?5 Accessories For Diesel Performance

Diesel performance has come a long way. Let’s face it, trucks have not always performed as well as they do today. Diesel engines originally were only good enough to run construction equipment. As technology advanced so did the uses, until today when we see trucks and even some cars powered by diesel.

With the popularity of diesel engines, there are many aftermarket accessories available to increase the performance of your diesel engine. Below are 5 of the most popular accessories for increasing diesel performance:

Diesel Performance Fuel Systems

The fuel system is a popular diesel performance upgrade that is usually done on most diesel trucks. Unfortunately most diesel trucks fuel tanks are mounted at least two feet below and ten feet away from the fuel pump and this can cause problems with the fuel delivery to the engine, one of the biggest ones is retarded timing. If you upgrade your fuel system to a diesel performance fuel system some of the benefits you will experience are; increased horsepower, increased fuel economy, reduced engine and cab noise and a smoother idle and quick throttle response.

Performance Exhaust Systems

Another major modification that is very popular for diesel trucks is to add a larger diameter and less restrictive exhaust system. A larger diameter and less restrictive exhaust system relieves back pressure on the engine because now it will not have to exert the effort as much effort to push the exhaust away. The main benefit of adding diesel performance exhaust system is better fuel economy and a longer lasting engine. This diesel performance accessory is especially important if you have already added a performance module because the exhaust system will help to keep temperatures lower, resulting in the engine not having to work as hard.

Diesel Fuel Injectors

One of the most popular accessories is upgrading to performance diesel fuel injectors. The main benefit to upgrading your fuel injectors is of course more power and better fuel economy. Diesel performance fuel injectors come in a wide variety of makes and models and can add up to 150hp to your diesel engine.

Diesel Performance Modules

Diesel performance modules are another accessory upgrade that is most commonly completed on a diesel engine. One of the benefits of adding a diesel performance module is the module can provide up to a 35% increase in torque and an additional 150 horsepower. It can also increase fuel mileage by about 10%. Another added benefit of installing a diesel performance module is that you will not have to reprogram the truck’s main computer chip. You can just install the performance module in any areas where there is a gap between the computer and fuel injection.

Cold Air Intake Systems

Upgrading the cold air intake system is another way to get great diesel performance out of your diesel truck. The cold air intake is sealed away from hot engine air and it is used to bring down the temperature of the air going into a diesel engine. The main benefit of installing a cold air intake is an increase of the power of the internal-combustion engine and with the higher percentage of fuel being burned the better it is for fuel economy.

?Hand Held Diesel Programmers

There are many types of hand held diesel programmers out there, the ones we are going to talk about today are the Diablosport predator tuner, the Hypertech power programmer, and the Bullydog Triple Dog. These all have similar functions and power increases and a few unique features to each.

The first one that we are going to talk about today is the BullyDog Triple Dog. One of the unique features of the Triple Dog is that it will work on any of the newer Ford, Dodge or Chevy diesel trucks. So it can be pulled off of a Ford Powerstroke and put directly onto a Chevy Duramax or Dodge Cummins. That is a very nice feature, because you can sell your truck and buy a new one even from a different company and not have to purchase another performance programmer. Also there is a free extreme program available to Triple Dog owners from Bullydog’s website. On some trucks the extreme program adds up to 230 extra horse power.

The second one we will talk about is the Diablosport Predator. This hand held programmer comes with three built in tunes for economy, economy while towing, and all out performance. This unit loads its program into the truck via the trucks diagnostic port. The Diablosport Predator also offers the ability to check and clear trouble codes as well as calibrate the speedometer for larger tires. Diablosport has a predator tuner for most new vehicles both diesel and gas. The Diablosport Predator also comes with a screen about three times larger than the competitions.

The Hypertech power programmer also comes with three programs built in and a programmer for the diesel trucks and most gas vehicles. It also has the ability to adjust the speedometer for larger tires and can check and clear trouble codes, which can save a trip to the mechanics which is worth its weight in gold at times.

?What to Look for in Your Next Truck Purchase

The truck market has changed in recent years, but not in ways some consumers may realize. Although gas prices have surged higher, demand for big trucks remains strong while midsize and smaller truck sales have sunk. This may seem odd until you realize that today’s full size pickup trucks are fuel efficient, offering options that help reduce visits to the pump.

If you’re in the market for a new truck, there are some things you need to look for as you plan your purchase:

Truck Categories — Two truck categories dominate the market, but there are three for your consideration. Full size trucks include the Ford F-150, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Sierra, Nissan Titan, GMC Sierra and the Ram 1500.

Midsize trucks include the Ram Dakota, Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline and the Ford Sport Trac. Although this segment has few models, it easily outsells the compact truck category which consists of the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Suzuki Canyon and the Nissan Frontier.

Driving Aspirations — Two- and four-wheel-drive options is nearly universal with all pickup trucks. Most trucks offer four-wheel-drive instead of all-wheel-drive, the former offering full time power to all four wheels, the latter offering power to all four wheels only as it is needed.

