The pressure is on

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Detroit Diesel Corp. plans to begin building a new heavy-duty diesel engine line at its Redford, Mich., manufacturing facility by 2007. The new engine platform initially will be sold in tandem with the company’s Series 60 engine and will be installed in heavy-duty vehicles produced by Freightliner for the North American market. Detroit Diesel also plans North American assembly of the MBE 900 medium-duty diesel engine at Redford by 2007.

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire and Bridgestone/ Firestone Canada have announced price increases for 2005 of up to 7 percent on the companies’ original equipment and replacement tire lines.

Detailed truck schematics and parts lists now are available through the Internet with Peterbilt’s TruckCare Web ECAT (electronic catalog). Visit www.peterbilt.com for more information.

Dana Corporation announced the completion of a $6 million expansion of its heavy-vehicle research and development center in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Speedco has opened its first West Coast facility in Corning, Calif. The new location, Speedco’s 33rd, will offer quick-lube and tire services.

The new Kenworth White Paper on Powertrain Spec’ing provides information to help fleets make powertrain-spec’ing decisions for Class 8 trucks. See your KW dealer or visit
this site.

BP Lubricants Americas has launched Castrol GTX Diesel 15w-40 oil for use in smaller, light-truck diesel engines.

ArvinMeritor unveiled a new trailer suspension, the RideStar RFS30T, designed specifically for Mexico and vocational applications in the United States and Canada.

The Holland Group has announced that Stoughton Trailers has selected the CB4000 Air-Ride Suspension System as its standard offering on all van trailers.

One provision of the upcoming rules to implement the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act could require commercial vehicles to be equipped with tire-pressure monitoring systems.

That’s because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government agency responsible for the rulemaking, knows that underinflation is the No. 1 cause of premature tire failure, and is responsible for nearly all of those ugly, dangerous shards of rubber on the road, for which retreaded tires often are blamed falsely.

As a result, Bridgestone and Continental AG have joined forces to develop an advanced tire-pressure monitoring system for commercial vehicles. The two companies aim to begin mass-producing the system in 2007. The technology centers on a module that runs without batteries and installs on the inside surface of tires. The module will function as a sensor that gauges air pressure and temperature, and wheel arch modules will pick up the measurements and supply energy to the tire module. The two companies also plan to develop peripheral technologies to enable drivers and maintenance personnel to monitor sensor readings.

Meanwhile, Siemens VDO Automotive AG and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company have adapted the Tire IQ system, originally developed for passenger cars, for use in trucks. The system monitors tire pressure continuously via a 360-degree antenna built into the tire, which maintains continuous radio contact with a transceiver-receiver when the vehicle is moving or idling. Go to www.usa.siemensvdo.com for more information.

And, finally, SmarTire Systems announced that it has been granted a U.S. patent protecting its innovative multi-mount technology for the installation of sensors in tire-pressure monitoring systems. The multi-mount system enables a common sensor to be used to satisfy a variety of vehicle platforms using different mounting methods such as strap, valve or bonded. This, the company says, offers a single solution regardless of wheel design, and the ability to use aftermarket wheels without disabling the original monitoring system.

For more information, visit this site.


Pull it over, Bud
This one will be tough to get away from. Chevy’s new Police Tahoe boasts a standard, 295-hp, 5.3-liter Vortec V8 that puts out 330 lb-ft of torque. Engineered for severe-duty enforcement use, Chevy says the new package is an ideal mix of utility, cargo room and visibility. To stand up to those high-speed chases, the Police Tahoe comes with H-speed-rated tires, heavy-duty suspension and cooling system, and Hydroboost four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS. A skid plate and tire-pressure monitor also help out if and when the going gets rough.


Rise & shine
Hendrickson Aero Bright bumpers offer what’s claimed to be the industry’s first mirror-finish, non-metal bumper. Behind the brilliant finish, the new bumpers deliver durability and high-impact resistance in a lightweight package.

Hendrickson joined forces with one of the industry’s leading weatherable film producers to develop a mirror-finish film, which is integrated into a thermoforming process. To achieve strength and durability, special manufacturing techniques are used to retain the thickness of material when forming the bumpers.

This technology, says Hendrickson, also can be adapted to grills, headlight bezels and other components. Hendrickson holds exclusive rights to this weatherable film technology for the Class 5-8 commercial vehicle market.


Kiss wheel-end preload worries goodbye
A design improvement on ArvinMeritor’s Triad non-driven wheel-end retaining system, says Al Hagelthorn, Rather Engineering, has made it possible for technicians to assemble components and adjust the preload quickly – with assurance that the adjustment is within approved limits.

The trick is a small nib on the nut and a grooved washer that stop the nut at the point of rotation where securement of the pre-positioned adjustment is within the limits of SAE Standard J2535.

The name of the new system? The Hagelnut, of course. For more info, call Rather Engineering at (313) 561-8752.


Equipment Puzzler
In November, we asked: What is the origin of our word, grease?

The word comes from the Latin crassus, which means fat. The substance was used widely by the Romans to reduce friction in wooden wheels and spindles.

Dave DuVal, quality control superintendent, Dept. of Vehicle Services, Fairfax County, Va., was the first to e-mail the correct answer to prichards@ccjmagazine.com, and he’ll receive a chrome CCJ pen and a copy of the Air Brake Book. You can, too, if you’re first to answer this month’s Puzzler correctly, or if you send in a Puzzler and we use it.

This month’s Puzzler:
An engine is turning at 1500 rpm, and the output shaft of the transmission it’s coupled to is turning at 1700 rpm in top gear. How would you verbally and numerically express the transmission’s final drive ratio?