Enhanced Automated Transmissions

New electronic capabilities have been added by Eaton to its Fuller Advantage Series and Eaton's enhanced UltraShift PLUS automated transmissions that allow for disengagement of a truck’s driveline while on slight downhill grades to drop engine speeds to idle. The new technology is said to improve fuel consumption by up to 1%.

Known internally at Eaton as Neutral Coast Mode, it will be named SmartCoast when paired with a Cummins engine, FuelEfficientCoast when paired with a Navistar engine, and NeutralCoast when paired with a PACCAR engine. It’s available on all vehicles with a 2013 or newer Cummins ISX15, Navistar N13, or PACCAR MX-13 engine.

The new option promises to bring fuel-efficiency improvements to linehaul fleets typically traveling on roads where hills and grades are present, Eaton says. Results will vary depending on the number and severity of grades encountered, of course.

NeutralCoast mode allows the transmission to disengage the driveline by pulling out of gear on downhill grades where little or no engine power is required, when the vehicle is in cruise control and the transmission is in Drive mode. The vehicle’s display will simultaneously flash a gear number that represents the gear that the transmission will select when it is necessary to engage.

The transmission exits NeutralCoast mode under any of the following conditions:

* Vehicle brakes are applied.

* Driver presses accelerator pedal.

* Cruise control is cancelled.

* A mode other than Drive is selected.

* Cruise high or low set speeds are exceeded.

* Maximum vehicle grade is exceeded.

* Request by an adaptive cruise system.

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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