For the Record

Cat is Back

Caterpillar Unveils CT660 Vocational Truck

By Jack Roberts

When Caterpillar announced in 2008 that it would be entering the on-highway truck market, there was great interest and speculation as to just how much of a Caterpillar truck the final product actually would be. After all, Cat was partnering with Navistar to produce the new truck. The two companies share a long history of collaboration on engine projects and high-pressure fuel system development. Would all of this shared engineering DNA simply result in a Cat-branded Navistar truck?

The Cat CT660’s brushed aluminum grill helps give the truck a distinct Caterpillar appearance.

The answer is no. The new Caterpillar CT660 vocational truck is not simply an International Workstar with a shade of yellow lipstick. Caterpillar engineers have no hesitation in saying that their new truck is “essentially new from the frame rails up.” This is a bit of an exaggeration, of course. The Caterpillar CT11, CT13 and forthcoming CT15 engines are Navistar MaxxForce diesel engines. But it is entirely true that Cat engineers put their own distinctive stamp on this truck with styling cues taken directly from the company’s wheel loader line and placed their usual emphasis on cab ergonomics.

The launch — which took place March 20, in Las Vegas, Nev., on the eve of the ConExpo equipment show — was nothing less than an historic day for Caterpillar, according to George Taylor, director of the new Caterpillar vocational truck group. “This project really began about 15 years ago when we first started talking about entering the on-highway truck business,” he says. “But, of course, Caterpillar has 40 years in the truck business with our line of on-highway diesel engines. So this was a market we knew well.”

The Cat CT660 has a distinct Caterpillar appearance, thanks to a brushed aluminum grill surround that gives the truck a bold, distinctive look. The hood features a sloped aerodynamic design for excellent visibility and decreased drag for improved fuel economy, with a modular design engineered to be easy, affordable and quick to replace.

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The CT660’s instrument cluster and center stack feature a slick, integrated speedometer/tachometer that easily can be read through the steering wheel. And Cat is proud of its Cat Link equipment telematics system. The system will give drivers and fleet managers easy access to a host of truck-specific data, including fuel economy, hours of operation, vehicle location, maintenance and troubleshooting information. Moreover, the system can contact a Caterpillar dealer directly should a problem develop to expedite the repair process and get the vehicle back on the road as quickly as possible.

Engine options for the CT660 include the Cat CT11, CT13 and CT15, with displacements of 11.1, 12.5 and 15.2 liters. Horsepower ratings range from 330 to 550, and peak torque ratings range from 1,450 to 1,850 lb-ft. The engines use Navistar’s advanced exhaust gas recirculation system with a high-pressure common-rail fuel system.


Sapp Brothers Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Sapp Brothers chain of travel centers is celebrating its 40th anniversary at its 16 locations along Interstate 80 with service specials and prizes including fuel and drink discounts. This includes a $189.99 preventive maintenance special, including up to 11 gallons of oil, three filters and full lubrication for truck and trailer. Also included is a free oil analysis, with results provided within an hour.

New Loves Opens in Colorado

A new stop with 43 spaces for trucks has opened in Pueblo, Colo., off of Interstate 25 at Exit 104 in Pinion Commercial Center, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores announced. A Subway and Chester’s Chicken restaurants, two diesel exhaust fluid dispensers, CAT scales and other amenities are at the stop, the Oklahoma City, Okla.-based travel center firm said.

Traffic Deaths Drop Again

The number and rate of traffic fatalities in 2010 fell to the lowest levels since 1949, despite a significant increase in the number of miles driven, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported April 1. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s early projections, the number of traffic fatalities fell 3 percent from 33,808 in 2009 to 32,788 last year. Since 2005, fatalities have dropped 25 percent.

Marty Stuart to Headline Walcott show

Country singer Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives will headline a 7 p.m. Mobil Delvac-sponsored concert at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree July 14-15 at the Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa. Activities at the 32nd annual jamboree include more than 200 exhibits, the Super Truck Beauty Contest, antique truck display, Iowa pork chop cookout, trucker Olympics and a fireworks display.

