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  1. Bob we really had to think if this should be considered a Tower Down or a Line of Duty. We went with Tower Down as this is a Hazard that as drivers we face every day. So it could have gone either way and the loss of one life is two many. Two is far to many, our Thoughts and Prayers go out to Family, Co Workers and Friends.
  2. With the exit of AWDirect from the Towing Information Network after more than 14 years as a Tow411 Sponsor. I needed to find another “Major Sponsor” to support our network. While attending the NTEA Work Truck Show last week it just happened a “Well Known Company” offered to add their support and participation as a Platinum Sponsor on the New Force in the Industry. They had only one requirement and that was, we must double our membership within 120 days. At that time we had just reached a goal of more than 3000 members in 15 months. The next goal was set at 6000 members by the end of 2019. To do this in 4 months is nearly impossible as it will take 25 new members each day. This “Well Known Company” set the bar high, but that is nothing for an Industry that in general sets the bar high every day. If your not already a TowForce.net member will you register today and get us closer to this nearly impossible goal. Is it possible, yes however it would take everyone that watches this message board to join. You can join using various methods, there is no cost to join. DAY 1 - 58 New Members - Day 2 - 41 New Members - Day 3 - 20 New Members - Day 4 - 7 New Members - Day 5 - 6 New Members - Day 6 - 7 New Members - Day 7 - 2 New Members - Day 8 - 7 New Members - Day 9 - 7 New Members - DAY 10 - 4 New Members - Day 11 - 11 New Members - Day 12 - 5 New Members - Day 13 - 7 New Members - Day 14 - 10 New Members - Day 15 - 6 New Members - Day 16 - 8 New Members - Day 17 - 5 New Members - Day 18 - 5 New Members - Day 19 - 4 New Members - Day 20 - 7 New Members - Day 21 - 9 New Members - Day 22 - 5 New Members - Day 23 - 0 New Members - Day 24 - 17 New Members - Day 25 - 3 New Members - Day 26 - 2 New Members - Day 27 - 2 New Members - Day 28 - 4 New Members - Day 29 - 16 New Members - Day 30 - 3 New Members - Day 31 - 6 New Members - Day 32 - 13 New Members - Day 33 - 4 New Members - Day 34 - 5 New Members - Day 35 - 6 New Members - Day 36 - 5 New Members - Day 37 - 2 New Members - Day 38 - 5 New Members - Day 39 - 7 New Members - Day 40 - 27 New Members - Day 41 - 4 New Members - Day 42 - 0 New Members - Day 43 - 4 New Members - Day 42 - 1 New Member - Day 43 - 3 New Members - Day 44 - 15 New Members - Day 45 - 1 New Member - Day 46 - 6 New Members - Day 47 - 3 New Members - Day 48 - 4 New Members - Day 49 - 2 New Members - Day 50 - 2 New Members - 410 Current Count 3386 Members Average 8.2 a day - Short 17 Members a day.
  3. Note: these roll calls are an important element to our community. They determine membership status when a purge is conducted. These are generally done on a semi annual basis around June and December. Our numbers have never been greater than 8000 due to this purge. We deal is realistic numbers by verifying valid member information. If a member has not been active for more than more than 18 months then they will be purged. Thanks
  4. VALLEJO (KRON) - James Morris, the tow truck driver who was killed as he was helping a stranded motorist in Sausalito during last week's storm, was laid to rest Thursday. Hundreds attended the service in Vallejo to remember the man well known in the industry and who also co-owned Wilers Towing in Vallejo. Friends say he had been safely towing cars for 20 years. According to the Marin County Sheriff, Morris was helping a motorist on the right-hand shoulder of southbound Hwy 101 north of Spencer Avenue near the Robin William's Tunnel on Feb. 27 when an unknown approaching car lost control on the wet roadway, spun out, and collided with the parked tow truck. The car also collided into Morris, who was out of the truck helping the motorist. Morris leaves behind his high school sweetheart wife of 18 years, two daughters, a sister, mother, and father. RESOURCE LINK with video
  5. Trackers are essential to a professional and productive fleet. However, the new toy is often abused in the beginning causing mirco management. The technology is a data tool, not a babysitter, if the operator of that unit needs a babysitter then you have the wrong driver behind the wheel. In the beginning generally managers and some owners used it as a spy and created stress which lead to damages. Today, the technology has become common and it seems the new has worn off. The data is far more important to the incidents then the incidents to the data. Reduce the stress and do not micro manage using the technology.
