PACCAR adds Bendix eTrac option for 6×2 suspensions

Updated Apr 17, 2013

Bendix’s eTrac automated air pressure transfer system for Bendix ABS-6 braking systems with automatic traction control is now commercially available as an option on 6×2 Class 8 tractors and trucks from both Kenworth Truck Company and Peterbilt Motors Company. The system helps drivers of 6×2 vehicles automatically overcome low-traction events. Bendix says the availability of eTrac enables fleets to swap more of their traditional 6×4 tractors and trucks with lighter weight 6x2s, potentially expanding their freight hauling capacities by approximately 500 pounds.

Bendix says the eTrac air transfer system fully automates the traditional manual air pressure transfer process. Unlike a manual system, eTrac can respond in fractions of a second to a low-traction situation, offering real-time adjustment. When added to Bendix Smart ATC (automatic traction control), eTrac automatically engages and disengages – without driver input – the vehicle’s air bag pressure transfer system during low-traction events. The system transfers pressure from the undriven axle to the driven axle without requiring manual input or driver action.

When the eTrac system engages, it automatically evacuates air bag pressure, dropping the nose of the trailer. The resulting extra forward weight on a 6×2 tractor helps compensate for the lack of a second drive axle to deliver traction control that is comparable to a 6×4 tractor in many situations. With 6x2s weighing roughly 500 pounds less than 6x4s, each 6×2 tractor with Bendix eTrac can haul more freight, increasing a fleet’s hauling capacity and reducing its total cost of ownership, while enhancing a fleet’s overall fuel efficiency.

“Both Kenworth and Peterbilt continue to make a strong commitment to enhancing the driving experience for fleet owners and operators. And offering Bendix eTrac on 6×2 tractors and trucks reinforces this approach,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, Controls group. “The automated air transfer process of the Bendix eTrac system helps drivers direct more of their focus on driving and road conditions, as opposed to making manual adjustments to overcome low-traction events.”

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The Bendix eTrac automated air pressure transfer system provides protection against drivetrain damage by automatically disengaging after a low-traction event is complete or when the vehicle’s speed exceeds 25 mph. The system also allows for semiautomatic activation at speeds below 10 mph, or when a vehicle’s ATC mud/snow switch is enabled.

Bendix eTrac is compatible with a wide variety of 6×2 axles, including all 6×2 axles available from Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC. The Spicer EconoTrek Tandem is optimized for use with electronic-controlled air suspension systems, such as the new Bendix eTrac system. The Bendix eTrac system will seamlessly transfer air pressure from the undriven axle to the Spicer S170 or S190 series drive axle for improved low-speed traction when combined with the Spicer-patented wheel differential lock feature.

The Bendix eTrac system will be available on the Kenworth T660, T680, T800, and W900 in May 2013. The system will be available on all 6×2 Class 8 models from Peterbilt.