Truck News


all that glitters

Following are the highlights....

Following are the highlights.

High-mileage testing shows EGR engines just as durable

By Lou Smyrlis

High-mileage durability evaluations of its post ’02 on-highway ISX engines indicate they are capable of providing the same or better durability than the power plants they replaced, according to Cummins officials.

The testing involved engines which had almost 600,000 miles (965,000 km) of commercial service.

“There is no difference in durability between pre ’02 engines and post ’02 ISX engines. The proof is in the parts,” declared Bob Weimer, vice president, heavy duty quality at a day-long introduction to the findings held at the engine maker’s Columbus, Ind., facility just before the start of the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Engine durability is typically defined as the point requiring an in-frame engine overhaul resulting from excessive component wear or oil consumption. Cummins engineers disassembled the evaluation engines and analyzed all major components – from the crankshaft to the camshafts and from the EGR subsystem to the power cylinder.

Cummins said the engineering analysis confirmed both the integrity of oil control and combustion control with components exhibiting normal and expected wear. Power cylinder components showed only 20% to 25% wear after 600,000 miles, with connecting rod and main bearings expected to have 50% additional life remaining.

“Durability is not about carbon in the intake. An EGR engine is going to have carbon in the engine. That’s part of the design. It does not limit the life of the engine,” said Weimer. He added that it’s soot that reduces engine life and the post ’02 EGR engines are proving to create less soot than their predecessors.

Weimer also said TBN analysis confirms cooled EGR engines are basically corrosion free.

Looking ahead to 2007, the next emissions standards deadline, Cummins officials reaffirmed their plans to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s edict by integrating a particulate filter with cooled EGR. The Cummins particulate filter, developed and manufactured by Fleetguard Emissions Solutions, a Cummins subsidiary, is designed to reduce particulate matter emissions by 90% from current levels. It also replaces the existing vehicle muffler. The 2007 engines will also include a crankcase ventilation system from Fleetguard, claimed to eliminate any oil carryover from the engine. The trade-off in weight is an additional 75 pounds approximately.

Service requirements for the filter can be extended as far out as 400,000 miles for line-haul operations, minimizing the operating cost impact to trucking companies.

Its in-house system integration provided Cummins with a distinct advantage in designing the 07 engines, according to Dr. John Wall, vice president and chief technical officer, eliminating the need to marry proprietary technology.

But one pressing challenge remains the uncertainty over the availability of ultra low sulphur diesel.

“The most important aspect of the 2007 regulations is that a lot of what we have to do has to be done in an integrated way. Like any puzzle, you don’t have the whole picture if one piece is missing,” said Christine Vujovich. “Ultra low sulfur diesel enables aftertreatment. If we don’t have 15 parts-per-million sulfur diesel the engine industry is in trouble because we have designed our engines based on that standard.”

Cummins expects to have engines capable of meeting the ’07 emissions standards ready for field testing this August.

Caterpillar to use ACERT technology for ’07 engines

By Ingrid Phaneuf

Caterpillar officials at the Mid-America Trucking Show announced they intend to continue to use ACERT technology to meet 2007 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions regulations.

“We developed ACERT Technology with the goal of meeting all current and future emissions regulations, while continuing to provide the overall value on-highway vehicle owners need to operate profitably,” said Greg Gauger, director, On-Highway Power Systems, adding the technology delivers long-term emissions reduction capability and provides all of the key elements of value-reliability, durability, fuel economy and lower operating costs.

The 2007 EPA emissions requirements will have an impact on highway engine design in five areas. First is particulate matter (PM), in which a ten-fold reduction is required-from .10 to .01 grams per horsepower per hour. To meet this requirement, engine manufacturers will need to employ a diesel particulate filter. Secondly, Cat engines will move from 2.5g/hphr NOx + HC to 1.2g/hphr NOx. This 1.2 figure is based on the phase-in provision, which is allowed by the EPA – the actual requirement is to reduce NOx emissions to .20 by 2010. Third, crankcase emissions are now regulated as exhaust emissions. The fourth regulation requires engine manufacturers to monitor the performance of the engine’s emissions system. This industry standard is called Engine Manufacturer Diagnostics (EMD) and will detect issues within the emissions control system. Finally, the 2007 standard regulates the engines’ emissions system useful life, which has been set at 435,000 miles for heavy duty and transit bus and 185,000 miles for mid-range.

