Three ways to enhance sleeper cabs HVAC - Fleet Equipment Magazine

Three ways to enhance sleeper cabs HVAC

When it comes to driver comfort, two key selling points for any truck are space and visibility. Big interiors and lots of window glass add to the demands placed on another critical driver-comfort item—the HVAC system.

“Truck manufacturers work closely with climate-control system engineers to make sure the components, ducts, vents and controls are well suited to the vehicle’s interior and expected use,” says Gary Hansen, vice-president of engineering at Red Dot Corp. “However, there’s more to consider given today’s sophisticated HVAC systems. There are features that can improve the accuracy of temperature control and prevent premature failures of critical components.”

Hansen offers three HVAC system enhancements not to overlook:

1. Compressor protection

Compressors are the No. 1 warranty-cost item in an air-conditioning system. “If you can add a device that prevents a compressor failure, that investment will more than pay you back in reduced maintenance costs and downtime,” Hansen says. “Integrated system protection may be required if you want an extended warranty that covers HVAC system components. Consider a protection system that has built-in diagnostics and communicates with the SAE J1708 serial bus. This helps technicians efficiently troubleshoot problems.”

2. Automatic temperature control

ATC uses a computer and sensors to monitor temperatures and humidity levels inside and outside the vehicle, at duct outlets and at the evaporator. It can fine-tune the temperature inside the vehicle automatically, controlling which ducts the hot or cold air blows out of, as well as the fan speed and the position of the recirculation door.

Some ATC units have separate controls for the cab and sleeper area, but better systems allow the driver to control either system from a switch on the dash. “Watch out for low-cost systems,” Hansen advises. “They may lack the sensors or computing power to maintain a consistent temperature. And if you can have ATC in only one ‘zone’ inside the vehicle, it probably should be the sleeper. There’s nothing worse for the driver than a sleeper that’s an icebox or a sauna. ATC can maintain the temperature at a pre-set point.”

3. Filters

Fresh-air intake filters not only improve air quality for the driver, they trap dust, dirt and other airborne particles before they reach sensitive HVAC components. Most commercial trucks have one or more filters made of pleated paper, the same type of media you’d find on the air filter in an engine. Dirt and debris settle deep in the pleats and build up from there.

There are other options, however. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are made of high-density pleated paper and capture extremely small particles that might be harmful to people with allergies or asthma. Charcoal impregnated filters can help trap particles from cigarette smoke and neutralize the odor.
“Regardless of the filter spec,” Hansen notes, “always follow recommended inspection and replacement intervals. It’s work you can have bundled into regular service the next time the truck is in the shop.”

Red Dot Corp. is the manufacturer of original equipment and aftermarket climate-control systems for commercial vehicles, including ProTecht, which monitors refrigerant pressure and shuts down the system in case of refrigerant loss, excessive overcharge or a system malfunction.

You May Also Like

The 7 EV battery lessons we learned at ACT Expo

Battery experts weigh in on long-life vs. high-density, the residual value of older EVs, ethically sourcing EV battery materials and more.


For some fleets, adopting their first electric trucks might feel like taking a leap of faith simply because there are so many unknowns – many of which revolve around the true viability of the electric powertrain. What will the next generation of battery chemistries bring to trucking? Will the new electric truck you buy today hold its value better than a new diesel truck would five or 10 years down the road? How can we give higher consideration to ethics issues on the path to more sustainable operations?

Thermo King introduces the third-gen. TriPac Auxiliary Power Unit

The company says the third-generation TriPac APU is available in two different models to help customers meet emission regulations.

Western Global offers transportable, on-site refueling tank

The TransCube can be stacked up to three high when empty and two high when full.

Carrier Transicold debuts Supra eCool electric truck refrigeration unit series

The company notes that the Supra e9 and e11 units will provide comparable refrigeration performance to its diesel-powered predecessor.

The keys to properly securing unique cargo

With the wide range of cargo types, unique materials and geometric shapes and the significant mass of some loads, there is a lot to consider.


Other Posts

Cargo securement tips for International Roadcheck 2023

A brief educational triage to help you refresh your memory on proper cargo securement before International Roadcheck 2023.

Cummins, Accelera emphasize decarbonization, hydrogen at ACT Expo

The company showcased technologies including electrolyzers to produce hydrogen that can power both a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine concept truck and a fuel cell electric powertrain.

Hyliion unveils Karno electric range extender powertrain at ACT Expo

The Karno technology is a linear motor heat generator that leverages 3D metal-printed components and proprietary flameless oxidation technology to produce clean electricity.

Dana introduces Spicer Electrified e-Transmissions for commercial vehicles

Dana says the powertrain accommodates a diverse range of medium-duty applications, such as straight trucks, walk-in vans, refuse trucks, utility trucks and platform trucks.