Cabin Configuration — Base compact trucks seat two people with extended cabs seating as many as four. Most midsize and full size trucks seat two or three people with room for six in extended cabs. Cab configurations vary and can include standard, extended, club or some combination thereof.

Bed Configuration — Bed sizes vary from 5 to 8 feet. If a truck’s cabin is extended, the bed is usually shorter. Compact trucks usually have five foot beds with six foot beds found in “”short bed”” full size pickup trucks.

Payload & Towing — An important consideration for any pickup truck buyer is that vehicle’s payload capacity. Payload includes passenger weight and stuff you carry in your pickup truck bed. Towing capacity is another consideration and is defined as the amount of weight a truck can safely tow. Towing capacity should include the weight of the people riding in the vehicle and whatever else is found in the truck bed in addition to whatever you are towing.

Engines and Transmissions — Compact trucks are powered by four cylinder engines with optional V-6 engines available. Midsize trucks may include a mix of four, six and eight cylinder engines, while big pickups are powered by six and eight cylinder engines. Right now, compact and midsize trucks offer gas engines only while heavy duty versions of some of the full size trucks offer diesel engines. Most trucks come equipped with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. When combined with a V-6 engine, can deliver fuel economy numbers closer to what small trucks get.

Other distinctions of note include cabin amenities such as the types of seats available, technology enhancements, storage compartments, passenger room and safety features including crash protection and collision avoidance systems. Compare your options to find a pickup truck that is right for you.

?GM Death Watch: It Ain’t Gonna Happen!

I have been enjoying reading the news these past few days, perhaps in a perverse sort of way. Pundits and prognosticators are all forecasting the pending doom of the world’s largest automaker as if the approaching layoffs and restructuring are signaling the venerable automaker’s end. Certainly, GM has some problems – big ones – but the company isn’t likely to go away or even file for bankruptcy. The news isn’t all that it seems to be on this subject either…GM will survive and likely thrive in the decades ahead.

Okay, I am not crazy. Could GM go away? Of course, as could any poorly managed company. Yes, executives are overpaid and so are union workers. There…I said it. GM has been taking it on the chin from Asian automakers for three decades now and their U.S. market share continues to dwindle. Still, it isn’t doomsday for the general. Far from it. Here are some things that I believe GM is attempting to do to as they restructure.

Reduced Legacy Costs – GM won an important battle with its unions to force workers and retirees to pony up more money for their share of rising healthcare costs. Before you cry “”foul”” most Americans are paying heavily for their health insurance, while most autoworkers pay little or nothing. Reportedly, GM’s legacy costs add $1500 to the price of every vehicle. Hardly a way for any company to compete, right?

Divisional Trimming – GM axed Oldsmobile and is, supposedly, looking at whether Pontiac or Buick should go next. Saturn looks safe, primarily because of the division’s excellent dealer network while Chevrolet is the household name for so many car owners and is, therefore, untouchable. Cadillac is once again doing well and is competing effectively against Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and Infiniti. Cadillac easily outsells rival Lincoln more than 2 to 1.

Captive Imports – I mentioned in a related article that China’s Chery Automotive Company will be importing a line of vehicles to the US commencing in Summer 2007. With a starting price as low as $6995, there is no way that GM can compete with them. Neither can Ford, Toyota, Honda, or Nissan for that matter. So, what is the option? Import one or two ultra low priced lines of cars from Korea via the company’s Daewoo division. Currently, the $9995 Chevy Aveo is the low price king in the US. This Daewoo built model is being overhauled and the new model should arrive in the US in about one year. Expect the price to
drop as GM prepares for Chery’s onslaught. Expect GM to pressure their unions for further give backs as American highways are soon flooded with cheap Chinese imports.

Operational Spread — The US auto market is the most lucrative in the world. Expect GM to strengthen luxury brands including Cadillac and Hummer as many of these vehicles bring in profits of ten thousand dollars or more per vehicle. Gas prices are coming down and America’s thirst for profitable trucks and SUVs has hardly been quenched. Still, look for GM to do a few hybrids, add some more diesels, and continue researching hydrogen production.

Union members should be alarmed by all these looming changes. Cutbacks will happen but they will only be wider and deeper if union opposition remains so strong. Yes, the unions could kill off the general, but that would be suicide for the workers. Better to pick whatever battles you can win and hope for the best.

The general isn’t dead and it hardly is dying despite everything you read and hear [personally, I believe GM is beating the “”we’re getting clobbered”” drum to squeeze out more give backs from the unions]. Globalism is changing the way business is done and it would do all of us good to wake up to that fact…like it or not.

?4×4 Trucks – Look Beyond the Gloss Before You Buy

4×4 trucks for sale are often presented to potential buyers with a fine sheen. Learn to look past that sheen with these clever tips for inspecting used 4×4 trucks.

When you analyze 4×4 trucks for sale, make sure you to take a good long look at how hard the previous owner pushed that vehicle. This can be subtle sometimes, especially if you are looking at a truck at an auto dealer. Dealerships often sanitize the truck with things like a nice cleaning on the interior and pressure cleaning of the engine.