  6. Randy the department that were forced to leave them had no other option. Every local tow company refused to take them after the number of stolen vehicles became a burden on them. Every tow company stood together as one went to the mayor and said NO, We are no longer going be force to work for free. These tows cost us money and now we are the victims! I could list all the expenses involved in that one tow, but we all know what they are. Some tow companies just look the other way, kinda like store theft. Wonder how many companies are so well compensated on the regular contract tows that they can afford to tow stolen vehicles, investigations, police vehicles, etc. for no charge? I have not found but one company that could say they could justify the contract because of the rates they were able to charge. Thus shifting the expense...
  7. Wow, this is going slow, we are now 6 away from goal. I really thought we would have attain the 3000 member mark by now.
  8. Transferring the victim status to the tow company is not a solution. Suggesting those who have their vehicle stolen being victimized twice is something that came up a decade ago at the Conference of the Mayors. It was driven by citizens that did not have the proper insurance coverage to cover the cost of the vehicle being towed, stored and secured from further damage. Problem is these Mayors seeing an opportunity to gain votes went back and either attempted to implement the program or did implement it. Some forced the tow company in their contract to conduct these tows at no charge for a specific number of days. Others paid out a minimal recover cost. I believe that ended quickly when those communities realized how much it was costing them. I had thought the auto theft victim identity had gone away until I read this story. I have heard some communities are now contacting the vehicle owner telling them where they can find their car and leaving the scene because they are unable to find a tow company willing to tow it for free. Besides today a very small faction of stolen vehicles were taken without the keys. The vast majority had the keys either left in them or given to the person in exchange for narcotics. Either way that person is a victim of their own carelessness.
  9. Randy, for the same reasons a Tow Carrier Operator does a full 4 point tie down on the side of the road. Rather then load the vehicle enough to get it to a safe location then complete the proper tie down. It could be the next ramp, exit, pull off etc. And just because there is a vehicle blocking traffic doesn't give just cause to take extra time. Their safety is at risk as well.
  10. Just 8 more before midnight and we only missed the goal by one day. I would say that is great, if your reading this and you are not a registered member you can can help us reach our goal and set another one. Tow411 was Great many times, but TowForce can be Greater. It's here and best of all it's easy to find specific content in forums.
  11. The medium duty eM2 is being designed for local distribution, pickup and delivery, and last-mile logistics applications. At the 2019 Work Truck Show, Freightliner will exhibit a wide range of its vocational vehicles and powertrain options in booth #4659. Visitors to the booth can also explore the new battery-electric Freightliner eM2 truck. Part of Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) e-mobility initiative, the medium duty eM2 is being designed for local distribution, pickup and delivery, and last-mile logistics applications. The first eM2 was recently delivered to Penske Truck Leasing for real-world testing as part of the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet, reflecting DTNA’s co-creation approach with customers to co-develop technology that shapes the future of transportation. The Innovation Fleet is developed in partnership with Penske Truck Leasing and NFI, and is partially funded by a $16M grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Series production of the eM2 begins in 2021. This year, Freightliner is a Platinum sponsor of the Green Truck Summit, which focuses on clean energy trends and initiatives for commercial vehicles. Freightliner has been a sponsor of the Green Truck Summit since 2012. “DTNA is investing heavily in the development of practical and sustainable electric vehicles to support our customers and the environment,” said Kelly Gedert, director of product marketing for Freightliner and Detroit. “We are committed to providing value to our customers’ businesses in a world of constantly evolving challenges, which is why we continue to develop our product portfolio to positively impact their business needs.” In addition to the eM2, several of Freightliner’s vocational truck models will be on display in the booth, including the Freightliner 114SD, which can now be spec’d with the lightweight Cummins X12 engine. Other Freightliner work trucks – such as the 108SD and the M2 106 – will be upfitted with a range of bodies that demonstrate different customization options. Vehicle Service Pros RESOURCE LINK
  12. 11 more members and we are at that 3000 member goal.
