Midrange diesel first with Cummins Interact engine electronics The new midrange ISB 6-cyl. diesel from Cummins Engine Co. is the first to use the Interact System, the company's next generation of electronic engine controls.

The newest version of the popular 5.9-liter B-Series also features a 24-valve head, high-pressure injectors, emissions that meet 1998 requirements without aftertreatment, and ratings up to 275 hp.

The Interact System, which will move up to Cummins heavy-duty engine models in the future, provides medium-duty engine users with full programmability and engine protection monitoring. It also features an open architecture and J1939 communications link that allows it to collect and transfer operating information, communicate with diagnostic and other data tools, and work with other "smart" powertrain components.

The ISB is fully compatible with Cummins' RoadRelay data display and communications system, as well as the company's information management and diagnostics software packages. That means fleets can now extend use of those management systems from their heavy-duty equipment down to medium-duty and midrange portions of a fleet.

Mechanical features for the new midrange diesel include "no-adjust" valves, high-pressure fuel injectors, a new Bosch electronic fuel pump, a wastegated turbocharger, and a redesigned cylinder block for lower noise and increased durability. Filter and oil change cycles have been doubled to 15,000 mi. for the ISB model, and fuel economy is said to be 2 to 4% better than the current B-Series.

Drivers will find peak torques ranging from 420 to 660 lb.-ft. at 1,600 rpm, faster transient throttle response, and reshaped torque curves optimized for automatic transmissions, according to Cummins.

The ISB is approved for 4x2 straight-truck applications up to 32,000-lb. GVW and 4x2 tractor applications up to 52,000 lb. Although the 275-hp. model is restricted to RV, fire apparatus, and school bus applications, unrestricted ratings will be offered from 175 to 250 hp. at 2,500 rpm.

Accuride rolls out "stylized" cast-aluminum wheels Accuride Corp. has introduced a new line of premium cast aluminum wheels -- the Aluminator -- to the North American medium- and heavy-duty truck and trailer market.

The company has entered into a joint venture with Italy's Speedline Aluminia S.p.A. to design, produce, and distribute Aluminator wheels in the U.S. and Canada.

Available in 22.5 x 8.25 and 19.5 x 7.50 sizes, the hub-piloted Aluminator is said to be 30% lighter than conventional steel models. According to Accuride, highly stylized wheels at a reasonable price are possible via the casting process of the Aluminator line. In addition to providing a stylish appearance, the Aluminator's clear finish makes it relatively easy to clean.

"Cast aluminum wheels have been used on high-performance automobiles for years," said Larry Taylor, vp-marketing and international sales for Accuride. "Now we are offering the same styling capabilities, appearance, and low maintenance option to the trucking industry."

Bandag expands with Class 2-7 line Bandag is widening the scope of its application-specific treads to include models that have been designed for light- and medium-duty trucks, and is adding to its line of treads for heavy vehicles. These treads are designed for use only in Bandag's proprietary retreading process.

Available in both drive and rib designs, the MetroMax line covers Class 2-7 sizes from 195/75R14 to 10R22.5. Tread depth for drive designs range from 16/32nds to 20/32nds, while those for rib designs range from 13/32nds to 16/32nds.

As part of Bandag's application-specific approach to tread design, a major package delivery fleet put the treads through 33-million road miles of testing. Bandag claims the treads have "matched or exceeded performance of the best-in-class replacement tires for these applications."

Bandag has also introduced a wide-base family of application-specific treads for Class 8 refuse, construction, and oil tanker markets. Designed for refuse/waste-hauling operations, the WBD-A has a solid outer shoulder that can take the frequent cornering and curb scrapes encountered in this segment. The asymmetrical tread fits 385/65R22.5 and 425/65R22.5 tires. Tread depth is 25/32nds.

The WBSS is directed at severe-service applications, such as construction, with a tread design that enhances stability and off-road traction. Tread depth is 30/32nds.

Designed for over-the-road wide-base applications such as oil tanker and cement mixer operations, the Eclipse SSD features a centerline tread void and a 26/32nds tread depth for snow and mud traction.

Comdata rapid collection system Comdata has introduced a number of new services, including an automated program that pays fleets for freight receivables within 24 hours of invoicing. PayLoad Plus relieves fleets of collection hassles, since Comdata assumes responsibility for collecting from the shipper. When used with PayLoad, Comdata's new rapid invoice service, PayLoad Plus finances the load within 48 hours of delivery, reducing the fleet's invoicing/billing cycle from about 44 days to only two.

Funds disbursed to fleets through PayLoad Plus can be deposited directly into any or all Comdata accounts, allowing fleets to save wire charges that can run $25 for each transfer.

