From Comedians to Cobras, That’s a Wrap

The 2016 Work Truck Show offers plumbers a world of fleet options
From Comedians to Cobras, That’s a Wrap
Jay Leno

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It’s Thursday at the The World Truck Show in Indianapolis. Startin’ the morning with the President’s Breakfast and Jay Leno. No need to say more.

The dogs are still barkin’ from walking the floor on Wednesday – too much to see.

Began with a stop by the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America booth for the unveiling of its new battery-powered Canter FE-Series medium-duty cabover work truck.

The 100-percent, zero-emission truck delivers over 60 miles in a single charge and can be recharged on a regular AC or fast-charging system. Designed primarily for delivery and fleet use, it offers clean-air alternatives for plumbers in California and urban environments, such as Philadelphia and New York City.

I had the opportunity to drive the e-cell truck and found the acceleration and braking on par with any conventional-fueled vehicle. Admittedly, the single-pedal operation and silent performance took a bit of getting use to, but after cruising several downtown blocks it felt like home. OK – so I didn’t try the radio. My bad.

Here’s a picture of me behind the wheel, courtesy of Renee Francoeur, Electrical Business magazine. Thanks, Renee.

Next up was a look at Ram Truck and its dual-sided, 60 hp, power take-off (PTO) option. Not sure how this applies to the plumbing world, but I see it as a big advantage to septic pumpers who can easily mount a vacuum pump on either side of the truck.

When it comes to towing, the Ram 4500 has a max trailer weight of 24,650 pounds and gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of up to 32,500 pounds, while the Ram 5500 has a max trailer weight of 29,600 pounds and GCWR of up to 37,500 pounds.

The Ram 4500 and 5500 are available with gasoline or diesel powertrains. The 6.4-liter V8 delivers 370 hp at 4,600 rpm and 429 ft-lbs of torque at 4,000 rpm, while the optional 6.7-liter Cummins delivers 325 hp at 2,400 rpm and 750 ft-lbs. of torque at 1,500 rpm.

Talking about self-drive vehicles, the 2016 Ram Chassis Cab is available with an optional ParkSense package that includes a front-park assist system that enhances safe operation and complements the backup camera.

Ram has also partnered with Robert Bosch Tool Corporation and offers wireless charging as part of the shelving system on its Promaster vans. To charge a tool, you simply snap it into the shelf. Bosch’s battery technology offers lifetime performance when kept at 80 percent charge.

On a larger scale, Mack unveiled two weight-saving versions of its mDrive HD automated manual transmission.

Available in direct or overdrive configurations, the Mack mDrive HD 13-speed offers a low reduction gear ration for easier starting on steep grades or when the truck is under heavy loads. The Mack mDrive 14-speed, available only in an overdrive configuration, adds a second ultra-low speed-reduction gear.

Mack also launched its ClearTech One single-package exhaust aftertreatment system (EATS). With Mack’s ClearTech One, the diesel particulate filter (DPF), selective catalytic filter (DPF), selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) dosing system are combined in one unit, saving about 11 inches in space for greater flexibility in chassis-mounted equipment.

Returning to the alternative fuel market, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. showcased an LPG version of its MT-45. The truck features a liquid propane injection system with 48-gallon, right-hand-mounted tank, GM 6.0L V8 engine offering 308 hp and 367 ft-lbs of torque at 4,400 rpm and a GVWR of up to 15,200 pounds.

Freightliner, in partnership with Morgan Olson, also displayed its MT-45 and MT-55 walk-in van. The unit features an FCCC MT-45 front-engine diesel chassis and all-aluminum Morgan Olson body, extruded reinforced aluminum floor with 10-inch wheel boxes, interior-sliding cab doors and full roll-up door. The truck is powered by a Cummins ISB diesel engine delivering 200 hp and 520 ft-lbs of torque.

Alliance AutoGas offered a hands-on look at its EPA- and NFPA 58-compliant propane fuel system that can be installed on new or in-service vehicles.

“This replaces us having to tap into the intake with our conversion system,” says Mark Denton, vice president of business development. “Basically, we’re taking gasoline vehicles and converting them to propane. All of our components plug right in. The wiring harness, instead of having to cut and splice sometimes 30 wires, plugs right into the onboard computer.”

Alliance also provides refueling infrastructure either on your property or a site nearby.

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America unveiled its new entry into the Class 6 medium-duty truck market.

“This truck represents our vision of the future of the medium-duty truck industry,” says Shaun Skinner, executive vice president and general manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America.

Plumbers might want to give this chassis a look.

The FTR is powered by Isuzu’s 4HK1-TC 5.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.

Although horsepower and torque ratings have not been finalized, the powerplant will be mated to an Allison 2000 Series automatic transmission. The engine carries a B10 durability of 310,000 miles.

Eight wheelbase configurations will accommodate bodies from 16 feet to 30 feet, allowing for a variety of body applications. The cab-forward 2018 FTR is scheduled to go into U.S. production in mid-2017.

OK, so this has nothing to do with plumbing, or trucks for that matter, but I had to admire the full-size Shelby Cobra on display in the BAAM Cincinnati booth.

The 3D-printed body was completed in 24 hours at a cost of about $25,000. The labor-intensive work to finish the body (sanding, filling, polishing and painting) added another $35,000. Mounting it on a 1960s chassis brought total cost of the showpiece project to over $70,000 -– engine and drivetrain extra. Not sure I’d want to shell out that much, but hey, it’s a Shelby.

The Work Truck Show concludes on Friday. Dates for 2017 are March 14-17. For 2016, that’s a wrap!


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