Fleet Maintenance - 14
a global lubricant supplier. "If the mixture were
to become frozen, it can damage the block, cause a
crack, or cause significant damage to the engine."
Engine coolants are not all the same. Coolant is
comprised of three parts: water, ethylene glycol,
and an additive chemistry that protects the engine
and the cooling system from corrosion. The additive chemistry, or additives, is what makes antifreezes different, Granger says.
Granger recommends maintaining the same
additives all year round and not just for winter.
"Not that you need freeze protection in the
middle of summer, but it's an indicator of the
amount of additives you have in the coolant,"
In the summer, fleets may dilute the mixture
with water to protect the cooling system from
corrosion, but this is not an acceptable practice
as it does not provide the proper protection. With
today's extended life coolants, freeze protection
is needed all year long.
When adding coolant to a vehicle, its best to
know which coolant has been used previously to
prevent potential problems. If it's a different type
of additive technology, it can reduce the effectiveness of the coolant in the truck, Granger says. Shell
offers a test strip, Shell Rotella Antifreeze Coolant
Test, for fleets to determine if the additive for Shell
Rotella ELC level is correct.
In addition to engine coolants, auxiliary products such as a coolant heater, or an engine block
heater used to heat the engine, can help protect
vital components in cold weather.
Both coolant heaters and engine block heaters
are integrated within the vehicle's cooling system
and pre-heat the engine to its normal operating
temperature of around 165 to 180 degrees F.
"With all newer equipment [that includes] a DPF
(diesel particulate filter) and diesel activation catalyst, the sooner you can get the engine pre-heated,
the less particulate matter or soot carbon is placed
into that DPF coming from the engine because the
engine is up to temperature more rapidly," says
Dan Erck, regional sales manager at Webasto, a
provider of OE and aftermarket vehicle heating and cooling
an installed Webasto
Air Top 2000 STC air
heater and Thermo Top
Evo coolant heater on a tractor. Both
heaters are designed to improve
uptime and reduce operating costs.
Image courtesy of Webasto
14 Fleet Maintenance | August 2020
"By pre-heating [the engine], you avoid cold
starts and reduce the particulate matter being
sent into the aftertreatment system," adds Marc
Kirsten, marketing brand specialist for Webasto.
"This extends the time between regenerations
and extends the life of the DPF, which allows the
truck to continue driving instead of coming in
Additionally, pre-heating the engine helps
relieve strain on the batteries by warming the
engine oil, allowing it to flow easier through the
gaskets and injectors.
There are several types of engine block heaters
for fleets to consider, says Ian Vriese, director of
global sales at Phillips & Temro Industries, a vehicle
heating, cooling, and electrical components provider. "Some engine heaters include thermostats that
measure the coolant temperature and regulate the
engine block heater by cycling on and off according
to the temperature range setting," he says.
Compressed air system
The compressed air system on a truck is another vital area to inspect prior to colder weather.
Keeping the air clean and dry becomes even
more important because as temperatures drop,
any moisture within the air system is susceptible
Moisture is typically present due to condensation from the air compressor being
mounted directly on or near the engine,
and it is the air dryer's responsibility to
remove the majority of moisture that
enters the air system before it reaches
the air tanks. If moisture makes it past
the air tanks, it can impact additional systems such as the transmission,
suspension, and braking systems.
To maintain the air dryer, replace the air
dryer's cartridge regularly and to inspect the
purge valve often to ensure it opens and closes appropriately, suggests Jason Kraus, product
manager for air brakes at Meritor, a supplier of
commercial vehicle brakes and components.
»Prior to winter is a good time to evaluate
what oil your fleet is using and whether it
makes sense to use a lower viscosity oil.
Photo courtesy of Shell Lubricants
"Technicians should be checking these
throughout the year, but it's a lot easier and less
messy if you do it before winter sludge gets all
over the vehicle," Kraus says. "As you get into
September, October, and November, there is a big
push to maintain air dryers, air dryer cartridges,
and purge valves to make sure they are functioning properly."
He also suggests checking for low spots in the
air system. A low spot will collect moisture, and
without a heating element nearby, that moisture
will freeze, Kraus says.
As for drivers, Krause advises they should drain
the air tanks as part of their pre-trip routine.
Drivers or technicians can do this manually by
pulling a cord or by checking the automated drain
valve. There are also a number of devices available
on the market that will automatically purge air
tanks. One example is Expello Air Products' Drain
Valves which expel contaminants with a blast of
air to get rid of moisture, dirt, oil, and rust.
Richard Nagel, director of marketing and
customer solutions - air supply and powertrain
at Bendix, also recommends checking the drain
valve. Bendix supplies air brake charging/control
systems and components for commercial vehicles.
"The easiest check for a technician is to perform
a drain valve test on the service [air] tanks to see
if water and oil exhausts from the drain valves,"
he says. "If there is an excessive blast of water
from the service tanks, the fleet should consider
changing the air dryer cartridge. A quick exhaust
of moisture in the service tanks using the drain
valve is a simple check during winter months."
Nagel also suggests checking the heaters inside
the air dryer to make sure they are operational,
as well as inspecting the air brake connections
and tubing connections to ensure the lines haven't
cracked or that there isn't excessive corrosion on
the fittings, which would lead to airline leaks.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance
Uptime: Wireless Data and the Future of Right to Repair
Editor's Note: Information Overload
Vehicles: Considerations for Winterizing Vehicles
In The Bay: Repair Information Resources to Help Drive Technician Productivity
Shop Operations: Extensive Service Networks to Improve Vehicle Uptime
Keeping Up with EGR Systems
The Lowdown on Grease
Management: Guard Against Mental Fallacies
Diagnostics: Scope Diagnostics Brings Heavy Duty Electrical Issues Into Focus
Training: ASE Entry-Level Certification
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Guest Editorial: Considerations When Upgrading Vehicles to Steerable Lift Axles
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime: Wireless Data and the Future of Right to Repair
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Editor's Note: Information Overload
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - Vehicles: Considerations for Winterizing Vehicles
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - In The Bay: Repair Information Resources to Help Drive Technician Productivity
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - 22
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - Shop Operations: Extensive Service Networks to Improve Vehicle Uptime
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - 26
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - Keeping Up with EGR Systems
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - The Lowdown on Grease
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - Management: Guard Against Mental Fallacies
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Diagnostics: Scope Diagnostics Brings Heavy Duty Electrical Issues Into Focus
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Training: ASE Entry-Level Certification
Fleet Maintenance - 37
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - 40
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - 42
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial: Considerations When Upgrading Vehicles to Steerable Lift Axles
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48