Top 10 Tips 2015: - Towing

Lots of light commercial vehicles can be seen towing trailers around the country every day and we reckon that a great many of them are probably breaking the law. As soon as you hitch a trailer to a pick-up, light truck or van, a whole new set of problems present themselves and it's important that you understand these if you want to stay safe and legal.

There are a number of things to be considered. Can the vehicle tow such a big trailer? What exactly are drivers entitled to tow on their licenses? Does the vehicle need a tachograph?

The rules and regulations can be fairly complicated, but here we have simplified them as much as possible so that readers will be able to get all their questions answered in one hit...

1 Can your van take it?
Every LCV has a maximum braked trailer weight that can be towed. You need to check in the handbook to find what it is and make sure you don't exceed that limit. It's not just a case of risking being caught by the police and the DVSA and being fined. You could cause an accident too, in which case expect to have the book thrown at you in the courts.

2 Check your licence entitlement
Isuzu D-Max TowingYour driving licence shows the categories of vehicle you may drive including the size of trailer that you're allowed to tow. Older drivers are at an advantage here as the rules changed in 1997. If you passed your driving test before 1 January 1997 then you will most likely be entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer up to a combined Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of 8.25 tonnes.

If, however, you passed your driving test after 1 January 1997 then, unless you have taken an additional driving test — the B+E van and trailer test — you may only drive a van coupled with a trailer up to 750kg MAM, or one over 750kg MAM as long as the combined weight of the van and trailer is less than 3,500kg Gross Train Weight (GTW).

3 Watch out for overloading
There are two 'musts' here. Firstly that the load is evenly distributed over the wheels and not at one end of the trailer and secondly, that the trailer isn't overloaded. Each trailer has a weight limit and it's important to stay within it. And while we're at it, make sure loads don't stick out of the sides further than 305mm and out of the back by more than one metre.

4 Be aware of tachograph laws
How many big vans do you see on the roads towing a trailer without a tachograph fitted? Lots in our experience and they are mostly all illegal. Basically, if a van and trailer have a gross vehicle weight of more then 3.5 tonnes then they need to have a tachograph fitted, bar a couple of circumstances that we'll explain later.

This means that with a fully loaded 3.5 tonne van such as a Ford Transit or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, if you attach so much as a skateboard on the back you'll be over the magic limit. You have been warned.

And don’t forget that if a tacho is fitted each driver of the vehicle will have to have a digital Driver Card to operate it. Cards cost £19 from the DVLA and are valid for five years.

5 Could you be exempt?
Isuzu Grafter TowingThere are two main ways you can circumvent the problem of fitting a tachograph. Firstly if you aren't carrying goods for hire or reward and secondly, if you don't travel more than 33 miles, or 50km, from base in a day. The first may be true if, say, you are taking a load of rubble to the dump. You aren't exactly carrying it for reward unless you are being paid to do so by someone else.

It's all a tad woolly, but one thing is certain; if you are stopped by the police or by the lads and lasses from the DVSA, don't expect them to just swallow any yarn you may spin them. They will want you to produce proof that you are exempt because of the above two reasons.

6 Unbraked trailer limits
If your trailer is unbraked, the maximum you may tow (combined weight of trailer and load) is 750 kg or half the kerbside weight of the towing vehicle, whichever is the LOWER. Otherwise the trailer has to have its own set of brakes.

7 Check your width
Until recently UK regulations on trailer width were different to the rest of Europe; the maximum width allowed here was 2.3m compared to 2.55m across the channel. UK rules changed in April 2010 and you are now permitted to tow a trailer or caravan up to 2.55m in width behind a goods vehicle weighing less than 3,500kg.

8 Get your brackets right
Mercedes Sprinter TowingTowing brackets must be tested to the appropriate British or European standard and use mounting points recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Vans registered since 1 August 1998 must only be fitted with a 'type approved' bracket tested to European Directive 94/20/EC. The bracket will have a label, plate, or stamping detailing the type approval number and the vehicle for which it is an approved fitment.

9 Check your trailer
Before the start of every journey there are a number of checks that should be made. The obvious ones are to check tyre pressures, ensure all lights are working, make sure the number plate on the trailer is the same as the one on the van — and not obscured — and ensure that the wheel nuts aren't loose. All loads should be securely strapped down so bits don't fly off when you go round a corner.

10 Take care on the roads
It may sound obvious but it's easy to forget you have a trailer if you are cruising up the motorway. Your van won't feel the same as it did when it was just pulling itself so make sure you leave plenty of room to manoeuvre and don't start breaking the speed limits etc. Bear in mind that when towing, you are restricted to a maximum speed of 50mph on single carriageway roads, and 60mph on dual carriageways and motorways, provided no lower limit is in force.

We strongly recommend that if you are not familiar with maneuvering with a trailer, go to a quiet place somewhere and practice; it does take some getting used to, especially when reversing..

Source: http://www.vansa2z.com/Top-10-Tips-2015-Towing


The History of Ford Design

 By Tori Tellem

Did you know that Ford Design Department was established in 1935? And it wasn’t Henry Ford’s idea. It was his son Edsel Ford, who wanted to create cars that were not only functional but also nice to look at. The first designer hired by Edsel was E.T. “Bob” Gregorie, who had been a shipbuilder. But that process translated to designing autos. He brought the “styling bridge,” a U-shaped structure that rode on a series of parallel rails, which helped when it came to getting coordinates that could later be used on other car models, too.

Obviously, cutting-edge design existed from the start, when in 1908, the Model T changed the automotive industry forever. We can say that, even though the forward-thinking design of the era had an emphasis on mobility and not on color, since it was offered only in black!

