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More Class 8 Buyers spec’ing air disc brakes

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Interest in air disc brakes is growing among Class 8 truck buyers, say Kenworth officials.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Interest in air disc brakes is growing among Class 8 truck buyers, say Kenworth officials.

The company recently began offering Dana Spicer ESD225 air disc brakes on T600 and T800 Kenworth models.

Leading the way is Contract Freighters, Inc. (CFI). The Joplin, Mo.-based truckload fleet is going standard with disc brakes on all new Kenworth trucks it purchases over the next few years.

Bruce Stockton, vice president of operations for CFI, said his company believes spec’ing disc brakes will help the company lower operating costs.

“We have been testing disc brakes on a Kenworth T2000 for over three years now,” Stockton said. “I’ve driven that truck and Glenn Brown, our chairman, has driven it. That convinced us that we needed to spec disc brakes on all our trucks as soon as possible. It’s an additional cost, but we believe it will save us money in the end. Every new Kenworth T600 we buy between now and 2006 will have air disc brakes on the front.”

Stockton said CFI worked closely with Kenworth to give input on the new brakes. “We’ve had a long relationship with Kenworth and weve benefited from that partnership with the introduction of new components,” he said. “We’ve always had excellent support from their engineering team. Twice a year, Kenworth sends an engineer to our facility and were able to share ideas and look at whats new and what can help us save money.”

Jim Bechtold, Kenworth’s chief engineer, said fleet interest in heavy-duty air disc brakes is rising because of the improvements made to their design in recent years.

“They have better actuators and better performance,” he said. “They’ve improved significantly compared to first-generation air disc products offered in the North American truck market.”

Bechtold said the long pad life of the Dana Spicer air disc product would allow many fleets to get a payback in maintenance costs. “A typical truckload fleet should be able to eliminate at least one reline and drum replacement,” he said. “That translates into a savings of around $700 in maintenance costs over 500,000 miles.”

Truck operators that spec disc brakes now may also get valuable experience with them ahead of new brake standards expected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “It’s expected that the chassis stopping distance could be reduced significantly in the new regulations,” said Bechtold. “Disc brakes will probably be one of the compliance alternatives. Kenworth is again leading the industry by offering Dana Spicer’s air disc brakes.”

The Dana Spicer air disc brake features a straightforward design that reduces maintenance costs while the brake’s caliper design provides strong caliper support, minimal slide pin wear and reduced lining and rotor wear. In addition, quick-change brake linings and a unitized actuator minimize maintenance labor and expense. Plus, fade resistance is improved under extreme high brake temperatures.

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