No urea needed

user-gravatar Headshot

Mack Trucks’ Pinnacle tractors have been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program.

Utility Trailer says that its 4000D-X dry van is the first trailer to be certified by the EPA as a SmartWay trailer.

Eaton Corp.’s hybrid power systems now are available on 2008 International, Kenworth, Peterbilt and Freightliner medium-duty vehicles.

Penske Truck Leasing has invested more than $10 million in two new facilities in Lakeland, Fla., and Springfield, Mo.

Transcraft Corp. says it intends to idle its Mount Sterling, Ky., platform trailer production facility before the end of the year to better match its manufacturing capacity with customer demand.

Cummins and the Automotive Systems Division of supplier Continental AG announced that Continental has produced and delivered more than three million Electronic Control Modules to Cummins.

Michelin is marking its XDA5 tire’s entrance into the marketplace with a guarantee that the tire will outlast the drive tire it replaces by at least 30 percent. Visit for details.

Chevron introduced its newest synthetic gear lubricant, Texaco Syn-Star GL SAE 75W-90, designed to meet Revision C of Dana/Spicer’s SHAES 256 specification for extended-drain gear lubes. Also, ConocoPhillips says that Kendall SHP Synthetic Gear Lube 75W90 now meets the spec.

Michelin North America is investing $350 million to improve and expand its major manufacturing facilities in South Carolina.

ArvinMeritor has added the Air Link suspension to its product line through a licensing agreement with Raydan Manufacturing. The units will be built in a joint-venture facility in Monterrey, Mexico.

Hendrickson’s Trailer Sales, Parts and Service Literature Library has gone digital with the release of a CD featuring comprehensive product information. Visit

The new Kenworth PremierCare Freedom Package helps fleets running Kenworth Class 8 on-highway trucks through a combined preventive maintenance and extended warranty program. Call 800-KW-ASSIST for details.

Fontaine International was presented with the Volvo Supplier Award.

Phillips Industries has opened a new distribution center in Cincinnati.

Mack Trucks’ ReMack operation is celebrating the installation of its 50,000th remanufactured drive-axle carrier.

Renewable Energy Group has been awarded BQ-9000 Certified Marketer status by the National Biodiesel Accreditation Committee, an affiliate of the National Biodiesel Board.

Intermodal Association of North America’s 2007 Intermodal Product & Supplier Directory now is available. To obtain a free copy, visit

Cummins Inc. said its heavy-duty diesel engines that comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 standards will not require NOx aftertreatment, although its medium-duty engines will use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology.

The decision to meet 2010 standards without SCR in heavy-duty engines stands in contrast with announcements from Detroit Diesel and Volvo/Mack that their 2010 truck engine solutions will employ SCR technology in order to bring NOx levels within EPA’s mandated maximum levels. SCR introduces urea into heated exhaust, causing it to break down into ammonia. The ammonia, in turn, reacts with the NOx in a catalytic converter to produce nitrogen and water.

At a news conference last month in Nashville, Tenn., Steve Charlton, Cummins’ executive director of heavy-duty engineering, announced that the company’s heavy-duty engines instead would meet EPA demands through a combination of the XPI high-pressure common rail (HPCR) fuel system, improved cooled exhaust gas recirculation, advanced electronic controls, variable geometry turbochargers and the Cummins diesel particulate filter.

Cummins also said the 2010 engines in North America will include 11.9-liter and 16-liter diesel engines to complement its 15-liter product. All will share a common architecture that includes the XPI HPCR, said Ed Pence, vice president and general manager of Cummins’ heavy-duty engine business. “This is the first time in nearly 20 years that we’ve had common architecture across our heavy-duty products,” Pence said.

The HPCR fuel system, which was designed and built by a Cummins-Scania joint venture, offers improved performance and cleaner exhaust by maintaining high injection pressures regardless of engine speed, Cummins said. The company will continue to use the Cummins Turbo Technologies-designed VG turbo. And the Cummins Particulate Filter, designed and built by Cummins Emission Solutions and introduced in 2007, will be the only aftertreatment required for the 2010 solution.

Cummins’ approach toward lowering NOx for 2010 is to continue reducing the amount of oxygen introduced into the combustion process. Reducing the airflow not only reduces NOx, but it also produces other benefits, including high power density, minimum heat rejection and optimal fuel economy, Charlton said. And with less oxygen introduced into combustion, less oxygen comes out for use in cooled EGR, further improving performance and emissions control. “It’s a virtuous circle,” Charlton said.

