"The cost of DEF is also significantly cheaper than we had modeled, so there is additional savings there."
Initial indictors signal that the new technology has addressed many earlier issues, "We are still very early in the life of most engines as of this writing," says McKenna, "But comparatively we are seeing much, much less problems with DPF elements and seventh injector issues.
"Much higher engine component operating temperatures, primarily as the result of higher EGR flow rates, have been reduced via SCR," says McKenna. "Better thermal management equals longer engine life. With our Mack ClearTech engines the size, capacity and performance of the cooling system did not change from 2007, so we have much more operating margin to work with and much less overheat issues with high ambient temperatures and high elevations."
Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) touts the reliability of its BlueTec technology. "Prior to the EPA 2010 introduction, DTNA had 30 million test miles," says Reed. "SCR technology has been running in Europe since 2006 (with the introduction of EuroIV); and there are approximately 390,000 Class 6 to Class 8 vehicles on the road today with SCR (in the United States and Canada). We have many trucks approaching or past 750,000 miles, one of which we recently performed a tear down on and were impressed by lack of wear. Finally, the B50 life [the duration at which 50% of the engine population is expected to fail] of the Detroit engines was extended to 1 million miles (Detroit DD13) and 1.2 million miles (Detroit DD15 and Detroit DD16)."
It is also important to note that age does affect equipment reliability. "New vehicles provide a measure of predictability," says Reed, "Especially if coupled with extended warranties, as this allows operators to better calculate their costs without needing to account for unplanned repair costs associated with older equipment."
Options to extend life
Some contractors have turned to rebuilding with remanufactured parts to solve their immediate truck needs. In certain circumstances this approach can make sense.
"At Mack our Re-Mack program offers a full array of remanufactured major powertrain components that come with warranties," says McKenna. "This can prolong the life of a vocational truck for a few years."
But choosing between a new truck and extending the life of an older model is not as simple as comparing purchase prices.
When it comes to deciding on whether to replace or rebuild existing technology, vocational customers should consider that they may lose out on some technical advancements, such as Detroit Virtual Technician, SmartPlex multiplex electrical system, extended oil drain intervals, fuel efficiency, driveline enhancements, etc. – all which contribute to a more productive operation," says Betsy Ballard, director of product development and growth, Detroit Reman.
"Relying on remanufactured parts to lower the total cost of truck ownership is not a new concept," says Ballard. "All major fleets and independent owner operators now assume that replacement parts will be reman or a mix in most cases, and are often unpleasantly surprised if they're not."
But make sure you know the difference between a remanufactured part and a rebuilt part.
"If contractors want to ensure they get an OEM-quality part to extend the life of their truck, they need to understand that it's important to select a genuine remanufactured part versus a rebuilt or repaired part," says Ballard. "Taking a chance on a less expensive repaired part or a part supplied from someone that doesn't guarantee a return to the factory specification is risking a more expensive repair down the road."
Even then, extending truck life is not guaranteed.
"Each customer and application is different," notes McKenna. "However, with a good, and I do mean good, preventative maintenance program the life of a Mack truck can be extended considerably. Engines today are much more robust than engines of years ago. It wasn't that long ago that bottom end main and connecting rod bearings were replaced at 150,000 miles. This is just not required any longer. Don't skimp on the engine oil lube, as that is the cheapest insurance you can take out on a modern diesel engine."