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May 31, 2016

Best Car I Ever Owned

Lotus 7 in an olive grove in Cadaquez, Spain. By this time it had headlamps: the right
was a foglight and served as low beam, on high beam the left spotlight would come on in
addition to aid in night-time visibility. Note tiny marker lights that were original lighting.
Inside fiberglass nose you can see oil cooler, air horns and electric fan. Car was always
a trial to cool in traffic. Front fenders didn’t do a lot for spray suppression. The license
plate had an attitude, too. And that’s me, a little younger.

I think I bought it for GB pounds 600 (just $860).

It was a clubman’s racer Lotus 7. Like all the 7s it was very simple.

A spaceframe and monocoque combination with riveted aluminum over a steel spaceframe structure that weighed about 300 pounds was the chassis. 

Power was by a Cosworth pushrod Ford four-cylinder at 1558 cc displacement  – the same displacement as the twin-cam Lotus Cortina I owned immediately before this – and another exceptional car I wish I could afford again!

Except, because the 7 was a genuine clubman’s race car, it was a dry-sump genuine Cosworth motor with two side-draft twin-choke 42DCOE Webers, ported head, header exhaust and a Cosworth RSC camshaft.

The cam was an 80-40-40-80 grind from a Cosworth SCA OHC engine that was the de rigeur motor for Formula 2 open wheel racers back then. And we are talking 1969. The camshaft overlap would see flame out of the exposed carburetor inlets, sticking out of the left side of the hood. 

The driveability of the car was awful as it was way too cammy for the road use I intended. And the fuel economy was ridiculous, so I switched out the camshaft for the Formula 3 Cosworth RSA engine after a couple of weeks.

The RSA grind was way better for bigger displacements than the 1000 cc of Formula 3 back then, but it was still a monster. It was still so cammy it would break the Dunlop race drive tires loose in second gear as the revs came on to 5000. And in the close ratio Ford-Lotus gearbox from the Lotus Cortina racers of the day, that would be speeds in the 50s.

In the wet, it was a beast. The peaky camshaft would spin the drive tires as it came on the cam in top gear – about 90 mph! Bear in mind the car only weighed 1300 pounds. But it was the best handling car you can imagine. Set up with all kinds of negative camber on the 5.5-inch R6 shod front wheels, it was neutral into a corner at neutral throttle.

So at a roundabout – there were and still are lots of them in the UK – entry on a trailing throttle would bring oversteer and a step out for the rear even though there were big Dunlop racing R6s on 7.5 inch rims. The oversteer would translate into opposite lock though a touch of steering through the apex of the roundabout and then power-out on opposite lock coming off the roundabout. The 7 was a hugely satisfying – and enormously forgiving – car to drive very fast.

The suspension was responsible for this: coil spring and wishbone up front and an A frame to the base of the diff with coil-over shocks at the rear giving a downward sloping roll center toward the rear. Just like the ’65 Lotus Cortina I had so recently abandoned. That was an equally incredibly balanced car that could be flung at corners, not just driven round. The best thing is that it would always pick up the inside front wheel in a corner to give a few more feet of road space through the apex of a corner!

But back to the 7, because it was a race car, it had no lights and a straight exhaust on the passenger side exiting ahead of the rear wheel. I fixed all that. Back then in the UK, there was no legal requirement for headlamps (driving lights) so I fixed up marker lights front on the cycle fenders and rear on the aluminum flares that replaced the original fiberglass fenders so the lowered rear suspension had sufficient clearance.

That was part of the rewire I did when stripping and rebuilding the car, chroming the suspension, painting it a puce color instead of the Lotus green with yellow stripe. It had no ignition switch, either. You just flipped the switch for the ignition, the next toggle for the electric fuel pump, and then pressed the starter solenoid up under the dash.

The exhaust fix was easy. I just made up a can that looked like a muffler and welded it around the straight-pipe exhaust. It looked legal, but on a still night in rural Essex, a friend said he heard me coming from five miles away.

Driving at night was a challenge with no headlights. At the time I was working for Ford Motor Co, based at the Transit plant in Southampton, but I’d spend weekends back in my home base in Wimbledon, South London. So Sundays would find me heading back to the south coast on unlit pre-motorway A-roads. The trick was to poodle along till something faster would overtake, then tuck in behind till something faster came along and then tuck in behind that.

