Remanufacturing and meaning it

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Freightliner Trucks’ ReadySpecGo program offers a 45-day delivery time and extended warranties on pre-spec’d Business Class M2 106 trucks. In other news, the company is offering an integrated, auxiliary heating/air conditioning and power generation package, supplied by Dometic Environmental Corp. and Temco Metal Products Co. Finally, Freightliner will sell its American LaFrance fire and emergency vehicle business unit.

AmeriQuest’s Quest Trucks is an online service that allows fleet managers to search for and purchase used trucks to their specifications. Visit this site for details.

Cleaner-burning B20 biodiesel , a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel, is available through Willie Nelson Biodiesel at truck stops nationwide.

Technical data for Freightliner and International is now accessible via the Technology & Maintenance Council’s FleetPortal.

Thermo King has introduced its TriPac Auxiliary Heating/Cooling Temperature Management System as an idling solution for heavy trucks.

ConocoPhillips has introduced Kendall Super Three Star and 76 Triton SynLube LDO synthetic, long-drain-interval lubricants for commercial axles with hypoid gearsets.

Peterbilt’s Denton, Texas plant is celebrating 25 years of truck production.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems has earned ISO/TS 16949 certification for all of its North American manufacturing facilities. The company also has been named a 2004 North American Supplier of the Year by Paccar Parts.

Kenworth is celebrating its 700,000th truck produced in the company’s 82 years.

I’ve always thought “remanufacturing,” as opposed to rebuilding, was just marketing hype – like calling a watch a timepiece. But while visiting Detroit Diesel’s Tooele, Utah remanufacturing plant, what I saw was nearly an art form.

For example, I’ve rebuilt plenty of engines – you know, you bore out anything that’s worn, then install oversize pistons, bearings, etc. and button it all up. But, after boring or grinding, DDC flame-sprays new metal in place, then machines everything back to original specs. They even weld new beads of metal to damaged turbo turbine blades in a process that looks more like making fine jewelry; they then grind, polish and balance the little buggers right back to as-new condition. And they’ve got laser measuring equipment to make sure the original specs on all components are met.

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Sometimes, their remanufactured products are even better than the original, since new-engine design improvements made at the factory are communicated to DDC’s reman plants, which implement them in their processes. Reman engines then are tested on DDC factory-spec dynamometers, using new engine performance parameters, and backed by a near-new-engine warranty.

DDC’s “reliabilt” remanufactured products include DDC and Mercedes-Benz engines and components like water pumps, electronics, fuel injectors, starters, heads, alternators, axles and transmissions used in parent company DaimlerChrysler’s vehicles. And they all get the same attention to detail in preparation for a second productive life.

For more information, visit this site.

FrontRunner in control
At Eaton’s Marshall, Mich., proving grounds, Dana recently showed off a soon-to-be-produced heavy-duty, front-axle air suspension system with new anti-dive and anti-roll technology.

The FrontRunner uses brake reaction links, which allow traditional, tapered-leaf springs to support higher torque loads anticipated with pending reduced-stopping-distance regulations. This reduces spring “wind-up,” and improves control under hard braking. In addition, an integral roll-control tube helps keep the vehicle flatter in curves and sudden maneuvers. Moreover, the roll resistance doesn’t come at the expense of ride quality.

We drove, back to back, two rigs: one with a conventional front suspension, and one with FrontRunner. While the latter provided a marginally better ride, the reduction in dive and roll was apparent. In short, the technology works as advertised.

The FrontRunner will be marketed primarily to linehaul fleet customers running tractors with long to medium sleepers, and will be compatible with most current steer axles and wheel-end equipment, allowing for no-hassle assembly and service. Look for a limited-quantity release in April 2006, and full production in the fourth quarter of 2006. For more information, visit this site.

Weight and see
TruckWeight Inc. introduced Smart Scale, the next generation of its wireless onboard scale system for equipment using air suspensions. Smart Scale uses sensors to measure temperature and pressure changes in a vehicle’s air suspension and wirelessly relays this data to a handheld receiver. The sensors produce an axle weight and gross vehicle weight measurement claimed to be within 0.3 percent of the actual weight.

Among Smart Scale’s new features is an automated, rapid-response mode that provides one weight measurement every three seconds during a 15-minute span when the sensors detect the vehicle is being loaded. The feature meets the needs of pit and quarry operations, refuse haulers and others who need fast, frequent readings while loading. During regular use, the system produces a new measurement once per minute.

Most truck operators can equip a typical tractor-trailer unit in the field in about 30 minutes, according to the company. With no wires to hook up, Smart Scale eliminates the cost of a complicated installation, as well as maintenance concerns related to cables and electrical connections. Smart Scale’s waterproof, weatherproof, shock-resistant and noncorrosive housing require no regular maintenance, and the sensors use AA batteries, which last 8 to 12 months in regular use. For more information, visit this site.

Equipment Puzzler
In August, we asked: What can you use to fill tires, other than air, and why would you use it. The answer is nitrogen, and the benefits are twofold: First, it doesn’t expand and contract with temperature as much as air does, so tire pressure remains more consistent. Second, nitrogen molecules are larger than air molecules, so they have a harder time migrating through tires, which all are slightly porous. Again, this helps keep inflation pressure where it belongs.

David Dolick – fleet dispatcher/scheduler/driver/yard man (I thought my job kept me busy) for Worthington Foods/Kellogg’s in Zanesville, Ohio – gets the nod for his correct answer. He also gets a chrome CCJ pen and 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 in a Puzzler of your own and we use it.

This month’s Puzzler:
What is an effective, but dangerous, method of seating a tire’s beads on a wheel, and why should it be avoided?