Brake Pedal Wear

So here are some things you can look for regardless of how well the dealer tries to hide them. Take a close look at the used diesel truck’s brake pedal. How worn is it? In particular, how worn is it on the right edge of the pedal? Wear there indicates frequent stop and go driving, which is just another way to excessively age a truck and burn it out.

4×4 Truck Tires

Another thing to look at is the tires. They may seem superficial, but in fact tires tell a lot about the truck’s past and recent history. For example, if you are looking at a used truck and it has brand new tires, you should be very suspicious. Tires for a diesel truck are expensive and not at all a wise investment for a seller. If they put new tires on the truck they are probably hiding something.

What is the size of the tires? People often like to put extra big tires on their trucks. What they often do not realize is that this puts extra stress on the transmission. Transmissions are tuned for a certain size and weight of tire at the factory. Go beyond that size and weight and you need to change the transmission, which is a costly change so most owners don’t do it.

So if the truck you’re looking at has over-sized tires but the owner doesn’t have any record indicating transmission work, then you are probably looking at truck in need of expensive transmission work. You are also looking at truck that has been owned and maintained by someone who either does not know what he is doing or is too irresponsible to do it right.

Examine the Exhaust System

One last and almost full-proof way to check how hard the truck has been driven is to get underneath and check the bolts on the exhaust system out from the engine. If any bolts are broken or missing, then this truck engine has been driven hard and hot. A sign of wear here can mean heavily stressed valves and piston rings, even if you can’t see or hear signs of it yet. Stay clear of such a truck. There are better ones out there.

I hope this helps you better understand how to look past the superficial gloss of how that dealer tries to present his 4×4 trucks for sale. There are a lot of trucks for sale out there, so you don’t need to invest your time or money on one that has been driven and burned this hard.

?Fuel Efficiency in the 2010 Ford F350

When people think of big trucks, they often think of poor fuel efficiency. Of course, when people think of powerful pickup trucks, the Ford F-series often comes to mind, which has not been such a great association in the current social and political climate. Ford is looking to change this from a negative to a positive with a number of tricks that boos the fuel efficiency in the 2010 Ford F350, the king of Ford’s consumer pickups. Of course, the king does have a new name: The Super Duty.

The 2010 Super Duty comes with three engine choices: a 5.3L V8, a 6.8L V10, and a 6.4L dual-turbo Power Stroke Diesel. The Power Stroke diesel not only packs a tremendous amount of power, 650 lb-ft of torque at only 2000 rpm, but it also offers Ford’s latest generation clean diesel combustion system. Optimized for low-range work and towing, the Power Stroke has plenty of power, but with that power comes relatively poor fuel economy. After all, the new Super Duty can weigh over two tons by itself, and add in a towing capacity of more than two and a half tons, and the bottom line is that the Super Duty is not a dainty supermodel.

Helping tilt the physics back towards something more green are a few factors. The gas-burning motors feature aluminum heads to save weight, and 5-speed automatics with 6-speed manual transmissions are all available to help keep all of the Super Duty engines where they need to be in the rpm range. Being ‘in the zone’ makes towing and hauling easier on the vehicle, which in turn burns less fuel.

?Used Diesel Cars – Find the Right Used Car For You

You may be wondering where to buy used diesel cars and what to think of before buying any used car. Although more popular in Europe, diesel cars are gaining in popularity in North America as well. More and more people are getting to know diesel fueled cars as well as their advantages.

While diesel is often used to power trucks as well as heavy machinery, there are many cars that use it as a fuel as well. One of the advantages of using diesel fuel is the reduced fuel consumption. With today’s rising gas prices, saving fuel is a concern of many people. A well-maintained diesel car can get better mileage than a gasoline powered car.

Used diesel cars are commonly sold at used car dealerships and by private parties. You can take a look at your local used car lot to see what diesel cars they currently have. Each car you see for sale will typically have an information sheet attached in the window, that will allow you to see some information about the vehicle in question. It will provide you, amongst others, the type of fuel the car uses, the mileage, what is included with the car, as well as the price.

Before buying a used car, make sure that you thoroughly inspect it, in order to make sure that all parts are in good working order. Do not rely solely on the description made by the seller. You should check certain things like the condition of the tires, the bodywork, the windshield as well as looking for any signs of rust or other potentially serious problems. Take the car for a test drive, to see how it handles on the road. This can also allow you to gain some information on the condition of the engine, the transmission and the brakes. You can also take the car to be inspected by an independent mechanic, preferably one that specializes with diesel cars. That way, you can see if any parts will need repair or replacement soon, as well as to estimate the cost of the work to be done on the vehicle if necessary.

Many car manufacturers have made diesel models in recent years, some of the most popular ones in North America include the Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Rabbit. That way, you should not have any problems finding used diesel cars. Make sure you compare all your options to see which cars are available for you to buy, as well as factoring things like your budget and what the vehicle will be used for. You should also compare prices between dealerships and private sellers in your area, in order to make sure you get the best deal for the particular model of car that you want to buy. Be careful if the price seems too low, as this could mean that the car has some problems and that the seller wants to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

?Ford, GM, and Chrysler; Still the Big Three?

