Cullen Diesel Chooses UNDERHOOD™ 40 Air Compressor: Improves Efficiency & Morale

This is the third and final blog in VMAC’s three-part series featuring Cullen Diesel, the Detroit Diesel and MTU distributor for BC. Cullen Diesel mechanics are factory trained and certified in Detroit Diesel and Mercedes engines, and frequently work in challenging and remote locations in the logging, marine, mining, and industrial sectors.

Dennis Miskow Cullen Diesel

Dennis Miskow, Branch Manager of Cullen Diesel’s Vancouver Island, BC operations

Dennis Miskow is the Branch Manager of Cullen Diesel’s Vancouver Island, BC operations. In Part 1 of the Van Series Air Compressor blog, he discussed his decision to choose a Mercedes 4×4 Sprinter van. In Part 2 of the Van Series blog, he explains why he chose an UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor instead of a standalone gas drive air compressor for the van. In Part 3, Dennis shares what a typical service job looks like for Cullen Diesel, and how the UNDERHOOD™ 40 is improving morale and helping his mechanics work more efficiently.

Cullen Diesel Service Jobs

Cullen Diesel’s team of heavy-duty mechanics have experience in servicing and repairing mining products, logging and marine equipment, generators, construction and industrial equipment, as well as trucks and buses with Detroit Diesel, Mercedes and Allison transmissions. A typical service job sees mechanics travelling up to logging camps, down to docks for marine repairs, and other remote locations. As Dennis mentioned in Part 1 of the blog series, this is where the Mercedes-Benz 4×4 Sprinter van really shines: “On its first service call it drove easily up the logging roads to the job site, right behind the trucks.”

UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Air Compressor: “It’s Been Exactly As Advertised.”

As discussed in Part 2 of the blog series, the Sprinter van is upfitted with an UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor. “Investing in the right tools for the job is part of the professionalism that Cullen Diesel is known for,” notes Dennis. “The Sprinter van provides a modern look for our service vehicle and having an UNDERHOOD™ Air Compressor tucked away is part of that clean, professional look we’re striving for.” Investing in the best quality air compressor is also important for his mechanics’ day-to-day work. Dennis explains: “Having an UNDERHOOD™ air compressor allows my team to work more efficiently, but it also improves morale. My technicians appreciate having high-quality equipment that always works, instead of struggling with a frustrating piece of equipment that doesn’t perform.”

And it’s not just the improved look and morale that has Dennis praising VMAC’s air compressor. “The UNDERHOOD™ Van Series is cleaner, quieter, and quicker than our previous gas powered standalone air compressor,” says Dennis. “Operation of the compressor is convenient and easy-to-use. You just push a button and it’s working and producing full air power.”

It’s now been three years since Cullen Diesel first got their 4×4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van equipped with the UNDERHOOD™ Van Series Compressor, and so far, “it’s done exactly what we want it to do,” confirms Dennis. “The air power is there and there’s been no issues and no downtime. It’s been exactly as advertised.”

And when asked for his advice to anyone who is thinking of upgrading to a UNDERHOOD™ Air Compressor, Dennis’ answer is confident and succinct: “Do it!”

Subscribe to the VMAC Blog to continue reading customer job stories like this Cullen Diesel story with Dennis Miskow.

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Read more about Cullen Diesel’s story:

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Cullen Diesel Chooses Mercedes-Benz 4×4 Sprinter Van Over Service Truck

Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing a three-part blog series centered around Cullen Diesel, the Detroit Diesel and MTU distributor for BC. Cullen Diesel mechanics are factory trained and certified in Detroit Diesel and Mercedes engines, with experience in working with all types of diesel engines, including those in the marine, mining, construction and industrial sectors.

Dennis Miskow Cullen Diesel

Dennis Miskow, Branch Manager of Cullen Diesel’s Vancouver Island, BC operations

Dennis Miskow is the Branch Manager of Cullen Diesel’s Vancouver Island, BC operations. Dennis’ career with Cullen started over 20 years ago, when he was first hired as an apprentice heavy-duty mechanic. Dennis sat down with VMAC to discuss Cullen’s fleet, and his decision to add a commercial van to his fleet.

Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your Business: Commercial Van or Service Truck?

When it was time to add a new service vehicle to his fleet of 7 to replace an aging truck, Dennis went straight to his truck builder. “I spec’d out a truck with a crane and was ready to place the order. It was going to cost about $150k, so I decided to compare it to the cost of a commercial van. The van ended up being half the price.” Because of the significant savings, Dennis decided to explore commercial van options. “We chose the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter over the other vans because the Sprinter comes in a 4×4 option, which is necessary when we’re travelling to jobs in remote locations,” says Dennis.

Service Van Benefits

Cullen Service VanThough the additional draw to the service van option was cost, Dennis was aware of other benefits that come with having a van instead of a truck. “The van is a smaller vehicle, which makes it easier to drive and maneuver. We do service jobs right at the docks, so the van is the best option for driving to these marine applications,” notes Dennis. The Cullen Diesel Branch Manager also appreciates the extra level of protection from theft and the elements the enclosed space of the van offers: “Tools and equipment are kept safe inside the van from theft, but also from rain, sleet, ice, and snow. My team also appreciates the enclosed area to store and organize their tools instead of standing around the outside of the truck in all types of weather.” In addition to the cost, size and maneuverability, and enclosed protection from theft and the weather, the van acts as a moving billboard for Cullen as there’s much more advertising space on the van’s body.

Proven in Challenging Applications

UNDERHOOD for vansHaving never had a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or any type of service van on his fleet before, Dennis did have some concerns about how it would hold up in challenging applications. Cullen Diesel services a lot of equipment found in remote areas, often requiring their vehicles to travel in mountainous areas up logging roads. “I wasn’t sure how the van would be able to make it up the logging roads, even though the Sprinter is a 4×4. But on its first service it drove easily up to the job site, right behind the trucks. Even our logging customers were impressed!” shares Dennis. Another concern was how long the Sprinter van would hold up in these challenging, dirty and demanding applications. “You see a lot of vans used as delivery vehicles, driving on the roads, but we weren’t sure how it would hold up after continuously being tested on trails and logging roads,” says Dennis. But fast forward to years later, and Dennis confirms he no longer has any worries: “It’s been three years and we haven’t had any problems with the van.”

Overall, the decision to add a commercial van to the Cullen Diesel fleet has had a positive impact on Dennis’ operations. “We’re looking to add another vehicle to the fleet and I want to get another van,” says Dennis.

Subscribe to the VMAC Blog to continue reading about Cullen Diesel’s experience with a service van, and the specialized equipment that it comes with. In part two of this series, which will be released next, Dennis will give insight into his decision to choose an UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor instead of a standalone gas drive air compressor for his Sprinter.

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Cullen Diesel Chooses An UNDERHOOD™ Van Series Air Compressor

Welcome to the second installment of VMAC’s three-part blog series centered around Cullen Diesel, the Detroit Diesel and MTU distributor for BC. Cullen Diesel mechanics are factory trained and certified in Detroit Diesel and Mercedes engines, and often work in challenging and remote locations in the logging, marine, mining, and industrial sectors.

Dennis Miskow

Dennis Miskow, Branch Manager of Cullen Diesel’s Vancouver Island, BC

Dennis Miskow, Branch Manager of Cullen Diesel’s Vancouver Island, BC operations took some time to speak with VMAC about Cullen’s fleet, and his decision to choose a Mercedes-Benz 4×4 Sprinter in Part 1 of the Van Series Air Compressor blog. In Part 2 of the series, Dennis explains why he chose an UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor instead of a gas drive air compressor, what he likes about the UNDERHOOD™, and his advice to anyone considering an UNDERHOOD™ for their commercial van upfit.

Selecting A Van Air Compressor: UNDERHOOD™ or Gas Drive?

When it was time to upgrade an aging service truck, Dennis Miskow ended up choosing a Mercedes-Benz 4×4 Sprinter van. Next, he planned the upfit with Sterling Fleet Outfitters, a commercial van and truck equipment upfit company. Dennis was pleased to find this upfitter was very experienced in cargo van upfits and had plenty of options specifically designed for Cullen’s Sprinter van. When it came time to choose the air compressor, Dennis took the time to reflect on the performance of Cullen Diesel’s current gas drive air compressor.

