Finding Truck Specifications Online

Oct. 1, 2000
Detours abound on the information superhighway when finding truck specifications is the destination. Knowing where to look and actually finding specific

Detours abound on the information superhighway when finding truck specifications is the destination. Knowing where to look and actually finding specific data often entails a longer than necessary process. Being able to compare commercial vehicle specifications is a good example of the problem.

Every truck manufacturer maintains a web site. In general, these sites offer good descriptions of available products. This is particularly true of manufacturers of medium trucks. These builders usually offer a vertically integrated product line with chassis and engines coming from the same source. In such cases, those looking for online specifications can find detailed information about engine horsepower, engine weight, and other data that can affect the buying decision.

Heavy truck builders are less specific. While the information about cabs and chassis is generally good, heavy truck web sites provide skimpy information about engine, transmission, and drive axle availability. Mack is the exception to this, since it produces its own line of engines and transmissions. Even at the Mack site, however, information is not complete. While the site contains a complete list of Mack engines and transmissions, details are slight. Engine horsepower and transmission speeds are essentially all that is available. No details as to engine displacement or weight or transmission weight are included. For information about other manufacturers, potential buyers face the prospect of looking at web sites maintained by individual component suppliers.

The good news is that component web sites are readily available; however, making comparisons between competing product lines can be difficult. At best, the process is slow.

The three heavy engine suppliers in North America all maintain extensive web sites that can be used with varying degrees of efficiency. Of the three, Caterpillar's site is the easiest to use. After logging onto the site, a visitor must navigate through three pages before reaching the first information about truck engines. At that point, one must select "current" or "non-current" for more details. Selecting "current" gives a visitor a choice of Cat's current engine line. Selecting any engine series provides a heading with the engine model and its displacement. The bottom of each of these pages provides detailed engine ratings and product weight. Visitors wanting more information can download videos of Cat engines. The software to view videos is offered on each engine series page.

The Cummins site takes a visitor through four introductory pages before reaching the first hard information. On that fourth page, Cummins' six different engines are listed by series. Selecting an engine series will lead to a page of detailed descriptions with horsepower and torque ratings. Although the ratings are detailed, Cummins provides little in the way of specifications. For instance, neither engine displacement nor engine weight can be found on the site.

Detroit Diesel offers detailed engine information, but it is difficult and time-consuming to reach. Three pages of introductory information precede the product information pages. Once on the product page, which contains a basic description, visitors are directed to another page for engine ratings. These ratings are available only as online brochures that require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. The software is available on the Detroit Diesel site. It takes about 10 minutes to download the viewing software and another several minutes to download each engine rating brochure.

Transmission and drive axle information is available, but no easier to reach. Visitors to the web site maintained by ArvinMeritor go through three pages to reach a page titled "Products," which provides no specifications. To reach specifications, visitors must select "Technical Library." Information in this library is in portable document file (PDF) format and requires Acrobat Reader to view.

After a visitor reaches the second page at the Eaton web site, it is possible to search the site for products. For instance, entering the term Roadranger leads to a link for Truck Component Systems. Follow that link through two more pages to reach a page that allows selection of Eaton transmissions and clutches or Dana axles and brakes. The specifications for each of these products are available as online brochures that require a few minutes each to download. They cannot be viewed directly on the site.

In summary, the Internet contains a wealth of truck specification information for a web surfer with the patience to look for it.

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