Vol. 3 2016

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/764523

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Mack announced earlier this year that the mDRIVE HD 13-speed AMT now comes stan- dard on 2017 Mack Granite, Pinnacle and Titan models. The mDRIVE HD 14-speed tranny in the truck I drove offers an overdrive confi guration and adds a second ultra-low- speed reduction gear for applications such as curb pours for concrete trucks and heavy- haul maneuvering. Low-reduction creeper gears and multi- speed reverse gears are enabled by a short extension on the front of the transmission case and help move the trucks they are in from a standing start on steep grades or when carry- ing heavy loads. The two new transmissions are relatively unobtrusive, adding only fi ve inches and 90 pounds to the driveline. From a standing start the new AMTs will hold you for three seconds as you step off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator. My test truck had a 445-horsepower engine putting out 1,860 foot-pounds of torque mov- ing a GVRW of 69,850 pounds. But all that capacity does you no good if you're spinning the tires, rowing around for the right gear or sinking into the mud; and that's exactly the scenario Mack mDRIVE is designed to defeat. The short track for this ride came with steep hills, a mud pit, two different gravel pits (large and small aggregate sizes), and a few other obstacles; in short: every challenging situation a vocational truck is likely to encounter. Yet a half dozen times around the course I never had to do anything more com- plicated than tap the R-N-D buttons, steer and gently work the accelerator pedal. Never once did I get that we-are-about-to-get-stuck feeling in the pit of my stomach. A 70,000-pound load buries our Mack Granite almost up to the rims in loose gravel, yet the AMT pulled through it without hesitation. Currently, automatic transmissions claim only about 20 percent of the market share in heavy-duty vocational trucks. But most man- ufacturers say that fi gure will grow due to the driver shortage and the ease with which the automated models can be driven. And it may be hard to prove, but it is reasonable to con- clude that automated transmissions improve safety. A driver with fewer distractions is a safer driver. ON EQUIPMENT A 70,000-pound load buries our Mack Granite almost up to the rims in loose gravel, yet the AMT pulled through it without hesitation. Visit http://tinyurl.com/juo9tyn to watch the Equipment World video. What customers say about the mDRIVE 1 2 | BULLDOG | 2 0 1 6 V 3 I wanted to experience mDRIVE's adaptability (vs. manual and automatics). We have heavy-haul tractors, dump trucks, straight trucks and tractors for our side dumps. I think it could be a very versatile tool in our arsenal when we go to upgrade some more trucks. We do a lot of site work that has deep mud, poor haul roads, and the ability to maintain control in a lower slower gear and not damage anything would be great. The ability for it to maintain control and basically drive itself – that was great. What we found (in terms of integration) was to have everything under one roof, to be able to get maintenance on, would be great. Curt Smith, McAninch Corp., Des Moines, Iowa I was really impressed with the transmission, the way that it adapts to your conditions, whether you need to use all the gears or it skips gears. A great point of the truck itself was the mDRIVE. I think it helps with the drivers. You have so many unqualifi ed drivers and this makes it pretty much idiot-proof. Keith Pound, Central Valley Transport, Bakersfi eld, California It's been a while since I've been in a Mack, and I didn't know what to expect honestly. But I'm very impressed with what I have seen. I like the powertrain. I like the integration of the powertrain. The mDRIVE is an awesome transmission. I'm a big promoter of automated transmission vs. manual transmissions, just because of the fuel economy and the integration between the engine and the transmission. Ricky Cole, Taylor Transport, Cartersville, Georgia I n late September, Mack Trucks and its dealers invited several dozen customers and prospects to the Mack Customer Center in Allentown to test drive Mack's new 2017 MP ® engines and the mDRIVE TM HD with creeper gears in the same conditions as the Equipment World test drive. They then gave Mack their impressions of the experience.

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