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International’s ProStar highway tractor

International’s ProStar highway tractor
Investing $300 million in development and collaborating with dealers and customers, International Truck and Engine Corp. in March unveiled ProStar – a new line of aerodynamic Class 8 tractors. The truck maker says the ProStar was designed to excel in four basic areas: fuel economy, driver satisfaction, uptime and low ownership cost.

“The new International ProStar will turn heads on the highway and at the pumps,” said Tom Baughman, vice president and general manager of the company’s Heavy Truck Group. “Owners will love the way this truck saves money and generates profits, and drivers will love the drivability and comfort we’ve packed inside.”

Sculpted fenders, a sloped hood and streamlined cab and roof shaping form the core of the ProStar’s aerodynamics. International’s development team used computational fluid dynamics and one-eighth scale wind tunnel testing for basic shape development. Full-scale wind tunnel testing with a trailer attached revealed an 8 percent drag reduction improvement compared to International’s previous best-performing model.

In the area of driver satisfaction, developers focused on improving the ergonomics and comfort by taking detailed measurements of numerous truck drivers. Among the features International touts are massaging seats; flexible positioning of steering wheels and instrumentation; and roomier, better-lit sleeper berths. The tractor also offers superior noise and vibration suppression, International said.

“The integrity and durability of the new International ProStar cab delivers a smoother, quieter ride, minimizing driver fatigue and maximizing productivity,” Baughman added. Designers from International’s Fort Wayne Truck Development and Technology Center slept in a variety of tractor sleepers and traveled with drivers throughout the development program to better understand their requirements for living and sleeping space utilization.

To optimize productivity and uptime and reduce lifecycle costs, developers looked closely at actual fleet experience, Baughman said. “We spent a lot of time with customers mining their maintenance records and discussing the top causes of downtime,” said Baughman. “Every targeted system improvement has been tracked ongoing, from component testing through to vehicle testing.”

Responding to top causes of downtime – such as tires, electrical harnesses, connectors, batteries, air leaks, air brakes and fuel systems – International developed monitoring, prognostic and diagnostic systems to improve uptime performance and provide information to drivers and fleet managers.

Once of the major goals was reducing the time for maintenance and repairs. For example, transmission time has been reduced by 90 minutes, and headlight bulbs and windshield wiper blades can be replaced by the driver without tools, the truck maker says. The tractor also features a low-effort E-Z Tilt hood and Tilt-Away bumper to provide a walk-in engine compartment and allow easy engine and underside access. And International synchronized service intervals for an average of 59 more days on the road over the life of the vehicle.

More than 25 production validation tractors have accumulated more than 6 million miles of road testing since late 2004, including customer test units and internal test vehicles, International said.

Initial production of the ProStar will be based on a 122-inch BBC tractor with daycab and high-rise sleeper configurations. The second phase of production will include additional BBC and sleeper configurations. Shipments of the ProStar to dealers are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2007.
International Truck and Engine Corp.

Upfit-friendly Dodge Ram 3500
In what the company calls the Class 3 segment’s “most upfit-friendly design,” DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group has introduced the 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab. Features include the highest single rear-wheel gross vehicle weight rating in Class 3 at 10,200 pounds, the company says. Other class-leading attributes Dodge touts include frame strength (50 ksi steel), largest standard fuel tank (52 gallons), longest oil change intervals (15,000 miles) and interior cab room (121.7 cubic feet in its Quad Cab models). In addition to the strength of its one-piece C-channel frame, body upfitting on the Ram 3500 Chassis Cab is aided by the fact that all chassis components are below the frame surface, assuring easy adaptability and versatility, Dodge says.

The truck can be spec’d with either the new 6.7-liter Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel with 305 hp and 610 lb.-ft. of torque, or the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 gasoline engine with 330 hp and 375 lb.-ft. of torque. It will be available in single-rear-wheel and dual-rear-wheel models and two cab-axle lengths – 60 and 84 inches. The Ram 3500 Chassis Cab offers a six-speed automatic transmission (diesel only) with power-take-off capability, or a six-speed manual transmission with PTO capability.
Dodge Commercial Market

Sterling’s medium-duty low cabover
Sterling Truck Corp. has launched the Sterling 360, a low cab-over-engine truck for light medium-duty applications. To be introduced this spring in Classes 4 and 5 and next year in Class 3, the 360 was developed through DaimlerChrysler’s “Global Excellence” initiative and built on a Fuso platform. Like Sterling and its parent Freightliner, Fuso is a DaimlerChrysler brand. Although the 360 is similar to the Fuso product, the total package – including the support network, financing and upfitting options – is particular to Sterling, the company says.

