Brake test boost for ABS Transport Industries

By: Steve Skinner, Photography by: Steve Skinner

ABS Transport Industries benefits from installing brake roller tester and suspension shaker.

Brake test boost for ABS Transport Industries
Happy mechanic by trade: Terry Warn in front of his Melbourne workshop.


Terry Warn might seem laid-back, but the diesel mechanic turned owner-driver and medium sized operator tries to be at the leading edge of trucking technology.

Hence his recent acquisition of a brake roller tester and suspension shaker, an investment mechanical experts recommend for any trucking company.

The equipment has gone into the workshop at Warn’s ABS Transport Industries, based at Carrum Downs in Melbourne’s south-east, with depots all over Australia.

With mostly flat top trailers and open drop-decks, ABS specialises in prescribed waste; dangerous goods; over-dimensional; general freight; and storage.

It’s been around for 40 years this year, quietly and steadily building up to 40 prime movers and 70 trailers along with up to 30 subbies, while watching many others get big quick and then go bust.

ABS Transport’s Jevol mobile roller tester and shaker set the company back about $65,000, but with the amount of gear he has to put over it, Terry Warn reckons it will pay for itself quickly.

It was supplied and installed by Geelong based Ausquip. Of course there are several other brands of similar equipment available in Australia – Maha, Sherpa, Vis-Check and Levanta to name a few.

"We pride ourselves on putting every truck and trailer over the pit every four to six weeks," Warn says.

"Since we got this machine it’s picked up heaps of stuff we would never have picked up on, like maxi brakes that look like they’re working OK, but internally they have something wrong like a broken spring or they’re only half-efficient.

"On the disc brake side of things it shows that the calipers could be seized. We’ve had a couple that looked all right but weren’t working at all.

"Within 45 minutes we had a changeover caliper on one truck and it was on its way."

Warn knows for a fact that this one episode alone could have saved him $5,000.

He estimates that is what it cost a while back when one of his prime movers was grounded at a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) checking station at Coffs Harbour, with a seized caliper.

The truck had to be towed to the local dealer where it took four days for parts to arrive and be put on; trailers had to be changed; and drivers put up in a motel.

"It was just a nightmare, but they [the RMS] were only doing their job," says Warn philosophically, realising it could have prevented an accident down the road.

In fact given what his mechanics have found thanks to their new machine, Warn goes as far as to say it should be mandatory for all trucks to go over a roller tester and shaker at least twice a year, "which costs virtually nothing if there is nothing wrong".

In his case he now has the peace of mind of printouts to prove his trucks and trailers were in good working order at the last service, or were fixed after a fault was found.

You can read the full feature on the ABS workshop in the November issue of Owner//Driver.

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