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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What’s Going on with my Brakes?
Article thanks to Jim Parks and Links provided:

Sept., 2014  This month is a bit of a departure for Tires & Wheels, as we investigate a concern at the wheel-end — brake drum and lining wear likely related to the recent change in stopping distance requirements for heavy trucks.

We have heard reports of shorter-than-expected steer-axle brake drum life and of noisy, chattering brakes on trucks equipped to meet the shorter stopping distance requirements that went into effect in August 2011. Some of those models would now be coming up on a reline interval, while others may now require brake service where historically there was none.

Briefly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that a tractor-trailer traveling at 60 mph must come to a complete stop in 250 feet, versus the old standard of 355 feet. The first trucks the rule applied to were three-axle tractors with a gross vehicle weight rating of 59,600 pounds — or just about every line-haul truck in the country.

Fleet exposure to the symptoms seems to be tied to the OE and their choice of brake supplier. Bendix and Meritor, for example, both report that changes they made to their lining formulations and brake designs to meet the reduced stopping distance rules are manifesting themselves on some customer trucks as chattering noises, and in other cases as shortened lining and/or drum life.

“The problem is you’ve got these big brakes on the front axle, but they are ‘underutilized’ in normal conditions,” explains Frank Gilboy, product manager of aftermarket brake shoes at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake. “If there’s insufficient heat to condition the brake properly, they will glaze and they will develop some noise and chatter.”

It’s nothing to worry about from a performance perspective, they say, but an unintended and perhaps irritating consequence of the rule change.

“Fleets are seeing linings glaze up because they aren’t being worked hard enough,” says Jim Reis, vice president and general manager of Stemco’s Brake Products division. “That’s causing noise and vibration in as little as three months after the truck goes into service. Typically front brakes ran the life of the vehicle, if not for rust-jacking. Now we find they need attention because of the glazing problem. It’s not so much a matter of [truck owners] wearing the brakes out, but just being dissatisfied with the day-to-day performance.”

We have also heard reports of faster-than-normal brake drum wear, possibly related to the more aggressive brake linings used on steer axles.

Chad Plank, president of Webb Wheel Products, says he began getting calls from customers about a year ago wondering why their brake drums were wearing so quickly. Since the steer-axle drums bore the symptoms of the problem, he got the calls.

“Our investigation revealed no issues with our drums,” he says. “Nothing had changed on our end, same material, same production process, same everything. We concluded it was due to the more aggressive linings OEs were using to meet RSD (reduced stopping distance rules).”

According to Reis, before the new rules, it wasn’t uncommon for a brake drum to outlast the linings two or three to one. That may not be the case going forward on steer axles.

“Something usually has to give,” he says. “You’re changing energy into heat, and with the more aggressive friction, I can see where a full cast drum potentially could wear out faster.”

The balance of power

Steer axle brakes are now doing proportionally more work than before. The physical changes required to meet the full-pressure application stopping distance requirements left the front brakes in a position that even in low-pressure applications, they take some of the workload from the drive-axle brakes.

Joe Kay, Meritor’s director of engineering for brakes, North America, says different OEMs use different air system philosophies that can make a difference in wear characteristics.

“Valve crack pressures, timing, and in some cases the plumbing of the system itself can create differences in wear rates,” he says. “Most stops are at 15-20 psi, which means 15-20% of the brake system’s capacity. If there is a 3-4 psi difference in application valve crack pressures from axle to axle, we can see some differences in wear based on timing and valve crack pressure.”

With the greater emphasis placed on the steer axle, it’s now the drive-axle brakes that are just going along for the ride, so to speak. It used to be that steer-axle brakes would last 600,000-700,000 miles because they were so lightly used.

“The rear linings may have actually been ‘dumbed down’ a little to prevent ABS events in the panic stop situation,” observes Jeff Geist, director of engineering at Stemco. “I’ve seen them take some performance out of the rears so that they don’t lock up and add to the stopping distance through ABS brake modulation. ABS will give you a controlled stop, but it won’t be the shortest stop. It’s going to increase the stopping distance.”

Kay says Meritor did make some changes to its drive-axle brake friction to account for the lower demand.