One night the last to overtake was a spiritedly driven Honda S800 – remember them – and I tucked in and followed like a limpet. Each time he’d overtake, I’d hang back till the road was clear than blast up behind again.

Eventually I ran out of gas. As a race car, the 7 only had a 4-gallon gas tank and no fuel gauge, but I always had a gallon can tucked into a special location in the rear spaceframe. So I cruised to a stop and pulled out the gas can. Meanwhile, the Honda stopped, then backed down to where I was and the driver jumped out.

“I wondered what the hell that was,” he said, or words similar. “All I could see in the mirror were these two little lights dancing and bobbing around. Then I’d pass a car and the lights would disappear until there was a shattering roar and those lights would be in the mirror again.”

I drove that 7 everywhere. On evening, backing into a parking slot in Montmartre, Paris, there was a bang from the rear and that was that. The car had a steel, small diameter race clutch that was all or nothing, and in backing up, I had broken a half shaft in the Standard 10 rear axle (Yes: Standard! It was a Triumph small car of the time and the axle Colin Chapman chose for the 7).

I arranged shipment back to the UK and while I was waiting for the 7 to appear at my doorstep in London I happened on a Standard 10 upended in a ditch while on a weekend in Sussex.  It was the work of minutes to pull both half-shafts from this wreck – fortunate, because only a month after replacing the first broken half shaft, the other let go and I had a replacement ready to install!

Eventually I tired of the lack of heater, wind whistling in through ill-fitting side curtains (there were no doors) and rain coming in from every pore. So I built a beach buggy. Never mind there were no sandy beaches in UK to drive upon. But I did take it to the Sahara Desert, and there’s a BIG beach there! And that’s another story.

April 3, 2016

Ex Navistar President Gets His

Only truck I ever put in the ditch. But so did Navistar executives,
so I don’t feel so bad!
When I penned the retrospective on the Navistar engine debacle (search Told You So here) I thought I’d said goodbye to the outgoing president Dan Ustian.

Not so.

Seems the Securities and Exchange Commission is not going to let the mendaciousness of his leadership go unpunished.

In a complaint lodged in the US District Court for the northern district of Illinois, Ustian is being called to account for the fraudulent misleading of the investment community about the progress of the 13-liter MaxxForce engine program goals and successes in meeting EPA2010. And, of course, the propping up of the Navistar share value by so doing.

If you go back and re-read what I said in the previous posting, you’ll see I got fired for telling that same investment community in late 2010 that his was a house of cards and that Navistar would never be whole till Ustian was gone. ‘Scuse me if I don’t crow a little here . . .

Anyway, Navistar is also named as a party to the fraud and within moments of the suits being filed has offered to pay a penalty of $7.5 million to settle. The regulatory agency statement said the company and its former leader “failed to fully disclose the company’s difficulties obtaining Environmental Protection Agency certification of a truck engine able to meet stricter EPA Clean Air Act standards.”

Just some of the incredible complexity surrounding
the MaxxForce in a test drive in 2009.
The story broke during the first few hours of the 2016 Mid America Trucking Show, and the 57-page complaint was in my e-mail within moments. Navistar said that “Settling this matter will avoid the expense and distraction of a potential dispute with the SEC” according to a quickly responding Transport Topics. No word if this will be accepted as yet.

The SEC complaint, with a demand for a jury trial for Ustian, is very specific in detailing how Ustian contrived to mislead the investment community and the press through publicly available Analyst Calls right up until the moment in July 2012 when the whole house of cards came tumbling down. 

That was when the company declared it would pursue Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) as the technology it would employ to meet EPA2010 and not the Advanced exhaust gas recirculation (A-EGR) championed by Ustian and his bunch of yes-men.

In fact, reading the complaint is very revealing. There were many in the company’s engineering side talking and e-mailing internally that the Navistar was heading up a blind technology alley but Ustian placed a gag order on them. One in particular is a jewel.

In paragraph 60 of the complaint, you can read the following: “In fact, at the time the 2011 Application was submitted to the EPA, the engine described in the application could run only in the testing laboratory. In a February 9, 2011 email regarding the engine covered by the 2011 Application, a Navistar Senior Technical Specialist working on certification matters told other engineers in the certification group:
‘I asked a bigger question. Would this engine ever be drivable in a truck and I got laughs in response.... Translation you have a[n] underpowered 13 liter engine that is coughing, sputtering and wheezing like some terminal cancer patient on a respirator’.”

