Knapheide exhibited an impressive array of up-fitted vans. This one was designed in conjunction with Bosch, which is why it contains those dark blue L-Boxxes. The white and light blue boxes are from Sortimo.
A Bosch L-Boxx sandwiched between Sortimo L-Boxxes. Sortimo makes L-Boxxes for Bosch, so the brands are compatible.
Slidezilla’s Elevated Sliding Trays mount above the wheel wells—a design that allows contractors to carry material below or install a bed-mounted slide and have over/under pull-out storage. The company offers 1,000-pound-rated upper and lower trays with stainless steel bearings, 1/2-inch rubberized plywood tops, and powder-coated steel frames. Available for all major truck brands, they come 5’5” to 8” long. There’s a 3’6” elevated model for those who prefer greater storage height at the back of the bed. The slides are made in Elkhart, Ind., and go for $600-900. Elevated models require a $350 support frame.
The Decked Truck Bed Storage System has been available for several years; now there’s a model for vans. It’s made from the same tough HDPE and is able to support 2,000 pounds on top and 200 pounds per drawer. The 12-inch-tall unit is available in multiple lengths and can be attached to the vehicle without drilling; it fits all major brands of cargo vans and full-size pickups. New this year is the Decked D-Box, a $49 tool box sized to fit exactly three to a drawer. The Decked system is made in Toledo, Ohio.
Look closely and you’ll see that the mud is painted on this showy Mercedes truck. The boulders in the dump bed are fake. Unlike the beds on most North American models, this one dumps to the side—which I am guessing is because space is tight on European jobsites.
DC-powered compressors are typically mounted in service trucks; this one from Phoenix USA fits in a side box. Capable of providing 1.70 cfm at 90 psi, this small unit (AC12V3) won’t support a framing gun, but it can fill tires and power a small impact wrench. The company is working on a larger, more powerful model. This one sells for about $560, including the hose reel.
Install more seats and this would be your everyday suburban minivan. But the back of this Mercedes Metris contains only a 4x8 sheet of plywood—placed there to show how much storage space it has. The rear doors will close with 4x8 material inside. Company ads show the vehicle being used to carry a big stack of drywall—something you would not expect to see with such a small van.
Cargo Ease will soon release the Ramp Slide, folding aluminium ramps that pull out from a housing in the bed of a truck. They can be used to load 4-wheelers, mowers, and anything else that can be coaxed up an incline. The short inner section extends past the tailgate while the long outer one pivots down to the ground. This 250-pound unit installs without drilling and can be placed in the bed or on top of a storage locker. The Ramp Slide is produced in Ontario, Canada, and is so new, pricing is not yet available.
Many companies offer steps for getting into and out of work vans. I particularly like this hitch mounted model from Spec Techno because it’s easily removed and yet feels very solid. The mounting plate for the vise is cool too; it slides down for use and folds away for travel.
Plenty of companies make steps that fold down or pop out to provide better access to work trucks. This one from Carr works like a touch-latch; push in with your foot and a spring will extend it and again to retract it under the body. The company also offers one with an electric motor controlled by key fob so it extends and retracts with the push of a button. Units are available in multiple sizes, with prices starting at about $300. Click here for video.
EZ Connector sockets and plugs create a trouble-free wired connection between the lights on a trailer and the truck used to tow it. Conventional connectors are difficult to renew once they corrode; the contacts on EZ Connectors are flat and easily cleaned with sandpaper. They are held to each other by a strong magnetic connection so if the cord snags, the plug will come free without damaging the wiring. It costs about $130 to outfit a truck and trailer. A $30 adapter allows these to be joined to standard connectors. EZ Connectors are assembled in Tulare, Calif.
The Trailer Cable Pogo is a cord holder on a spring that bolts to the tongue of a trailer. It prevents cords from being damaged if the trailer jack knifes while backing and prevents connectors from being dragged on the ground if someone forgets to plug them in. This $30 accessory is made by EZ Connector and will work with any trailer cord.
Ryder Racks are made from polished aluminium so they look good and won’t rust. Half the weight of steel, they will pay for themselves over the life of the vehicle by boosting its mileage. Hand-welded in Wilmington, N.C., racks are available in stock and custom configurations for all major truck brands. Stock models retail for about $1,400 and are rated for up to 2,250 pounds. The company began when the owner of a marine welding service made an aluminium rack for his truck; everyone who saw it wanted one, so he decided to offer them to the public.
Switch-N-Go makes detachable work-truck bodies that roll on and off in the manner of dumpsters, allowing a single truck to be used for a wide range of tasks. The company currently offers storage boxes, flatbeds, stake beds, drop boxes—and now this service body. Scheduled for release in May 2016, the service body is expected to cost around $10,000.
Superwinch’s Winch2go is a portable winch that can be powered by a 12-volt battery or battery pack. Able to pull up to 4,000 pounds, it’s designed for use in confined or hard-to-reach places. The motor is attached to a 1/4-inch steel base plate and housed within a plastic toolbox that contains everything needed for use with the winch: d-rings, a shackle, fabric straps, a remote control, and battery cables. Winch2go includes 50’ of wire cable or synthetic rope and sells for about $280. Click here for video.
