Category: Trucking News

Quick Spin: Paccar’s New Powertrain

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The test truck was a 2017 Kenworth T680 with a 76-inch high-roof sleeper. Photos: Jim Park

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The test truck was a 2017 Kenworth T680 with a 76-inch high-roof sleeper. Photos: Jim Park

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Paccar, parent company of both Kenworth and Peterbilt, recently announced its updated engine lineup for 2017 and a new proprietary drive axle that takes the standard position in both data books. The axle represents another step toward a fully vertically integrated powertrain, though it still lacks a homegrown transmission.

I had a chance to drive a couple of trucks at Kenworth's Research and Development center in Renton, Washington, prior to the official launch of these upgrades at the American Trucking Associations' Management Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas on Oct. 2.

The truck I drove was a 2017 Kenworth T680 with a 76-inch high-roof sleeper. It was equipped with the new 40,000-pound Paccar drive axles (2.67:1 ratio) and a 2017 MX-13 engine rated at 455 hp and 1,650 lb-ft (not the new top-of-the-line rating of 510 hp and 1,850 lb-ft.)

Kenworth's chief engineer, Kevin Baney, explained that the 2017 engine uses two different variable geometry turbochargers, one for ratings below 485 hp and another for higher-powered engines, so this truck would have the one for engines rated below 485 hp. However, 455/1,850 is a popular rating for linehaul operators, so a good choice for a test drive that represents a typical fleet spec.

The automated manual transmission was an Eaton FAO-16810S-EP3 10-speed optimized for the MX-13 engine with a 0.79:1 overdrive. That rear axle/transmission combination gave us an engine cruise speed of 1,000 rpm at 57 mph in 10th gear – just 100 rpm above peak torque with the 2017 calibrations.

The route provided a good mix of two-lane and Interstate highway, with a few hills thrown in so we could check out the pulling power of the engine. Baney told us prior to the drive that peak torque on ...Read the rest of this story

Dual-Fan Alternators Designed for Refrigerated Applications

Prestolite has added an alternator designed for the refrigeration market to its LoadHandler starter and alternator line.

LoadHandler refrigeration alternators are designed to withstand the day-to-day workload of a multi-temp, multi-stop cold chain truck, providing better cooling capabilities and high-efficiency, high-output performance, according to Prestolite.

LoadHandler alternators include a dual internal fan design to help maintain optimal bearing temperatures and to reduce heat damage. The alternators are available for Carrier Transicold refrigeration units using Kubota and other engines.

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Class 8 Truck Orders Rebound

Class 8 net orders increased in November following heavy cancellations in the previous month, according to final numbers from ACT Research.

November new orders totaled 21,108 with net orders of 19,440 units, besting ACT's preliminary projects from a few weeks ago. This is a big jump from October, which saw net orders of only 13,900 units due to high cancellations.

“In addition to rising 40% from October, November marked the first positive year-over-year net order report in 22 months,” said Jim Meil, ACT Research principal and industry analyst. “After spiking to a volume not seen since 1999, cancellation activity returned to trend levels in November at 1,668 units and a cancellation rate of 2% of the backlog.”

Medium-duty Class 5-7 truck orders were steady, but slightly below average for the month.

“The consumer side of the economy remains solid, and overall there is consistency in MD demand,” said Meil. “That is why we think the subpar orders results reported for Classes 5-7 in November were an outlier. Specifically, Classes 5-7 net orders were 17,372– about 1,700 under the 2016 year-to-date average.”

Related: Navistar Ends Fiscal Year with $97 Million Loss

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HD Pro Tab Designed for Commercial Vehicle Diagnostics

The HD Pro Tab is a tablet that is designed to be used as a diagnostics tool for commercial, agricultural, and industrial fleet maintenance and repair shops.

The HD Pro Tab's software developed at the dealership level to provide a more in-depth level of diagnostic functionality without a subscription, according to developer CanDo. The device can perform tasks such as DPF regeneration and NOX resets, injector programming, changing and setting parameters, SCR/DEF coverage and features bi-directional controls covering over 60 manufacturers. Full transmission and brake system coverage is also part of the HD Pro Tab's software package.

The device is designed to be durable and water resistant, with an IP65 rating and all ports fully sealed from the elements. Featuring a 10.1-inch screen, the tablet comes with a full suite of connectors and a docking station that includes USB ports.

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Navistar's Clarke: “We're in the trough of a truck cycle”

LYSLE, Ill--Navistar, the publicly traded American corporation that produces International trucks and engines, will be happy to see the back of 2016 and is anticipating its new partnership with Volkswagen to gel as early as March, 2017. The German automaker spent more than $256 million for a 16% share of Navistar and the two companies will begin working on joint projects after March. Navistar officials hope the partnership will allow Navistar to shore up its position in the North American truck market, in particular by providing access to European technology that will serve up a saving of $500 million in cost savings. ...Read the rest of this story

Truck Tonnage Index Shows Significant Increase

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Source: ATA

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Source: ATA

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The American Truck Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index spiked 8.2% in November, recovering from a slight 0.3% dip in the month before.

The Truck Tonnage Index equaled 142.4, up from 131.6 in October and only slightly down from the all-time high reading of 144 from February of this year.

Compared to last November, the index is up 5.7% - the first year-over-year gain since August. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2015, tonnage was up 2.8%.

“2016 has been an interesting year for truck tonnage, with monthly gains and decreases as large as I can remember, which suggests seasonality is different this year,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “November's substantial increase continued with the seesaw pattern that has persisted for much of the year.”

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 135.9 in November, which was 1.7% below the previous month.

“While I think the November gain overstates the strength in the freight market, I do believe we are seeing some improvement that will continue into 2017,” said Costello. “Retail sales are good, the housing market is solid, and the inventory overhang throughout the supply chain is coming down, all of which will help support truck freight volumes in 2017.”

Related: Overall Freight Shipping Levels, Rates Better than They First Look

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ATA: Tonnage surged in November

Truck freight up 2.8% year-to-date, the trade group added.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) said its for-hire truck tonnage index jumped 8.2% in November after dropping 0.3% in October.

Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2015, tonnage is up 2.8%, the trade group noted.

Bob Costello, ATA's chief economist, noted in a statement that 2016 “has been an interesting year” with monthly gains and decreases in truck tonnage “as large as I can remember,” which he said suggests freight seasonality is “different” this year.

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