Volvo offers Fuelwatch program

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More than two years and 1.6 million miles into the “Two Million Mile Haul” biodiesel fuel test, the National Biodiesel Board and its partners report comparable fuel economy, performance and cold weather characteristics as well as improved lubricity compared to conventional on-highway diesel fuel. A full report on the test results is expected in spring 2009.

Bergstrom announced that its NITE System technology has received formal approval from the California Air Resources Board with the certification number 08-643-004.

Navistar and Qualcomm announced an alliance to deliver Qualcomm’s Mobile Computing Platform (MCP) installed on Navistar’s trucks beginning in the fall. Under the agreement, Navistar dealers will resell Qualcomm’s MCP throughout the United States. The companies say the collaboration will enable Navistar customers to purchase International brand trucks with the MCP installed by the dealer, making it easier to access Qualcomm’s OmniVision Transportation services.

Great Dane Trailers’ 48-foot Freedom platform trailer now will be offered with Meritor’s RSS Roll Stability Support system – which helps prevent rollovers – and CorroGuard spray-in-place thermoplastic elastomer coating that, when applied to suspensions and support gear, helps provide long-term protection from road abrasion and corrosion.

Eaton now has pre-authorized warranty repair guidelines posted on its website, which the company says will eliminate telephone calls for many Eaton repair authorizations. The program covers Eaton transmissions and clutches, as well as Vorad collision warning systems.

Western Star announced the availability of Detroit Diesel’s DD15 engine in targeted Western Star vocational market segments.

East flatbed, refuse and dump trailers now can communicate critical intelligent data to the driver through an optional Power Line Carrier (PLC) communication system that utilizes MeritorWABCO Vehicle Control Systems’ Infolink Gateway Communications Capabilities.

Sterling Acterra trucks now can be spec’d with Eaton Fuller UltraShift Highway Value 6-speed transmissions as optional equipment.

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Kenworth will make a new full-synthetic axle lube standard on its Class 5-8 models in the United States and Canada starting this summer. Paccar says the Cognis Emgard FE 75W-90 axle lube, which also will be available on Peterbilt models, offers major advantages over conventional gear lubricants, including better operating performance, increased gear life, extended drain and all-season lubrication, and reduced maintenance and downtime.

Wabash National Corp. announced that prices of its trailer products will increase an average of 5 percent effective for new orders booked on or after Oct. 1, with an additional increase ranging from 3 to 5 percent effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Firestone Industrial Products says its new heavy-duty Level-Rite air spring over damper suspension for 2003-2008 Dodge Ram 2500/3500 4x4s features a fully protected, reversible sleeve air spring paired with a high-performance Bilstein monotube shock absorber. The suspension levels the front end of vehicles that carry a winch, snowplow, slide-in camper, Texas Style bumper or any other situation where extra weight is placed on the front of the vehicle.

Volvo Trucks North America unveiled its Fuelwatch initiative at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas to help fleet managers and truck operators achieve maximum fuel economy. Volvo says Fuelwatch is a “comprehensive approach” to get the most out of each gallon of fuel, encompassing vehicle spec’ing, maintenance, performance monitoring and driver behavior.

“Fuelwatch is our way to bring Volvo’s deep knowledge of fuel economy to customers in a way that delivers these benefits throughout the entire life and operation of their trucks,” says Scott Kress, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

A major element of Fuelwatch will be driver training. Beginning in early 2009, Volvo will have driver trainers in each of its five sales regions to work directly with fleets and their drivers to teach how to increase fuel economy. “We know from our experience that even the best-spec’d and maintained truck can deliver poor fuel economy if the driver lacks the knowledge and training to use it efficiently,” Kress says. “The driver has the biggest impact – good or bad – on fuel economy.”

Fuelwatch has four major elements:

 Correct specifications. Before the truck is even built, its components and design are matched precisely to its intended application. Customers work with their Volvo Truck dealer and Volvo’s Predictor software tool to select the most fuel-efficient spec for the job, taking into consideration terrain, desired cruising speed, vehicle loading, application and other factors. The goal is to ensure the right combination of all drivetrain components, including gear and axle ratios, transmission and engine ratings to ensure optimal fuel economy, performance and productivity. Volvo’s truck ordering system also helps select the most aerodynamic configuration for the truck.

 Maintenance for fuel savings. Without proper maintenance, wear and tear on the truck, over time, drags down fuel economy and raises costs. Volvo says Fuelwatch helps its customers keep up with scheduled preventive maintenance, which is critical for continued fuel economy. For example, Volvo says lack of proper attention to wheel alignment as well as fuel and cooling systems each can reduce fuel efficiency up to 3 percent, while air system losses can result in a 4 percent fuel economy drop. Tire pressure sensors and the ability to reprogram engine power ratings to match a change in application also contribute to better fuel economy.

 Monitoring performance. Volvo Link and Sentry allow fleet managers to monitor critical functions of individual trucks so they can identify and readily make adjustments to enhance fuel economy. Volvo Link also provides access to services for optimizing operations, such as fuel tax reporting, vehicle location tracking and route planning. And all customers gain uptime support through Sentry’s access to Volvo Action Service, a 24/7 roadside assistance program. Volvo Link, with two years of Sentry service, is standard on all new Volvo trucks.

 Driver development. In addition to the forthcoming driver training, Volvo offers drivers many aids. Volvo’s Performance Guide is a ride-along “coach” that tells the driver how to operate the engine for maximum fuel economy. Performance Guide is visible in the Driver Instrument Display and uses icons to guide the driver on correct RPM, acceleration and staying in the engine’s “sweet spot.” This can be combined with Volvo’s Performance Bonus to provide the driver with incentives for maximizing time in the sweet spot.

Mack Pinnacle gets heavy-duty air disc brakes
Mack now offers Bendix ADB22X heavy-duty air disc brakes on its Pinnacle Axle Forward and Pinnacle Axle Back trucks in 12,000-pound front and 40,000-pound rear supplier axle configurations. The brakes will be one of a trio of Bendix vehicle systems included on Pinnacle models, along with Bendix adaptive cruise control and vehicle stability (anti-rollover) systems.

Jerry Warmkessel, highway products marketing manager for Mack, notes that although air disc brakes have been available in North America for about two decades, Mack customers only recently have begun requesting them. Compared to conventional drum brake systems, Warmkessel says air disc brakes offer fleets and drivers a wide range of advantages and will become a more attractive option when the next generation of drum brake standards comes into effect in 2010. Currently, according to Warmkessel, air disc brakes weigh about 11 pounds more than drum brakes in some configurations, but the standards will increase the drum brake weight significantly, making air disc systems as much as 150 pounds lighter than drum brakes.

Of all the advantages air disc brakes offer over drum brakes, Warmkessel says stopping distance is the most impressive. “The fact is, the faster a truck is going, the better air disc brakes work,” Warmkessel notes. “At 65 mph, conventional drum brakes offer a truck stopping distances from 255 to 292 feet. Air disc brakes stop the truck between 185 to 210 feet – a difference of 60 feet. At 75 mph, drum brakes will stop a truck in 450 to 518 feet. Air disc brakes will stop the truck in 305 to 325 feet – a difference of 145 feet.”

ArvinMeritor opens plant in Mexico
ArvinMeritor last month dedicated its new $30 million manufacturing facility in Ciénega de Flores, Nuevo Le