The Detroit DT12 is the newest entry in the North American AMT market. The unit features a 12-speed gearbox with torque ratings from 1,550 t0 1,750 lb-ft. The transmission weighs 646 pounds. The Direct Drive version has a Gross Cargo Weight Rating of 80,000 pounds. The DT12’s Overdrive version has a Gross Cargo Weight Rating of 97,000 pounds and up.
160-truck fleet in the Midwest
We’re really happy with the transmission. We tested two and had no issues – the fuel economy on those trucks showed decent improvement. So we started buying them for the entire fleet last February.
The drivers didn’t want to drive them at first. But after a couple of days we couldn’t get them out of the DT12-equipped trucks. I think they equate these units with older automatic transmissions and it took us a little while to make them understand that an AMT is a totally different beast.
We do have one driver that has some complaints compared to the Volvo iShift (which we also run). I’m not sure if this is a preference complaint or a programming issue. We’re looking into it.
The durability has been very good. We had a couple of issues where we threw a driveline in a shuttle operation. And another where we burned a driveline up because a towing company didn’t disconnect the driveshaft before bringing the truck in. That’s not really the transmission’s fault. It’s the towing company’s fault – but you do have to disconnect the driveshaft before you pull them in. That’s critical.
Service has been good. But we haven’t had any issues yet. I do worry about what will happen when issues do arise. These things are so advanced; the engine and transmission “talk” to each other. And I worry that once they stop talking, no one will be able to figure out how to fix them. But we’ll see.
If I could tweak anything on the unit? Personally, I’m not fond of the gear selection lever on the steering column. The little paddle with the built-in wheel that you use to select your gear and the engine brake? It seems too complicated and easy to break. I’d like to see a simpler, more robust design there. Right now, it looks too easy to break and too expensive to repair for my tastes.
- Acquisition Cost 3
- Overall Unit Design 4
- Serviceability 5
- Reliability and Durability 5
- Fuel Economy 4
- Driver Efficiency 4
- Return on Investment 4
- Impact on Fleet Fuel Economy 4
- Impact on Driver Retention 4
- OEM Support 5
- Dealer Support 3
- Access to Vehicle Inspection Points 5
150-truck general freight carrier in Midwest
I love this transmission. More importantly, our drivers love them. We haven’t had any issues with them at all. Now, we’ve only had them for 3 months now. But they’re doing great. They out-pull our Cascadias with manual gearboxes hands down. And they get great fuel economy on top of that. And the main thing is the safety aspect: I want my drivers to have both hands on the wheel and paying attention to their surroundings and mirrors when they’re in heavy traffic, and this transmission lets them do that. For all the grumbling we hear about AMTs, the truth is once you get a driver to try one, you can’t pull them out of the truck and put them back with a manual transmission.