The US Environmental Protection Agency is demanding the trucking industry reduce its emissions by 90% in 2007. It's no small feat, and in order to comply, manufacturers will have to introduce new comp...
The US Environmental Protection Agency is demanding the trucking industry reduce its emissions by 90% in 2007. It’s no small feat, and in order to comply, manufacturers will have to introduce new components as well as a costly aftertreatment system. Since August, Truck West has been exploring, in detail, each element of the 2007 emissions equation. We conclude the series this month with Part 5 – a look at the trucks themselves.
After four months of discussing key changes ranging from diesel particulate filters to heavy-duty engines themselves, the conclusion of this series may seem a bit anti-climactic.
For the most part, you’d need a keen eye to discern any differences between the 2006 and 2007 tractors. Of course, the diesel particulate filter (DPF) will immediately catch your eye, but beyond that not a whole lot has been changed on the chassis itself.
The one difference that will be seen right across the board, is an increase in cooling capacity.
This is necessary to handle the increased heat generated by larger amounts of EGR and ACERT. The result will be larger radiators and perhaps even bigger fans.
The Freightliner Century Class, for instance, will now boast a 1,625-square-inch radiator. Thanks to the larger rad, less fan-on time is required.
This is beneficial for fuel economy as it now takes up to 40 hp to power the fan.
In some cases, the frame has been slightly modified to accommodate the DPF.
Sterling and Western Star trucks will feature an expanded front frame so the wider radiator can sit lower on the truck.
“The radiator was widened and lowered so we didn’t have to raise the hood or modify the cab to fit it in there,” Dan Silbernagel, product strategy for Western Star and Sterling said at the Global Petroleum Show earlier this year. The frame alterations helped both Sterling and Western Star to accommodate the larger radiator without drastically changing the appearance of the truck.
On some truck models, the radiator will be engine-mounted rather than frame-mounted to further aid in the cooling process.
Some of the more subtle changes to some brands of trucks won’t be found on the first 2007 engine-equipped trucks to hit the market.
“As of Jan. 1, unfortunately we won’t have everything done, the changes to the vehicles are so drastic. The higher volume vehicles, we made changes to those first,” explained Silbernagel of Sterling and Western Star.
“By April 1, 2007 we will have the majority of the North American market available and by January 2008 all products will be fully available.”
Inside the cab, the most obvious change will be the addition of a lamplight that indicates when a manual regeneration of the DPF is required.
It’s an industry standard and will be found in the same place regardless of the truck’s make and model. A switch on the dashboard can trigger a manual regeneration if required.
Some fleet managers may opt to remove the switches to take control of the regeneration process out of the hands of their drivers.
If this is done, a handheld device can be used to trigger regenerations when required.
“In most cases the fleet owners who requested not to have the drivers in control will have their technicians in charge,” Silbernagel told Truck West. “With that option you have to wait until the truck comes back and the information is then downloaded.”
The standard muffler as you know it today will be replaced by the DPF.
A driver who attempts to remove the aftertreatment device will soon find out the vehicle won’t run without it.
DPFs can be mounted vertically or horizontally, impacting the appearance of the vehicle.
Various configurations will be available that will result in different locations for items such as air tanks, fuel tanks and battery boxes.
When all is said and done, trucks with 2007 engines will not look radically different than today’s models.
Despite the significant changes under the hood, the packaging will remain much the same.
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