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PM Upgrade Saves Time and Money

We were talking with a fleet operator in the southeast the other day who had recently made some changes to his maintenance program.

The most significant was that he had upgraded his PMs to include a complete inspection according to Federal Inspection guidelines.

He noticed two immediate benefits.  The first and most obvious is that when federal inspections come due, the hard work is already done and all that needs to be done is update the paper work and affix the new sticker.  There is no longer a mad scramble to locate the tractor or trailer that needs to be inspected and disrupt operations to get to an inspection site.

The second, unexpected benefit is that on road break downs have dropped dramatically.

Prior to the change in PM procedures, the fleet would receive at least one and sometimes several calls for emergency road repairs each month.  These were both disruptive and expensive.  Even a minor repair on the side of the road will cost several hundred dollars and several hours trip delay.

Since the change to PM procedures, about 6 months ago, there have only been a couple of on the road break downs and repairs.

By incorporating a complete Federal Inspection in to his PMs, this operator is finding and fixing minor issues before they turn in to expensive, truck stopping problems.  The result is reduced expense and more efficient operation.

For an investment of a few hours additional labor, the fleet has saved thousands of dollars in unscheduled expense and downtime.


Tiger In Your Tank?  Don't Move!

One of the major Breakdown Management companies offered an important Maintenance Tip the other day.

Occasionally, gasoline will mistakenly be added to diesel fuel tanks.  In the past, if the mistake was small, it was generally believed that the gasoline would not pose significant risk to the engine.

But today's engines and fuel systems have virtually no tolerance for gasoline in the fuel and operation of a truck with contaminated fuel can result in significant fuel system and engine damage. 

Not only does the lack of lubricity cause injector problems, but the explosive nature of gasoline can do significant internal engine damage.

The best advice if gasoline is mistakenly added to diesel fuel is to tow the vehicle to a qualified facility, drain the tanks and refill with clean diesel fuel.  Do not operate the engine!

Remember too that gasoline fumes are explosive and you should observe proper safety precautions when draining and disposing of the contaminated fuel.


Meritor Automatic Brake Slack Adjuster Position (BSAP)

During a recent NCTA Maintenance Council Tech Night presentation a concern was identified with regard to Meritor ASA "brake slack adjuster position" (BSAP) and the use of Meritor two-pin yokes. 

Currently there are two (2) different Meritor two-pin "pin-to-pin" yoke dimensions available in the industry: 1.30 Meritor 2.tiff-inches (33mm) and 1.38-inches (35mm).   Both dimensions are available in a "threaded" yoke, but only the 1.30-inch (33mm) is used for "welded" yokes. 

Of concern is the proper application of the yokes and the use of the correct "template" when establishing the "brake slack adjuster position" (BSAP). 

Originally the 1.30-inch (33mm) clevis was designed to be used with "long stroke" actuators, while the 1.38-inch (35mm) was designed to be used with "standard" stroke models.  However, either clevis can be used provided the correct template is applied to establish the proper BSAP.

There are four (6) different Meritor ASA templates available and they are not interchangeable. 

Template Color

Part Number




Air Disc Brake with offset clevis



Air Disc Brake with straight clevis

Dark Brown


Truck or tractor drum brake with 1.38 clevis



Trailer drum brake



Coach drum brake with 7-inch or bolt-on slack adjuster



Truck or tractor drum brake with 1.30 clevis

When adjusting a Meritor ASA you must use the template that correctly matches the clevis.  If the template and clevis are not matched, the slack adjuster will not adjust the brake properly. 

NOTE: M eritor "Stroke Sensing" ASA's must be set at a 101 degree angle on trucks and tractors, regardless of the "pin-to-pin" dimension.

Proper ASA set-up will allow a clearance of .030 between the lining and the brake drum.  Mismatching of the template with the clevis may result in a slack adjuster that "under-adjusts" (110°, 115°, etc.) causing stopping distances to increase, or, if the slack adjuster "over-adjusts" (95°, 90° etc.), the clearance may tighten causing the linings to "drag" and damage the brake.

For more information regarding this matter, please refer to Meritor Maintenance Manual 4, Section 5, pages 31 thru 34, or contact  your local Meritor Service Representative.

Submitted by:

Wayne Seaman, TruckSavvy.com and Meritor


Secure Those Tangled Leadssmalltxtown 014

You go to get your test light or volt/amp meter out of your tool box and the leads are all tangled up and a pain to get out of the drawer. Before you put them back let's make a simple holder for the leads. Fold up the leads and estimate the diameter of the fold. Now cut a short piece of rubber hose that the folded up leads will fit into. Slip the folded up leads into the short piece of hose and store away.

Bendix Air Brake Parts

Stock your pads now...  Part number 802078  is an axle set and covers Volvo, Mack, Peterbilt, and Kenworth trucks with the  ADB22X system.  I would also suggest 802455 Sheer Adapters (box of  10) and 802119 Tappet and Boot Kits.

Body Builders' Guides Provide Valuable Information

Service and Maintenance operations are often called on to provide repair and service help on unfamiliar vehicles and may not have technical information such as electrical schematics readily available.

