LOUISVILLE, KY. The first phases of its new DuraSlide trailer air suspension will be available beginning May 2005, according to ArvinMeritor, Inc. Commercial Vehicle Systems. The announcement was made during the Mid-America Trucking Show on March 30 in Louisville, KY. The DuraSlide is designed for sliding tandem dry van and refrigerated trailer applications and will be assembled in the company’s Frankfort, KY manufacturing facility.

The new sliding tandem air suspension system is the evolution from the RideStar RHP11 and includes engineering enhancements to several sub-components, which will be introduced in stages. Implementation will begin with the new upper control arms and Meritor 5000 Series axle. The introduction of the slider later this year will mark the final phase of evolution from the RHP11. At that time, the complete system will be available under the DuraSlide name (previously announced as the RXP Series).

The parallelogram DuraSlide suspension system is a “complete undercarriage solution,” designed to eliminate dock walk, provide a smooth ride and superior roll-stability plus resistance to curbing damage, according to the company. The slider design is intended to optimize material placement for extra durability, while the new crossmember design is intended to offer pin mechanism protection. Relocation of the pin handle to the front of the suspension also offers easier access.

Trailer axles will be available with a full range of spindle profiles, such as the packaged-bearing TL, as well as the TN and TP. The system can be customized with a full line of products, including the Meritor Tire Inflation System by P.S.I., Meritor automatic slack adjusters, industry-leading Q Plus cam brakes, and EX225 air disc brakes.

Alternative power vehicle

ArvinMeritor Inc. also announced that the company has entered into a new alternative-power vehicle development program with Unicell Ltd., a medium-duty body builder with operations in Toronto, Ontario and Buffalo, NY ( www.unicell.com). The new electric drive vehicle, with a GVWR of 16,000 lbs., will be equipped with a fully electric drivetrain and will be demonstrated to the public in 2006, according to the company. The new electric drivetrain system on Unicell vehicles is expected to provide lower energy costs, zero emissions and significant operating efficiencies. The initial vehicle application is for pickup and delivery vehicles.

“This is an exciting new vehicle application for our expanding role as a true systems integrator. We are leveraging our experience in electric drive axles and are gaining the know-how to design similar systems for other applications, such as school bus and low-floor bus and coach vehicles,” noted Garrick Hu, vice president of Advanced Engineering for ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business unit.

Agreement with ConMet

The signing of a marketing agreement with Consolidated Metco, Inc. (ConMet) of Portland, Ore. was also announced by ArvinMeritor, Inc. CommercialVehicle Systems (CVS) business group during the Mid-America Trucking Show. The agreement allows for the combination of the MeritorLite ductile iron hubs and the ConMet PreSet bearing packages to create new PreSet Hub Assemblies. This exclusive agreement begins a long-term alliance between the two companies, authorizing ArvinMeritor to globally market the PreSet Iron Hub Assemblies for trailer applications, according to ArvinMeritor.

Effective immediately, ConMet will begin machining the Meritor ductile iron hub. The PreSet bearing package and premium seal will then be added to produce the new hub assembly. The hub assembly will be available for trailer applications exclusively through ArvinMeritor with all sales and marketing activities being managed at the company’s headquarters in Troy, MI. According to ArvinMeritor, warranty coverage on this new assembly will be five years/500,000 miles and will be administered through ArvinMeritor’s On-Trac Warranty Center.

For more information, visit www.arvinmeritor.com.