The first vehicle from Ford Design Department pretty much blew everyone’s mind and put the spotlight on the design process: the Lincoln Zephyr in 1937. It sparked conversation due to having a horizontal grille – something that remains on Lincoln vehicles today. The following year brought the first vehicle for the Mercury brand, the Mercury 8, and its style heavily reflected Edsel’s design sense.

Click here to download the timeline.

World War II caused a pause in the production of automobiles, so in 1942, Ford stopped civilian vehicle production and made military equipment instead, including planes and tanks. When the war ended and the auto industry was back up and running, all eyes were on the new 1949 Ford. It didn’t disappoint, with its integrated fenders, chrome trim and aviation-reminiscent center grille design.

It’s hard to imagine now just how groundbreaking the F-Series was back then, thanks to its contours, integrated headlights, ability to tow and emphasis on cargo, since they’re the standard today.

Ford has been leading new trends, and creating new principles and new ways to design, and the decades have brought incredible achievements, from the Thunderbird and Mustang to the Explorer and Focus Electric. Plus, the aluminum-alloy-bodied 2015 F-150 was a game-changer, although interesting materials used in Ford vehicles happened even back in 1941, with the Soybean Car, which was a plastic vehicle made of soybeans, flax and other natural elements.

Concept vehicles and other technological advancements inside and out also left an indelible mark in the Ford Design Department work. The 1955 Futura, for example, featured pearlescent, a new paint technique that, as the name implies, utilized crushed pearls. A retractable hard top that electronically folded into the truck debuted in 1957, while the power sunroof arrived in 1971.


Seattle Fears Dangerous Drivers and Believes Technology Beneficial to Lessen Risk; Ford Smart Mobility Tour showcases technologies to help

  •     Seattle residents fear dangerous drivers, but more than half who responded to a survey say they would find blind spot monitoring and rearview back-up camera technology useful to lessen the risk – according to an independent study commissioned by Ford, which brings its Ford Smart Mobility Tour to town
  •     Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to take it to the next advances in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data; a major area of focus is multimodal transportation, including development of an app that facilitates routing and that integrates seamlessly with vehicles and electric bikes
  •     To improve the driving experience, Ford has introduced several driver-assist technologies such as its Blind Spot Information System and Pro Trailer Backup Assist, as well as semi-autonomous technologies including a lane-keeping aid and active park assist

SEATTLE, Sept. 17, 2015 – A majority of Seattle residents fear dangerous drivers – according to a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by independent research company Penn Schoen Berland, examined driving-related fears, as well as public receptiveness to driver-assist and semi-autonomous technologies designed to ease driver anxiety and commuting hassles.

Dangerous drivers are the top concern for Seattle residents, the survey found. Three out of five said they are afraid of dangerous drivers on the road when driving themselves, or when being driven by others. Moreover:
  •     74 percent find monitoring blind spots concerning
  •     73 percent are concerned about not being able to see all angles when backing up
  •     71 percent are concerned about backing up into a busy street
Most in Seattle say technology that can alleviate these driving concerns is compelling. The survey found:
  •     Nine in 10 would be more comfortable driving a car with blind spot detection technology; 73 percent would describe such technology as “useful”
  •     Nine in 10 would be more comfortable driving a car with a rearview camera; 69 percent would describe such technology as “useful”
Ford Smart Mobility Tour

This week Ford brings its Ford Smart Mobility Tour to Seattle. The tour highlights the company’s driver-assist features that can help address driving-related fears, including Blind Spot Information System and semi-autonomous driving technologies – along with the Ford Smart Mobility plan.

Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to take it to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. Ford introduced the plan in January, along with 25 initial experiments aimed at better understanding consumers’ mobility needs around the globe.

“Our smart mobility vision at Ford is about changing the way the world moves,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Innovation. “We are transitioning from experimentation to the start of implementation, beginning with the Go Drive and Peer to Peer car sharing pilots. Our goal is to make people’s lives better by helping them more easily navigate to where they want to go, using one or more interconnected modes of transportation.”

Multimodal mobility solutions

In many cities, driving your vehicle directly from home to work is not feasible. Ford believes solutions for multimodal journeys can make travel to and within urban areas more convenient. The company is studying how electric bicycles and mobile application technology can work seamlessly with cars and public transport to deliver faster and easier daily commutes and help businesses operating in urban environments.

Ford’s electric bicycle experiments include:
  •     MoDe:Me, introduced in March, is intended to keep the urban commuter moving in congested traffic
  •     MoDe:Pro is built for urban commercial use, and is designed to stow in a commercial vehicle such as Ford Transit Connect
  •     MoDe:Flex is easily reconfigurable for different customer needs. The bike’s center frame assembly includes the motor and battery, while the front and rear assemblies and wheels can be configured for road, mountain or city riding
Ford’s electric bicycle prototypes fold easily into Ford vehicles, and integrate seamlessly with the MoDe:Link app, which can be paired with a smartwatch.

This includes the “no sweat” mode, which increases electric pedal assist based on heart rate – ensuring a rider gets to his or her destination without breaking a sweat. The app also provides safety notifications. Hazards, such as potholes ahead, are signaled through vibrating handlebars.

Driver-assist and semi-autonomous technologies

To improve today’s driving experience, Ford has introduced driver-assist and semi-autonomous technologies such as active park assist to help drivers parallel and perpendicular park more easily, as well as a lane-keeping aid to help drivers stay in their lane. Driver-assist technologies include BLIS® – which alerts drivers to vehicles detected entering their blind spots.

To stay connected while in motion, SYNC® 3, Ford’s all-new communications and entertainment system, features faster performance and conversational voice recognition, along with an available intuitive smartphone-like touch screen.