And how about this: “When Navistar’s Vice President of Powertrain Product Development forwarded this email to Navistar’s Vice President of Integrated Product Development and suggested he talk with Ustian about these issues with the D-cert engine, the Vice President of Integrated Product Development responded that Ustian “totally knows it” and advised him to “[t]ell these guys to not worry about this sh[--] and not keep sending emails to each other.”

Now here’s the big kicker, and it’s there in the indictment as fact. One of the proposed solutions to the problem that the engine would run – just about – in the test lab but could not possibly power a truck was to propose to EPA that there be two lookup tables for the engine controller: one to be used in test, the other when the truck was going down the road. They made this proposal with a straight face but EPA laughed them down. In the now famous Dieselgate, Volkswagen did the exact same thing, and presumably at just about the same time, though without asking EPA’s permission.

The sad thing is that this after-the-fact bolting of the stable door will never reconstitute the fortunes of the many family trucking businesses that had to close their doors because of the unreliability of the MaxxForce and the hubris of one man: Dan Ustian. One has to hope the courts will come down on him like a ton of bricks and put him in the poorhouse along with all those customers he misled and with the financial community he duped.

March 24, 2016

The brave new world of platooning

In the demo, three trucks traveled maintaining about 50 feet
 between them to illustrate the safety and convenience
 intrinsic with Daimler Highway Pilot Connect.
Suddenly, it’s all about platooning trucks in the name of fuel efficiency, infrastructure optimization and driver satisfaction.

Volvo has just staged a seminar on the topic. There’s a multi-manufacturer challenge throughout Europe in several weeks. And Daimler Trucks staged a massive media event in Germany showcasing its take on trucking communications with a special emphasis on platooning.

So what is platooning?

It’s not a new concept but one that is enabled by the latest digital technologies. It’s all about jamming vehicles together in a line where they all talk to each other while closing up together to gain fuel efficiency and to increase the capacity of the highway system. It’s most appropriate to trucks since they use a lot of fuel and a lot of highway.

So there are demonstration projects going on in Europe and the United States to show how the technology will look and feel.

To my mind the most effective so far is the recent platooning demo by Daimler. It combines the fuel-saving concept with its already introduced autonomous driving truck technologies, introduced in Europe in 2014 and in the United States in 2015.

That “driverless” truck demonstration by the hi-tech Daimler companies Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner introduced the world to trucks that could guide themselves on the highway, maintaining a set speed and steering themselves to keep in lane while the driver kicked back and enjoyed the scenery.

At the time, a lot of us said, that’s all well and good, but in the end, what does it get us but a more relaxed driver and potentially safer highways.

The answer is: It gets us platooning.

The basic self-driving technology in Daimler’s vocabulary is Highway Pilot. The latest rollout is Highway Pilot Connect, and it’s a truly workable concept that combines the efficiencies of platooning of trucks, and the economy and ecological gains of better economy with the driver lifestyle improvement of a self-driving truck.

The demonstration on the German A52 Autobahn featured three trucks each talking to the others through vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications. Drivers have available platooning buttons on the dash and dash-mounted tablets that relay all the information about the platoon, including a camera view from the lead truck that allows the following drivers to see what is going on ahead of the platoon from a camera in the lead truck.

And while the demo featured three trucks to illustrate the safety and convenience features that are intrinsic with the Daimler Highway Pilot Connect, the platoon may, in the fullness of time, extend to as many as 10 trucks in a line with only about 50 feet between them.

In practice

In practice, a Connect-enabled truck looks out to find other Connect vehicles – and it’s an open, standardized technology, so those other vehicles don’t have to be Daimler products or even the same fleet-owned trucks. When a similarly equipped truck responds, it’s invited to join the platoon.

There’s driver involvement in setting up the platoon, but once established the technology takes over to draw other trucks into the platoon and pretty soon “We’ve got ourselves a convoy.”

The beauty of the Daimler system is that once engaged, all trucks are autonomous, self-driving units, basically connected by electronic drawbars. All driving tasks are taken by the individual trucks while the whole platoon acts in concert. Drivers can kick back in the seat while watching over the controls, in exactly the same way that airline pilots keep watch over their self-guided planes.

