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Goodyear brings DuraSeal to wide-base singles

Tire sealant now available to long-haul, regional fleets


Wide-base single tires offer regional and long-haul trucking companies reduced weight and increased fuel economy, a win-win scenario for productivity- and efficiency-minded fleets. But despite those advantages, wide-base singles have one drawback when compared to dual wheel assemblies: If there’s a flat, the truck is stuck.

Goodyear says it has an answer to this concern with the debut of its G392 SSD drive and G394 SST trailer wide-base tires for long-haul and regional-haul applications. Both new tires feature Goodyear’s proprietary Fuel Max Technology, but even more importantly, they are the first wide-base tires to offer flat protection via the company’s exclusive DuraSeal Technology, says Donn Kramer, director of marketing for Goodyear.

“If a standard wide-base tire hits a nail or other debris and goes flat, there is no limp-home capability,” Kramer says. A punctured tire can deflate to a level where it ruins a $450 wheel, he says. “DuraSeal Technology can help reduce these costs.”

Goodyear developed DuraSeal tire sealant technology several years ago and has marketed it primarily to vocational applications such as construction and refuse. A DuraSeal tire features a gel-like inner liner layered into the tire’s design. In the event of a puncture (up to ¼-inch in diameter), the gel instantly flows into the tire’s damaged area and seals the hole.

“We’ve seen DuraSeal tires with as many as 50 punctures in them by the end of their service life still holding air,” Kramer says. “So we know this technology has saved our vocational customers money and vehicle downtime. We’re confident those benefits will translate to our wide-base singles fleet customers as well.”

Both the G392 SSD drive tire and the G394 SST trailer tire feature Goodyear’s Fuel Max technology for enhanced fuel economy in day-to-day fleet operations. The G392 SSD has a nine-rib design with eight wide circumferential grooves, which helps provide all-season traction in dry, wet and snowy conditions. This rib design works in unison with the tire’s deep 25/32-inch tread depth for long initial tire life. Kramer says Goodyear tested the tires extensively in wet and dry traction conditions at the company’s test facility in San Angelo, Texas, along with snow performance testing in Minnesota. The tread’s design is coupled with a casing construction that restricts casing expansion to help alleviate irregular wear.

Goodyear also will help fleets and owner-operators reduce their tire costs further by offering matching retreads for both the G392 SSD and G394 SST. “The retread looks and performs like the original tread,” Kramer says. “It also features the same tread depth on the trailer tire and 24/32nds of tread on the drive tire to maximize miles to removal.”


IN BRIEF

* Preliminary data from FTR Associates shows June Class 8 truck total net orders for all major North American OEMs at 20,944, down 9 percent from May. June is the second consecutive month of declining orders.

* Prices have increased an average of 11 percent for all Bridgestone and Firestone truck and bus tire products, Bandag brand retreads and related retreading materials, as have prices of Bridgestone, Firestone and Continuum over-the-road tires.

* The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Bosselman Inc. formed the Uni-Maxx Truck Care on-highway service network. Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems and Boss Truck Shops Inc. are the network’s first two members.

* Eaton increased the availability and coverage of its Reman transmissions through the addition of a new Flex Reman line and raising the standard warranty coverage of its portfolio to two years for line-haul and 18 months for vocational applications.

* Jacobs Vehicle Systems launched a new engine brake for the Cummins ISX 11.9 diesel engine. The Model 460 is rated between 346 and 390 hp at 1,900 and 2,100 rpm respectively.

* Caterpillar launched its “Win a Cat Truck” contest. Submit a video, essay or audio recording describing your vocational application and explaining how owning a new Cat CT660 will make you more successful at www.drivecat.com.

* During Detroit Diesel’s Driver Appreciation Month in August, truck drivers and owners can visit the company’s manufacturing facility for a presentation, lunch and plant tour. To register, go to www.detroitdiesel.com.



Light- and Medium-Duty Marketplace

Ryder expands NG truck fleet

Ryder System Inc. has secured lease agreements for 87 heavy-duty natural gas trucks from customers looking to take advantage of the fuel cost savings and environmental benefits of alternative fuel-powered vehicles. Ryder says 65 of those vehicles are part of its NG fleet in Southern California, made available through the Ryder/San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) Natural Gas Vehicle project.

Due to the relationship Ryder has established with the SANBAG project, the company says it also has been able to expand its alternative fuel program outside of California and has secured a lease agreement with customer Golden Eagle Distributors Inc. for 22 NG vehicles in Arizona.

The Ryder/SANBAG project is part of a joint public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, San Bernardino Associated Governments, Southern California Association of Governments and Ryder. The $38.7 million project includes a total of 202 NG vehicles available for lease or rent; three strategically located NG-compliant maintenance shops in Rancho Dominguez, Orange and Fontana; and two fueling stations. Ryder took delivery of 70 vehicles in May and is expected to have the balance of the full 202 SANBAG NG vehicle order in its fleet by the end of 2011.



