The glider market grew from a few hundred sales a year in 2010 to upwards of 10,000 as recently as 2017. Gliders sported pre-emissions-regs engines -- no exhaust gas recirculation or selective catalytic reduction components and, thus, no need for DEF. With simpler technology and refurbished engines, the products were much cheaper than new trucks with new engines, making them attractive buys for small-business truckers.Three years after emissions regulations took effect in January 2018 that severely restricted production of Class 8 glider kit trucks, there’s seemingly no options for owner-operators or small fleets to purchase a new glider kit. That includes buying straight from truck manufacturers or dealers for truckers who want to build and assemble their own glider truck.
Not only did the Phase II tractor-trailer emissions regulations enacted in 2016 hamper production of builder-sellers like Fitzgerald, Ervin’s and Harrison’s, the regs in recent years spurred major truck makers to pull their glider body sales entirely.
Peterbilt and Freightliner, two of the more popular glider options from kit assemblers, confirmed this week they no longer sell gliders at all -- even to individuals, let alone to companies who were mass assembling those kits to then sell.
“After 50-plus years of building gliders, Daimler Trucks North America made the decision to exit the business segment and built our final gliders" in 2020, a company spokesperson said. That includes both Freightliner and Western Star gliders.
Peterbilt, in statement to Overdrive, said it discontinued glider sales in 2019. Likewise, Mack, Volvo and Kenworth also said they no longer sell glider kits, even to end consumers. Navistar did not by press time respond to queries as to whether they still sell gliders.
The end of the glider market comes after a rollercoaster ride over the past decade for glider kit builders and regulations surrounding them.
Completed glider builds -- those equipped with refurbished engines and transmissions in new truck bodies and chassis -- became popular among owner-operators and small fleets as an alternative to buying new in the wake of tightening federal emissions regulations that took effect in 2008 and 2011. Those restrictions caused engine makers to add new emissions-cutting tech, driving up costs of new trucks.
The glider market grew from a few hundred sales a year in 2010 to upwards of 10,000 as recently as 2017. Gliders sported pre-emissions-regs engines -- no exhaust gas recirculation or selective catalytic reduction components and, thus, no need for DEF. With simpler technology and refurbished engines, the products were much cheaper than new trucks with new engines, making them attractive buys for small-business truckers.
Also, assemblers like Fitzgerald Glider Kits, the largest kit builder, and others offered the trucks as nearly custom builds, selling completed gliders in a long list of colors and with custom painted engines, among other custom add-ons.
But those kit sales came under scrutiny by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which said gliders presented a staggeringly outsized portion of tailpipe emissions among new trucks sold each year.
In a 2016 interview with Overdrive, Matt Spears, then head of EPA’s heavy-duty on-road sector, said emissions of greenhouse gases and particulate matter from 10,000 glider kits equalled the emissions output of about 200,000 new trucks — nearly a year's worth of total new truck sales. “In the Phase II rule, we said, yeah, this does appear to be a loophole. So that’s why we proposed to do something about it – because of the disproportionately large impact on particulate matter and NOx emissions that these relatively small sales numbers had," he said then.
Fitzgerald and Ervin’s, another popular builder, declined to be interviewed for this story. Ervin’s did acknowledge in a statement that the Phase II regs forced the company out of the glider business.
Fitzgerald, which once had glider kit sales of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, fought the regulations from their onset. They appeared headed toward success when President Trump’s EPA sought to exempt gliders from Phase II regulations and allow companies like Fitzgerald to continue their operations. However, changes in leadership at EPA, as well as court decisions, ultimately derailed those efforts.
You can read more about the saga that unfolded between glider kit builders, EPA and government watchdogs in this story from 2019.
Commercial truck gliders have been growing in popularity in recent years. Glider kits offer several attributes that make them attractive to commercial truck shoppers. So why are commercial truck glider kits popular?
What is a glider kit?
Glider kits are a way to reuse and repurpose damaged trucks and get them back on the roads. A glider kit takes the working components from damaged trucks, primarily a still-usable powertrain, and installs them in an otherwise new vehicle. Some companies specialize in creating glider trucks.
Read More: What is included in an Allstate Peterbilt full-service lease?
Why are people buying gliders?
There are multiple reasons truck shoppers will choose a glider-based truck over a more-conventional new or used model. Some drivers prefer older engines, claiming they provide better fuel economy ratings and reliability than newer power sources, but would like these engines paired with a body with newer components.
The cost of a glider is also less than purchasing a comparable new truck, and in some cases exempt from federal taxes. These factors have created a rise in the number of glider trucks sold in recent years.
