Detroit Diesel unveils DD13

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Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire and Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. announced price increases of up to 10 percent effective Sept. 1 on the companies’ Bridgestone and Firestone brand tire lines, as well as all associate brand tires. The company cited a shortage of and subsequent price increases for raw materials, as well as high fuel prices.

Paccar Chairman and CEO Mark Pigott has been selected to receive this year’s Six Sigma & Business Improvement CEO of the Year Award. The parent of Kenworth and Peterbilt has trained 12,000 employees, dealers and suppliers to use Six Sigma to evaluate engineering design, assembly procedures, sales ordering and financial transactions. The company has implemented more than 7,600 Six Sigma projects that have saved more than $1.5 billion since 1997.

Eaton Corp. announced that its UltraShift Highway Value transmission will be available as an option on 2009 Freightliner M2-106 and Sterling Acterra medium-duty trucks. The vehicles are available with Cummins engines and GVWRs up to 33,000 pounds.

Freightliner Trucks announced the availability of high-visibility seat belts as a factory-installed option on the Cascadia, Columbia, Century Class S/T and M2. Manufactured by LifeGuard Technologies, the bright-orange high-visibility seat belts now are available to order.

SelecTrucks is offering a fuel card valued at up to $2,000 on purchases of midroof Freightliner Columbia trucks powered by the Mercedes-Benz 4000 engine. The fuel card offer runs through Dec. 31.

Stertil-Koni USA, a provider of heavy-duty lifts, acquired lift manufacturer ALM Corp. and Fleet America Service Technology, which markets a shallow pit-designed heavy-duty scissors lift.

Hunter Engineering Co. says Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations allow its B400T Brake Tester to be used to test brake compliance without a follow-up physical inspection to take noncomplying vehicles out of service.

Mack Trucks Inc. added a new section to its website that allows customers to ask powertrain marketing manager David McKenna questions about the company’s 2010 emissions solution featuring selective catalytic reduction. Go to and click on a banner called “Talking SCR.”

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Cox Enterprises added nine International DuraStar Hybrid Bucket Trucks to its fleet. International hybrid trucks employ a parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid architecture that is supplied by Eaton Corp.

Carrier Transicold launched a website for its Priority Card holders,, giving customers and dealers instant access to information to manage their accounts.

Fontaine Parts Connection introduced a new full-color parts and service catalog, which is available for download at

Ridewell Suspensions tapped John Millsap to serve as president, replacing John Raidel II, who remains chief executive officer.

Stemco Kaiser, a provider of kingpin and suspension kits, has introduced its product line in Canada.

Panelite Inc. announced that it now is under the sole ownership of Veleta Barnhart, co-founder and co-owner of the 24-year-old company.

Detroit Diesel last month introduced the DD13, a smaller version of the DD15 engine. The company says the new engine – which features 12.8-liter displacement and a 6-cylinder in-line configuration – is designed for the less-than-truckload, regional distribution and vocational markets. “The DD13 is designed to provide a remarkable B50 life of 1 million miles,” says Admir Kreso, director of HDEP engineering for Detroit Diesel. Sterling Trucks and Freightliner will offer the engine in 2009, followed by Western Star in 2010. It will be manufactured at the Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Mich.

The DD13 will be offered in output and torque variants from 350 to 450 hp and from 1,350 to 1,650 lb-ft. The DD13 is the second of three heavy-duty engines to share the new design that will become Daimler’s global heavy-duty diesel platform. A 16-liter DD16 is planned for introduction at a later date.

Weighing 400 pounds less than the DD15, the DD13 will provide up to 5 percent better fuel economy than the MBE 4000 that it will be replacing, Detroit Diesel says. Improved fuel economy results from more time in top gear and an enhanced cooling system that reduces fan-on time. Another key feature is the engine’s electronically-controlled Amplified Common Rail Fuel System – a fuel delivery system designed to work in unison with Detroit Diesel’s DDEC VI engine management system to control combustion precisely.