The Caterpillar heavy duty solution for 2007 will use existing ACERT Technology, which includes series turbochargers, variable valve control, a high pressure multiple injection fuel system, Cat electronics control systems and an oxidation catalyst. To meet 2007 regulations, all Cat engines with ACERT include an enhanced combustion process called Clean Gas Induction (CGI), closed crankcase ventilation system, and diesel particulate filter system with active regeneration.

Mid-range engines also build on ACERT technology and include a high-pressure injection system and the closed crankcase ventilation, with the addition of a variable turbine geometry turbocharger.

The Cat diesel particulate filter uses wall-flow technology. Regeneration is necessary to activate a process of oxidation that eliminates the soot that collects along the inlet walls of the filtre. To aid the regeneration process, the exhaust gas is heated by auxiliary means. Regeneration only takes place when needed, which optimizes fuel economy. Engines with 500 horsepower or less will require one diesel particulate filter; engines with 550 or more horsepower will require dual filters. The filter system also provides sound attenuation and will be serviced by the Caterpillar dealers and authorized truck dealers.

Cat to produce automatic on-highway transmissions

By Ingrid Phaneuf

Caterpillar is developing a complete line of fully automatic, planetary transmissions designed specifically for vocational applications.

Caterpillar plans to begin production of these transmissions later this year, with availability in 2006.

The new vocational on-highway transmissions are based on existing transmissions that have proven themselves in Caterpillar articulated trucks, said company officials at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

“Customers and original equipment manufacturers have been asking Caterpillar to provide automatic transmissions that can be matched with the Cat on-highway engines they are already buying,” said Caterpillar vice president Chris Schena. “When matched with a Cat engine, these new transmissions will deliver improved performance, fuel economy and reliability while giving North American vocational truck owners another choice in the marketplace.”

The six-speed CX31 transmission will be compatible with Caterpillar C11, C13 and C15 engines. The eight-speed super-heavy-duty CX35 transmission will match up with higher horsepower C15 ratings for on-highway vocational trucks.

“When packaged with a Cat on-highway engine, these transmissions will give vocational truck customers the option for one source for a fully integrated power train, which means product support is greatly simplified,” said Caterpillar group president Gerry Shaheen. “This means these customers will be able to use Caterpillar’s dealer network for service solutions and product support.”

Warranty and extended service coverage for the transmissions will be matched to the engine.

Volvo’s new 16-litre D16 first of new family of engines

By Ingrid Phaneuf

Volvo VNs will be available later this year with the new 16-litre Volvo D16 engine.

The Volvo D16 will be available in the VNL Daycab, the VNL 430, VNL 630, VNL 670 and VNL 780 sleeper cab tractors. Orders for the Volvo VNL with D16 will be accepted beginning in June, with production beginning in late August.

The D16 is also available in the Volvo VT 880, which was introduced in early February 2005.

The D16 is cast and machined at Volvo’s foundry and engine plant in Skvde, Sweden, and assembled in Hagerstown, Md.

The D16 represents the first of Volvo’s new family of engines for North America and will be targeted at line-haul fleets and heavy truckload applications that want to run full loads at high legal average speeds as efficiently as possible, said Scott Kress, senior vice president.

Available ratings for the D16 in all Volvo VNL models are:

* 450 hp @ 1650 lb-ft

* 500 hp @ 1650 lb-ft

* 500 hp @ 1850 lb-ft (I-Torque)

* 535 hp @ 1850 lb-ft (I-Torque)

Both the 500 hp @ 1850 lb-ft and 535 hp @ 1850 lb-ft ratings have Volvo’s Intelligent Torque, or I-Torque, torque management system. I-Torque protects drivelines from excessive torque at low speeds. For the Volvo VNL with D16, I-Torque is designed to extend tire wear and protect drivelines by limiting engine torque output to 1650 lb-ft in startup gears, switching to 1850 lb-ft as speed increases.