The company has also enhanced its driver card by adding a lodging service, allowing fleets to control lodging costs, streamline accounting, and increase driver convenience. Under the Comdata/TIC Lodging Network, drivers use their Comchek card to pay for lodging. Comdata creates a custom lodging network based on each carrier's needs and preferences and negotiates room rates with the lodging locations. This eliminates overcharges and disputed bills. Not only does the company receive one invoice and pay one bill, it receives a daily lodging summary showing all transaction details.

Business Class gets AWD, drivers get penthouse Freightliner introduces medium-duty options, shows sleeper prototype.

Factory-installed all-wheel drive was introduced at Mid-America as an option for Freightliner's Business Class FL70, FL80, and FL106 models. Using Marmon-Herrington transfer cases and driving front axles, all three will be offered as 4x4s, while the FL80 and FL106 will also be available as 6x6s. Two transfer cases, both 2-speed models with direct-drive in the high range, are offered, and front axle ratings go up to 16,000 lb. Controls for the front axle are electric-over-air rocker switches mounted in an overhead panel. The new all-wheel-drive models can also be spec'd with a step-frame that gives extra front-axle clearance.

Built to gauge customer reaction, a "Penthouse" prototype sleeper for Freightliner's Century Class was also put on display at the show. The ultra-deluxe prototype is based on the company's 70-in. Raised Roof Sleeper Cab, but adds a full kitchenette with sink and water reservoir, an electrically raised 50-in. upper bunk, a wall cabinet with integrated computer and modem, a lounging seat with electrically raised footrest, and a complete entertainment package. Although Freightliner is calling the Penthouse a prototype, they're telling enthusiastic visitors to "stay posted" for news on a production version.

Going into production in July is another 70-in. sleeper option shown for the first time at Mid-America. The Driver's Lounge option for the Raised Roof Sleeper Cab adds a table and seating area to the big sleeper while maintaining separate upper and lower bunks. Versions for the Century Class C120 and C112 models will be added later this year.

Freightliner talks about plans for Fords, used trucks Although the deal still has to be approved by the U.S. Justice Dept., Freightliner president and CEO James Hebe shed some light on the company's plans for Ford's heavy-duty HN-80 and medium-duty Cargo lines during the Mid-America Trucking Show. All 257 current Ford heavy-truck dealers will be offered franchises for the HN-80 and a few located in "key distribution points" may be offered Freightliner franchises.

More surprising was Hebe's announcement that the company plans to re-launch the low-cab-forward Cargo, which is not currently being built by Ford for the North American market. While Freightliner intends to set up a separate sales, marketing, and dealership network under a new name for the HN-80, Hebe said the Cargo will be "dual branded" for sale by Freightliner and the new company. The medium-duty cabover will be aimed at vocational markets that traditionally use the low-cab-forward configuration, including refuse with a Class 8 model. Although Freightliner is acquiring worldwide rights to the HN-80, it is only buying North American rights to the Cargo, which is produced in Europe under a joint Ford/Iveco operation.

The Justice Dept. has requested more information about the proposed acquisition and is expected to issue a ruling by early summer, according to Hebe. However, Freightliner still intends to begin producing HN-80 models at one of its plants by the first quarter of 1998. Although there's no new name yet for the new operation, Hebe said Freightliner and the new brand would share engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, parts, and other resources while maintaining separate sales, customer support, marketing, custom engineering, and dealer operations.

Hebe also announced that the company is ready to open six "used truck super stores" as joint ventures with dealers. Operating under the name of Freightliner SelectTrucks, the new stores will feature large on-site inventories as well as access to national inventories. The first six will open this summer in Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Denver, Dallas, Greensboro, N.C., and Jackson, Miss.

Reservations accepted for Peterbilt UltraSleeper June production date for OEM's top-end sleeper for Class 8 conventionals

Peterbilt Motors started taking orders for the premium UltraSleeper at the Mid-America Trucking Show. With production scheduled to begin in June, the top-end sleeper for all Pete Class 8 conventional models includes such features as a full-size bed with inner spring mattress that folds up into the rear wall for storage, sofa-style seats in the living area, a standard refrigerator/freezer, a large fold-down dining table, a computer center with room for a printer, and an entertainment cabinet with built-in antenna, TV, and VCR. Based on Pete's Unibilt modular sleeper system, the stretched-out UltraSleeper is said to be only 200 lb. heavier than the company's popular 63-in. model.

