Gearing Up For The Long Haul

Mirror-finished chrome and sequin-clad hostesses illuminated the offering at this year's Mid-America Truck Show, which was held in Louisville, Ky., March 20 to 22.

From trucks and trailers to transmissions and tires, the floors were packed with the nation's premier manufacturers and their products. Highlights include:

Freightliner Corp., Portland, Ore., introduced a number of new enhancements for its Business Class product line. A new factory all-wheel drive option includes Marmon-Herrington 12,000- and 16,000-pound front-drive axle ratings. The 16,000-pound axle has planetary hub-reduction and provides three inches of additional ground clearance at the front axle, compared to standard single-reduction front-drive axles.

The improved ground clearance results from a smaller differential housing in the center of the axles. The double-reduction all-wheel drive option is available on the heavier Business Class product line, including the FL 106 and FL 80 models.

The FL 70 and FL 80 Business Class models can use a single reduction 12,000-pound axle. Factory all-wheel drive installation means that Freightliner now offers full factory designed and supported product coverage across the board for Business Class all-wheel drive applications.

Ford Motor, Dearborn, Mich., announced the Louisville 111, the latest in its new line of Louisville severe-duty and vocational straight trucks and tractors.

The 111 is available in two power ranges: The mid-range diesel features an 111-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) measurement, a front-bumper-to-steering-axle measurement of 29 inches, wheelbases of 166- to 262-inches and Cat 3126 or Cummins C8.3 diesel power. Premium-engine Louisville 111 models offer more diesel power from Cat, Cummins and Detroit Diesel. These trucks are designed to meet bridge-law and axle-spacing requirements.

Navistar International, Chicago, announced its International 9100 conventional tractor designed for regional applications. The new model shares standard parts and components with other International 9000 Series tractors, including a 112-inch BBC design and a 46-inch, set-back front axle.

The 9100 provides ample engine choices, including Cummins, Cat and Detriot Diesel engines, that range in size from 11- to 14-liter and offer up to 435 horsepower. These engine selections are complemented by a range of Rockwell, Dana and Eaton drivetrain components.

The Split-Shot fuel injector is an electro-hydraulic feature now standard on most Navistar mid-size diesel engines.

Split-Shot uses a hydraulically-actuated plunger mechanism to inject fuel in two stages: An initial pre-dose of fuel to trigger combustion, followed a second, larger dose to complete the combustion.

Mack Trucks, Allentown, Pa., introduced the newest version of its Mack E7 V-MAC engine, the Mack E-Tech. The heart of this engine is its electronic unit pump fuel system, but it also features the V-MAC III, Mack's electronic Vehicle Management and Control system, V-MAC III, and a new, high-tech J-Tech engine brake.

The electronic unit pumps operate at up to 26,000 pounds/square inches of pressure.

The system features six electronic unit pumps, one for each cylinder, located on the side of the block, instead of under the valve cover like electronic unit injector systems.

The E-Tech engine is available in three families and ten power ratings - from 275 to 460 BHP.

Peterbilt Motors, Denton, Texas, introduced its 46,000-pound Air Trac Suspension platform to accommodate vocations such as refuse/recycling and regional interstate hauls where GVWR laws fluctuate.

The company also unveiled its new digital message center which provides drivers and service technicians with vehicle performance information. It is compatible with all electronic engines and provides diagnostic information for current and historical (time-stamped) events. Real-time sensor readings are available for engine speed, engine brake and instantaneous fuel economy.

Caterpillar Engine, Peoria, Ill., announced that its Cat Extended Life Coolant protects against liner pitting and corrosion, provides aluminum component protection and guards against seal face build-up and gel formation.

Cat also reviewed recent enhancements to its Truck Owner Protection Plan which allows users to obtain a level cost rate for the program's life. This rate is based on miles driven, engine use hours or fuel gallons consumed - whichever is most appropriate for an application.

The plan offers two levels of engine protection. Either plan can be customized with additional coverage options to provide the type of cost control and service owners need. All new heavy-duty Cat Truck Engines with less than 18 months (and 200,000 miles) of service since initial delivery qualify for enrollment.

Eaton Corp., Kalamazoo, Mich., unveiled its largest generation anti-lock brake system. Called "Generation-4" by Eaton and manufactured by Bosch, the redesigned anti-lock system features an integrated valve pack, keyed electrical connectors and integral relays that streamline the wiring harness for simpler OE installation.

Features like an advanced automatic traction control option is designed to improve traction and eliminate equipment damage from spinout and help stop brake overheating.

The company also is expanding low-maintenance options on its trailer axle products. The low maintenance wheel end system (LMS) will include an iron hub option for trailer axle applications while an LMS brake package becomes available. The hub controls bearing adjustment and eliminates installation variables that can cause excessive end-play leading to premature wheel seal failures.