  13. A common question we receive is how to change the direction of rotation on the Ramsey planetary gear winches. First, one needs to determine the intended direction of rotation from the manufacturer. The end bearing on the clutch end has either a letter ‘A’ or ‘B’ is stamped in it. An ‘A’ rotation is for overwind winches while a ‘B’ rotation is for underwind winches. The Ramsey HD-P series and RPH series planetary gear winches have different methods of changing the rotation. While turning the winch 180 degrees and inserting the winch line on the opposite direction on the drum seems like easy method. It often cannot be done due to the location of the hydraulic lines. Ramsey has provided the following options. For the newer HD-P series simply reverse the position of the cartridge and plug. The older RPH series do not have cartridges. Ramsey uses a combination of cam plates and counter-balance valves to change the rotation. A specific cam plate and valve combination is needed for the ‘A’ rotation and another combination for the ‘B’ rotation. It does require dis-assembly of the winch in order to change the cam plate and valves. Ramsey does not provide instruction on how to change these components so a Ramsey Service Center should be used.
  14. OSHA references protective footwear in it’s Personal Protective Equipment standard (29 CFR 1910.132). It requires a hazard assessment, the selection of the proper equipment, training and addresses the payment of personal protective equipment. The Foot Protection requirements (29 CFR 1910.136) are quite simple and state protective footwear must be made to meet the requirements of ASTM F-2412-2005, Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection, and ASTM F-2413-2005, Standard Specifications for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear. While many of us grab the coffee at the mention of regulations, the actual specifications of what a pair of protective shoes are designed to withstand is pretty straight-forward. An example of what would be found on a pair of protective shoes is below. ASTMF2413-11 M I/75/C75/Mt75 PR ASTM F2413-11 identifies the standard the protective shoes meet. ASTM F2413 issued in 2011. The first letter is the gender of the wearer (M) male or (F) female. I/75 is the impact resistance of 75 foot-pounds. C/75 is the compression resistance rating of 75 which corresponds to 2500lbs of compression. Mt75 is the metatarsal with a rating of 75 foot-pounds. PR references Puncture Resistance. Other categories would be Conductive (Cd), Electrical Hazards Resistance (EH) or Static Dissipative (SD)
  15. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is a US-based organization of engineers and technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries that develop voluntary consensus standards. They include the design, testing and performance requirements for specific products. These standards can also be adopted by federal and state agencies in their rulemaking. The warning lights tow operators use are based on several SAE standards. Below are the most applicable standards that apply to warning lighting. SAE J595 Directional Flashing Optical Warning Devices for Authorized Emergency, Maintenance and Service Vehicles. It covers any directional, single color or flashing warning lights and intended for land vehicles such as surface or grommet mount warning lights. The standard defines how bright the lights need to be, minimum flash rates at hot and cold temperatures and the minimum lifespan of the lights. The standard also provide the test methods for manufacturers to follow. SAE J845 Optical Warning Devices for Authorized Emergency, Maintenance and Service Vehicles. It covers any omnidirectional and selective coverage optical warning lights such as lightbars or beacon lights. The standard defines how bright the lights need to be, minimum flash rates at hot and cold temperatures and the minimum lifespan of the lights. The standard also provide the test methods for manufacturers to follow. SAE J1318 Gaseous Discharge Warning Lamp for Authorized Emergency, Maintenance and Service Vehicles. It covers strobe based products. This has actually been replaced by J595 as the use of strobe tubes has greatly declined. For each of the above standards there are photometric Classes that specify the types of usage. Class 1: Requests Right of Way: Minimum primary warning devices for use on authorized emergency vehicles responding to emergency situations. These are the brightest lights available and can be used on vehicle such as police, fire trucks and ambulances. Class 2: Warns of Hazard: Minimum primary warning devices for use on authorized maintenance and service vehicles. These are roughly 25% the intensity of a Class 1 light and examples are tow trucks or utility vehicles. Class 3: Non-Highway Vehicles: Minimum primary warning devices for use on vehicles authorized to display flashing warning lights for identification. These are roughly 10% the intensity of a Class 1 light and examples are privately owned snowplows or fork trucks. Secondary-Supplemental Warning: Warning devices of lower intensity that can be used to provide additional warning signal to supplement the primary warning device. The State of California has their own lighting standards and are referred to as California Title 13. They are located in California’s Administrative Code under Title 13, Division 2, Chapter 2 Lighting Equipment.