Ford offers more vehicle nameplates in the United States with active park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane-keeping aid and blind spot monitoring than any other manufacturer – according to automotive research firm SBD. Ford also leads in four segments, offering vehicles with the most available driver-assist features among mainstream vehicles in the country:
  •     Large light-duty pickup – F-150
  •     Midsize SUV – Edge and Explorer
  •     Midsize car – Fusion
  •     Large car – Taurus
Ford will also demonstrate its new Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature that will be available on the 2016 F-150. The technology helps to ease the anxiety level of backing a trailer – which can be a challenging task for the novice and tricky even for those with trailering experience.

Seattle and STEM

Seattle is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, according to 2014 U.S. Census figures, due in part to a surge in employment opportunities. The city is a budding tech hot spot. With an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, the Ford Smart Mobility Tour visits Technology Access Foundation in Federal Way. Students at TAF Academy will have the opportunity to interact with Ford experts and see firsthand possibilities that could await them in the automotive industry in the future. Ford will present Technology Access Foundation with a $5,000 donation this week.

The Ford Smart Mobility Tour will also visit Denver and Los Angeles.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
About Penn Schoen Berland

Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), an independent research company, conducted the poll on behalf of Ford Motor Company among 1,500 general population respondents (age 18+) in the U.S. – with 300 in Louisville, 300 in Orlando, 300 in Los Angeles, 300 in Seattle and 300 in Denver. The online survey was conducted from Aug. 11-17, 2015. The margin of error for each city is +/- 5.66%.


GMC Sierra HD/HD Denali - 2016

  •     HID projector-beam headlamps and GMC signature LED lighting now standard on all models
  •     Digital Steering Assist offers enhanced responsiveness, improved road holding and more
  •     Available Gooseneck/Fifth Wheel Trailering Prep Package, with spray-in bedliner (late availability)
  •     Available wireless phone charging
  •     Available remote locking tailgate
  •     Adoption of SAE J2807 trailering rating standards
  •     GMC IntelliLink with a new, 7-inch-diagonal touchscreen features performance improvements including a faster processor for better performance, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability
  •     GMC IntelliLink with an 8-inch-diagonal touchscreen features performance improvements including a faster processor for better performance and Apple CarPlay capability (Android Auto capability coming later in the model year)
  •     Exterior colors: Crimson Red Tintcoat (double cab only), Cardinal Red, Deep Garnet Metallic (crew cab only) and Mahogany Metallic (not available on All Terrain or Denali)


No other heavy-duty truck matches the GMC Sierra HD lineup when it comes to offering capability with comfort, quietness and uniquely crafted interiors. It stands alone as the industry’s premium HD truck, building on a 112-year legacy of professional grade heavy-duty trucks with technologies and features that make leveraging its capabilities easier and more enjoyable.

The Denali series is the ultimate expression of GMC and the Sierra Denali HD is the ultimate expression of the Sierra HD range, offering distinctive styling and exclusive amenities that take the truck’s signature comfort and crafted interior environment to the highest level.

And when it comes to the capability on which GMC’s reputation was forged, Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD models – including Sierra Denali HD – are offered with the Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel and Allison 1000 six-speed transmission, a proven powertrain combination enabling a maximum trailering rating of up to 23,200 pounds (10,523 kg).

New for 2016, Digital Steering Assist power steering on some double cab and crew cab models helps make hauling and trailering easier and more confident, with electronic controls that enhance road holding and stability on the highway regardless of whether the truck is loaded. It also offers greater responsiveness and an improved steering feel. (Not available on WT models or regular cab.)

A new Gooseneck/5th Wheel Trailering Prep Package makes Sierra HD models ready to tow larger trailers right from the factory. It’s available in the first quarter of 2016 for gas- and diesel-equipped models and features a frame-mounted hitch platform and tray that accommodates a gooseneck ball hitch or fifth wheel hitch mounting brakckets, and includes a cargo bed-mounted trailer harness, as well as a spray-in bedliner. A new Gooseneck Completion Kit will also be available from GMC dealers, featuring a 2-5/16-inch ball hitch and two chain tie-downs.

Additional new and updated features for 2016 include:
  •     GMC IntelliLink with a 7-inch-diagonal capacitive touchscreen features a new HD radio and performance improvements including a faster processer for better performance, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability
  •     GMC IntelliLink with an 8-inch-diagonal touchscreen features performance improvements including a faster processer for better performance and Apple CarPlay capability (Android Auto capability coming later in the model year)
  •     HID projector-beam headlamps with GMC signature LED lighting now standard on all models
  •     Available wireless phone charging
  •     Available remote locking tailgate
  •     Exterior colors: Crimson Red Tintcoat (double cab only), Cardinal Red, Deep Garnet Metallic (crew cab only) and Mahogany Metallic (not available on All Terrain or Denali).
Also, the 2016 Sierra HDs’ trailering ratings are aligned with SAE J2807 standards, with maximum capacities including:

  1.     Maximum 2500HD conventional trailering rating of 14,500 pounds (6,577 kg)
  2.     Maximum 2500HD fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailering rating of 18,000 pounds (8,165 kg)
  3.     Maximum 3500HD single-rear-wheel conventional trailering rating of 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg)
  4.     Maximum 3500HD single-rear-wheel fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailering rating of 17,500 pounds (7,938 kg)
  5.     Maximum 3500HD dual-rear-wheel conventional trailering rating of 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg)
  6.     Maximum 3500HD dual-rear-wheel fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailering rating of 23,200 pounds (10,523 kg).

Sierra HD lineup
Regular, double cab and crew cab models are offered across the lineup. 2500HD and 3500HD regular cab models are matched an 8’ box, while 2500HD double cab and crew cab models are available with 6’6” or 8’ boxes. Sierra 3500HD double cab is offered exclusively with the 8’ box, while 3500HD crew cabs are available with the 6’6” and 8’ boxes. Dual-rear-wheel configurations are also available on 3500HD.

