Vol. 3 2016

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Backing a Mack ® Granite ® with 70,000-pound load uphill no problem with new 14-speed mDRIVE™ HD AMT Test drive ON EQUIPMENT 2 0 1 6 V 3 | BULLDOG | 1 1 T he nasty weather provided a good test for the tractive abilities of the new AMTs during a ride and drive held at Mack's proving grounds in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I learned how to drive on a stick shift. I like driving with a stick. But not in a Class 8 truck, which is where I found myself standing on the brakes of a Mack ® Granite ® dump truck, nose pointed downhill, holding 70,000 pounds of gravel against the law of gravity. My job was to put the truck in reverse and back up the hill. Nervous? No; but attentive, yes. Did I mention it had been raining all morning? Fortunately, this truck had Mack's new mDRIVE™ HD 14-speed automated manual transmission (AMT), which was the point of the whole demonstration. In the passenger seat beside me Tim Wrinkle, construction product manager for Mack, talked me through the procedure: Push "R" on the dash. Select the extra low gear with a few taps on the +/- button. Let off the brake. Give it some gas (diesel in this case). With only these four things to remember, I did as told and — almost like a miracle — we levitated back up the hill in reverse and across a patch of soft gravel at the top. No problem. Carrying a fully loaded Class 8 dump truck backwards up a hill isn't the kind of applica- tion you'll see often at any jobsite. But the ease with which I was able to accomplish the maneuver proved the point Mack was making — that with an AMT you can put a novice or inexperienced driver in a truck and still get good productivity and performance. This is especially true in diffi cult conditions. Highway haulers only have to contend with pavement, wet or dry, but vocational trucks are faced with mud, soft ground, uncom- pacted gravel, steep hills and uneven terrain. Driving a manual transmission in these condi- tions requires the kind of experience that's becoming increasingly hard to fi nd as older drivers retire. With the AMT, the driver simply pushes a button on the dash and the truck's electronics and sensors choose the best gear for the situation. By Tom Jackson Reprinted with permission from EquimentWorld.com, September 2016

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