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  • Jacobs delivers 1 Millionth engine brake for heavy-duty world engines

    Jacobs delivers 1 Millionth engine brake for heavy-duty world engines

    Jacobs Vehicle Systems®, the world’s leading manufacturer of diesel and natural gas engine retarding systems and valve actuation mechanisms, announces the sale of its one millionth engine brake for Daimler Trucks’ heavy duty engine platform (HDEP)

    Jacobs Vehicle Systems®, the world’s leading manufacturer of diesel and natural gas engine retarding systems and valve actuation mechanisms, announces the sale of its one millionth engine brake for Daimler Trucks’ heavy duty engine platform (HDEP).

    For more than 10 years, Daimler Trucks has relied on the braking performance of the “Jake Brake®”, an especially effective turbocharged compression release brake integrated into the engine and the engine control unit, which is both quiet and effective.

    The Jacobs Engine Brake® delivers an outstanding performance of up to 480 kW to the six-cylinder engine that is available with displacement ranges between 10.7 litre and 15.6 litre and output levels from 240 kW to 480 kW. Heavy-duty commercial vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz Actros, Antos and Arocs, the Freightliner Cascadia and the Super Great from Fuso as well as the touring coaches and inter-urban buses from Mercedes-Benz and Setra are powered by this engine with an integrated Jacobs Engine Brake.

    Jacobs Vehicle Systems has been a longstanding partner of Daimler dating back to 1962 when engine brakes were first installed on a Detroit Diesel Series 71 engine in an aftermarket application. Since 1984, Jacobs Engine Brakes have been standard equipment.

    “Today, with this one millionth engine brake for the heavy duty world engines, we recognise another significant milestone for us, and one that we can all be very proud of. We also recognise that this would not exist without the strong collaboration between the Daimler engineering team and our experts in engine braking technologies,” said Paul Paré, Senior Director, Marketing and Business Development, Jacobs Vehicle Systems.

    As Jacobs continues to drive innovation to meet the ever-changing market demands, the company has developed and validated an enhanced version of its already successful HPD (High Power Density) technology. This latest technology delivers braking power twice as high as the previous versions at low engine speeds. Jacobs’ new technology achieves an impressive peak braking power of 611 kW in a 12.8 litre engine at 2,500 rpm.

    Jacobs provides engine brakes to over 30 customers globally and has locations in Europe, China, Japan, India, and the U.S. In 2017 Jacobs announced the sale of its seven millionth engine brake.

  • Angst for German economy as car woes slam on brakes

    BERLIN: Germany's years-long run of steady growth came to a screeching halt in the third quarter, official data showed on Wednesday (Nov 14), with a widely-expected bottleneck in the vital car industry matched by broader structural concerns.

    Federal statistics authority Destatis reported a 0.2-per cent slump in gross domestic product (GDP) between July and September - the first fall in the measure since early 2015 and worse than forecast by analysts after months of troubling economic indicators.

     

    "The reputation of the invincible strong man (or woman) of Europe has received some scratches," commented ING Diba bank economist Carsten Brzeski.

    A single fall in GDP does not point to a recession, which only becomes official if there are two successive quarters of shrinkage.

    But the figure represents a marked slowdown from the fast-paced growth of 0.4 per cent in the first quarter of the year and 0.5 per cent in the second.

    Economists still predict Germany will book its 10th consecutive year of expansion in 2019, although the pace this year and next will likely be slower than the 2.2 per cent recorded in 2017.

     

    'NO PANIC'

    "The slight fall in GDP was above all down to external trade developments," Destatis said, pointing to lower exports and higher imports than in the second quarter.

    In Berlin, the economy ministry highlighted the introduction of the so-called WLTP exhaust testing cycle in response to the "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal as the main brake on growth.

    New car registrations plunged more than 30 per cent year-on-year in September as the new regulations hit and buyers at home and abroad held off purchases.

    The auto industry, Germany's largest, employs around 800,000 people in firms ranging from giants like Volkswagen or BMW to tiny components suppliers.

