The first step in selling snake oil is to run this test procedure that that the trucking industry established and updates on a regular basis (the guideline can be purchased from both SAE and TMC):
Joint TMC/SAE Fuel Consumption Test Procedure-Type II
Product Code: J1321
Date Published: 1986-10-01 - A newer version of this standard is available.
Date Reaffirmed: October 1986
Truck and Bus Aerodynamics and Fuel Economy Committee
This recommended practice provides a standardized test procedure for comparing the in-service fuel consumption of two conditions of a test vehicle or of one test vehicle to another when it is not possible to run the two or more test vehicles simultaneously. An unchanging control vehicle is in tandem with the test vehicle(s) to provide reference fuel consumption data. This procedure is especially suitable for testing components, which require substantial time for removal and replacement or modification, such as engines, transmissions, tag-axles, and cab sheet metal. This procedure may also be used for comparison of entire vehicles and for easy-to-change components (those referenced in the Type I test described in SAE Recommended Practice, SAE J1264). The test may utilize fleet vehicles operating over representative routes.
As Kevin Rutherford once told me, and I quote as close as I remember, “I have seen successful TMC/SAE tests run on products I KNOW DON’T WORK.”
Here are the steps I have seen personally by snake oil salesmen:
- If your results are not as good as you like, modify the test to your advantage.
- Only make an edited summary available for review.
- Tell prospects independent company X ran the test, but tell company X never to release the actual report to those that want to see the details and actual results of the test.
- Do a dyno test and a Type II test, then mix and match the results in your TMC Type II test.
- Tell prospect that the SAE or TMC RAN YOUR TEST. This is not true as these organizations developed the guidelines; they are not testing organizations.
I have been involved with this test procedure in my career promoting turbochargers, fan clutches, and most recently, consulting with Counteract Balancing Beads and hydrogen injection systems. As the past chairman of the TMC new technology/products committee I had the honor of meeting members of Auburn University’s program for Advanced Vehicle Evaluation. As we became a mutual admiration society they asked me to consult with them in providing an independent unbiased testing service to the trucking industry. The one thing that makes Auburn very unique is they work with DOT’s doing pavement experiments. This gives PAVE tractors and trailers that are running thousands of miles a week wearing out pavement. Any experiments that can be run, fuel economy or otherwise, can piggyback on vehicles where somebody else is paying the fuel, drivers and wear-and-tear costs. Looks like a classic win-win situation.
Two pieces of advice I gave them was to offer as part of the service the posting of test results at the www.PaveTrack.com website and to work with consultants like me that can help “hold the hand” of the successful client. I always advise that a successful test just opens the door to saving fuel for the trucking industry. The first thing you must know about trucking and fuel savings is the trucking industry is not really in the fuel savings business; they are in the getting the right freight to the right location on time business. If your widget has just the smallest chance of interfering with this, forget about it. Plus, you have to remember the test procedure is “only an indication” that you might be saving fuel. They have to run their own fleet test, which they don’t have the time, money or personnel to do.