Top 3 Challenges Caused By Over-Weight Heavy Duty Pickup Trucks

Gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) and payloads can differ from vehicle to vehicle and it’s important to know what you’re working with when specifying or upfitting a specific heavy duty pickup truck. Before we get into the details on why it’s important to pay attention to vehicle weight ratings, let’s go over some important concepts: GVWR and Payload.

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Going Green with VMAC: Lightweight & Fuel Saving Air Compressors

Taking Fleets & Equipment Green in 2017

As states, provinces, and countries continue to press forward with climate change action plans and green initiatives, it’s clear that products and technologies that save fuel and reduce emissions will continue to gain in popularity. A particular focus is on reducing the carbon footprint of commercial vehicles and their equipment.

One example of a state’s policy that has fostered change in local commercial vehicle fleets is California. Within the last year the state has unveiled its climate change mandate. California’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions 40% by 2030, and greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, down from 1990 levels. It’s no coincidence that many California companies are upgrading their fleets to plug-in hybrid electric technology at this time. Organizations that have recently announced fleet upgrades include the City of Long Beach, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric Company, which signed a memorandum of understanding with XL Hybrids, developer of hybrid truck solutions, for up to 110 new vehicles over the next 3 years.

With many changes happening with various federal and state compliance requirements, fleet professionals are turning to industry associations for support in navigating the changing landscape. The Green Truck Association, an affiliate division of the National Truck Equipment Association, is one such organization providing members with resources on technologies that aid in increasing environmental sustainability and operational efficiency. This includes encouraging the use of fuel sources aside from gas and diesel, such as natural gas or electricity, and also choosing lightweight and fuel saving technology.

Fuel Saving & Lightweight Air Compressors

With the demand for green and efficient equipment on the rise, VMAC has developed a line of lightweight and fuel-saving air compressors, including the UNDERHOOD™ 70 – Green Series Air Compressor, as well as the Diesel Driven Air Compressor, and the Multifunction Power System. Each of these air compressors and multifunction power systems is lightweight, reducing gross vehicle weight (GVW) by hundreds of pounds (compared to competing systems). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that for every 100 lbs of weight saved, fuel economy can be improved by up to 2%.

In addition, these mobile air compressors and multifunction power systems are equipped with VMAC’s intelligent digital control system, which reduces idle time of trucks and equipment on the jobsite. These controls automatically shut off your engine when air isn’t being used, and then automatically turn the engine back on when you need to get back to work.

UNDERHOOD™ 70 – Green Series Air Compressors

UNDERHOOD-Air-Compressor-installed-FORD-F450The UNDERHOOD™ 70 – Green Series Air Compressor produces up to 70 CFM at 100% duty cycle. This rotary screw air compressor is installed under the hood of the work truck, and weighs just 150 lbs, saving up to 260 lbs when compared to similar air compressors. Throttle controls will automatically adjust truck engine idle speed just enough to match air demand and reduce fuel consumption. The VMAC Intelligent Digital Controls are easy to use, and will shut the truck on and off with air demand, eliminating emissions when tools are not being used. See details on the UNDERHOOD™ 70 – Green Series Air Compressor.

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Diesel Driven Air Compressors

Diesel-Drive-60CFM Air CompressorThe VMAC Diesel Driven Air Compressor is a 60 CFM, 100% duty cycle rotary screw air compressor. Weighing in at about 450 lbs, this air compressor is about half the weight of competing diesel air compressors. This above deck air compressor also is equipped with a throttle control system that saves on fuel by idling the Kubota diesel engine up and down with air demand. It also turns the engine off when no air is being used, automatically restarting it with air demand. Learn more about VMAC’s Diesel Driven Air Compressors.

Multifunction Power Systems

Multifunction Power System

VMAC Multifunction Power Systems are versatile and customizable, allowing you to only purchase what you need, reducing waste and weight. Powered by a Kubota 4F diesel engine, the 6-In-One Power System features a 45 CFM air compressor, 8 kW generator, 300A welder, 12-48 V battery booster/charger, PTO, and cold climate kit. The 6-In-One Power System can be integrated into a diesel work truck fuel system or skid-mounted for stand-alone applications, allowing you to keep your truck engine turned off during operation. VMAC’s customizable Multifunction allows you to choose your own options and benefit from over 2,000 possible configurations.

VMAC’s Multifunction Power System will reduce truck GVW by up to 400 lbs, compared to other multifunction systems. Truck GVW is reduced even more when the multifunction is compared to the weight of adding a separate welder, generator, air compressor, and hydraulics to a work truck. The VMAC Multifunction Power System’s digital controls idle the engine up and down, and on and off, with air demand. Visit the Multifunction Power Systems page for more info.

Preparing for the Future

Environmental regulations continue to develop and expand making green technology a vital consideration when investing in new vehicles and equipment. By choosing reliable, lightweight and fuel-efficient air compressors and multifunction power systems you’ll be working towards the common goal of reducing your province or state’s carbon footprint and positioning your company to handle environmental regulations, like anti-idling laws. The right equipment will also help you keep money in your pocket by keeping operating costs and downtime low, which in turn boosts your bottom line.

Interested in learning more about green products within the work truck industry? Visit the Green Truck Association’s website. Browse the VMAC Product page to see the full line of air compressors and multifunction power systems.

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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