2007 diesel technology deemed a success

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Updated Jan 13, 2010

Multiparty study finds effort exceeded expectations

A study shows that clean diesel technologies in engines manufactured beginning in 2007 not only reduced certain emissions by 90 percent over 2004 models, but also far exceeded expectations in their performance in cleaning up the nation’s air quality. The study – sponsored by a multiparty group of government and industry organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Air Resources Board and the Engine Manufacturers Association – is the first phase of the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES). This five-year comprehensive emissions testing program will test the emissions and health effects of new-technology diesel engines to document the improvements that have been made and to ensure that there are no unintended emissions from these new technologies.

Emissions reductions by 2007 model engines “exceeded substantially even those levels required by law,” said the study, conducted by the Coordinating Research Council and the Health Effects Institute. Current engine models produced 98 percent less carbon monoxide, 10 percent less nitrogen oxide, 95 percent less nonmethane hydrocarbons and 89 percent less particulate matter than required by EPA’s diesel engine emissions standards, the study found.

“Diesel engines are the workhorses of the nation’s transportation infrastructure because they are fuel-efficient, durable and reliable,” says Jed Mandel, president of the Engine Manufacturers Association. “We can now add near-zero emissions to the list of diesel’s positive attributes.”

The results of the ACES study can be found at www.crcao.org/index.html.

Double Coin rolls out new tires
Chinese tire manufacturer Double Coin and its North American marketing branch CMA recently discussed several aspects of its current business plan and debuted a wide range of new truck tires at its distribution center in Memphis, Tenn.

The Shanghai-based tire manufacturer has been doing business in North American since 1992, primarily as a Tier 3 product supplier. But according to CMA President Mike Yang and Vice President Aaron Murphy, the company gradually will expand its product lines into Tier 2 and Tier 1 market segments in the future. The key, according to Murphy, is to offer quality tires at Tier 3 prices, gradually gaining the reputation and product awareness that eventually will allow Double Coin to compete with established Tier 1 tire suppliers.

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To that end, the company showcased six new truck tires, including the fuel-efficient FR605 steer, FD405 drive and FT105 trailer tires. According to Murphy, each tire is an “ultra-premium” model, developed from scratch to be U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay-certified – although that certification process is not complete yet. In keeping with Double Coin’s stated mission of offering quality and efficiency, Murphy noted that internal testing indicated the FT105 trailer tire was logging 3 percent better fuel economy than the tire it replaces due to the use of advanced tread components and a robust internal design that allows for lower rolling resistance and more wear resistance.

Other new Double Coin tires introduced in Memphis included the RR680 all-position steer tire and the RT600 low-profile all-position steer tire. Both are designed for regional haul and pickup-and-delivery applications and feature a five-rib design complemented by wide shoulders to resist punctures and tears and provide a lifetime of even wear – including sidewall protection on the RT600 to protect against curb damage.

Additionally, the Double Coin RR202 is another new five-rib highway tire designed for vocational applications such as waste hauling. It features a tough, durable casing designed to provide both long original life and multiple retreads and can handle payloads up to 10,000 pounds.

Double Coin rounded out its new product showcase by highlighting a move into more severe markets with the REM-11 3700R57 tire for severe mining operations on rigid-frame and articulating off-highway dump trucks.
– Jack Roberts

CCJ Test Drive: 2009 Dodge Ram
Lost in the shuffle of bailouts and restructuring this year is the fact that Dodge has introduced an all-new Ram pickup truck that draws on many traits that have made previous-generation Rams successful and corrects some lagging deficiencies along the way. We’ve debated it around the office, but to my eye, the ’09 Ram’s style evokes Chrysler’s powerful and trend-setting mid-1950s 300 Series of coupes and sedans.

The beating heart of any Ram is, of course, its venerable Hemi engine. As in years past, the ’09 Ram’s Hemi throws heads back, both coming off the line and in passing situations.

With all that power at hand, Hemis are traditionally gas hogs, but a new Multiple Displacement System allows it to switch between V-4 and V-8 modes to provide decent highway fuel economy estimated to be about 18 mpg; city fuel economy logs in at 13 mpg. Hemi-powered Rams come with the five-speed automatic, but you can opt for part-time or on-demand four-wheel-drive, as well as four different axle ratios. The On-Demand 4WD system can be shifted into high-range on the fly, or left in automatic mode, leaving you free to enjoy the drive regardless of the road conditions.

