Freightliner Unveils Columbia Day Cab

May 1, 2000
A DAYCAB version of the Columbia heavy-duty tractor was introduced by Freightliner Corporation at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show March 23-25 in Louisville,

A DAYCAB version of the Columbia heavy-duty tractor was introduced by Freightliner Corporation at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show March 23-25 in Louisville, Kentucky. The new model is targeted at regional, inter-city, and bulk haulers.

"The Columbia Day Cab delivers a high level of performance, efficiency, and style in a highly reliable vehicle package," said Mark Lampert, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Freightliner Trucks.

Columbia provides superb visibility and maneuverability for operation on crowded highways, hectic city streets, and narrow roads. A sloped hood and expansive windshield provide outstanding line-of-sight from the cab, while a 50-degree wheel cut affords a tight turning radius.

Underneath the hood, Columbia offers the industry's biggest engines up to 600 hp. With its 120-inch BBC profile, the model is ideally suited for operators who require high horsepower and torque for heavy hauls.

While accommodating big block engines and heavy-duty components, the Columbia also incorporates weight-saving componentry for maximum productivity. Features include a lightweight aluminum cab and lightweight frame and suspension.

Columbia also is engineered to provide the day-to-day performance required by daycab operators. The truck features numerous low and no-maintenance components and highly reliable systems. This is evidenced by Columbia's electrical infrastructure, which features simple wiring harnesses and connections, and long-life gauges.

Columbia's interior also is optimized for the rigors of daily operation. The carpet is treated with DuPont Teflon stain and soil protection, preserving a fresh appearance. Trim panels are painted with Hydra Suede, improving surface look and making the panels easier to clean. New rubber door kick panels repel water and snow.

Drivers of the Columbia Day Cab will ride in comfort on a newly redesigned front suspension with leaf-and-a-half spring and tuned shock absorbers. Combined with a rear air suspension and cab air mounts, the suspension package furnishes an exceptional ride over the roughest highways.

Freightliner Medium-Duty Trucks To Ride on Air BASED on the success of its heavy-duty air suspension, Freightliner Corporation has introduced the Medium-Duty AirLiner for Class 5-7 vehicle operators. Available immediately, the new air suspension comes in 10,000-lb, 12,000-lb, and 15,000-lb capacities.

Freightliner will offer the Medium-Duty AirLiner for its Business Class FL 50, FL 60, and FL 70 products including ambulances, as well as for its SportChassis recreational tow vehicle.

The Medium-Duty AirLiner is optimized to preserve cargo and cushion the ride for medium-duty operators. With its oversized air bags and high range of travel, this suspension takes the bite out of the roughest roads.

The suspension's single-leaf design and optimized geometry provide inherent roll stiffness and maximum stability during acceleration, braking, and cornering. Self-steer effects are diminished for superior handling and excellent lateral control.

The Medium-Duty AirLiner offers a low standard ride height-5.25 inches measured from the axle centerline to the bottom of the rail. Also available with the 10,000-pound capacity suspension is an extra-low ride-height option-3.5 inches.

The Medium-Duty AirLiner is designed for cost-effective performance throughout the life of the truck. Double-bonded rubber bushings require no lubrication, and other nonmaintenance components ensure long life and year-to-year savings.

In addition, the suspension utilizes lightweight aluminum components for greater cargo-carrying capacity and increased efficiency.

With the addition of the Medium-Duty AirLiner, the proprietary Freightliner air suspension is now available in eight ratings: 10,000, 12,000, 15,000, 18,000, 21,000, 23,000, 40,000, and 46,000 pounds.

Peterbilt Builds Long Length Model 387 PETERBILT Motors Company, a division of PACCAR Inc, began production of its long-length BBC Model 387, the company's new premium aerodynamic conventional, at its state-of-the-art Denton, Texas, facility.

"The new 120-inch bbc Model 387 continues to receive excellent reviews in the marketplace," said Nick Panza, Peterbilt general manager. "We achieved our production date objectives for each BBC configuration, and now fleets and owner-operators alike can experience the added power and versatility of our long BBC model."

The long-length conventional is available for customers in markets where higher horsepower engines are preferred for owner-operator and heavy haul applications. The Model 387 offers lightweight features, enhanced fuel economy, and excellent maneuverability to provide owners a competitive edge.

The Model 387's contemporary styling complements the current traditionally styled Peterbilt product line, combining a distinct aerodynamic shape with traditional influences that leave it undoubtedly Peterbilt. The exterior is characterized by a dramatically sloped hood and fender design, which optimizes airflow and allows excellent visibility through the aerodynamically shaped windshield. When combined with the new bold, chromed crown and stainless steel grille design, the look is of a sleek, sophisticated vehicle.

Peterbilt also announced enhancements for the Model 379, including a new dash and premium sleepers. The ergonomically designed dash features highly visible gauges and easily accessible switches. Three dash colors-gray, tan, and black-are available.

The new Unibilt sleepers come with mid- or premium-level interior trims. Each is outfitted with a 42-inch liftable bunk that rests over 25 cubic feet of storage. Both sleeper models have a custom-designed layout of cabinetry and large, full-length wardrobe closets.

Dot-com Swarm Hits Mid-America Trucking Show A SWARM of dot-coms descended on the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show March 23 to 25 in Louisville, Kentucky. They made it clear that e-commerce has arrived in force on the doorstep of the trucking industry.

Walking through the exhibit halls, fleet managers were hit with a bewildering buzz of techno babble and hype. It may be quite some time before they know which Internet efforts can deliver on promises and which are little more than vaporware.

All sorts of Internet programs were rolled out, some of them very ambitious. They ranged from truck manufacturer sites that enable a buyer to fully spec a truck to portal sites that promise to become major resource centers for users.

Here is a roundup of some of the internet initiatives that were unveiled at the show: business-to-business effort was rolled out by Meritor Automotive Inc, Accel Partners (a venture capital firm), and Gen3 Partners (an integrated strategy and technology firm). Originally called, the operation is expected to be online in late summer, but significant changes were announced less than a month after the truck show.