Among the benefits of the 360 compared to other trucks in its class is fuel economy, Sterling says. Based on independent testing, the company estimates that the truck produces savings of about $600 a year over competitive models. Other features include easy entry/egress, a larger cab compartment than competitors, a tight turn radius and a larger windshield for better maneuverability and visibility.

Specs and options for the Sterling 360 include:

  • 4.9L turbo diesel engine with 175 hp at 2700 rpm and 391 lbs.-ft. of torque at 1600 rpm;
  • Standard engine brake;
  • Six-speed automatic transmission with final reduction gear ratio of 5.285;
  • GVWRs of 14,050 lbs., 14,500 lbs. and 17,995 lbs.;
  • Wheelbase and body length combinations of 115 inches and 12 feet; 134 inches and 14 feet; 152 inches and 16 feet; 164 inches and 18 feet (at 14,500 and 17,995 GVWR only); and 176 inches and 20 feet (17,995 GVWR only);
  • Front and rear suspension with laminated leaf springs, shock absorber and stabilizer bar;
  • 33-gallon side-mount fuel tank (standard) and 30-gallon aft-mount fuel tank between rails (optional);
  • Optional block heater; and
  • Five exterior paint colors.

Sterling Truck Corp.

Tougher truck beds, bodies
The Performance Polymers Group of Arnco has introduced three polyurethane spray-coating systems designed to solve demanding problems in coating steel, wood, concrete, plastic and fiberglass. Arnco says that all three systems – Intellethane 500 LP, Intellethane 520 LP and Intellethane 530 HP – feature overall physical durability, exceptional toughness and abrasion resistance, and have many protection applications: from bed liners on commercial/retail trucks and tool carts, to industrial and commercial floors and scuff boards. The company says the polyurethane formula also can be used as secondary containment and for undercoatings on truck bodies. According to Arnco, the systems are 100 percent solid, with no VOCs or solvents, and have the industry’s top UV stability: They have passed rigorous OEM tests that show color retention is up to three times longer compared to standard systems. Intellethane comes in 55-gallon drums and 250-gallon totes.

Replace steel curtains
The Slat-Savr Impactable Rolling Steel Replacement Curtain from Rite-Hite is designed to retrofit to most rolling steel doors. The curtain – available in heights of 18, 36 and 54 inches, and widths up to 16 inches – is made from a two-ply belting material designed to withstand fork truck abuse. A flexible bottom bar with a fabric seal is designed to attach to the bottom edge of the curtain to add rigidity and provide a solid seal between the door and floor. Optional locking latches can help secure the door when not in use.

All-weather wiring harnesses
Sloan Transportation Products’ MAXXDuty USA-Plus electrical wiring harnesses are designed to weather the harshest elements by preventing moisture from reaching the terminal areas. The harness, which utilizes a secondary pin-lock and an integral “O-ring”-style sealing protection that’s molded into the connector, also features ultrasonic welded splice joints designed to minimize current loss by providing positive contact. Using a virgin PVC mold compound, Sloan’s MAXXDuty USA-Plus harnesses are engineered for added durability and longer life; and a durable cable jacket helps resist oils, acids, alkalis, sunlight, heat, weathering and abrasion. The harnesses – designed to be compatible with all types of import and domestic trailer lamps, including LED and incandescent – can accommodate as many as 10 individual circuits for the most demanding specialized electrical requirements, the company says.
Sloan Transportation Products

Smoother ride for Ford makes
Link Manufacturing has introduced its UltraRide Chassis Air Suspension for the Ford E-450 cutaway and chassis cab for model years 2003 and newer; and the Ford F-350 CC. According to the company, the suspension provides premium passenger ride and comfort while offering ride height and stability improvements through improved axle compliance, bushed axle seats and axle alignment capability. Link says UltraRide is suited for ambulances, tower/haulers and shuttle buses.
Link Manufacturing

Belt and tensioner combo
Gates’ FleetRunner Micro-V belt is designed to increase service life and resist belt failures due to the effects of high-heat-producing engines and constant flexing. The company says a patented blend of elastomers helps the Gates Green Stripe serpentine engine belt retain its flexibility on drives where extended high operating temperatures cause other belts to harden, crack and ultimately fail. The belt also was built to resist cracking and premature breakage, as the belt constantly flexes while turning over multiple pulleys on the drive system. Fibers built into the belt and precisely ground ribs help improve stability and lessen failures due to drive misalignment.

