Transit agencies purchasing buses with 2013 model year Cummins diesel engines are going to see a lot of new features and maintenance recommendations.
Thomas Hodek, general manager of worldwide sales for Cummins, said new features and warning lights on buses accompanying news Cummins engines will meet upcoming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions guidelines and allow for easier diagnostics of emissions issues through new onboard diagnostics (ODB) information.
“This is not new for Cummins. It has been on the Dodge Ram chassis for years,” Hodek said. “It’s carryover technology for us.”
Hodek took part in a webinar Jan. 24 hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in order to explain the new engines to APTA members and what they can expect going forward.
As part of the new engine, buses with the new engines will be equipped with a malfunction indicator light to make sure emissions equipment is still working properly and to predict upcoming maintenance. The ODB information will also include another codes for technicians, Hodek said, in an effort to help make root problem diagnostic quicker for technicians. Technicians will be able to scan the code with either a Cummins Insite tool or generic scan tool, however, the company will soon roll out a new diagnostic tool which uses logic in order to help a technician find a quicker route to the root cause of a code.
The light is part of the EPA compliance, Hodek said, and it may take some education for bus operators to adjust to the new light.
“You need to educate the drivers that it’s not stopping the bus or something will happen, it’s the emissions system,” he said
Buses being sold in coming years are subject to stricter EPA guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency. In 2014, manufacturers must cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3 percent by 2014 and by 9 percent by 2017 from a baseline set in 2010.
Hodek said Cummins new engine meets the 2014 guideline and the company is well on its way to meeting the 2017 guideline.
The new engines are also bringing changes in routine maintenance schedules for agencies that base upkeep on mileage. Under the new recommendations, Hodek said it’s recommended agencies change fuel filters during oil changes and equipment inspection mileage has been reduced.
Radiator fluid and SCA level checks have dropped from every 20,000 miles to 15,000 miles; engine tensioner belt checks drop from every 40,000 miles to 30,000 miles; and air compressor discharge line inspection drops from every 80,000 miles to 60,000 miles.
Hodek said the company is also testing a new hybrid engine, which would operate “Prius mode” like the hybrid from Toyota, where the engine shuts off at stops, then restarts. He said the engine is being tested right now and should be available by July.
Hodek said Cummins is also working with equipment manufacturers to improve fuel efficiencies and reliability while meeting new emissions standards.