Freightliner LLC Trucks Beat the Heat in Summer Performance Testing

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Fourteen-vehicle convoy is pushed to the limit in the most extreme temperatures, altitudes, and humidity

PORTLAND, OR… Record-breaking temperatures are sweeping across North America this summer, and Freightliner LLC’s “Summer Test” trucks are out in the hottest, most humid, and highest altitude locations in the country, putting their performance capabilities to the test.

Each year, Freightliner LLC’s “Summer Test” convoy of Freightliner®, Sterling®, and Western Star® trucks, as well as Thomas Built Buses®, is sent to the harshest environments in the United States for extreme performance testing. As part of Freightliner LLC’s ongoing commitment to testing, developing and producing superior products, the results from the “Summer Test” help ensure that customers receive the toughest, most durable, and highest-performing vehicles on the market.

This year’s convoy, which deployed last week, faces long, grueling days of 120-degree Fahrenheit temperatures in the Death Valley area of Nevada; 12,000-foot altitudes and severe mountainous grades in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado; and 95 percent humidity in the Galveston, TX area.

“We outfit each vehicle with a host of on-board computers and instrumentation equipment that measure multiple areas of vehicle performance including temperatures, pressures, strains, component interaction, and powertrain and engine operation,” said Ramin Younessi, chief engineer of test engineering, Freightliner LLC. “Then we push the trucks to the limit. The three test sites in Nevada, Colorado, and Texas provide some of the most demanding summer environments in the country. We run the vehicles all day, in the scorching heat, up and down ten-mile climbs, steep grades, and high altitudes.”

Younessi added, “This year’s ‘Summer Test’ is especially significant as it clearly demonstrates the close cooperation and teamwork between Freightliner LLC engineers and the Detroit Diesel & Mercedes-Benz Engine engineers.”

“A talented team of our engineers that handle the engineering for our Series 60® and Mercedes-Benz engines – the MBE 4000 and MBE 900 -- are participating in these important performance trials, leading the effort in testing and data collection,” said Walter Puetz, senior vice president of engineering for Detroit Diesel Corporation. “We are working very closely with Freightliner Test Engineering to ensure that we offer the best and most fully-integrated product.”

Along with new EPA ’07 Detroit Diesel Series 60 and MBE 4000 and 900 diesel engines, the “Summer Test” trucks are equipped with Caterpillar C13 and C15, and Cummins ISB and ISC ’07 diesel engines.

“Although we already have logged more than five million test miles on other EPA ’07 trucks, we’re really putting them to the test in these extreme situations,” added Al Pearson, director of vehicle test group. “As the Freightliner LLC family of products continues to grow, the ‘Summer Test’ gets bigger and more extensive each year.”

The “Summer Test” convoy is part of Freightliner LLC’s year-round testing program, which also includes cold temperature performance, high mileage and accelerated durability testing, as well as aerodynamic testing in its state-of-the-art full-scale wind tunnel.

Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading producer of medium-duty and specialized commercial vehicles. It produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Freightliner LLC is a business unit of DaimlerChrysler, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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