Freightliner LLC Showcases Comprehensive Readiness Program for MBE Engines

Company conducts wide variety of in-vehicle and lab testing to validate engines before launch

PORTLAND, Oregon, Freightliner LLC today announced it is on schedule with the tremendous amount of testing planned to prepare for the two EPA ’07 Mercedes-Benz engines: the heavy-duty MBE 4000 and the medium-duty MBE 900. Both will be offered in a wide variety of its commercial vehicles.

Detroit Diesel will launch three re-developed engines in 2007: the Series 60®, MBE 4000, and MBE 900. Freightliner LLC’s confidence in delivering these engines to market next year is underscored by its rigorous testing program, which began more than two years ago with the first MBE engines prototypes on test stands in Redford, Michigan, Stuttgart Germany, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“I began heading up the 2007 MBE engine development program for the North American market in 2005, and we’ve come a long way since we had our first ‘B’ level prototype engines in our test lab,” said Dave Skupien, Program Manager for MBE Engines in NAFTA. “Since then, we have invested a vast amount of time, money and resources in the program to ensure the MBE engines are fully compliant with EPA ’07, while also meeting the reliability and durability goals our customers demand. We look forward to the launch of the MBE 4000 and 900 next year.”

Freightliner’s engine testing program is comprised of various components, including: test cell dynamometers, reliability testing, durability testing, and an extensive customer demonstration program. In total, the MBE 4000 and 900 engines will accumulate more than 14.5 million miles before start of production.

Here is a more detailed look at the various testing activities happening to support EPA ’07 and the MBE 4000 and MBE 900 engines:

Reliability Growth Testing:

On the engine testing front, 10.4 million miles have been accumulated on the MBE 4000 and 900 combined, working toward the goal of 14.5 million by start of production. A total of 79 EPA ’07 MBE engines have been built and processed through Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star Truck Plants.

Winter Testing:

Last winter, the MBE 4000 and 900 engine team took the test trucks through Minnesota and Finland to perform cold winter testing. Engine cold start performance to 5° F (unaided) and -13° F (with grid heater) was validated. The engines also successfully regenerated the aftertreatment systems under these extreme cold conditions.

Summer Testing:

Freightliner LLC and Detroit Diesel Engineering Test Teams wrapped up summer testing in August. This activity featured the largest number of Detroit Diesel Engineering test vehicles ever included in such testing. The test fleet included two MBE 900 and two MBE 4000 powered FLLC trucks, three ’07 Series 60-powered Freightliner trucks; one ’07 Series 60-powered Prevost Motorcoach, and one 2006 14.0L Series 60 used for baseline testing. The Test Team was comprised of engineering representatives from the following areas of expertise: Vehicle Performance Engineering, Pilot Center Technicians, Series 60, MBE 4000, MBE 900, Aftertreatment, Electronics, and Application Engineering. Testing was conducted in the desert of Nevada for the high ambient cooling system testing, Colorado for high altitude testing, and high-humidity HVAC testing was conducted in Texas and the southwest before the team headed back to Portland. Testing was conducted on both interstate and urban test routes.

For the MBE 900, testing showed the engine is capable of delivering 90 percent of rated power at rated speed up to 4000m (13,100 ft), with full torque available up to 4000m. For the MBE 4000, testing showed the engine is capable of delivering 90 percent of rated power at rated speed at the 4,000m level.

“When you think about the battery of testing Freightliner and Detroit Diesel conducts for its MBE engines, it’s truly remarkable and should give Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star owners a sense of confidence that the program will result in engines that not only meet market expectations, but surpass them,” said Larry Dutko, EPA ’07 Program Manager for Freightliner LLC. “We are really pleased with what we are now seeing regarding the performance of these two engines, specifically in the area of fuel economy and performance reliability. We know how important it is for our customers to keep their operating costs down, so we are working hard to ensure the MBE engines provide a high degree of reliability and better-than-expected fuel economy for 2007.”

Customer Demonstration Program

Provides real-time, real-life application of the engine to see where refinements are needed in order to strengthen the product prior to launch. Strategic relationships/customers are selected in a highly cooperative and collaborative information sharing venture regarding the product.

“The performance data received from the Reliability Growth Fleet was very important in helping us detect potential field issues that might have been experienced in 2007,” explained Dutko. “Now that these prototype parts have been re-designed, the Customer Demo Program can be put into full swing. If any further refinements to both the MBE 4000 and MBE 900 are required based on input from customers who are running the trucks in their everyday operations, we will make every effort to implement these improvements before year end.”

Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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