Trailer systems integrated

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A new engineering and manufacturing firm, Axle Brake Technology Corp., has opened offices in Hayneville, Ala., and will provide heavy-duty axles and brake components to OE truck and trailer manufacturers and the aftermarket.

Michelin has added a new line at its Spartanburg, S.C. facility to produce additional X One wide single tires, and has expanded the tires’ availability.

Chevron Delo Extended Life Coolant now is the factory fill for Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.

Caterpillar On-Highway Group has added five new field offices to serve an expanding market. In related news, the Cat Messenger now is available on Peterbilt’s Model 387. The system provides real-time engine performance and fuel economy data.

SmarTire Systems has signed an agreement with Motor Coach Industries International (MCI) to purchase SmarTire monitoring systems.

Wabash National Corp.’s board of directors approved $10 million for the first phase of a $40 million program to replace four trailer assembly lines. The board also approved $20 million for engineering and business process improvements.

International Truck & Engine has introduced the Diamond Logic PowerPack 3,000-watt AC power system as a factory-installed option on its medium-duty and severe-service vehicles.

Peterbilt’s Class 8 low-cab forward Model 320 is available with Cummins ISM engines rated at 280-350 hp.

Sterling Trucks has introduced a new line of proprietary axles, a rear engine PTO option for the MBE 4000 engine, and a new taper-leaf front suspension, all aimed at construction.

Western Star has added eight new locations to its dealer network.

Denso will establish an engineering center in Germany for development of diesel engine components.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Peterbilt’s First Class magazine is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special edition.

Truck-Lite has published its 50th Anniversary Full Product Line Catalog. Visit this site to request one.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Dana Corp. have announced that the Dana Spicer Tire Inflation and Monitor System (TIMS) now may be combined with the new Bendix TABS-6 antilock braking system for trailers. The joint technology is managed by one electronic control unit (ECU).

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Bendix’ TABS-6 – available in 2S/1M and 4S/3M configurations – is said to be smaller and lighter, and have fewer components and connections than other systems. In addition, it offers simplified diagnostics and onboard trouble-code clearing. It also incorporates Auxiliary Design Language, which enables special functions and custom subprograms that would otherwise require independent ECUs, such as trailer tracking, lift-axle or slider-pin actuation, and ride-height adjustment.

Dana Spicer’s TIMS measures tire pressure and notifies operators, via a PLC-enabled dash light, if it falls below a predetermined level. The system incorporates a two-solenoid manifold design that allows for nonpressurized seals and lines when not inflating for maximum seal life.

TIMS checks tire pressure on power-up, and after that, every 10 minutes of operation. When a low tire is detected, the system directs air to that tire until proper inflation pressure is achieved. And in-line check valves provide tire isolation in the event of a damaged tire hose or fitting.

The integrated systems are supported by Dana PC, Bendix ACOM PC and Roadranger web-based diagnostics.

Cat pounces on the drivetrain
Caterpillar is developing a line of fully automatic, planetary transmissions for vocational truck applications.

The 6-speed CX31 transmission will be compatible with Caterpillar C11, C13 and C15 engines, while the 8-speed, super-heavy-duty CX35 transmission will match up with higher horsepower C15 ratings. Both are based on existing transmissions used in Caterpillar articulated trucks.
The company plans to begin production later this year, with availability in 2006.

Penske charged about APUs
Penske Truck Leasing has approved Auxiliary Power Dynamics’ Willis auxiliary power unit (APU) for its lease trucks. According to Bob Douglas, Penske’s vice president of maintenance, customers already have started ordering the product, which is installed at APD-approved facilities. “Our lease customers are requesting the Willis APU to reduce idling, save fuel costs and to stay comfortable in their cabs while their truck engine is shut down,” he says.

The unit is integrated into a vehicle’s heating and air conditioning system, and includes a battery-monitoring feature. It also contains an alternator, an A/C compressor and a heat exchanger for cab and sleeper heating.

In addition, the manufacturer offers an optional air compressor, air starter, oil pump for pre-lubricating the engine, and a 1,750-watt inverter for AC power.

“This is a leading auxiliary-power platform for the future,” Douglas says. “This system could enable truck manufacturers to remove components such as the alternator, air compressor and A/C compressor to reduce weight.”

Eaton analyzes vibes, dials up diagnostics
Eaton Corp.’s MD-500 is a diagnostic software program that lets a Java-enabled cell phone work as a diagnostic scan tool. Technicians can communicate via the truck’s J-1587 link, capture data and send it to a remote location, while also receiving data requests from the shop. Users can view and graph data, save information on their cell phones or store it on an Eaton website.