Peterbilt also introduced a 46,000-lb.-capacity air suspension at the show. Joining existing 44,000- and 40,000-lb. models, the newest Air Trac Suspension will be available in September, according to general manager Nick Panza. Featuring new heavy-duty brackets and tough polyurethane bushings, the new proprietary air suspension is intended for construction, logging, and regional interstate hauls where gross-weight limits vary.

Hendrickson shows integrated van suspension Two years after the introduction of Intraax, its integrated fixed-tandem air suspension for platform and tank trailers, Hendrickson Trailer Suspension Systems debuted a version for dry van and reefer trailers. Called VanTraax HKA200, the new suspension is a fusion of the Intraax and new K-2 slide. It is available in 40,000- to 46,000-lb. capacities.

The 1,753-lb. assembly is considered an integrated design because it is delivered to trailer makers with slider box, axles, and brakes installed. This reduces labor and suspension-handling time for trailer makers, while assuring fleets that their suspensions are precisely squared off and have fewer alignment problems.

Hendrickson has optimized the VanTraax product, reducing the number of parts and paring its weight to nearly that of a mechanical suspension. According to Frank Stevens, vp-sales and marketing for Hendrickson International, the VanTraax requires less maintenance than a conventional air-ride suspension.

The VanTraax is available in 42- or 48-in. widths with body rails punched for 4- or 6-in. pin locations. Other features include: SureLock system to control "trailer walk;" a zero-maintenance tri-functional II bushing that carries a 7-yr./750,000-mi. warranty; short 10-in. S-cams to minimize brake windup; and "K"-style bracing for increased structural integrity.

To simplify the spec'ing and ordering of its integrated products, Hendrickson has introduced the Ready-To-Roll (RTR) system. The RTR options list includes fully dressed axles, as well as engineered air controls and plumbing. Initial RTR offerings will concentrate on lightweight components, various brake sizes and linings, auto slacks, ABS, and brake chambers.

Hendrickson Auxiliary Axle Systems has added a new lightweight option package to its ParaLift steerable axle series -- the ParaLift Ultra. Weighing in at 1,030 lb. and rated at 13,200, the lift raises 9 in. and achieves a 190-lb. weight reduction over the previous generation of steerable lift axles. This is accomplished primarily through integration of the axle beam and seat, as well as use of high-strength hubs and drums.

Mack moves to unit injection E-Tech engines offer quicker throttle response, fuel savings.

Mack Trucks is bidding farewell to PLN (pump-line-nozzle) fueling for its E7 engine series. The E-Tech series engines are fueled by six Bosch unit injectors that are electronically controlled by the newest version of Mack's on-board vehicle management and control system, V-Mac III.

Although Mack could have satisfied 1998 U.S. EPA and Euro II emissions standards with its PLN system, it made the move to electronic unit injection because the strategy -- which allows engines to develop injection pressures up to 26,000 psi -- gives better fuel atomization. This makes it easier to provide users with operational benefits such as a throttle response that is 20-30% faster than an E7 with V-Mac III and a 2-3% fuel savings. In addition, the E-Tech engine can provide drivers with enhanced speed control because its J-Tech engine brake from Jacobs can develop up to 360 retarding horsepower at 2,100 rpm.

E-Tech fueling, which retains Mack's high-swirl combustion system (two-cylinder head design), consists of six easy-to-service fuel-cooled unit pumps mounted on the right side of the block, rather than under the valve cover. Pumps are connected by short lines to pencil-type injectors, so that if servicing becomes necessary, pumps and injectors can be replaced independently of each other.

The E-Tech engine is available in three families and ten power ratings. The only change in the ratings is in the top end, where maximum rating moves from 454 to 460 bhp, with peak torque increasing from 1,560 to 1,660 lb.-ft. It comes with a 3-yr./300,000-mi. warranty, and weighs 500 to 800 lb. less than big block (12.7-14.5 liter) competitors.

Mack has revamped the hardware layout for the third-generation V-Mac -- evidence of the company's determination to place sensor and control outputs at their appropriate ECUs. The system evolves from a single underdash ECU to control separate cab and engine units that communicate over the J1939 high-speed serial line. This allows each ECU to be custom-designed for its primary function and drastically reduces the number of wires going through the firewall.

Multiplexing breakthrough: Grote meets trailer antilock requirement Grote Industries has developed what it describes as a simple multiplexing system that ensures full compliance with regulations regarding the powering and operation of trailer antilock braking systems.

In its semi-trailer form, the Grote system consists of individual tractor and trailer modules, plus an in-cab ABS fault light. The Ultra-Plex Power and Communications System, which uses PICT (power interval communications technology), works by transmitting data signals between modules over the existing turn-signal circuit (yellow and/or green). This approach, notes Grote, eliminates the need for electronic switching of J560 pin and circuit functions, and in no way impinges on the ABS power circuit.

