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  • The Work Truck Show: If it's made to do a hard job, it's at the NTEA show

The Work Truck Show: If it's made to do a hard job, it's at the NTEA show

Mark WilliamsAug 23, 2010
Big work trucks deserve a big work truck show. And nowhere was that more obvious than at the 2010 National Truck Equipment Association trade show, more commonly called the Work Truck Show.
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This show is about job-oriented trucks, such as those built for garbage removal, fire fighting, dump trucking, or just hauling the company tools from one job site to the next. Also, as you might imagine, there are plenty of businesses that make their money from products that enhance how a truck operates while on the job. From General Motors to International, Ford to Freightliner, they're all here, showing off their big- and medium-size rigs. We like this show because it's where heavy-dutys live and accessorize. If it shows up here, it's bound to make a real truck guy happy. We've collected the most interesting products we could find so you can look them over and decide if there's something here that can make life with your pickup truck just a little bit easier.

1 TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN
As we reported in "Max Payload" in the 2010 July/August issue, GM finally released horsepower and torque numbers for the significantly updated 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel, slated for residence in the 2011 Silverado HD and Sierra HD pickup trucks. The company made that announcement at the NTEA show, at its GM Fleet and Commercial booth; its Duramax turbodiesel has the biggest numbers in the segment with 397 horsepower and 765 pound-feet of torque. Likewise, GMC took the opportunity to introduce a new 2011 2500 Sierra HD Denali pickup truck.
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The upscale model will get a choice of either the 6.2-liter V-8 gas engine or the new Duramax, and we're guessing it will wear the heftiest pricetag of the GMC lineup. The Denali name has been a winner wherever it's gone, so with all the attention on models like the King Ranch Super Duty and Ram HD Laramie Edition, we suppose this makes sense. But what would make more sense is if the Denali package were offered in a one-ton crew cab model where people who tow expensive toys actually want a luxurious interior. So far, GMC isn't saying much, but we'd be surprised if it didn't expand its Denali reach to include 3500 duallys as well.
2 AIR TO GO EVERYWHERE
For anyone serious about self-sufficiency, you need a 12-volt air compressor. Maybe you're a four wheeler and need to air up your tires at the end of a trail; maybe you're a work-site foreman and you have air wrenches and hammers; or maybe you just need to air up the dingy to get to the boat for a Sunday sail. Whatever the need, this heavy-duty Air Power ATC from Warn will do the job and is built tough enough to keep doing it for years to come.
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Warn
800/910-1122
www.warn.com

3 INTERNATIONAL SUPER STAR
In the medium-duty marketplace, sales have been tight. And nowhere is that more obvious than in the construction industry where Class 4 and 5 volumes have been horrendously low. And with the recent departure of GM's Kodiak and TopKick players, the fight for sales will only get tougher. In response, International revealed a "smallish" (for International) Terra Star to fill a gap it had in its product lineup. Competing directly with Ram HD 4500 and 5500 and Super Duty F-450 and F-550 chassis cabs, the Terra Star uses a 6.4-liter MaxxForce 7 turbodiesel that won't need any DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) to pass the tighter emissions certification. Astute truck enthusiasts will recognize this engine as the Power Stroke Ford used in the previous-generation Super Duty. The Terra Star will likely be a premium choice in the segment.
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4 HD TOWING COUPLERS
If you do heavy-duty towing, make sure your weakest link in the chain is not the hitch and receiver you use. That's why companies like Premier Manufacturing design and produce some of the strongest couplers in the industry. We especially like this model 150, which can be used with an eye or ball connection and is rated to pull trailers in excess of 10,000 pounds.
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Premier Manufacturing
800/255-5387
www.premier-mfg.com

5 BIG IMPROVEMENTS FOR RAM chassis cab
If the front ends of the new Ram HD Chassis Cabs look familiar, it's because all the interior and exterior design upgrades the 2010 Ram HD received are now on the 3500, 4500, and 5500 Ram HD Chassis Cabs. Ram Chassis Cabs will have the same 5.7-liter Hemi and 6.7-liter Cummins motor options as non-chassis cab Ram HDs have, but with an entirely new (from the cab back) flat, open-C-channel frame rail to more easily accommodate the needs of the hundreds of truck upfitters that will customize the chassis. New for this model is the true Crew Cab model, as well as a new DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) injection system needed to keep emissions level out the tailpipe within federal standards, which differ for the chassis-cab segment (Ram HD pickups continue to get along without it). These new trucks offer more ring and pinion choices, GVWRs, and frame lengths than ever before.
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6 FRONT-END PROTECTION
There are plenty of heavy-duty truck bumper makers out there stamping out prepackaged models for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pickups, but Buckstop will fabricate your bumper exactly the way you want it, incorporating light openings, winch tabs, or tube bars. These bumpers won't be the least expensive choice, but they're likely to be the last bumpers you ever buy for your truck.
Buckstop
800/431-6978
www.buckstop.biz

