Other presenters painted an equally grim picture. Mac Whittemore, Midwest regional manager of customer service for ArvinMeritor, echoed the warning of Bob Gaylen, saying, “The more rust you have, the more you get.”
Whittemore said that the newer chemicals used to prevent the buildup of snow and ice on roads and highways form a finer mist than that formed by rock salt. Because of this, corrosive agents can penetrate deeper into porous metal surfaces than ever before. Furthermore, some states mix the de-icing products with adhesives so they stick to the roads better, so of course they stick to your trucks better as well. And if you think high-pressure washing is the answer, Whittemore points out that that pressure spray can just blast the bad chemicals even deeper into components.
Whittemore described one new aftermarket solution for brake shoes, a patented process of applying a membrane between a new shoe table and the lining material. “Obviously, a higher cost per shoe is charged,” he explained. “However, once the membrane sets up from being in service it becomes nearly impossible to remove the block from the shoe table for remanufacturing. The shoes can be heated in a furnace and melted off but the costs are all over the map. Is it worth the cost? What will fleets accept?”
Finally, Dale Overton, field engineer for Henderson, KY-based Accuride Corporation, warned that steel wheels will always be at risk because of the ever-present danger of rock chips. Currently, the best corrosion protection for steel wheels, he said, is powder coating. The truck’s application, and the environment in which it operates, play a significant role in determining the effectiveness of powder coating, however. Overton also warned against inferior aftermarket coatings, and improper refinishing, but held out hope that the S.2 Study Group will be targeting improvements in steel wheel coatings in its quest for “The Eight Year Wheel.”
In closing, chair Roy Gambrell offered a list of questions that the Action Committee should consider:
• Are chemicals the whole problem?
• Where is our metal coming from?
• What is the quality of our steel?
• Is the steel recycled?
• Who’s checking the raw materials?
• Are impurities being removed before metal is recycled?
• Is damage occurring from the inside out?
Ultimately, Gambrell said, more fleets must sound off before any real progress is made. “Do we need to go on fighting this?” he asked, “Or do we need to accept it as a fact of life?”
The Corrosion Control Action Force will meet next at the TMC 2008 Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition, February 4-7, 2008, in Orlando, FL. For more information, contact Roy Gambrell at (270) 586-8845, or visit the Technology & Maintenance Council’s Web site at http://www.truckline.com/aboutata/councils/tmc
Not content to wait until TMC’s new committee meets in February, we took a look at some corrosion-prevention products on the market now.
Will one of these products prove to be the silver bullet the industry is hoping for? We’ll let you decide.
“The moment vehicles get out into the real world and start to work, the metal starts to work,” says Mark Pearson, General Manager, Lear Chemical. “You have expansion and contraction, temperature changes, all sorts of nicks and scratches happen in the coatings, and as soon as the base metals are exposed to the combination of moisture and de-icing salts, corrosion is going to happen.”
Lear’s corrosion protection product, Rust Block, effectively keeps moisture off the surface, according to Pearson. It can be applied to a vehicle that already has active corrosion on it, and the product penetrates into the microscopic corrosion cells and displaces the moisture that’s keeping those cells active. Rust Block will push the moisture to the surface where it’s allowed to evaporate, and then leave a hydrophobic foam behind, protecting that area from further moisture intrusion.