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Freightliner Trucks and DaimlerChrysler Services Truck Finance announced the availability of model-year 2006 Columbias with a 30-day delivery time through a new program called Ready to Roll. In other news, factory-installed Meritor front-drive axles now are available on Business Class M2 106 and 106V models.

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded International Truck and Engine a $350,000 grant to develop an integrated, factory-installed idle-reduction system. In other news, International is offering customers a $1,000 prepaid MasterCard Debit Card – with a purchase of a qualifying International 4200, 4300 or 4400 truck (limit five units per customer) – that can be used to purchase fuel.

Delco Remy brand starters and alternators have been released into International Truck and Engine’s Diamond Spec Program.

Peterbilt is offering lightweight, Holland FW17 Series fifth wheels on its full line of medium- and heavy-duty tractors.

Volvo Trucks North America has added a new parts distribution center in Baltimore. The new PDC joins Volvo’s existing parts facilities in Reno, Nev.; Memphis, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago, Dallas and Toronto.

Phillips Industries is celebrating its 30th anniversary of coiled electrical cable development.

The Tire Retread Information Bureau reports that about 18 million retreaded tires were sold in North America in 2004, with sales totaling more than $3 billion.

Nissan Diesel America instituted its Owner Registration Program to ensure that all UD Truck owners have access to the latest parts, service and vehicle update information. Visit this site and click on “UD Owners.”

Stemco has been awarded ISO 9001:2000 and ISO/TS 16949 quality certifications by Underwriters Laboratories.

Like it or not, every turn of a landing-gear crank exposes your drivers to possible strains, sprains or worse, which can expose your fleet to lost productivity, worker’s compensation claims and more costly health insurance.

The On-Lift product line from Patriot Lift is designed to minimize these hazards, says Patriot president Paul Baumann. The small, nine-pound unit uses an air motor designed and built by Ingersoll-Rand and Patriot. According to Baumann, it’s easy to install, and just a few drops of oil every two or three months keeps it running smoothly. Moreover, he adds, the system has been tested extensively and approved by major fleets, including Fed Ex.

According to the Bureau of Labor, truckers lead other workers with the highest median number of days away from the job. Don’t let your drivers become statistics.

Freightliner showcases integrated safety technologies
The Freightliner Group displayed developments in heavy-duty truck safety technology at the DaimlerChrysler Innovation Symposium in June. Michael von Mayenburg, the truck maker’s senior vice president of engineering and technology, explained the systems, all of which were installed on a Freightliner Class 8 demonstration truck. The technologies include:

*Electronic stability control (ESC), which controls the yaw rate of the tractor and trailer on the road, and compares the driver’s steering input with a vehicle’s response. When the vehicle does not follow the path the operator intended, ESC corrects by applying wheel brakes individually at the appropriate corners of the vehicle, matching its actual path to the driver’s intent.

ESC also helps avoid rollover by sensing lateral acceleration and automatically slowing the truck to reduce the forces pushing toward a rollover.

Electronically-controlled braking (ECB) uses electronic circuits and electropneumatic valves, instead of air pressure, to perform braking. ECB can provide shorter stopping distances, improved dynamic brake force distribution, improved combination vehicle brake balance and additional integrated features.

* Lane Guidance is an advanced lane-departure warning system. It monitors a truck’s position relative to lane markings, then sounds an audible warning when the truck is about to stray. It uses a digital camera mounted on the windshield inside the cab, a central processing unit (CPU) and two speakers located in the doors. Using image recognition software and a lane recognition algorithm, the CPU determines if a vehicle is drifting too close to the lane markings. When this occurs – and if the driver has not activated a turn signal – the CPU sends a signal to emit a rumble-strip sound from the driver’s left or right, depending on what direction he’s drifting.

* Radar collision warning with adaptive cruise control is designed to alert a driver to a slower-moving vehicle, or automatically maintain a safe following distance. A radar sensor tracks the speed, range and bearing of vehicles ahead. In case of unsafe following distance or fast approach to a slower vehicle, the system will sound a buzzer and display a warning symbol on a dash display. In adaptive cruise control mode, the system attempts to maintain a user-selected safe following distance, using the throttle, engine brake or tractor brakes to decelerate.

* The Sidetracker video system gives truck drivers visibility in the blind-spot or No-Zone on the right side of a tractor-trailer. It includes a weatherproof color video camera with a low-distortion, wide-angle lens. The camera sends a picture back to the monitor, which displays a view of the entire right side of the tractor-trailer, extending beyond the back of the trailer and 5 to 6 lanes to the right.

According to von Mayenburg, these systems are “active safety technologies, designed to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.”

Drop-in replacement fan drive
SKF recently introduced the Kysor HRU On/Off Fan Drive Assembly to its line of BorgWarner cooling components. The Kysor HRU is a drop-in replacement for existing OE fan drive assemblies and is available for 22 competitor applications.

The Kysor HRU fan drive consists of a two-piece modular design and free-floating lining, which, says SKF, makes service faster and easier, while its failsafe mode keeps the fan clutch engaged in the event of air system failure.

Equipment Puzzler
In July, we asked, “In an air brake system, what is the AL factor?” The answer, submitted by Ricky Buchanan – fleet superintendent of the Fleet Management Division for the City of Jacksonville, Fla. – is: The A refers to the area, in inches, of the diaphragm in a brake chamber. The L is the length of the slack adjuster, again in inches. The product of these two variables equals the ultimate torque on the S-camshaft.

Ricky will receive a chrome CCJ pen and an Air Brake Book. So will you if you’re the first to send the correct answer to this month’s Puzzler to [email protected]. Or, send a puzzler of your own. If we use it, you win.

This month’s Puzzler:
When torquing a nut or bolt, why should you lubricate the threads?