Mitsubishi Fuso for ’05

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TravelCenters of America is expanding services to include maintenance of refrigerated trailers at TA facilities nationwide.

SKF/Chicago Rawhide recently participated in the 2004 Charlotte Muscle Team Event in the fight against Muscular Dystrophy. The yearly event benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association through a silent auction and appearances by various sports personalities.

Michelin Americas Research & Development Corp. has won the 2003 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Excellence in Transportation Award in the Mobile Energy Emissions category for Michelin’s X One wide single truck tire. SAE cited the tire’s potential benefits to the environment, including energy savings and emissions reduction.

ArvinMeritor has signed a memorandum of understanding with Axle Alliance Co. (AAC), a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler headquartered in Detroit. ArvinMeritor will be the turnkey supplier of heavy-duty, tandem rear drive axles to AAC for Freightliner Class 8 trucks.

ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants has reformulated its Chevron Delo 400 motor oil for increased soot dispersancy, anti-wear characteristics and extended drain intervals. The oil meets the upcoming API CI-4 Plus standard for low-emission engines.

Great Dane Trailers has opened a new, 35,000-square-foot branch facility in Mount Joy, Pa.

With two companies jumping into the North American low-cab-forward (LCF) market this year, and one jumping out, it can be hard to know what to expect in this segment. But Mitsubishi Fuso seems committed to doing what it’s always done – making its LCFs better – with tweaks to its FM Class 6 and 7 trucks, and a complete redesign of its FE Class 3-5 vehicles for 2005. The ’05 lineup also will include low-profile, crew-cab and 4WD models, along with an air-suspension option.

The mission statement remains as all-encompassing as always, with intended applications including refrigerated delivery, landscaping, delicate cargo transport, auto recovery, municipal roadwork, snow plowing, dry freight and even heavier hauling.

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For ’05, FE models and the 4WD FG get a new 4M50, 4.9L, DOHC, dual-balance-shaft, intercooled, 4-cylinder turbo diesel, rated at 147-175 hp and 347-391 lb-ft of torque, depending on GVW and transmission choice. Mitusbishi 5- and 6-speed manuals and an Aisin 6-speed, overdrive automatic are available.

FK and FM Class 6 and 7 trucks will benefit from the 6M60, 7.5L, SOHC, intercooled, 6-cylinder turbo diesel, producing 243-274 hp and 514-593 lb-ft of torque, again depending on GVW and transmission. A Mitsubishi 6-speed, Allison 5- or 6-speed overdrive automatic and an Eaton 9-speed manual are available.

Class 3 and 4 FEs (except for crew cab) now get the FE 180’s Class 5, 33.1-inch straight ladder frame, for ease of body fitting and chassis stiffness, which – combined with laminated leaf springs and stabilizer bars, front and rear – should contribute to improved handling.

FE models are hauled down from speed by servo-assisted, dual-caliper, hydraulic discs with ABS, while the larger FK 200 and FM 260 use air/hydraulic drums, and the FM 330 gets full air with drums.

Additional features and improvements cited by Mitsubishi Fuso include:

  • A super-tight turning radius – as small as 35.1 feet with a 114.6-inch wheelbase on FE models;
  • Door hinges that open 70 degrees, then push forward several inches, allowing easy access with limited intrusion of the open door into traffic;
  • Roomier cabs for FE and FG models, with a dash-mounted transmission shifter that keeps the floor area clear for easy egress on the safer, curb side;
  • Consolidated steering wheel tilt/telescoping control for quick adjustment;
  • Sleeker styling for improved looks and reduced wind noise;
  • Standard daytime running lights and power windows (except crew cab);
  • Door-mounted crush bars to increase frontal impact protection;
  • Folding center and right-hand seats that form a work area, and extra storage compartments throughout;
  • A choice of five cab colors.

All models, now badged as “Fuso,” are covered by a 24-month vehicle and 36-month powertrain/no mileage limit, 100-percent parts and labor warranty. Optional plans extend specified coverages up to 60 months.

For my next trick, I’ll reline these brakes
Sometimes, ya gotta go hands-on to get it. CCJ Editor Paul Richards tries his hand at brake shoe relining – with some on-air coaching – at ArvinMeritor’s Plainfield, Ind., Commercial Vehicle Aftermarket remanufacturing center. The Plainfield facility, one of several operated by CVA, produces remanufactured brakes (enough per year that, lined-up, they reportedly would stretch from Plainfield to Manhattan), along with transmissions, axles and other brake components.

As Richards learned, remanufacturing brake shoes involves inspection, cleaning, de-lining, shot blasting, inspection, coining or truing, painting, relining and riveting and, oh yeah, inspection.

System-wide, CVA – headquartered in Florence, Ky. – supplies remanufactured brakes, drivelines, suspensions, axles, clutches, tire inflation systems and other parts and components, and supports more than 115,000 active part numbers.

Cooler volts
Robert Bosch Corp. will soon unveil its Ultra Premium Long Haul Alternator for commercial vehicles, designed to provide more power on the road or at idle. According to Bosch, the new alternator (AL9960LH), which replaces more than 220 different OE alternators, operates at more than 70 percent efficiency, as opposed to conventional replacements that operate at about 55 percent efficiency. That means more mechanical energy is transformed into electrical power, and less into heat.

The new unit reportedly produces 160 amps operating output, and 80 amps at idle, which should prolong battery life by reducing deep cycling. The secret is 30 percent more copper in the windings. Also, dual, internal cooling fans help maintain even temperature throughout the operating range, while an external regulator and rectifier, mounted in the air stream on the back of the unit, allow rapid heat dissipation.

Backed by a 24-month, 250,000-mile warranty, the Long Haul alternator will be available next month.

Equipment Puzzler
In May, we asked why you shouldn’t indiscriminately switch vehicles over to a grease that’s different from what you’ve been using. Tom Flatt from Ashland Corp. was the first to e-mail the correct answer. He wrote: “Depending on the base of the grease, you might be switching to one that isn’t compatible with your current grease, and end up with virtually no lubrication. If you do swap to a non-compatible base grease, you must completely flush out all the old grease.”

Sounds obvious, but find out what type of base the new and old greases have, and ask your supplier if they’re compatible. A polyurea-based grease, for example, is totally incompatible with lithium-based greases. Mixing the two will result in thinning and inadequate protection.

Tom, of course, gets a chrome CCJ pen and an Air Brake Book. You can, too, if you’re the first to e-mail the correct answer to this month’s puzzler to [email protected], or if you send us a puzzler that we use.

This month’s Puzzler:
To determine a vehicle’s final drive ratio, you need to know how many revolutions per mile a tire of a given size makes. In the absence of a chart, how can you determine revolutions per mile?