Fuel Card Giveaway Program

Owner-operators are eligible for fuel cards worth $500 through referrals, 1st Guard Corp. announced. Monthly drawings are set to be held May 2 through Dec. 2. The fuel cards will be available to owner-operators through current and prospective 1st Guard Corp. customers. Referral cards have been mailed to current 1st Guard customers. For more information, visit

Diesel Prices Continue Upward

The national average retail price of diesel climbed again, rising 4.4 cents to $3.976 a gallon during the week ended April 4, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.

The national average price is at its highest level since Sept. 15, 2008, when it was $4.035 and 96 cents a gallon higher than the same week last year.

Florida Owner-Operator Gets ‘Back on the Road’ as Contest Winner

By James Jaillet

David Acosta has been given a chance to start his trucking career anew: the owner-operator and Navy veteran was recently named the Arrow Truck Sales’ Back on the Road winner. The Orlando, Fla., native was presented with the keys to a 2007 Volvo VNL 780, provided by the used truck dealership.

With the truck comes a one-year work agreement with Heartland Express and several other products and services. Acosta was nominated by his wife Angela, after several tough years and a growing list of repair bills forced him to lose his truck.

Medical bills for the couple’s daughter, Amanda, put stress on the family’s finances as well. Amanda has been battling a kidney disease that requires around-the-clock care from her mother, forcing her to rely solely on David’s income.

“David constantly puts everybody before himself,” Angela said in her nomination. “Money is extremely tight and our family is struggling more than we ever thought imaginable. We love him so much, and as a family we couldn’t ask for anything better than this opportunity for David to get back on the road.”

The announcement was made by Sirius XM host Dave Nemo. Acosta was the fourth Back on the Road winner, and the truck will provide means to provide financial support for his family and medical support for his daughter.

“Winning Back on the Road is a blessing for not only me, but my entire family,” Acosta says. “I look forward to representing Arrow Truck Sales and all of the great companies who have given me this wonderful opportunity.”

Daimler Expects Strong Sales Growth

Max Heine

American Class 8 truck sales should rebound robustly this year, said Daimler Trucks North America executives during a March press event.

“We expect significant growth this year, especially for medium- and heavy-duty trucks,” said Andreas Renschler, head of the Daimler Trucks Division. For North America, he said, Daimler had been projecting 20 percent to 25 percent growth. “Given the strong and sustainable rebound in this market, we now expect NAFTA truck demand to climb 30 to 35 percent this year.”

The company, which sold 355,000 trucks worldwide in 2010, expects to sell more than 500,000 in 2013, Renschler said.

The current strong rebound, while encouraging, can disguise the fact that truck sales still have not returned to pre-recession levels, said Martin Daum, president and CEO of DTNA.

Still, the company expanded its market share by 2 percentage points last year, he said. In North America, “we are the market leader in the segment of medium and heavy-duty trucks in classes 6 to 8, with a market share in NAFTA of 31.6 percent,” he said.

Daimler also announced:

• The next generation of chassis side fairings and 20-inch side extenders are being added to the Freightliner Cascadia.

• Freightliner launched The Edge (, a free online club for owner-operators. It includes traffic and weather reports, Freightliner news, and members-only discounts from partners such as Sprint and the Chrome Shop Mafia. The club also offers blogs, forums and a social network.

• TruckerNet is a new mobile application for smart phones that allows the user to access service locations and parts information, and to connect to on-call breakdown assistance services. Drivers can use ZIP codes or city names to find locations via GPS.

• Western Star introduced a 34-inch Stratosphere sleeper, available on the 4800 and 4900 models. It features added headroom and storage space.

• Western Star updated the interior for all its models, including the recently introduced 4700, with customizable compartments and shelving, and brighter color options.

• The Horton DriveMaster Two-Speed Arctis Fan Drive is available for Western Star 4700, 4800, 4900 and 6900 models.

Shell Announces First Hall of Fame Recipient

Max Kvidera

Shell Lubricants has announced the Shell Rotella Million Mile Hall of Fame, and awarded the first Hall of Fame membership to Jerry Kissinger, whose 1991 Mack Superliner named “Thumper” has a million-mile-plus engine, run exclusively on Shell Rotella.

Jerry Kissinger

Shell Lubricants’ Dave Waterman said, “Shell created the Million Mile Hall of Fame to recognize drivers who have put one million miles on their engine, with no major service, running on Shell Rotella. Some people think oil is just oil, but there is some unique chemistry in Shell Rotella.

