Something for Everyone

The road was well traveled to Louisville, Ky., at this year's Mid-America Truck Show in March. While many of the announcements focused on "dot-coms," [see "The Dot-Coms Are Coming," page 70] several refuse and recovery truck products were unveiled. The show attracted in total 1,007 exhibitors and 76,000 attendees. Here are some of the product highlights.

Eaton Corp. Eaton has expanded its family of Fuller AutoShift transmissions to include a line of 7-speed AutoShifts for regional and less than truckload (ltl) hauling applications such as refuse, dump and municipal operations. Transmissions are available with maximum torque ratings of 1,150 pounds per foot (lbs./ft.) and 1,450 lbs./ft., and include a "ball-ramp" technology inertia brake during upshifts.

"Ball-ramp" technology uses electromechanical forces and a clutch pack to convert electrical current into torque. According to Eaton, this is designed to reduce engine revolutions per minute (rpm) and allow the unit to upshift without losing road speed.

Eaton's new line also includes the advanced logic fuel economy features that were present on previous AutoShift transmissions.

Additionally, the 7 speeds communicate with a vehicle's engine via a J-1939 data link. AutoShift "Generation 2" enhancements - improved connectors and upgraded circuitry - were added to expand the products' self-diagnostic. A twin countershaft transmission with progressive ratios for city driving should reduce shifting in the lower gears while maintaining close steps at the top end for improved fuel economy, the company says.

The line is available with four driving modes: Drive, with automatic shifting between gears; Hold or Manual, which allows the driver to manually cue upshifts/ downshifts; Low, for upshift inhibit with enhanced downshifts; and Reverse.

Freightliner Trucks For Class 8 trucks, Freightliner unveiled the Mercedes-Benz MBE4000, an in-line, 6 cylinder, 12.8-liter diesel engine for U.S. Freightliner trucks. It will offer an initial range of 350 horsepower (hp) to 450 hp, and a torque range from 1,350 lbs./ft. to 1,550 lbs./ft. The engine will be available for the Freightliner Century Class S/T, Columbia, Argosy and FL 112 heavy duty trucks.

Freightliner is touting the engine's power-to-weight ratio, saying it weighs up to 600 pounds lighter than others in its class. According to the company, the engine reaches nearly 100 percent of torque at 1,000 rpm for low-end power and hill-climbing capability. Freightliner says the engine's high torque rise should reduce transmission shifting, which should reduce driver fatigue.

The standard engine brake is designed to deliver 325 braking horsepower (bhp) at 2,100 rpm. Because engine braking is provided by a constant throttle valve integrated in the cylinder head, there is no additional cost and no weight penalty, the company says.

For the sake of fuel efficiency, the MBE4000 has an individually controlled unit injection pump to deliver fuel. The entire fuel injection system consists of a unit pump, a short pressure tube and a 6-hole spray nozzle centrally located to mix the fuel and air for efficient combustion. The engine also features four valves per cylinder. Another fuel-saving item is the gear-driven air compressor, which has an idle feature to reduce horsepower drain.

According to Freightliner, upright oil and fuel filters were placed in accessible areas. Injection pumps are individually replaceable, as are cylinder heads. Additionally, maintenance intervals for oil changes with standard CG-4 oil are not needed until every 25,000 miles. Using synthetic oil pushes change intervals to 50,000 miles, the company says. Fuel filter changes are required only every 100,000 miles.

As another introduction, Freightliner showcased a Day Cab configuration for its Columbia heavy duty tractor. For regional, inter-city haulers, the Class 8 tractor has a 120-inch (in.) BBC and set-back-axle. A sloped hood, larger-than-average windshield and 50-degree wheel cut are designed to provide visibility and a tight turning radius for maneuverability on narrow streets.

To accommodate varying driver sizes, Freightliner has equipped its cab with throttle, brake and clutch pedals that can be moved three inches up from the standard position toward the driver. The foot pedals can be controlled by a dashboard switch.

Another new option for Freightliner is an air suspension for medium duty Class 5-7 vehicles. The new suspension comes in 10,000-, 12,000- and 15,000-lb. capacities. Freightliner will offer the Medium-Duty AirLiner for its Business Class FL 50, FL 60 and FL 70 products.