"Ultra-Plex PICT communicates either between turn signal flashes or when the signal is not activated, and works on any vehicle configuration -- from semis to doubles and triples -- regardless of whether vehicles are conventional, smart, or mixed," says Dave Baratti, Grote's marketing manager.

Representing the first tier of a three-tier system, the basic Ultra-Plex I provides an in-cab trailer ABS fault light while allowing continuous power for ABS to be supplied over the blue circuit.

In addition to the in-cab fault light, the Ultra-Plex II provides two in-cab switching functions. Two-way communications between tractor and trailer include an in-dash display indicating the Ultra-Plex operating mode.

Ultra-Plex III includes a programmable in-dash LCD display with trailer ABS fault lamp, door-ajar indicator, reefer fault lamp, and in-cab switching. The system interfaces with both J1708 and J1939 protocols.

Making short and light of it Kenworth rolls out new sleeper and lightweight hauler.

Kenworth Truck Co. introduced a new sleeper model to its T2000 line, and released a special version of its T800 tractor aimed at petroleum and bulk-hauling fleets.

You can't have too much of a good thing, says Kenworth, but a little less can be great, too. Presented as an extension of the T2000 platform is KW's new "medium-sized" 60-in. Aerodyne sleeper. It will be available on 112- and 120-in. BBC models of the T2000. It joins the 75-in. Aerodyne sleeper introduced last year.

According to KW general manager Ed Caudill, the 60-incher was designed for LTL and regional carriers that regard maneuverability as a key operational need. Standard in the new sleeper is a 39-in. "liftable" bunk, with headroom measuring 6-ft., 4-in. at the bunk. are An upper bunk and a lower side window for more natural light are offered as options.

Both the 60- and 75-in. Aerodynes can be ordered with KW's new VIT Plus diamond tuck-and-roll interior package. Cab door, dash, and switch panels, as well as sleeper panels are accented with wood-grain trim. Headliner and door panels are upholstered, and the underside of the bunk is carpeted as well.

Kenworth says the new "petro/bulk-spec'd" daycab version of its T800 tractor weighs 12,904 lb.-- or 2,164 lb. less than the base model.

According to Pete Nelson, director of specialty markets, this T800 package represents a "careful balance" of lightweight components, power and load-handling capacity.

"This vehicle is spec'd as a true workhorse for petroleum and bulk haulers," says Nelson. "It's a very usable configuration that benefits the owner with a light tare weight and the driver with a comfortable vehicle that has enough power to easily move an 80,000-lb. load."

The specially spec'd truck features a Caterpillar C-12 diesel, rated 380 hp.; an Eaton Fuller 10-speed transmission; KW's Airglide 200 proprietary suspension; and composite front springs.

Kenworth chief aims high Newly named general manager of Kenworth Truck Co. Edward B. Caudill is sharpening the OEM's focus on products and dealers to grow market share. Caudill, recently promoted from vp-purchasing at Paccar, Kenworth's parent, reports the OEM dropped 10.5% in Class 8 market share last year.

"We've always been a value- and profit-driven company," Caudill says, "but this decrease is of concern to us. We are taking steps to become more market-driven -- to move back to our traditional market-share levels."

On the other hand, Caudill states that KW "expects to double market share" for its medium-duty trucks. To accomplish that, he says the OEM will roll out "additional models later this year." Kenworth may also develop medium trucks that tap the resources of DAF, its new sister company based in Holland. Caudill reports that DAF has trucks in the Class 4-5 range, including a newer conventional design, which could be modified for the U.S. market.

At the heavy end, according to Caudill, KW will expand the T2000 lineup; add a daycab variant to the T800 range; continue to offer the T600, and release "news" about its W900 conventional at the upcoming International Trucking Show in Las Vegas.

Chevron licenses technology The proprietary Isodewaxing-hydrocracked technology for refining base oils is now being licensed by Chevron Products Co., creator of the process. Heavy-duty oils produced with this technology have a longer life and perform better under extreme conditions because it converts waxy base oil components into high-quality base stocks, according to Jim McGeehan, engine oil team leader for Chevron. The first heavy-duty motor oil to take advantage of the isodewaxing hydrocracking process is Chevron's own Delo 400 ESI.

Ford debuts new vocational model Short conventional added to 8500 Series

Ford Motor Co. introduced the Louisville 8500 short conventional vocational truck at the Mid-America Trucking Show last month. The midrange diesel features a 111-in.-BBC measurement and a 29-in. set-forward steer axle. It is available in wheelbases of 166 to 262 in.