“Jerry is a very safe driver. He helps out his fellow drivers,” Waterman added. He said Waterman contributes his time to the Special Olympics and Make a Wish Foundation. “He does all that, and he still runs a business,” he said. Kissinger also received a leather jacket from Shell.

Waterman said the program originated in Canada as the Million Miler Program.

Waterman also announced this year’s Super Rigs contest will be at the Kenly 95 Petro in Kenly, N.C., June 2-4. Waterman said, “We’ve tried to turn Super Rigs into a true community event. We want truckers to come and feel they are particularly welcome and aren’t just stopping for a bite to eat and a beverage at a truckstop.”

Goodyear Names Washington Driver Its Highway Hero

An Olympia, Wash., truck driver who helped save the lives of two people in a car that had come to a stop on railroad tracks before it was struck by a train has been named the Goodyear 2010 North America Highway Hero.

Tilden Curl

On Oct. 27, 2010, Tilden Curl was driving southbound on Highway 99 near Tulare, Calif., when a vehicle went out of control, leaving the highway and coming to a stop with its front wheels lodged over railroad tracks that run parallel to the highway. Curl checked on the car and saw a train was coming. A woman exited the passenger side of the car, and Curl yelled for her to get clear of the tracks. He saw the driver was unconscious and trapped inside. Curl was able to unfasten the man’s seatbelt and drag him away seconds before the train collided with the stranded vehicle.

Curl , who received a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond in addition to the award, was selected along with three other truck drivers as finalists for the 2010 award. Other finalists included:

• Jaime Avitia, of El Paso, Texas, a driver for Stagecoach Cartage, who administered CPR on a driver in an accident who didn’t have a pulse. After applying chest compressions, the man finally coughed and began to breathe. Until paramedics arrived, Avitia applied a towel and gauze to the man’s bleeding head and kept him comfortable.

• Bill Howard, of Litchfield, Neb., a driver for Howard Transportation, whose rig was struck by a female driver who had fallen asleep. He found she had sustained life-threatening injuries. Howard called for emergency assistance and provided assurance to the severely injured driver as she awaited treatment. Two firefighters helped Howard to save the woman’s life.

• David Nelson, of Orlando, Fla., a driver for Werner Enterprises, who was flagged down by a woman who had just lost control of her vehicle and hit a road sign. He discovered the woman’s 7-year-old daughter was not breathing. A certified EMT for 25 years, Nelson performed CPR and saved the girl’s life until emergency personnel arrived.

To nominate a professional truck driver for the 2011 Goodyear Highway Hero Award, go to

Navistar Details Market Expansion

Max Heine

Navistar officials said the recent introduction of its 15-liter engine, its developments in alternative fuel engines, and growth in other areas have enabled the company to establish itself at a much broader level of industry leadership than five years ago.

“With the addition of our MaxxForce 15, our line-up of MaxxForce Advanced EGR big bore engines truly differentiates us from the competition,” said Jim Hebe, Navistar’s senior vice president, North American sales operations. “The introduction of the ProStar+ with MaxxForce 15 now gives customers the ultimate combination in durability and power.”

Navistar is the only heavy-duty engine maker using exhaust gas recirculation without selective catalytic reduction to meet federal emissions regulations.

The MaxxForce 15 for the International ProStar+ is available with up to 500 hp and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque. International PayStar heavy-duty vocational trucks are available with MaxxForce 15 up to 550 hp.

Navistar also demonstrated a prototype 2011 International ProStar+ powered by a 13-liter MaxxForce dual fuel engine powered by diesel and liquefied natural gas.

In partnership with Clean Air Power Ltd., Navistar has built and tested the 122-inch BBC tractor with a 430-hp, 1,550 lb.-ft. engine that uses diesel pilot injection for combustion on the compression stroke and mixes air and LNG on the intake stroke. The result is an engine that runs on a mixture of 15 percent diesel and 85 percent natural gas.

The dual fuel MaxxForce engine includes minimal changes to the stock diesel engine other than the addition of a natural gas injection system. Changes to the chassis include the addition of a 26-inch diameter, 119-gallon standard LNG tank that provides a 400-mile range, a coolant heated fuel vaporizer, and an LNG regulator and filter.