    Economic think-tank IfW recently calculated that the third quarter saw the worst performance for the sector since 1997.

    "Once this one-off effect has dissipated, the German economy's upswing will continue," the economy ministry predicted.

    "Domestic fundamentals remain healthy," agreed economist Florian Hense of Berenberg bank.

    "Chances are that we are back to growth at around its trend rate of around 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter already" between October and December, he added.

    DRYING UP

    Another temporary factor weighing on the German economy was the unusually hot and dry summer.

    Starved of rainfall, the vital economic artery of the Rhine ebbed to record lows, throttling river shipments, especially for firms in the massive chemical industry like BASF.

    Longer-term structural developments may offer more for economists looking to Germany's long-term prospects to worry over.

    As well as the export slowdown, Destatis highlighted "mixed signals" domestically.

    "While more was invested in equipment and construction than in the previous quarter, private consumer spending fell," the statisticians found.

    In recent years strong consumer spending supported by rising wages has proved a bulwark of German growth.

    ING's Brzeski pointed to inflation in energy prices that "completely erased" pay increases in recent months.

    What's more, Germany's aging population and low unemployment rate are proving a drag on growth, as companies struggle to find new skilled workers to hire in sectors ranging from construction to the digital economy.

    Internationally, the export-oriented economy is suffering from rising protectionist threats, the prospect of lower trade with Britain after it leaves the EU next year and intra-EU tensions over heavily-indebted Italy's budget.

    Earlier this month Germany's council of economic advisers - the so-called "wise men" - urged the government to invest more in infrastructure and education.

    The Bundesbank (central bank) on Wednesday advised financial firms to reinforce their capital buffers, saying weaknesses in the financial system built up during good times could amplify the effects of a downturn.

    "Today's disappointing growth data is yet another wake-up call that political stability and strong growth are by no means a given," ING's Brzeski said, following moves by Chancellor Angela Merkel that point to the end of her long spell at the country's helm.

  • Bosch iDisc brakes are the cleaner, more durable brakes for the future

    Bosch iDisc brakesBosch iDisc brakes

    While regulations surrounding emission standards often focus on tailpipe emissions, brakes and tires actually contribute 32 percent of driving-related particulate emissions. Half of that comes from brake dust alone. On Wednesday, Bosch revealed its answer to a cleaner brake disc called the iDisc.

    Bosch says the iDisc offers numerous benefits over traditional cast-iron brake discs. Foremost, the iDisc's construction consists of a tungsten-carbide coating after the disc's friction rings are mechanically, thermally, and galvanically treated. The special process creates a more durable disc and one that produces 90 percent less brake dust for cleaner air. Bosch said the iDisc is roughly three times more expensive than a standard cast iron disc, but it's also three times less expensive than a ceramic brake disc.

    Bosch iDisc brakesBosch iDisc brakes

    And the iDisc doesn't sacrifice performance when compared to a ceramic brake disc. Bosch claims the brake fade performance of its iDisc mimics ceramic brakes and little deceleration wear occurs over time. Depending on the carbide coating's strength, the company said the iDisc will last twice as long as a conventional disc. The iDisc is also resistant to corrosion, which offers a major advantage for electric cars and regenerative braking systems.

    Bosch iDisc brakesBosch iDisc brakes

    Bosch didn't provide specifics but said it will begin production of the iDisc for an unnamed automotive manufacturer this month. We happen to know that manufacturer is Porsche and the brakes will be offered on the 2019 Cayenne. Porsche calls them Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB) and says the tungsten-carbide mixture is essentially burned onto the surface using a high-velocity oxygen fuel, creating a hardened surface that is 100 microns thick. While thin, this is the usable surface of the rotors, and Porsche says it is good for 30 percent to twice as much wear, depending on driving style. Porsche charges $3,490 for its PSCB brakes compared to $9,080 for its carbon ceramics on the Cayenne.

    While price may be an issue for the technology at first, the company expects economies of scale will help make the iDisc a go-to option for future cars.

