What's New Under the Hood & on the Road

Truck Editor Bob Deierlein highlights the most recent product developments in tires and components since 1998's Mid-America and International Truck shows.

Bandag, Muscatine, Iowa, has introduced the Ultra All-Position, a rib tread pattern with a low void ratio.

The tread is designed to minimize irregular wear and resists stone penetration and casing damage, according to the company.

With an 181/432" tread depth and 5 rib design, the Ultra All-Position provides passageways for water evacuation.

The company also has introduced the Ultra Drive, a drive position tread featuring a 261/432" tread depth.

Caterpillar Engine Co., Mossville, Ill., is scheduled to release the 14.6-liter, 500 hp 3406E in 1999. This engine rating has 1,650 pounds per foot (lbs/ft) of torque to deliver high horsepower to fleets with potentially lower driveline costs. It is available in ratings ranging from 355 hp to 550 hp. Multi-torque ratings also are available.

Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill., has released a new engine rating, the 15.8-liter, 575-hp 3406E with 1,850 lbs/ft of torque. The 575 hp rating is for fleets that want high horsepower without the cost of high torque drivelines.

Centennial Tires, Buffalo, N.Y., has announced the C388 steer axle, all-position radial tire. The tire is backed by a retread casing warranty, which offers unlimited retreads for up to four years with no reduction in the allowance for the casing throughout the warranty's life. The tire features a unified casing profile; a stabilizer rib; and a shoulder stabilizing system.

It is available in both low-profile and 90 Series sizes with a standard 8.5 retread cap size.

Continental Tire, Charlotte, N.C., has introduced the HMS 45 on/off highway tire that features a cut-and-tear resistant tread compound and a 231/432" tread depth.

The tire's high ply rating boosts durability for longer casing life and allows for multiple retreads. The multi-service tread pattern is a combination button and rib-type design.

Cummins Engine Co. Inc., Columbus, Ind., has introduced the ISL model, the latest addition to the company's Interact System family of engines. The integrated electronic features monitor vital statistics and optimize fuel, cooling and powertrain performance.

This heavy-duty, 10-liter engine features four valves per cylinder, articulated pistons, roller followers, a structurally reinforced block and patented mid-stop liners.

The ISL also comes with a no-adjust overhead cam. Ratings are available from 310 hp to 350 hp, with peak torque ratings from 1,050 lbs/ft to 1,250 lbs/ft.

Oil changes are required at 18,000 miles, and coolant service intervals are up to 240,000 miles. The engine comes with a standard two-year, 250,000-mile warranty.

Cummins also has announced the ISX engine, a system designed to lower cost per mile through a merger of N14 Plus durability, Signature 600 performance and Cummins Interact System technology. Ratings range from 400 hp to 500 hp, with peak torque from 1,450 lbs/ft to 1,850 lbs/ft.

The result of more than five years' development, the ISX was designed with electronics and dual overhead cams as integral parts. One camshaft drives the high-pressure, fuel-injection system; the other drives the valves and the Intebrake integrated brake system.

Deere Power Systems Group, Waterloo, Iowa, has introduced a compressed natural gas engine, the Powertech 6.8 liter, which is designed for Class 6 and 7 trucks.

It is an air-to-air intercooled engine with 225 hp at 2,400 rpm and 640 lbs/ft of torque at 1,500 rpm with a 30 percent torque rise.

Eaton Corp., Galesburg, Mich., has unveiled four 6-speed, medium-duty transmissions for applications from 560 lbs/ft to 860 lbs/ft torque capacity. Company test results comparing the FS-6406A to its predecessor, the FS-6306A, show a 63 percent reduction in the effort needed to downshift from second gear to first gear.

Freightliner, Portland, Ore., has introduced "SmartShift," a proprietary product for transmissions that is manufactured for Freightliner and Sterling trucks.