Other aspects of glider kits have led to hesitance from some fleet owners. Careful restrictions are placed on these unique trucks. Laws regarding the licensing of glider kits are also inconsistent between states, and on the federal level, creating confusion. Glider models also have a lower resale value than other trucks, decreasing the value of the investment.
Allstate Peterbilt Group offers our customers with many new and pre-owned commercial truck models. We have locations in multiple states throughout the Midwest, enabling us to serve a wide area. You can find your nearest Allstate Peterbilt Group location right here on our website, and take a look at our inventory to learn more about everything we have to offer.
Despite the industry’s lackluster truck sales since the recession, Cookeville, Tenn.-based Fitzgerald Glider Kits has seen sales double each year since 2010, and it expects the trend to continue in 2014.
Though Fitzgerald concentrates its builds and engine programming on fuel economy and maintenance ease, its sales point to a growing trend for its owner-operator customers: the desire to run a new truck powered by a pre-exhaust gas recirculation engine.
Also, gone are the concerns from 20 or 30 years ago about gliders’ quality and resale value, says Jay Burgess, a buyer for Insurance Auto Auction, a used truck reseller.
Glider bodies, chassis, rear-ends and wiring are fully assembled and delivered to manufacturers such as Fitzgerald, the largest glider maker in the United States, and Ervin’s, the second-largest, which then install the engine and transmission. Builders like Fitzgerald and Ervin’s have helped spur demand for new and used gliders.
What’s the most popular glider equipment?
Fitzgerald stocks its own engines, obtained from truck teardowns or salvage companies, says Tommy Fitzgerald, owner and vice president. It remachines and rebuilds them with remanufactured components.
Fitzgerald uses only 2003 year-model or older 12.7-liter Detroit Series 60 engines that are torn down and rebuilt in-house. It couples them with remanufactured Eaton-Fuller transmissions purchased from Eaton.
Ervin’s buys Freightliner “powered gliders” with remanufactured Detroit engines, 2003 and older, already installed, says Ken Eggen, director of business development. The company also uses reman Eaton-Fuller transmissions from the factory.
Why buy a glider?
Three key benefits of buying a glider are lower upfront cost and the potential for both lower maintenance costs and improved aftermarket value, says Eggen.
Ervin’s sells Freightliner Coronado and Columbia models, and they cost about 10 to 15 percent cheaper than a similarly spec’d factory truck.
A Coronado from Fitzgerald starts at about $109,900, and its Peterbilt 389 starts at $126,500. Compared to a similarly spec’d factory truck, that’s about 25 percent cheaper, says Tommy Fitzgerald.
Initial equipment costs aside, Fitzgerald concentrates its builds on lower cost of ownership through fuel economy and lower cost of maintenance.
“We set the engine up to where it can be more efficient,” says Tommy Fitzgerald. Fuel economy benefits, he says, are achieved through special programming of the engine’s electronic control module and from the external and internal parts used in the engine rebuilding process.
Fitzgerald says that based on customer feedback from real-world testing, the company pegs the mpg of its kits at 7 or higher.
The company also has its own routing placement for hoses and wiring designed to make maintenance work easier. “Through fuel mileage and maintenance costs, it has a lower cost of operation year by year,” Fitzgerald says.
Ervin’s tailors its sales to “high-idle” applications such as mining, logging, construction, bulk transport and oil field hauling. Diesel particulate filters and EGR engines don’t fit these applications as well as a non-EGR engine, Eggen says.
Long-haul applications may not see the same benefits as the higher-idle applications because DPFs on post-2007 trucks are able to regenerate more effectively, he says.
Perhaps of most interest to many buyers, gliders employ the simpler, proven technology of pre-EGR engines, says Tony Mohler, used truck manager for Nashville Rush Truck Center. “There’s less that can go wrong as far as not having the aftertreatment systems,” Mohler says. “And styling-wise, a guy can get a brand new piece of equipment and theoretically save some money.”
How strong is resale value?
IAA’s Burgess sees glider kits with pre-2003 model engines getting as much as $10,000 more in resale than comparable factory trucks “because they’ve got pre-emissions engines. People are willing to pay more money for that.”
Burgess scours the Southeast to find trucks for auction, and one of his main jobs is to tell customers what their trucks are worth. He connects about 250 truck sellers a week to auctions, he says.
Auctioned gliders with reman engines bring about 7 to 9 percent more over comparable trucks, Burgess says. “The trucks are of just as good quality as any new truck that goes down the assembly line,” he says.
Gliders used to carry a stigma, says Robert Fitzgerald, co-owner and president at Fitzgerald. “People always believed gliders on the resale side are worth less,” he says. “But what we’ve found now that we’ve developed a market is that we can actually get more on the backside.”