Back in the early nineties the light duty work truck market experienced something it hadn’t seen before: Asian competition; sort of.While Japanese manufacturers had done a number on the big three in the small truck market as they had done in various automobile segments, the full size truck market was still red, white, blue, and green$$. Then came the Toyota T-100. While the initial entry into the full size market from Japan didn’t have much of an impact on the North American work truck market, it should have been a wake-up call.

Though the T-100 missed the work truck mark in many ways: low gvw, sheet metal like tin foil, puny power trains, low tow rating, and styling best described as a Camry with an 8′ bed, it did accomplish one thing. It gave Toyota a platform to experiment, gather feedback and learn. It wasn’t exactly heavy duty. But by the T-100’s third year of production it claimed the title of Best Full Size Pickup in JD Powers initial quality survey and had begun to erode notions that only American manufacturers could build full size trucks.

Since then the T-100 has become the Tundra, and has racked up just about every quality award and press accolade known to man. It’s also grown up. Regular Cabs have grown to double cabs larger than the domestics, and horsepower and displacement have grown from the initial 3.0 v6 to todays vvt-i V8 pushing nearly 300 hp. But a more important event occurred when the T-100 became the Tundra. It went from a Japanese truck built in Japan by Japanese workers to an American Truck built for the American market by American’s. Why is that important? In the world of full size trucks, it’s everything. When it comes to high revving sports cars, compact economy cars, or even lawnmowers, we’re happy to defer to any European or Asian company with a better idea. But, when it comes to trucks, Americans are finicky.

We know what we want and don’t want. I’m an American truck owner and I can’t describe it but I get it. We all get it. So regardless of whether or not it makes financial sense for Japanese car companies to build trucks here in the US (it does), it makes perfect sense from a design and marketing standpoint. The best and fastest way to deliver what a market wants and needs is to be immersed in the culture. That shift from the T-100 being built in Tokyo by Toyotas Hino division, to the Tundra being built in Indiana by American’s forever blurred the distinction between foreign and domestic trucks. Foreign vs. Domestic simply doesn’t have the same meaning in the 21st century as it did in the decades following WW2.

The impact of this event hasn’t fully developed yet but it will in the coming years. Full size trucks were the last unmolested market the big three had. Now, not only is there foreign competition, it’s not even really foreign. When Toyota opens their new truck plant in San Antonio in late 2006, they will employ over 2000 workers and have on-site suppliers employing another 2100 people. All of them Texans. It’s hard toimagine an American truck more American than one built by Texans.

Now, with the introduction of the Canton Mississippi built Nissan Titan, the writing is on the wall. Through October of this year, Nissan has sold nearly 74,000 Titans. Add that to the more than 100,000 Tundras pumped into the market, and we’re talking serious numbers. That’s annually more than a quarter million sales that would have gone to Ford, GM or Chrysler a mere 13 years ago. But the figures are more ominous to the big 3 than that. The Titan and Tundra only compete in the 1/2 ton market. Toyota and Nissan don’t produce a model to compete with the Chevy HD’s, Ford Super Duty’s, or Heavy Dodge Rams and Power Wagons; YET.

Can’t imagine Nissan and Toyota building serious work trucks? Remember, Toyota already owns Hino and Nissan and UD are one in the same. Hino and UD own a significant piece of the class 3 to 6 medium duty truck market in the states. Those are the segments just above the Super Duties, Power Wagons, and HD’s.

They may not be called Nissan and Toyota, but that’s not important. What is important, is that they have the dealer network, distribution chain, corporate infrastructure, and 20 plus years of selling quality trucks to commercial buyers in the U.S. All that’s left is to close the loop in the noose around the big threes collective neck.

To work truck buyers, three factors are critical. Initial cost, cost of operation, and reliability. Nissan and Toyota are masters at entering market segments and in a short time having products of higher quality, better efficiency, and in many cases lower prices than their competitors. Forcing the big three to play catch up at their own game. Cadillac and Lincoln still haven’t caught back up to Lexus. If GM, Ford and Chrysler don’t get it together in a hurry, Nissan and Toyota will start building 3/4 and one ton trucks, and the game will be over before they knew it started.So how ready are the big three for serious foreign competition?

This year If Toyota was inclined, they could have offered a no bed Tundra with a dual wheel rear axle under it, dropped in one of Hinos diesel engines and sold more cab and chassis than Dodge. How? Dodge hasn’t offered a true cab and chassis since the Ram’s redesign in 2003, literally giving the market to Ford and GM for over three years. That kind of slow adaptation will spell disaster against companies like Toyota and Nissan. Not to mention Honda and Mitsubishi who may also become players.Based on show vehicles recently unveiled, like the Toyota FTX (which has a built in collapsible job box and ramps that slide out of the bed), Nissan and Toyota are going to go bigger and heavier. While Ford is wasting time slapping Super Duty pickup beds on International chassis, Toyota and Nissan are refining their product and winning the hearts and minds of American truck buyers.