The company says the FleetRunner Micro-V belt will further prevent downtime and reduce maintenance costs when used in tandem with Gates DriveAlign tensioners. According to Gates, the universal fit of the tensioners matches the OEM design and provides maximum coverage with minimal inventory – 21 part numbers will cover more than 500 heavy-duty aftermarket applications.

Cargo seal
E-Fork container seals are designed to allow for quick detection of tampering. The seal uses an electronic component that contains confidential data including container number, operator’s code and time the container was sealed. Data can be read from a wireless reader or transferred to a personal digital assistant.
Leghorn Co.

Off-road wound winch
The SE 9500 off-road wound winch from Mile Marker, available in 12- or 24-volt models, uses a 4.6 hp motor and is designed to maintain a low electric current. The winch comes with 100 feet of 3/8-inch cable with a minimum break force of 14,400 pounds, a roller fairlead and a 12-foot handheld remote. Other features, according to the company, include planetary gear system, power in and out, free spool and built-in power interrupt to ensure added operator safety.
Mile Marker

Attractive chip collectors
Plastalloy chip collector magnets from Electrodyne are designed to capture metal filings, chips and other ferrous materials that otherwise would damage downstream components. The company says the magnets work in temperatures up to 150 degrees Celsius, are oil-resistant and are suitable for the extremes of most vehicle applications, including exposure under the hood; inside the engine, transmission and differential; and hydraulic fluid recirculation systems. Plastalloy can be magnetized using various magnetization methods, including conventional, two poles each side, multiple-pole or with custom magnetization patterns. Lead-free Plastalloy is ROHS- and EN71-compliant, according to the company, making it ideal for environmentally sensitive applications. Electrodyne says Plastalloy can be bent, twisted and flexed without the loss of magnetic energy, and is available in magnet sheets, strips or die-cut shapes, with options including pressure-sensitive adhesive, polarity identification, customized formulations and special cutting techniques.

Keep your seat clean
Seat Cover Specialties describes its Seatkeeper as an “easy on, easy off” cover that accommodates integrated seat belts, side-impact airbags and many other features. The company says the commercial-grade non-skid cover, with three styles for individual bucket seats and five sizes for bench seating, helps keep the Seatkeeper in place without sliding, and the PVC-coated fabric is designed to withstand most messes while remaining cool during warm days.
Seat Cover Specialties

Battery with posts
Interstate Batteries’ 31P-ECL (Extreme Cycle Life), a Group 31 combination of starting and cycling battery, adds heavy-duty posts to the company’s 31-ECL battery to address the cycling demands of longhaul trucks and other heavy-duty applications, most notably refrigeration trucks and agricultural equipment. Technological enhancements, according to Interstate, include:

  • Thicker positive plates that provide high amp-hour capability and offer protection against vibration;
  • Micro-woven fiberglass paste stabilizer that prevents paste shedding and provides active material compression to the positive plate, resulting in a 13 percent increase in cycle life; and
  • NA2SO4 (sodium sulfate) electrolyte additive to help the battery accept a charge effectively.

Interstate Batteries

Temporary truck graphics
3M has added a family of short- to medium-durability films for solvent piezo ink jet printers. 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film Series IJ20 and RG20, and 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film Series IJ40 and RG40, are non-cast products designed to offer dependable, high-quality short- to medium-durability graphic solutions for vehicle markings.

The removable products, 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film IJ20R-10 and RG20R-10 and 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film IJ40R-10 and RG40R-10, are glossy white films with a gray-pigmented adhesive that is easy to remove, 3M says; the pigmented adhesive provides good opacity, allowing the film to be used on colored surfaces. The removable adhesive backing allows the sign to be stripped off easily, the company says.

3M Scotchcal Graphic Film IJ20P-10 and RG20P-10, and 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film IJ40P-10 and RG40P-10, are glossy white with a clear, permanent adhesive. The company says 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film IJ40P-114, a clear printable film with a clear adhesive, is suitable for backlit displays and two-sided viewing on transparent substrates; it can also be used as an overlaminate. Film IJ20 is a one-year durable product, while Film IJ40 is durable for three years, according to 3M.

Power management system
Actia’s multiplexed solid-state power management system is designed for electrical management in all vehicle applications and can be customized to a customer’s specifications, the company says. The system, which meets J1455 standards, is designed to eliminate relays, fuses and circuit breakers, increasing vehicle reliability. With this system, both harness complexity and manufacturing testing time can be reduced significantly, providing quick, easy troubleshooting, according to Actia; units can be mounted close to the devices, and loads can be controlled. The system, which features onboard diagnostics and prognostics capabilities, can provide current trend analysis, open/short circuit detection and programmable inputs and outputs. Actia says the system also can be integrated with a load failure mitigation strategy; for example, in the event a running lamp burns out, the system will turn the headlamp on at 50 percent capacity.