Meritor withdrew from the project after management expressed concerns that it could not be seen as a neutral partner. Frank Palmieri, vice-president of marketing and business development, said the project still would launch on schedule. Additional investors are being sought. will function as a comprehensive open electronic marketplace for commercial truck aftermarket parts and services. It will be open to all participants. Buyers and sellers will be able to seamlessly reach all of their parts and service providers with the click of a mouse. Moreover, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), truck dealers, parts distributors, and service providers will be able to electronically co-locate on one common site to reach existing and new customers.

Parts procurement will be improved with an industry-standard electronic catalog, 24-hour customer service support, back-end systems integration, consolidated billing and reporting, and support for existing trade relationships and purchasing contracts. is the new online e-commerce division for Hook Up Inc, a transportation services provider. The site will provide a broad range of services for motor carriers, dealers, manufacturers, owner-operators, and drivers.

Features now available on the site include online truck, trailer, and parts auctions; worldwide truck locator; dealer locator; truck-moving services; driver recruitment program; financing and insurance quotes; news and weather; free e-mail; and chatrooms.

Features slated for release later this year include online driver auction; discount travel services; individual web pages for drivers; and backhaul/freight exchange/freight brokerage software. Carriers and truck dealers will be offered free websites to promote their businesses. Truck and Engine Corporation's new truck locator helps find the right International truck for a customer's business. International's entire dealer network is available by US state or Canadian province.

Features include search by product type, search by model number complete with photographs depicting specific applications, customizable search criteria, dealer location searches, and real-time updates. by Karmak, a software supplier to the aftermarket parts industry, this site offers a comprehensive heavy-duty parts cross-referencing system, truck industry news, and an industry calendar. Users can plan routes, research permits and Department of Transportation regulations, find a towing service, and make hotel reservations.

Over 4,000 industry links are available for dealerships, truck repair shops, truck manufacturers, fleets, trailer dealers, trailer manufacturers, leasing and rental companies, truck stops, truck washes, driver recruiting, driver training, industry associations, and trade publications. since mid-April, this site serves as a comprehensive business-to-business marketplace for the sale of trucks and related services, including financing, insurance, certification, warranty, and third-party inspections. It is intended to serve as a one-stop shopping place for managing medium- and heavy-duty trucking assets. is a collaborative effort between Entrade Inc and Associates First Capital Corp. Entrade's B2B e-commerce technology powers the online marketplace.

An inventory of more than 8,000 trucks and trailers is available. Besides the Associates, the following service and equipment suppliers are participating in the venture: Volvo Trucks North America Inc, Ryder System Inc, Penske Truck Leasing, Ruan Leasing Co, Arrow Truck Sales, Rush Enterprises, Crook Motors, Tomahawk Truck & Trailer Sales, HD America, Associates Insurance Group,, Comvehicle, Driveaway USA, VehiCare, Road Ready Registration, American Trucking Associations, National Private Truck Council, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Nationwide Auction Systems, and

Sterling Displays a Light Touch TWO TRACTORS displayed in the Sterling Truck Corporation booth at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, demonstrate the manufacturer's ability to engineer and build lightweight trucks without sacrificing productivity, performance, or comfort. Saving weight is critical because it reduces fuel consumption and increases payload capacity.

The tractors-an ST9500 SilverStar and an LT8500 daycab-while built for very different sectors of the trucking industry, show how heavy-duty trucks don't need to be excessively heavy. And both tractors are built entirely with regular production components, not exotic prototype parts or one-of-a-kind components. In other words, these are real trucks, ready to go to work.

The long-haul SilverStar, with its 77-inch high-roof sleeper and abundant amenities, tips the scales at only 16,980 pounds. The LT8500, a regional distribution or bulk haul tractor, weighs a mere 13,160 pounds.

"Many people assume Sterlings must be heavy, since they are so rugged and durable," said John Merrifield, Sterling's senior vice-president of sales and marketing. "Not so. In fact, we engineer our trucks to be as weight-sensitive as they are durable and productive, and these two tractors prove it."

The SilverStar's weight reflects thoughtful component selection drawn from Sterling's huge option list. The 122-inch BBC tractor has an 80,000-pound gross combination weight rating and a true long-haul heritage with its 470-horsepower 12.7-liter Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine, Jake brake, 18-speed Eaton Fuller transmission, and AirLiner air ride suspension.

It also comes with the full complement of driver amenities and comforts expected in a SilverStar-full cabinetry and storage consoles, premium sound system, big comfortable bunk, and Sterling's exclusive Stellar interior trim, available only on SilverStar. Plus, the tractor's exterior has the styling and features expected in a modern owner-operator tractor. Unlike other "lightweight" tractors, this SilverStar achieves its low weight while equipped with full chassis and side fairings for aerodynamic efficiency.

Sterling used several strategies to keep the weight off this SilverStar. First was good basic design, such as the standard welded aluminum cab and sleeper. Second was careful component selection and extensive use of weight-saving materials.

In addition to the cab and sleeper, the SilverStar has many other weight-reducing aluminum components, including:

* flywheel housing

* clutch housing

* rear axle carrier

* air reservoirs frame components, including some crossmembers

* dual 100-gallon fuel tanks

* fuel tank brackets

* wheels

* hubs

The SilverStar uses lightweight brake drums to pare weight compared to standard cast iron drums.

Light Weight The lightweight LT8500 daycab tractor on display in the Sterling booth is aimed at a sector of the trucking industry where weight savings are of paramount importance. Every pound of weight that can be eliminated from a road tractor will show up directly on the trucking fleet's bottom line by generating another pound of payload.

This 113-inch setback axle tractor has an aluminum cab, a Cummins ISL engine rated at 330-hp with 1,150 foot-pounds of torque, and an Eaton 10-speed transmission. The ISL has about a 500-pound advantage over the Cummins ISM engine, while also having a smaller overall size.

The LT8500 has a number of other weight-sensitive components, in addition to its cab and drivetrain. Sterling made extensive use of aluminum components, including battery box, flywheel housing, rear axle carrier, brake reservoirs, bumper, fuel tanks, wheels and hubs, as well as some frame components where appropriate.