The AirLiner offers a low standard ride height -5.25 in. measured from the axle centerline to the bottom of the rail. Double-bonded rubber bushings do not require lubrication or any other maintenance components.

International Truck and Engine Corp. The first major truck show demonstration of International's Green Diesel Technology occurred at the Mid-America Truck Show. The technology has a continuously regenerating trap and requires ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (less than 5 parts per million).

Green Diesel Technology tests resulted in engine particulates that were 50 percent lower than the best certified levels of natural gas engines. Hydrocarbons were reduced below measurable levels, eliminating the odor often associated with diesel engines, according to the company. Overall, International says the technology reduced particulate emission by more than 90 percent, to meet the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Tier 2 particulate limits.

An offshoot to the 1970 Clean Air Act, Tier 2 standards are the latest EPA proposal to address tailpipe emissions for passenger vehicles and light trucks. This diesel engine emissions technology eventually will be applied to heavy duty and medium duty trucks.

Kenworth Kenworth introduced its K300 medium duty cabover with a Class 6 or 7 rating. Wheelbase options are between 169 inches and 236 inches, allowing the K300 to be configured to meet a variety of straight truck applications. It has a Cummins' ISB engine with ratings from 185 hp to 240 hp that can be matched with either a Fuller speed synchronized transmission, a 6-speed Eaton Fuller AutoShift or an Allison MD-series automatic transmission.

Additionally, Dana Spicer front axles with a 10,000-lb. and 12,000-lb. rating and rear axles (21,000-lb. rating) are standard. Options include an exhaust brake, single-passenger seat with center storage console and cupholder, and a self-adjusting Fuller Solo clutch.

The cab has corrosion-resistant, double-sided galvanized steel panels. It also features front and rear stabilizer bars. For city operations, drivers have a wide open and flat floor space interior to allow them to exit the vehicle from either door.

Meritor Automotive Meritor's new UWE-90 unitized wheel-end on its 23,000-pound, 34,000-pound and 40,000-pound gross axle weight rated (GAWR) single and tandem drive axles now is available.

The wheel-end, using SKF bearing and seal technology, is pre-assembled, preset for preload, permanently lubricated and sealed for the life of the component to minimize maintenance, according to Meritor. The new drive axles have unitized wheel-ends for city and linehaul applications.

The lightweight assembly eliminates seal installation and bearing adjustment, and saves 110 pounds per tandem axle over ductile iron hubs, according to the company. Other features include: New 90-millimeter (mm) barrel spindle end on axle; precision assembly with inner races selectively machined and matched to specific hub cup dimensions to determine the precise cone fit and four seals for maximum sealing capability. The inner seal was created to keep grease inside the assembly and protect brake shoes from wheel bearing grease. The outer seal was designed to keep wheel bearing grease separate from axle lubricant. Two additional internal seals are designed to prevent axle lubricant from traveling along the spindle and contaminating wheel bearing grease or brake shoes.

The UWE-90 is available on most Meritor's on-highway tandem-drive axles and single-drive axle models.

Peterbilt Motors Co. Peterbilt, Denton, Texas, introduced its Model 270 medium duty COE with a stamped steel, galvanized cab for durability in refuse and recovery vocations.

According to the company, the cab was designed to provide easy entry and egress with strategically positioned steps, grab handles, a low cab floor height and doors that open 90 degrees. Peterbilt added front and rear suspension stabilizer bars. A 50-degree wheel cut was designed to facilitate maneuverability in tight areas.

Peterbilt Class 7 medium duty, Model 330 offers new powertrain features and a crew cab conversion kit option.

Model 330 has a new transmission option -the Eaton Fuller AutoShift in 6-, 7-, and 10-speed configurations that are semi-automatic to reduce manual shifting and clutch wear.

Sterling Truck Sterling says its a regional operation's tractor, the LT 8500, currently weighs 13,160 pounds.

