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Ride’n’Drive Report: 2007 Cat engine and autobox

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Caterpillar had two much-anticipated prototypes available for ride and drives at the Mid-America Trucking Show - the company's 2007 engine and its new automatic transmission....

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Caterpillar had two much-anticipated prototypes available for ride and drives at the Mid-America Trucking Show – the company’s 2007 engine and its 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 already racked up 643 miles before making its debut 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 in Peoria. 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.

Truck News 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 autoboxes 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 an aluminum casing. 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.

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