FedEx invests in fuel-efficient vehicles

FedEx Express says that it is placing 24 new all-electric vehicles into service, expanding to three new cities and more than doubling its fleet to 43 all-electric vehicles while growing the diversity of suppliers it uses for electric vehicles. At the same time, FedEx Express is adding more hybrid-electrics, using composite vehicles and upgrading over a tenth of its conventional vehicle fleet to more energy-efficient vehicles.

“We are using efficient technologies that are readily available now, while investing in innovative technologies that we hope and believe can be vehicle workhorses for the future,” says Dennis Beal, vice president of FedEx Express Global Vehicles.

FedEx Express is bringing new all-electric delivery vehicles to New York City, Chicago and Memphis, Tenn., and diversifying its existing Los Angeles fleet. In all, FedEx is adding into service 15 Navistar eStar electric vehicles, two Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) eCell electric vehicles, two FCCC electric vehicle retrofits and five Ford Transit Connect Electric vans to complement the current 19 all-electric vehicles deployed in Los Angeles, London and Paris.

FedEx Express says these vehicles also will be studied to help evolve all-electric vehicle technology and to establish a foundation of understanding on utility grid needs by modeling impact of future all-electric vehicle growth on the shared energy grid.


 

MSHA OKs Cummins-powered Ram

Cummins announced the certification of a Mine Safety and Health Administration-approved 6.7L Turbo Diesel for the Ram underground mining truck. Ram says this specially calibrated Cummins Turbo Diesel gives customers the pulling power they demand while safely meeting underground mine needs. MSHA regulations protect the air quality in underground mines, which helps prevent the buildup of potentially explosive gas and dust and reduces emissions for miners.

The 175-hp (130 kW) Cummins 6.7L Turbo Diesel in the Ram is certified by MSHA for use in coal and metal/nonmetal mining in all 50 states. This certification is based on the truck’s combination of high payload, a low-emissions engine and maneuverability in confined spaces. Through emissions reduction, including a 42 percent particulate index reduction and a ventilation rate decrease of 10 percent from the previous certification, mine operators can reduce their annual expenditure on mine ventilation.

The truck is powered by a lower-emissions version of the Cummins 6.7L Turbo Diesel used in standard on-highway Ram Chassis Cab trucks. Based on customer interviews, the engine has been recalibrated electronically to match the lower emissions profile while still delivering the power output required for underground mining operations. The engine’s programming and rating also have been built to tolerate higher sulfur fuel levels that may exist outside the United States.

 

Ford’s efficient, affordable Transit Connect

Ford’s Transit Connect compact delivery van has been plying the streets of Europe since 2002 and has been the object of increased fleet interest since entering the North American vehicle market in 2004. Assembled in Turkey, Ford lists the Transit Connect as a “passenger vehicle” to circumvent the 25 percent “chicken tax” applied to all light trucks imported into the United States. But the basic vehicle design is meant to boost productivity and profits in urban delivery applications. Wide-opening rear cargo doors coupled with wide easy-sliding side doors provide a high degree of access to the van’s cargo area, making loading and unloading a snap.

Inside the Transit Connect, you’re struck right away by the overall roomy feel both in the vehicle’s front and rear. This sense of space is highlighted by a high ceiling, a pleasant surprise on a vehicle this compact and low to the ground. Ford says Transit Connect offers 129.6 cubic feet of usable cargo area behind the front driver and passenger seats, and the large and tall rear body panels on the van provide excellent billboard space for company graphics and advertising.

On the road, the van’s European DNA is apparent. Given the large panes of glass in all quarters, visibility is extremely good. Ford’s estimated highway fuel economy of 26 mpg is a strong endorsement of the small van concept in this age of $3.50-a-gallon gasoline, but obviously you sacrifice some performance to get those strong mpg numbers. The 2.0-liter Duratec gas engine puts out 136 hp, which is plenty for urban delivery chores, although you do have to stand on the gas pedal when pulling out into traffic or merging onto an expressway. At lower speeds, the Transit Connect proves nimble: The tight 39-foot turning radius is a welcome feature for any city in the Old World or the New.

The most pleasant Transit Connect surprise, however, has to be its price. Like most editorial demonstrators, this particular van was fancier than the stripped-down version most fleets would buy and was loaded with options like a $470 rearview camera system with a display screen integrated seamlessly into the interior rearview mirror. Standard equipment includes power locks and windows, a full stereo system and tilt/telescoping steering wheel. And all of this productivity and value is priced at $24,710 – not bad for a van that can save you money both at the dealership and on the road. – Jack Roberts