Freightliner races toward rack and pinion

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Eaton has created a Vehicle Solutions Business Unit, initially to integrate its Vorad and Mobile Diagnostics products into an expandable systems-based line, rather than component-based.

Carrier Transicold and Teleflex have joined forces to offer ComfortPro auxiliary power units (see Products, page 90).

ZF has become the sole supplier of heavy-duty shocks for The Holland Group’s truck and bus suspensions.

Mitchell 1 and O’Reilly Automotive announced a joint marketing agreement for Mitchell 1’s, a Web-based heavy-duty vehicle service database.

Shell Lubricants recently introduced Shell Retinax LX, a family of lithium complex greases developed for high-temperature heavy-duty applications such as wheel bearings. The new product replaces Retinax LC.

Continental Tire North America’s Mt. Vernon, Ill. facility has received the Safety Improvement Award for 2005 by the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

Ryder System has chosen Phillips Permalite fluorescent trailer lighting as standard equipment for all new refrigerated trailer purchases.

Denso has initiated a five-year Environmental Action Plan that includes producing energy-efficient products with minimal environmental impact from its manufacturing facilities.

Kenworth PremierCare Online, available through this site, is offering “Select Internet Savings” through the end of May.

Webasto AG and the Valliant group have entered into an agreement in which the companies will develop fuel cells for mobile and stationary applications.

Citgo has introduced Citgard, a fully synthetic heavy-duty 5W-40 engine oil that reportedly delivers cold weather start-up protection, optimal fuel economy and extended drain intervals.

The Volvo group is developing diesel/electric, parallel hybrid technology that includes regenerative braking.

Phillips Industries has produced 11 training videos for many of its most popular products. Visit this site.

Sloan Transportation Products will open a Portland, Ore. warehouse this month to serve customers in western regions of the United States and Canada.

Thermo King has created a payback calculator to assess potential savings derived from its TriPac Auxiliary Idle Reduction and Temperature Management System. Also, the company’s Thermo Gard Service programs now provide extended coverage options for TriPac. Visit this site.

Beginning next year, International will offer its expanded line of on-highway engines under the MaxxForce International Diesel Power brand.

Wabash National Corp. announced that it will withdraw from the domestic intermodal container market.

Marangoni Tread North America has expanded and upgraded its tread rubber manufacturing plant in Madison, Tenn., which has doubled the company’s production capacity.

Hendrickson Trailer Suspension Systems recently earned ISO/TS16949: 2002 Quality Management System (QMS) certification from Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

Webb Wheel Products has been chosen as a standard supplier of wheel-end equipment by Utility Trailer.

Penske Truck Leasing is sponsoring Kurt Busch and his new No. 39 Penske Truck Rental Dodge for the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series. Penske also named Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. its Supplier of the Year.

Knaack Manufacturing Co. received the “New Product Innovation Award” at this year’s Work Truck Show for its new line of Weather Guard steel and low-
profile aluminum truck boxes.

Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB) announced that its Bendix ADB22X air disc brake is scheduled for release this year on Kenworth and Peterbilt Class 8 tractors.

Utility Trailer says its Marion, Va. plant expansion is ready to meet growing demand for its 3000R reefer.

While Mike Ryan was piloting his 1250-hp Freightliner Century Class S/T up the face of Pikes Peak last June – on the way to his eighth hill-climb victory – he probably wasn’t thinking about steering systems for ordinary trucks.

But Freightliner engineers, who for years have worked with Ryan on his race truck, decided to work with him again to develop a rack-and-pinion steering system for the company’s everyday, Class 8 work trucks.

According to Freightliner, rack-and-pinion steering increases control and responsiveness, thanks to fewer parts and pivot points than internal-gear systems, which currently are the norm for heavy-duty vehicles. It’s also lighter – Freightliner says its system will save about 45 pounds.

The new rack-and-pinion system will be offered as an option on Freightliner’s Century Class S/T, Coronado, Columbia, Classic and Classic XL later this year.

