Article

How to Select & Specify Service Bodes

July 2008, Work Truck - Feature

by Joe Bohn - Also by this author

 Acquisition cost is often a primary driver in the selection of work truck chassis, their associated service bodies, and equipment.

At the same time, many fleets also desire to avoid DOT regulations by operating under 10,001-lb. GVW trucks. This has led to overloading vehicles or buying smaller sizes, such as a Ford F-350 Super Duty, rather than the F-450 the fleet really needs to do the job.

And now, with the rapid rise in fuel prices, fleets are also looking to downsize with smaller trucks and smaller bodies.

These factors can result in developing a body that doesn’t meet the specific requirements of the driver using the truck.

As Bob Johnson, director of fleet relations for the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), points out, "If the unit isn’t optimized for its intended application, its lifecycle cost will usually be higher than a properly designed, or spec’d unit."

Dave Decker, manager of truck engineering for fleet management company Wheels Inc. adds, "Usually, if you cut corners and take something generic, when you need custom work, it ends up costing you more in the long run."

For the safety and convenience of drivers and to make the job more productive, the majority of Wheels’ customers, for example, use customized service bodies, according to Decker.

Overall, service bodies typically require some degree of upfitting to adapt them for their intended application.

And, ultimately, coming up with the optimum selection and specification requires considerable forethought.

 Select the Body First

Spec’ing experts, including Dave Duford, specifications engineer with Mt. Laurel, N.J.-based fleet management company Automotive Resources International (ARI), typically recommend selecting the service body before choosing the chassis.

"The body is the tool portion of the truck," said Duford. "How that’s going to be used, along with considerations such as compartment and shelving placement, will tell you what type of chassis to pick."

Conversely, if the chassis is selected first, there’s a risk that it, or some part of it, may not fit the body.

Differences in the fuel tank placement of some Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge chassis, for example, could interfere with a fleet’s desired placement of the body shelving and ultimately prevent use of a preferred chassis supplier, for example.

Again, putting an underbody compressor on a medium service vehicle, for example, may also pose problems with certain exhaust systems.

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

FleetFAQ

Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All

 

Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

View All

 

Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All

 

Recent Topics

Is a bachelor's degree truly necessary in order to become a fleet manager, or does achieving certification as a CAFM or equivalent carry...

View Topic

Hello to all the members I am checking to see if anyone is using a company for GPS/AVL called Fleet Complete (AT&T)? I would like to...

View Topic

Fleet Documents

1134 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Sponsored by

Union Leasing serves a broad range of small- to mid-size fleets in commercial, industrial and rental car industries.

Read more

Blog

FleetSpeak

Thi Dao
When Are Policies Too Strict?

By Thi Dao
Before writing a policy that will last for years, determine whether it’s the best one. Would a typical employee follow the policy?

What Your Vehicles Say About Your Fleet

By Thi Dao

Managing a Police Fleet

How Chevrolet's Tahoe PPV Differs From its Retail Relative

By Michaela Kwoka-Coleman
For the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV, tires are added to the vehicles that are capable of handling speeds of up to 134 mph and the brakes are adjusted to handle frequent stopping at high speeds.

Police Vehicles Pushed to the Limit in California

By Paul Clinton

Next-Gen Fleet

Facundo Tassara
Vehicle-to-What? — Evolving Vehicle Communication Technologies

By Facundo Tassara
Can vehicle collisions be avoided with vehicle-to-infrastructure or vehicle-to-vehicle technology? Several of the major OEMs think so and are spending billions of dollars a year working on the technology.

Streets of the Future Could Take Automatic Tire Readings

By Facundo Tassara

Driving Notes

Paul Clinton
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

By Paul Clinton
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a significantly upgraded van that offers a dizzying array of configurations and meaningful improvements designed to improve productivity for delivering packages or hauling passengers.

2018 Ford EcoSport

By Mike Antich

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
Remembering Sundays in St. Louis, Detroit, and Atlantic City

By Sherb Brown
There is just no better opportunity to network, to learn, and to mingle with the best and the brightest than an in-person fleet event.

Adapting to a Changing Tide

By Sherb Brown

STORE