The Volvo D16 offers Volvo VN customers advantages in terms of performance, operational costs and enhanced resale values, said company officials. For instance, the D16 maintains high torque capacity at high altitudes, which means stronger engine performance and better fuel economy while operating in the mountains. Also, the D16 has a standard oil change interval of 25,000 miles, while an optional cast aluminum oil pan with a 55-quart capacity permits an extended oil change interval of 35,000 miles. And the resale values of vehicles equipped with the D16 can be enhanced, since the engine can be uprated to the manufacturer-specified limits of the drivetrain in terms of horsepower and torque.

The Volvo D16’s larger displacement gives it advantages over existing 15-litre engines, said officials. The larger bore (or diameter) of the D16’s cylinders gives the tops of its pistons more surface area. This means it can generate more power and torque than a 15-litre engine, with lower internal forces. And its shorter stroke means less piston travel inside the cylinder, which Volvo has found leads to less engine wear. Shorter-stroke engines also have less stress on the cylinder liner walls during the stroke. These design factors lead to a longer service life.

Service life is enhanced by the length of the Volvo D16 engine block, said officials, explaining the D16’s block has more space between the cylinders, which makes the base engine stronger, and results in more consistent engine temperatures. This reduces mechanical and thermal stresses, which can prematurely weaken engines.

International unveils new big bore engine platform

By Ingrid Phaneuf

International Truck and Engine Corporation offered the first look at its new International brand big bore diesel engine at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The new line of big bore diesels will provide greater choice to owners and operators of Class 8 highway tractors and severe service trucks. The fully emissions compliant engine, in the 11- to 13-litre range, is projected to debut in International Class 8 vehicles in fall 2007.

“With this introduction, Class 8 customers gain a valuable alternative from an integrated truck and engine company,” said Jack Allen, president, International Engine Group. “It will be specifically engineered to integrate leading diesel technologies with cab, chassis and systems innovations, all backed by the industry’s largest dealer, service and parts network.”

Allen stressed that the new engine is a “true big bore platform” a full step up in size and power from International’s leading mid-range diesels.

The big bore diesel includes:

* Performance driven direct injection high-pressure common rail electronic fuel system capable of multiple injection events.

* Single overhead cam actuated with 4-valves/cylinder and roller rocker arms.

* Graphite Iron cylinder block for strength and low weight.

* Gear-driven air compressor and power steering pump.

* Rear gear train and pad mounted accessories designed for low noise.

Officials also announced the company is expanding upon the technology platform it has been developing for the last five years, Green Diesel Technology.

Great Dane unveils a cool new concept in trailer insulation

By Lou Smyrlis

Great Dane Trailers says its ThermoGuard refrigerated trailer insulation, unveiled at the Mid-America Trucking Show, will substantially extend the useful life and value of reefers.

“Trailers age because of the “outgassing” effects of the foam insulation and moisture intrusion. This product addresses the outgassing effect and maintains the insulating performance of the trailer as it ages,” said Rick Mullinix, vice president, engineering for Great Dane in explaining how liners that don’t completely seal the insulation result in outgassing that causes the foam to degrade over time. The only way to compensate for the decreasing insulation performance has been to make sure the cooling unit had enough excess capacity to maintain temperatures over the course of time.

But ThermoGuard, a glass-reinforced, thermoplastic liner, contains a composite layer that seals the trailer’s insulation, significantly reducing the traditional loss in insulation performance, according to Mullinix.

Designed and engineered by Great Dane, ThermoGuard is available exclusively on all of the company’s refrigerated trailers.

ThermoGuard’s construction also offers benefits in addition to the reduction in foam degradation, according to company officials. They say to expect a reduction in operational costs through decreased cooling unit run-time due to less fuel consumption, less maintenance and extended life of the unit. Extended productivity and longer useful lifecycles are also obtained as ThermoGuard assists in the insulation performance of a trailer as it ages, it is claimed.

The building block of ThermoGuard is Great Dane’s PunctureGuard, a product exclusive to Great Dane that is available as a scuffband and a liner and includes puncture resistance.

