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Bendix urges drivers to prepare for Brake Safety Week, offers checklist

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Web bendix air
Brake Safety Week inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I inspection, covering a range of driver qualifications, documentation, and vehicle equipment conditions. Other brake system points of interest include mismatched air chamber sizes across axles, and warning device functionality, including antilock braking system indicator lights. (Courtesy: BENDIX)

ELYRIA, Ohio — On a single day this past May, nearly 1,700 commercial vehicles were taken off the roads of North America because of brake system safety violations: Consider for a moment if just half of those – or a quarter, or even just one – had been unable to stop in a critical situation because of a brake system that wasn’t in good operating condition. That kind of moment is exactly why Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC) works to help fleets and owner-operators prepare for events like Brake Safety Week 2019, which will take place September 15-21.

Part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Airbrake, Brake Safety Week is an outreach and enforcement campaign that aims to reduce the number of crashes caused or made more severe by faulty brake systems on commercial motor vehicles. Inspections on large trucks and buses will be conducted by local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials in the United States and Canada. Bendix, a North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles, supports the CVSA’s goals of improving vehicle safety throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“What’s at stake is more than just avoiding noncompliance penalties and out-of-service time – although those are certainly of importance,” said Barbara Gould, Bendix director of corporate communications. “The most important reason we stress preparation for inspection periods like Brake Safety Week is because drivers need to be able to depend on their brakes every moment of every mile. And even as advanced safety technologies like full stability and collision mitigation enhance a vehicle, those systems still require brakes in good working condition to support drivers and perform at their best.”

On May 15, during an unannounced inspection blitz in the United States and Canada, CVSA law enforcement members conducted 10,358 commercial motor vehicle inspections focused on identifying brake system violations. Of those vehicles inspected, 1,667 (16.1 percent) were placed out of service due to critical brake-related violations. This year’s Brake Safety Week includes a special focus on brake hoses/tubing. May’s inspections found 1,125 violations that included chafed hoses, and 124 that included kinked hoses. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s data for the first half of 2019, brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking accounted for nearly 38,000 inspection violations.

Bendix urges drivers to prepare for brake safety week, offers checklist“Hoses and tubing affect the performance of an entire braking system, so it’s important that they’re in good shape and free of kinks,” said Brian Screeton, Bendix supervisor for technical service training. “Checking their condition, positioning and connections should be a regular part of any visual inspection, both during pre-trip walk-arounds and in the shop. Additionally, we recommend that every driver makes performing regular 90- to 100-psi brake applications and listening for leaks part of their preparation before getting on the road.”

Other pre-trip and preventive maintenance items directly related to Brake Safety Week inspections include:

  • Daily visual checks for damaged or loose-hanging air chambers, pushrods or slack adjusters. (Note that slack adjusters on each axle should be extended out to the same angle: If not, it could indicate an out-of-adjustment brake or a broken spring brake power spring.)
  • Weekly checks of air disc brake rotors for cracks, and lining wear on drum brakes.
  • Monthly checks for moisture in the air system. (Contamination can lead to deterioration of air seals, brake-modulating valves, and brake chamber diaphragms, leading to system leaks.)
  • Regular greasing of S-cam brake tubes and automatic slack adjusters to prevent rust and corrosion.

Proper brake adjustment is also a part of CVSA roadside inspections and should be addressed in the shop in advance of the event. While air disc brakes include an internal adjustment mechanism, drum braked wheel-ends will need to have their brake stroke measured.

“Measuring the chamber stroke involves checking the distance from the air chamber to the clevis pin with the brakes released, and again after a fully charged brake application,” said Keith McComsey, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake director of marketing and customer solutions – Wheel-End. “Drivers can incur fines if the difference between those two measurements – the chamber stroke – is outside allowable limits on 25 percent of a truck’s wheel-ends.”

The Bendix technical support team has developed an infographic (shown above) to note differing maintenance needs of air disc and drum brakes.

Brake Safety Week inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I inspection, covering a range of driver qualifications, documentation, and vehicle equipment conditions. Other brake system points of interest include mismatched air chamber sizes across axles, and warning device functionality, including antilock braking system indicator lights. Fourteen Brake Safety Week inspection jurisdictions will also be using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) to measure vehicle braking efficiency.

In addition to short-term preparation for inspections, there are long-term paths available for ensuring healthy braking systems and properly functioning technologies.

The right wheel-end friction selection is one example: Not all replacement linings marketed as acceptable for federal stopping distance requirements will actually perform to the standard, and the wrong choice may lead to cracks, missing pieces or degradation – any of which can earn violations during a roadside inspection.

In addition, when replacing drum brake shoes, choose remanufactured shoes that have been coined back to their original OEM-engineered shape over those that have simply been relined. Even normal brake usage affects the shape of a shoe, and relining it – rather than coining – can lead to reduced stopping power and premature wear.

Because oil aerosols entering an air brake system can be particularly corrosive, Bendix advises using an oil-coalescing air dryer cartridge like the Bendix PuraGuard. Oil-coalescing cartridges can be used to replace standard cartridges, but never vice-versa.

“Today’s commercial vehicles and their safety systems are more proven and effective than ever – but it takes professional technicians and drivers dedicated to safer roads to help keep them running smoothly,” Gould said. “And there’s a lot to keep track of – that’s why our team works to support those efforts and shares its expertise through in-person programs and online resources: Because we’re shaping tomorrow’s transportation together, and everyone benefits when we’re all focused on safety.”

