Caterpiller Kicks It Into Gear

Automatic vocational transmissions roll out.

Caterpillar is applying its expertise with articulated truck transmissions to its introduction of on--highway vocational truck transmissions. The units were developed from Cat's articulated truck series and modified with optimized shift points and a weight--saving aluminum case, which replaces the iron case on the original off-road version.

The CX31 and CX35 fully automatic, planetary transmissions will go into production later this year, with availability in 2006. This allows Caterpillar to offer a fully--integrated power train solution. "When matched with a Cat engine, these new transmissions will deliver improved performance, fuel economy and reliability, while giving North American vocational truck owners another choice in the marketplace," says Chris Schena, vice president, Caterpillar.

Optimized solution

The Cat transmissions are electronically controlled with lock-up torque converters and feature optional hydraulic braking retarders. The company manufactures its own torque converters, which allows for an engine/torque converter match.

The transmission was also designed with a narrow profile for better chassis packaging and to allow more PTO mounting options.

The CX31 transmission handles up to 500 hp and 1,650 lb.--ft. of torque. It matches up to the Caterpillar C11, C13 and C15 up to 500 hp. The transmission features six forward speeds and one reverse speed. It offers the choice of three PTO locations'traditional eight o'clock and one o'clock drives, and a rear drive that can handle up to 200 hp.

The CX35 is the super heavy--duty transmission. It handles up to 625 hp and 2,050 lb.--ft. of torque. This unit matches up to the C15 for on-highway trucks and the C18 off--highway engine. The transmission features eight forward speeds and one reverse speed. It provides four PTO locations, including two optional rear PTOs with up to 200 hp each.

Service and support built in

A spin--on oil filter, external control valves and a Cat ET service tool that interfaces with the programmable ECM and diagnostics ease service concerns. Built on proven platforms, these transmissions feature a low percentage of new content.

Service will be provided by the authorized Cat Dealer On--Highway Engine Service Network, with 350 locations nationwide. Warranty and extended service coverage for the transmissions will be matched with the engine.

"When packaged with a Cat on-highway engine, these transmissions will give vocational truck customers the option for a fully integrated power train, which means the product support is greatly simplified," says Gerry Shaheen, group president, Caterpillar.