With its smooth, uniform surface, ThermoGuard also helps to maintain an attractive appearance on the interior walls year after year.

“The value of a refrigerated trailer is contingent on its thermal performance. It is imperative that a reefer operates efficiently not only today, but also for the life of the trailer,” said Chris Adkins, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Great Dane offers new solution for temperature-sensitive loads

By Lou Smyrlis

Great Dane says its new i-Van is a versatile trailer designed and engineered to offer semi-insulated properties in conjunction with the strength and durability of the Classic dry freight van.

“From candy to chemicals, Great Dane’s new i-Van is truly a versatile trailer and the solution for temperature-sensitive loads,” said Chris Adkins, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Great Dane Trailers.

In the past, trailer manufacturers used fiberglass and plywood for semi-insulated vans, much like the materials employed to insulate a house. As materials progressed, and trucking customers expressed a need for better thermal insulation, Great Dane moved to the spray foam method of insulation. While this was an improvement, it was a tedious, manual process and the foam had to be hand-shaved so that the plywood would fit over it. The shaving also affected the integrity of the insulation.

Great Dane’s new foam press method for trailer insulation provides a number of benefits.

“It is a more uniform process, and a better process, that results in a cleaner appearance,” said Phill Pines, chief operating officer, Great Dane Trailers. “We are spending $5 million to re-tool our refrigerated and specialty dry freight trailer production lines at our Brazil manufacturing facility, where the new i-Van semi-insulated vans will be built. The re-tooling consists of adding the specialty foam presses to build i-Van as well as refrigerated trailer wall and roof assemblies. These units will be part of our new modular design assembly, which allows for reduced manufacturing cost while at the same time lowering the weight of the trailer and improving the design integrity.”

i-Van combines the traditional sheet-and-post construction of a van with the press-panel insulated technology of a reefer, which creates a modular wall construction without the need to spray and shave urethane insulation prior to trailer completion. By eliminating shaving, which causes an opening in the cell structure, i-Van offers advantages over other semi-insulated vans by providing a flat, smooth, interior lining with minimal fasteners, the company claims.

The i-Van integrates modular insulated side and roof panels onto a van floor, which also can be insulated upon request. The interior is glass-reinforced plastic, with Great Dane’s exclusive PunctureGuard being the ideal specification. The standard interior lining is 0.050-inch PunctureGuard installed full length to the frontwall. Options for thicker PunctureGuard interior linings are available.

Peterbilt unveils new Model 386 and advanced ABS option

By Ingrid Phaneuf

Peterbilt Motors Company made several introductions at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., including the new Model 386.

Peterbilt’s new model 386 business class truck has aerodynamic styling, improving on the efficiency of the 385-120 model by 10% said company officials.

Design changes include a new sun visor. Also new in the 386 is a bumper made of Metton – a composite 60% lighter than steel but highly durable according to company officials.

The 386 includes a new chassis design allowing for a lower radiator mounting and a new front axle position. The repositioning of the latter improves weight-loading capabilities and allows for a shorter wheelbase, that combined with a 50-degree wheel cut, reduces the wall-to-wall turning radius by 12 inches.

Easier access to underhood components, multiplexed electronic technology for gauges and instrumentation, integrated headlamps, new interior packages and optional Unibilt sleeper system are also available on the 386.

Peterbilt also introduced a new braking system for select Class 8 Petes, the ABS-6, which is considered the next generation Bendix antilock braking system. It will be available starting this April.

ArvinMeritor expanding into alternative-fueled vehicle solutions

By Lou Smyrlis

ArvinMeritor has entered into a new alternative-power vehicle development program – focusing on an electric drivetrain – with Unicell Ltd., a medium-duty body builder with operations in Toronto, Ontario, and Buffalo, N.Y.

The new electric drive vehicle, with a GVWR of 16,000 lbs., will be equipped with a fully-electric drivetrain and will be demonstrated to the public in 2006.

The initial vehicle application is for pickup and delivery vehicles, said Garrick Hu, vice president of Advanced Engineering for ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business unit. The particular fleet name is being withheld pending completion of the vehicle development.

