Canada Develops Protocol For Body Manufacturers

The Canadian Transportation Equipment Association (CTEA/AETC) and Canada's National Transportation Enforcement group, Transport Canada, jointly presented Job File 2000, a compliance workshop aimed at intermediate- and final-stage Canadian upfitters. Job File 2000 introduces the Voluntary Industry Protocol (VIP) system that creates an application-specific paper trail for commercial equipment modifiers. The presentation was made during the 37th annual Canadian Transportation Equipment Association/Association D'Equipement Du Transport Canada (CTEA/AETC) convention and exhibition September 11-14.

The Canadian VIP program is a voluntary compliance procedure that is receiving the full support of the CTEA/AETC and Canadian national regulatory bodies. Canadian transportation industry experts presented a how-to compliance workshop for completing the VIP regulatory compliance forms.

Initial View A key to following the VIP is to analyze how the chassis was prepared when it was received by the intermediate- or final-stage upfitter. A Chassis Inspection Worksheet should be completed upon the upfitter's acceptance of the chassis.

Questions or areas for comment on the worksheet should include:

- Customer reference, if known.

- Associated work orders for the chassis.

- Is the Incomplete Vehicle Document with the chassis?

- What are the factory-specified vehicle weight ratings?

- What are the general conditions of the chassis?

- Does the wheelbase even appear to have been altered?

- Does there appear to be any nonfactory movement of air lines or electrical lines?

- Do any other nonfactory equipment or chassis modifications appear to have been added or completed, including work on the exhaust or battery systems?

- Do the tires on the unit meet the needed requirements?

This worksheet should provide a complete description of the chassis as it enters the upfitting process.

Three Stages to Completion The presenters outlined three definable stages of creating a job file when completing the final manufacturing process. The steps include the analysis of the job, before and after modification calculations, and the completion of the FMVSS/CMVSS Compliance Work Sheet and recommended attachments.

In the analysis process, the upfitter determines the applications that the truck will be used for, according to the customer. A key ingredient in this fact-finding mission is to go beyond the initial request of what the customer, or dealer, has asked the body upfitter to build. For this step, it is necessary to fully understand how the customer plans to use the truck and if the truck will be used in combination with any other equipment.

In the chassis modification example used during the seminar, a Class 8 truck was chosen to be upfitted with a dump body. Once it was determined from the customer that the truck would haul asphalt and be used for other general construction purposes, the upfitter should inquire about other possible uses of the truck. For example, the completed truck also could be used to pull dump trailers. If so, what are the trailer specifications?

In Canada, the trailers that are used behind dump-power units are quite complex in comparison to some of the US-allowable configurations. Preparing a thorough customer and application fact-finding questionnaire requires in-depth questioning about any possible auxiliary trailer applications.

For Canadian upfitters, examples of other questions include:

- What is the proposed power unit's final axle configuration?

- Will this unit pull a trailer?

- If so, does this trailer exist?

- Who is the manufacturer of the trailer?

- If this is a pony, is it tandem, triaxle, or quad-axle?

- Is the first axle on the pony a fixed, with self-steering, or liftable?

- What is the layout measurement to the axle design?

- If this is a mule-pup system, what is the configuration?

- Is this hitch design a load bearing, dolly tongue, or floating pull?

- Is the dolly equipped with a fifthwheel or form of permanent turntable?

- What is the axle layout for the mule-pup?

- What are the hitch designs for the power unit and the trailer, and are they legally compatible?

- What are the hitch heights?

- What is the ground clearance measurement to the underside lunette?

- What is the measurement from the hitch centerline to the centerline of the first aft axle?

- Is the existing trailer equipped with ABS?

- What Canadian weight districts will the unit operate in?

Additionally, it is recommended that all chassis dimensions be included in the fact-finding questionnaire. This includes chassis wheelbase, cab-to-axle/cab-to-trunnion, bogie spread, usable cab-to-axle, and tag or pusher's planned location. Other dimensions should be included if required for the manufacture and installation of certain products, or the alteration of the chassis' wheelbase.

The fact-finding questionnaire should include a section for the completed vehicles' gross weight ratings, chassis curb weights, fuel tank capacities, and the measurement and location of the tank in relationship to the front axle.

There should be a closing section for general notes and observations, as well as the form providing an open area to place a diagram incorporating any important measurements. A blank incomplete vehicle diagram that was applicable could be attached to the form for the notation of measurements.

Stage Two Completion During the second stage of creating a job file on an uncompleted vehicle's upfitting, a section should be created for proving VIP regulatory compliance by the completion of a payload analysis worksheet, a load distribution calculation sheet, and a center of gravity worksheet.

The payload analysis worksheet should include axle weight ratings, chassis curb weight, other weights for the driver and fuel, and then any modifier-installed equipment. This equipment would include pump and PTO with hydraulic oil, hoist, body hinge, completed body with sideboards, and any tarpaulin or load covering system.

Completion of the payload analysis sheet should provide the chassis' allowable payload weight in the new configuration as a completed vehicle. This is determined by using the vehicle's GVWR and subtracting the newly calculated total tare weight, including the modifier installed equipment. This will provide a completed vehicle payload weight rating.

In Canada, this completed vehicle payload weight rating is not necessarily the actual payload weight allowed by the provincial governments. That will be determined by what the governing provincial body will allow on a truck chassis with that style of axle configuration.

A payload analysis and a load distribution calculation should be completed. This will determine the payload placement parameters and should be kept as part of the permanent job file for the completed vehicle.

Load distribution calculations use many of the same measurements that the vehicle modifier will already have obtained to complete the payload weight rating calculation. In many cases, a small spreadsheet can be developed that will calculate these measurements after the addition of a few chassis dimensions and adding the weight of the proposed additional body equipment.

The third recommended calculation is to find the center of gravity (CG) for the completed vehicle. This can be a complicated process; however, some tools available from industry sources will help in calculating where the CG is located for the completed vehicle.

An area of concern that was reported during the CTEA/AETC convention was the removal of the CG section on the Incomplete Vehicle Document (IVD) by some truck manufacturers.

Other manufacturers, such as Western Star, have a conformance section, which provides a formula to help determine if the truck, in its final stage of manufacturing, conforms to the acceptable range that the manufacturer has specified.

The truck's final center of gravity should be calculated based upon a full-payload condition. Determining this figure and CG location is important for the intermediate- and final-stage manufacturer. In circumstances where the incomplete chassis manufacturer provides a CG conformance quotient, the intermediate- and final-stage manufacturer will want to record the determination of their conforming within the acceptable range.

Worksheet Compliance The third section in building a unit specific Job File is the actual completion of a FMVSS/CMVSS Compliance Worksheet (MVSS). These worksheets are available through the National Truck Equipment Association or the CTEA.

A critical section of the MVSS is the regulation and compliance section that lists each of the current US and Canadian motor vehicle safety standards and provides a check column and comments section after each safety standard. According to Peter Zongora, Regulations Enforcement Officer, Transport Canada, this is the opportunity for intermediate- and final-stage manufacturers to specify if the vehicle has any conformity issues with any safety standards.

Zongora says that providing a detailed explanation of the vehicle's modifications is the best effort at voluntarily complying with the intent of the Job File protocol.

In the last stages of completing the vehicle's job file, Canadian industry experts recommended including a complete photographic record of each unit that has been modified. This provides a detailed graphic representation of the vehicle after the modifications have been put in place.

Along with the photograph of the unit, a copy of the original and any subsequent work orders can also be included with the vehicle's job file as a confirmation of exactly what work was completed on the vehicle.

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