In recent years, Navistar introduced diesel-electric hybrid versions of its International DuraStar and WorkStar trucks, as well as diesel-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of its buses. Last summer, the company introduced the all-electric eStar truck, which has zero tailpipe emissions and a 100-mile range.

Mack: Aero Lifts Fuel Efficiency 12 Percent

James Jaillet

Mack unveiled in March several new aerodynamic enhancements to its on-highway Pinnacle model that can increase fuel efficiency by up to 12.5 percent, says On-Highway Marketing Manager Jerry Warmkessel.

“I’m confident with the 12.5 percent,” Warmkessel said. “That’s an accurate number.”

New roof fairings and chassis fairings headline Mack’s aerodynamic lineup. Two new aesthetic options — a one-piece windshield option and a Grand Touring trim level — were unveiled, as well.

The roof fairings are available on the 70-inch model high-rise sleeper and the 60- and 70-inch model mid-rise sleepers. The company says they’re optimized to reduce drag and were designed after wind tunnel testing last year.

The chassis fairings are longer and lighter and offer simple installation. The length and weight both work to improve fuel efficiency, Warmkessel said.

Four new Econodyne powertrain ratings — MP7-405E, MP8-415E, MP8-445E, MP8-505E — are now available, too, the company said. Dave McKenna, director of powertrain marketing, said Econodyne’s new ratings, like existing ones, reward drivers for operating in higher gears.

When the engine comes down to 1,300 rpm and holds there for four seconds, 200 extra lb.-ft. of torque is offered. “We found that drivers can significantly increase fuel efficiency by remaining in the top gear as much as possible,” McKenna said.

Cummins Boasts 6-Percent Fuel Economy Gain

John Baxter

Cummins is achieving a 6 percent improvement in fuel economy in its 2010 engines compared with 2007 technology, said Steve Charlton, vice president and chief technical officer of engine business.

Charlton credited the fuel economy improvement to optimized combustion. “Using our extensive bank of real-world data from customer field units and by working closely with our customers, we have been able to deliver significant calibration improvements that positively impact both fuel consumption and Diesel Exhaust Fluid consumption,” he said. “We know that many of our customers will realize even better than a 6 percent improvement. The range of improvement will vary depending on the customer’s actual load factors and duty cycles.”

Jeff Jones, VP of sales and marketing communications, said the company’s PowerSpec software tool makes it possible to configure engine features and parameters for better fuel economy. PowerSpec includes a gearing calculator, feature/parameter settings, fault code management and trip information. “PowerSpec offers Cummins customers the ability to maximize fuel economy and enable performance features to best meet their operations’ needs,” he said.

Volvo Claims 8-Percent MPG Improvements

Jack Roberts

Volvo has said its EPA 2010 diesel engines achieved a 5-percent increase in overall fuel economy compared to its 2007 engine family due to use of selective catalytic reduction emissions technology. Now, Ron Huibers, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Volvo Trucks North America, said the company is going a step further, using new, aerodynamic features and powertrain enhancements to boost Volvo VN fuel economy another 3 percent for an overall gain of 8 percent compared with 2007 Volvo diesel engines.

“This is the next logical step forward for Volvo,” Huibers said. “Environmental responsibility has long been a core value for Volvo. We are not cutting corners — or using credits — to meet EPA 2010 emissions regulations. And our SCR solution has us well-situated to meet upcoming CO2 regulations, which happen to go hand-in-hand with increasing fuel economy for our customers.”

“We’ve always been focused on fuel economy and aerodynamics are an important part of that solution,” said Frank Bio, product manager at VTNA.

Bio said Volvo engineers used computational fluid dynamics programs as well as full- and half-scale wind tunnel tests to analyze around, over and under a VN tractor. So while a driver may not recognize changes to a VN’s newly integrated roof fairing-sunvisor design, bumper, bug screen or rearview mirrors, many small changes in the front wheel well and other areas underneath the truck are managing airflow more effectively.

Powertrain product manager Ed Saxman said new VN powertrain options also play a key role in raising Volvo fuel economy ratings with the release of a a new 455 hp and 1,550/1,750 lb.-ft. torque rating for the Volvo D13 engine. The new rating complements Volvo Trucks’ existing Eco-Torque and Dual-Torque ratings of 405, 425, 475, and 500 hp, designed to maximize fuel economy by providing a driver-intuitive, easy-to-use algorithm that rewards fuel-efficient driving and encourages low-rpm engine operation.

