Armchair Research

Nov. 1, 2001
AS THE ECONOMY SLIDES, more carriers may be saving money by holding onto equipment for longer periods of time. As a result, the need for aftermarket parts

AS THE ECONOMY SLIDES, more carriers may be saving money by holding onto equipment for longer periods of time. As a result, the need for aftermarket parts and other products may be more crucial than when companies were replacing tractors and trailers more frequently. The Internet is a good way to research product information, application, and specifications without having to leave the office.

Below are samples of suppliers with more than just brochure ware on their Web sites. They also make it easy to contact the company to place orders or to gather more information. Some provide ordering services via the site while others have e-mail contact that will quickly deliver requests.

Whether you're searching for the latest technology in wheel ends, or spec'ing a fifthwheel, the information can be found at the Web site of ConMet, Portland, Oregon.

“Our technical bulletins, service manuals, and brochures can be accessed from the Internet and downloaded in minutes,” says Larry Sanford, national sales manager.

Detailed images and descriptions are included on the TaperLoc slider, part of ConMet's Simplex Fifth Wheels. In addition to information regarding the mounting system for the fifthwheel, users can access magnified views of the various slide rail features, such as the tapered lockpin that moves deeper into the lock pocket as the slide rails wear, virtually eliminating slack.

Other site highlights include step-by-step technical procedures to the coupling and uncoupling of an air ride or non-air ride suspension. A comparison chart of ConMet PreSet wheel ends assists the user in understanding compatibility with brake components and installation requirements. Aluminum hubs and PreSet wheel ends can be specified using an online interactive selection guide. The user identifies the axle configuration, axle type, and applications. The interactive guide identifies the product that will meet the user's needs.

Also available are downloadable brochures, manuals, and bulletins for the complete line of ConMet products.

Littlejohn Inc, Spartanburg, South Carolina, has updated its Web site for its parts supply, warehousing, and distribution business. Information on the site can be accessed through several categories, including product listing, new products, and catalog request.

Clicking on one item in a component list brings up the part number, a description of the product, and a photograph. Parts photographs are available. Clicking on one of the photographs will bring up specifications. Engineering drawings with parts dimensional data also are posted.

The new product section is used to showcase the latest in the industry. Whether it be an addition to the company's product line, or a new innovative component for the customer's equipment, Littlejohn strives to show it first.

An in-depth calendar of industry association meetings and links to industry sites provide more information.

Ordering a catalog is easy by just filling out the form and forwarding it via e-mail.

Looking for quarter fenders, tandem fenders, brackets, and/or deck plates? Then spend more time at the Life-Time Fenders LLC site. The Canfield, Ohio, company provides photographs and diagrams of its stainless steel, galvanized, and aluminum products.

The What's New button leads to the latest products the company is featuring.

A catalog is available through e-mail, but orders can also be made via the site with a purchase order number.

Pro-Tech, Vancouver, Washington, offers tractor-trailer accessories that include cabguards, aluminum and steel tool boxes, fenders, and accessories.

A click on any of the product categories, and a photograph, description, and specifications appear.

The button for fender specifications leads to pages that help the customer calculate the needed size. Standard dimensions are shown on the right. For custom applications, the customer can substitute desired dimensions.

Spray Control Systems Inc, Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, features the Minimizer fender and its related products. On this site you can find plastic truck fenders, trailer fenders, and Super Flaps.

The index provides a way to what's new, dealer list, products, accessories, customizing, maintenance, and warranty.

Spray Control systems categorizes its fender sets. Within each site page are brackets available for the set.

Clicking on one of the product names leads to a page that describes the product in depth, including a discussion of applications.

Cummins Inc, Columbus, Indiana, has a new look for its Web site, including access to engine service and maintenance manuals, as well as parts catalogs. The site offers an assortment of easy-to-read manuals presented in picture-driven formats.

The new site layout targets all consumer levels, including end users, dealers, distributors, and employees. The site offers personalized service and is regularly updated with new products, additional promotions, and discounts.

The site also features an extensive line of Cummins gear, including hats, T-shirts, golf shirts, jackets, umbrellas, badging, and novelty items.

On the AMOT Controls Corp Web page, a catalog and an interactive CD-ROM for various engine speed sensors are available with an e-mail request. However, all of the Richmond, California, company's literature is posted on its Web site.

To find the product, search by the product category or by the model number. If you are looking for a user manual, a click leads to that information.

Product application, description, specifications, and drawings are provided for each item.

The maker of Jake Brake engine retarders, Jacobs Vehicle Systems, Bloomfield, Connecticut, provides information about its products, including how the product works and the service that is available.

A question-and-answer section and a list of quick facts adds more information. For example, the quick facts page offers general information, application data, engine brake theory, and engine brake troubleshooting.

If the answer can't be found on the Web site, an e-mail feedback form can be used to get the information from the company experts.

About the Author

Mary Davis