“Pre-RSD, drive-axle brakes were capable of locking up the wheels,” he says. “That’s significant because once the wheel is locked, you can’t add any more torque to it no matter what. So, because those brakes would be doing less work, we came up with some new friction formulas that condition-in more quickly and at lower temperatures than the pre-RSD materials. As a result, we are seeing a slight improvement in drive axle wear rates in some applications.”

Maintain or replace?

RSD raises some interesting issues. It’s mandated only for new vehicles; users are not required to maintain their brakes to those standards.

“There’s a lot of confusion amongst fleet operators over whether or not they should maintain it,” says Stemco’s Reis. “What does maintaining it mean? Putting back one part of a 17-part system? If you really want to maintain RDS, you have to keep the vehicle in the same condition it was in when it was new, including the drums, brake linings and tires, as they all affect brake performance. If you want to take it to the nth degree, you’d have to maintain cam bushings to new condition, ensure there is no bracket fatigue and all the interfaces are within tolerance. That’s a pretty tall order.”

Bendix and Meritor both recommend maintaining the truck to the original equipment standard.

“Meritor is always going to recommend sticking with the OE materials as replacements,” Kay says. “If the fleet noticed a drastic shift in the amount of wear, we’d work with the fleet to figure out what the problem is.”

And then there’s the liability question.

“From a legal standpoint, there’s always the potential for litigation arising from not maintaining the truck properly,” Gilboy warns.

Our sources say work is under way to resolve the question of under-utilized front brakes not conditioning properly in normal service. This issue doesn’t present a performance problem; the larger, more powerful front brakes see to that on their own. The question of lining and drum life, as well as the potential for more frequent lining changes because of noise and vibration, is a work in progress.

Currently, the American Trucking Association’s Technology and Maintenance Council has a Recommended Practice (RP 628) in the revision and balloting stage that shows minimum and maximum torque values of the RSD-approved friction currently on the market. That will help users choose an aftermarket lining material that meets their needs without changing any of the vehicle performance characteristics.

Jim Park

Equipment Editor
Truck journalist 13 years, commercial driver 20 years. Joined us in 2007. Specializes in technical/equipment material (including Tire Report), brings real-world perspective to test drives.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cops kill cow after wild chase through Pocatello

Idaho State Journal
This heifer refused to go down without a fight!
Article thanks to The Idaho State Journal. Links provided:

Dec 14, 2014 - POCATELLO, IDAHO — Police fatally shot a 1,000-pound cow Friday afternoon that had led them on a lengthy chase through the city’s north side.
The heifer eventually died after being shot by a Pocatello police officer in the backyard of a residence at Henderson and Jessie Clark lanes around 1:30 p.m.
Police had shot the animal earlier in the pursuit but the wounded cow kept running.
Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand said the two shots his officers took at the cow were fired because of the safety risk the animal posed.
During the pursuit, the cow rammed a Pocatello animal control truck and two police cars in residential neighborhoods.
Tails up, don't shoot!

The heifer also nearly caused motor vehicle accidents on Hawthorne Road and had run through a playground. Police felt like the animal might trample someone as it charged through the residential neighborhoods on the city’s north side.
Marchand said he’s very thankful the pursuit ended with no injuries to people.
The incident began around 12:40 p.m. at Anderson Custom Pack, a meat processing business at Garrett Way and North Main Street. When an Anderson employee prepared to slaughter the cow, it jumped over a 6-foot fence and ran across Garrett Way and then north up Hawthorne Road.
Anderson employees dialed 911 and within minutes the cow was being pursued by Pocatello police and animal control units on Hawthorne.
Police officers and witnesses said that at one point the cow was running up the middle of Hawthorne Road, nearly causing accidents.
The cow eventually left Hawthorne and headed west on Quinn Road where it retreated to a resident’s backyard on the road’s south side.
Idaho State Journal

A police officer then shot the cow in the head, but instead of succumbing, the animal bolted past the police cars that were supposed to block its path out of the yard. The cow crossed
to the north side of Quinn and ran through OK Ward Park.
With several police and animal control officers in pursuit on foot and in vehicles, the cow emerged onto Henderson Lane from the park and headed north.
Police and animal control officers spent the next several minutes chasing the cow on Henderson and adjoining streets.
They eventually cornered the cow in the backyard of a house at Henderson and Jessie Clark lanes. A police officer shot the cow again in the head, and this time the animal died instantly.
Several residents in the Henderson Lane area emerged from their houses because of the sound of the gunshot.
The damage to the police cars that were rammed by the cow during the chase was minimal. A side-view mirror on the animal control truck was destroyed when the vehicle was struck by the animal.
After the cow died, Anderson employees loaded it onto a truck and took it back to the meat processing business.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SaltDogg Pickup Tailgate Salt Spreader
This is a pretty cool spreader that attaches to the receiver hitch. Easy to take on and off, great idea for smaller jobs. Article thanks to Links provided:
SaltDogg TGS02 Tailgate Spreader

