New products showcased at GATS

Nov. 1, 2003
FOR the fifth straight year, the Dallas Convention Center hosted the Great American Trucking Show Sept. 26-28. The 421 exhibitors used 300,000 sq ft of

FOR the fifth straight year, the Dallas Convention Center hosted the Great American Trucking Show Sept. 26-28.

The 421 exhibitors used 300,000 sq ft of space to display trucks and trucking-related products at what GATS officials say is the industry's second-largest event.

The 39,854 attendees included mega-fleets, owners/operators, exempt haulers, company drivers, drivers for hire, parts distributors, mechanics, fleet owners, fleet maintenance managers, purchasing agents, and material handlers. The 10% increase in attendance came primarily from owner-operator and fleet management segments, both critical in the equipment-buying market.

Here is a snapshot look at some of the key products:

Warren Truck and Trailer, LLC, has built 20 two-axle, 23' pintle-hitch equipment trailers for the city of Dallas.

The trailers feature: 10,395-lb weight, 23'×8' deck with 3/16" diamond-plate floor, 5' dovetail 13-degree slope, 7'×30' ramps with ramp-assist hinge, premier drawbar with three adjustable weights, 15,000-lb maximum tongue weight and 100,000-lb gross trailer weight ratings, 1/2" grade, 36" deck height, 45,000 lb GVW at 22,500 GAWR per axle, air brakes with spring brake, and Wabco 4S2M ABS on both axles.

“This is not the general product you see all the time,” said general manager Art Henderson. “Ninety percent of the people don't need this. Five percent are hunting it and the other five percent don't know they need it. They're pulling something they can't stop. They don't have enough braking power.

“The city of Dallas is loading a 37,000-lb backhoe on the trailer, pulling it across speed bumps, and twisting it around city blocks. It works great for them.”

Having developed and introduced the Cheater hydraulic detachable gooseneck over two years ago, XL Specialized Trailers unveiled the Slider, which has a 15-degree extended dump angle and improved hydraulics that cause less wear and tear on equipment.

Standard equipment: 25,000-lb 5/8" wall axles, oil seals, 12¼"×7½" anti-lock brakes, automatic slack adjusters, 6.75×17.5 hub-piloted steel disc wheels, 135/75R/17.5 H rated radial tires, air ride suspension, limit chains on all axles, DOT-approved 12V sealed harness with rubber-mounted sealed lights, seven-pole electrical socket, energy chain system that supplies movable protection for air, electrical, and hydraulic lines, hydraulic sliding axle assembly with traveling bumper for under ride protection, 10'5" full width upper deck with 21" kingpin setting and 82" of swing clearance, 49" loaded fifthwheel height, and four lockable tool boxes in the upper deck.

It comes in black, New Cat yellow, or IH red urethane with two-part epoxy primer.

The dump body is the bread and butter of Ox Bodies, which has three plants in three states and a total of 540,000 sq feet under roof.

Vice president Johnny Baker said the one-piece flooring has no seams to weaken it, helping to eliminate rubboarding and prevents buildup of material on seams. They are made of 7 gauge standard material with options of 1/4" through 1/2" thickness.

On elliptical bodies, Ox offers an air-operated high lift gate with a 20" lift that is operational from inside the cab. It has a 25.5-degree radius and cylinders that inverted down the sides.

The bodies feature LED lights, factory wiring harnesses, and Sherwin Williams polyurethane finish.

Reinke, manufacturer of over-the-road trailer/chassis equipment and mechanized irrigation systems, shared a booth with Indianapolis-based Aero Industries to display an all-aluminum flatbed trailer with a conestoga kit.

The 50' show trailer was custom-designed by Reinke and Aero Industries for David Sherrard, president of Classic Carriers, which hauls aluminum extrusions that must stay dry throughout transportation. The conestoga kit shields the moisture and offers more air movement than tarps. It also allows for a more convenient unloading process, especially when making multiple drops, as Classic Carriers often does.

Bibeau now offers the BFL-HD dump body with no posts and smooth sides. Daniel Bibeau said that in Quebec, 80% of the dump bodies — even the aluminum ones — do not have posts.

“It's less likely to dent because on any given impact, you spread out the repercussions,” he said. “You're spreading out the shock. The same way that crossmemberless bodies have demonstrated being more adequate because the floor has some flexibility, well, we've just added that to the side.”

The BFL-HD is a dump body for tandem and multi-axle application and comes in lengths of 13' to 21'6", sides of 36", 42", 48", and 54", and a door of 54" or 60". The approximate weight is 3850 lb on a 15' × 48" × 60" body.

Freightliner's Century Class S/T was introduced two weeks before its debut at GATS, went into production in November, and is now available for order.

Composite headlights provide better light distribution over the surface of the road, and easy front access allows tool-free replacement with standard-size bulbs. The aerodynamic three-piece bumper features a steel center section and damage-tolerant plastic end caps to help localize collision damage and reduce repair costs. “If you hit animals or obstacles on the road, you don't have to replace the center section — just the outside piece,” said Bruce Barnes, manager of product marketing.