Will history repeat itself? It already is. Oh, and by the way, the Chinese are coming.

?4X4 Lifted Diesel Trucks: Successful Buying Negotiation Tips

For new 4×4 lifted diesel trucks, a dealership would be the first point of contact. Certain models are typically available with body spacer type lift kits with lifts from one to four inches. Purchasing this type of 4×4 truck with a lift already installed is a quick way to get the vehicle you are seeking.

Research special incentives and other offers from the manufacturer before visiting the dealership. You want to know what your options are before talking to the sales person. The sales person will be aware of these offers as well, but knowing them in advance can help give you an advantage during price discussions.

Another option is to find 4×4 lifted trucks for sale by owner. These may have diesel powered engines, or they might use gasoline or other fuel. Diesel engines are typically preferred for towing or other heavy duty applications because they produce more power at lower engine speed than comparable gasoline engines.

When looking at a diesel trucks for sale, it is important to test drive the vehicle. Pay attention to any poor handling or odd sounds, as these can indicate underlying problems with the vehicle. Then tell your mechanic about anything you noticed. The mechanic should inspect the vehicle carefully to look for any issues.

The test drive and inspection will typically reveal most major existing problems with the used truck. Then these items can make for good discussion with the seller during negotiation on the price. Sometimes the seller is not aware of the existing problems with the vehicle.

Also make note of any maintenance records. If maintenance records are not available, you can only assume that major maintenance was not performed. Diesel engines can introduce fair amounts of soot into the engine oil, so it is important that the engine oil was changed regularly with a quality heavy duty engine oil. The engine oil needs to meet the manufacturer’s specifications, especially on late model diesel trucks that have exhaust particulate filters. And this requirement is even more important if the engine is turbocharged.

Also watch for modifications that might have been made to the diesel truck. For example, propane injection and performance tuners made by companies such as Bully Dog are popular with diesel enthusiasts. If the truck has an automatic transmission, these modifications can cause it to slip.

The clutch packs in the transmission can withstand only so much torque before they slip, and diesel engines produce relatively high amounts of torque at low speeds already. The addition of performance tuners can push the torque above what the automatic transmission can handle.

?Ford Ranger Pickup Truck

The Ford Ranger is a 1 ton pickup truck also sold as the Mazda BT-50; it is designed and built in North America. The 2011 model which is due for release later in the year: it has been designed and will be built by Ford of Australia. The Ranger is available as a Single Cab, RAP (Rear Access Panel) Cab and Double Cab.

With its rugged, masculine looks and its commanding presence, the Ford Ranger has been designed to be equally at home on town roads as well as country tracks. Whether used for work or pleasure, the Ranger is tough, resilient and reliable and has been built to take on the most difficult challenges – both on and off-road.

The Ford Ranger is available with a choice of two diesel engines, a 2.5 litre four cylinder with 141bhp and a 3.0 litre TDCi with 154bhp. The larger diesel engine is only available with the top of the range twin cab model. The large diesel engines provide plenty of torque to lug around heavy loads, even the smaller diesel has 243lb ft of pulling muscle.

Like all pickup trucks the Ford Ranger is designed to be a working car, therefore unlike modern luxury 4×4 SUVs like the BMW X5 the Ranger feels more crude and basic. The ride for example has been designed to pull and carry heavy loads rather than offer maximum comfort for its passengers. Feedback from the wheels is decent and the grip level is ok too.

The large diesel engines in the Ranger are by no means as quiet as the ones seen in modern day diesel saloon cars but compared to other pickup trucks the Ranger’s engine are quiet and smooth. Road noise has been kept to a minimum in the cabin but, due to its square body shop the Ranger does create a lot of wind noise.

?The Types of Water-Bearing Trucks

If you’ve ever noticed the fire engines roaring through town on their way to a fire, you’ve probably seen a variety of different vehicles used to transport water.

The various trucks all have different features that are designed for specific tasks. They have special options and tools that help the user complete his task.

Firefighters in cities are most often called to fight fires in buildings or vehicles, they use fire trucks or engines to do so. Fire engines or trucks are great for this purpose because they have enough cabin space to accommodate a team of firefighters and store their necessary equipment. Some trucks include ladders that can be raised mechanically to access upper floors in buildings. These ladder trucks are very expensive, so fire departments often rely on fundraising to pay for them. Often it’s possible to buy used fire trucks to save money.

Another truck used to put out fires is a fire tanker. They are typically used for larger outdoor fires. They don’t look much like fire engines you think of when you picture a fire department. Tankers are not always equipped to dispense water to fight fires. It may be relied on more to transport large amounts of water to a fire.

You’ll find that tankers are often connected to a fire engine. The fire tankers are actually diesel trucks that haul a large metallic tank. There’s not much room for storage or manpower. They usually just allow for a driver and one passenger.

Another truck to transport water is a water truck. They are much like tankers in appearance but are used differently. Often water trucks are used at mines or quarries when the activity there stirs up an excessive amount of dust.