In the heavy-duty segment, Cummins said it chose its solution with an eye to the key drivers of uptime, operational efficiency and low cost of ownership. By using its chosen approach rather than SCR to achieve NOx reduction, Cummins lowered the complexity and eliminated the need to purchase and manage urea, the company said.

By staying away from SCR, Cummins also differentiates its engines more clearly from the captive engines offered by truck makers. Volvo’s powertrain group, which supplies engines to Volvo and Mack, and Freightliner’s Detroit Diesel have announced that SCR will be part of their 2010 solutions. Meanwhile, International plans to introduce a heavy-duty engine in a joint venture with Europe’s MAN. And Paccar is leveraging engine technology developed by its DAF unit in Europe to introduce Paccar engines in North America for Kenworth and Peterbilt.

Many fleets “will take a deep sigh of relief” that they will not have to deal with the complexities introduced by urea and SCR, Pence said.

For midrange engines, there was a different set of priorities, including diverse application and the need for a wide power range. Cummins already uses SCR for midrange engines in Europe. The need for power density made SCR attractive for midrange engines, said Jeff Weikert, executive director of midrange engineering.

In addition to the performance needs, SCR is operationally more attractive than in long-haul heavy-duty applications because the rate of urea consumption is lower and because midrange equipment typically returns to base daily for fueling and maintenance. For many midrange applications, fleets will be able to replenish urea in sync with their oil change intervals, Weikert said.
– Avery Vise

Peterbilt to launch medium-duty hybrids in March
Peterbilt Motors Co. said it will begin full production of its medium-duty hybrid electric vehicles in March 2008 and will offer heavy-duty hybrids for vocational and on-highway use in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

In a related announcement, the company delivered its first medium-duty hybrid vehicles – two Model 335 hybrids – this month to San Marcos, Texas-based McCoy’s Building Supply.

In addition to the Model 335 hybrid for stationary power takeoff applications, Peterbilt in March 2008 will offer the Model 330 hybrid for pick-up and delivery applications.

“Peterbilt continues to be an industry leader in developing advanced hybrid solutions that increase fuel efficiency, reduce emissions and improve service requirements,” said Bill Jackson, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar vice president. “In fact, customers who have already implemented our medium-duty hybrid systems into their operations have reported significant results of up to 40 percent greater fuel savings.”

The Class 6 Model 330 hybrid, developed in conjunction with Eaton Corp., is powered by the Paccar PX-6 engine rated at 240 horsepower and 560 ft-lbs of torque. With the hybrid system engaged, horsepower increases to 300 and torque to 860 ft-lbs.

Peterbilt’s Class 7 Model 335 also is powered by the Paccar PX-6 engine and regenerates lithium-ion batteries to electrically operate the PTO – ideal for municipal and utility applications where noise, emissions and fuel use are concerns.

In the heavy-duty segment, Peterbilt is developing its hybrid Hydraulic Launch Assist technology on its low-cab-forward vocational Model 320 and expects to make a hybrid Model 320 available late next year. An on-highway hybrid aerodynamic Model 386 is expected to be available in 2010. The first versions have been developed in conjunction with Eaton and Wal-Mart Stores and have achieved a 5 to 7 percent fuel savings over non-hybrid models in third-party testing, Peterbilt said.

It’s true: no CO2
The development and availability of biofuels and standards to govern their quality are the key constraints on the adoption of more climate-friendly trucks, Volvo’s chief executive said last month. “The technology exists, but we need the fuels,” Leif Johansson, chief executive officer of the Volvo Group, told journalists and public policy experts in Brussels, Belgium.

To prove Johansson’s point, Volvo rolled out for its invited guests seven heavy-duty Volvo trucks, each powered by a different “carbon dioxide-free” substitute for petroleum-based diesel fuel. The seven Volvo FM trucks, first exhibited in late August in Stockholm, are equipped with Volvo’s own 9-liter diesel engines that have been modified specially by Volvo Group engineers.

But while the engines could be available immediately, the supply of biofuels is quite small, Johansson said, adding that there has been far more money spent in North America than in Europe toward developing certain alternative fuels. Indeed, availability is so tight that it threatened Volvo’s demonstration in Brussels. “We were concerned about the ability of one of the trucks to roll on the 3 liters of fuel we were able to get today,” Johansson said.

Johansson identified three principal reasons for adopting what it calls “CO2-free transport”: Climate change, oil production approaching its peak and the political uncertainty that is largely responsible for record crude oil prices. Any one of those factors could be a compelling reason to shift to fuels that don’t rely as much on petroleum-based diesel, Johansson said.