Ervin’s Eggen says owning a glider made with original manufacturer’s parts “takes away fear of sliding in resale value.” Like Fitzgerald, Eggen says he’s seen Ervin’s trucks hold their value better in the aftermarket than factory trucks.
How do warranties work?
The glider shell – cab, chassis and wiring — comes with a 1-year, 100,000-mile factory warranty, says Tommy Fitzgerald. Peterbilt and Kenworth also have a standard 5-year, 750,000-mile warranty on the rears, and Freightliner has a standard 3-year, 300,000-mile warranty on the rears, he says.
Eaton-Fuller reman transmissions come with a 3-year, unlimited mileage warranty. The reman Detroit engines come with a 3-year, 300,000-mile warranty.
The engine warranty also can be done through Fitzgerald, Tommy says. The company also offers a 5-year, 500,000-mile upgradable nationwide warranty that’s handled in-house.
The warranties are good at any Freightliner or Detroit authorized repair shop, and all the warranty information is already in the system, Eggen says.
What are potential hang-ups?
• As for resale value, aftermarket sentiment varies, says Mohler. Many dealers won’t buy or trade gliders because dealers can’t be sure of the origins of the truck’s componentry, nor can they apply aftermarket warranties to them as easily. Reputable manufacturers like Fitzgerald’s and Ervin’s can mitigate these concerns, though.
• California requires a particulate filter in engines older than 2006. Complying with this to enable running in California would mitigate some of the benefits sought in the first place. Because California emissions regulations sometimes have been adopted in other states, avoiding business in California might not be a long-term solution.
• Some gliders may not have access to the service network that new trucks would, depending on the components used in the build, Mohler says.
Without a doubt the most popular brand in trucking is Peterbilt. The famous long square hood of a Peterbilt 389 will forever be instilled in the roots of trucking history. Since 1939 the Peterbilt brand has been forging a mark on the trucking industry, known for innovation while keeping classic styling like no other brand in America today.
Peterbilt owners are proud, hard working individuals that demand more from their rigs. Sitting behind the wheel of a Peterbilt 389, or the more aerodynamic Peterbilt 579, undoubtedly gives you a sense of pride like no other truck on the road. Aside from the feelings evoked behind the wheel, Peterbilt offers an extensive network of top notch dealerships across the United States ready to help you incase you were to have an issue with the Cab or Chassis. Pair this with the warranty infrastructure Fitzgerald has built with over 1,300 independent shop and dealerships across the country and you have a winning combination of service and performance.
See a list of Peterbilt models we stock and build below.
A peterbilt is glider what
Glider Kit Trucks – A Guide to What You Need to Know
In the trucking industry, glider kit trucks are wildly popular, especially among the owner operator business owners and small fleet owners.
What Are Glider Kit Trucks?
- ‘Rolling’ glider kits are essentially a brand new truck with everything included, except the engine.
- There’s a new transmission, new axles, new body, new frame, the works.
- The glider kit can then be purchased and an engine can be installed in the truck.
They typically are not warrantied as long as a new truck, but usually the warranty is for 12 months/100,000 miles.
The intention of a glider kit is to evade regulations imposed by the Clean Air Act emission standards in the USA or Green House Gas Emissions (GHG) regulations in Canada.
The Benefits of a Glider Kit Vs New Truck Purchase
Glider kit vs new truck
- Gliders Cost Less Than New. One advantage of glider kits is that you can get a like-new truck about 25% less than the cost of a comparable new truck. The lower cost is of great appeal to a truck owner. This is due to the fact that the engine can be rebuilt (recycled) which help to keep the truck costs down without waste.
- Improved Fuel Economy. Some glider kit companies boast better fuel mileage of up to 1 mpg better than their competitors.
- Environmentally Friendly Alternative To Buying New. Glider kits are essentially an environmentally friendly way of recycling truck engines, rather than adding to the heaps at junk yards. Truck engines are reconditioned to like new condition.
- Engine of Choice. With a glider kit, a tried and true engine can be installed by the truck owner, as opposed to a limited number of choices of new engines, many which are not yet proven to hold up and also are higher priced.There’s no DEF involved in a glider kit truck, as the engines are pre-emissions, without DEF.
Related > Why Rebuilding and Restoring an Older Semi Truck May Be the Answer
What Are Rolling Glider Kits?
Glider kits come in different packages. The traditional glider kit rear suspension, axles, transmission or the engine.
Rolling glider kits include everything for the truck except for the engine. These are the most sought after type of glider kit today.
What Truck Type Glider Kits Are Available?
There are Kenworth glider kits, Peterbilt, Freightliner (Argosy) and Western Star.
