The Latest Gadgets and Gizmos for Your Truck and Van

Take a look at tools and technology to boost horsepower, go through snow and convert to propane power as seen at the NTEA Work Truck Show.
The Latest Gadgets and Gizmos for Your Truck and Van
The bifold Swivel Ramp from Link Manufacturing has a 1,500-pound capacity and swings out of the way when not in use. (Photos by Ed Wodalski)

Interested in Trucks?

Get Trucks articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Trucks + Get Alerts

From pills that dissolve in your fuel tank to alternative fuel conversion kits, safety chains at the flip of a switch, swivel ramps and rear-vision cameras, hundreds of products are designed to improve truck performance and reduce your workload.

Among the gizmos and gadgets at this year’s NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis was the Max View safety partition from Ranger Design ( Voted the most innovative product at the show, the partition is made to snugly fit Ford Transit Connect, Ram Promaster City and Mercedes-Benz Metris cargo vans. Molded from clear thermoformed ABS and polycarbonate, the impact-resistant, see-through partition enhances cargo space visibility, eliminates blind spots and improves cabin comfort by reducing noise and allowing full seat travel.

Tired of soot reaching your diesel particulate filter? How about a pill that lets your DPF breathe better? While it might not go “plop, plop, fizz, fizz,” DPF Remedy ( bonds with the fuel, allowing combustion to occur at lower temperatures, and claiming to improve fuel efficiency by 10 to 20 percent. Drop a dissolvable tablet into each tankful of diesel or gasoline.

As the name implies, DPF Remedy is an organic diesel fuel catalyst that prevents particulates from forming and reaching your truck’s diesel particulate filter. The company claims its tablets reduce DPF regen by up to 800 percent, decrease emission by 50 to 90 percent and boost horsepower by 3 to 5 percent.


A handy option for installers, pumpers and plumbers is the rearview camera with Tow-Hitch Assist. Available with the Ford Transit, the hitch assist takes the guesswork out of trailer backing. The camera transmits an image to your rearview mirror or multifunction display on the center dash. Colored guidelines provide a simple-to-follow roadmap.

Another one-person loading gadget is the 180-degree Swivel Ramp from Link Manufacturing ( — swing it out when you need to load, swing it in when you’re ready to roll. Designed for cargo van and box truck applications, the 30- to 47-inch-wide aluminum ramp offers up to 1,500 pounds of loading capacity. The bifold ramp latches in stowed and fully open position. The removable latching module provides open floor space for loading or transporting oversized loads.

“By swiveling, you get easy access to the back of your vehicle,” says Michael Hof, vice president of sales and marketing.

Predrilled bolt holes allow for easy installation in Promaster, Nissan, Transit and Sprinter vans. Ramps can be installed by an upfitter or in the shop; instructions and hardware are included.

“We’ve had folding ramps for a long time, and customers asked for a swivel option,” Hof says. “The locking mechanism on the right-hand side is removable. If you had a pallet and needed to put something in the cargo area, you could easily go right over it.”


Anyone who drives on icy, snow-covered roads would appreciate the Onspot automatic tire chain system ( With the flip of a dashboard switch, the system offers the traction of a single set of conventional snow chains without stopping. The system works in forward, reverse or while braking in either direction. Six lengths of chains spaced at 60-degree intervals on the chainwheel ensure there are always two strands of chains between the tire and road surface. When no longer needed, flip the switch and chains return to their resting position.
The automatic chain system is designed for long hauls at speeds up to 35 mph and plowing through up to 6 inches of snow. Suited for spring- or air-suspended vehicles, the permanently installed system is DOT approved in all 50 states.

Another handy cold weather gadget is the Webasto coolant heater that provides a warm start to your day without having to run your truck engine ( The Thermo Top C is designed for trucks and off-road equipment. Using less than a gallon of fuel per hour, it delivers up to 17,000 Btu of heat, quickly bringing your engine up to operating temperature.


Looking to convert all or part of your fleet to a clean-burning fuel? Alliance AutoGas offers a plug-and-play solution for most diesel- and gasoline-powered trucks ( Designed to run on propane, Alliance’s system can be installed on new or existing fleet vehicles. All wiring is precut and brackets are designed to be installed without drilling or fabrication. Vehicle conversion is about $5,800 with potential for grants and tax incentives further reducing the cost.

Alliance performed a live install on a 2016 Ford F-150 at the NTEA truck show, completing the conversion in about two hours.

“You still have the luxury of gasoline as a backup,” says Mark Denton, vice president, business development. “If you run out of propane, it goes back to gasoline.”

Alliance also provides propane refueling stations that can be placed on your property or shared with another propane user nearby. Proprietary fuel cards protect against theft.

“It works on about 80 percent of commercial vehicles,” Denton says. “If you’re running a fleet, we have (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) certifications on almost all the Ford products. We’ve got the Transit. We’ve got the E Series and the F Series.”

Other applications include the 3.6L RAM Promaster, 6.0L Chevrolet Silverado and Express, and Isuzu NPR. It can also be used on the 14L Detroit Diesel Series 60 and Volvo 12.8L D13.


American Midwest Fleet Solutions has a handy gadget that protects full-size Chevy and Ford van grills from impact with deer and other animals. Made of high-strength steel, the grill guard is designed to keep your van on the road and not in the shop.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.