The seven fuels or combinations of fuels that power Volvo’s “CO2-free” trucks are:
· Biodiesel;
· Biogas, a gaseous fuel that is largely comprised of hydrocarboned methane obtained from garbage or sewage;
· Biogas plus biodiesel;
· Dimethyl ether, or DME, which is produced through the gasification
of biomass;
· Ethanol/methanol. Methanol is produced through the gasification of biomass and ethanol through the fermentation of crops rich in sugar and starch;
· Synthetic diesel, a mixture of synthetically manufactured hydrocarbon produced through the gasification of biomass; and
· Hydrogen gas plus biogas.

“The diesel engine is an extremely efficient energy converter that is perfectly suited to many different renewable fuels, liquid or gaseous,” said Jan-Eric Sundgren, senior vice president of public and environmental affairs for the Volvo Group.

Volvo has analyzed each of the fuels and combinations on the basis of several criteria, including environmental impact, energy efficiency, land use and fuel availability cost and distribution, among others. The best fuel depends on the relative priority of those factors, but one clear finding is that so-called “second generation” biofuels – those produced from a gasification process – generally hold the greatest promise in achieving those goals.

“The best thing would be if there were a globalized standard alternative fuel,” Johansson said, noting that a single fuel would introduce economies of scale that would minimize equipment and fuel cost. But political and economic realities are a hurdle to that best-case scenario. “We most likely will have to accept that there will be different applications and fuels around the world.”
– Avery Vise

Ryder lets the cream rise to the top
As you may have read in our August issue (page 10), technician recognition is becoming more important and more widespread. Now, Ryder System has announced the winners of its 2007 Top Technician Recognition Program.

The title of “National Top Technician” was awarded to Michael Bogard of Neenah, Wis., along with keys to a new, fully loaded GMC pickup truck. Christopher Barnett of Hebron, Ky., was the runner-up, and Jimmie Slusher of Gray, Tenn., finished in third place. Ryder’s top seven technicians, who had advanced through earlier rounds, participated in a national competition, which consisted of 10 hands-on skills tests, including vehicle electronics, preventive maintenance and air conditioning. All seven finalists received cash prizes.

It’s just logical
Phillips’ PermaLogic Reefer is an all-weather, all-electronic controller that manages power to trailer dome lamps in reefer trailers. It allows operation of the trailer dome lamps even if the trailer is not connected to the tractor, and also protects the operation of the refrigeration unit.

If the refrigeration unit battery falls below 12.2 volts, the control unit will shut off power to the interior lamps to save power. It also automatically turns off interior dome lamps after 30 minutes of continuous use.

Finally, the unit automatically switches off the interior dome lamps when the brakes are applied, making maximum power available for ABS operation.

Alternator takes the heat
Bosch’s heavy-duty Long Haul Alternator provides greater electrical power and efficiency on the road or at idle, and is designed to keep generating electrical power even when the underhood temperature climbs to as much as 257 degrees Fahrenheit. Most other alternators fail at slightly more than 230 degrees F, says Bosch.

Producing 160 amps, and 80 amps at idle, the Long Haul’s higher charge rate at idle prolongs battery life by reducing deep cycling. And dual, internal cooling fans aid airflow and help the unit maintain its cool.

The Long Haul’s exclusive Self Protection Regulator technology automatically reduces the output to prevent failure when underhood temperatures reach extremes, and returns to full output as temperatures drop.

Bosch says the Long Haul Alternator (AL9960LH), which replaces more than 220 different original equipment alternators, operates at more than 70 percent efficiency, while conventional OE replacement alternators operate at 55 percent efficiency. The unit is backed by Bosch’s 24-month/250,000-mile warranty.

In August, we asked: What are tire sipes? While we got plenty of correct answers, the first was from Jim Dunn, superintendent for the Department of Public Works in the Village of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Jim explained that sipes are cuts or slots in a tire tread that help with traction in snow, mud, etc., and also help to disperse heat.

Jim – who will receive an elegant CCJ pen and Air Brake Book – may have gotten “Dunn” before you this time, but you’ve got lots more chances. Just be the first to e-mail [email protected] with the correct answer to this month’s Puzzler, or send in a Puzzler of your own. If we use it, you win.

This month’s Puzzler:
In a hydraulic disc brake system, if the master cylinder has a 1-inch bore and produces 700 lbs. of force, how much force will a single-piston caliper exert on the brake pads if the piston has a 2-inch bore?