Detroit Diesel says the DD13 can go 50,000 miles between routine service intervals. Other service-friendly features include cartridge-style filters (oil, coolant and fuel) positioned above the frame rail, and a maintenance-free crankcase breather. “Many of the design features we included enable customers to easily perform routine maintenance on their own,” says David Siler, Detroit Diesel’s director of marketing. Sixty-five percent of the DD13’s components are common with the DD15, promoting parts availability and reducing training requirements.

Detroit Diesel says the DD13’s torque curve provides a wide peak torque range – up to 500 rpm wide – allowing drivers to easily find the engine’s “sweet spot” for optimum performance. Detroit Diesel says the DD13’s advanced design also allows for the seamless integration of urea-based BlueTec selective catalytic reduction technology for reducing emissions to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2010 standards.

Peterbilt launches hybrid truck production
California wine distributor is first customer

Peterbilt has begun production of medium-duty hybrid trucks, delivering two production Model 335 hybrid diesel-electric trucks to Napa, Calif.-based VinLux Fine Wine Transport, a joint venture between warehousing and transportation company Biagi Bros. Inc. and Jackson Family Estates. The company will operate the trucks in urban locales like San Francisco, where frequent stopping will maximize regenerative braking and, therefore, the fuel economy benefits of hybrids.

The Class 7 Model 335 uses Eaton’s hybrid-electric power system in conjunction with an electric motor that assists the Paccar PX-6 engine with supplemental torque for improved fuel economy. The system stores energy during stopping through a process called regenerative braking, and then reuses it for acceleration.

Among the features of the Peterbilt hybrids is a dash display to provide direct feedback to the driver regarding the charge status of the batteries and the efficiency of the operation. Two lithium ion batteries weighing 110 pounds provide the equivalent electric power of 28 lead acid batteries weighing 1,900 pounds, says Landon Sproull, Peterbilt’s chief engineer. The batteries have a life expectancy of six to seven years, possibly up to 10 years in some applications, Sproull says.

VinLux is using the 335s for urban delivery applications, but even greater fuel savings – as well as noise reduction – are possible when using hybrids in applications like utility trucks that involve power takeoff operation, Peterbilt says. Another application for hybrids that’s on the drawing boards is a battery-powered refrigerated unit, Sproull says.

“Our medium-duty hybrid vehicles have proven to not only provide a 30 to 50 percent increase in fuel efficiency, depending upon the application, but also dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen,” said Bill Jackson, Peterbilt’s general manager.

“We’re committed to going green and protecting the California environment, and the Peterbilt Hybrids are a perfect solution for us,” said Fred Biagi, owner of VinLux Fine Wine Transport. Although the hybrid system represents a 40 percent premium over a conventional Model 335, the high price of diesel, along with federal tax credits, means that VinLux can realize a return on investment in as little as two years, Biagi says.

The tax credit, currently available through 2009, is up to $12,000 for the Class 7 335 hybrid and up to $6,000 for the Class 6 330 hybrid.

In a related development, Peterbilt announced a demonstration tour to allow prospective hybrid customers in the United States and Canada to evaluate the 2009 Model 330 and 335 hybrids for applications such as utility, pickup-and-delivery and dump trucks. For more information, visit
– Avery Vise

Volvo, Mack supply port replacements
Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks both announced July 30 that they each received a 100-truck order under an initial phase of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Clean Trucks Program. The program calls for 16,000-plus drayage units currently serving container operations to eventually be replaced with current-technology trucks. The order was awarded to Volvo and Mack dealer TEC of California Inc.

The Volvo VNL 300 Daycabs will be delivered to qualified fleets and independent operators selected by the ports. Volvo says the trucks are equipped with Volvo D13 engines rated at 405 hp that meet the California Air Resources Board’s low-NOx idle requirements through its certified sub-30 g/hr NOx emissions. The Volvo VNL 430 also has been selected as one of the approved models drayage operators may select as part of the Ports’ program. Mack says it received orders for 100 Pinnacle Axle Back Daycab tractors equipped with an MP7 engine rated at 395 hp and certified to CARB requirements.

