Big Changes Online

Something big is coming from Fleet Maintenance this month. It isn't a bigger magazine; as a journal-sized publication, we could hardly get any bigger.

What's new is that we are expanding and improving our www.fleetmag.com website, with a lot of great new features that will keep you better informed and better connected in the maintenance industry.

Aside from an all-new look, www.fleetmag.com will feature industry news, updated daily and focused specifically on maintenance news, issue and trends. The site will offer access to articles in the current issue of the magazine, as well as an archive of past issues and articles.

Our online buyers' guide gets an upgrade, too, with more informative listings of the companies you go to for components and supplies. Featured industry links and a new web directory make it easier for you to find related maintenance industry information and contacts online. And classified ads and a new career search will help you find the talent and the tools to keep your maintenance operation running in top form.

One of the most exciting additions to the site will debut at our booth (#507) at the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) 2007 Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exposition.

We'll be introducing a Fleet Maintenance Forum section to the website that will allow registered users to post their thoughts, ideas, suggestions, questions and complaints on any number of fleet maintenance topics and issues.

Have a question about the new 2007 engines and emissions systems? Wondering whether anyone else is having the same corrosion problems as you? Have a gripe about the new tires you just bought? Now you'll have a place to discuss them with your colleagues without having to wait weeks for your next State Maintenance Council meeting, or months for the next TMC meeting.

One forum in particular will be on display at our booth at the TMC Expo. The Underhood Heat Issues forum is a direct offshoot of the Underhood Heat Issues Task Force founded by the TMC last year to address potential problems associated with increased temperatures under the hoods of heavy trucks with 2007 diesel engines.

The increased heat levels are real. Engine and truck OEMs and component suppliers have been working to address the higher temperatures, and mitigate any effect they may have on other crucial engine systems (see story on page 10). The problem is, a lot of fleet maintenance professionals are fearing the worst (otherwise TMC would not have started the Task Force), and so far no one can assure them that their fears are ungrounded.

In the course of researching this issue's story on underhood heat, I spoke at length with Bob Rutherford, the Chair of the TMC Underhood Heat Issues Task Force, and Bob presented me with a great opportunity. He wanted to start an online forum for members of his Task Force to compare notes on what they had been hearing from OEMs, component suppliers and other fleets about their '07 heat nightmares. I offered to give the forum a little visibility by hosting it on our website, Bob agreed, and here we are, ready to launch!

(We're so excited to be offering this service that we will be launching the forum in time for the TMC Expo, even if the rest of the new website isn't ready for launch).

We welcome members of the TMC Task Force to use the forum for their own exchange of ideas, but we also invite you, our readers, to put in your own two cents' worth. We'd like to hear from fleets, from component suppliers, and from OEMs on this issue. Are the fears ungrounded, or should fleets be worried? If so, what can they do about it? Is help on the way?

We might not find all the answers on our forum, but the first step in finding answers is communicating. The more information available, the more confident fleets will be to move ahead with new technology, and that benefits the industry as a whole.

It must be pointed out that this forum is not associated with TMC in any way. It is a Fleet Maintenance Magazine forum only, but we feel that if the topic is important enough for TMC to dedicate a Task Force to it, then it's important enough for us to provide this forum for discussion.

So, read the article in this issue, see if it resonates with anything you have heard or experienced, and log on to www.fleetmag.com and tell the industry how you feel!

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