  16. We all have experienced road service calls where someone simply runs out of gas. The choice of which container the operator uses to bring fuel, safety can or gas can, is actually not so simple. I’ll summarize the difference between the two types of containers and the regulations that pertain to them. Safety Container: Is approved by a third party such as UL or FM, of not more than 5-gallons capacity, having a flash-arresting screen, a spring closing lid and spout cover and so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subject to fire exposure per OSHA 29 CFR 1926.155(l). It’s design is intended to prevent the can from exploding by use of a venting lid and flash arrestor. They are required when used by any business or commercial enterprise. Portable Fuel Container: Is any reusable container designed and marketed for use by consumers for receiving, transporting, storing and dispensing gasoline, diesel fuel or kerosene. All utility jugs that are red, yellow or blue in color are deemed to be portable fuel containers regardless of how they are labeled. EPA 40 CFR 59.680. This containers design is intended to control evaporative emissions and reduce spillage. These are often referred to as CARB (California Air Resource Board) compliant containers. Models are also designed with child resistant features to meet the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act. They are generally intended for consumer use. While these containers can be used for storing or transferring fuel, the real key for our industry is whether they can be used for transporting fuel on our commercial road service vehicles. The short answer is... it depends on the container! This leads to the third type of container. DOT Compliant Container: Need to meet the Performance Oriented Packaging requirements of the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations. For instance, a standard safety container does not meet the requirements for transport. However, there are Safety Transport Containers that have a hold-down bracket for the lid and guards to protect the spout assembly which do. Some portable fuel containers have DOT caps that replace the spout assembly during transport to make them compliant. Jerricans with screw-in caps that replace the spout assembly can also meet DOT requirements.
  17. A fire extinguisher is the first line of defense against fires in our shops as well as on the road. Extinguishers are grouped by the type of fires they can extinguish as well as their capacity. Extinguishers can be for a single or multiple classifications. Below are the various fire classes. Class A: Wood, paper, cloth, trash or ordinary combustibles. Class B: Gasoline, oil, paint or other flammable liquids Class 😄 Electrical fires Class 😧 Combustible metals and alloys Class K: Cooking oils such as vegetable or animal oils. The size of fire an extinguisher can extinguish is determined by the UL rating. For instance, AW Direct p/n QR12, 5lb dry chemical extinguisher, has a rating of 2A:10B:C. The A rating relates to the amount of water the dry chemical is equivalent too. Each A unit is equivalent to 1-1/4 gallons of water. So a 2A rating is the same as 2-1/2 gallons of water on a Class A fire. The B:C rating relates to the square footage the extinguisher can cover in a Class B fire. The 10B:C rating in our example will cover 10 square feet. The C rating for electrical fires simply relates to the non-conductive nature of the extinguishing agent. Fire extinguishers do need to be visually inspected monthly and the cylinder needs periodic hydro-static testing depending on the type of extinguisher. A dry chemical extinguisher with an aluminum or brass cylinder needs to be tested every 12 years while a carbon dioxide extinguisher needs to be tested every 5 years. Always follow the manufacturer instructions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the DOT requires any truck transporting a placard-able hazardous material to have a minimum UL rating of 10B:C extinguisher. Trucks that do not transport hazardous materials can use either a single 5B:C or two 4B:C extinguishers. The extinguisher must be readily available and securely mounted to prevent sliding or rolling. The extinguishing agent used must not need protection from freezing such a dry chemical extinguisher. Verify local regulations that may be more stringent than federal regulations.