Navistar, American LaFrance plan venture
Less than two months after announcing plans to build a Caterpillar-branded severe service truck, Navistar announced a joint venture with American LaFrance to manufacture and distribute vocational trucks for domestic and global markets. The initial product focus will be refuse and construction, and the companies expect to market trucks for additional vocational markets in the future. American LaFrance’s manufacturing facility in Summerville, S.C., will build the products under the joint venture.

The joint venture will build upon the engineering platform of American LaFrance using proprietary Navistar components. “We believe the strengths of our vocational line are exponentially enhanced when combined with the proprietary components, engines and distribution of Navistar,” says Lynn Tilton, chief executive officer of American LaFrance owner Patriarch Partners. American LaFrance has just emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

ZF showcases truck technologies
Hybrid, suspension components are among the lineup

In July, ZF Industries hosted a press conference at Germany’s famous Nurburgring motor speedway to showcase new truck technologies. ZF is a worldwide supplier in on- and off-highway markets, so the scope of the press event was quite large. Several new components, however, are targeted specifically at North America, including a new light-duty truck transmission, ZF’s entry into the hybrid powertrain market and a new prototype suspension system for Class 8 commercial trucks.

Nissan’s forthcoming low-cab-forward commercial truck will be built in Mississippi and feature ZF’s PowerLine light commercial automatic transmission. The six-speed transmission – which also will be offered in future Dodge trucks – is compatible with both gasoline and diesel engines, and between 440 and 700 lb-ft of torque. ZF says the new transmission weighs a little more than 300 pounds and features a torque converter that allows for the early closing of the converter lock-up clutch, boosting fuel economy by dramatically shortening the amount of time spent in “fuel-intensive operating stages.”

ZF also offered a sneak-peek at prototype versions of its EcoLife transmission-based hybrid drivetrain. Instead of a conventional torque converter, ZF engineers have integrated a proprietary electric motor into the converter housing. The beauty of the design, engineers say, is that it does not require any more vehicle installation space than a conventional EcoLife automatic transmission. The hybrid drivetrain provides up to 160 additional electrically generated horsepower and controls all pertinent hybrid functions such as pure electric propulsion at low vehicle speeds, automatic start and stop, power boost and regeneration.

Finally, ZF showcased a new heavy-duty truck suspension system that combines elements of the company’s independent wheel suspension system with newly developed continuous dampening control (CDC) and pneumatic dampening control (PDC) systems and a linear steering system.

The front suspension uses independent wheel suspension to reduce the overall area of unsprung vehicle mass, while the pneumatic spring mount with continuously variable, electronic dampening enhances the suspension’s overall safety and driver comfort. The system is lighter and more compact than conventional rigid axle systems, ZF says, allowing it – and the truck – to respond better to rough roads while allowing more available space for the larger radiators required by low-emissions diesel engines.

ZF’s new rear axle suspension system uses a four-point link combined with a trailing arm for longitudinal, lateral and vertical load support. Additionally, the four-point system performs active roll stabilization. In essence, ZF claims, this one-link system performs many functions that on conventional suspensions would require separate longitudinal control arms, wishbones, anti-roll bars and stabilizers.

Wabash buys Benson’s assets
Wabash National Corp. announced it completed the acquisition of certain operating assets of Benson International – a manufacturer of aluminum flatbeds, dump trailers and other truck bodies – for about $5 million. Wabash says the transaction, financed from available credit facilities, also provides the company with a leased 180,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Cadiz, Ky., an experienced work force and a strong dealer network.

“We now can offer a premier all-aluminum platform trailer line that provides customers with a lower-weight, lower fuel-consumption alternative that complements our Transcraft portfolio of steel and combo flatbed offerings,” says Wabash National President and Chief Executive Officer Dick Giromini. “In addition, we gain access to the previously untapped dump trailer market, and now have the capability to produce a wide variety of custom-designed steel and aluminum dump trailers and platform bodies, all built to customer specifications.”