The software works with several Motorola and Nokia phones, and the Java capability can be downloaded for free. Access to the Eaton server costs subscribers $15 per month.

The program will be available at the end of the second quarter of 2005.

Eaton also has introduced the MD-300 Basic Vehicle Vibration Analyzer, a PC-based system of sensors, hardware and software for troubleshooting bad vibes. The system operates on Windows 2000, XP or NT.

Technicians must input parameters, such as tire height and axle ratio, before testing. Several sensors, including an accelerometer, are mounted on the truck. The vibrations that are sensed during truck operation are analyzed by the program to determine the source, and recommended repair procedures are provided.

The basic system suitable for technicians costs $5,000, while an advanced, engineering-grade system is available for $10,000.
-John Baxter

ChevronTexaco: Mineral oils can handle tighter emissions
Oils produced for the next generation of low-emissions diesel engines should offer backward compatibility in terms of maintenance practices, but “stricter emission standards don’t mean mineral oils will give way to synthetics,” according to Mark Nelson, president of ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants.

In a speech delivered at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting in Tampa, Fla., in February, Nelson said that Group II and Group III base oils can reduce sulfur and that PC-10 – the American Petroleum Institute’s temporary name for the oil standards being developed for the 2007 engines – will offer backward compatibility with earlier engines.

“PC-10 with low-sulfur diesel should extend overall maintenance schedules,” Nelson said. “Guidance will emerge from the manufacturers, who are working very hard to develop them.” PC-10 is slated to replace CI-4. A fleet could use CI-4 in 2007, but their diesel particulate filters might require more cleaning.

Nelson said that low-sulfur diesel is coming online faster than the Environmental Protection Agency mandated, but that it will present some challenges to fleets and fuel suppliers. “We concur with the EPA survey that shows 95 percent of fuel will be 15 parts per million (ppm) by mid-2005,” Nelson said.

But Nelson warned that low-sulfur fuel is much more expensive to manufacture, and “studies showing increased fuel usage due to lower energy density are realistic.” Another problem is that lowering the sulfur level removes lubricity, so additives will be needed.

And there are more obstacles. Low-sulfur diesel must be transported by the same facilities that carry other products. During pipeline transfer, there will be sulfur uptake. Because of that, the product will be 5 to 10 ppm going into the pipeline. This will be critical for fleets because contaminated fuel will produce higher particulates.

“In spite of the challenges ahead, trucking’s track record shows that it can adapt,” Nelson concluded. “We are approaching the 30th anniversary of the catalytic converter’s introduction. If we survived that, we can survive this.”
-John Baxter

Detroit Diesel revs up plans
Detroit Diesel Corp. and Freightliner LLC announced plans for a $275 million investment in DDC’s Redford, Mich., headquarters. The 3.2 million-square-foot manufacturing facility is set to be home to a new, heavy-duty engine line for 2007; Mercedes-Benz MBE 900, medium-duty engine assembly; and expanded axle assembly, with Axle Alliance expanding into gearset manufacturing.

The Redford campus also will be home to the new headquarters of Sterling Truck and Western Star Trucks, two business units of Freightliner LLC.

Stemco goes bats
With increased industry attention to proper tire maintenance, we’re seeing a proliferation in tire monitoring, inflation and management tools. Here’s a new one.

Stemco has introduced a modular system, Bat RF, that uses sensors and wireless radio-frequency (RF) technology. Depending on fleet managers’ preferences, the system can include:

  • The AirBat RF tire pressure monitor, which provides instant visual recognition of air pressure and accommodates RF transfer of that data. It’s installed in under 10 minutes on any dual-tire wheel end;
  • The TracBat RF, an electronic, wheel-end-mounted mileage counter that communicates data via RF;
  • The HandBat RF, a handheld RF reader that collects and displays wireless data from AirBat, TracBat and other future sensors;
  • DataBat RF software that accepts downloaded data from the HandBat for tracking, reporting and exporting to a fleet’s maintenance or business software;
  • The Download Pod, a peripheral device to allow data transfer to and from HandBat and DataBat.

These components can function together or independently to provide timely data. For more information, visit this site.

Equipment Puzzler
In February, we noted that some manufacturers use fan shrouds that are mounted to the engine, rather than the radiator surround, and asked why they do that?

However, at press time, no one had e-mailed the correct answer to [email protected].

Tell you what: Since February was missing a few days, we’ll re-pose the question for this month. Don’t forget, you’ll get a chrome CCJ pen and Air Brake Book if you come up with the right answer, or if you send in a Puzzler of your own and we use it.