Increasing heat produced by modern heavy-duty engines is placing increasing demand on engine coolants. Manufacturers are constantly tweaking their formulas to provide a maximum benefit to users. Beyond that, though, is the demand from fleets that coolants do more than just protect; they must also provide long life and be cost-effective.
It's more obvious than ever before to any fleet manager that simply picking a product off the shelf based on price alone will not provide your trucks the protection they need.
“Consumers…demand fluids that perform more than just one function; quick, easy-to-use products that provide immediate results with added long-term benefits,” says Ken Thomas, vice president of sales at Lubegard. “Supplemental coolant additives (SCAs) are designed to prevent corrosion and scale/deposit buildup. Diesel water wetter products help engines run cooler. Coolant test strips assure proper dosing.”
Lubegard offers a Heavy Duty 2-in-1 coolant treatment that combines corrosion protection, temperature reduction, and wetting agents in the same product. The product comes in a quart-sized bottle, which is enough to treat one heavy-duty cooling system, Thomas says.
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Test strips are included with every bottle. Since each strip is individually sealed, the risk of humidity damaging the strips is eliminated, Thomas adds.
One problem with coolants, though, is the variety of engines fleets run. Some companies, like Detroit Diesel, don't allow phosphate to be used in their engines.
“Lubegard engineered a product that's phosphate-free, provides similar performance to our DCA4, and most importantly, can be used in all types of heavy-duty engines [including Detroit Diesel],” Thomas says.
Chevron Products is focusing on creating coolant products to help its customers address issues created by modern coolant systems. “When it comes to heavy-duty coolants, customers are asking Chevron for products and technical application knowledge to address the modern coolant system operating conditions, varied OEM requirements, and provide an overall lower total operating cost,” says Jeff Snyder, coolant specialist. “The Chevron Delo ELC [extended life coolant] provides thermal management for the modern cooling system. [It's] especially capable of handling the higher temperature trouble areas within the cooling system.
“[Our] flagship product, Chevron Delo ELC, offers industry-leading protection levels allowing the longest service life in the industry, reaching 1 million mi. with an extender addition at 500,000 mi. [or] 750,000 mi. without an extender,” Snyder says. “The Chevron Delo ELC achieves this service level through better thermal management properties of the formulation, providing better protection at mile 1, mile 500,000, or mile 1 million.”
Chevron also provides plenty of ground support for fleets. “Chevron offers a complete coolant product line meeting the performance requirements of the global OEM base. It's backed by a global technology footprint and highly trained representatives on the street to help customers reduce total operating costs through product and technical application,” Snyder says.
Truck driver Forrest Lucas had been running his 14-vehicle fleet of moving vans and compounding his own oils and additives to get extra mileage for years. During a foray through a salvage yard, he found a barrel of “stuff” that is still part of the secret formula that Lucas Oil Products has been producing since its founding in Corona, CA, in 1989.
Now, Lucas offers ELCs as well, protecting engines from freezing in bitter cold or boiling over in extreme heat, and protecting heavy-duty engines from corrosion and cavitation.
“At Lucas Oil Products, we pride ourselves on staying ahead of the curve when it comes to product innovation and fulfilling market demand,” says Christin Patison-Myles, promotions and marketing coordinator. “This keeps us a step ahead of our competition when it comes to new product releases and, it keeps our customers very satisfied. We want to be able to meet the needs of every customer worldwide, no matter how large or small.”
Shell Lubricants offers three different formulations for heavy-duty truck coolants. “Our customers are asking for coolants that meet the more severe operating conditions of modern engines. This is particularly important for new emissions engines, especially those with EGR,” says Stede Granger, OEM technical manager.
The Shell Rotella Ultra ELC is an extended-life antifreeze/coolant for newer heavy-duty engines.
“[It's] the factory fill for Navistar MaxxForce 11L and MaxxForce 13L heavy-duty engines that meet 2010 emissions requirements,” Granger says. “The product does not contain nitrites, amines, phosphates, borates or silicates. It will not require an initial charge or additional supplemental coolant additive extenders in the future.”
Ultra ELC provides protection up to 12,000 hours or 600,000 mi. under normal operations conditions, Granger says. It also works in light-duty engines.
The two other coolants are Shell Rotella ELC and Shell Rotella fully formulated. “Shell Rotella ELC has organic additive technology corrosion inhibitors [and] eliminates SCAs,” Granger points out. “It can provide protection for up to 12,000 hours or 600,000 mi. with an extender added at 300,000 mi.”
According to Frank T. Cook, Ph.D., senior vice president-technology, at Old World Industries, users of heavy-duty equipment are looking for coolant products with five key points: They should be long-lasting; require minimal, simple maintenance; protect all system components from cavitations; compatible with other coolants; and cost-effective.
At Old World, the products that address all these needs are extended life coolants, Cook says. “The heavy-duty market still uses non-ELC technology [conventional] as a first-fill option at some OEMs,” he says. “Why haven't ELCs completely taken over the heavy-duty market as they have in the automotive market?”
Cook says ELCs are more expensive than conventional coolants, especially for a factory fill. Conventional, or fully formulated, coolants require periodic maintenance and SCAs. “The total cost over the life of the truck will be less with ELCs because they do not require the use of SCAs,” Cook concludes.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEBSITES:
Chevron Products Co.
Lucas Oil Products
Old World Industries