The OEM's Body Builder Book or other materials can be a big help in this situation.

Since Body Byuilder reference materials are designed to help auxiliary equipment and body companies mount equipment and accessories properly to OEM chassis, these reference materials often include information such as electrical schematics, diagrams and other helpful information that can help service people understand how the vehicle is laid out and in this way, help in trouble shooting or repair.

In many cases, these materials are available on line.  (Note:  We have compiled some of these Body Builder resources on our Bodies & Equipment page under the heading Sales, Service & Installation).

Submitted by,

Service Manager

Truck Dealership in the Southeast

Every once in a while you see a really simple answer to a problem that truck operators face.  Operators that run trucks in areas that require chains always face the issue of where to carry the chains when not being used.  A Minnesota company came up with a simple and inexpensive way to handle this issue. No welding required!
8-23-08 047SM
Take a look by clicking on the image to enlarge.


What are you building now? - Gift Card Incentives Encourage Online Study

We've heard that gift cards were the hot item for Christmas this year.  A North Carolina fleet is taking that idea to a new level by using "Gift Cards" as an incentive for successful online study.

Many companies offer online training resources that can be used as is, or can be edited to fit individual user objectives.  These can then be combined in to a course of study for technicians.

To encourage technicians to use these resources and develop a habit of "life long learning", the Maintenance Director of a large  truckload fleet in the southeast is using "gift cards" to reward technicians who complete self paced study courses on approved subjects.

 Technicians take approved on-line courses or view training materials via the internet. And, as technicians complete each subject or course and provide documentation (either by taking the test with the course or through fleet designed test), they are rewarded with a gift card from a home improvement store or department store.

The fleet provides a work space for technicians and other service personnel to use the internet or the work can be done from home.

The only downside to this program is that the personnel department wanted to know where all the gift cards were going.  When the Maintenance Director pointed out the benefits in productivity and quality, not to mention morale, they wholeheartedly supported the program.

 Submitted by

 Maintenance Director of Southeast Based Truckload Carrier

Maintenance Training

Many members of the TruckSavvy.com community have valuable information available via their web sites (technical bulletins, training information, specifications, even videos) and TruckSavvy.com makes it easy to access the information for use in service meetings.Internet training class

With an internet connection, a digital projector and a little homework, you can conduct quality training classes using manufacturer information direct from their web sites.

In some cases, the web site can be used to support the instructor/manager/facilitator comments.  In others, information from the web site can be the entire training class.

For example, ArvinMeritor provides a wealth of technical and training information on their website including technical literature and self study courses on drivelines, clutches, failed parts analysis and other topics (Technical Training).

Other companies provide less detailed, but equally valuable information such as Grote, Inc.  The Technical Information page of Grote's web site has valuable trouble shooting information in an easily printed format.

It's a good idea for the person conducting the class to spend some time beforehand getting familiar with the subject and website to be used.  You might also print copies of important pages beforehand to use for handouts.

You can also use this idea go provide training on other topics such as OSHA, Vehicle Safety Regulations, etc. etc., etc…. 

An additional benefit to this strategy is that it will help your people get more comfortable with searching and using the internet for their own independent research and study.

Submitted by Midwest Maintenance Director

Note:  TruckSavvy.com has links to additional training resources on our Online Training page.

Protect Wash Bay Walls with FRP Panels

To protect painted walls in your shop, use FRP panels over the block walls, particularly in areas subject to high levels of greasy dirt such as pressure washing bays.

The FRP panels are easy to keep clean and if they do become too dirty, can be easily replaced.  This will save the time and expense of having to pressure wash and possibly repaint the permanent wall.

Submitted by Truck Dealer Service Manager – Greensboro, NC


Rechargeable Trouble Lights Improve Efficiency and Safety

Good lighting is a working essential but traditional drop lights and cords can be a nuisance and safety hazard.

One cement truck operator in the southeast has replaced all drop lights withLED work light rechargeable LED work lights.  The 60 LED lights provide up to 8 hours of continuous, cordless runtime and can be recharged in less than an hour.

Because there is no cord, the light can be brought directly to where it's needed and there's no hazard from tangled cords, faulty electrical connections or exploding light bulbs.

Technicians can keep the lights right in their tool box. 

For all around utility, the lights come with rechargeable NiMH Battery Pack, AC/DC Charging Platform, 12 Volt Cord and 120 Volt Cord.

Submitted by Fleet Maintenance Manager – Winston Salem, NC

Savvy Pro Shop Tip - Create Extra Work Space

One of our contributors told us about a way to create extra space for laying out parts and tools around a truck.

Simply rip a sheet of plywood into two 2 foot by 8 foot pieces and screw an 8 foot 2 x 4 in the center of each one.  Now you have a handy table that you can lay over the tandems on each side.  You can use these tables to lay out and store the sheet metal, air piping and exhaust pieces that you take off the vehicle and keep them out of the way.

Contributed by:

Industry Professional

Denver, NC

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