This new polyethylene, steel and stainless steel SaltDogg TGS02 tailgate spreader from Buyers Products is ideal for both residential and commercial application of ice melt and bagged salt.

One of a dozen SaltDogg tailgate spreaders, this newest model is a 3-cubic-foot capacity that features a frame to fit into a standard 2-inch, Class 4 receiver hitch, making it ideal for use on 1/2- to 1-ton trucks and SUVs.

The new SaltDogg TGS02 tailgate spreader features a horizontal-auger feeder design that gives contractors the flexibility to easily spread ice melt and bagged salt.

An optional vibrator can be added for mixing salt and sand.

“Weighing just 64 pounds, this SaltDogg tailgate spreader has received great reviews as being the perfect size to get the job done,” said Dave Zelis, director of sales and marketing at Buyers Products. “It has a 1/3 horsepower, 12-volt DC dual-shaft gear motor and offers spread widths from 3 feet to 20 feet that are practical for both residential and commercial use.”

CONTACT: for more information.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Truckers: Short Walks Can Offset Long Stretches of Sitting
Story thanks to Mary Elizabeth Dallas and Links provided:
HealthDay Reporter

An hour of sitting can impact arteries in the legs, but even a 5-minute stroll helps, research shows

TUESDAY, Sept. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Taking really short but frequent walks can counteract the harm caused by sitting for long periods of time, a new study suggests. The researchers found that even just a five-minute stroll can help. "American adults sit for approximately eight hours a day," study author Saurabh Thosar, now a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon Health & Science University, said in an Indiana University news release. "The impairment in endothelial function is significant after just one hour of sitting. It is interesting to see that light physical activity can help in preventing this impairment."
According to background information from Indiana University, sitting for a prolonged period of time can cause blood to pool in the legs. This happens because muscles are not contracting and pumping blood to the heart as effectively. As a result, the ability of blood vessels to expand from increased blood flow can become impaired. Being sedentary is also linked to high cholesterol and a larger waistline, which increase the risk for heart and metabolic disease.
"There is plenty of epidemiological evidence linking sitting time to various chronic diseases and linking breaking sitting time to beneficial cardiovascular effects, but there is very little experimental evidence," said Thosar, who was a doctoral candidate at IU's School of Public Health-Bloomington when the study was conducted. "We have shown that prolonged sitting impairs endothelial function, which is an early marker of cardiovascular disease, and that breaking sitting time prevents the decline in that function."
The researchers examined the effects of three hours of sitting on 11 healthy men who were not obese. The men, who ranged in age from 20 to 35 years old, participated in two trials.
First, the men sat for three hours without moving their legs. When the study began and once every hour afterwards, the function of their femoral artery was measured with a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound technology.
During the second trial, the men sat for three hours but also walked on a treadmill for five minutes after 30 minutes, 1.5 hours and 2.5 hours. The men walked at a slow pace of 2 miles per hour. The function of their femoral artery was again measured with a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound technology.
Overall, the researchers found, the ability of the arteries in the legs to expand was reduced by as much as 50 percent after just one hour of sitting. The men who walked for five minutes for each hour they spent sitting, however, had no reduction in the function of their arteries during the three-hour period.
The researchers concluded that the increased muscle activity and blood flow from the small amount of exercise offset the negative impacts of sitting.
The research was published Sept. 8 in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Truckers Beware - What You Put on Facebook Could Hurt You

Story thanks to Kathleen Baydala Joyner, Links provided:

Trucker's Facebook Habit Settles Case for Injured Driver

Plaintiff's lawyer shows pattern of distracted driving to win $1M settlement

Sept, 2014 A trucker's snarky Facebook posts, including photos he admitted to snapping from behind the wheel, helped the driver he hit three years ago coax a $1 million settlement from the trucker's company and insurance carrier.