Some other weight savers are a single exhaust stack, lightweight front and rear brake drums, and an AirLiner suspension.

This tractor has the strength and durability to perform in the real world, and it has ample driver amenities. In addition to the four-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo, it comes with a high-rise air-ride seat, adjustable steering wheel, air conditioning, full mirror package, and cab air suspension

New Recommendations for Trailer Hub Lubrication ExxonMobil Corporation has announced its support of the trucking industry's newly revised recommendations for trailer hub lubrication using synthetic semi-fluid grease. Mobilith SHC 007 has been the corporation's primary semi-fluid lubricating grease on the market since 1987.

The revised recommendations, recently approved by The Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations, advise filling nondriven wheel-end cavities to the halfway point when using semi-fluid grease. This represents an increase in volume over previous recommendations.

"We're in complete agreement with The Maintenance Council's new recommendations," said Dick Morrow, ExxonMobil's senior applications engineer. ExxonMobil worked closely with the trucking industry to develop the new guidelines. "The new guidelines," Morrow said, "were necessary due to the development in recent years of various new hub systems, which complicated the job of factory technicians performing initial lubricant installations."

The new recommendations will help prevent improper filling due to inadvertent miscalculations. "Filling wheel-end systems halfway with Mobilith SHC 007 will ensure that it performs as designed-which means reducing unnecessary and unscheduled downtime, as well as significantly reducing parts and labor costs," Morrow explained.

Mobilith SHC 007, which contains a high-quality synthetic base oil and lithium complex thickener, can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees and as high as 375 degrees F. Therefore, it has performance advantages over oil lubricants that have been the industry standard.

When used properly, Mobilith SHC 007 not only eliminates relubrication leakage, which can contaminate brake shoes and even lead to catastrophic bearing failure, but also significantly extends service intervals beyond the 100,000-mile intervals typical oil lubricants require. This makes it the ideal lubricant for trailer hubs, said Morrow.

"In our business, Mobilith SHC 007 has virtually eliminated leaky oil seals, which has dramatically reduced the number of our trailers that are taken out of service," said Jerry Thrift, group manager of maintenance services for Ryder Transportation Services, one of the country's leading rental and leasing companies. "Ryder began using the product three years ago, and now it's in 15,000 of the company's 46,000 trailers." Eventually Ryder's entire fleet will use Mobilith SHC 007, Thrift added.

Mack Upgrades CH Tractor Features MACK Trucks Inc has improved the interior of its popular CH tractor for the 2001 model year. According to Paul L Vikner, executive vice-president of sales and marketing, the new interior was added to significantly upgrade operator comfort features.

The fully electronic, ergonomic dash design places switches and controls that drivers use most within easy reach. "This is a dash that has been built with truck drivers in mind," Vikner said. "Oversized cup holders and two standard 12-volt outlets are additional standard features on the dash to better accommodate the needs of those who turn the wheels for a living."

On top of that, electronic "plug and play" gauges bring easy serviceability and allow for customized layout. The dash includes new race-type, 12 o'clock needle positioning that allows for quick and easy reading, enabling drivers to stay focused on what's important-the road and driving a heavy-duty truck. Enhanced backlighting provides better visibility during day or night driving.

The 2001 CH tractor has some of the latest electronic features from Mack, such as VIP (Vehicle Information Profiler), which lets operators know how the engine is running, thereby allowing them to monitor fuel efficiency and other vital trip data. The VIP display works in conjunction with the V-MAC III electronic vehicle management and control system and a standard DataMax onboard data logger/trip recorder.

Improved electronics are not the only changes to the 2001 CH. After three years of development, the new Mack Performance Seat has been included to offer an affordable method to help combat the ongoing issue of driver fatigue.

"This seat has been engineered with an extra wide cushion and seat back," said Vikner. "Adjustable support mechanisms in the kidney, lumbar, and thigh areas make for a customized seating experience that won't leave the operator aching at the end of a long day."

Other seat advancements include a three-way adjustable armrest for enhanced comfort, cloth inserts to allow maximum breathability, variable shock absorbers and expanded vibration dampening to reduce operator stress, and multiple storage pockets.

The 2001 CH Mack's new noise and vibration prevention package cuts interior decibels to automotive-like levels. Professional truck drivers also should appreciate the new electronic HVAC system, featuring revamped heating and air conditioning ducts.

Mack has not forgotten its CH sleeper models. Sleeper access has been enhanced through an enlarged opening that now stretches the entire width of the cab, while both the driver and passenger seats have been engineered to swivel a full 180 degrees. Available in 48-, 58-, and 70-inch flat top, 70-inch mid-rise and 80-inch mid- and high-rise models, the retooled CH also features the latest in optional on-road entertainment packages. These include a full range of TV/VCR and sound system packages.

Mack Builds Anniversary Edition of Vision TO HELP celebrate the company's 100th anniversary, Mack Trucks Inc has announced plans to build 500 new special edition Vision tractors. The announcement was made during the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show March 23-25 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 100th anniversary edition Vision tractors will include a host of special amenities and top-of-the-line components, including:

* 100th anniversary gold medallions on the exterior.

* Wood-grain dash.

* Wood-grain and leather steering wheel.

* 100th anniversary Performance heated and swivel seats.

* 100th anniversary exterior, featuring black paint and custom gold striping.

* The Mack VIP electronic driver display.

* A gold Bulldog hood ornament on a silver base.

* 100th anniversary mud flaps on stainless steel hangers.

* Tall dual chrome stacks.

* Alcoa polished aluminum Diamond Edition wheels.

* Norcold refrigerators.

* LED marker and taillights.

* Plush floor mats.

* A three-year/350,000-mile warranty.

"This truck provides our customers with the perfect vehicle to share in the celebration of our anniversary," said Paul L Vikner, Mack executive vice-president of sales and marketing. "While giving drivers the ultimate in comfort and styling, we also are confident that the vehicle will go a long way in ensuring productivity, reliability, and performance for the owner."