Volvo Trucks also offers the Eco-Torque ratings on both its D11 and D16 engines.

Kenworth Improves T660 Specs

Max Heine

Kenworth Truck Co.’s new T660 regional hauler configuration offers shorter wheelbases, tighter chassis packaging, enhanced maneuverability and weight savings, the company announced.

The “option is especially useful for regional haulers interested in operating aerodynamic trucks,” said Preston Feight, Kenworth chief engineer. It offers “the same styling and lighting advantages — and similar aerodynamic advantages — as the standard T660 with the maneuverability and fuel capacity of the Kenworth T800.”

The new T660 configuration removes the standard under-cab chassis fairing and replaces it with a cab-mounted extension of the hood fender. This allows larger diameter 24.5-inch and 28.5-inch fuel tanks to fit under the cab. Previously, only 22.5-inch tanks fit in that space.

Also announced:

• The company will offer a new line of proprietary seats exclusively for the Kenworth T700. The new Kenworth GT701, GT702, and GT703 seats offer features including an advanced air suspension system that can automatically adjust to the weight of the driver. It also offers an adjustable shock that provides drivers with a full range of height adjustments.

• Kenworth will introduce later this year NavPlus, an in-cab navigation and infotainment technology system. It will be standard on premium interiors and optional on some others. It integrates in one screen Garmin navigation, Internet, Bluetooth hands-free communication, vehicle diagnostics and other applications.

• A growing number of customers are selecting the Paccar MX engine, which is available with a horsepower range of 380 to 485 and torque up to 1,750 lb.-ft. on selected Class 8 models. The company said the engine is suited to many over-the-road, pickup and delivery, and vocational applications.

Peterbilt to Make Air Disc Brakes Standard

Jack Roberts

Peterbilt will make front-axle air disc brakes standard across its entire Class 8 truck and tractor line, Paccar VP and Peterbilt General Manager Bill Jackson announced in March.

The announcement capped a press briefing in which Jackson noted that Peterbilt capital investments of more than $30 million are paying off just as the trucking industry is entering a modest — yet sustained — economic recovery. He said MX engines with SCR emissions technology, aerodynamic truck designs such as the Model 587 and its natural gas-powered vehicle lineup all represent the largest product investment in Peterbilt history, Jackson said. “As a result, Peterbilt is uniquely positioned at a time when fleets are actively replacing worn out equipment, newer aerodynamic used trucks are beginning to fill used truck lots and the national freight index has shown steady gains over the past two years,” he said.

Jackson said the decision to offer front-axle air disc brakes as standard on Peterbilt Class 8 trucks is in preparation for enhanced federal stopping distance standards that begin in August and will mandate a 30 percent increase in braking efficiency for Class 8 trucks. “Air disc brakes offer the shortest stopping distances in the market today and provide a compact design, minimizing weight, reducing maintenance and improving both vehicle and operator efficiency,” Jackson said.

Peterbilt also announced other new products, including a new Speed Control Management System that provides drivers with progressive, fuel efficient shifts while coaching drivers to drive more fuel efficiently; a new Model 382 vocational truck in both day cab and extended day cab versions; and an all-wheel-drive version of the Model 348 vocational truck.

Rand McNally Offers GPS Traffic Feature

James Jaillet

The Rand McNally IntelliRoute TND line of over-the-road GPS units now offer past and real-time traffic views.

The real-time traffic is available via a plug-in accessory, which includes lifetime traffic provided by NAVTEQ. The real-time function allows drivers to assess driving times based on traffic accidents or bottlenecks, and the units reroute trips accordingly.

The historical traffic function is based on data compiled from accident reports, public sensors, weather, construction and local events. It predicts expected road speeds on most freeways and major highways in the United States.

The company also announced launch of its Moving America tour, in which two trucks with custom-built trailers will visit roughly 200 Pilot and Flying J locations during a 22-week period. At the stops, drivers will have a chance to interact with IntelliRoute TND navigation demonstrations, receive giveaways, play games and enter the Navigator of the Year contest.

The contest will award $25,000

to a driver recognized as the year’s top navigator by Rand McNally, based on an essay and answers to a questionnaire. The winner will be announced in August at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

For more information about the contest or to enter, visit, and click on the “Moving America” link.

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