Heavy-duty cranking
The Delco Remy 36SI HP heavy-duty brushless alternator, designed for pickup/delivery and other vocational applications that require high output at idle, is rated at 100 amps at idle and 170 amps at highway speeds in ambient temperatures up to 105 degrees Celsius. Improved electrical efficiency for the new alternator also is said to lower operating horsepower, leading to improved engine efficiency and lower fuel costs. The company says the vocational unit features higher-capacity press-fit diodes for increased vibration and heat resistance.

Remy also has reintroduced its 42MT HD starter with a number of new technologies. The heavy-duty unit now features an integral magnetic switch designed to protect the starter from the impact of voltage losses. Other features include a thermal switch designed to provide overcranking protection, and a semi-solid link solenoid to help eliminate solenoid contact welding.
Delco Remy

Power-take-off line
Velvac has expanded its line of air accessory valves and components to include several power-take-off (PTO) control valves, valve kits and a PTO shift tower. These products are designed for original equipment installations or to replace existing PTO controls. The combination valve assembly, designed to control the PTO and dump pump operations, is available in an installation kit with fittings, nylon tubing and pressure protection valve, or as part of a shift tower assembly. The tower measures 45/8-by-35/8-by-8 inches overall, with a 2-inch access hole and mounting holes on 41/4-inch centers. The combination valve and shift tower also are available separately. A three-position PTO air accessory control valve with mounting panel comes separately or as part of an installation kit that includes nylon tubing, fittings, cable and a pressure protection valve.

Fuel-efficient muffler
Tenneco says its Walker Mega-Flow muffler utilizes an open-style design with high-strength OCF roving, which improves fuel efficiency without impacting acoustics. Designed for Class 7 and 8 trucks, the Mega-Flow muffler uses ultra-high-flow technology engineered to reduce system back-pressure by as much as 30 percent. According to Tenneco, vehicles equipped with Mega-Flow mufflers achieve an average fuel efficiency improvement of .24 miles per gallon, or 4 percent, over original equipment mufflers. The Mega-Flow muffler also features remetalized welds designed to provide enhanced strength and corrosion resistance.
Walker Heavy Duty

Tattletale seal
No-Rez is a tamper-detection solution designed by CGM Applied Security Technologies, a unit of Digital Descriptor Systems. The company says the adhesive seals – which leave no residue on protected items – are self-voiding and available in blue, red and a wide range of other colors for color-coding purposes, even when purchased in small lots. According to CGM, when used in conjunction with a properly sealed shipping container, No-Rez seals cannot be tampered with without leaving behind indisputable evidence – specifically, the message “Void Open Void” appearing across the seal itself, providing evidence that a break-in has occurred. Printable and easily adaptable to die-cutting, No-Rez seals are designed to be used with most conventional label-dispensing devices, and they also can be used in conjunction with other sealing products, as an exterior laminate, to provide both visual and functional protection. Other applications include seals for data ports, envelopes and documents.
CGM Applied Security Technologies

Training for longer combinations
Thomson Learning Career and Professional Group has published Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) Regulations Training, a manual for delivering information required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for operators of double and triple combination units. Developed as a down-to-earth instructional guide, the manual is designed to communicate the essential information and distinct operating characteristics concerning longer combination vehicles and the rules and training requirements necessary for truck drivers, fleet managers and those responsible for their training. Topics – which include the requirements issued by FMCSA in regulation 49CFR parts 380 and 391 – include basic and advanced operations, nondriving activities and safe operating practices. The manual – which serves as both a training guide and reference – also includes investigative procedures for incidents involving vehicles on the road or at the facility, guiding readers through the establishment of a meaningful risk management program. The guide also addresses hazardous material transport, including what is needed for transportation of hazardous materials, new driver requirements and what to do when an accident involving hazardous materials occurs.
Thomson Delmar Learning

Toss those aerosol cans
Newstripe says it has redesigned its Aerovent 3 aerosol can disposal system to incorporate improved gaskets, seals and can housing. According to the company, these improvements make the environmentally friendly Aerovent 3 even more durable and easier to use. The device can be mounted on any 30- or 55-gallon drum. Insert up to three aerosol cans, close the lid and lower the handle; in less than 10 seconds, the Aerovent 3 punctures and drains the cans so that they can be recycled as scrap steel or discarded. Newstripe says the device totally encloses the cans being punctured, keeping the operator out of harm’s way; and the vent filter eliminates VOC and hydrocarbons from being released into the atmosphere and being inhaled by the operator.
Newstripe Inc.