Available in 70-inch mid-rise-with polished fuel tanks and quarter fenders-and 70- and 80-inch high-rise configurations, the 100th Anniversary Edition Vision from Mack will satisfy a variety of over-the-road requirements. The 80-inch high-rise design is one of the largest sleeper boxes on the highway, with more than 64 cubic feet of storage space.

The anniversary edition Vision is available with Eaton Fuller transmissions, including the Top 2 and AutoShift. The vehicle also is loaded with low-maintenance and long-life components, such as preset hubs, lubed-for-life drivelines, and air-conditioning monitoring systems.

Combined with the Mack V-MAC electronic vehicle management and control system and sophisticated data management tools like InfoMaxrm PC software, the DataMax on-board data logger, and the new VIP driver information display, Vision has proven it has the electronic tools necessary to improve efficiency and productivity.

"With only 500 of these 100th anniversary special edition Vision models set for production, owners and operators will indeed be in select company," Vikner said.

Kenworth Shows Latest High-Tech T2000 SAFETY and driver convenience were the focus of Kenworth Truck Company's newest T2000 high-tech tractor, which was unveiled at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show March 23-25 in Louisville.

Kenworth is once again utilizing a T2000, the company's premium on-highway model, as its "smart" truck. (Kenworth's previous high-tech truck, introduced at last year's Mid-America Trucking Show, proved so popular that it now costars in TNN's top-rated action drama "18 Wheels of Justice.")

"Kenworth's new T2000 High-Tech Truck is designed to provide better information in two key areas: to other drivers in the vehicle's vicinity and to the truck driver," said Ed Caudill, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice-president. "This will help to promote safety and driver efficiency and comfort."

The truck especially emphasizes safety. Kenworth's objective is to explore technologies that can help make trucks safer both for truck drivers and for other vehicles sharing the road.

The vehicle features a number of safety-related items:

* A vision system uses miniature video cameras with monitors in the cab to aid the driver in making lane changes, backing up, and turning tight corners. Cameras in the side mirrors provide rear-viewing images, and a sleeper-mounted, passenger-side camera offers a curb view.

* Forward-looking infrared night vision extends the driver's vision farther down the road and outward onto the shoulder.

* A drowsiness monitor tracks the driver's performance in keeping the vehicle in its lane and gives an alertness rating based on that performance. When that score falls below a predetermined threshold, the system beeps an audible warning and displays a "stop driving" message.

* A clutchless, automatic transmission makes the truck easier to drive and helps reduce driver fatigue.

* An electronic navigation system lets the driver enter a destination and get visual directions. Verbal directions also are available, helping keep the driver's attention on the road.

* A hands-free cell phone allows the driver to answer, talk, and even verbally dial while keeping both hands on the steering wheel.

An Electronic Braking System (EBS) uses brake-by-wire technology to control a vehicle's traditional air-brake system. EBS is being evaluated to determine its ability to improve braking performance.

* Disc brakes with computerized lining-wear sensors are included.

* LED lighting, which lasts longer than standard lights was placed all around the truck, and complex reflector Halogen headlights are used.

* Fingerprint identification technology is utilized by the driver to enable the ignition. An electric hood release in the cab also is linked into this security system.

* Flat-panel electronic gauges offer easy viewing and are customizable by driver and application.

"We also considered the perspective of other vehicles on the highway as we selected safety-related technologies to put into Kenworth's high-tech truck," said Jim Bechtold, Kenworth chief engineer. "As a result, the vehicle offers new information to those drivers."

For example, a light on the back of the Kenworth High-Tech Truck shows green when the truck driver has a foot on the gas pedal, yellow when the truck is coasting, and red when the truck is braking. During a panic stop, brake lights and emergency flashers appear.

Kenworth also added another new wrinkle-front brake lights. "When a vehicle cuts in too close, or within the truck's safe stopping zone, the front brake lights flash rapidly for a few seconds to alert that driver," Bechtold said. "Stopping distances are based on vehicle speed and road conditions, so we've also given the truck electronic sensors to monitor road temperature and conditions."

Driver convenience and comfort continue to be a key factor in truck purchases. So, Kenworth's T2000 High-Tech Truck includes a number of special features for the driver:

* Satellite radio offers access to hundreds of radio stations, and enables the driver to even listen to a favorite station all the way across the continent.

* A docking station for a laptop PC in the sleeper provides easy computer access.

* LED and fluorescent lighting in the cab and sleeper makes the interior brighter than before.

* An entertainment system consists of AM/FM cassette, 12-CD changer, DVD and VCR, speakers embedded on the driver and passenger seats, and system controls in both the sleeper and cab.

* A microwave and a dinette with both fold-down table and chairs.

* A 600-horsepower engine.

* If the truck ever needs roadside assistance, the driver just pushes a button on the dash and he is directly connected to the Kenworth PremierCare Roadside Assistance Call Center, staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Kenworth K300 Now Available in Class 6 and 7 KENWORTH'S K300 medium-duty cabover is now available with a Class 6 or 7 rating. Wheelbase options are between 169 and 236 inches, allowing the K300 to be configured to meet a variety of straight truck applications. Equipped with a North American drivetrain, featuring the Cummins ISB engine (hp ratings from 185 to 240), the K300 can be matched with either a Fuller six-speed synchronized transmission, or, beginning in August, a six-speed Eaton Fuller AutoShift or Allison MD-series automatic transmission.

In addition, Dana Spicer front axles with 12,000-lb rating (10,000-lb rating option coming in August) and rear axles (21,000-lb rating) are standard. Rounding out drivetrain components are Eaton brakes and a Meritor WABCO four-channel, anti-lock braking system. Other options that will be available in August include an exhaust brake, single-passenger seat with center storage console and cupholder, and the self-adjusting Fuller Solo clutch.

Meritor Automotive Has Introduced Preassembled Drive Axle Wheel Ends MERITOR Automotive Inc has announced the availability of the new UWE-90 unitized wheel end on its 23,000-, 34,000-, and 40,000-lb gross axle weight-rated single and tandem drive axles. The announcement was made at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

The wheel end, utilizing SKF bearing and seal technology, is preassembled, preset for preload, permanently lubricated, and sealed for the life of the component, minimizing wheel end maintenance.