“We knew that the gas drive had lots of problems. It was bulky, it was space-sucking, it was dirty, and we had to fix it constantly,” explains Dennis. “We were so used to it, we just accepted that it was a high-maintenance piece of equipment that we had to deal with.”

Unfortunately, these problems are not uncommon for many mobile mechanics. However, with the surge in popularity of commercial vans comes an increase in the development of specialized equipment, like the UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor, the only air compressor that has been specifically engineered for commercial vans. The placement within the engine compartment saves space in the cargo area and solves common safety issues, like toxic fume exposure and risk of gas fires, faced by many operators with standalone gas air compressors installed in the cargo area. With the UNDERHOOD™ 40, the only space required in the cargo area is 1.7 cubic feet for a combined air/oil cooler and air/oil separator tank.

“My mechanic specifically asked for an UNDERHOOD™ Air Compressor for the van,” said Dennis. “Because we’d been experiencing problems with our older gas drive air compressor, I was happy to get him what he was asking for.”

Dennis worked with VMAC National Sales Representative Darren Darnley to get the Cullen Diesel Mercedes-Benz 4×4 Sprinter van upfitted with the UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series. “Darren was great to work with. He was the point-person, and he gave the same high level of service we would give to our customers,” notes Dennis.

UNDERHOOD for vansLike with any investment in new equipment, Dennis did have some concerns, mainly about cost. “The Van Series Air Compressor is more expensive than a gas drive air compressor, and I also wondered if the UNDERHOOD™ was too much power for our applications, as it’s rated for up to 40 CFM.” However, once the UNDERHOOD™ was installed on the van and his mechanics were using it, he had no more doubts.

UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor Benefits

After having the UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor for three years, it’s easy for Dennis to list his top three benefits of this air compressor:

  • Space Savings
    • “Having the air compressor under the hood saves space inside the van, and gives it a clean, open look. There’s less clutter inside.”
  • Quieter Operation
    • “We don’t have a noisy air compressor on a truck right at ear level anymore.”
  • Professionalism
    • “Having the van’s equipment and tools organized gives it a clean, professional look. Having the VMAC air compressor tucked away under the hood is part of the professional look we’re going for, and it feels like one less thing to worry about.”

As Dennis mentioned in Part 1 of the blog series, adding another commercial van to the Cullen Diesel fleet is in the plan. “I want to get another van, and when we do, it absolutely will have another UNDERHOOD™ 40 Air Compressor on it,” says Dennis.

Subscribe to the VMAC Blog to continue reading about Cullen Diesel’s experience with a service van, and the specialized equipment it comes with. In part three of the series, which will be released next, Dennis will share what a typical service job with Cullen Diesel entails, and how the UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor is enabling his mechanics to work more efficiently. You can also go back to read part 1 of the series: Cullen Diesel Chooses Mercedes-Benz 4X4 Sprinter Van Over Service Truck.

 

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Van Series Air Compressors: Commercial Van Fleets Gain Popularity

Right-Sizing Commercial Fleets: Increased Sales Of Vans & VMAC Van Series Air Compressors

The term “right-sizing” refers to converting a business unit to the optimal size to achieve maximum profit or efficiency. In this case, it describes the trend of businesses shifting their fleets from trucks to vans. Commercial van sales have been on the rise for the last few years, as fleet managers revise their vehicle needs, and opt for vans over trucks. For many industries, vans provide the right amount of cargo space without the added bulk and price associated with larger work trucks.

Vans offer a variety of attractive benefits, including a reduced environmental footprint, lower fuel consumption, better cargo organization, theft and weather protection, and easy driving and maneuvering. In some cases, vans even offer more payload than some light-duty pick-up trucks.

Delivery services and mobile work sites are two industries readily adopting van fleets, with the latter often requiring special equipment on the vehicles. These special equipment requirements present an opportunity for manufacturers to offer van-specific solutions. For example, many mobile work sites use air tools to perform jobs such as tire servicing, utility servicing, and forklift repair. VMAC’s UNDERHOOD40 Van Series Air Compressor has been developed specifically for service vans performing these applications. In addition, it addresses unique safety concerns associated with vans and traditional standalone air compressor systems.

VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Air Compressor For Vans

UNDERHOOD for vansThere are several options available when considering an air compressor for your van, but many options are truck solutions modified to fit inside vans. Installing a traditional air compressor inside of a van can cause many issues, as these compressors can be bulky and heavy, reducing available cargo space and payload capacity. Even more importantly, these air compressors compromise operator safety, and can be dangerous if important precautions are overlooked.

The VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Van Series Air Compressor eliminates each of these issues, all while being the only air compressor specifically engineered for commercial vans, including popular models by Ford, GMC, Mercedes-Benz, and RAM. The VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Van Series rotary screw air compressor delivers 40 CFM at 100% duty cycle, allowing operators and businesses to maximize productivity without sacrificing space and safety.

VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Air Compressor Van Series Benefits

Like all VMAC air compressors, the VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Van Series Air Compressor is lightweight and compact.

  • Saves space, frees up to 10 cubic feet
    • The VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Air Compressor mounts in the engine compartment of the van, freeing up space in the cargo area.
  • Reduces GVW by almost 300 lbs
    • The VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Air Compressor weighs 290 lbs less than other comparable air compressors. This lightweight air compressor can help improve your fuel economy, or allow you to transport more.

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VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Air Compressor Safety Considerations

Being specifically engineered for commercial vans, the VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Van Series Air Compressor eliminates safety hazards associated with traditional air compressors being mounted in the van’s cargo area. Being stored safely under the van’s hood ends lifting injuries, toxic fume exposure, and even the risk of gas fires.

Learn more about the VMAC UNDERHOOD40 Van Series Air Compressor or watch a video of the air compressor in action.

Continue reading about commercial vans and the van series air compressors:
Van Safety: Keep Workers Safe And Save Money Doing So
Air Compressor Options Available For Service Vans

5 Reasons to Choose An UNDERHOOD™ Air Compressor For Your Work Van

Over the last decade, the popularity of commercial vans has steadily grown, as fleet managers and business owners look for cost-savings and improved efficiency in their vehicles. Many companies offer different outfitting options specific to vans, including shelving, storage boxes, tools, and accessories. In the case of air compressors, there are several different solutions, but only one air compressor has been specifically engineered for commercial vans, and that’s the UNDERHOOD™ 40 Van Series Air Compressor. Continue reading “5 Reasons to Choose An UNDERHOOD™ Air Compressor For Your Work Van”

Big Issues Caused By Overweight Commercial Vans

Commercial van weight can have significant impacts on any service truck business, especially in the United States. Heavy vans have to follow tighter regulations, undergo more inspections, and can face costly fines in some jurisdictions. Let’s break down what you need to know about weight and why extra weight on commercial vans can be a big problem.

What is GVWR?

Commercial van gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) and payloads can differ from vehicle to vehicle.  It is important to know what you’re working with when specifying or upfitting a specific commercial van.

According to AboutAutos.com, gross vehicle weight rating is the vehicle’s maximum safe weight that should not be exceeded.  Weight calculations include curb weight, additional equipment that’s been added, the weight of cargo and the weight of passengers.  A vehicle’s GVWR never changes.

GVWR vs. Payload

GVWR should not to be confused with payload capacity.  GVWR includes the vehicle’s unloaded curb weight, passengers’ weight and cargo weight. Payload capacity is the difference between GVWR and vehicle weight.  For example: If a vehicle’s GVWR is listed at 10,000 lb and the vehicle’s weight is 6,000 lb (empty), then its payload capacity is 4,000 lb.

Make & Model (Highest Capacity Model)GVWR (Maximum)*Payload (Maximum)*
RAM Promaster11,500 lb4,680 lb
RAM Promaster City5,395 lb1,901 lb
Ford Transit10,360 lb4,640 lb
Ford Transit Connect5,302 lb1,610 lb
MB/Freightliner Sprinter12,125 lb6,768 lb
MB Metris6,614 lb2,425 lb
Nissan NV9,900 lb3,850 lb
Nissan NV2004772 lb1,480 lb
Chevrolet Express9,600 lb3,841 lb
*Values are estimates only, based on basic trim package and referred from vehicle manufacturer websites. For accurate technical specifications, refer directly to vehicle manufacturer documentation.