There’s a whole lot of technology associated with platooning that allows for other non-connected vehicles cutting into the platoon to, for instance, get to an off-ramp or whatever.

On the Autobahn?

And in the German demonstration, when passing an Autobahn on-ramp, the platoon would stretch out to the mandated minimum vehicle-to-vehicle 160-foot spacing to allow for merging traffic. Then as soon as the intersection was cleared and merging traffic moved out of the platoon, it closed up to realize the average 7 percent fuel savings of the trucks in the line.

So, where we were scratching our heads over the practicality of self-driving trucks previously, it all falls into place when combined with truck-to-truck connectivity.

It’s a brave new world and it’s coming to a freeway near you soon. Much sooner than you might think.

March 18, 2016

Cat Scratches Trucks

Caterpillar has pulled out of the truck making business. Supposedly, it's one of the casualties of the beleaguered construction equipment manufacturing company in a time of worldwide construction downturn, much in the wake of the oil glut for which the rest of us are very grateful. But not for the 70 or so Cat employees affected by the decision to end truck production.

The announcement was made by my old mate Ramin Younessi, vice president of Caterpillar’s Industrial Power Systems division.

“Remaining a viable competitor in this market would require significant additional investment to develop and launch a complete portfolio of trucks, and upon an updated review, we determined there was not a sufficient market opportunity to justify the investment,” he said. “We have not yet started truck production in Victoria [Texas], and this decision allows us to exit this business before the transition occurs.”

It comes as little surprise for, despite the undoubted quality of the Cat CT models, they have been very slow to sell. Caterpillar launched the three-model vocational truck range in the North American market in 2011, working with Navistar on design and manufacture and using the ill-fated MaxxForce 13, 12.4-liter engine.

It was based on the International PayStar and built under contract by Navistar at its Garland, Texas, facility. It moved to Saltillo, Mexico with Navistar, then it was to move again to a Cat plant in Victoria this year.

Production never really got into gear. Supposedly the line was running at 1100 to 1200 units annually, around four per day. This is in sharp contrast to mainstream truck manufacturers who look for 100 units per day.

A further nail in the CT coffin was recently driven with the launch of Navistar’s new HX replacement for the Paystar, which added to the bleak future for CT sales.

Incidentally, I've known Younessi, since the launch of the Freightliner Coronado in early 2001. Coronado was a personal project of Jim Hebe’s when he was president of the company. Younessi was a get-things-done engineer back then and later became a blue-sky strategist for Daimler Trucks in Stuttgart. I actually bumped into him when boarding a plane in Germany as we were flying back from the IAA Show and we caught up. He was briefly back in Portland as chief engineer but left for a senior engineering role at Navistar. On one memorable occasion, we took a pair of the huge, truck-based International CXT pickups on the famous Detroit annual cruise on Woodward Avenue. Those trucks were the darlings of the crowd.

A casualty of the MaxxForce debacle, Younessi moved to Caterpillar most recently and is now a vice president.

March 15, 2016

End the Frustration of Lost Vehicle Presets

Sometimes there’s a jewel hidden among the dross of new-product e-mail that tumbles in daily.

This looks to be one.

Weego is a manufacturer of portable jump starters and rechargeable battery packs and has a number of accessory devices designed to increase the versatility of its Jump Starter Battery+ models. This one saves the electronic presets on the vehicle controller.

Intended for the car diy enthusiast, the device will save things like radio and clock settings, seat positions, alarms, climate control, GPS, and keyless entry codes that are lost when you disconnect the vehicle battery.

Called the OBDII 12V Memory Saver, it simply attaches to the vehicle’s OBDII port. With the other end of the cable connected to the 12V/10A output in one of Weego’s jump starters, it maintains power to the ECU so the presets are retained when the vehicle power is cut when the vehicle battery is disconnected for whatever reason.

And while Weego will happily sell you a jump starter, the OBDII memory unit can be powered by any portable supply that has a 12V, 5.5 mm barrel jack output.

At $19.99, it is not expensive and I’m thinking, well worth a spot in your tool chest. You can likely find it in the local car parts store or, failing that, an Internet search should turn it up for purchase on-line.