The new drive axles with unitized wheel ends are designed for linehaul and city delivery applications, and will be available in early 2001 through all major North American original equipment manufacturers.

"By reducing wheel end maintenance, we estimate this premium wheel end has the potential to reduce life-cycle costs by $4,000 or more as compared to conventional wheel ends, during the typical first owner's use of one million miles, said Brad Arnold, vice-president and general manager of Meritor's Heavy Vehicle Systems axle business. "The savings multiply when truck operators specify Meritor's Easy Steer Plus front steer and TB Series trailer axles with unitized wheel ends as well."

The lightweight assembly eliminates seal installation and bearing adjustment, and saves 110 pounds per tandem axle over ductile iron hubs, making it the lightest hub on the market. Other features include:

* New 90mm barrel spindle end on axle housing for increased durability;

* Precision assembly with inner races selectively machined and matched to specific hub cup dimensions to determine precise cone fit. Precise bearing setting control is achieved when assembled by Meritor at final assembly;

* Four seals for maximum sealing capability. The inner seal keeps grease inside the assembly and protects brake shoes from wheel bearing grease. An outer seal keeps wheel bearing grease separate from axle lubricant. Two additional internal seals prevent axle lubricant from traveling along the spindle and contaminating wheel bearing grease or brake shoes;

* Unique three-piece wheel end hardware, designed for the high clamp load required for bearing setting, consists of a large flat washer, a locking clip with bend over tab, and an octagon heavy-duty nut; and

* Axle carriers common to conventional Meritor drive axles which provide greater parts commonality, assisting the speed of servicing for truck technicians and reducing parts inventories.

The UWE-90 is available on Meritor's RT-34-145, RT-40-145, and RT-40-160 on-highway tandem drive axles and RS-23-160 and RS-23-186 single drive axle models. The unitized hubs are also available on Meritor axles compatible with Cummins Signature 600 high torque engine using Smart Torque technology. This unique technology provides more engine power and allows the use of a lighter axle, providing a significant cost savings and increased payload for the truck operator.

Axle manufacturing and final assembly of the UWE-90 hub unit to the axle are performed at Meritor's Asheville, North Carolina facility.

The company offers the new drive axle with unitized wheel ends as a complete assembly with Q Plus cam brakes (16.5-inch x 7-inch and 16.6-inch x 8-inch), hubs, and drums. The assembly is covered by Meritor's five-year/750,000-mile linehaul warranty.

Peterbilt Extends 330 Line, Begins 270 Production PETERBILT Motors Company, a division of PACCAR Inc, introduced a Class 6 version of its Model 330 conventional at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show that was held March 23-25 in Louisville, Kentucky. The Class 6 configuration enters production in August 2000.

Peterbilt officials also announced that production has begun for the new medium-duty cabover Model 270. It is being built at Paccar's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ste Therese, Quebec, Canada. This is the same plant where the Model 330 conventionals are built.

The new Class 6 Model 330 has an all-aluminum, corrosion-resistant cab. A 50-degree wheel cut facilitates maneuverability in tight places. The steeply sloped hood provides excellent visibility, and the fender-mounted turn signals are easily recognized by the driver as well as other vehicles or pedestrians.

The Class 6 Model 330 is standard with Dana Spicer axles and features the I80 front axle rated at 8,000 pounds and the 19060S rear axle rated at 18,000 pounds. A 210-horsepower Caterpillar 3126B is standard equipment, but the truck is available with engine ratings from 175-300 hp.

Cummins engines, as well as automatic and manual ergonomic steering wheel with a tilt column, combined with an easy-to-read gauge layout, provide operators a comfortable driving environment. And Peterbilt's classic vermilion burl dash panels add a touch of elegance.

Night Vision System Coming from Honeywell HONEYWELL International Inc and Raytheon Commercial Infrared announced a partnership to develop and market Bendix XVision, the first infrared night vision system designed specifically for commercial trucks and buses. The announcement was made at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

Raytheon has over 30 years' experience developing infrared technology for military applications, and Bendix has a history of technology leadership in safety products for the medium and heavy-duty vehicle industry.

Bendix XVision is being designed to enhance nighttime visibility, increase safety, and reduce the risk of accidents. Currently in the concept and development phase, Bendix XVision will use an externally mounted Raytheon infrared-sensing camera to detect and reveal low-contrast images, and an in-cab display for viewing. Bendix officials said they expect to launch the product in the next 12 months.

The system will use infrared technology to sense heat given off by objects, creating a thermal image on the head-up display. Because the camera will not be affected by light, the glare from the road and oncoming headlights will be eliminated.

A driver's standard nighttime vision is about 300 feet ahead of the vehicle, with normal headlights and optimum conditions. With high beams, that length extends to about 500 feet. Bendix XVision will increase that distance to over 1,500 feet-up to five times beyond the reach of a vehicle's headlights. This extended vision range means drivers have four times longer to react.

The in-cab display unit will be located comfortably within the driver's normal scanning pattern with the image brightness adjustable to suit various driving and road conditions.

Truck-Lite Offers Full LED Lighting for Trailers WITH THE introduction of three white LED lamps, the Model 15 License Plate Lamp, Model 44 Dome Lamp, and Model 44 Back-up Lamp, Truck-Lite can now supply every lamp needed to legally equip any trailer with long-life LEDs.

Truck-Lite's design of the LED Model 15 License Plate Lamp, which produces a bright white light, has been awarded US Patent Number 5,934,798 covering all LED License Plate Lamp applications. This new license lamp is compatible with Truck-Lite's existing Model 15 license mounting brackets and available in a variety of mounting kits.

Because this new light features a hard-wired design with a standard adapter plug, it eliminates the need for rewiring and makes changeover from incandescent products a snap. The Model 15 License Plate Lamp is designed to operate at 13.5 volts, .05 amps for use in the United States, while a 24-volt version at .03 amps is available for European use. Both versions meet applicable requirements of SAE J587 and are "E" approved to European ECE Regulation 4.