The 379 Peterbilt was a very popular glider kit.
Many bought up the 379 Pete’ and earlier models, in order that they could get this model truck with a Cat engine (which Cat soon after stopped producing.)
Related >Best Truck Engines + The Worst – A Trucker’s Guide to Getting the Right Engine
How Glider Kits Came to Be
In January of 2007, the EPA set more stringent standards for “heavy duty highway vehicles”.
This resulted in many vehicle manufacturers needing to redesign their engines.
Unfortunately, these newer vehicles hadn’t “cut their teeth” out on the road and the result was a lot of breakdowns and major malfunctions.
Statistics were released recently, revealing what those in the trucking industry already knew. The 2012 year production, Class 8 trucks, were experiencing an incidence of repair rate of almost 50%, meaning that half of all new trucks built last year had already suffered breakdowns and downtime during the first year of service.
These emission system issues can cost upwards of $20,000 to repair. If it isn’t a major malfunction, then often truckers report these vehicles nickel-and-diming them to death.
The newer trucks had an added cost of sometimes $13,000. Owner operators and small fleets could hardly afford to buy new trucks.
The majority of these breakdowns were related in some way to their new emission efficient engines and the surrounding plumbing. This came as no surprise to anyone who has been involved in trucking for any serious length of time.
The average owner operator when buying a new truck, cannot afford breakdowns or downtime in the first year of service for a brand new piece of equipment.
The financial hit from such a breakdown could be enough to put an owner operator out of business. The down payment plus the payments on a new truck, AND the downtime involved can easily sink a truck owner.
It quickly became evident that these new emissions engines were problematic.
They were getting lousy fuel mileage and they weren’t reliable.
However, they were mandated by the government.
So, truckers found a way around the regulation.
We bought rolling glider kits, basically a brand new truck with no engine in it then took an older engine, rebuilt it and dropped in in the glider kit. These older engines were grandfathered in and they worked great.
However, this is not necessarily a less expensive solution today. The cost of rebuilding an engine alone can run as high as $30,000 and a new glider kit can easily cost a six digit figure. The price of a new glider trucker can be sometimes be as much or more than a new truck, depending on the specifications.
However, the truck would be very reliable and should be reliable for many years.
The Single Turbo Conversion
Between 2005-2007, Caterpillar produced Acert engines.
These engines were a twin turbo system, made to satisfy the California emissions requirements at the time.
This twin turbo set up was the only way a Cat truck engine could be ordered. But the engines were not successful.
In face, these engines were so troublesome, that this played a major role in Cat’s decision to bow out of making trucking engines.
2009 was the last year they manufactured highway truck engines.
The E.P.A. Stops Glider Kit Production
It wasn’t too long before the EPA began to notice the popularity of glider kits.
They realized they had created a loophole in their regulation and they decided they better plug it up.
Luckily for the trucking industry, the government moves slowly, so we had some time on our hands.
In the meantime, companies like Fitzgerald Glider Kit, a major player in glider kit manufacturing, and others became huge by mass producing these glider kits for the market for guys that needed reliable truck engines. These glider kits became a huge boost to our industry.
We were able to continue getting decent fuel mileage and have reliable equipment. It was a real bonus to us, especially for the owner operators and small fleets.
The trucks being produced by Fitzgerald and other glider companies were producing better, more reliable trucks than the factories were.
But with everything, all good things come to an end.
The EPA finally managed to figure out how to clamp down on the glider industry.
Their argument was that glider kit trucks were still creating too much pollution.
The EPA, after all, is not concerned about the operational cost of equipment or whether their mandate works in the real world or not.
The EPA is only concerned with emissions.
So, they found a way to satisfy their mandate by essentially making the sale of glider kits illegal.
The Legal Struggle Over Glider Kits Continues
So, now we’re back to trucks in 2019 with factory engines that meet 2019 regs.
They will continue to have the same problems as we’ve seen previously, such as poor fuel mileage and all sorts of breakdowns.
In their wisdom, the NHTSA in combination with the EPA had issued what they referred to as GHG, greenhouse gases, phase two, which began in 2018.
This mandate’s goal was to eliminate large glider kit factories like Fitzgerald that put older emissions-free engines in new glider kits.
The mandates original intention was to allow small business owners to continue to use glider kits but not on a mass production level. They would allow them to product around 300 kits/company/year.
The plan was that after 2021, the grandfathering clause, if you will, will be eliminated altogether and glider kits would be no more.
At least, that was the plan.
Recent legislative action taken by the EPA loosens the grip on the glider kit industry.
Essentially, they are no longer classified as “new vehicles” and the annual cap of 300 has been removed.