  18. The snatch block is a common tool for nearly every operator. But how many of us know the manufacturer’s recommended use, maintenance and inspection instructions? Below are the highlights for the Gunnebo-Johnson snatch blocks: Stay within the safe working limits of the block regardless of the strength of the wire rope being used. The working limits apply to loads in uniform direct tension and not shock loads. Working limits apply to new products as they are shipped from the factory. The age, type of service and environmental conditions can affect the capacity of a snatch block over time. Standard blocks are not designed to be immersed in either fresh or salt water. Snatch blocks are designed to be lubricated with either a sodium or lithium based grease. Bronze bushed blocks and sheaves need to be lubricated every 8 hours of continuous usage or at least every 14 days with intermittent use. Roller bearing blocks and sheaves can go 24 hours of continuous use before needing grease and the same 14 days with intermittent use. Swivels follow the roller bearing lubrication schedule. Wear is a fact of life and will eventually affect the load the snatch block is able to carry so regular and frequent inspection is needed. Permanent deformation of any part is a clear indication of overload and must be taken out of service and replaced. Swivel end play of more than 1/16” is a danger sign and must be removed from service immediately. Spreading side plates are caused by overload and must be removed for repair. Looseness in the side plates are a sign of loose retaining nuts. Sheave alignment issues such as wobbly sheaves are caused by bearing wear. Sheave groove wear are ridges in the sheave caused by rope wear. These can prematurely reduce wire rope life and the sheave should be replaced. Hook latches are designed to hold loose rigging under slack conditions. Any damaged latches should be replaced. Hook deformation with a crack, gouge or distortion needs to be removed from service immediately.
  19. Wireless tow lights make our life on the road a bit easier. Plug in the transmitter, place the tow light magnetic base on the casualty, flip the power switch and you’re ready to go. Quick and easy and reliable. So what happens after a season of tows when you unload the tow lights, flip the switch and there is no lights? Here’s some troubleshooting tips for the Towmate wireless tow lights. They can be broken down into two categories: power issues and communication issues. Power issues are the most common. They consist of the light not coming on at all, is dim or does not hold a charge. If the light does not turn on by itself, plug the charge cord into the tow light. If the light comes on fully, the battery just needs to be replaced. Battery life is 1-2 years depending on usage. If the light does not come on, check the fuse in the charge cord to be sure it’s intact. If it’s blown, replace and try putting power to the tow lights again. If the fuse is okay next use a volt meter to check the output of the charge cord. If there is no output voltage, the charge cord needs to be replaced. If the charge cord is supplying voltage please see the next step. So if the charge cord is supplying voltage and the tow light will not power on fully the next step is testing the switch. Jump the switch with another wire, if the unit comes on fully when the switch is bypassed, the switch needs to be replaced. If the lightbar does not power up with the switch bypassed please see the next step. The last remaining tests to determine the problem is isolate the charging port or the battery. Open the lightbar from the right side (opposite of the switch) to remove the battery. Disconnect one of the battery leads, connect the charge cord and power it up. If the lightbar comes on bright, the battery needs to be replaced. If the unit does not power up the charging port is the issue. Communication issues are when the transmitter is not sending the signal to the receiver in the lightbar. If the tow light is not responding or only one side is responding it may be a grounding issue. Spread the pins on the truck to make sure they are making good contact. If the turn signals respond opposite to what is activated in the truck, the wiring in the transmitter is opposite of that in the truck. Open the transmitter by removing the set-screw at the base and pull the end out. Switch the yellow (left turn) and green (right turn) wire and re-assemble. If the transmitter and tow light communicate when in close proximity but not when the lightbar is at the end of the load the electronics have likely failed. Contact Towmate directly for warranty service.