Truck-Lite's new Model 44 interior dome lamp and Model 44 backup lamp are designed with the whitest Light Emitting Diodes on the market today. The bright white illumination allows for maximum visibility for loading, unloading, or backing up any trailer.

These new Model 44 white LED lamps are rated for 13.5 volts at .5 amps and fit within the compact 4" round housing that all other Truck-Lite Super 44s use. Each is available in either grommet or flange mount versions with Sure-Seal connector plugs for extra reliability. The Model 44 backup lamp meets applicable requirements of SAE J593c.

Paul Sniegocki, director of engineering for Truck-Lite, noted, "Our design engineers have been developing white LED products for several years. Until now, overall performance wasn't able to meet our expectations. With innovative design ideas, unique lens optics, and improved white diode performance, Truck-Lite has now achieved effective and efficient beam patterns."

Dependability is greatly increased with "Fit and Forget" technology. All of the Lifetime Lighting products include the same long life features and benefits:

* Total encapsulation of all electronic components in epoxy to resist corrosion, moisture, shock and vibration, and physical damage.

* Direct pin-to-circuitboard soldering and Sure-Seal connector plugs, available on most models, to assure solid, watertight, vibration-resistant contacts.

* DiamondShell premium-performance hard coated models available in a variety of choices for optimal protection against damage and weather deterioration.

* Sealed polycarbonate lens and housing design that evenly distributes light for a full and powerful illumination pattern, while improving visibility overall.

* All light emitting diodes (LEDs) used by Truck-Lite are shock and vibration resistant, draw lower power, and last far longer than incandescent lamps.

The LED Lifetime Lighting products include more than 170 models of clearance marker, stop/turn/tail, combination, mid-turn, turn signals, and the narrow rail LEDs needed to help meet new trailer lighting regulations.

In view of the reliability of these products, Truck-Lite has introduced the Lifetime harness and light system warranty. Vehicles equipped with the Truck-Lite LED Lifetime Lighting products using Sure Seal connectors and harnessed with the Truck-Lite Series 88 "Plug Together" sealed electrical system will be covered for the useful life of the vehicle.

Truck-Lite Adds Seven-Inch Headlamp A NEW high performance plastic seven-inch round complex reflector headlamp for the heavy duty truck industry is being introduced by Truck-Lite Co Inc. The lighting specialist has joined forces with Visteon Automotive Systems to produce this new headlamp, which is designed to be a direct replacement for standard glass sealed beam lamps.

The headlamp features a complex optical system that reduces driver fatigue and improves reliability resulting from the increased amount and distribution of the light on the road compared to the sealed beam system. At the same time, it lowers lighting costs and enhances styling.

This high performance, lightweight headlamp uses the 9007 replaceable halogen bulb readily available at all automotive and heavy-duty parts outlets. It is rated up to 1,200 hours on low beam and 250 hours on high beam. The bulb uses an axial filament for high optical efficiency. This style of filament increases the amount of light projected on the highway by increasing the length and fullness of the beam pattern. The 9007 bulbs have very strong internal support structures assuring long life, especially on heavy-duty vehicles.

Bulb replacement is easier and quicker than replacing a whole unit, offering cost saving advantages over the glass sealed beam. With the Truck-Lite headlamp, simply remove the bulb from the rear of the headlamp assembly and replace it. No special tools and no re-aiming are required. In minutes, the truck is on its way.

Advantages of the seven-inch round plastic headlamp include:

* The polycarbonate lens, protected by Truck-Lite's Diamond Shell hardcoating, is up to 30 times more impact resistant than glass.

* Total weight of the all-plastic headlamp assembly is about half that of glass-12 ounces compared to 20 ounces.

* Replacement is quick and easy because only the bulb is changed-not the complete headlamp. No re-aim or special tools are required.

* The return on initial investment increases because of decreased expenses in service, labor, and overhead due to the longer life cycle this new technology provides.

Eaton Rolls Out Tracking Advisor, Presents Fleet Advisor Enhancements EATON Corporation's Trucking Information Services announced the release of Tracking Advisor, a new GIS-based vehicle tracking, graphical exceptions reporting, and fleet management product that augments the company's Fleet Advisor transportation logistics management system.

Tracking Advisor visually enhances the utility of the Fleet Advisor system by graphically presenting geographic references for vehicle and route information. The package is especially adept at generating status-by-exception views that show real-time fleet progress to dispatchers and route planners. In addition to standard mapping tools such as zoom, pan, and center, the software's time-period and selective-pinging controls simplify the entire process of dynamically mapping and managing future, active, and completed (historical) routes.

With its map interface, Tracking Advisor gives users control of displayed information including numerous ways to sort and filter data. Users can view route and schedule performance details at any time seeing color-coded status indicators that reveal exceptions to route plans at a glance. Tracking Advisor conveniently displays highway and street level resolution for exceptions such as early or late arrival/departure or extended route-stop and route-leg duration. Operators can easily check the specific performance of a single vehicle, driver, or route, or the collective performance of several vehicles or drivers in a general operating area.

Tracking Advisor is available as an option to new and existing users of the Fleet Advisor system.

Software Update The latest version of Fleet Advisor's version 3.1, has been released and contains several new features that expand functionality and multiply the efficiency, usability, and worth of the system.

Eaton made additions to the existing Fleet Advisor product in three general areas: enhanced automatic log keeping, onboard computer (OBC) usability, and expanded reporting.

Fleet Advisor's powerful computerized log keeping now further simplifies compliance with Department of Transportation regulations by automatically recording vehicle location whenever a driver's duty status changes. Utilizing an onboard database of 5000 cities, the computer automatically records a location description that includes the distance and direction from the nearest city-3.6 miles SW of Philadelphia, for example. The software permits a driver to modify or replace the default location description to add explanatory text to the record; however, there is no need for the driver to enter any information at all.