The new truck is powered by a Cummins C8.3 diesel in eight horsepower ratings from 175 to 300. A full range of 5-, 6-, 9-, and 10-speed Eaton Fuller manuals, plus 4-, 5-, and 6-speed Allison automatics are available.

The series is available in single axle or tandem axle configurations, with GVWRs up to 41,000 lb. for single axles and 66,000 lb. for tandems. Single rear axle suspensions feature longer springs for a smoother ride.

The cab offers contemporary styling and ergonomics: Doors are larger, seats offer more fore and aft travel, and the windshield offers an additional 128 sq. in. of visibility. A sloped, tilted fiberglass hood offers smooth rounded fenders for better aerodynamics.

The vocational model will be offered as day-cab straight trucks, as tractors with steel or aluminum cabs, or as steel-cab tractors with 50-in. flattops or 60-in. aerosleepers.

New flat: Ravens offers aluminum entry Ravens Metal Products introduced the FleetHAWK, an all-aluminum flatbed body for Class 6, 7, and 8 trucks. Designed for fleet applications, the company's first standard body for straight jobs is available in lengths ranging from 12 to 30 ft. in 1-ft. increments, and offers weight savings of up to 25% over the traditional steel configuration. The trailer features 5-in. aluminum channels on 22-in. centers; side rail assembly for stake racks is available as an option.

Ravens also debuted an aluminum dump body with length to 24 ft. and an aluminum live floor trailer.

"Teflonized" wheel seal guarantee Federal-Mogul will guarantee its National 5-Star Gold oil-bath seal to last longer than competitive products -- but only if fleets participate in a free certification program.

The certification hinges on fleet training conducted on-site by the manufacturer. Each mechanic who completes the training will be certified as a "5-Star Gold Seal Heavy-Duty Specialist," which in turn will qualify the fleet for the special Federal-Mogul guarantee.

According to Federal Mogul, its National 5-Star Gold oil-bath seal features a solid Teflon "lay-down" bi-directional sealing element that absorbs wheelend movement and reduces problems resulting from misaligned seals and loose-bearing adjustment.

For additional information regarding the guarantee program, contact your Federal-Mogul fleet specialist or call 810-354-7962.

Riding on plastic: Firestone's FRP piston The latest improvement to Firestone Industrial Products Co.'s Airide air springs is a fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) piston, said to be less expensive than an aluminum one, yet just as strong and more resistant to corrosion.

Injection-molded, the glass-filled nylon piston boasts an internal rib design and is said to be strong enough for applications in which the base is only partially supported. The FRP piston also features "sophisticated contours" on the bottom surface, which the manufacturer says "maximizes contact while minimizing stress."

Diamond in the rough Navistar International Transportation Corp. has made a series of enhancements to the spec'ing, financing, and warranty programs that support the sale of its products. Since it launched the Diamond SPEC last October, Navistar reported that more than 2,000 premium conventional trucks have been ordered using the simplified order process and nearly 40% of all orders for new 9000 premium conventionals are so-spec'd. Dealer stock orders using Diamond SPEC have reached 95%.

"With more customers pressured by just-in-time delivery requirements, they need easier, more effective ways to move their businesses forward," says J.T. O'Dare, group vp-sales and distribution for Navistar. "Diamond SPEC pushes our industry to address the growing need for convenience."

The program reduces the number of order decisions a customer needs to make from more than 100 to as few as 11 by using prepackage option groups. This cuts the order-to-delivery cycle time by up to 50%. All options are pre-engineered to ensure compatibility, quality, and overall vehicle performance.

Customers using Diamond SPEC receive Diamond PLUS protection with upgraded support consisting of enhanced warranty, guaranteed parts availability, and free vehicle replacement.

Navistar has also expanded the number of order modules, including steel wheels, wiring to accommodate satellite communications systems, additional horsepower ratings, and new electrical components.

The company has increased the number of International models that can be ordered through the program to include the new Pro Sleeper Sky-Rise and the new International 9100.

A new financing component has also been added to the package. Qualified truck buyers can purchase a 9000 Series Eagle model, with top-of-the-line specifications, using the simplified spec'ing process. Monthly payments begin as low as $1,099, and Navistar provides an up-front guarantee of the truck's trade-in value.

The enhanced warranty offers a systems coverage program for International 8000 and 9000 Series vehicles that covers a wide variety of components for up to 96 months. Navistar also offers optional extended warranty coverage of up to 60 months and 500 mi. on severe-service applications, or 48 months and 200,000 mi. on medium-truck models.

