Kenworth suggests specifications for resale value
May 1, 2003 12:00 PM
LOW operating costs coupled with high resale value combine to provide reduced life cycle costs for heavy trucks. Writing vehicle specifications intended to reduce costs and enhance resale can be the difference between profit or loss in today's trucking environment. Kenworth exhibited a tractor built for low life-cycle costs during the Mid-America Trucking show in Louisville, Kentucky, March 19 to 21, 2003.
The show truck was a T600 low drag conventional with a 72-inch AeroCab sleeper. The truck's drivetrain includes a Caterpillar C12 engine rated at 430 horsepower driving through an Eaton Fuller Super 13 Roadranger transmission coupled to an Eaton Fuller Solo XL clutch.
The Cat C12 has roughly the same displacement of other popular engines in truckload fleet applications and weighs 700 lb less than Cat's big-bore C15 engine. Kenworth officials say that the 13-speed transmission costs about $1,100 more in initial purchase price than a 10-speed gearbox, but that the payback at resale is a premium of $2,000 to $3,000 for a 13-speed compared to a 10-speed. The self-adjusting Solo clutch has a recommended lubrication interval of 100,000 miles for reduced maintenance costs.
To extend service intervals, the transmission and drive axles are filled with synthetic lubricants. To take advantage of engine and transmission durability, Kenworth recommended a 25,000-mile service interval for the tractor in contrast to a more traditional 15,000-mile interval. Extending the service interval saves more than $3,000 on maintenance over a three-year service life. Not only is this a 40% reduction in maintenance costs, but the extended interval results in 10 fewer trips to the shop resulting in more revenue miles per truck.
In addition, the low cost tractor is equipped with low maintenance components such as aluminum wheel hubs and a no-lube fifthwheel. To help enhance battery life, the tractor is equipped with a low voltage disconnect that shuts down non-critical circuits when batteries drop below a certain voltage.
To take advantage of the already aerodynamic shape of the T600, Kenworth equipped the show trucks with all the available optional fairings for lower drag. Bridgestone R227/M720 tires are said to increase fuel economy by 1.5%.
Some of the specifications are a little more subtle than lightweight engines or high performance tires. For instance, the show truck is projected to operate consistently at seven miles per gallon. That projects to a reduction in annual fuel cost of $1,600 compared to a tractor operating at 6.5 mpg. A potential hidden saving here is how much fuel the tractor needs to carry at any given time. For instance, Kenworth takes advantage of its prediction that the show truck will run farther with its fuel load than a vehicle with lower mileage. As a result, KW equipped the demonstration tractor with two 100-gallon tanks instead of twin 150-gallon tanks specified on most trucks. This change helps improve mileage, because it requires the truck to carry less weight — nearly 250 lb saved from the weight of 150-gallon tanks and brackets and more than 600 lb in fuel from the additional weight of full 150-gallon tanks.
Another small option is an Alpine global positioning system. Kenworth says the GPS option can help cut out-of-route miles that usually range from 3% to 10% of total annual mileage. Sometimes that out-of-route mileage is simply the result of poor directions. Missing an exit or taking the wrong highway can add lots of miles over the course of a year, KW says. The GPS helps make sure that the driver has accurate directions to pick up and delivery points.
In addition to building its show truck to demonstrate low life-cycle costs, Kenworth has recently issued a 26-page white paper that addresses vehicle costs in detail. For instance, the KW document notes that the company standard Dana DSP 40 tandem drive axle has a 500,000-mile drain interval. The company says this service interval can be reached without the addition of lubrication pumps or external filters that need changing. The white paper recommends Dana's E-12001 front axle with a 100,000-mile lubrication interval. Dana ES S-cam 16.5 × 5-inch brakes are recommended for all brake positions.
Other long life components recommended by Kenworth are Dana SPL XL drivelines, which have a 350,000-mile service interval with a 100,000-mile service interval for the U-joints thereafter. Rotella extended life coolant, which has a 600,000-mile drain interval following a single addition of extender solution, is also recommended. Standard fill for gearboxes is Cognis Emgard 2924 SAE 50 weight lubricant for transmissions and Emgard 2984 oil for drive axles.
The white paper also suggests that some extra-cost items at initial purchase pay back handsomely at resale time. For instance, aluminum wheels for the steering axle will command a $500 to $1,000 premium compared to steel wheels, and aluminum drive wheels will pay back $1,000 to $2,000. Dual chrome exhausts add $1,000 to $2,000 at resale, and addition of an engine brake at initial purchase will generate $2,000 to $2,500 in resale value, Kenworth says.
For a copy of the white paper, visit kenworth.com and download it in pdf format.
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