February 16, 2016

Enter the Titans

Normally, vehicle manufacturers like to share components or platforms across as many models as possible. But at the launch of the Nissan Titan “half ton” Rich Miller, Nissan's director of product planning for trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles said “The Titan and Titan XD do not share any common chassis components. Even the lug nuts are different."

The Titan XD (extreme duty) is a rough, tough full-size pickup with the Cummins ISV 5.0. This is the engine Cummins debuted in October 2013 with a promise it would appear in the Titan, and so it has, though, with a new name and power ratings.

In the XD, it’s the turbo diesel rated at 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of peak torque. As such, it falls between the 3.0 V6 diesel that’s proving very popular in the Ram 1500 for its economy and the bigger diesels that grace the full-size pickups, with diesels pushing close to 900 lb-ft of torque and staggering gross combination weights of up to 40,000 pounds.

But there is some commonality between the XD and lesser Titans: they use the same cab. So all promise to have plenty of room for five adults and the level of appointment that full-size trucks now sport.

The half-ton Titans, which will be available this summer, are sort of “white space” trucks that are a higher capacity than the competitive 1500s and mid-sized trucks but not as brutal as the full-size and dually models with their extreme towing capacity.

According to Nissan, pickup truck buyers regularly trade down to a lighter truck from a more robust model. At the same time about an equal number trade up. What the Titan is aiming at is being right sized to capture and keep these transient truck owners.

The regular Titan will have the Nissan’s 5.6-liter DOHC Endurance gasoline V8 but with new technology and new ratings of 390 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Nissan has announced a V6 will also be available but offers no details yet.

Today’s Titan offers a standard 5-speed automatic transmission and a maximum towing capacity of up to 9,500 pounds for King Cab and 9,400 pounds for Crew Cab – plenty for a camper and enough for a moderate-sized trailerable boat.

It’s likely that the underpinnings of the regular Titan will be the platform for whatever Nissan does with Armada. (I’ve always wondered why Nissan chose to name these two vehicles after a failed Spanish sea attack on Britain and the ship Titan(ic) that sank on its maiden voyage. Or maybe the truck was named after the Titans that were trounced by the Olympians and cast into a shadowy underworld region known as Tartarus.)

So that begs the question: What will the company do with the XD chassis to amortize the development cost over a broader range of vehicles. If I were a betting man, I’d expect to see some commonality of components between the XD and the big NV van.

Just a thought.

February 5, 2016

World of Concrete is Launch Site for Vocational Trucking

As an equipment group, trucks are the biggest spend for most construction companies, even when big machines are taken into account.

And with the abandonment by most OEMs of the upcoming Mid America Show, the World of Concrete show currently going on in Las Vegas has become the launch site for a significant number of vocational trucking products.

International Modernizes Vocational Range

Likely the biggest is the announcement of the first truly new International models since 2010. The new HX range comprises four models that replace the PayStar which trace its heritage back more than 40 years. PatStar was the heavy duty workhorse with big bore engines, so too is the HX designating the trucks as Heavy eXtreme.

Four HX Series models will be offered, with both set-forward and set-back front axle models in either short or long hood, depending on the application. Three of the four new models were unveiled at World of Concrete:
The HX620 is a 120-inch BBC set-back axle truck or tractor
 with primary vocations including heavy haul tractor,
construction dump and platform stake/crane.
  • The HX515 is a 115-inch BBC set-forward axle straight truck with primary vocations including concrete mixer, construction dump, refuse/roll-off and crane.
  • The HX615 is a 115-inch BBC set-back axle truck or tractor with primary vocations including construction dump, concrete mixer, platform stake/crane and refuse/roll-off.
  • The HX620 is a 120-inch BBC set-back axle truck or tractor with primary vocations including heavy haul tractor, construction dump and platform stake/crane.
The fourth model, the HX520, is a 120-inch BBC set-forward axle truck or tractor with primary vocations including heavy haul tractor, construction dump and platform stake/crane.  It will be formally unveiled at Truck World in Toronto in April.

The shorter BBC HX515 and the HX615 models are powered by Navistar N13 engines, while the HX520 and HX620 models offer the Cummins ISX15 engine.

In the launch material, Navistar described the design concept as delivering maximum strength and durability, driver productivity, bold styling and superior uptime.