Through industry technical leadership, unparalleled post-sales support, and an ever-growing portfolio of technology developments, Bendix delivers on safety, vehicle performance, and efficiency, supporting areas critical to fleets’ success. In striving to lower the total cost of vehicle ownership, Bendix helps strengthen return on investment in equipment and technology that enhance safety for all drivers and passengers who share North America’s roads.

For more information about Bendix air brake systems and technologies, call 800-AIR-BRAKE (800-247-2725) or visit safertrucks.com/solutions.

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Kenworth to collaborate with Meritor on T680E Electric powertrain development

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concept photo of Kenworth electric model
The electric Kenworth T680E will be a short-hood day cab in tractor configurations of 4x2 and 6x4 axles and as a 6x4 axle straight truck. The T680E will offer an operating range between 100 to 150 miles, depending on application. (Courtesy: Kenworth)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Kenworth has announced it will collaborate with Meritor on electric powertrain development for Class 8 Kenworth T680E battery-electric vehicles.

The electric Kenworth T680E will be a short-hood day cab in tractor configurations of 4×2 and 6×4 axles and as a 6×4 axle straight truck. The T680E will offer an operating range between 100 to 150 miles, depending on application.

“The Kenworth T680E development in collaboration with Meritor is a major advanced technology step in Kenworth’s evolution of zero-emission electric powertrain solutions for our customers,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president. “Initial production of the Kenworth T680E is expected to begin in the fourth quarter 2020 and ramp through 2021.”

Meritor, Inc. is a global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets. Meritor is based in Troy, Michigan.

“We look forward to working closely with Kenworth to help develop the Kenworth T680E as an important, viable battery-electric answer for the day cab market,” said T.J. Reed, vice president of Global Electrification for Meritor.

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New Kenworth parts, service locations now open in Maryland and Nebraska

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Kenworth service location in Maryland
West Point Kenworth is approximately one hour south of Sioux City, Iowa, and located along Highway 275, a major trucking route in the area. (Courtesy: Kenworth)

WESTMINSTER, Md. And West Point, Neb. — Kenworth now offers additional locations for parts and services. Mid Atlantic Kenworth has added a full-service location in Westminster, Maryland, while Sioux Falls Kenworth has opened a new parts and services dealership in West Point, Nebraska.

Maryland

In Westminster, Maryland, the 17,400-square-foot facility features a full parts and service department, with 10 service bays to maximize customer uptime for truck operators passing through the area. A drivers’ lounge is available to customers while their trucks are serviced.

The facility, Kenworth Mid Atlantic Westminster is located on three acres, which offers customers ample room to park their trucks.

The Westminster, Maryland facility is located at 821 Baltimore Blvd. and its hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Nebraska

With its new parts and service dealership in West Point, Nebraska, Sioux Falls Kenworth can now offer expanded support to fleets and operators in the greater Sioux City, Iowa area.

West Point Kenworth is approximately one hour south of Sioux City and located along Highway 275. The 12,800-square-foot building is situated on 3.5 acres. The facility features an 8,600-square-foot service department with eight service bays. Also included is a 1,200-square-foot parts retail display area and a 1,900-square-foot space for bulk storage.

The West Point facility is located at 1805 Sycamore St. in West Point. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday.

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Agility partners with XStream Trucking to distribute aerodynamic TruckWings

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a patented design allows truckwings to swing out and retract
The patented TruckWings design incorporates folding panels made of impact-resistant, glass-reinforced composites attached to the rear sides and roof of the cab that automatically swing out to close the cab-to-trailer gap at highway speeds and retract at lower speeds. (Courtesy: Agility Fuel Solutions)

COSTA MESA, Cali. — Agility Fuel Solutions and XStream Trucking have announced that Agility will be the exclusive distributor of Xstream’s TruckWings aerodynamic systems for compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks in North America. Agility will also distribute TruckWings on a non-exclusive basis to the diesel truck market.

The patented TruckWings design incorporates folding panels made of impact-resistant, glass-reinforced composites attached to the rear sides and roof of the cab that automatically swing out to close the cab-to-trailer gap at highway speeds and retract against the rear of the cab at lower speeds to leave room for turning maneuvers.

“TruckWings is the first device which completely solves the turbulence problem created by the open area between the tractor and trailer that contributes significantly to a truck’s overall aerodynamic drag,” said Daniel Burrows, XStream Trucking’s founder and CEO. “We are pleased to now partner with Agility to offer TruckWings as a factory option for CNG trucks in North America.”

Agility, a business area of Hexagon Composites ASA, and XStream Trucking have previously partnered to provide TruckWings systems for over 750 CNG trucks used by major fleet operators. Agility’s leadership in providing clean fuel solutions for commercial vehicles coupled with its extensive customer base and value-added aftermarket services will expand XStream’s TruckWings solution to reach the growing CNG truck market throughout North America.

“Agility’s trucking fleet customers are focused on fuel cost savings and on increasing the fuel economy of their CNG trucks. TruckWings are a great answer to this problem, as we’ve demonstrated in real-world use with some of our major fleet customers,” said Eric Bippus, Agility’s senior vice president of global sales and marketing. “We are very pleased to enter into this distribution agreement and to continue to work with XStream Trucking to deliver clean and efficient transportation solutions for the North American trucking market.”

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