The hood opens to a full 90 degrees to make engine access easier, and see-through fluid reservoirs allow instant checking of fluid levels. Splash shields are mounted on the hood rather than the chassis for easy access to the engine.

“The biggest challenge before was getting the splash shields out of the way when you'd work on it,” Barnes said. “You had to unbolt it, take it away, then step inside the tire. Now, the splash shield is mounted on fenders. It's a lot easier for service technicians to work on it, or even do a simple visual inspection.”

Kenworth went into full production on its Extended Day Cab during the first week of October.

Kenworth says this option, available on the T600, T800, and W900, is well-suited for regional haul and vocational customers who would prefer more room than conventional cabs offer.

The Extended Day Cab adds 6" of length and 5" of height to a standard Kenworth cab. Bonuses include more head, leg and belly room, additional seat adjustment space, reclinable seating for increased off-duty comfort, and 2-plus cubic ft of additional storage to accommodate personal gear, safety equipment, and recordkeeping materials.

Sound Off has released a new line of LED signal lighting that has more LEDs, producing a signal that fills the entire lens of the light.

Walter Hill, vice president of sales and marketing, said many manufacturers put six or 10 dots behind a lens just to cover the minimum requirements of test points. He said Sound Off exceeds those requirements, and it also has used optics to improve the amount of light at off angles.

“We've produced the first LEDs that have solid-off angle,” he said. “The lens is bowed. You have light just as you would with an incandescent lamp.”

Sound Off LEDs are rated at over 100,000 hours of life.

Roll-Rite's newest dual-arm side-to-side system variation accommodates crushed-car haulers.

President Tim Searfoss said the system features knuckle-pivot technology that keeps the tarp mechanism height to a minimum, reducing overhead hazards. Dual-arm units utilize front and rear spring pressure for a smooth, synchronized operation. The aluminum arm profile is high-polished for an attractive, professional finish.

The electric power kit includes the TarpStretcher gear motor, designed exclusively for side-to-side tarping. Axle kits have a ridge pole that keeps the tarp tight on the top edge and is pocketed within the tarp to roll up with the tarp.

Debuting at GATS was Fontaine International's C7000 Series Clean-Connect Fifthwheel, with a no-lube top plate surface.

It provides the advantages of Fontaine's No-Slack II locking technology plus the benefit of a grease-free top plate surface. The fifthwheel no longer requires grease to lubricate between the top plate surface and the trailer coupling plate. Only periodic greasing of the locking mechanism is required.

Advantages: elimination of the labor costs, materials, and downtime associated with greasing and regreasing the top plate over the life of the vehicle; reduction in the need to steam clean the grease off the top plate surface when maintenance time rolls around; elimination of the cost of grease disposal to meet EPA requirements.

The C7000 will be released in January.

Peterbilt debuted Model 379X, a polished aluminum-on-chrome special edition, which reached dealer lots on September.

“The dealerships are very excited about it,” marketing communications manager Derek Smith said. “There's been a lot of enthusiasm, particularly at shows when somebody actually sees it in person. It's really a truck for Peterbilt enthusiasts and people who love their truck and regard it as more than a tool, and spend time polishing it. It comes with a lot of show-truck-ready accents you can't get in the aftermarket.”

For the first time ever, polished aluminum fenders are an exclusive feature. A brushed aluminum dash, stylized four-spoke “X” steering wheel and custom leather seats highlight the interior, and a chromed shift lever, knob, and base plate also feature the 379X logo. Inside the sleeper, Peterbilt has added brushed aluminum that contrasts with the charcoal cabinetry and upper hard trim. The grille has a punched oval pattern and polished aluminum grille bars.

Hallco Mfg debuted its Top Seal live floor with a new overlap design it says makes it the “most sift-resistant live floor available.” It has an easy retro fit for all current Hallco live decking and no plastic seal to wear out or replace.

It is for use with agricultural and wood commodities and works with Hallco 2000/3000/4000/6000 drive systems, and uses standard subdecks and bearings. It's available in 35-2 and 37-2 deck types.

Hallco also has recently introduced the TF4500 front mount system that mounts at the bulkhead of the trailer, providing easy access for maintenance. It works with a Genie leak-proof floor.

Cat says the new C15 ACERT combines series turbochargers, a higher compression ratio, and higher cylinder pressure to produce improved performance, better throttle response, and increased fuel economy. It also features rugged components such as steel single-piece, low-friction pistons, a four-bolt connecting rod, and a high-efficiency water pump.

Cat says it is made for owner-operators, fleets, and heavy haulers who want high horsepower performance combined with durability and resale value. Peak torque ratings up to 1850 lb-ft offer excellent startability and exceptional hill-climbing capability.

The C15 has a displacement of 15.2L, horsepower of 435 to 550 at 2100 rpm, torque of 1550-1850 lb-ft at 1200 rpm, and weighs 2890 lb.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.