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Freightliner turns up the heat on truck testing

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Making the most of the summer season, Freightliner test trucks are out in the hottest, most humid...

PORTLAND, Ore. — Making the most of the summer season, Freightliner test trucks are out in the hottest, most humid and highest altitude locations in the country, putting their performance capabilities to the test.

Each year, Freightliner’s “Summer Test” convoy of Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star trucks, as well as Thomas Built Buses, is sent to the harshest environments in the US for extreme performance testing.

This year’s convoy faces long, grueling days of 120F temperatures in the Death Valley area of Nevada; 12,000-foot altitudes and severe mountainous grades in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado; and 95% humidity in the Galveston, Tex. area.

“We outfit each vehicle with a host of on-board computers and instrumentation equipment that measure multiple areas of vehicle performance including temperatures, pressures, strains, component interaction, and powertrain and engine operation,” said Ramin Younessi, chief engineer of test engineering with Freightliner. “Then we push the
trucks to the limit. The three test sites in Nevada, Colorado and Texas provide some of the most demanding summer environments in the country. We run the vehicles all day, in the scorching heat, up and down 10-mile climbs, steep grades and high altitudes.”

The “Summer Test” convoy is part of Freightliner’s year-round testing program, which also includes cold temperature performance, high mileage and accelerated durability testing, as well as aerodynamic testing in its full-scale wind tunnel.

This year’s “Summer Test” also featured the collaborative efforts between Freightliner engineers and the Detroit Diesel and Mercedes-Benz Engine engineers.

“A talented team of our engineers that handle the engineering for our Series 60 and Mercedes-Benz engines, the MBE 4000 and MBE 900, are participating in these important performance trials, leading the effort in testing and data collection,” said Walter Puetz, senior vice-president of engineering for Detroit Diesel. “We are working
very closely with Freightliner Test Engineering to ensure that we offer the best and most fully-integrated product.”

Along with new EPA 07 Detroit Diesel Series 60 and MBE 4000 and 900 diesel engines, the “Summer Test” trucks are equipped with Caterpillar C13 and C15, and Cummins ISB and ISC 07 diesel engines.

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