7 ONE-TOUCH BETTER VISION
One of the easiest ways to improve the safety of a truck when towing is to improve your vision, and probably the easiest way to do that is to get bigger mirrors. Investing in a set that telescopes is even better. Among other applications, mirrors from CIPA will adapt to current- and previous-generation Ram HD pickups and extend 4.5 inches. They also have a separate convex mirror, and are heated.
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CIPA
800/872-2472
www.cipausa.com

8 STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
We've seen many solutions to the same problem--how to safely get in to your pickup's bed area without killing yourself--and this is one of the best solutions we've seen to date. The Truckstairs attaches to any class III hitch and provides three comfortable steps up to your lowered tailgate. It folds up against the outside of the gate, protruding about a foot, and can be locked level with the tailgate to support longer loads.
Truckstairs
603/935-9210
www.truckstairs.com

9 EASY HITCH HOOKUP
If you have multiple trailers you have to move from work site to work site, TeleSwivel's new Pro series hitch will help. Specifically designed to make hooking up a trailer faster, safer, and easier, the Pro series can adapt to standard ball hitch trailers or to pintle hooks with a simple pull of the pin. The heavy-duty model shown here allows for a much larger target zone for hitch hookup and that's likely to reduce equipment damage.
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TeleSwivel
919/794-5484
www.teleswivel.com
10 MEDIUM-DUTY CHIPS
It was inevitable. As with smaller trucks, the medium-duty diesel market is getting more comfortable with the aftermarket power and performance crowd. Area Diesel Services is testing the Class 4 and 5 marketplace to see if owners are interested in "chipping" their big power pullers. Made for CAT, Cummins, and International diesel owners, these plug-in programmers are designed to offer better fuel economy and more efficient long-haul running.
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Area Diesel Services
800/637-2658 or 800/237-4692
www.areadiesel.com

11 HIDEAWAY BED STEP
Reaching into the back end of your pickup bed is close to impossible unless you happen to be seven feet tall. The new F-150 made news when it was the first O.E. to offer a side-mounted bedstep as an option, and now other companies are offering similar solutions. This model from Luverne Truck Equipment is small, lightweight, and strong enough to hold a full-size truck owner.
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Luverne Truck Equipment
800/533-5328
www.luvernetruck.com

12 STOP THE SWAY
While towing a big trailer with large, flat sides, wind can be the enemy that throws your rig into violent side-to-side motions. One of the safest ways to minimize this is to have additional resistance at the hitch point of the vehicle. This sway controller provides firm resistance to forward-and-back or side-to-side motions your trailer might have. The system is designed to be used with a weight-distributing hitch but can be adapted separately.
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Buyer Products
800/841-8003
www.buyerproducts.com

13 MORE PLUG-IN POWER
Turning your truck into a better work space starts by having a place to plug in a computer, coffee maker, or battery charger, and you can't do that unless you have a power inverter. This Thor Industries model, made by All Power Supply, will produce 3000 watts of 110V power, with peak output at 6000 watts. The unit is fused and is best installed in a well ventilated space.
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All Power Supply
877/251-4446
www.allpowersupply.com
14 TIE ANYTHING DOWN
Keeping a load locked down and where it belongs isn't as easy as it sounds. We've all seen the pickup loaded to overflowing, without a strap or tie-down to be seen. Don't be that guy, especially when heavy-duty equipment like Load Tamer cargo nets are around. They're military spec and designed to be abused. They're not inexpensive, but they'll keep all your valuables under the straps.
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Cargonets
800/690-0425
www.cargonets.com

15 SLIDE AND GLIDE
Every pickup truck owner knows what it's like to have cargo at the front of the bed and no way to get it. We've seen mechanical claws, long hooks, and side stairs but none has much success. We like that the Bedslide allows you to bring the cargo within easy reach by essentially creating a slideable bed floor. The false floor runs on ball-bearing tracks and can lock in several positions. Short- and long-bed models are available.
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Bedslide
888/807-0099
www.bedslide.com