The wreck occurred just after midnight on May 5, 2011, on Interstate 285 in Fulton County. Both the tractor-trailer and the plaintiff's compact sedan were traveling in the westbound lanes when the tractor-trailer attempted to change lanes and clipped the driver side of the sedan, according to the accident report. The sedan flipped over several times before coming to rest on the shoulder.

The sedan's driver, 41-year-old Kristin Meredith, was taken by ambulance to a hospital. She later had surgery to fuse vertebrae in her lower back, her attorney said.

Meredith filed a suit in April 2013 in DeKalb County State Court against truck driver Jerry O'Reilly, his employer Try Hours and National Interstate Insurance Co. The suit alleged negligence on the part of the trucker and his company and sought more than $75,000 to compensate her for injuries and damages, as well as punitive damages. A month later, the case was moved to federal court in the Northern District of Georgia. All of the defendants are out of state.

In its answer filed in May 2013, the defense claimed that Meredith caused the wreck. Her attorney, Ben Brodhead, said they were able to disprove that using an accident reconstructionist. Brodhead noted that law enforcement cited O'Reilly for improper lane change. He pleaded guilty to the charge in Sandy Springs Municipal Court and paid a $247.50 fine.

The pivotal moment in the case occurred during a videotaped deposition of O'Reilly at his attorneys' office last October, said Brodhead. During questioning, O'Reilly at first denied using a camera, phone or computer while driving, but he later admitted to taking photos while driving after Brodhead presented him with dozens of posts captured from O'Reilly's Facebook profile.

While none of the photos or comments was posted at the time of the wreck, Brodhead said he was able to use them to establish a pattern of distracted driving.

"We always do background searches on defendants and will pull background information from social media, Internet and records searches," Brodhead said. "We have private investigators looking things up."

"It appeared this guy just drove down the road taking photos," he said. "It speaks to his negligence and disregard for the safety of others. He switched lanes into my client and, in doing so, said he never saw her."

In one post, O'Reilly included a photo of his truck cab accompanied by a caption that read, "My new bumper. Now pull your ass out in front of me." In another, O'Reilly commented below someone else's photo of a sedan boxed in by big rigs, "I've been there and done that also. I don't get mad. I get even."

O'Reilly also admitted changing his Facebook profile's privacy settings, just prior to Brodhead's questions, so that the photos were no longer publicly accessible. Brodhead said he anticipated O'Reilly would eventually make his Facebook profile private and so instructed a staff member to monitor it throughout the deposition and alert him if anything changed.

"And so that means that today while you were waiting on people during the deposition, you found it to be the time that was best to change your privacy settings, correct?" Brodhead asked O'Reilly, according to a transcript.
O'Reilly then answered, "I went on and changed them, I mean, I don't know what to tell you. I didn't know you had this stuff."

Brodhead said he reached out to the defendants' attorneys at Dennis, Corry, Porter & Smith afterward to settle via a so-called Holt demand, a strategy for which Brodhead has developed a reputation.

"It was at the point where the case clearly had a value over $1 million," Brodhead said. "We gave the defense the option to pay its policy limits, and the defense attorneys did an excellent job of protecting their clients from any excess judgment."

Lead defense counsel Grant Smith could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Had the case gone to trial, Brodhead was prepared to show the jury O'Reilly's Facebook posts.

"There was information in the depositions that could have inflamed the passions of the jury," he said. In addition to the Facebook posts, O'Reilly admitted he had been diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea, a condition in which a person stops breathing while asleep and that results in fatigue. O'Reilly also admitted that he waited more than eight hours before submitting to a statutorily required drug and alcohol screening following the wreck.

Brodhead said he had a negotiated settlement with the defendants in February, but it wasn't finalized until recently due to ongoing negotiations with the carrier of his client's uninsured motorist coverage, Progressive.

"They had asked for a dismissal without prejudice so they could pursue [O'Reilly] and his company. But they had anticipated that their payment would be made as a full resolution of the case and that they wouldn't have any exposure to any judgments or claims by the uninsured motorist carrier or anyone else," Brodhead said. "So we had to fight with the uninsured motorist carrier to get it to waive its claim for subrogation."

The court dismissed the case with prejudice on Tuesday.