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On the Road

The big secret for spec’ing a vocational truck chassis

David Sickels is the Senior Editor of Fleet Equipment. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

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Don’t think just because you’ve spec’d a chassis for an application in the past that the same configuration will continue to work tried and true.

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Here is a transcript of the video:

Acting as the foundation of the truck, one the first components to consider is the chassis when spec’ing a vocational truck from scratch. The rest of the truck is literally riding on getting this step right, and fleet managers have minute details to consider that could have a big impact.

It’s no simple task. The basics start with understanding the intended application of the truck and its usage, including if you intend to tow a trailer. You need to be aware of local laws and regulations for the type of vehicle, especially bridge laws in your operating area. And, you have to consider whether the vehicle will be used on road, off road or both, because if the application includes off road usage, you may need to consider all-wheel drive.

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With that basic list out of the way, you can move on to considerations like the axle weight rating, which will change depending upon the size of the vehicle and its intended load. The axle requirements between a little dump truck and a big dump truck are vast, after all. Like, if the overall weight capacity is significant, you might want to consider lift axles.

And, keep in mind, chassis components scale with the size of the vehicle. The bigger the truck, typically the larger the required chassis and powertrain components to do the job.

So, what’s the secret for spec’ing the right vocational truck chassis? It’s putting your dealer of choice on speed dial.

There are a lot of moving parts, in some cases literally, and in some cases chassis choices will affect every choice you’ve made so far in the process. So, work with your dealer, because they’ll have experts on staff who have been through this before.

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Even if you have done this before, if you’ve spec’d a chassis for a certain application before and now you’re doing it again, don’t assume that same configuration is going to continue to work tried and true. Truck designs are always evolving, and it’s a good idea to make sure that the new spec will be fine-tuned to maximize payload, rather than just making sure the body will fit on the back.

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