SmartShift provides a driver interface for the new automated mechanical transmissions from Meritor and Eaton.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Akron, Ohio, has introduced the G302 Fuel Efficient Drive (FED) tire, a tandem axle tire, which features a 261/432" tread depth and shorter lug elements designed to reduce contact heel and toe wear.

Meritor, Troy, Mich, has introduced its SureShift transmission, a "shift-by- wire" system that helps facilitate shifting a in non-synchronized manual transmission.

Meritor also has introduced an improved automatic slack adjuster (ASA) that offers:

* fewer moving parts (no slip clutches to wear out and no external brackets required);

* the industry's lightest ASA; and

* lubrication holes and grooves to reduce corrosion and seizing up.

Michelin, Greenville, S.C., has introduced the XDE A/T hybrid tire, which features a 301/432" tread depth.

Currently available in 11R22.5 LRH, 12R22.5 LRH and 11R24.5 LRH sizes, the XDE A/T absorbs the abuse of off-road driving and provides an extra-wide tread to improve highway handling and to reduce sidewall vulnerability.

The tire's open-block design improves traction in soft-soil and off-road situations. Its four-belt crown package has wide working plies that are shielded by a full-width elastic protector ply.

Michelin also has unveiled the XZE tire, which comes in a 255/70R22.5 LHR size. The XZE's 181/432" tread depth is 12 percent deeper and its tread surface is 5 percent wider than that of its predecessor, the XZA. The XZE's tread is equipped with an anti-chip, anti-cut compound to resist abusive conditions.

Nissan Diesel America, Irving, Texas, has introduced the UD3300, a Class 7 chassis that is rated at 32,900 lbs gross vehicle weight (GVW).

This chassis is available with a choice of four wheelbases ranging from 177.2" to 238.2", and can be equipped with truck bodies as long as 24'.

The cabover configuration allows for a tight turning radius: 25.2' for the 177.2 wheelbase and 32.8' for the 238.2 model.

The engine is the Nissan FE6TA turbocharged, intercooled diesel, a 24-valve, in-line, 6-cylinder that generates 225 hp at 2,600 rpm and 492 ft/lbs of torque at 1,600 rpm. The transmission is the Nissan MPS62T 6-speed manual. The rear axle has a capacity of 11.900 lbs, and the rear axle is rated at 21,000 lbs.

Transmission Technologies Corp. (TTC), Farmington Hills, Mich., has announced its new Spicer AMT-7 automated mechanical transmission, the first completely automated mechanical transmission for medium-duty trucks.

With fully programmable, electronically controlled shifting, the AMT-7 has no clutch pedal or shift lever.

Shift points are controlled by rpm level, which allows for better control over fuel consumption. A launch assist feature automatically launches the vehicle in the pre-programmed start-up gear, preventing quick starts and jumps, and eliminating "roll back" on inclines.

A "hold" feature allows drivers to control shifting manually, keeping the truck in one gear to maximize braking or acceleration.

The AMT-7 is available in two models:

* AS056-7A for vehicles up to 50,000 lbs GVW provides gross torque of 560 ft/lbs at 210 hp.

* AS066-7A for vehicles up to 65,000 pounds GVW provides gross torque of 660 ft/lbs at 250 hp.

Volvo, Greensboro, N.C., has introduced a 6-cylinder, electronically controlled, in-line pump diesel engine. The Vocational 7.3-liter engine can be spec'd with Volvo's vocational vehicles, the VNM, WG and Xpeditor. It is available in power ratings of 250-, 275- and 300-hp at 2,200 rpm.

The Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association presented its 1998 Study Group Leadership Award to Bob Deierlein, truck editor for World Wastes magazine. The award, given to Bob at the TMC's meeting in Kansas City, Mo., in September, honors a Study Group chairman for his exemplary leadership and contribution to TMC and the transport industry. Bob is the seventh TMC member to receive this award since its conception in 1986.

On behalf of the World Wastes staff, congratulations, Bob!