ArvinMeritor’s latest
ArvinMeritor made several announcements at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show regarding new and future products, while promoting the Meritor brand name and its Rockwell heritage. Here’s a sampling:
* The company introduced the Severe Service Q Plus (SSQ Plus) heavy-duty brake system for vehicles that operate in harsh or rugged environments, such as construction, refuse collection, firefighting, off-road and other severe-service applications.
* Also new is the Meritor RideSentry MPA series of trailer air suspensions, featuring advanced cargo and trailer protection, solid roll stability and angled locking pins to help prevent drive-away with pins not engaged.
* And to help operators achieve good fuel economy with ’07 engines, the company introduced a 2.50 ratio for its RS-23-160 single-axle series, and a wide-based hub for drive and trailer axles. The new hub requires no modification to the drive axle, and will be available on new tractors and trailers as well as through the aftermarket for users who choose to retrofit to the wide-base single tire.
* Next, Meritor WABCO announced the availability of the new PLC Display for tractor-trailer communications. This system displays communications between the tractor and trailer for trailer-mounted equipment, such as the Meritor PSI tire inflation system.
* Finally, Meritor WABCO has been awarded a contract to supply 100 percent of the exhaust aftertreatment device packaging for DaimlerChrysler’s heavy-duty engines, including Detroit Diesel and Mercedes-Benz brands, for the U.S. market in 2007.

New FleetNet services
FleetNet America introduced two new services: the FleetNet America Vehicle Securement Program, and the FleetNet America Maintenance Manager Program.

Through the Vehicle Securement Program, FleetNet promptly will secure a fleet’s abandoned equipment to minimize the risk of loss or damage. FleetNet will oversee delivery of abandoned equipment to a secured storage facility, and customers can access information on the location and status of their equipment by logging into a password-controlled section of FleetNet’s website ( Customers also benefit from the same vendor relationships FleetNet has established under its Select Towing and Recovery Program.

The Maintenance Manager Program provides outsourced management of equipment maintenance, including establishment and oversight, and scheduling and tracking of annual FHWA inspections. FleetNet will use its prequalified vendors for all work.

For more information, contact sales manager Heather Holt at 800-438-8961, ext. 544.

What’s the diff?
Dana Corp. has expanded its line of limited-slip differentials for its medium-duty single and tandem axles. The new diffs, says Dana, are ideal for vehicles encountering slippery surfaces in that they put equal power to left and right wheels, rather than allowing one wheel to spin. They feature a Torsen, helical-gear design that provides automatic torque biasing, thus eliminating the friction plates found on most limited-slip differentials that can wear out.

The new diffs are available on selected axles on Class 4-6 vehicles. Visit this site for more information.

Link’s self-steer liftable suspension
Link Manufacturing says its DuraLift II 8K self-steer liftable suspension weighs only 646 pounds, wheel-end hardware included. According to the company, the lightweight suspension incorporates:
* Interchangeable and adjustable frame brackets;
* A one-unit-fits-all standard truck chassis, with four ride height kits available;
* Trailer mounts available for 18- to 22.5-inch ride heights;
* A compact mounting envelope measuring 22.5 inches; and
* An optional integrated air system.

For more information, pay a visit to this site.

Mitsubishi Fuso to enter ‘green’ market
At this year’s Mid-America Trucking show, Mitsubishi Fuso displayed its new medium-duty diesel/electric hybrid truck. The Canter Eco Hybrid features a small, clean-burning 123-hp diesel engine; an ultra-slim, 47-hp brushless permanent-magnet electric motor/generator; advanced lithium-ion batteries; and the high-efficiency Mitsubishi Fuso Inomat II automated mechanical transmission.

A parallel hybrid, the truck can run on electrical power, diesel power or both, depending on operating parameters. And during braking, the motor/generator slows the truck, returning electrical power to the batteries. The Canter Eco Hybrid has achieved as much as a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency over similarly equipped trucks in urban pickup and delivery applications in Japan, the company said.

While the truck will be available in Japan later this year, Mitsubishi Fuso has not set a date for North American introduction.

Bendix pursues anti-crash system
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, European affiliate Knorr-Bremse and Robert Bosch GmbH have formed a strategic alliance to develop systems to help truck drivers avoid rear-end collisions.

Bosch has for several years marketed Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which uses radar to identify vehicles on the road ahead and manage engine throttle to maintain a safe following distance. Bendix and Knorr-Bremse now plan to develop an active collision mitigation system for commercial vehicles that combines Bosch’s ACC technology and Bendix’s ABS-6 Advanced with ESP stability system, thereby offering emergency braking as well as throttle control.

Son of Sprinter
After 11 years and 1.3 million units sold, the Sprinter has a successor, which recently was unveiled in Germany. According to manufacturer DaimlerChrysler, the new unit boasts:
* A broader range of versions;
* Extensive standard specs, with options to suit individual needs;
* Improved ergonomics and seating comfort;
* Improved visibility and lighting, with xenon headlamps;
* Keyless entry and slide door control;
* Cleaner, more powerful diesel engines; and
* Improved suspensions, with standard electronic stability control.

The Sprinter is sold in Europe under the Mercedes-Benz brand, and as a Dodge in the United States.

Keep the old