December is a month for making lists. I'm not talking about who's been naughty and nice. I mean writing down those get-’er-done items so you can finish this year (and start the next one) on the right note. Here’s where to start.Read More
Red Dot’s all-makes parts program means you can be a one-stop source for any mixed fleet of on- or off-highway vehicles. There's no better example than the Sanden FLX family of heavy-duty A/C compressors.
It’s expensive to stock every OE compressor configuration. With the FLX7, you can replace the majority of Sanden's OE compressors with just 15 models and five head adapters.
Each FLX7 comes standard with heavy-duty clutch bearings, a clutch diode, and a pressure relief valve. It has a pad style cylinder head ready to accept any of the six hose fittings, and the port fittings are low-profile and made from forged steel, promising better durability and lower weight than cast-iron fittings.
The FLX7 doesn’t just replace existing models, it makes it possible to create compressor configurations previously unavailable from Sanden. If you know a vehicle’s make, model, and year, you can create a replacement compressor from a Sanden FLX7—and consolidate hundreds of unique part numbers into less than 20.
Parker Hannifin has been such a big name in the heavy-duty A/C aftermarket that it’s hard to imagine the company not being part of it.
However, Parker has announced that it will no longer supply steel receiver driers effective March 31, 2015, and will stop taking orders completely on Dec. 31 of this year. Also, we’re anticipating a series of price increases from Parker this fall.
Because Parker driers have been prominent in our catalog, we want to tell you what we’re doing so you have access to OEM-quality all-makes alternatives.Read More
Before you pull the A/C compressor from a heavy-duty vehicle, take these steps to confirm that it really needs replacing:
1. Is the compressor rotation smooth?
With the vehicle off, turn the compressor shaft with a 14-mm socket. If you feel grinding or hanging as you rotate the shaft, it’s probably due to broken components within the compressor. If the rotation is smooth, move on to Step 2.
2. Is the coil getting more than 11.5 volts?
Take a reading with the engine running and the clutch engaged. If there’s insufficient voltage, get to work on that. Otherwise, move on to Step 3.
3. Is the coil resistance between 2.8 and 4.4 ohms?
Any resistance outside this range will prevent the clutch from engaging or will cause used circuits to open. If the answer is yes, continue to Step 4.
4. Is the compressor able to produce 350 psig or more?
If not, leave the compressor where it is. The system may have a low refrigerant charge because of a leak that needs repair, or a high-side blockage that limits refrigerant flow to the compressor.
At Red Dot, we see lots of compressors that are returned fully functional and therefore not warrantable. Get the diagnosis right. Perform a simple compressor function check before you pull the component from the vehicle.
Interstate Power Systems in Billings, Mont., is no stranger to specialty OE applications. But with SRS Crisafulli, there’s more to the term “off highway” than what’s on the surface. Based in Glendive, Mont., SRS Crisafulli builds industrial dredges for pumping sediment, sludge, slurries, hazardous waste, and other watery material.
“We were calling on Crisafulli for other business. Being a few hours up the road, we realized there was an opportunity to offer Red Dot units and to back them up with local support,” says Mike Ray, branch manager.
That was nearly 15 years ago. Today, Crisafulli design engineer Jordan Webb says a cab and A/C are must-haves for dredge operators.
“Dredging involves long hours in an exposed environment and frankly it’s not exciting work,” Jordan says. “At the same time, the operator is in charge of an expensive machine on a very expensive project. His comfort and alertness are important to keeping the machine running efficiently.”
SRS Crisafulli equips its cabs with Red Dot R-9777 rooftop units, and the low maintenance and high performance are in tune with the company’s sales message. At the factory, installation “is probably the easiest part of our manufacturing process,” Jordan says. “Interstate provides the unit and the mounts for the engine, we run a hose between them, and we’re done.”
Jordan says the Red Dot WD network is another benefit. Most Crisafulli customers are in the United States and Canada and want to know where to find parts and service. When they hear "Red Dot," they know there's a distributor network to help them with the parts they need.
“Red Dot units, coupled with local support, make a pretty appealing combination,” says Interstate's Mike Ray.
If you see an opportunity with a specialty OE, talk to your Red Dot Account Manager about how we can support your sales efforts. You never know what opportunities will bubble up.
Antifreeze has evolved along with heavy-duty diesel engine technology over the years, but you still need to dilute it with water at a 50/50 concentration. Simply topping off low coolant with straight water or pure antifreeze can degrade the freeze-point protection and lead to slushing, poor heat transfer, and engine damage.
For those of us in the A/C parts and service business, an improper mix also increases the risk of broken or leaky water valves. At low temperatures, liquid inside the valves will begin to ice up and damage the seals, causing them to leak.
Who cares, when it’s as cold as it’s been? You want water flowing through there and getting hot, right? Well, as temperatures warm up and you want that water valve to close, it might not turn off completely. If your drivers complain that they’re having trouble with their heater, you might need to add water valves to the work order—and remind folks about the need to maintain a 50/50 mix when they top off the coolant.
When it comes to driver comfort, two key selling points for any truck are space and visibility. But 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. 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," says Gary Hansen, vice-president of engineering at Red Dot Corp. in Seattle. Red Dot designs and builds original and aftermarket climate-control systems for commercial trucks and vehicles in other demanding environments.
He offers three HVAC system enhancements not to overlook.Read More
When I do A/C training sessions, I try to present in a way that I would have wanted when I was a technician. I remember what it was like to come off the shop floor and hear a manufacturer’s rep drone on about his product line rather than giving me the training to help me do my job better.
I vowed not to be that guy.
I’m a big believer in training that’s hands-on and highly focused, and as a result I lead a lot of on-site training for heavy-duty mechanics and maintenance managers. If you have a customer who would benefit from on-site HVAC training, here are three things you can do in advance to make those sessions more effective.Read More
Air conditioning is air conditioning. You’ve heard that before, and it’s basically true—whether you work on Corollas or Caterpillars, the same principles for removing heat from a vehicle cabin apply.
You can even say that a heavy-duty mobile A/C system is nothing more than an automotive system with bigger components.
Just be ready for Red Dot to answer back.
“They’re both mechanical vapor compression air conditioners, but that’s where the comparison ends,” says Gary Hansen, vice president and chief engineer at Red Dot Corporation, which manufactures HVAC units, components, and parts for heavy-duty vehicles and equipment cabs.Read More