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ATA advises on reducing truck heat

The latest truck engines create more heat than they used to, which creates extra challenges for cooling systems, drivers and operators


Truck heat may not be a hot topic right now, in a cold Australian winter, but in another few months it will be once again.

Even moreso in a few years when Euro 6 emission standards come in.

Chris Loose is enduring his first winter in Canberra as senior adviser, engineering, for the Australian Trucking Association, after moving from Daimler Trucks in Melbourne.

It had got down to -7 degrees Celsius when ATN recently spoke with Loose, but that’s nothing for Australian truck operators compared with their northern hemisphere cousins.

Radiator coolant, containing the antifreeze agent ethylene glycol, may be essential in Sweden or Canada, but we don’t need its antifreeze properties in Australia. It’s anti-boil properties are handy though, along with numerous other benefits. Tap water is a no-no for radiators.

There has been plenty of industry discussion in Australia about the heat problems presented by EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) emissions systems, as opposed to SCR (selective catalytic reduction, which has its own issues of course).

“People have suffered a little bit with the EGR engines because they do put increased loads on the cooling system as opposed to the SCR solution for the emissions control,” says Loose. “And some of those EGR installations have been better than others.”

“All engines are different and all cooling systems are different,” he adds.

But Loose points out that operators themselves often make it harder for the cooling system to do its job.

“They’ll put a bull bar up front, they’ll put signage on the front; they’ll put spotlights on the front – all closely coupled because of length restrictions, and that doesn’t allow the air circulating around those components to get through the radiator.”

Loose asks do you really need four driving lights? Will two do? Modern LED lighting takes up less space again.

Cool air getting in is one thing, hot air getting out and past the vehicle is another.

Chris Loose says the prime example is dangerous goods prime movers. They not only have fully shrouded exhausts and mufflers, but a lot of the chassis and cab section is covered, to prevent splashing of fuel onto any hot surface. Fully sealed checker deck plate might go right across the top of the chassis.

Combine that with fuel tanks all along the sides and not only does it impact on the cooling system, but the extra heat can affect the wiring and transmission and oils as well.

“It creates quite a huge heat affected zone around the drive shaft and transmission,” Loose laments.

So non-DG operators with an eye for appearance need to remember that while checker plate looks good, it also restricts air flow in that area.

Check out the feature on truck cooling in the August issue of ATN.


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