Navistar also boosted its coverage for engines, extending the warranty on the DT466 and 530 models for up to 84 months and 300,000 mi., and up to 84 months and 250,000 mi. on the T444E.

In the final element of its enhanced support package, Navistar offers buyers of used trucks the following:

*A limited 1-yr., 100,000-mi. warranty on parts and labor on a number of specific engine, transmission, rear axle differential, and power dividers.

*A computerized locator system that offers instant access to a national truck inventory.

Cummins improves customer service With the inauguration of its QuickServe program to expedite repairs, Cummins Engine Co. promises to speed the delivery of diesel-engine service to heavy-duty trucks. The program is designed to drastically reduce the downtime that is sometimes associated with engine repairs. Under the new plan, every truck brought in to a participating Cummins authorized distributor for service or repair will, within an hour of its arrival, be looked at by a specialist.

If the estimated completion time is four hours or less, the truck will be taken to an open service bay with a promise that the job will be completed within six hours.

"Since service operations usually rely on a first-come, first-served basis for completing repairs," says Bob Weimer, vp-customer support, "many customers were resigned to long out-of-service periods. We are out to change expectations. Under QuickServe, we've gotten some trucks up and running before the customer's runner had even reached our branch to pick up the driver."

RSS-236 for low-frame trucks Ridewell Corp. has introduced a reduced-weight, self-steering lift-axle suspension for low-frame-height trucks and tractors.

Called the compact Sure-Trac RSS-236, the parallelogram-designed unit is available in 13,000- to 20,000-lb. axle capacities, and mounts in spaces as tight as 24 in. (from frame bottom to the ground). A reverse self-steering kit mounts to the unit itself, not the vehicle frame. In the 236 design, the suspension's mounting holes are located "per axle" to simplify installation and provide maximum axle travel. The unit offers up to a 26-deg. turning angle and comes with a three-year warranty.

Cat breaks into 600-hp. territory Caterpillar Engine Div. has taken the high-horsepower market to headier levels with a 15.8-liter-displacement 3406E that produces 600 bhp and generates 2,050 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 1,200 rpm.

Designed for the heavy-hauler and owner-operator markets, the high-performance truck engine will have only limited availability this year. Full production is set to begin in 1998.

With the exception of its turbo, camshaft, pistons, liners, and crankshaft, the 600-hp. powerplant shares many parts with the standard displacement (14.6-liter) 3406E. However, the amount of torque generated by the powerplant means that the engine must be backed with driveline componentry that can handle the twisting force. Therefore, Cat urges interested fleets to check with their transmission, axle, and clutch manufacturers regarding driveline component availability.

In a 3406E development that is probably more fleet-relevant, Cat has released a fleet 500 rating that produces 500 hp. (515 maximum) and develops 1,750 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,200 rpm. This rating, which requires a medium-cost driveline, has a 40% torque rise and is targeted at operators that have special needs or wish to reward drivers.

The engine maker has widened the range of C-12 ratings at both the bottom and top ends. On the low end is a 335-hp. rating for vocational operations that develops 420 maximum hp. with 1,550 lb.-ft. of torque. At the high end is the new 430-hp. rating, aimed at fleets that need bigger performance in a lightweight package. The powerplant develops 445 maximum hp. and 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. A 380/430 Multi-Torque, with peak torque of 1,450/1,659 lb.-ft., will be available in the near future.

When it comes to cooling engines, Caterpillar says that its low-nitrite Extended Life Coolant (ELC) now offers a total service life of 600,000 mi., provided the operator adds Cat Extender after the first 300,000. The engine maker's analyses show that fleets using Cat ELC programs reduce the cost of spent coolant disposal by 66%. Fleets can also save 45-70% on the cost of traditional coolant and the regular 15,000-mi. treatments with supplemental coolant additives.

Cat claims the ELC additives deplete more slowly than traditional coolants, better protecting water pump seals.

SW gauge helps drivers judge payload weight The psi in a tractor's air suspension system rises or falls relative to the amount of payload weight bearing down on its bags. A savvy truck driver who's aware of what the system pressure is when the trailer is fully and optimally loaded (and the 5th wheel setting is known), could make fairly accurate estimates of trailer payload weight each time the vehicle is reloaded if he had a gauge that indicated system pressure.

Stewart Warner Instrument Corp. has developed a family of three 100 psi air suspension gauges -- one for external mounting, two for internal mounting -- for just that purpose. Designed to be plumbed between the air suspension leveling valve and the air springs, each of these gauges makes it easy for drivers to get an exact psi reading. Denoted in 2-psi increments, the readings can tell drivers what the payload is -- with a fairly good level of accuracy. As the load weight increases, the rising air suspension pressure registers on the gauge.