Dust can be hazardous be cause it can limit the visibility of the mine workers or drivers nearby. Water trucks are equipped with nozzles that are similar to sprinklers. They are used to dispense water over a large area. The water helps the dust to sink back to the ground.

There are many types of water-bearing trucks on the market and they all serve a valuable purpose.

?Fleet Management and Fuel Savings

Does anyone remember the days when the only time we thought about high diesel fuel prices was when OPEC decided to mess with us? Fuel cards use to be handed out and drivers would fuel at any place they wanted. Actually for companies that still does happen. I guess for those few companies that still do that and back in the old days no one really paid attention to fuel management. It wasn’t that important. Today fuel management better be part of the picture or companies are just not getting the fuel savings that they should be.

Some people say you can’t control your fueling or diesel fuel prices, we save sure you can. The answer is fuel management as part of your fleet management for your company.

Any company can improve their fleet fuel efficiencies. It takes work and commitment from everyone in the organization both direct and indirect suppliers but with proper fuel management system in place your diesel fuel prices will go down. Many companies are making change in their fleet management programs to help reduce operating costs. We believe with the tips below as well as a solid fuel card program, your fleet manager will see the difference.

To help you adjust, here are Ten Ways to Cut Fuel Costs:

1. This is another lesson your drivers must be taught. Jackrabbit starts waste fuel and save less than 3 minutes per hour driving, but can result in using 40% more fuel so that is not going to help your fuel savings or help your own time delivery. Take it easy.

2. You’re not 16 years old anymore. Speeding is dangerous; it wastes fuel and creates higher levels of toxic emissions. Speeds over 60 mph drastically impact fuel efficiencies – cars travelling at 75 mph use 20% more fuel. Trucks travelling at 75 mph use 50% more fuel and they also emit 100% more carbon monoxide, 50% more hydrocarbons and 31% more nitrogen oxides. If those numbers don’t want you to put restricker on your trucks, I don’t know what will. If you think saving a couple of cents on your diesel fuel prices is big, wait until you put this in place.

3. Be aware of the time truck engines idle. No longer can we leave trucks and equipment running all day long. Stop your engines! Excessive idling adds to your fleet fuel costs by as much as 50% and can shorten the life of engine oil by 75%, adding more costs. Initiate a campaign to reduce idling time and reward participants. Allowing an engine to idle more than 3 minutes causes expensive damage which harms efficiency, shortens engine life and increases maintenance costs. It all adds up to big savings if you handle your fleet management correctly.

4. Extra weight places unnecessary strain on your vehicle’s engine and greatly affects its fuel efficiency. By removing as little as 100 pounds you can significantly improve your miles per gallon and we all want better miles per gallon out of our diesel fuel trucks. Check each vehicle and take out that unnecessary weight!

5. Proper tire inflation improves gas mileage or diesel fuel mileage. Statistics show improperly inflated tires can cost up to 2 weeks worth of fuel per year! How big is your fleet? Two weeks per year per vehicle adds up to thousands of dollars in lost profits! In addition proper inflation results in improved vehicle and braking performance, and increases tire life. You can never be to safe.

6. Whenever possible, invest in modern, fuel-efficient vehicles. Modern diesel engines are far more fuel-efficient and perform better with modern diesel fuels such as ultra low sulphur diesel, biodiesel and diesel fuel additives. Though it may seem expensive, new diesel vehicles can save thousands of dollars in maintenance, fueling and productivity per vehicle. Measure each piece of equipment for fleet fuel efficiency and get rid of the bad ones! Replace and upgrade your equipment regularly. It may hurt now but it will pay you back when you look in your fleet management program

7. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. If you can measure and your fleet management program better when you have the right information. Tracking miles traveled, average speed and engine efficiency is critical to cutting fueling costs. This information will help your drivers and managers optimize routes with better planning. Mapping software and GPS will eliminate thousands of unnecessary miles per week. Less time on the road means less fueling consumed, less wear on vehicles, decreased expenditures and overall increased productivity which will lower your overall operating ratios.

8. Does your company have solid Preventive Maintenance program or is your program when it breaks we fix it. Many companies “”fix it when it breaks.”” This attitude costs too much in wasted diesel fuel prices. A well maintained vehicle performs better, improves fleet fuel efficiency, reduces toxic emissions and, in the long run, will cost less to maintain.

The two most important things that we feel are part of savings in fuel management system are:

9. It starts with the people who have their foot on the gas pedal. Your drivers can control fuel consumption each time they fire up their engines, and proper training can improve fuel efficiency, economy and emissions. Hard acceleration, speeding and idling are the biggest causes of fuel waste. Initiate a training course for drivers and reward participation.

10. This is the most powerful way to lower diesel fuel costs and increase productivity. Is to have a fleet manager or an outside fuel management company that are experts in diesel fuel prices, fleet management services, fuel cards, diesel fuel additives, fuel cards, mobile fueling and have relationships with fueling companies. When you can have an expert on your staff with fueling knowledge your company will see more fuel savings through any of the methods above or with fleet credit card to provide fleet management solutions.