16 PROTECT YOUR TOOLS
The new Weather Guard 127 box has been upgraded with several new features, not the least of which is a new tamper-proof lock and latch system that discourages break-ins on the work site or overnight. The box has a new tool holder and removable parts bin as well as a separate set of clips to hold your level. Contact your local dealer for pricing.
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Weather Guard
800/456-7865
www.weatherguard.com

17 HIGH-TECH BUMPSTOPS
Want to know about an easy and quick way to improve your suspension, especially if you're using your truck to carry heavy loads? A company named Timbren makes progressive rate rubber bumpstops that typically install between your truck's frame and suspension components to absorb and smooth out uneven loads and road surfaces. Prices vary.
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Timbren
800/263-3113
www.timbren.com
18 VOLTS FOR YOUR PICKUP
Hybrid technology was all over this year's NTEA, especially in the medium- and heavy-duty truck classes, but this was the first serious attempt we've seen to swap out the conventional powertrain and replace it with a full electric powertrain. Designed by ALT-E (essentially the team that split up from Tesla almost two years ago), the system is juiced by a tank-size series of Li-Ion batteries, charged when needed by a Ford (Escape) four-cylinder engine. They're in the middle of testing the system, but they seem optimistic. We'll know more about the practical realities of the system used in a full-size pickup when we get behind the wheel.
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19 A VAN FOR ALL REASONS
Nissan showed more variations of its coming NV (Nissan Van) commercial vehicle. The Euro Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter fighter will be offered in 1500, 2500, and 3500 configurations, and as you would expect, all three have different maximum carrying capacities. The snout-heavy work truck will be offered with the same 4.0-liter V-6 available in Nissan Frontiers along with the Endurance 5.6-liter V-8 found in the Nissan Titan. The NV commercial van will come in only one wheelbase at 146.1 inches, but will offer two roof heights, one at 83.9 inches and the other 21.1 inches taller (the 3500 series adds about another inch to both). The big van will be an interior-builder's dream with over 220 cubic feet of space in the short-roof height, and 300 cubic feet of cargo space in the high-roof model. Vans will all start out rear drive, but because they're Titan-based, 4WD could be added if there's a market for it.
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20 HARDBOILED TRAILER
Just about every segment of the automotive universe is getting smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient, which also means tight on cargo space. Enter the EGG, which offers 70 cubic feet of flexible storage space in a lightweight, easily towable package to solve the problem. The EGG has three distinct packages, each with its own set of standard features. The EGG can be custom ordered to include a slideout bedfloor, front and rear access doors, and much more.
Jason Industries
800/745-2766
21 HEAVY-DUTY MUSIC
One of the only heavy-duty work-site battery charger and radio systems we know about, the Dewalt DC012 Charger/Radio can charge both Ni-Cd and Li-Ion batteries even while the radio is playing. The heavy-duty exterior rollcage protects the unit from jobsite damage or abuse, and the four-inch weather-resistant speakers also have a bass-boost control.
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Dewalt
800-4-DEWALT
www.dewalt.com

22 ONE-KEY LOCK TECH
Ever wonder why you have so many keys? It usually means you have a lot of stuff, all of which needs to be locked away most of the time. However, Bolt Strattec Security Corporation now offers a series of different strength padlocks that can be automatically keyed to your specific truck's ignition key, making your life a whole lot less complicated.
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Bolt Strattec Security Corp.
414/247-3552
www.stratteclock.com

23 ALTERNATING CHOICES
Delco Remy has been so busy working with various car companies on a variety of hybrid projects (did you know they're directly involved with Allison, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and, of course, GM), you may have forgotten they also offer stout replacement alternators that essential amount to an upgrade in the power supply for your pickup. No matter what your pickup make, Remy International has a high-output upgrade.
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Delco Remy
800/372-5131
www.delcoremy.com

24 HYDRAULIC POWER ASSIST
To date, most hydraulic power assist systems we've seen have been on large to extra-large heavy-duty work trucks on construction sites or picking up city garbage. But that might change if HHS has its way. They've designed a compact brake-energy recovery system that accumulates stored energy during braking and converts it to acceleration energy during takeoffs. The system seems like a natural for any fleet that serves frequent stop-start duty, but we're guessing we'll see this technology get into 1/2-ton and 1-ton pickups in the next few years. Pricing ranges from $15K for a pickup to $25K for a school bus installed.
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HHS
800/223-0740
www.hydraulichybridsystems.com

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