Since air-spring pusher and tag axles are becoming more common on vocational rigs, the gauges can be used there as well.

Applied Power's Engineered Solutions Applied Power says its new Engineered Solutions Business units brings together three subsidiaries -- Power-Packer, Barry Controls, and Apitech -- "to offer unique engineered systems as solutions to various needs" in trucking and automotive markets. Combining the three units, according to Applied Power, will provide "worldwide truck manufacturers with one resource for complete suspension, cab-tilting, latching, and vibration-isolation systems."

Eaton introduces Fuller AutoShift for over-the-road trucks A "shift-by-wire" automated version of the Eaton Fuller 10-speed mechanical transmission will be available for on-highway applications starting in July. The AutoShift does away with all lever shifts and only requires the driver to use the clutch when starting or coming to a complete stop. Priced below the torque converter type of heavy-duty automatics, the new Eaton gearbox is a standard Fuller 10-speed equipped with its own electronic control unit, as well as electric actuators to make the shifts.

The AutoShift changes gears with the clutch locked up by controlling the engine throttle through a link with the J1939 data bus and making "float shifts." Drivers simply put the shift control into drive, let up on the clutch, and let the transmission's processor work with the engine ECU to determine the shift points. Proprietary software in the transmission's ECU ensures smooth, fuel-efficient shifts and minimizes driveline abuse, according to the company. The automated 10-speed is also fully compatible with cruise control and can be switched to a "hold" mode that permits a driver to initiate up and down shifts.

Already available for bus applications, the first on-highway versions of the Eaton automated transmission are intended for vocational and route-delivery operations, and will be offered with torque capacities ranging from 1,050 to 1,650 lb.-ft. in both "B" and "C" ratios. The AutoShift can be mated with any electronically controlled diesel with J1939 serial control capability and an engine brake.

Warranty coverage is 5 yr./750,000 mi. for linehaul applications. Automated mechanical transmissions for medium-duty trucks and other on-road applications will follow in the near future, according to Eaton.

The company also unveiled a redesigned Web site (truck.eaton.com) at the Mid-America Trucking Show, offering fleets and other customers around-the-clock access to technical data, product information, and parts lists. The Roadranger site includes all current Eaton component service manuals in downloadable electronic "Acrobat" format, a road speed calculator for choosing axle and transmission ratios, a searchable parts price list, and e-mail links to Roadranger service personnel.

Back it up: Mobil offers warranty on Delvac Mobil Oil Corp. says that field tests of its 5W40 Delvac 1 synthetic motor oil in certain on-highway applications indicate improved fuel economy of up to 3% and drain intervals up to 60,000 mi. In addition, engine life is prolonged by offering better corrosion protection, less component wear, and reduced piston deposits, according to the company. The synthetic offers better low-temperature fluidity for easier cold weather starts down to -50­F.

To prove its point, Mobil is offering a no-risk warranty to longhaul fleets using Delvac 1 in qualified engines (Cummins N14, Cat 3406, Detroit Diesel Series 60, and the Mack E-7). Vehicles must have less than 200,000 mi. on new engines, average 6.5 mpg, show an idle time of no more than 30%, and average 100,000 mi. per year. Qualified fleets must agree to a customized maintenance schedule, agree on fuel savings documentation, review filter recommendation, and register for Mobil's oil analysis program.

N-14 retarders from TecBrake TecBrake has announced it is adding two models to its line of engine retarders. The new T450 A/B is designed for Cummins 94 N-14 diesels, while the T455 A/B is engineered for Cummins N-14 Plus powerplants. According to TecBrake, both N-14-type retarders are "directly interchangeable with equivalent Jacobs models." TecBrake says its retarder kits include all necessary mounting hardware.

Rockwell offers compact ABS, 10-speed for heavy hauls Only half the size of the company's standard electronic control unit for its antilock braking system (ABS), a new ECU for the Rockwell Wabco system was introduced at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Designed for fleets that don't want the system's automatic traction control (ATC) functions, the smaller control box provides all of the system's other antilock features but has few components, less wiring, and lighter weight. The antilock-only unit is available for Rockwell Wabco cab-mounted, four-sensor ABS configurations.

Offered as an economical alternative to 15-speed transmissions, six new 10-speeds for heavy-haul and multiple trailer applications have been added to Rockwell Automotive's lineup. The new "10C" models have overall gear ratio coverage of 17:53, which is up to 14% greater than competitive 15-speed transmissions, according to the company. The new 10-speeds also offer evenly spaced 37 to 38% steps, a deep 12.72 first gear, and a deep 14.15 reverse gear. Options include Rockwell's Engine Synchro Shift, which allows clutchless shifting, and Shift-n-Cruise electronic features.

