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Peterbilt updates product line

Peterbilt updates product line
Completing what it says is its largest product investment ever, Peterbilt Motors Co. launched eight new or upgraded models across its medium- and heavy-duty truck line. As indication of the pressure for greater fuel economy, even the company’s classic 379 – which becomes the 389 – gets something of a makeover with new aerodynamic features such as modeled bumpers, external air cleaner trim panels, soft curve fairings to battery boxes and a proprietary roof fairing.

Other new medium- and heavy-duty models include the Model 387 daycab, Model 384, Model 388, Model 365 and 367 vocational trucks, and Model 330 and 340.

The 387 daycab and 384, which can be configured as either a daycab or sleeper, join Peterbilt’s other aerodynamic models, the 387 sleeper and the 386. “Fuel prices have risen dramatically and remain high,” says Landon Sproull, Peterbilt’s chief engineer. “Helping our customers offset these costs through aerodynamic design is a priority for Peterbilt.”
The medium-duty 330 and 340 will complement the 335. In the 330, Peterbilt offers a light-duty Class 6 truck, which will serve fleets trying to tap into the broad pool of drivers who do not have commercial driver’s licenses.

Peterbilt has improved the aerodynamics of its classically styled models with the introduction of the Model 388 and 389.

The new Model 365 and 367 are aimed at vocational markets, with the 367 available in a heavy-haul configuration with a high-capacity cooling system to accommodate high horsepower engines. The models feature a new chassis design with both set-forward and set-back front axle configurations. The trucks also feature new hoods and an impact-resistant grille.
Peterbilt’s new models all will be available in early 2007.
Peterbilt Motors Co.

Smarter lane alarm
Iteris introduced a new version of its Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system that is designed to work even if only a single lane marking or fog line is available. The new device’s sensor also works across a broader range of lighting conditions, including heavy glare.

The LDW system, designed to warn drivers when they unintentionally cross lanes, uses a windshield-mounted camera to track lane markings, gauging the relative position of the truck within the lane. If the truck drifts over the lane markings, the device sounds an alarm that resembles a rumble strip. The device is connected to the truck’s turn signals, allowing a truck to cross lanes intentionally without sounding the alarm, assuming the turn signals are on. The LDW also turns off when the truck is traveling at speeds slower than 37 mph, which allows for uninterrupted travel on smaller roads such as residential streets.

Vanguard’s plate trailer
Vanguard National Trailer Corp. introduced a new trailer, the VXP Composite Plate Freight Van. Composite sidewall panels, which carry a 10-year warranty, consist of a foamed plastic core sandwiched between two galvanized steel cover sheets, providing strength and durability against abrasion and damage, the company says. Rust-preventative primer and polyester finish coats baked onto the cover sheets are intended to provide increased longevity. Other features include:

  • Steel posts paired with galvanized internal posts with log slots for joining plates;
  • Smooth, rounded rivet heads for a snag-free interior sidewall; and
  • Use of LED lights only, making it legal in both California and Canada.

The trailer also comes with a number of galvanized surfaces, including the rear frame, rear underside guard, landing gear brackets and bracing; a threshold plate to protect the rear floor from forklift damage; and a one-piece front understructure between the upper coupler and the landing gear, which provides floor support and also acts as a tire protector plate, Vanguard says. The trailer also comes with welded steel gussets on every crossmember to reinforce the side rails.
Vanguard National Trailer Corp.

Kenworth’s T660 and anti-idle system5
Kenworth Truck Co. unveiled the Kenworth T660, an aerodynamic tractor that will replace the T600 in 2007. The truck will offer several new systems and options, including improved seating and headlamps and options for in-cab navigation and the Clean Power System, an anti-idling system that uses alternator current while the engine is operating to charge a power pack that operates cooling, heating and hotel-load 110-volt electric power when the truck is parked.

“The new Kenworth T660 is the latest evolution of our quality aerodynamic product line and reinforces Kenworth’s leadership in fuel economy performance,” says Bob Christensen, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice president.

