The Big D didn’t offer up the most pleasant of temps in August, but the Dallas Convention Center’s air-conditioned aisles was a welcome place for Senior Technical Editor Paul Abelson to snoop for cool stuff. Here’s Paul’s report of some of the most innovative and practical new products on display.
As expected, fuel economy was the hottest topic at the Great American Trucking Show. Two new wheel covers designed to prevent air turbulence inside the deep wells of drive and trailer tandems improve aerodynamics and increase fuel economy.
Flow Below Aero Inc. (flowbelow.com) makes a flush wheel cover with a quick-release hub. Once the hubs are installed, the covers can be removed for wheel maintenance or pressure checks in just three seconds. The covers are available in black or, for an additional charge, chrome. Return on investment from fuel savings is claimed to be six months.
AeroTech Caps (aerotechvgs.com) makes caps of UV stabilized fiberglass composite. Their stainless steel and rubber mounting hardware allows installation in less than five minutes per wheel, but an opening in each cover allows checking and maintenance without removing the covers. The unique mounting system makes them difficult to steal. The AeroTech caps have a dimpled appearance similar to a golf ball to improve aerodynamics. SAE testing indicates a 2.33 percent mpg improvement when used in all tandem positions.
AeroTech also manufacturers vortex generators. A set installs in 30 minutes. Spaced one foot center-to-center on both tractor and trailer, a 1 percent mpg improvement can be realized for less than $200 including labor.
Aerodynamic Trailer Systems LLC (ats-green.com) showed an air-inflatable trailer tail, the ATS SmartTail. It is SmartWay approved, so mpg improvement should be 5 percent or more. The SmartTail is fully automatic, inflating or deflating at 30 mph without driver input. ATS also makes inflatable gap filler for use between tankers, and the Wind Tamer, a wedge that deflects air below the trailer and under the rear axles and suspension. Wind Tamer leaves a 20-inch ground clearance.
While not designed as a fuel saver, GO15 (go-15.com) engine treatment is said to condition metal surfaces, resulting in improved fuel economy and reducing operating temperature. That’s what Pike’s Peak truck racer Mike Ryan reports. The product is added to oil and is carried to metal surfaces. Under heat and pressure, it bonds with metal surfaces where it fills and smoothes the micro-surfaces of moving parts. Temperature is something Ryan monitors while racing. His oil engine temperatures have been as much as 12 degrees lower than normal.
Stripeze (stripeze.com) is a nationwide decal and graphics removal service, or as they call it, de-identification. As long as paint has not faded, Stripeze leaves no residual adhesive or any other trace of previous identification. The process is environmentally friendly.
Vehicle security is always a concern. SecurePrint Start (secured1touch.com) is a fingerprint authentication security system that uses “Live Biometrics Technology” to protect trucks. It uses five biometric markers to authenticate the user. An authorized fingerprint is needed to start the truck. If an unauthorized person attempts to start it, the unit prevents starting and triggers an alarm. Up to nine users can be stored per vehicle, allowing access for team drivers, technicians and managers or owners.
Motor oil can contribute to long engine life and fuel economy, says Chevron Co., makers of Delo lubricants. For years, 15W-40 has been the standard viscosity for heavy duty diesels, but to maximize fuel economy, Chevron introduced full synthetic Delo 400 LE in SAE 10W-30. Due to its synthetic base stock, this lighter weight oil still has the toughness to stand up to the demands of a big-bore diesel, offering the same protection as Delo 400 15W-40. LL