FMCSA Regulations Apply Over 10,000 lb

All commercial drivers of vehicles that perform interstate work in the USA and have a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 lb or more are required to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. These regulations are enforced by the Department of Transportation (DOT), and are outlined in Title 49, Part 300 to 399 of the Code of Federal Regulations—an exhausting 734-page document of rules that must be followed.

FMCSA has many regulations for overweight commercial vans. For example, interstate drivers must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Possess a DOT Medical Examiner certificate
  • Obtain and display a USDOT number
  • Follow Hours of Service requirements
  • Maintain proper records
    • Pre- and post-trip inspections
    • Accident reports
    • Vehicle maintenance records
  • Receive an annual inspection
  • And more…

Individual states set their own intrastate commercial vehicle regulations, but these regulations tend to be similar to the interstate guidelines. For example, 37 states require a DOT Medical Examiner certificate, while most include reporting, inspection, accident recording, and hours of service rules.

For many operators, the easiest way to avoid the hassle and paperwork of FMCSA regulations is to ensure their vehicle has a GVWR that is consistently under 10,000 lb. While most commercial vans fall into this category, the Ford Transit, RAM Promaster, and Mercedes-Benz Freightliner Sprinter each have a GVWR of over 10,000 lbs.

Fines For Overweight Vans

Overweight vans can also result in hefty fines. According to Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, fines for on-the-road weight violations range from $100 to $10,000 for first offence.  Fines double on subsequent violations within a year.  Fines and other punishments vary in severity from state-to-state, and can even include prison time.

According to Connecticut General Assembly, criminal charges may be brought against the owner or operator of an overweight vehicle if the weight of the vehicle is the proximate cause of a motor vehicle accident that results in death.

Summary of GVWR Issues

To recap the issues and most important information surrounding GVWR:

  • GVWR never changes.
  • Additional regulations apply for vans over 10,000 lb.
    • Inspections, driver requirements, record keeping, and more.
  • Monetary fines may be imposed.
  • Prison time and criminal charges are possible.
  • Business operations will likely be affected.

With these important issues in mind, it makes sense to reduce the weight of vans by purchasing low-weight vehicles and incorporating the lightest components possible.

Air Compressor Solutions for Reducing Van Weight

Service vans that require compressed air for pneumatic tools can reduce weight by using UNDERHOOD™ air compressors.  Traditional air compressors mounted in the cargo area can weigh as much as 375 lb., while the UNDERHOOD™ rotary screw air compressor weighs only 85 lbs. This system increases the available payload by up to 290 lbs.

UNDERHOOD™ is the only air compressor specifically engineered for commercial vans. These 40 CFM rotary screw compressor systems by VMAC are available for the most popular commercial van models.  For further benefits of weight savings in vans, check out VMAC’s previous article “Air power: Just why does air matter to commercial van operators”.

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Choosing an Air Compressor for your Commercial Van 2019

New Possibilities for Fleet Managers

All-new commercial van models have entered or will soon be entering the North American market. These vans are causing fleet managers to take a fresh approach to different application possibilities including: plumbers, handymen, construction contractors, mobile mechanics, and mobile tire service technicians. These European-style vans are fuel efficient and have a tremendous amount of cargo space – over 75 percent more than the largest E-series. Continue reading “Choosing an Air Compressor for your Commercial Van 2019”

Learn what an average job looks like for a typical commercial van operator

Mobile mechanics who choose commercial vans instead of traditional service trucks work with a different set of clients. Service trucks are equipped with a crane and a large air compressor so operators can work on heavy machinery wherever it has broken down. Service vans are equipped with electric or air powered hand tools and have work benches inside the cargo area so operators can work on smaller items in comfort. Continue reading “Learn what an average job looks like for a typical commercial van operator”

Commercial Van Education

Interest in commercial vans to replace traditional service trucks continues to grow. Sales figures provided by the NTEA (National Truck Equipment Association) show it’s a trend that is not fading. Growth has been sustained over about a 5-year period, and the reasons for this are clear. Continue reading “Commercial Van Education”