Kenworth used computational fluid dynamics analysis to overcome aerodynamic challenges in designing a grille that’s 5 percent larger than the T600’s to accommodate increased airflow and cooling performance, says Mike Dozier, Kenworth chief engineer.

The Clean Power System could improve overall fuel economy by as much as 8 percent by eliminating the one gallon of fuel typically burned per idle hour, Kenworth says. The Clean Power System, which will be available first on the T660 and then on the W900, will keep the sleeper cool for 10 hours – coinciding with drivers’ off-duty periods – even with outside temperatures of up to 95 degrees, Dozier says.

Kenworth also introduced a Class 6, air brake-equipped version of its T300 medium-duty truck.
Kenworth Truck Co.

Volvo’s mid-roof sleepers
Volvo unveiled two new trucks, the VN730 and VT830 – both mid-roof sleeper versions of its on-highway VN and VT series. The sleepers come with a standard 42-inch lower bed with a folding workstation and an upper bunk, or with an optional full-size lower bed and upper back wall storage.

The VT830 comes standard with the Volvo D16, as do the VT880 and VT800; the D12 is the standard engine for the VN730 and for all other VN models. All chassis and powertrain options currently available for the VT880 and VN780 are available on the new models. The sleepers are 77 inches deep, 95 inches wide and 86 inches high in the rear, a full 2 feet shorter than full-size Volvo sleepers.

Peter Karlsten, president of Volvo Trucks North America, pledges “the same large sleeper and premium level of features and benefits already found in the Volvo VT880 and VN780 but with a lower roof height. The lower roof height on these trucks significantly improves aerodynamics. Yet even with the mid-roof height, a 6-foot-4-inch driver can stand upright between the seats.”

Volvo also introduced its 10 Point Service Commitment, which defines what customers should expect from the company and its dealers during repairs, service and parts transactions.
Volvo Trucks North America

7-way sealed plug
Sloan Transportation Products says its engineers have developed a receptacle that, when combined with the sealed plug, provides the industry’s most secure and contaminant-free connection between tractor and trailer. According to the company, the new Trimaxx 7-Way Sealed Plug System has the industry’s first integrated plug-face gasket, creating a positive seal to the receptacle and stopping corrosion from reaching the terminals. In addition, Sloan has designed an integrated drip-edge channel to eliminate back-flowing contaminants from coming down the cable into the plug/socket connection; the channel extends the life of both the plug and socket by redirecting corrosive liquids away from the connection. And to assist drivers in plugging and unplugging, Sloan has added a gripping point to the system.
Sloan Transportation Products

Webasto’s updated heater
Webasto has updated and improved its Air Top 2000 heater, now called the Air Top 2000 ST. The heater, which Webasto calls the lightest in the industry, has a weathertight seal with improved corrosion resistance and can be mounted externally. The company says airflow has been improved by 20 percent; a self-cleaning burner limits wax and carbon buildup, and a quieter fan design limits dust buildup. An optional ventilation mode allows air circulation in the cabin. The Air Top 2000 ST and Webasto’s BlueCool Truck air conditioner now can be purchased as a complete system, called C5 Truck.

External battery charging kit
Thermo King designed its external battery charging kit to provide power to liftgates and other electric accessories when the vehicle engine is turned off. Normally, when the engine is turned off, the liftgate will use batteries to provide power, which generates a large current draw. According to Thermo King, the kit allows the reefer alternator to recharge the liftgate and other accessory batteries, preventing the external system from drawing directly from the reefer battery. The reefer unit is isolated from the external current draw during liftgate operation, ensuring continuous starting power, the company says.
Thermo King

Self-steering auxiliary lift axle
Hendrickson’s Composilite FBC is a self-steering auxiliary lift axle available in capacities up to 10,000 pounds, a choice for haulers not needing a full 13,500-pound capacity lift axle for federal bridge compliance efforts. Weighing 689 pounds, Composilite FBC features a 28-degree wheel cut and an inline air spring design for maximized packaging space: All Composilite lift axles mount on a 23.5-inch packaging space to allow easier multi-axle configurations, Hendrickson says. Composilite FBC accommodates six-hole or eight-hole hubs for use with 17.5-inch or 19.5-inch tires: The lightest configuration uses six-hole hubs, rims and 17.5-inch tires with the FBC weighing in at only 873 pounds, according to the company. The auxiliary lift axle can be ordered with an integrated air system designed to reduce installation time through a prelocated air tank, hoses and valves. The beams are engineered to remain parallel for proper wheel tracking and to help enhance tire life, while lift plates remain parallel to facilitate longer air spring life. The stabilizer features a cover designed to protect the stabilizing rod from dirt and debris throughout travel.