Trim levels include a Sierra base model (1SA trim), as well as SLE, SLT and Denali – the ultimate expression of GMC’s Professional Grade ethos. It accounts for approximately half of Sierra HD crew cab retail sales; and it is offered exclusively as a crew cab, matching do-it-all capability with an exclusive package of design and upscale interior amenities.

Additionally, the All Terrain HD premium off-road package is offered on SLT crew cab 4WD models, featuring unique 18-inch chrome aluminum wheels and all-terrain tires (20-inch wheels are available), spray-on bedliner, Z71 suspension with Rancho twin-tube shocks, underbody shield and Front and Rear Park Assist. Exterior cues include an All Terrain grille insert and chrome grille surround, as well as body-color front and rear bumpers. Inside is a heated steering wheel, All Terrain sill plates, carpeted floor mats and a gauge cluster featuring an inclinometer.

The Z71 suspension is also available on SLE and SLT models without the All Terrain package.

Gas and Duramax diesel powertrains are offered across the lineup, including a bi-fuel option that allows the gas engine to run on compressed natural gas. The Duramax has been developed to operate for at least 200,000 miles (322,000 km) on a rough-duty cycle without the need for a major overhaul.

The powertrains contribute to the Sierra HDs’ greater payload and towing ratings than previous models, including a maximum conventional trailering rating of 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg) and a max fifth-wheel/gooseneck trailering rating of 23,200 pounds (10,523 kg).

Additional features for the 2016 Sierra HD lineup include:

  •     Standard CornerStep rear bumper, EZ Lift and Lower tailgate (standard on SLE, SLT and Denali), standard locking tailgate, standard upper tie-downs and other features that make cargo handling easier
  •     Standard StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control on all models, including 3500HD dually
  •     Integrated cruise control, auto grade braking and diesel exhaust braking, for greater driving control and reduced brake wear on grades
  •     New Digital Steering Assist power steering, which enables easier handling and maneuverability, greater steering response, greater road-holding capability and greater stability control assistance. It is standard on SLE and SLT double cab and crew cab models, and standard on Denali (not available on WT or regular cab)
    Available Gooseneck/Fifth Wheel Trailering Prep Package offered on Duramax-equipped models (available in first quarter of 2016) features factory-installed hitch platform and tray for gooseneck ball hitch or fifth wheel hitch. It also includes a convenient, cargo bed-mounted trailer harness located on the driver-side bed wall, just behind the tailgate opening, and a spray-in bedliner. A Gooseneck Completion Kit with a 2-5/16-inch ball hitch and two chain tie-downs will be available from GMC dealers.

All models are backed by GMC Pro Grade Protection, including a three-year/36,000-miles bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Sierra Denali HD details
The distinctive Sierra Denali HD is the ultimate expression of GMC’s Professional Grade ethos and features a signature chrome grille, unique 20-inch chrome aluminum wheels, body-color front and rear bumpers and unique interior decorative trim. Complementing the soft-touch instrument panel trim and aluminum trim are Denali-specific interior details, including script on the bright door sills and embossed into the front seats.

Sierra Denali’s high-tech interior also features an exclusive eight-inch customizable driver display that can show relevant settings, audio and navigation information in the instrument panel. Sierra Denali’s standard eight-inch Color Touch navigation radio with IntelliLink serves as the main hub for Bluetooth-connected phones and portable devices connected through five standard USB ports.

Other features standard on Sierra Denali include HID projector-beam headlamps with GMC’s LED signature lighting, new remote locking tailgate, new wireless phone charging, a Bose audio system, heated and vented leather front bucket seats, a heated steering wheel, a power sliding rear window with defogger and a spray-on bed liner that includes the Denali logo.

Sierra HD design and exterior features
Sierra HD trucks are the face of GMC’s Professional Grade aesthetic. All models feature a bold power-dome hood, HID headlamps and GMC’s signature LED lighting (daytime running lamps).   

The bodies on all models feature inlaid doors, which fit into recesses in the bodyside to help reduce wind noise for a quieter cab, and the double cab body features front-hinged rear doors with outside pull handles at the rear, for easy access in tight parking spaces.

Sierra HDs’ strong 6’6” and 8’ cargo boxes are designed to last longer with tough, rolled-steel floors, while offering great flexibility. They come with a two-tier loading design and offer more than four feet of loading space between the wheel houses, allowing standard 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood to stack flatly on the box floor.

Available body-style/ box-length configurations include:
  •     Regular cab with 8’ box – 2500HD and 3500HD
  •     Double cab with 6’6” box – 2500HD only
  •     Double cab with 8’ box – 2500HD and 3500HD
  •     Crew cab with 6’6” box – 2500HD and 3500HD
  •     Crew cab with 8’ box – 2500HD and 3500HD.
A factory-installed spray-in bed liner is available (standard on Denali) and LED cargo box lighting is standard on SLE, SLT and Denali models.

The CornerStep rear bumper is standard on all models and provides easier access when it’s time to climb in the box or retrieve items from it. It features integrated steps at each corner designed to accommodate large boots, with textured pads for sure-footed grip.

Additionally, a new remote locking tailgate is standard on SLE, SLT and Denali – and is available on the base model.

The EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate is standard on SLE, SLT and Denali models, along with LED cargo box lighting. With the EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate, an internal torsion bar reduces the effort to raise, while a rotary damper allows for a controlled and more gradual lowering motion when opening it.

Sierra HD interior details
The Sierra’s interior is roomy, quiet and functional, with a strong cab structure the foundation for its refinement. Nearly two-thirds of the cab is made of high-strength steel, while shear-style body mounts are used to tune out both up-and-down and side-to-side movement for a quiet, comfortable ride. Double and crew cab models have a set of hydraulic body mounts to further isolate the cabs.