It was designed with weight-sensitive components, including an aluminum battery box, flywheel housing, rear axle carrier, brake reservoirs, bumper, fuel tanks, wheels and hubs, as well as some frame components, where appropriate. Weight savers are a single-exhaust stack, lightweight front and rear brake drums, and an AirLiner suspension.

Transmission Technology Corp. To upgrade the performance of its existing manual transmissions, Transmission Technology Corp. (TTC) has developed the Opti-Lube lubrication system.

Opti-Lube is a pressurized lubrication system that constantly sprays lubricant directly on critical components to minimize friction, TTC says. This should reduce transmission operating temperatures by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making external transmission cooler.

TTC's, Opti-Rail has a shift fork attached to each rail or rod at a single point. During a shift, stresses often are transmitted to this point, and eventually, the fork loosens.

However, TTC says its Opti-Rail distributes the stress by gathering the shift rails between two welded side channels and attaching each shift fork to an individual rail.

Western Star Trucks Western Star announced the name of its new Class 7 truck - the Solar Series - for municipal fleets. Model 3700 comes with 6x4 and 4x2 configurations.

The 6x4 has a wheelbase of 194 inches and a standard Cat 3126B engine that ranges from 275 hp to 300 horsepower.

The front axle capacity ranges from 12,000 pounds to 20,000 pounds. The rear axle ranges from 40,000 lbs. to 46,000 lbs., on a Hendrickson HFS 4-spring suspension.

The Solar Series 4x2 has optional wheelbases of 223 inches, 245 inches and 259 inches. Cat's 3126B engine ranging from 210 horsepower to 300 horsepower is standard.

The front axle capacity ranges from 8,000 pounds to 18,000 pounds Rear axle capacity ranges from 19,000 pounds to 23,000 pounds on a multi-leaf suspension.

New trucks, components and products had to share the stage with dot-coms and business-to-business companies (B2Bs) at the Mid-America Truck Show. While more difficult than trucks and other hardware to "exhibit," there were plenty of introductions and explanations of the latest Internet products.

For example, PACCAR Inc., parent company of Peterbilt Motors Co. and Kenworth Truck, announced the formation of, an E-commerce company. Then,, an on-line B2B marketplace for the sale of trucks, financing, insurance, etc., with participating companies, such as Ryder, Volvo, Penske, Associates Insurance Group, Vehicare and a dozen others, was formed. Additionally,, an open electronic marketplace for commercial truck aftermarket parts and services was launched by Meritor, Gen3 Partners and Accel Partners.

Browsing further, claims to be the first virtual global marketplace, estimated at $450 billion, for goods and services in the commercial vehicle industry, PACCAR says. Commerce One, which provides E-commerce solutions for businesses, will supply the trading exchange technology and services. will link commercial vehicle manufacturers, customers, dealers and suppliers in an open B2B electronic exchange for the procurement of goods and services. The site will begin taking orders for purchases in the 3rd quarter of 2000.

Currently, there is no fee to join. Average saving costs with exchanges are estimated to range from 5 percent to 10 percent, depending of how fleet owners and solid waste managers currently pay for items. Initially, PACCAR says products will range from shop supplies to computer equipment. Additional products will be added gradually to meet the needs of members. Buyers will be able to use purchase orders and credit to order equipment from suppliers and have it shipped directly to them.

According to Meritor, its says that for the first time, buyers and sellers will be able to use one Internet service to seamlessly reach all of their parts and service providers at the click of a mouse. And, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), dealers, parts distributors and service suppliers will be able to locate one common site to reach existing and new customers simply and quickly. is designed to provide aftermarket customers with a broader trading community from which to draw essential products and services. It also should help buyers and sellers build stronger, mutually beneficial business relationships, Meritor says.

The buyer benefits the company is touting include: Improved buying and bargaining options; a streamlined parts acquisition process, which will reduces costs; Real-time parts availability of prices and delivery; and Seamless access to a multitude of suppliers through one, integrated procurement solution. The site is scheduled to come online in late summer. says its one-stop shopping site is already live, and buyers are able to select from an inventory of more than 8,000 trucks and trailers.

How many and how quickly refuse fleet managers will buy equipment or parts online remains to be seen.