Looking at a 2002 pete 379 has 475 cat and a ZFMeritor freedonline 16 spd trans. Seems neat to drive all automatic shift, has manual and auto mode. No clutch pedal at all just touch the brakes to stop. The truck has about 540,000 miles on it. Question is, is this the answer to, clutch brakes, clutch and diff failures due to driver abuse or inexperience? What is the life expectancy and cost of repair on these? Application is body job 21' silage body, so on/off road soft fields and heavy loads with lots of shifting.
Last thing, ATC (automatic traction control) how does it work and is suitable replacment for full locking diffs? TIA
Posted 2/5/2008 02:50 (#301414 - in reply to #301204) Subject: RE: Meritor Freedomline Trans?
East Central Alberta
Can't help you on the longevity or traction control question. but we bought an 07 9900i International with 500 cummins and 12 sp Meritor Freedomline a couple of years ago and love it. Would have probably ordered the 16 speed if it was still available. We pull a set of Super B's and have no more trouble in the fields than other trucks. You won't be able to "rock" the truck back and forth in mud as it takes a couple of seconds to go from forward to reverse.
It is easier on driveline and rears than a driver who "pops" the clutch. Ours will default to 3rd gear when you start. A 16sp will default to 4th when you start. But you can manually start in first or second if you like when it is loaded. If you are in a soft field,you operate the throttle much like you operate a clutch. Or press it to the floor if you like. We would usually shift manually in the field. In the field or on the road you don't need to move your foot for manual or automatic shifts. The computer will change the revs and double clutch to make the shifts.
Upshifting is impressive and downshifting with jake is awsome. Never missed a gear yet.
Posted 2/5/2008 10:55 (#301624 - in reply to #301581) Subject: Re: Meritor Freedomline Trans?
East Central Alberta
Ours is basically a 12sp manual transmission that is shifted normally,but with a computer and electronics controlling the show. Also have a clutch that is operated by air and computer controlled. Scares some people, I am not one of them. If you rode in the passenger seat and just listened to the shifting, if would sound quite normal,but never missing a gear or over revving one either.
Posted 2/8/2008 15:25 (#304739 - in reply to #301624) Subject: Re: Meritor Freedomline Trans?
A FreedomLine is basically a manual trans. Has a dry clutch and gears. So not like a traditional automatic with a torque convertor and clutch discs.
The Transmission controller is supplied by air and controls the pneumatics to shift the gear rails so just like you would. The TCU also controls the clutch to open an close for each shift, for starting up and coming to a stop too. The clutch actuator is also supplied with air so with no air well like with no fuel you are not going anywhere.
The trans has a variable shift strategy. It depends if truck is full, empty, going up hill or down. Also depends if you are full or partial throttle. Do not worry as it does this all for you. There can be situations where you as an operator may need to shift manually. The trans does not have eyes like you do but will do most of the work for you. Especially stop and go traffic, you will really appreciate it. You can spend your time and energy driving and avoiding cars cutting you off, rather than having to shift.
We also have many customers who have bad knees who cannot press a clutch and without this trans they could no longer drive. Just last week we learned of one drive who ONLY has a left leg. He lost his right leg many years ago. He loves the FreedomLine as now he can do what he always wanted, drive a truck and make a living for himself.
ZF was the first company to develop and produce such a transmission and first in the US.
Hope this helps you guys. Keep on Truckin
Posted 2/8/2008 15:07 (#304727 - in reply to #301414) Subject: RE: Meritor Freedomline Trans?
Just wanted to let you know that the latest software for the FreedomLine will alow you to shift to a higher starting gear at standstill. On 12 Speed yes the default is 3rd gear and with the new software you can manually shift up at standstill to 5th gear. On a 16 sp, default is 4th, with new software 7th would be the max gear one could get at standstill.
The trans is calculating the vehicle weight and can in many cases calculate the gradient of the hill. So if it has enough time to see the hill, when you stop it will start out in a lower gear than default.
Funny you talk about the rock function. We actually have that problem fixed in Europe. I am trying to get it over here too.
There they firgured out a way to shift for you if you stuck.