The instrument panel has an intuitive six-gauge cluster. Standard models include a 3.5-inch driver information center display in the middle of the instrument cluster, with a 4.2-inch color driver information center display, for vehicle and infotainment data, standard on SLE, SLT and Sierra Denali. Ambient lighting highlights all functional areas, such as the “4x4” and headlamp switches, as well as the radio, for easier viewing at night.

All models have extensive interior storage, tailored to the way customers use their trucks. The center console – available on vehicles with front bucket seats – offers nearly 1 cubic foot (24.5 liters) of combined storage space, with the depth and width to conceal a laptop computer. Additionally, the locking console accommodates hanging files for owners who use their truck as a rolling office, as well as controls for overhead ambient lighting, map pockets along the side, movable cup holders and reconfigurable compartments. It also includes five USB ports, two 12-volt power points, a 110-volt outlet and a cord management system, allowing owners to leave their phone charger plugged in for quicker access when it’s needed, but remains concealed and without a dangling cord when it’s not. Plus, there’s a location on the console designed specifically for cell phone storage.

The fold-down center armrest on standard models and other models equipped with the 40/20/40-split bench seat offers covered storage and connectivity, with two USB ports and two 12-volt power points.

New wireless phone charging allows compatible phones to be charged without having to connect or disconnect wires or cables. It is available on SLE and SLT double cab and crew cab models with standard bucket seats; and it is standard on Sierra Denali.

Front seating configurations across the range include:

    Sierra – Standard 40/20/40-split vinyl bench seat with fold-down armrest that includes covered storage and three integrated cup holders. Cloth seating is available
    SLE – Standard 40/20/40-split cloth bench seat with fold-down armrest that includes covered storage and three integrated cup holders. Heated, leather-trimmed bench seat available and heated, cloth front bucket seats are available
    SLT – Standard leather-trimmed 40/20/40-split bench seat with fold-down armrest that includes covered storage and three integrated cup holders, lockable under-seat storage compartment. Heated, leather front bucket seats are available
    Denali – Full-feature leather-appointed, heated and vented front bucket seats with 12-way driver and passenger power adjustments, including four-way power lumbar control and two-position driver memory.

Several available equipment packages bundle popular features across the model range:
  •     Sierra Convenience Package – offered on standard models, it features heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors, remote keyless entry, Rear Vision camera, 110-volt AC power outlet, remote locking tailgate and LED cargo box lighting. Power windows are included on regular cab models (they are standard on double and crew cab)
  •     SLE Convenience Package – offered on double cab and crew cab models and includes power-adjustable pedals, Rear Park Assist, rear-window defogger, sliding rear window and chrome mirror caps.
  •     SLE Preferred Package – includes driver 10-way power seat adjuster (with 40/20/40 split-bench cloth seat), remote vehicle starter system, front foglamps, rear-window defogger, manual tilting/telescopic steering column, 110-volt AC power outlet and Universal Home Remote. Double cab and crew cab models include dual-zone climate control.
  •     Driver Alert Package – is available on SLE, SLT and Denali, and includes Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Safety Alert Seat and Front and Rear Park Assist.

Connectivity includes IntelliLink with new phone integration technology, OnStar 4G LTE
Upgrades and enhancements for 2016 include an all-new radio with a 7-inch-diagonal color touchscreen that’s available on the base-model 1SA trim and an 8-inch system offered on higher trim levels and equipment packages.

Both radios offer improved system speed and performance, faster, more accurate map loading, faster service reprogramming and redesigned navigation interfaces, including a quick list of recently browsed points of interest, point of interest country grouping, last destination screen and visual landmark indication with map guidance (on navigation radios only). The 8-inch radio offers enhanced voice command execution, while the new 7-inch radio uses pass-through voice recognition synched with the user’s phone.

Also new for Sierra 7-inch and 8-inch radio systems is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. Each provides simple and smart use of smartphones in the vehicle, integrating certain phone functions onto IntelliLink’s color touchscreen and allowing users to call up music, navigation apps and more via compatible phones.

IntelliLink with the 7-inch display is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The 8-inch system – standard on SLE, SLT, All Terrain and Denali models (with navigation available) – features Apple CarPlay compatibility at the start of the model year. Android Auto capability is scheduled to be available on the 8-inch system later in the model year.

Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features customers want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner. This allows drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay-supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and third-party audio apps. A full list of those apps can be found at Apple.com/ios/carplay. Apple CarPlay is compatible with iOS 7.1 or higher.

Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify and podcast players. A full list of supported apps is available at g.co/androidauto. Android Auto requires a phone running an Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or above.

Using either application is simple. A “Projection” icon on the IntelliLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected, then changes to indicate CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected via USB.

Compatible apps need to be downloaded to a phone before using. Apple and Google’s privacy statements and terms of use apply. Data plan rates may also apply.

Complementing IntelliLink to enhance Sierra’s connectivity is OnStar 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hotspot. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot supports up to seven mobile devices and is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial. It is available on the 1SA and standard on SLE, SLT and Denali models.

At the time of purchase, six months of an OnStar Guidance plan includes all of OnStar’s advisor-based safety and security features, including Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance, as well as turn-by-turn navigation.

Five years of a subscription-free OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car (if properly equipped), and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which runs monthly checks of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more, and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends diagnostic report directly to a preferred dealer simplify service scheduling.

Proven Duramax turbo-diesel
The Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel is available across the lineup and has proven itself with a strong record of performance, capability and durability. It led the industry with first-in-class common-rail fuel injection and aluminum heads with a six-bolts-per-cylinder design.

It is rated at 397 horsepower (296 kW) at 3,000 rpm and 765 lb.-ft. of torque (1,037 Nm) at 1,600 rpm, contributing to their tremendous capability – including a maximum towing rating of 23,200 pounds on Sierra 3500HD. Horsepower is reduced slightly for some commercial chassis cab models.