Until next time, go start your fuel savings by following these tips. You also might want to consider a better fleet card, diesel fuel additive, shop for lower diesel fuel prices and lastly you can’t go wrong with a good fuel management system.

?4 Ways Obama Has Not Done a Good Job Up to This Point in Trucking

Obama signed the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which included a provision to end the Department of Transportation’s trucking project.

Which was supposed to allow 100 Mexican carriers to do business beyond the border zone in the United States, and a reciprocal number of U.S. carriers to do the same in Mexico. This was a trucking plan started by the Bush administration.

Job creation:

Now this same administration is trying to put in another cross-border plan for trucking. With a unemployment rate still above 9% it’s hard to imagine Obama wanting to implement another cross border trucking plan with Mexico to eliminate even more jobs.

The Obama administration keeps claiming it is creating jobs, but where are they? “”While Democrats promised their 2009 stimulus would create 3.7 million jobs, the reality is far different, to date, 2.6 million jobs, including 2.5 million private sector jobs, have been lost.”” This was posted August 21, 2010.

The United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood “”touts”” that this new cross-border trucking plan with Mexico is going to create jobs. But, it does not take a genius to see that by allowing Mexican trucks into the US will cut jobs.

Steve Russell, chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc., which serves the U.S., Canada and Mexico said, “”The theory behind cross-border trucking is that one tractor would replace three.”” in a recent article. I know my math is not perfect, but that looks like it will remove jobs from the trucking industry in both countries.

This new cross-border trucking plan with Mexico seems to me like is only going to help Mexico truck drivers, and lesson the cost on imports and exports. “”U.S. truckers that want to take advantage of a cross-border accord also may able to reduce labor costs by hiring Mexican drivers, who earn about half of what their U.S. counterparts are paid,”” Femsa Logistica’s Theissen said in another recent article.

Environmental issues:

The US trucking industry is strict on environmental issues that deal with exhaust from the US trucks. So strict that it put many owner-operators out of the trucking business, and caused many companies to have to renew their fleet of trucks to meet the standards also putting some companies out. Plus, it has also caused many states to impose very costly “”No-Idling”” laws for truck drivers – some without regard to the drivers rest necessities.

“”Most trucks in Mexico, whether owned by U.S. companies or Mexican carriers, don’t meet the proposed air-quality requirements to cross the border,”” said Salvador Saavedra, president of the automobile industry sector of the National Manufacturing Industry Chamber, a Mexico City business group.

So are Mexican trucks able to meet U.S. environmental standards? Not according to Juan Carlos Munoz, the president of Mexico’s National Chamber of Motor Transport of Freight, in a recent article he said, “”Mexican trucks cannot meet U.S. environmental emissions standards, which effectively shuts them out of the market. Mexican oil companies do not have sufficient capacity to supply the diesel suitable for these new technologies that is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.””

Safety and Security:

The fact that a cross-border program is in any stage of development does not sit well with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) leadership. “”With all the talk about the need for every initiative to create jobs, it’s absolutely shocking,”” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “”The only jobs this ill-conceived idea can create are for non-citizens who will take jobs away from U.S. citizens.””

Coupled with the fact that the program would threaten U.S. trucking jobs, Spencer is equally concerned about the safety and security of truckers and U.S. highway users alike. “”It’s a pipe dream that the safety and security issues can be resolved, given the general state of disarray or war that exists in Mexico,”” he said.

So how is this all suppose to create jobs, again?

Diesel Price increase; results more job losses:

I have not even mentioned the fact that the White Houses continuing drill moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, will undoubtedly cause fuel prices to continue to sky-rocket, which will likely cause even more truck drivers to go out of business, and more companies to close resulting in even more jobs lost.

What I don’t understand is we need to QUIT BUYING foreign oil, but Obama has stopped drilling in the Gulf of Mexico – which is our oil. Obama has been obsessed with passing a “”clean”” or renewable”” energy bill since he took his oath of office.

The first manifestation of that desire was the poorly drafted and ill-fated “”cap and trade”” bill rushed through the House early in his presidency. The legislation was so flawed that it never was brought up for a vote in the Senate. After running into other energy policy dead ends, the Obama administration tried a new gambit.

By executive order he reopened the door for some expansion of drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and used that action as leverage to try to get members of Congress from energy-producing states to assist him in passing what he could claim to be a “”clean energy”” bill.

That idea was upset a month later when the Deep-water Horizon erupted in the Gulf. Obama then shifted his strategy. He tried to use the spill to build public pressure on Congress to pass an aggressive “”green energy”” bill. That went nowhere, and the Obama administration shut down OCS drilling. The president still seeks his Holy Grail of a renewable energy bill. His problem lies not just with Republicans. His energy policies mean disasters to many Democrats from energy-producing states as well.

So we see Obama’s agenda to make us greener, but he is also costing millions of jobs in the process. Going green is a good idea, just not now. Right now we can not afford to go green, but we could gradually change, but to do it over-night is a ludicrous idea.

