Customers at the National Truck Equipment Association's trade show typically are commercial truck and fleet owners looking for ways to get their vehicles to work harder, cheaper, smarter, and longer. As a consequence, the show floor is a mix of equipment for big-rigs and problem-solvers for lighter-duty trucks. This segment of the auto world has made the biggest strides in the exploration of alternative fuels and powertrain technologies. Large, heavy-duty vehicles are designed to handle extreme service and duty cycles so that big and bulky technology will have less overall impact. We kept an eye out for interesting products that might make any truck guy's life a little easier or provide a peek into future truck technology. If you want to know more about next year's show, go to www.ntea.com or call 800/441-6832.
Roush CleanTech for V-10
One of the easiest ways to improve any bottom line is to decrease the cost of the fuel your truck is using, and that can also provide cleaner emissions. Roush's liquid propane conversion kits offer Class 4 and 5 Ford users the chance to make gas-hungry 6.8-liter V-10s less expensive and cleaner to operate. Enjoy 30- to 40-percent fuel-cost savings with reduced maintenance costs. Prices vary, but figure around $10,000 for the basic conversion.
A.R.E. Space Kap
The Space Kap provides plenty of interior room for those who use their pickup like a cargo van, and it comes with double rear doors. The units come in 6- and 8-foot lengths, offer double-wall construction for refrigerated or heated interiors, and have a tie-down system that allows them to be installed or removed in minutes. There's even an optional ladder rack that can be reinforced to carry 200 pounds. Prices start around $6000.
For those hauling big loads, commercially or recreationally, there can be a lot of force going through your driveline that, if not monitored, could do serious damage to the transmission or axle housing internals. If you think your duty cycles (at work or play) could benefit, the Power Train Saver could save your ring and pinion and axle shafts. It is an easily repairable fuse-like link designed to let go right before any of the more important parts explode. Pricing starts around $250.
Access Your Load
For those pickup owners who didn't buy a Ford truck with the integrated tailgate step, there are Truck Steps from TailGate Master. This heavy-duty, quick-connect system gives you solid, ladder-like access into the truck's cargo area, and comes with an easy-grip support rail. Prices range from $150 to $300.
Volt Strategy for Trucks
ALTe has done an electric vehicle conversion on an F-150. A small gasoline engine acts like a generator to keep the hefty battery packs charged so they can supply power to dual electric motors. The series electric hybrid uses a 20-kW-hour lithium-ion battery pack and can effectively improve fuel economy (based on a normal 60-mile-per-day city route) to more than 50 mpg. That translates into a 400-mile range until it needs to be plugged in or refilled with gasoline.
Dump Truck Insert
Turn your pickup truck into a dump truck with the EZ Dumper. Offered in both 6- and 8-foot steel or aluminum beds, the EZ Dumper hauls up to 6000 pounds and uses a 12-volt remote control, allowing a single hydraulic arm to power the insert bed up and down. The EZ Dumper can be installed in two hours and starts around $3000.