Architectural features include a rigid cast iron cylinder block with induction-hardened cylinder bores; four-bolt, cross-drilled main bearing caps; forged steel, nitride-hardened crankshaft; aluminum pistons with jet-spray oil cooling; aluminum cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder; water-cooled turbocharger; integrated oil cooler and a charge-cooled turbocharging system.

The Duramax’s variable vane geometry turbocharger makes downhill towing less stressful, with an integrated exhaust brake system. Matched with the Allison 1000 transmission, it creates added backpressure in the exhaust, resulting in negative torque during deceleration and downhill driving, enhancing driver control and prolonging brake pad life.

The Duramax also provides outstanding cold-weather performance, with  microprocessor-controlled glow plugs capable of gas engine-like start performance in less than three seconds in temperatures as low as -20 degrees F (-29 C), without a block heater. 

Advanced emission control technology makes the Duramax one of the cleanest diesels in the segment. NOx emissions are controlled via a Selective Catalyst Reduction aftertreatment system that uses urea-based Diesel (Emission) Exhaust Fluid (DEF), which is housed in a 5.3-gallon (20 L) tank and needs to be replenished about every 5,000 miles (8,000 km). Electrically heated lines feed the DEF to the emission system to ensure adequate delivery in cold weather.

The system also incorporates GM’s second-generation diesel particulate filter system. Unlike most of the competition, the Duramax regenerates its diesel particulate filter using a downstream injection of diesel fuel directly into the exhaust stream and can travel up to 700 miles (1,125 km) between regenerations. The use of downstream injection helps improve engine life by eliminating concerns surrounding the possibility of diesel fuel contaminating engine oil, which can happen when fuel used for regeneration is introduced directly into the cylinder.

Allison 1000 transmission
The Allison 1000 backs the Duramax engine with features that support its tremendous torque with driver-control features that make hauling and towing easier – including the smart exhaust brake system. It features a class-first range selection function, which allows the driver to easily select the desired gears to match driving conditions, such as towing a trailer on a steep grade.

The Allison 1000’s six-speed configuration also contributes to greater efficiency, with lower engine speed on the highway. Both the fifth and sixth gears are overdrives (turning slower than engine speed), with a sixth-gear ratio of 0.62:1. A lower cruising rpm also contributes to a quieter interior on the highway.

Additional features include:

  •     Power take off – It offers 250 lb.-ft. of torque for excellent performance in PTO applications, such as snowplows. There are two locations (right- and left-hand sides of the transmission) for PTO accessories – such as hydraulic pumps – to be attached on the transmission
  •     Driver Shift Control – This feature allows the driver to manually select and hold a gear to satisfy a variety of driving scenarios. The easy tap-up/tap-down shift control holds the desired gear, but also protects the engine by inhibiting downshifts when the engine speed is above allowable rpm limits.
  •     Tow/haul mode – The driver-selectable tow/haul mode provides greater driver control and trailering performance in certain conditions, such as steep grades. When engaged, shift schedules are optimized so that the system locks the torque converter earlier to minimize heat gain and to take greater advantage of engine braking when vehicle is traveling downhill.
  •     Cab warm-up (elevated idle) – In certain low-temperature circumstances, the engine speed is raised and the transmission increases the load on the engine, allowing the engine to produce heat quicker and warm up the truck’s interior faster. The idle speed varies with the engine coolant temperature and the normal idle resumes when it reaches 154 degrees F (68 C). The feature is also enabled when the engine is started via remote starting.
  •     Easy maintenance – The Allison 1000 has an easily removable, spin-on filter with a long, 60,000-mile change interval. Another internal filter is rated for the life of the transmission. Some competitors’ transmissions offer longer filter change intervals, but require more intensive, time-consuming change procedures that include removing the oil pan.
Smart exhaust brake system
The highly integrated, driver-selectable exhaust brake system uses the compression power of the Duramax engine to improve vehicle control and reduce brake pad wear. When the exhaust brake is engaged in cruise mode, exhaust cruise grade braking will help the cruise control system maintain the desired vehicle speed when travelling downhill, keeping the driver from having to apply the brakes and exit cruise control to maintain speed.

When the exhaust brake is engaged in non-cruise mode, the transmission and the exhaust brake deliver the correct amount of braking to assist in vehicle control, regardless of vehicle load. The system provides more engine braking with this feature for a heavier vehicle, for example.

Exhaust grade braking is one of the best examples of the Duramax engine and Allison transmission working as a seamless powertrain unit. It is a smart system that varies the amount of brakes needed for the vehicle, load and grade. The engagement of the system is smooth and quiet, while its performance enhances the driver’s feeling of control.

V-8 power is standard
The standard engine in all 2500HD and 3500HD models is the proven 6.0L FlexFuel V-8, which can run on gas, E85 or a mixture of both. It’s rated at 360 horsepower (268 kW) and 380 lb.-ft. of torque (515 Nm) on gas. It is also offered in a bi-fuel version and is rated at 301 horsepower (225 kW) and 333 lb.-ft. (452 Nm) on CNG.

The 6.0L is part of the legendary small block engine family, which was introduced in 1955. All iterations share basic architectural cues, including 4.400-inch cylinder bore centers and cam-in-block valve actuation. It is a simpler, lighter and more-compact design than many overhead-cam engines, with intrinsic attributes well-suited to the performance heavy-duty truck customers demand – particularly torque that’s developed early and maintained over a broad rpm range.