Obama’s intentions may have been for the good, but his failed attempts are putting the US deeper and deeper in debt. And now with this cross-border trucking plan coming into the picture – he is going to be putting you and me in danger on the roads. With fuel prices going up, and “”CHEAP”” labor being allowed into the US by way of Mexican truckers – who do you think these companies are going to want to hire to haul their freight? Expensive US truckers – or the “”El-Cheapo trucking”” company from Mexico?

Mexico is not even within the same planet in comparison to Safety regulations that US truckers endure. So, how much safety do you imagine goes into a Mexican trucking fleet? Congress needs to hear from you about this cross-border trucking plan.

There are many different reasons why a trucking program with Mexico is a bad idea. The following are just a few things that public officials need to know:

The burden should be on Mexico to raise the regulatory standards of their trucking industry, not on the U.S. to lower ours or find ways to accommodate their trucking companies and drivers.
Every year, U.S. truckers are burdened with new safety, security and environmental regulations. Those regulations come with considerable compliance costs. Mexico-domiciled trucking companies and drivers do not contend with a similar regulatory regime in their home country nor must they contend with the corresponding regulatory compliance costs that burden U.S. truckers.
To date Mexico has failed to institute regulations and enforcement programs that are even remotely similar to those in the United States
To ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens, Mexico-domiciled trucking companies and truck drivers must be required to comply with the same level of safety, security and environmental standards that already apply to U.S.-based companies and drivers, NOT ONLY WHILE OPERATING IN THE U.S. BUT ALSO IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY.
Without a level playing field with Mexico, thousands of U.S. jobs will be lost if a cross-border trucking program is initiated at this time.To reach your Senators and your Representative in the House, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, provide the operator with your home zip code. The operator will connect you with the offices of your elected representatives.

?Features to Look For in a Pick Up Truck

A Chevy pickup has been specially designed to tow heavy cargo. When looking for a suitable truck, firstly, decide beforehand that would you prefer a wide cargo or a passenger space. Both options are available so if you feel like it you could also change the prowess for a spacious passenger cabin. You should always consider the cargo and the comfort factor and remember that a truck with a large back space will tend to have smaller passenger accommodation. If the truck is for 5 or 6 passengers then the cargo bed is at least 5 feet long whereas 2 or 3 seater trucks have up to 8 foot cargo area. You can find various cabs and bed configurations in most of the trucks.

Select the engine which matches the hauling requirements. The full sized trucks can pull 9000 pounds of weight while the smaller trucks pull 3,000 pounds of weight. If you require excess weight pulling than this, you can also upgrade the truck engine to V-8 or a diesel engine. Some pickups are not aerodynamic and have powerful engines. They are mainly used as commuter vehicles. Full sized trucks are not as efficient as compact pickups.

If you are just looking for a Chevy pickup for transporting load from one place to another, a small truck with a good gas mileage will be perfect for your requirements. The fuel efficient smaller trucks get 23 mpg in mixed driving. You will find them at much cheaper rates and hence are more economical in the long run. You should always give the advance safety features of a truck the top priority. Pickup trucks can easily be a part of roll over accidents as compared to cars and vans. A number of models fail to protect the passengers in crashes. The advanced safety features of a Chevy pickup can help prevent the mishap to a great extent. The electronic stability control in it helps to avoid accidents.

Some pickups also have air bags on the side for the passenger sitting at the front and curtain air bags for the rest of the passengers. You can also get a backup camera installed which might seem expensive but it can greatly reduce the chances of backing over any object. These are the some of the significant features which you should always look for and will make your truck shopping simple.

?Shopping For Used Diesel Trucks

When you are ready to shop for used diesel trucks you may find your options are limited as the demand often outpaces the supply. Besides individuals that prefer to drive diesel trucks you also have thousands of companies across the nation that uses these types of trucks in their business operations. One way to get ahead in your search is to utilize the power of the internet to find the truck you want.

Depending upon where you live in the country you may find plenty of trucks to choose from or you may have to search really hard to find the diesel truck you need. If you live in large metropolitan areas you may struggle to find an elusive used diesel truck but if you live in rural areas particularly in the Southwest you will find a larger supply to choose from. There are other factors that come into play when talking about availability like four wheel drive for example. You will find more four wheel drive trucks in Colorado for instance than you will in Maryland.

Another thing to consider when shopping for a used diesel truck is where has that truck been driven. If the truck is from areas that have long cold winters of ice and snow you will have to be concerned about rust problems with the truck. In the winter road crews use salt and other compounds to keep icy roads safe but these substances can cause tremendous corrosion problems for a truck. Be sure you take this into consideration when you are shopping for your next truck. The last thing you will want to deal with is rusting sheet metal and other vehicle components.

This is why many shoppers are turning to the internet and shopping for their trucks in warmer climate states like Texas and Arizona. They are also finding that even though they will have to travel to pick up their used truck the prices can be considerably less than where they reside. On the plus side they can find quality rust free trucks for much less than they can in their local markets.

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