Freightliner, DaimlerChrysler mark 25 years together

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Volvo Trucks North America and North Carolina State University have selected devices built by Mechron Power Systems and Cummins for a field test of mobile idle reduction technology (MIRT) that begins this month. Through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport program, Volvo will work with two fleets to evaluate electric MIRT systems in northern and southern climates.

International Truck and Engine Corp. has made tires from Hankook Tire America Corp. standard on all International 4000 Series and International CF vehicles.

SelecTrucks has extended its comprehensive, no-deductible 30-day warranty program, known as Buyer’s Assurance, to medium-duty trucks.

TMCSuperTech2006, the Technology & Maintenance Council’s technician skills competition, will be held Sept. 18-20 in conjunction with the TMC fall meeting in Austin, Texas. The registration deadline is Aug. 18. For more information, visit this site.

Michelin Americas Truck Tires and Petro:Lube have signed a three-year agreement under which Petro:Lube service facilities throughout the United States will sell BFGoodrich commercial truck tires and Michelin Retread Technologies retreads in addition to Michelin tires they already offer.

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire (BFNT) and TravelCenters of America announced that they are continuing their long-term agreement to sell Bridgestone, Firestone and Oncor truck tires in TA travel centers.

ArvinMeritor has opened a new warehouse and distribution center in Monterrey, Mexico, for the commercial vehicle aftermarket business that doubles the capacity of the company’s previous storage and distribution site in Escobedo, Mexico.

Stemco has launched a redesigned website at that includes updated product information.

SKF has acquired Austrian industrial seals company Economos Austria GmbH, which will be part of SKF Sealing Solutions, a unit within the Automotive Division.

Mitchell 1 said ArvinMeritor has adopted Mitchell 1’s Web-based heavy-duty vehicle service and repair information database for use at ArvinMeritor’s OnTrac customer support center in Troy, Mich.

Goodyear said its Danville, Va., tire plant produced its 1 millionth Unisteel G395 LHS medium-truck steer tire at 3:15 a.m. on May 18.

Twenty-five years after Daimler-Benz AG (now Daimler-Chrysler) acquired Freightliner Corp. in May 1981, Freightliner and Daimler-Chrysler executives joined more than 2,500 Freightliner employees for an anniversary celebration May 31 at Freightliner’s headquarters in Portland, Ore.

“In 1981, Freightliner became the first foothold in the U.S. for Daimler-Benz AG,” Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Daimler-Chrysler board of management, said during the celebration. “Thanks to its dedicated employees and strong brands, the company has now become an indispensable part of DaimlerChrysler.”

When Daimler-Chrysler bought Freightliner 25 years ago, the company had 9 percent market share in Class 8 trucks. By 1992, Freightliner had reached No. 1 in North America in Class 8 trucks and today leads the market for all vehicles from Class 5 on up with 30 percent market share.

In a media roundtable following the celebration, Zetsche commented on the potential impact of new, low-emissions engines, set for introduction in January 2007, on Class 8 truck sales. “Cycles as far as volume are characteristic of the truck market,” he said. “We can’t change that, but we can change the effect of it by trying to make truck purchases more attractive to customers in tough times through financing packages.”

“Sooner or later, everyone’s going to have to buy these engines,” Chris Patterson, Freightliner president and chief executive officer, told media attendees. “Overall, volumes are dependent on the economy – if the economy slows, whether there’s an emissions event or not, that slows buying down. We’re positioning ourselves conservatively.” Patterson added that Freightliner already has some production slots filled in 2007.

Looking ahead to the 2010 emissions regulations, Andreas Renschler, head of Daimler-Chrysler’s truck group and buses, said: “The best solution is to combine [selective catalytic reduction] technology with BlueTec,” he said, referring to a European concept for exhaust purification.

Despite diesel fuel prices hovering in the $3 range, Patterson said Freightliner has not seen “a significant shift” toward spec’ing trucks with lower horsepower engines or more aerodynamic features. “We have seen a high degree of interest in APUs.”
Linda Longton

TMC’s RP manual now on CD-ROM
The Technology & Maintenance Council is making its 2006-07 Recommended Practice Manual available on CD-ROM. The two-volume set contains more than 2,200 pages of maintenance and engineering practices, based on the consensus of its members. The set includes more than 50 new or revised recommended practices adopted by TMC as of December 2005.

TMC members receive a copy of the single-user version of the RP Manual CD-ROM as a member benefit. Members may purchase additional single-user versions for $200, and nonmembers can purchase them for $267. Order by calling 800-ATA-LINE (282-5463) or visiting this site. Reference Item #T0012CS. A hardcover version (Item #T0012) also is available.

‘Wingfoot Express’ on the road again
Goodyear subsidiary Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems ( is reviving the Wingfoot Express, a 1917 Packard Model E 3-ton truck similar to the 5-ton model that established the first instate trucking route in April 1917 with regular nonstop runs from the Akron tire factory to the company’s tire fabric mill in Connecticut. The Wingfoot Express will be based at the tire distributor/retreader’s Fort Smith, Ark., headquarters.

Chevron says oils pass API CJ-4 tests
Chevron Products Co. announced that its diesel engine oils – including Delo, Ursa and RPM – have passed all American Petroleum Institute and U.S. original equipment manufacturer tests required to meet the new API CJ-4 diesel engine oil specification. The company says its new API CJ-4 oils, which can be launched on Oct. 15 when the API license is granted, offer improved performance for existing and 2007 engines operating on ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

Chevron previously announced in March that it will offer both an API CJ-4 and an API CI-4 Plus version of its diesel engine oils based on customer feedback and expected market demand.

Equipment Puzzler
Back in May, we asked: What’s the difference between parallel and series hybrid vehicles? The answer is that, in a series hybrid, the diesel or gas engine drives a generator, which charges the batteries and drives an electric motor for propulsion. In a parallel setup, the wheels can be driven by either or both the diesel/gas engine and electric motor.

Tim Hogan, with McClure Johnston Co., based in Greensburg, Pa., got the first right answer, and he will receive an elegant 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, or if you send in a Puzzler and we use it.

This month’s Puzzler
Gradeability is the percentage grade at which a stopped vehicle can be set into motion by releasing the clutch, in the normal starting gear, without fueling the engine. To preserve clutch life, what percent gradeability is recommended for heavy-duty, on-highway applications?