In fact, approximately 90 percent of peak torque available at only 2,000 rpm, for confidence and ease of operation with a full load or trailer, particularly on steep grades. Additional engine highlights include:

  •     Deep-skirt iron cylinder block with cross-bolted main caps for strength, durability and refinement
  •     High-flow aluminum cylinder heads that help produce more power and sustain longer across the rpm range
  •     Polymer-coated pistons with full-floating wrist pins that offer lower friction, for greater performance and efficiency
  •     Steel camshaft for long-term performance and durability
  •     Steel roller rockers add stiffness, allowing greater engine speed with less vibration
  •     Hydraulic roller lifters reduce friction for greater efficiency and wear resistance
  •     Steel camshaft for long-term performance and durability
  •     Regulated voltage control that enhances efficiency by reducing the draw on the alternator
  •     Coil-near-plug ignition features an individual coil for each spark plug to deliver maximum voltage and consistent spark density, with no variation between cylinders.
Heavy-duty foundation and vehicle control technologies
All Sierra HD models feature fully boxed frame assemblies – 18 different assemblies that accommodate more than 150 possible vehicle configurations across the lineup.

A short-long arm/torsion bar front suspension features forged steel upper control arms and precision-machined cast iron lower control arms. Five different torsion bar rates support five different front gross axle weight ratings to help stabilize the range of trim heights of various models under load – including snow plows – while enhancing appearance, handling, durability, tire wear and alignment.

At the rear, an asymmetrical leaf-spring design minimizes axle hop and enhances traction control efficiency. A two-stage leaf-spring design is used on 2500HD models and three-stage design is employed on 3500HD model.

Sierra HD’s advanced vehicle control technologies are designed to make tough jobs easier and more comfortable, while also contributing to a safe driving experience, particularly when hauling cargo or towing a trailer.

StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard on all single-rear-wheel models and 3500HD dual-rear-wheel models. It incorporates trailer sway control and hill start assist. Additionally, available cruise control, auto grade braking, and diesel exhaust brake features help the vehicle maintain a set speed up and down grades, even when towing a heavy trailer.

With the diesel exhaust brake feature, the turbocharger is used to smoothly and quietly create additional backpressure in the engine to help slow the vehicle. The combination of the exhaust brake and the automatic transmission downshifts helps the driver maintain the desired speed, even on steep grades.

New Digital Steering Assist – standard on SLE and SLT double cab and crew cab models, as well as Denali – also enhances driver control, maneuverability and highway stability. It adapts technology similar to active rack-and-pinion systems for the Sierra HD’s recirculating ball power steering system, providing corrections to enhance stability on the highway, enhance stability control assistance and more. It also helps make Sierra HDs feel more maneuverable and responsive to the driver.

A rear-vision camera system is standard on SLE, SLT and Denali, providing a view of items behind the vehicle. It can also assist with lining up in front of a trailer.

GMC has manufactured trucks since 1902, with innovation and engineering excellence built into all GMC vehicles. The brand is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. GMC’s highest-volume vehicle, the Sierra pickup, is the most powerful light-duty pickup on the market, and the first full-size pickup to receive the highest-possible five-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration changed its New Car Assessment Program for the 2011 model year. Details on all GMC models are available at http://www.gmc.com/, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at http://www.facebook.com/gmc.


Milford Proving Ground: Testing Performance Since 1924

To develop performance cars, automakers depend on fundamental analysis, but it’s the test tracks and road courses that bring out the best in a vehicle. The collection of roadways assembled at the Milford Proving Ground has more than 140 miles covering parts of two Michigan counties.


GMC 3500HD with 10' Harbor Combo Body

Jordan Lewis gives us a short tour of a 10' Harbor ComboMaster Combo Body with the 36" work platform extension. This great body is perfect out in the field to get work done on site and get the tools and other things needed at the same time. The compartments are 24" deep so you can carry a lot. All this mounted on a 3500HD dual rear 60" CA chassis. One more note: Because this is on a 60" CA chassis, the turning radius is almost the same as a regular pickup.


Dually 9' Harbor Service Body on GMC Crew Cab

Jordan Lewis gives us a short tour of a new GMC dual rear wheel crew cab chassis with the Duramax Diesel. This truck has a 9' Harbor Service Body mounted with 24" deep compartments, stainless steel lids, forklift loadable rack, class IV receiver. A great truck to get your tools and parts and a team to the job site.


Modern-day trucks aren't what they used to be; they're better.

Today's best-in-class pickups come fully equipped with all the modern amenities, such as back seats, luxurious interiors, and premium technologies. But which trucks are rated this year's best? Some of the best-selling trucks like the GMC Sierra, Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, and the Toyota Tundra - are packed with enviable features that any truck-lover could ever want or need. However, it is inevitable that everyone is always looking for the next new model. For the next generation of trucks in 2016 and beyond there is a plethora of hot new cutting-edge, top-rated pickup models that were just revealed, like the Chevy Reaper, Dodge Rebel, Ford Raptor and the Ford Atlas. Each model is new in the generation line up of each automaker, all promising to be the next best segment leader. If you're exploring the market for a top-rated truck, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which make and model best suites you, your needs, and your price range. Whether just doing some early research or feeling ready to make some real strides toward investing in a new truck, make sure to ask your local dealership some of the questions below so you know how to find just what you're looking for!

Find out more at: http://askthis.org/BNT/?ss=2015%20pickup%20trucks&c=256838&lytmode=fac&pagetitle=3%20Hot%20New%20Pickup%20Trucks&adsource=3&f_tok=FqOuaZezl6JhO14rtqxvRkPOtcZYXlN%2BEpXanLs4diTV7L8j0%2FM%3D&fref=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZmFjZWJvb2suY29t&cjp=1e07e~71tR


An Update on Our Green Fleet

We speak with members of TWC’s Fleet Team and the National Clean Fleets Partnership.


Masterack Van Package - Standard Aluminum

Part # 0AL100KP


This lightweight interior has aluminum shelving, toolbox cradles, full-length drawers, and a full line of
customizable accessories. The aluminum is 30% lighter than steel with the ability to support a comparable capacity. Our aluminum shelf modules are made in the U.S.A. Partitions sold separately.


