Roadranger looks ahead

Officials of Roadranger, the commercial-vehicle marketing alliance between Dana and Eaton, revealed extensive plans for products that will be rolled out over the next year and beyond. Here, in brief, are the major developments to watch for: The VORAD collision-avoidance system will be offered in a new side-sensor-only product dubbed the BlindSpotter. And by year's end, fleets will be able to download

Officials of Roadranger, the commercial-vehicle marketing alliance between Dana and Eaton, revealed extensive plans for products that will be rolled out over the next year and beyond.

Here, in brief, are the major developments to watch for:

  • The VORAD collision-avoidance system will be offered in a new side-sensor-only product dubbed the BlindSpotter. And by year's end, fleets will be able to download VORAD safety data in real time via Qualcomm systems.

  • Integral arm steer axles will be released that feature new kingpin joint technology. New long-life tie rod ends will include a one-way purge valve. Unitized kingpin joints are under development to help reduce alignment problems.

  • Development of a front air-ride suspension technology is being “finalized.” Design would incorporate a mono-leaf spring with an air spring within a standard axle assembly for a “tuned ride.”

  • Also in the works is an independent front suspension for heavy-duty vehicles. With a ball joint design, it “decouples the wheel for a car-like ride and will allow lower engine positioning” by OEMs.

  • Full production of UltraShift “two-pedal” automated manual transmissions will be achieved next year. Future automated offerings will include 7-, 13- and 18-speed models and advanced automated clutch technology is under development.

  • New drive axles for Class 4-6 trucks will be released late this year, offering limited slip or full differential lock option.

  • For release this month will be a new drive axle line that “will use patented Dana designs to obsolete current competitive products.” The first of these will be a single drive axle that boasts electromagnetic retarder mount and differential lock options. The axle will feature a rigid one-piece carrier “to eliminate leak paths” as well as new bearing technology.

  • Later this year new tandem axles for higher horsepower and torque ratings will be released. These will use 50% fewer parts than competitive axles and offer an optional differential lock.

  • Starting In January, driveshafts will be fitted with Spicer Life XL U-joints that employ patented XS sealing technology.

  • Roadranger will meet proposed revisions to federal stopping distance regs with a choice of high-performance drum brakes coupled with high-torque suspension or front disc brakes coupled with high-torque suspension.

  • Tire pressure control systems may eventually incorporate telematics capabilities for remote safety and performance monitoring.

  • Wider trailer air-ride sliders will be offered to take advantage of single “wide-base” tires.

  • Coming soon for the MD diagnostic tools line will be a wireless adapter module.



Also provided were updates on Eaton's Hydraulic Electric Vehicle (HEV) powertrain and Hydraulic Launch Assist (HLA) system. HLA converts energy normally lost during vehicle braking into hydraulic power that can be used to accelerate the vehicle, thus boosting fuel economy and reducing brake wear.

The system is a parallel hybrid regenerative braking system and is being developed for application on Class 2-8 vehicles.

HEV technology, said Roadranger, effectively combines a diesel engine with an electric motor to drive a truck. A computer determines the most efficient power combination at any given moment, depending on operating conditions and driver demand. This means diesel engine size can be reduced.
www.roadranger.com

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