Mack brings telematics to LR model refuse truck

TORONTO, Ont. – Mack Truck has brought its GuardDog Connect telematics platform to its LR model refuse truck.

The system is now available across the entire line of Mack Trucks. GuardDog Connect monitors fault codes that could lead to unscheduled downtime and then advises customers on the best course of action. If a trip to the shop is required, Mack’s OneCall agents will determine the closest dealership with the required parts and even schedule a service appointment.

The Mack LR refuse truck.
The Mack LR refuse truck.

“Uptime support is as important for our refuse customers as our highway customers,” said Curtis Dorwart, Mack refuse product marketing manager. “GuardDog Connect simplifies the diagnostic and service process and combines purposeful telematics technology with Mack experts who can help keep the customer on the job.”

The latest offering was announced at the Canadian Waste and Recycling Expo in Toronto this week. Dorwart said GuardDog Connect addresses two priorities for refuse truck operators: uptime and productivity. And he said the benefits of remote diagnostics are tangible, even for fleets whose trucks return home every night.

“With proper maintenance, the amount of unscheduled maintenance should be small,” he said. “But if you have a hiccup, we are able to see it in real-time and contact customers through e-mail, text message or phone call.”

The GuardDog Connect hardware will come standard on the Mack LR and two years of support will be offered at no charge. Afterwards, various subscription models are offered. Dorwart said fleets struggling with unscheduled maintenance stand to gain the most through use of the system.

“You want to keep your unscheduled maintenance to a single digit percentage of what your entire maintenance costs are,” he said. “If you’re pushing more than that, a system like this can be an even greater help to you, to give you the head’s up if something is going south.”

While the overall truck market is down this year, Dorwart said refuse has been steady, and Mack continues to own about half of the refuse truck segment. Asked what trends are driving the segment, Dorwart cited a shift back towards diesel and away from natural gas.

“People are coming back to diesel again,” he said. Diesel-powered engines are less expensive than natural gas and reliability of the aftertreatment system has improved. Dorwart said improvements to the performance of the MP-series diesel engines has also drawn back customers.

“There’s a cost differential on the equipment, with diesel being less expensive, and you’re getting the power and torque you don’t get with natural gas. And on the emissions side, these engines are running extremely clean and it gets better almost every year,” he said.

Mack’s 11-liter MP7 engine has been given an additional 10 hp and is now available from 325-355 hp with 1,200-1,280 lb.-ft. of torque. Customers can still spec’ the Cummins Westport ISL G natural gas engine. The Mack LR comes with an Allison five- or six-speed automatic transmission.

The LR model was introduced last year, for enhanced maneuverability, increased comfort and improved visibility.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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