ArvinMeritor announces transmission offering, trailer and suspension parts

ARVINMERITOR has announced that the FreedomLine transmission from its joint venture partner ZF Meritor will be offered in heavy tractors from International Trucks. The fully automated mechanical transmission that operates without a clutch will be available in International 9200i, 9400i, 9900i, and 9900ix tractors. The announcement and that covering a number of brake and trailer suspension components were made at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The addition of the FreedomLine transmission to the International option offering is described as another step in the solid relationship between ZF Meritor and International, according to Rick Martello, president of the transmission venture. The FreedomLine has no clutch pedal and allows drivers to choose fully automatic or driver-controlled operation. The electronic transmission senses engine loads and skip-shifts when conditions are favorable. The automated mechanical transmission allows fleets to pursue a larger labor pool for drivers, because less training is required for operation. In addition, the automatic operation can increase fuel mileage up to 4%, ZF Meritor says.

ArvinMeritor also used the Louisville trade show to announce the release of its DX 225 air disc brake. It is part of the Meritor Disc Plus family of braking products first introduced in 1997. The DX 225 will be available to tractor and trailer builders in mid-2002. It is compatible with most truck, tractor, and trailer applications for 22.5-inch wheels and axles with weight ratings up to 24,000 lb. ArvinMeritor also has its DX 195 air disc brake available for 19.5-inch and 22.5-inch low profile wheel applications.

The brakes are permanently lubricated with sealed slide pins and lift-out pads. They are compatible with ABS and electronic braking systems. The brake uses a single-piece cast caliper supported on twin slide pins fixed on a mounting saddle. Braking force is applied directly to the axle through the saddle, leaving the caliper free to float on the slide pins. The brake chamber can be positioned to facilitate installation in most vehicles.

Electronic control of tractor and trailer suspensions for vehicle leveling is available from MeritorWABCO Vehicle Control Systems. The electronic leveling modules supply air to the appropriate parts of vehicle suspension on an as-needed basis. This results in optimum ride height with a minimum air compressor load on the engine.

Tractor rear suspension can be raised or lowered using a dash-mounted switch or an optional remote control. As a trailer is uncoupled using this system, the tractor automatically returns to the proper ride height after it pulls away from the trailer. A similar system allows trailer height to be matched to dock height. When the trailer pulls away from the dock, optimum ride height is resumed. In a combination with automatic leveling on both the tractor and trailer, the system senses ride height every 60 seconds and adjusts the suspension accordingly. The periodic adjustment results in lower air pressure requirement for suspension operation. The system can be installed on most Class 8 tractors and a wide variety of trailer configurations.

New Next Generation wheel hubs from ArvinMeritor, available for all popular trailer applications, will provide reduced component weight and increased payload. The new hubs will become available between May and September 2002. The LMC hub is part of a unitized wheel end and contains a fully sealed, lubricated cartridge bearing to eliminate leaks, reduce downtime, and increase wheel end life. The hubs are designed to reduce the amount of lubricant required while improving bearing lubrication. Depending on application, hub weight has been reduced 15% to 20% while maintaining maximum axle weight ratings.

Improved cab stability is available from the Commercial Vehicle Systems Ride Control division of ArvinMeritor. A new cab-stabilizing module combines a shock absorber, an air spring, an internal height-leveling valve and patented electronic damping from Gabriel. The new module combines three distinct components found in most standard cab suspensions into one installation, eliminating the need for separate brackets and linkages. Patented electronically adjustable damping uses a solenoid-controlled valve to alter compression forces by up to 600%. The system can be activated by the driver with a dashboard control or by motion sensors that adjust damping automatically.

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