Among other onboard computing (OBC) enhancements is support for barcode scanning and a multi-language OBC display, which can further simplify a driver's tasks. Scanning reduces the time it takes to get information into the OBC, which is especially important for fleets that repeatedly capture processing numbers on routes with many daily pick-ups. And drivers now have the convenience of seeing an English or French-Canadian display when operating the onboard computer. The interface language is selectable with a button on the computer's screen.

The Eaton M100 onboard computer can now automatically log miles traveled in Canadian provinces. A related benefit is the onboard computer's ability to automatically adjust its over-speed detection function to accommodate the maximum legal speed limit in the state or province in which it is traveling.

On the fleet-terminal side of the system are additions to Fleet Advisor's standard report suite that now includes IFTA audit and French-language DOT reports.

Carry-On Computer Another addition to the Fleet Advisor system is the carry-on computer and mobile communications system. The new design of the unit enables it to be quickly moved from vehicle to vehicle.

Designed primarily for LTL and short haul private fleets, the device is completely self-contained. Housed in a lightweight molded case, the unit provides every necessary component and connection for full-function onboard computing and communication. A user simply opens the case, mounts the transceiver, secures the case in the passenger seat (or on the floor next to the seat), and then plugs cables into in-cab receptacles for auxiliary power and J1708.

Using a J1708 interface and GPS, the system automatically updates fleets on delivery and pick-up status enabling a driver to complete his route while providing hands-free records of all activities to fleet dispatch. Exceptions and other transactions can also be captured quickly with the convenient touch screen M100 computer.

The product is based on Eaton Corporation's M100 on-board computer and RCM R200L radio communications module with built-in GPS. The system uses Mobitex technology for terrestrial-based communications through the BellSouth Wireless Data (BSWD) network. The BSWD service provides excellent coverage in all major metropolitan areas and over 10,000 cities and towns across the country.

For vehicles operating beyond the 100 air-mile rule, the system automatically records electronic DOT information, which relieves drivers of the task of maintaining traditional paper logs. In this regard, the system fully meets FHWA 395.15 for automatic onboard recording devices. Furthermore, IFTA-compliant state mileage is automatically collected and reported along with the other pertinent operational data.

Eaton Unveils 7-Speed AutoShift FOR THE fourth consecutive year, Eaton Corporation has expanded its family of Eaton Fuller AutoShift transmissions to include a line of seven-speed AutoShifts for regional carriers and LTL markets. They are available with maximum torque ratings of 1150-lb/ft and 1450-lb/ft. Like the new six-speed AutoShifts, the seven-speed includes a "ball-ramp" technology inertia brake for fast upshifts.

According to Diane Foppema (medium-duty) and Mark Osinski (heavy-duty), product and market development managers, the newest additions include the same advanced logic, fuel economy, performance, and driver-friendly features of previous AutoShift transmissions. Furthermore, the seven-speeds communicate with a vehicle's engine via the J-1939 data link and include AutoShift "Generation 2" enhancements, such as improved connectors and upgraded circuitry, which significantly expands the products' self-diagnostic capabilities. The seven-speed is an Eaton-Fuller twin countershaft transmission with progressive ratios, which are more advantageous for city driving. The progressive ratios require less shifting in the lower gears while maintaining close steps at the top end for improved fuel economy.

"We're convinced that the new seven-speed AutoShift transmissions will bridge the gap between the lower and higher horsepower and torque requirements that are currently emerging in a variety of applications," said Osinski. In addition to markets that include vehicles involved in regional hauling and LTL hauling, applications such as dump operations, roll-off, refuse, beverage hauling, and municipal operations are good fits for the seven-speed.

The AutoShift seven-speed transmissions weigh roughly 611 pounds without clutch and have an overall ratio of 12.35:1. The TO-11607B-ASX model has a torque range of 860 to 1150-lb/ft, with the TO-14607B-ASX model coming in at 1150 to 1450-lb/ft.

The "shift-by-wire" technology of AutoShift transmissions offers medium- and heavy-duty customers the convenience of automatic shifting, with the durability and efficiency of a manual transmission, Foppema said. Manual lever shifts are eliminated. The clutch is required only when starting or stopping the vehicle. Once the truck is in motion, shifting is fully automatic.

The reduced physical and mental workload offered by AutoShift has been proven to reduce driver fatigue for safer vehicle operation. Meanwhile, computer-controlled shifting optimizes vehicle performance and fuel economy.

With AutoShift, electronic controls and electromechanical actuators take the place of the manual shift lever. Sophisticated, proprietary software algorithms allow AutoShift to function like an expert driver to make smooth and accurate shifts. AutoShift's on-board computer monitors vehicle speed, engine speed, throttle input, and initiates shifts automatically at the appropriate shift points to maximize vehicle efficiency and performance.

Standard on the new seven-speed AutoShift transmissions is an inertia brake with exclusive Eaton "ball-ramp" technology. PTO options include a right-side, six-bolt opening and two optional extended countershaft openings, with both gears turning at .513 of engine speed. The inertia brake occupies the left side eight-bolt PTO opening.

An electromagnetic retarder (12- or 24-volt) is also under development with Jacobs Vehicle Systems for the seven-speed ASX. The retarder fully integrates with all AutoShift transmission functions, as well as cruise control, antilock braking, and Eaton Vorad Collision Warning Systems. No modifications to the driveline and no additional cooling are required for installation. The retarder has an 1800-ft/lb capacity and weighs 481 pounds.

Limited quantity production runs began in January for the 7-speed. With evaluation currently underway with most North American truck and bus manufacturers, full production is expected to begin in June 2000 for the 7ASX.

Hendrickson Expands Intraax, HN Lines WITH THE launch of the Intraax 300 trailer suspension system, Hendrickson brings another innovation to the heavy-duty market: the first integrated suspension-axle-brake system available in a 30,000-lb structural capacity. Offered in both top mount and low ride height/liftable configurations, the AA300 delivers all of the advantages of the advanced Intraax system to haulers looking for heavy-duty air suspensions in a broad range of applications.

This latest introduction means that Intraax technology is now available in a full range of 23,000-, 25,000- and 30,000-lb axle/suspension ratings.