Ranger Design’s Max View Safety Partition is a clever take on the safety partition. Unlike flat steel models, this one is contoured to maximize space in the cab. It protects the occupants from shifting cargo and makes the cab quieter and easier to heat and cool. Molded from tough polycarbonate, it’s clear on top for enhanced visibility. The back is equipped with a track to which storage cabinets can be connected. This brand new product is expected to sell for about $1,000 and will be available for major brands of work vans.
Ranger Design was just one of many companies showing systems for outfitting the cargo areas of vans. It has been years since I needed something like this, and yet the allure of aluminium drawers, lockers, and shelves is to resist. The LED lighting—which almost every up-fitter now offers—was the icing on the cake.
Hippo Multipower Systems makes packaged power units for vehicles. This new P model unit mounts in the bed of the pickup and is powered by a power take-off from the transmission. It contains a 5.2 kW generator, 240-amp welder, and a 45-cfm air compressor. E model units are powered by integral diesel engines. In addition to providing more air and electricity, they also provide hydraulic power. Hippo began as a supplier to the military and builds systems in a plant near Kansas City, Mo. The model shown here is expected to sell for around $18,000.
This is the control panel for a Hippo Multipower Hurricane, one of the company’s larger truck mounted units. Equipped with an integral 3-cylinder Kubota diesel, the Hurricane can power hydraulic equipment, function as a 240-volt welder, and put out 8.5 kW of electricity and 100 cfm of air at 100 psi. At roughly $35,000, this unit is twice the price of the one in the previous photo.
The Gertiu G2000 Ladder Rack System mounts on the roof of a box truck or van. Unlike other systems, where the ladder loads from the side, this one loads from the rear using a mechanism akin to a giant drawer slide. A hook on the end of a pole is used to unlatch the slide and pull it out. Gas pistons take the weight as the slide and attached ladder automatically pivot down. Available in Europe for 20 years, the system is about to come here. U.S. pricing is not yet available. Click here for video.
Link’s Swivel Ramp folds down from the back of your van so tools and material can be carried or rolled in and out of the vehicle. Unlike other ramps, these pivot out of the way when not in use; they can be positioned 90 degrees out from the vehicle or in against the driver’s side wall. Gas pistons take much of the weight when deploying and stowing the unit, and the main latch can be removed to create floor space for oversize loads. Scheduled for release in May 2016, the Swivel Ramp is expected to cost $2,500-3000. Click here for video.
EZSTAK makes aluminium truck-bed drawer units in multiple configurations. This Sidekick is a two-drawer unit that fits over the wheel well; it would typically be paired with an EZSTOW unit that fills the center of the bed. The upper drawer of the EZSTAK extends up to 60 inches and holds up to 500 pounds. The lower drawer is shorter because of the presence of the wheel well. Latching spring-loaded pulls are standard; cylinder locks are optional. The Sidekick is made in Chicago, lists for about $1,800, and is available for Ford, Dodge/Ram, and Chevy/GMC trucks.
The EZSTOW is a drawer unit that mounts in the bed of a pickup. Made from thick aluminium with stainless steel hardware, it can be used alone or paired with the Sidekick unit shown in the previous photo. The top has a non-skid coating and a rim with tie-down points for securing cargo. Units come with one or three drawers; all are divided and contain rubber matting. EZSTOW is available in multiple heights for long and short beds in Ford, Dodge/Ram, and Chevy/GMC pickups. It’s made in the Chicago area and sells for between $1,800 and $3,000.
With Covercraft’s Carhartt SeatSavers, you can sit on Carhartt’s heavy duck fabric without wearing that brand of pants. Previously available in Carhartt brown and grey, it is now available in green and brown RealTree camo. The covers are easily removed for washing and are available to fit the seats of all major brands of trucks and SUVs. Sold by the row (front or back seats), they list for $229 and up.
Bolt makes locks that can be set by their owners to work with the ignition keys to their vehicles. A new lock is “programmed” by inserting the key and turning it once; from then on, the key can be used to open that lock. Locks can be keyed to fit all major brands of vehicles. Among the products offered by Bolt are a padlock, coupler pin lock, cable lock, and receiver locks. A retrofit paddle lock/latch is available for the compartments on service bodies, and the company is said to be working on a padlock that fits jobsite storage boxes. Click here for video.
This may look like a rocket launcher, but it's something far more useful—a truck for cleaning out sewers. Made by Vactor, it has a high suction vacuum, debris separator, and a high-pressure water pump for rodding clogged drains. And that’s just the big stuff. I was about to say it contains everything but the kitchen sink—but for all I know there’s one in there. Vacuum trucks are not the most glamorous vehicles around, but as someone whose home is connected to a municipal sewer, I’m glad they exist.