At its core, the new Ram definitely is tricked out for tough jobs. Case in point is the new Rambox, which includes bedside storage boxes and is a factory option for the stock 5’7″ bed found on Quad Cab/Crew Cab ’09 Rams. Although the Rambox is a nice feature, the most dramatic single change between old Ram and new comes in ride quality and handling. All previous Dodge 1/2-ton pickups relied upon an antiquated leaf-spring rear suspension controlling the solid axle housing. The ’09 Ram 1500 pickups utilize coil springs instead of leafs, a switch that dramatically improves ride and handling while retaining decent payload (up to 1,850 pounds) and towing capability (up to 9,100 pounds).

Dodge offers the new Rams in three cab styles, 2WD or 4WD, with three engines: 215 hp 3.7L V-6 (2WD Reg Cab & Quad Cab); 310 hp 4.7L V-8 (all 4WD models); and 390 hp 5.7L Hemi V-8, which is standard in all Sport/Laramie Quad Cab and all-new Crew Cab models. In addition, the new Ram is available in five trim levels within each cab style: ST, SLT, TRX, Sport and the top-of-the-line Laramie, which will set you back about $45,000 for a Quad Cab/Crew Cab 4×4 model sans any rebates and incentives.
– Jack Roberts

InFocus: CJ-4 lubricants
More fleets extending intervals, vendors say

When CJ-4 was introduced, engine manufacturers commonly recommended shortening change intervals because of reduced TBN levels. However, with the reduction in fuel sulfur, many fleet customers are beginning to feel more confident about extending intervals, says Buck Bradberry, commercial segment manager for Chevron Global Lubricants. “We are seeing interest in extending intervals with CJ-4 to 30,000 or even, in some cases, 40,000 miles,” Bradberry says.

Testing with OEMs has revealed that drains can be extended significantly with CJ-4 when operating conditions are favorable, says Stede Granger, OEM technical manager for Shell Lubricants. Granger recommends that all fleets work with their OEMs and oil supplier, using oil analysis, and explore extending drains with CJ-4. Some OEMs are extending recommended intervals, he says.

Because fuel sulfur is much lower now, fleets can safely operate below a TBN level of 2 because less TBN reserve is needed to protect the engine, says Gary Parsons, Chevron Oronite Co.’s OEM and industry liaison manager.

Granger agrees. “Low-sulfur fuel at less than 15 ppm has changed things,” he says. “You don’t form the same amounts of sulfuric acid in the crankcase. In the old days, TBN was important, but every indication today is that it’s nowhere near as important as it used to be.”

Asked about reductions in engine wear that may be attributable to the use of CJ-4 alone, Bradberry says that during the development of Chevron’s Delo 400 LE 15W-40, the company tested its CJ-4 product extensively against CI-4 Plus products. “We observed iron wear reductions with the CJ-4 product as high as 29 percent,” he says. “It is also not unusual to see reductions in iron wear in the used oil analysis.”

During testing, Shell measured significant reductions in critical valve actuating components, Granger says; ring and liner wear also were reduced, as well as bore polishing. In 5.5 million miles of testing, engine wear was reduced 38 percent, as evidenced by reductions in the iron content, says Granger, who mentioned significantly better soot dispersion required of CJ-4 oils as one possible explanation.

Both companies say usage of CJ-4 passed the 50 percent mark among their fleet customers some time ago. If you haven’t switched yet, maybe you should.

– John Baxter

In Brief
Freightliner Trucks introduced its first natural gas-powered truck, the Freightliner Business Class M2 112 NG, suited for port operations, natural gas utilities and municipalities. An OEM factory-built product, the truck is powered by the Cummins Westport ISL G engine.

Kenworth and Peterbilt announced that its respective T370 and Model 335 medium-duty hybrid tractors are eligible for federal tax credits of up to $9,000 from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s heavy manufacturing and transportation group based on verified fuel savings gains of up to 40 percent compared to conventional medium-duty trucks.

Volvo Trucks North America says its “No Regen Engine” tour of North American dealerships will continue through September to allow as many customers as possible to see the truck maker’s 2010 emissions technology in action. The initiative highlights the capabilities of the selective catalytic reduction-equipped trucks to eliminate active regenerations of diesel particulate filters.

Mack Trucks and Mack Financial Services are offering customers special financing arrangements for a limited time on qualifying Mack Granite and Titan by Mack vocational trucks and tractors through the Granite & Titan Sell-a-Thon program.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America says it has signed eight new Canadian dealers to its network so far in 2009, and expects to add at least three more, expanding its dealer network across the country by nearly 50 percent.

Cummins Filtration expanded its diesel exhaust fluid product line to include smaller-sized packaging options and dispensing equipment.