The AA300 boasts low-pressure air springs, newly designed heavy-duty tri-functional bushings, and a heavy-duty axle, along with optional rear-mount shock absorbers and chain down-stops. It's a combination that will meet the demands of fleets and owner-operators running off-highway or other severe-duty operations. Ride heights range from 9 to 19 inches.

The AA300 teams with the Hendrickson under beam lift (UBL) to give operators an ideal liftable suspension system for heavy-duty liftable applications, including dumps, tankers, straight- and drop-deck platforms, loggers, chip haulers, and specialty trailers.

The UBL features a compact profile that allows for close axle spacing and leaves plenty of room for auxiliary equipment under the trailer. The UBL attaches directly to the suspension, eliminating trailer frame welding or modifications.

In conjunction with the launch of the AA300, Hendrickson officials unveiled the AA250 "Plus," which offers the low-pressure air spring configuration and many of the same features of the AA300, but with a lighter axle and the additional option of an HN spindle.

As with all Intraax 250 systems, the AA250 "Plus" provides a full 25,000-lb suspension and axle capacity. By contrast, other 25,000-lb-capacity suspensions are often mated to 5/8-inch wall axles that reduce the overall rating of those assemblies to as low as 22,500 pounds.

Hendrickson's new HN 522 provides a significantly better ride for vocational applications. For years, selecting a vocational suspension meant choosing between loaded stability or unloaded ride. But Hendrickson's HN 522 changes all that.

With its 52,000-lb rated capacity, the new HN 522 is the lightest vocational suspension in its weight class. In fact, the HN 522 weighs only seven pounds more than the 46,000-lb rated HN 462.

Like other HN suspensions, the HN 522 uses Hendrickson's exclusive VariRate rubber spring system. The VariRate system combines variable-rate rubber bolster springs and shock absorbers with Hytrel auxiliary springs. This integrated system provides optimum spring deflection when a vehicle is unloaded or lightly loaded for outstanding ride comfort. As loads increase, the rubber bolster springs compress to increase stiffness. Under full loads, the auxiliary spring engages to provide additional stability. In addition, torque rods and transverse rods absorb braking, acceleration, and cornering forces to further improve handling.

HN 522 suspensions are available with 54-inch axle spacing, and they share common bolt patterns with Hendrickson RS series suspensions.

Freightliner Adds MB Power For Heavy-Duty Trucks FREIGHTLINER Corporation now offers a Mercedes-Benz engine for Class 8 trucks. The MBE4000 is an in-line, six-cylinder, 12.8-liter diesel engine developed specifically for Freightliner trucks in the North American market. It will offer an initial horsepower range of 350 to 450 and torque range from 1,350 to 1,550 lb/ft.

The MBE4000 will be available for the Freightliner Century Class S/T, Columbia, Argosy, and FL 112 heavy-duty trucks. The engine is designed for traditional linehaul applications, as well as for regional freight transportation, bulk hauling, grocery distribution, and vocational applications.

According to Mark Lampert, Freightliner senior vice-president, sales and marketing, the MBE4000 offers customers extraordinary benefits in terms of weight, performance, fuel efficiency, information management, low maintenance, and long life.

Leading the MBE4000's list of achievements is its outstanding power-to-weight ratio. With its advanced materials and componentry, the engine is up to 600 pounds lighter than some engines in its class, while delivering the performance like a much larger powerplant.

The engine reaches nearly 100 percent of torque at 1000 rpm for superb low-end power and excellent hill-climbing capability. A high-output turbocharger quickly responds to the throttle, providing strong acceleration to get heavy loads moving quickly. The engine's high torque rise also means less shifting of the transmission.

The engine comes standard with an engine brake that delivers 325 horsepower at 2100 rpm. Since engine braking is provided by a constant throttle valve integrated in the cylinder head, there is no additional cost and no weight penalty. For customers wanting the ultimate in compression braking power, Freightliner will offer an optional turbo-brake that provides up to 600 bhp at 2100 rpm.

The engine's individually-controlled unit injection pumps deliver precise fuel injection. The fuel injection system consists of a unit pump, a short pressure tube, and a six-hole spray nozzle centrally located to enable complete mixing of fuel and air for efficient combustion. The engine also has four valves per cylinder for better engine breathing.

Noise reduction and startability are among the features of the MBE4000. The air intake manifold is isolated from the head and block, reducing noise levels. A gear-driven oil pump and special air compressor gearing also contribute to quiet operation. Cold weather startability is excellent thanks to a high engine compression ratio of 17.75:1.

Key to MBE4000's performance are its fully integrated electronics. The engine uses a distinctive two-controller system. The electronic control unit (ECU) uses sensor data about engine status to create precise instructions for fuel injection. A separate vehicle control unit (VCU) governs programmable engine parameters like speed limits, idle shutdown intervals, and cruise control, among others. The advantage of this two-controller system is that the VCU is easily accessible on the inside of the cab. Technicians need only plug into a standard serial connection port to change engine parameters and access engine information.

The MBE4000 also is designed for maximum uptime and continuous performance. Maintenance intervals extend to 25,000 miles for oil changes with standard CG-4 oil. Use of synthetic oil pushes change intervals to 50,000 miles. Fuel filter changes only are required every 100,000 miles.

When it's time for preventive maintenance, service is quick and easy. Easy-to-reach, upright oil and fuel filters are very accessible, while injection pumps are individually replaceable, saving maintenance costs and time. The engine's individual cylinder heads also simplify maintenance.

Ensuring uptime and long life is the MBE4000's core of durable components: a cast iron engine block; induction-hardened cylinder bores, cam and crankshafts; forged steel connecting rods; and a ceramic-coated piston. Valve seats are made of wear-resistant material. The cylinders are wet-sleeved, and the seal ring under the liner flange is made from stainless steel rather than copper alloy. This eliminates deformation of the seal ring under the clamp load of the high strength cylinder head bolts. A three-belt drive system provides longer life due to load reduction on each belt, while an automatic tensioning system prevents belts from loosening over time.

Freightliner will begin production of trucks with Mercedes-Benz engines in November of 2000.

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