“The HX Series combines aggressive styling, unstoppable capability and driver-centric features to appeal to vocational truck owners in a whole new way,” said Denny Mooney, Navistar’s senior vice president, Global Product Development. “All you need to do is get behind the wheel of this truck and you will see that this is a major step forward in design, all with the driver in mind.”

Specifically, the new trucks feature an available 12.5-inch x 0.5-inch single rail that’s 13 percent lighter than a 10-inch rail, the only vocational aluminum cab, and a three-piece Metton hood that is both strong and easily repaired.

Drivers can enjoy a 40-degree wheel cut on both right and left turns for improved maneuverability, while angled fenders provide greater wheel clearance and the hood's low angle makes for excellent front forward visibility. The larger rear window compared to the company's prior model allows for superior rear visibility.

Most apparent changes are to the HX styling, so that hoods and grilles stand out on the road and at the worksite with customer options for bright finishes. The interior is completely redesigned to offer more room for driver comfort and productivity with contoured door handles to add hip room and storage space and a central console angled for easy reach to controls.

The standard tilt/telescoping steering column adjusts, gauges are designed and positioned to deliver optimal visibility and LED lighting is standard throughout, as are air conditioning, power windows and power locks.

Mack Makes Guard Dog Standard on TerraPro

 Mack TerraPro models can be configured for many applications,
 such as a concrete pump, dump, mixer or refuse vehicle
Mack announced that its GuardDog Connect, Mack’s integrated telematics solution, is now available and standard in all Mack TerraPro Cabover models equipped with a Mack MP engine.

Mack extended the offering of GuardDog Connect to all Mack-powered TerraPro Cabover models after receiving positive customer response to the Uptime solution. Mack TerraPro models can be configured for many applications, such as a concrete pump, dump, mixer or refuse vehicle.

GuardDog Connect is Mack’s proactive diagnostic and repair planning system. It monitors fault codes that could potentially shut down a truck or lead to an unplanned visit to the dealer. It enables quick diagnosis of issues, proactive scheduling for repairs and confirmation that needed parts are in stock and ready to install, all while the truck is still on the job.

“Customers responded so favorably to GuardDog Connect that we extended the solution to all our TerraPro Cabover models equipped with a Mack engine,” said Stephen Roy, president of Mack Trucks North America. “The Uptime support offered by GuardDog Connect, as well as our Mack OneCall support service agents, Uptime Center staffed by dedicated professionals and our body builder support team, is unparalleled in the industry.”

Mack made GuardDog Connect standard on TerraPro concrete pump chassis in 2015 and was the first to offer proactive support service for pump applications.

Along with Uptime support, Mack says it has made significant strides to simplify body builder support services.  Mack recently created a focused body builder support group that offers prompt access to Mack product experts who can answer questions that may arise from the body builder installation process. The group also addresses customer inquiries after a vehicle is in service.

Eaton Broadens Features on Vocational Automated Transmission

Initially launched in other applications in 2013, Eaton now brings the Fuller Advantage transmission benefits of reduced weight, increased efficiency and lower maintenance costs to vocational users, the company announced during the show.

Fuller Advantage automated overdrive models can now be configured with the recently introduced optional Urge to Move, Creep Mode and Blended Pedal functionality for enhanced low-speed maneuverability in situations such as backing into a loading dock or maneuvering in a construction job site.

“The Fuller Advantage automated transmission has proven to be extremely reliable,” said Evan Vijithakumara, product strategy manager, Eaton.  “Now it’s ready for vocational duty with 110,000 pound GCW capability, 6- and 8-bolt PTO openings, and driver confidence features such as Hill Start Aid and intelligent gear selection logic.”

According to Eaton, the Precision Lubrication system represents one of the key features in Fuller Advantage transmissions. The system reduces the oil churn energy losses found in traditional transmissions by nearly 33 percent.

With less heat being generated, Fuller Advantage transmissions do not require a transmission fluid cooler and corresponding lines and fittings. The result is less preventative maintenance is required while engine fans cycle less, further reducing horsepower demand. 

An oil level sight glass allows for routine oil checks to be performed at a fraction of the time typically required, and the precision lube system uses only 16 pints of oil which is nearly half the amount used in traditional transmissions.

Additional weight savings have been achieved by replacing cast iron with aluminum for the shift bar housing (manual models), auxiliary section cover and range cylinder. Exact weight savings are dependent on the make of truck purchased as cooler weights vary by the cooler manufacturer.