“We are leveraging our experience in electric drive axles and are gaining the know-how to design similar systems for other applications, such as school bus and low-floor bus and coach vehicles,” he said. Hu commented that many commercial vocational applications exist where this type of zero emissions vehicle will become dominant over the next five to 15 years, primarily due to reduced emissions in urban environments.

The rate of adoption will be largely dependent on the cost of battery energy storage relative to the cost of fossil fuel.

Our experience with Cat’s ’07 engine and new auto transmission

By James Menzies

Caterpillar had two much-anticipated prototypes available for ride and drives at the Mid-America Trucking Show: Its 2007 engine and new automatic transmission.

The new engine was a 2007 C13 with 470 hp and 1,650 lb/ft of torque. It was paired with a 10-speed Eaton transmission and the truck/trailer combo grossed at 76,000 lbs. The engine was among the first ’07 engines to be built and had racked up 643 miles before debuting to the public at MATS.

As expected, the engine was fitted with a diesel particulate filter, but since it replaced the traditional muffler, there was very little weight gain. In fact, Cat’s Phil Hook said the engine weighed about the same as current models.

Having made the drive from Texas to Kentucky, the inside of the smokestack was still gleaming silver, attesting to the cleanliness of the 2007 formula. The Pete 387 the engine was paired with drove like it should – with no noticeable difference than current Cat engines on the market.

Test driver and application engineer Hook has racked up countless miles on virtually every Cat engine to hit the market and not even he could feel any difference between the 2007 model and today’s engine lineup.

Cat officials said it’s too soon to know where the ’07 ACERT engines will stand when it comes to fuel mileage, but they aim to be fuel neutral. Pricing information was also unavailable at the time of the ride and drive.

After the show, the new engine was to be driven to Peoria, Ill. where it is going to be put to work 24 hours, seven days a week running back and forth from Peoria to Chicago. Caterpillar has a ready supply of ultra low sulfur diesel at its disposal in Peoria, making it the ideal place to conduct testing.

Cat also plans to have similar engines in the hands of some customers in the near future so the new engine can rack up additional highway miles.

Motortruck also had the chance to check out Caterpillar’s new fully-automatic six-speed transmission. Although it’s the first time Cat’s automatic transmissions have been introduced to the trucking industry at large, the company has been building auto transmissions for 30 years.

They’ve been a common spec’ in Caterpillar’s articulated dump trucks and other construction equipment.

The company says it’s taken the internal components from that transmission and housed them in aluminum housing. Cat officials say the transmission will be best suited for vocational applications including construction and logging.

The new transmission showcased at MATS was fitted with a Kenworth dump truck. It shifted seamlessly on our drive around the Kentucky Fairgrounds and performed like you’d expect the transmission from your everyday passenger car to perform.

Disc brakes now available for all Freightliner trucks

By Ingrid Phaneuf

Disc brake technology is now available on all Class 8, medium-duty and Business Class M2 Freightliner truck models, courtesy of Bendix/Spicer.

Air disc brakes offer several performance advantages including improved brake pedal feel and reduced brake fade, officials said.

“Freightliner Trucks was the pioneer in the industry by being the first to offer disc brake technology back in the seventies,” said Mark Lampert, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Freightliner Trucks. “The brake technology has come a long way since then.”

Brake fade, a phenomenon of decreasing performance from heat build-up in drum brakes, is minimized with the latest Bendix/Spicer disc brake technology, said Freightliner officials. Brake fade reductions are seen during prolonged brake applications with disc brakes. This is advantageous for braking on steep and long downhill slopes. The disc brakes also include a simpler design, allowing for fast and easy servicing, said officials.

Freightliner vehicles must be equipped with proprietary front axles to receive the disc brake option. The brakes can be spec’d for 24.5-inch tires.

“Operators like the braking capabilities of disc brakes. Braking feels smooth and responsive with minimal hesitation,” said Lampert. “Looking towards the future, new brake standards are expected in the next several years,” Lampert added. “Disc brakes will continue to be one of the braking alternatives.”

The Bendix/Spicer air disc brakes are now available on all Freightliner heavy duty vehicles including the Coronado, Century Class S/T, Columbia, Classic XL, Classic, Argosy and Condor, as well as the entire Business Class M2 product line.

