Monroe Presents Seminars, Exhibition at "Body of Steel III"

Monroe Truck Equipment presented new products and several industry speakers at its third annual "Body of Steel" show December 4-5 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Speakers at the exhibition included Joel Paulson, Crysteel Manufacturing, who gave a presentation on exotic steels, and Bob Raybuck, technical services manager of the National Truck Equipment Association, who spoke on federal excise tax. In addition to speakers, Monroe displayed a variety of municipal and private trucks, including several trucks for attendees to test drive.

"We hold this event to reach out to our buyers and end users," said Garrett Floor, Monroe Truck Equipment sales manager.

Monroe exhibited 15 dump trucks, several trucks fitted with snow and ice control equipment, and a high-rail truck. On display was a 1998 Western Star chassis fitted with a Crysteel Paradox RoxBox dump body that uses several newly designed Crysteel innovations. The body is the first Paradox RoxBox to be fitted with a hydraulically operated tailgate. It uses a patent-pending oscillating collar to prevent cylinder damage when raising the body on uneven terrain that would normally cause binding. Crysteel developed the collar through testing that showed up to a two-inch gap between body and frame rails during extreme off-level conditions.

Available for test-driving was a Chevrolet T7500 cabover fitted with a 10-ft snowplow and underbody scraper. The truck, powered by a 250-hp Caterpillar engine, weighs less than 30,000-lb with fuel and driver.

It was fitted with a 12-ft Crysteel tipper body containing a Monroe spreader and a pre-wetting system with two 75-gallon tanks. Ice-control material distribution is metered via a Ravin control unit. With a 140-inch wheelbase, the truck is designed for cul-de-sac use and has a 59'6" turning radius.

"This is the first of these vehicles to be built to this spec by Monroe," said Floor. "GM designed this vehicle with a heavier front end to handle the added weight of a plow."

Other vehicles on display included: A Mitsubishi FG 4x4 cabover fitted with a Boss 92-inch V-plow and a platform body built for Monroe by Parkhurst Manufacturing Inc. Monroe performed a weight distribution analysis to ensure that the custom front plow mount did not overload the front axle. Added weight on the front axle is counterbalanced by body weight.

A Chevrolet Lo-Pro 4x4 crew-cab conversion that can use a Caterpillar engine and Allison automatic transmission. Original equipment hardware such as doors, glass, and roof panel are used in the conversion.

A Chevrolet CK3500 with a Crysteel Triple-Tipper dump body.

1998 model Mack, Peterbuilt, Kenworth, and Freightliner chassis fitted with various dump bodies.

Exotic Steels Joe Paulson, territory manager of Crysteel manufacturing, presented a seminar explaining the various kinds of exotic steels. Paulson defined exotic steel as steel with yield strength of 100,000-psi or greater. "These steels are created with a low carbon content," Paulson said. "Carbon has been replaced with other crucial elements such as molybdenum, vanadium, or columbium. This creates high strength without brittleness."

Paulson explained the three most common measurements of steel: Brinell hardness, tensile strength, and yield strength. "Brinell hardness is a measurement of a metal's ability to resist penetration. High carbon content steel gives a high Brinell hardness."

Correlated directly to Brinell strength is tensile strength. Tensile strength is the maximum load in pounds per square inch that a material sample will carry.

The measurement that applies most often to dump body applications is yield strength, Paulson said. Yield strength is the point at which material exceeds its elastic limit and will not return to its original length or shape after the stress is removed. Simplifying the issue, Paulson defined yield strength as dent resistance.

Paulson described which unit of measurement operators should be concerned most with according to the application they are using. "Brinell hardness applies most to abrasive applications such as hauling from a quarry," he said. "Tensile strength has less to do with dump body applications because it measures load-bearing capacity, while yield strength is more of an impact application."

To illustrate the effect of varying yield strengths, Paulson passed two samples of 100 XF (Domex) steel and A569 (mild) steel to seminar attendees. Domex and mild steel have 100,000-psi and 36,000-psi yield strengths, respectively. As the samples were bent, the mild steel remained deformed while the Domex returned to its original shape, demonstrating the yield properties of exotic steel.

Paulson concluded by describing details and specs of the of the various steels as follows:

A569 steel - "Mild" Steel Typical mechanical properties: 133 BHN, 50,000-psi tensile, 29,000-psi yield

A570 steel - "X-Ten" or Grade 50 Steel Typical mechanical properties: 235 BHN, 110,000-psi tensile, not produced to yield spec

A514 grade B Steel - Abrasion resistant steel Typical mechanical properties: 250 BHN, 110,000-psi tensile, not produced to yield spec

100XF Steel - "Domex" steel sheet Typical mechanical properties: 250 BHN, 120,000-psi tensile, 100,000-psi yield

AR400 Steel - "Hardox" or 400F steel plate Typical mechanical properties: 400 BHN, 180,000-psi tensile, 145,000-psi yield

AR500 Steel - "Hardox," "Swebor," 500F Typical mechanical properties: 500 BHN, 225,000-psi tensile, 190,000-psi yield

Excise Tax/ABS Bob Raybuck, technical services manager of the NTEA, presented a seminar on how recent changes in federal excise tax and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration's ABS mandate will affect truck equipment distributors.

The biggest change affecting truck equipment distributors is an addition to the 75% rule, Raybuck said. In the past, truck dealers couldn't be competitive with further manufacturers because they were required to charge FET on the retail price of the entire package (chassis and added equipment). Before 1998, end users could modify a vehicle and only be required to pay tax on the fair market value of the increase.

As of January 1, 1998, the repair portion of the law has been expanded to include lengthening, shortening, and further manufacturing. "The package will not be taxable as long as the amount of money spent on modification is less than 75% of the cost of a comparable new unit," Raybuck said.

Under the current FET regulations, a body and a truck chassis are separate taxable items. "New dump bodies will still be taxable even if installed on a used chassis because the IRS treats each individual item separately," Raybuck said. "This will allow for a greater number of used vehicles to be modified."

Parts and accessories also are affected by the recent changes in the FET. Before changes to the law in August of 1997, any parts and accessories purchases in excess of $200 within six months of the original purchase were taxable. After six months, purchases beyond the $200 limit could not be taxed. The limit was raised to $1,000 on August 5, 1997. "The paperwork is much easier now with a higher limit," Raybuck said. Another change that will simplify taxes for equipment distributors has been applied to tires. "Manufacturers will now have to tell the dealer how much the FET is for the specific type of tires on a vehicle. In the past, the FET on tires has been based on fair market value."

This will result in a higher tax initially. However, this is offset over the long run by the change from a $200 to $1,000 limit in taxable parts and accessories.

"Another area that changed January 1, 1998 is registration for tax-exempt sales status." Dealers will be required to register with the IRS to sell to tax-exempt buyers. "In the past, the IRS relied on Form 637 for tax-exempt sales but will now require registration of both buyer and seller."

Raybuck also spoke on the imminent changes being made to truck brake requirements. Beginning March 1, 1998, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will put into effect new stopping distance standards and will mandate antilock braking systems.

"The NTEA argued against mandatory road testing of all modified vehicles," Raybuck said. "Further manufacturers can add axles without road testing. Additional axles to tandem straight trucks aren't required to have ABS sensors. Multi- and final-stage manufacturers are not required to perform stopping distance testing."

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