  20. Routine maintenance is a necessary activity to keep an operator’s tow vehicle in top condition. We all try to keep our trucks clean, change the oil in the truck, maintain tire pressure, etc., but with a business to run how many of us take the time to service one of the most important components, the hydraulic winch. Each winch manufacturer has its own preventative maintenance schedule so it’s important to consult your owner’s manual. Schedules can vary quite a bit between brands. For instance, Warn’s schedule is quite simple. Semi-annually or after each 25 hours of use the following items need to be inspected: Verify mounting bolts are still at the proper torque and have no damage, plus hydraulic connections must be tight and free of corrosion. Periodically clean and grease brake assembly as well as keep winch free of dirt, oil and water. Before each use visually check wire rope for damage such as cuts, fraying, broken strands, knots or mashed and if found replace the wire rope. Ramsey breaks its preventative maintenance schedule into weekly, monthly and annual checks. The weekly inspection includes checking the oil level, refilling if needed, and repairing the source of the leak. Make sure the pressure relief plug is operating. Lubricate the wire rope. Monthly maintenance includes lubricating the grease fittings in the drum, end bearing and clutch linkages. Inspect the sliding clutch action so it’s fully engaged and the jaws are not worn. Make sure all grade 5 winch mounting bolts are present, properly tightened and not damaged. Check torque setting of oil cooled worm brake. Inspect the wire rope and if damaged, replace. Annual maintenance includes draining the winch oil, flushing with kerosene and re-filling with EP 140 gear oil. Inspecting the winch frame and surrounding structure for cracks or deformation. Rocking the drum back and forth will help to estimate gear wear. Following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule will keep your winch in top condition and help prevent breakdowns on the road.
  21. Keeping our wreckers clean and professional looking is part of maintaining our businesses reputation. However, the cleaning methods used will vary depending on the components used on our wreckers. For instance, lightbar lenses have specific cleaning requirements based on the manufacturer. Below are excerpts from the owner’s manuals of several of our lightbar manufacturers. · Whelen: Use only soap and water to clean the outer lenses. Use of other chemicals could result in premature lens cracking (crazing) and discoloration. Lenses in this condition have significantly reduced effectiveness and should be replaced immediately. Inspect and operate this product regularly to confirm its proper operation and mounting. Do not use a pressure washer to clean this product. · PSE Amber: Use plain water and a soft cloth, or Code 3® lens polish and a very soft paper towel or facial tissue. Because plastic scratches easily, cleaning is recommended only when necessary (about every six months). Do not subject the lenses to car washes that use brushes, as these will scratch the lenses. · Federal Signal: Crazing (cracking) of the lenses will cause reduced effectiveness of the light. Do not use cleaning agents (which will cause crazing) such as strong detergents, solvents, or petroleum products. If crazing of lenses does occur, reliability of the light for emergency signaling purposes may be reduced until the lenses are replaced. Ordinary cleaning of the plastic lenses can be accomplished by using mild soap and a soft rag. Should fine scratches or haze appear on a lens, they can ordinarily be removed with non-abrasive, high-quality, one-step automotive paste cleaner/wax and a soft cloth.
  22. There are generally four types of mounting systems available. Stud Mount or Slide Bolt Mount: Consists of a bolt with a wide head similar to a carriage bolt or a bolt placed through a flat steel plate that slides in a channel at the bottom of the lightbar. This mount is intended for mounting on flat surfaces such as a cab rack that can be drilled and fastened into place by tightening a bolt. Foot Mount: A metal or plastic foot is attached to either end of the lightbar to raise the height of the lightbar above the surface to be mounted. It is useful on surfaces that are curved or sloped such as a cab of a truck. Each foot has holes which require drilling into the mounting surface and using fasteners to attach. Strap Mount: A similar design to the foot mount except instead of drilling directly below into the mounting surface it uses a strap that is attached by sheet metal screw in the vehicle door jam or tightened on a roof gutter rail. The straps are molded to the shape of the roofline of specific make and models of vehicles. This method minimizes the chance of future water leaks into the cab. Magnetic Mount or Magnetic/Suction Cup Mount: This mounting method is used on mini-lightbars or beacon lights as a temporary mount. They are designed for use on a flat, clean, steel surface and recommended for stationary use only. If left on a vehicle rain will cause the magnets to rust and potentially staining the rooftop. Dirt or highly waxed surfaces reduce the holding power of the magnets and can scratch the paint. They are not suitable for vinyl covered roofs.
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