Solar recharging for trailer tracker
GE Trailer Fleet Services has announced that its VeriWise Asset Intelligence telematics system now can be equipped with a solar module that maintains the charge and substantially extends the life of the batteries that power the monitoring devices in untethered or dropped trailers. GE says the solar panel, manufactured by GE Energy, needs only two hours of direct sunlight each day to maintain the charge of the sealed lead acid (SLA) battery that powers new models of the VeriWise system. The optional solar energy module minimizes the need to re-tether the trailer every 120 days to recharge the battery, according to the company. More important, because the solar module doesn’t permit the charge to drop below the “degradation threshold” where the battery loses recharging capability, the solar module can extend battery life well beyond the average four years and reduce maintenance costs and unproductive time off the road, the company says. Rated at 1.25 watts with a voltage of 13.0 volts, the maintenance-free solar charging unit was designed specifically to match the device’s SLA battery.

One of several processors onboard the new VeriWise model is programmed to determine how and when to switch from the seven-way power to solar, GE says. The durable solar charging panel also is designed to deflect one-inch hailstones traveling at 50 miles an hour. The module is available initially as an option for internally installed devices and will be standard on the externally mounted unit to be available later in 2006.
GE Trailer Fleet Services

Air suspension/axle system
The Holland Group has introduced the CB2300 Trailer Air Suspension/Axle System, a 23,000-pound capacity offering for the fixed-frame specialty trailer market. The company says the CB2300 features SwingAlign – which Holland describes as the industry’s fastest and most convenient axle alignment system – and high-strength cast equalizing beams designed for added strength.
Holland Group

Keep cool while you wait
Dometic Environmental Corp.’s auxiliary air conditioning system is designed to reduce engine idling for daycab and small sleeper trucks while waiting at shipping terminals and loading docks. The new unit operates from the truck’s batteries and does not require an auxiliary power unit (APU). Moreover, it uses common trucking industry components and installs in 4 to 6 hours, says Dometic. The installed price is claimed to be less than half that of a genset-based APU system, and requires virtually no maintenance.

Included are a DC-AC inverter, a high-output alternator, thermostat control and optional shore power plug. The air conditioner is offered in two configurations: a 7,000-Btu, self-contained in-cab unit; and a 10,000-Btu split system. With the split system, the condenser is mounted outside the truck, and the compressor/evaporator/blower mount inside the cab. Either way, the in-cab hardware will fit between or behind the seats, or in lieu of the passenger-side seat.

The inverter converts the 12V battery output into 115V power to drive the air conditioner, while the new alternator keeps the batteries fully charged while the truck is running. With the engine off, says Dometic, the unit can cool for up to two hours without draining the batteries, while the optional shore power connection can recharge the batteries and run the air conditioner whenever there is an outside AC power source available.
Dometic Environmental Corp.

Carrier introduces new APU
Carrier Transicold’s ComfortPro auxiliary power unit is designed to reduce idling by as much as 90 percent to reduce fuel costs, emissions and engine wear. The APU is powered by a 4,000-watt diesel-engine generator. Available only for aftermarket purchase, the unit can take between six to 16 hours to install, depending on the make of the truck. Price also varies, depending on available options. Other features include:

  • Climate control, including sensor to warm unoccupied cabin;
  • 110/120-volt AC household current to run sleeper cab appliances and electronics;
  • 40 amps of truck battery charging;
  • Engine warming sensor to avoid cold no-starts; and
  • Start/stop operation.

The 375-pound unit is housed in a weathertight, shock-resistant case that mounts on the truck chassis, using up to 25 percent less frame rail space than other APUs, the company says.
Carrier Transicold