Freightliner also used the Mid-America Trucking Show as the platform to launch a new instrument cluster, now available as standard, for the Freightliner Century Class S/T and Coronado heavy duty vehicles. The new instrument cluster uses a single-unit circuit board design for greater reliability, and includes eight gauges, including tachometer and speedometer, and has the capacity to expand to 12 gauges. All gauges, except for air pressure, are digitally controlled.

Many former options now standard with Kenworth’s 2006 models

Kenworth’s 2006 truck lineup will see many former options become standard specs.

The dash includes a newly designed speedometer and tachometer and a host of large two-inch diameter gauges that now have standard chrome bezels. Other new standard features include an outside temperature gauge, engine hour meter, odometer and trip odometer.

The dash rocker switches are now larger and they also include LED indicator lights. Up to five pre-wired spare switches are now optional, providing more flexibility for customization.

Other options that are now standard include DayLite doors, power door locks and electric window lifts (on the passenger side). Two versions of the interior are available: The Diamond (luxury) and Splendor (functional).

Kenworth also announced improvements to the interior lighting of its 2006 trucks.

The company says its 2006 models are also quieter than their predecessors. This was achieved by using scientific testing to pinpoint where noise was entering the cab on previous models. Kenworth then applied special materials in key areas to achieve a 1 decibel (20%) reduction in noise.

Kenworth’s W900, T800 and C500 are now available with curved windshields (as well as the previous flat windshield). And day cab operators can spec’ a large 17×36-inch rear cab window.

Kenworth has also announced its T800 can now be spec’d with a front engine power take-off (FEPTO), making it ideal for snowplow, mixer and crane applications.

Western Star expands offerings for LowMax

By Lou Smyrlis

Western Star Trucks has made several enhancements and additions to its LowMax chassis, including new lowered front and rear suspensions, horizontal exhausts, forward-mounted 23-inch fuel tanks and a day cab.

For applications such as auto or boat hauling that required the lowest possible configuration, the truck maker has brought in an even lower LowMax package. It has dropped the front suspension two and half inches more than the standard LowMax to get to the necessary height.

Another component contributing to the ultra-low LowMax is the new low-ride AirLiner rear suspension. Normally spec’d at a ride height of eight inches, this lowered suspension now rides at six inches. The updated front and rear suspension offerings help deliver a 101-inch ground-to-roof height. That’s three inches lower than the standard LowMax configuration.

Looking to address the needs of auto haulers particularly concerned keeping exhaust fumes away from their cargo, Western Star is now offering the option of a horizontal exhaust. This option is also worth considering for truckers needing to maximize cab clearance for rack or body installation, Western Star says.

And for heavy cargo applications that require additional weight on the front of the truck for correct distribution, Western Star is making available forward-mounted fuel tanks. Mounted under the cab door, these tanks can be relocated to preserve the LowMax low profile.

Finally, to address the needs of operations with short hauling applications, Western Star introduced a day cab option for its 4900 FA and 4900 EX.

Western Star also announced new cab and sleeper insulation, an all-wheel drive option and a restyled hood for other trucks in its lineup. Later this year, all Western Star models are to be manufactured with new insulation in the cab and sleeper. The insulation will be installed on the walls, ceiling and along the alcove by the exhaust cut-out in the sleeper and cab. Reflective film on the insulation will also help improve the thermal control properties.

For applications demanding additional traction and power, such as maneuvering through deep mud and climbing up and down slick ramps while dismantling oil rigs in oil field applications, Western Star has designed an all-wheel drive option for its 6900 XD Twin-Steer.

The truck maker also restyled its 109-inch BBC 4900 SA to reflect the same family look as the 123-inch BBC 4900 SA. With its new stainless steel side intakes, improved visibility and increased aerodynamics, Western Star is tagging this truck as an ideal choice for vocational applications requiring a shorter BBC with a set-back axle.

Finally, the company announced that all Western Star models will now offer Hendrickson’s HAULMAXX rear suspension and the PRIMAXX rear air suspension.

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