary fix while Bendix works to develop a permanent remedy.

Daimler Trucks North America does not use the valves, so Freightliner and Western Star brand trucks are not affected.

For more information, see the Bendix website.

OK, THE SHOW REMINDERS... Having dispensed with TMC, it’s now on to Indianapolis from March 5th through the 10th for The Work Truck Show 2012 at the Indiana Convention Center, held in conjunction with the National Truck Equipment Association annual convention. The gathering includes the excellent Green Truck Summit on March 5 and 6. Call 1-800/441-6832 or go to

A couple of weeks later, March 22-24, it'll be time for the Mid-America Trucking Show at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Call 502-899-3892 or 1-800-626-2370 or go to

And then it's north to Toronto, Ontario for our very own Truck World 2012 show on April 19th through the 21st at the International Centre. Among other features is a separate section devoted to vocational trucks and a series of seminars conducted by the Canadian Transportation Equipment Association (CTEA, the northern equivalent of the NTEA, see Call 1-877-682-7469 or go to

Moving all the way ahead to September 10-12, you may want to attend the fifth International Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference in Baltimore, MD. Hosted in the U.S. for the first time, this one is about shaping the market for clean and fuel efficient vehicles. Sponsored by EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Environment Canada, conference supporters include General Motors, Nissan, Auto Alliance, Global Automakers, Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association, Society of Automotive Engineers, the International Council on Clean Transportation and others. Sponsorship opportunities and exhibit space are available. Abstracts for papers and presentations will be accepted until April 30. Visit

And if you want to justify a trip to Europe, note that this is a Hannover year. The 64th IAA Commercial Vehicles show will be held from September 20 to 27, 2012 in Hannover, Germany. See

THIS NEWSLETTER IS PUBLISHED every two weeks. 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 the Lockwood Report, or maybe you've tried a gizmo I should know about, please contact me at


(February 29, 2012) -- The 2013 model 195 in crew cab form will be arriving soon


(February 29, 2012) -- GT Radial GT979 FS trailer tire is SmartWay-verified


(February 29, 2012) -- Rotary Lift adds operator-friendly RCH4 mobile column lift


(February 29, 2012) -- New tools in Snap-on's 7.2-volt Lithium Series, screwdriver and impact wrench


(February 29, 2012) -- Class 8 extended warranty program available from Kenworth and PACCAR Financial


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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