Equipment and Maintenance

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When troubleshooting automatic or automated transmissions – such at this Eaton Fuller UltraShift 10-speed – keep in mind that the problem could be with the product, the vehicle or the driver.

Automatic and automated transmissions are a fact of life for many fleets, and they bring their own set of challenges to the maintenance shop. Those challenges were addressed at the summer meeting of the Technology & Maintenance Council in Phoenix.

“Electronically controlled transmissions can produce fault codes for engines, antilock systems and pedal issues,” says Lance Peterson, service systems engineer for ZF Meritor. “A fault code doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a transmission problem.”

“You can have problems with the product, with the vehicle or with the driver,” agrees Robert Langbo, manager of technical services for Eaton Corp. “For example, a no-upshift condition could be caused by a faulty electronic control unit, a disruption in the J1939 data bus, bad OE wiring or low engine power.” Langbo suggests troubleshooting in a methodical manner, looking for obvious problems that might be found in any transmission. But, “make sure you can produce the failure,” he cautions. “You can’t fix what you can’t see.”

“Start with the basics,” says Keith Duner, manager of the Service Technology Group at Allison Transmission. “Look at fluid level and condition. Check the batteries and charging system, and make sure you have power and ground. How are the harnesses and connectors? Pinched or cut?”

“Training should come first – for technicians and drivers,” insists Dell Schweiger, technical trainer for Waste Management. While the need for technician training seems obvious, drivers need to learn how to accurately communicate symptoms to shop personnel, Schweiger says.
All agree that, when a problem can’t be solved using existing resources, the best bet is to get assistance. Don’t guess.

For more information, visit the websites of the major automatic transmission suppliers:, and

The Environmental Protection Agency has revised its regulations requiring availability of information for use of onboard diagnostic systems (OBDs) and emissions-related repairs on 1994 and later light-duty vehicles and 2005 and later vehicles weighing 14,000 pounds GVW or less.

These regulations, in part, require OEMs to:

  • List all of its emissions-related service and repair information on a website called FedWorld (including the cost of each item and where it can be purchased).
  • Either provide enhanced information to equipment and tool companies or make OEM-specific diagnostic tools available for purchase by aftermarket technicians.
  • Make reprogramming capability available to independent service and repair professionals if their franchised dealerships have such capability.

These requirements, says EPA, are intended to ensure that aftermarket service and repair facilities have access to the same emissions-related service information, in the same or similar manner, as that provided by OEMs to their dealerships. Violators can face stiff fines.

For more information, contact Holly Pugliese, Certification and Compliance Div., U.S. EPA, 2000 Traverwood, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48105; (734) 214-4288, or

Fleetguard, a Nashville-based subsidiary of Cummins, is introducing Enviroguard, a line of products designed to control oil drip and filter crankcase aerosols in diesel engines. Enviroguard filters crankcase emissions commonly known as blowby – the result of high-pressure gases and oils escaping around piston rings and venting to the atmosphere. The oily mist attracts dust and airborne particles, resulting in an accumulation of contaminants, both on the engine and on the surface beneath it. This condition increases the clean-up required in the engine compartment and results in unsightly oil drips on highways, parking lots, garage floors and driveways.

Enviroguard captures, separates and coalesces air particulates in the blowby emissions and returns the oil to the crankcase with filtered gases vented to the atmosphere. During 500,000 miles of operation, oil drips from a wire mesh breather system reportedly can result in as much as two quarts of oil being lost. Enviroguard is claimed to reduce oil drippage to less than six tablespoons.

Enviroguard requires no service, says Fleetguard, and is designed to last the life of an engine. It is initially available for Cummins ISB, ISC and ISL series engines, and future systems will be introduced to cover most diesel engine applications.

Arsenault Associates has created Arsenault Data Entry Services (DES) to help fleet managers computerize their maintenance management. According to company President Charles Arsenault, the prime reason many fleets don’t purchase maintenance management software is that they don’t have in-house personnel to input the daily information needed to manage their maintenance operations.

Now, Arsenault DES will assess and develop a plan with a fleet customer who wants to outsource data entry for their Dossier software program. “A customer will still have to provide us with written information on a pre-determined basis,” says Arsenault. “We will enter, maintain and update the information, allowing the customer to view, access, and download their real-time information over the Internet using Arsenault’s 24/7 FleetOnline Application Service Provider program.”

For more information, visit this site.

Marmon-Herrington, Louisville, Ky., has issued a recall notice (NHTSA #02E-050) to the owners of medium and heavy-duty trucks, 1989 to present, with MT10 and MT11 steer-drive axles.

The company has determined that a potential safety defect exists in steer-drive axles furnished with all-wheel-drive conversions. The defect relates to the left steering knuckle, which may develop cracks in the web after extended use. The cracks, says the company, could propagate, resulting in a fracture of the knuckle and a loss of steering control.

Owners are advised to contact the company at (800) 227-0727, ext. 225 to arrange for free inspection and repair, if needed.

The Kenworth Advantages Savings Book, featuring over $3,000 in coupon savings, is now available at participating Kenworth dealerships across the United States and Canada. Offered to owner-operators and fleets, the book includes discounts on components in HVAC and electrical systems, engines, drivetrain, chassis and undercarriage.

Also included are discounts on products that focus on comfort, such as seats, refrigerators and mattresses.

As in the past, the book is available in a French edition through participating dealers in Quebec. The suggested retail price is $9.95 in both the United States and Canada.