Ford Smart Mobility Tour Kicks Off

The Ford Smart Mobility Experience  visits five cities – Louisville, Orlando, Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles -- this summer and fall. Company leaders will share Ford’s Smart Mobility Plan which is our plan to deliver the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data.  The tour also showcases the company’s driver assist technologies that help improve the driving experience. Participants will get the chance to experience  the company’s current semi-autonomous and driver assist technologies including active park assist, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping aid and Pro Trailer Backup Assist as well as SYNC 3, Ford’s all-new communications and entertainment system.
About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.


E-350 Cutaway with 10' Harbor WorkMaster Plumber Body

Kent of Ford Fairfield is showing off a great work truck. This 10' Harbor WorkMaster plumber style body is on a single rear wheel E350 Cutaway chassis. This great chassis allows for a longer body than on a conventional cab, plus it is lower to the ground, shorter in overall length, and essentially no wider than a standard cargo van. All of these features and more contribute to making this vehicle easy to maneuver in tight city streets.

This body also comes in a low roof version for those who need to get in and out of parking garages, but the high roof has such great benefit because you can stand up inside rather than being hunched over. That sure makes getting in and out of the back or working inside a breeze.

To learn more, go to http://www.FairfieldWorkTrucks.com, or call Kent Fry at 707-337-2921.


The Transverse Compartment: A Creative Use Of Space

Jordan Lewis of Dow Lewis Motors shows us a unique change to an 8' Service Body that makes it so much more useful and effective in the same space. It's not a bigger body, but a substantially more effective one. The transverse compartment is part of the magic, and then combine that with the horizontal series long horizontal compartment, add the master lock system, Harbor's push-button locking system, stainless steel lids and this changeup creates magic when it comes to functionality and effectiveness. See more at http://www.DowLewisTrucks.com


Telecom, Cable, Utility Construction Package #1 - GM Full-Size Vans

Part # 022658CKP
Telecom, Cable, Utility Construction Package - Full Size Vans

Packed with standard features including plenty of drawers and cabinets.  Provides efficient storage of tools and equipment.  Perfect work solutions from industry experts.  Add ladder racks, accessories, and safety equipment to tackle any job.
Features & Benefits

    Adjustable Dividers
    Small Parts Drawers
    Large Parts Drawers
    Cable Reel Holder
    Hook Storage
    Hard Hat Holder
    Parts Trays

Package Consists of
    Part #     Description     Qty.
1     022264KP     Parts Tray Module
36"H x 43"W x 12"D     1
2     022466KP     Lockable Storage Cabinet
24"H x 18.5"W x 18"D     1
3     022685KP     Parts Cabinet w/ Dividers
46"H x 43"W x 16"D     1
4     024056KP     Cabinet, 4 Drawer, Large
22”H x 18.5”W x 18” D     1
5     025527KP     Triple Utility Hook     1
6     027088KP     Standard Steel Partition w/ Hinged Door     1
7     027250KP     Steel Partition Attachment Panels - GM Full-Size Vans     1

Find out more at:  http://masterack.com


Can you avoid truck repair?

Truck repair is avoidable to an extent. If you regularly service and maintain your truck you can avoid truck repair and the associated tension and loss while enjoying the benefits of increased mileage. You are practically spending more than half of the time you are awake in the truck and it is with you passively helping you, making your livelihood. It's working doubly hard as you do, five days a week, all day, in stop-and-go traffic, in the heat, cold, rain, snow, ice, etc., It's high time you stop and pay it back or it's going to leave you stranded.

Truck repair is essentially a demanding expense in your business. As long as you have the owner's manual it is going to come handy telling you categorically when to take it for a service maintenance. In its absence how often should you change fluids, check brakes, etc.? Unfortunately, there is not a single answer. There are several variables to consider - the climatic condition your truck is subjected to, the fuel used, the age of your truck, etc., and of course its type.

Another crucial question is how often you are taking care of its service maintenance. Are you doing it yourself or having it done by a technician? Either way, you will have to be proactive in keeping a time log in terms of the service maintenance frequency.

Preventive Maintenance

The adage "prevention is better than cure" will apply squarely for your truck maintenance.

Best Practice Daily Checks

• Regardless of the age and type of the truck you are running, many of the basics are the same. Make it a habit to do a visual check of your truck. This is just to make sure it's clean and sparkling.

• Next, you should do a basic safety check by checking the lights (including hazards), tire condition and air pressure. It is crucial to check fluid levels daily, engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid. Get your brake line inspected, spark plugs inspected and filters replaced regularly. These can warn you about bigger repair problems beforehand.

• Look underneath your high-mileage truck for signs of fluid leaks, they shouldn't be ignored. If left unattended to they can turn into expensive truck repair jobs.

• Listen for unusual sounds, such as thumps, bangs or pings. These could be warning signs that your truck needs serious attention. Keeping track of any new noises and info on when they started may help your mechanic to diagnose the problem.

Best Practices for increased mileage

• Tire pressure is critical! It is a proven fact that you can improve your gas mileage by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. This will also ward off unexpected flats and blowouts.

• Performing regular tune-ups on you truck will keep your truck's engine running at top speed.

• Stick to a certain mechanic who knows the history of your truck.

• Another most important system to the "health" of your engine is the lubrication system; clean oil in your truck is like healthy blood in a human body so change it every three months.

Therefore, it is better to learn how to maintain your high-mileage truck to keep repair bills at a minimum and enjoy increased mileage. The concept is quite simple - maintain the truck before it becomes too late and breaks down. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine. Regular truck maintenance multiplies profits and reduces truck repair instances.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gary_Alen