Does this mean that gliders will continue to be used? There’s a great deal of opposition to this change and it is likely that it will be short-lived.
But only time will tell.
Truck Glider Kit Regulations
For over a decade now, the US and the Canadian government have been working to restrict the use of glider kits on the roads.
After years of working to implement stricter emissions standards on the trucking industry, they may have successfully led to the demise of the glider kit as an alternative to purchasing unreliable, fuel-guzzling, emission-compliant engines.
This has left many truck owners very upset and for good reason. Recent changes to these regulations may open up glider kits as a solution for US drivers. However, Canadians are still stuck with the ‘new and improved’ trucks.
Fitzgerald Glider Kits played a major role in influencing the change to the EPA’s mandate.
Sponsored studies showed that the emissions from glider kits may be much lower than previously thought. This study made a major impact on the EPA’s decision to repeal the rule. (It was discovered that Fitzgerald had ‘funded’ this study).
While many support the removal of the regulation, there is still a lot of opposition even within the trucking industry.
While the concept of the glider kit may be saved in the US temporarily, it doesn’t mean they’re in the clear.
Related > Let the Truck Driver Decide, NOT the Truck Engine!
Glider Kits Situation in Canada
As part of the Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations, glider kits are allowed in Canada so long as they meet several conditions.
- The engine has not reached the end of its useful life since it was manufactured;
- It has accumulated less than 100,000 miles;
- The engine is at least as recent as the 2010 model year and less than three years have passed since the engine’s original date of manufacture.
Glider kits are not certifiable according to the GHG regulations or Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Therefore they are not recommended as an option for Canadian truck owners.
Glider Kits MAY be a solution to American truckers, but not to Canadian truckers.
In the U.S., as an owner operator, if you wish to survive in this economy, glider kits may very well be the way to go.
In Canada, however, in a nation where its’ politicians care nothing for the small trucking business owner, the government has once again devised a system designed to defect small business.
The Canadian E.P.A. declares that emission regulations and requirements for Class 8 trucks here are based on the year of the body of the truck.
So if you have a 2013 glider kit, the engine under the hood must meet emission requirements for a 2013 engine, not emission requirements for the year of the engine’s manufacture. If the old engine can’t meet the new emissions standards, you cannot license the vehicle.
In Canada, a new glider kit with a reliable pre-emission engine is not an option to get around buying a new truck.
If you’re Canadian, be sure to thank your local MP or MPP for putting another nail in the coffin of small trucking business in Canada.
No wonder more and more Canadian owner operators are packing it in and getting out of trucking.
The Future of Emission Engines & Glider Kits
Where does that leave us?
All we can do now at this point is hope that the engineers get a whole lot better at making these emissions-friendly engines than they are now.
Maybe they’ll be able to get these bugs out and make these engines operate more freely.
I look forward to an emissions-friendly vehicle that can breathe; that won’t break down; that won’t plug up with the emissions controls and that has decent fuel mileage.
The technology is going to have to catch up to the mandate so we can afford to keep operating.
Trucking is an integral aspect of the economy. With low trucker pay and higher costs to get involved, it’s no wonder there are so many truck seats that need to be filled. If we can’t afford to keep operating, then why continue working?
The government and the truck manufacturers are going to have to get a whole lot better with these emission-friendly engines than they are now.
They’ve got a long way to go.
The court battle continues while glider kit companies continue to fill orders for these popular trucks!
More Articles You May Like
Filed Under: Big Rig GuideSours: https://www.smart-trucking.com/glider-kits/
This is a question we get quite frequently and the answer is simple. A glider kit is a new truck without an engine or transmission that has reman rears that are factory installed. The name “Glider Kit” comes from the fact that these units are unpowered from the factory. Glider kits retain the factory warranty on the cab and chassis of 1 year/ 100k miles. We then take the glider kit and install a number of different engine and transmission options to give you a complete unit ready to go to work.
We keep a large inventory of Peterbilt, Freightliner, Kenworth, and Western Star glider kits in stock ready for immediate delivery. Once the assembly is complete you have a truck that looks, feels and drives like a brand new truck. The advantages really stack up to make a glider kit a great option when purchasing a new truck. We understand that nothing about the trucking industry is “conventional” and that’s why we have a great in-house team devoted to just doing custom spec’s for our customers.
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He has already forgotten about the pain, just not to drown in the water. And after a couple of minutes, with a cry and tears in his eyes, he still pulls the pear out of the ass. The second boy also tries, but cannot. Maybe his anus is not so developed, maybe his pear is bigger, but he is in unbearable pain. And because of him, the first member cannot get out, then it is connected to a pear.