Fleet leaders wary of ’07 engines

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Bosch has launched a new line of 100-percent new, premium water pumps for the replacement market.

Goodyear is increasing the price of Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly commercial tires by up to 6 percent. Private brand prices also will be affected. In other news, Goodyear’s Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems subsidiary has signed an agreement to assume operation of eight Pilot Truck Care Centers in five states.

A Volvo VN truck with the first U.S.-built Volvo D12 was presented to AAA Cooper Transportation in April.

PuraDyn Filter Technologies has received a five-year contract to offer bypass oil filtration systems to all levels of state, local and federal government.

Kenworth is offering its 2005 Inline Electrical Catalog for all heavy-duty truck makes.

International Truck and Engine and Hendrickson have announced the launch of the HTB – a lightweight, rear-air suspension – on International’s 9000 Series trucks.

SKF and Haldex have announced joint development of an advanced wheel end system using Haldex’s new generation disc brakes and SKF truck hub, bearing and sealing technology. In other news, SKF has signed an agreement to acquire Jaeger Industrial, a manufacturer of electronic control units and actuation systems.

Participating Kenworth dealers are offering Kenworth PremierCare Express air conditioning service this summer.

Roadranger has announced the availability of its 2005 Drivetrain Specification Guide at this site.

A panel of four fleet executives say they don’t plan to be among the first buyers of 2007 engines. The panel was part of the BIO 2005 event sponsored by CCJ and parent company Randall Publishing at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show.

The four expressed worries about the purchase and maintenance costs of the new engines, and the cost and availability of the ultra-low-sulfur diesel that must be used in them. Since the fuel won’t be available readily until the middle of ’06, panelists were concerned about the short time available for testing before the engines go into production.

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“Let someone else play with the toys,” said Duke Drinkard, vice president of maintenance at Southeastern Freight Lines.

Steve Duley, vice president of purchasing at Schneider National, said he can afford to buy cautiously because 80 percent of Schneider’s trucks will be less than 3 years old in 2007.

Unexpected freight demand could force more of a buy, said Ron Szapacs, maintenance specialist for Air Products & Chemicals, whose main concern is engine durability. “We deliver oxygen to hospitals,” he said. “We can’t miss a delivery.”

Engine makers, however, believe that fleets’ worries will prove overblown.

“The fleets represented at the panel are concerned about any type of change that’s coming at them,” said Greg Gauger, director of Caterpillar’s on-highway power systems, after the show. “That’s understandable. But we believe we’ll still have a million-mile engine in 2007, and we collect more evidence of that every day.”

All fleet customers have qualms and questions about 2007, “but I don’t think they’re going to be as reluctant to buy ’07 engines as they were in ’02,” said Mark Bara, senior vice president for on-highway sales at Detroit Diesel. “By the end of this year, we’ll have 50 trucks running with ’07 engines to demonstrate reliability, performance and fuel economy.”

“There are always those who want to say the sky is falling, but the sky is not falling,” said Cummins spokeswoman Cyndi Nigh. “We are ready for ’07. Our ’07 architecture is the same proven technology we used in our ’02 engines.”

“We respect these concerns,” said Tony Greszler, vice president of Volvo Powertrain, suppliers of engines to both Mack Trucks, Inc. and Volvo Trucks North America, Inc. “The situation is clearly different than it was in 2002. For 2007, we’re using an advanced version of a now-proven technology, EGR, and adding a particulate trap, which is a well-known vehicle technology. So we’re confident that customers with reservations about our ’07 engines are going to be very pleasantly surprised by their actual experience with them.”

All four panelists agreed that engine makers so far have offered no purchase incentives sufficient to change their minds about buying 2007 products. They also expressed little optimism that a federal tax incentive to buy the engines would materialize. “We’d certainly welcome anything,” said Marty Fletcher, director of technology and training at U.S. Xpress, but his expectations are not high.
–Andy Duncan & Paul Richards

Know your coolants
Penray wants fleets to know that its coolant technology is used in the standard factory fill at American LaFrance, Freightliner, Freightliner Custom Chassis, Kenworth, MCI, New Flyer, Peterbilt, Sterling, Thomas Built Bus and Western Star. The Penray Need-Release Extended Life Cooling System Filter is an option at all OEMs. To better understand what coolant technology is best for your vehicle or fleet, visit this site.

Equipment Puzzler
In April, we asked why some manufacturers mount fan shrouds to the engine, rather than the radiator. The correct answer is: For maximum air flow, the tips of the fan should be as close as possible to the shroud. Mounting the shroud to the engine ensures that the fan and the shroud move together, so the efficiency-robbing wide gap isn’t needed for blade clearance.

Ed Boes, terminal manager for D&D Sexton, had the correct answer, and he’ll receive a chrome CCJ pen and Air Brake Book. So will you, if you’re the first to e-mail the correct answer to this month’s Puzzler to [email protected], or if you send in a Puzzler of your own and we use it.

This month’s Puzzler:
What does “stoichiometric” mean, with regard to gasoline engines, and what two undesirable conditions can exist without it?