Mirror lets driver peer into blindspot An interior double-mirror system gives drivers forward vision down and ahead into the front blindspot at the corner of the right front fender. Dubbed the C-Mor, the new mirror system is made by Automated Control Technologies. It is comprised of one flat and one convex mirror held in a fixed position by a durable plastic fixture mounted on the passenger-side visor.

In the C-Mor system, the rearmost (convex) mirror is aimed down through the passenger-side of the windshield into the area at the leading edge of the right fender. This image is then reflected forward to the flat mirror. The flat mirror reflects activity in the blindspot. By glancing into the mirror, drivers can determine whether there are any "phantom" cars, and thus whether it's safe to move into the right-hand traffic lane.

Conoco's 'water-white' alternative Conoco Lubricants says its new Hydroclear line of "hydrocracked" Group II base oils "offers superior performance to solvent-refined oils and often exceeds that of synthetic oils."

Roger Leveque, manager of lubricants, says that the reason for this is a hydrocracking process that lowers sulfur and increases the percentage of saturates, producing "water-white" base oil. He says Hydroclear benefits include the ability to extend drain intervals; lower oil consumption; reduce maintenance costs; and increase equipment life with less corrosion and less wear on cold starts.

Early test results indicate low aromatics, making the lube safer to handle and safer for the environment. Increased longevity of the product will also mean less oil disposal.

He says Hydroclear lubes are expected to exceed the performance of "traditional solvent-refined" products in oxidation stability, low carbon-forming tendency, low volatility, viscosity stability, and response to additives. Conoco plans to release the complete Hydroclear line by the end of this year's third quarter.

It's their dime: Radac reaches out to fleets Radac, a supplier of heavy-duty radiator cores, complete radiators, charge air coolers, a/c condensers, and heaters, has plugged in a new toll-free phone number to make ordering replacement parts easier for truck fleets. The company distributes product to 1,700 radiator shops via a network of 14 distribution centers.

"This new focus will not exclude our current customers -- trucking will simply become an expanded focus of our business," says Stephen Pickens, director of marketing and product management. "We want to raise awareness of our company with fleet owners and truck dealers so they can specify Radac." Want their number? It's 1-800-GO-RADAC.

Automated manual gearbox behaves like a full automatic Spicer Transmission Div. has used its automated mechanical transmission (AMT) control technology to create a manual transmission that for all intents and purposes feels like a fully automatic transmission. Although the concept is being tested in midrange applications, Spicer says that it can be applied to heavy-duty vehicles as well.

The transmission maker has packaged an AutoMate gearbox with a Spicer Solo clutch. The transmission's 15 special sensors and 10 internal drivers do the physical work of up- and downshifting, as well as clutching and declutching, thereby taking the science of manual automation to a level far beyond Spicer's initial upper-two-gear automation effort.

Not only does the new AutoMate need no gearshift lever, but the cab is not equipped with a clutch pedal. To operate the vehicle, the driver merely places the shift quadrant in the "drive" position, and puts his right foot on the throttle. When the driver wants to bring the vehicle to a halt, an overrunning clutch -- located in the transmission clutch housing -- prevents stalling and rollback.

The transmission has its own ECU, which communicates closely with the engine ECU over the high-speed J1939 serial control line. Spicer claims that the constant-mesh transmission's low parasitic loss and precise shifting can help users save fuel and extend clutch life.

Floating on rubber: Neway Anchorlok elastomer suspension According to Neway Anchorlok International, its new ER2250 "elastomer-ride" suspension uses rubber springs instead of air bags. The company says this alternative weighs less and performs better than mechanical springs at a price less than air-ride suspensions. The elastomer springs consist of bias plies of cord fabric wrapped around a rubber core. Neway says the design delivers a variable rate and constant low frequency to handle wire load ranges.

The manufacturer notes that the ER2250 is primarily for single-axle applications, such as pup and beverage trailers.

Also new from Neway is the AD-252 for twin-screw on/off-highway trucks. The AD-252 carries a gross tandem-axle rating of 52,000 lb. and a gross combination rating of 180,000 lb.

Other new products from the company include its latest line of center bag lifts for trailer lift-axle applications. The CBL 14/15 and CBL 16/17 are designed for top-mount suspension installation and will be available both for OEM spec'ing and for aftermarket retrofitting.

In addition, Neway is releasing its EDL (external dock lock) as a "simple yet reliable way to solve 'dock walk' and maintain deck-to-dock positioning." The EDL will be available on all Neway RLSA slider packages.