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Mack's Super Econodyne Saves Fuel With Low RPMs

June 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Tom Berg, Senior Editor, Senior Editor - Also by this author

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Mack Trucks has shown off its new Super Econodyne low-rpm powertrain that promises significant fuel economy improvements over existing truck engines.

At a day-long event Wednesday at the Mack Customer Center in Allentown, Pa., yesterday, the company also announced further bundling of its ownership services to include financing plans.
SE package is available as a no-cost option in Pinnacle road tractors ordered with an MP8 engine and mDrive automated mechanical transmission.
SE package is available as a no-cost option in Pinnacle road tractors ordered with an MP8 engine and mDrive automated mechanical transmission.


By basically reducing engine cruise speed by 200 rpm, Super Econodyne improves fuel economy by 2% over current Mack offerings and 5% over pre-2007 engines that many customers are still using, said David McKenna, director of powertrain sales and marketing. Aerodynamic improvements to SE-equipped Pinnacle tractors can stretch fuel economy by up to 15%.

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Fleet tests of the SE concept show fuel savings of 5% to 10%, he said. This is in long-haul service using mainly Interstate highways with known terrain profiles, which the powertrain package is designed for. It is approved for Mack Pinnacle tractors pulling trailers at up to 80,000 pounds gross combination weight.

Super Econodyne is an all-Mack Pedigreed powertrain with a 455-horsepower, 13-liter MP8 engine; 12-speed mDrive automated mechanical transmission, and a C125 double-reduction tandem axle. With a 0.78 overdrive top gear in the transmission, a 2.66 axle ratio and 11R22.5 tires, the engine cruises at 1,160 RPM at 62 mph, McKenna said.

200 RPM lower

Most Mack Econodyne highway engines now cruise at about 1,350 rpm, but careful integration of electronics and mechanical components allow the lower engine speeds where less fuel is used, he said. The low speeds will take owners and drivers some time to get used to, but they are completely safe for the engine.

With the SE package, "everything above 1,400 rpm is turning expensive diesel fuel into noise," McKenna said. "Nobody wants to run at 1,150 rpm. They'll say, 'I can't do that. I can't do that.' I'll tell you what: It's my engine. If it blows up, I'll rebuild it."

The engine's 455-horsepower rating comes with peak torque of 1,750 pounds-feet that's produced from 1,080 to 1,280 rpm, making for strong performance at the low engine speeds. This rating was chosen for highway service because "it's an engine that would do just about everything," he said.

MP7 version coming

Later, there'll be an MP7 version of the Super Econodyne that will probably be rated at 450 horsepower and 1,650 pound-feet. This will provide similar performance and economy, but the smaller 11-liter engine will save about 300 pounds over the 13-liter MP8, McKenna said.

Super Econodyne includes a Smooth Cruise form of cruise control that eases power off and on while going down- and uphill in rolling terrain, and Intelligent PowerLeash engine braking that uses the transmission to make maximum retarding power to control downhill speeds.

To encourage fleets to try the concept, Super Econodyne is a no-cost option for those intending to order a similar engine and mDrive transmission. The mDrive AMT now sells for about $6,500 over a 10-speed manual transmission.

Super Econodyne is Mack's adaptation of the Volvo XE13 package that includes a D13 engine and I-Shift transmission. Mack and Volvo are sister companies that together run Volvo Powertrain, which produces brand-tailored engines and transmissions in Hagerstown, Md.

Pedigreed Uptime

The previously announced Pedigreed Uptime program for Mack owners now includes Bulldog Financing, said the company's vice president of marketing, John Walsh. This adds ease of purchasing or leasing Mack vehicles to the existing package of parts and service support.

With Pedigree Uptime Protection, fleet managers can approve and monitor repair status online, regardless of where the Mack dealer is. Asset Protection lets owners purchase contract maintenance that includes scheduled preventive maintenance service, inspections and other service.

Automated parts purchasing is done by monitoring of dealer inventories by the Mack computer system and reordering to replenish stocks, Walsh said. Other agreements take care of unscheduled repairs.

The services are based on Mack's MV Asist, a program that ties vehicles to Mack's system and lets owners manage all service events through a web portal. Owners who purchased Macks as of last January 1 can sign up for the program at no cost, Walsh said.


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