  • 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 thunders in with upgraded aero, tires, brakes

    The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is a special thing, with it's flat-crank 5.2-liter V-8 engine wringing out to 8,250 rpm. For 2019, it gets a host of improvements, Ford announced on Monday, ranging from performance to daily niceties.

    The most important updates for GT350 fans? The performance improvements. The go upgrades start with new tires. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires with a GT350-specific tread pattern and compound replace the previous GT350's Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Ford claims the staggered set of 295/35s up front and 305/35s in the rear on new 19-inch aluminum wheels will improve acceleration, lateral grip, and braking.

    ALSO SEE: 2018 Ford Mustang GT Performance Package Level 2 first drive: making it a real sports car

    A new rear spoiler with an optional Gurney flap and revised grille block-off come from wind tunnel testing, road course racing, and lessons learned from the upcoming Shelby GT500. Those wanting the optional Gurney flap should note it will arrive later in the model year.

    The tuning of the springs and standard magnetic dampers is revised. Six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes carry over, but the calibration has been revised, as has the calibration for both the three-mode stability control and the electric power steering system—all in an effort to improve driver feedback.

    DON'T MISS: 2018 Ford Shelby Super Snake boasts new look, more power

    The show upgrades include available exposed carbon fiber trim and a newly optional 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system. The previously optional 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is now standard, as are dual-zone automatic climate control and a universal garage door opener.

    Oddly, the revised Shelby GT350 will not share the reworked headlights, taillights, or digital gauge cluster that the lesser 2019 Mustangs received.

    Velocity Blue and Ford Performance Blue join the color lineup, and, of course, various new stripe packages are available to make it your own.

    What doesn't change for 2019? The powertrain. A naturally aspirated, flat-crank 5.2-liter V-8 still roars out 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. All that grunt heads to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission.

    Pricing and a full options list have yet to be announced, but Ford said the 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350 will be available early in 2019.

    HI-RES GALLERY: 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

  • Brake-by-wire to go mainstream, says Brembo

    2016 Chevrolet Camaro's Brembo brakes2016 Chevrolet Camaro's Brembo brakes

    Braking systems have changed considerably over decades, but high-performance brake manufacturer Brembo thinks another big change is coming.

    Brembo’s executive director for braking systems, Giovanni Canavotto, told Car and Driver in an interview published Monday that brake-by-wire systems will become a "strong trend" over the next decade. Thus, Canavotto believes hydraulic braking systems will soon go the way of drum brakes.

    The executive explained that future brake-by-wire systems will allow for more precise tuning for a variety of attributes. "They can be tailored to the driver and create a soft or firm feel, shorter or longer pedal travel, much like the driving modes for the suspension and steering right now," he said.

    Canavotto noted such systems have been used in Formula One for years and provide vast flexibility. Right now, though, the systems can create a vague pedal feel compared to a hydraulic system. "We will need to work on the algorithms, as electric systems tend to display an on/off characteristic. There will be a lot of work on the feel. But there are great advantages: Electric signals are more manageable than hydraulic ones, and by-wire systems will simplify vehicle architectures," he explained.

    Right now, the Infiniti Q50/Q60 and Alfa Romeo Guilia and Stelvio are among a handful of vehicles with brake-by-wire systems. Journalists have complained about a wooden pedal feel in these vehicles.

    As the new technology takes hold, Canavotto foresees plenty of redundancies to ensure a driver's safety. After all, brakes are a critical safety system in any car.

    The brakes may not look all that different either, Canavotto added. "It is simply the question of adding a mechatronic system invisibly," he said.

  • Porsche develops new drum brakes for classic 356 models

    Sometimes it's tough to keep classic cars completely original, especially as parts become scarce. Porsche, specifically, Porsche Classic, wants to help its loyal owners keep things all-original with new drum brakes for the 356A and 356B models, which were Porsche's first-ever production cars. However, the re-engineered originals come at a price.

    A set of four drum brakes will cost owners $8,700 for the 356A, and $8,500 for the 356B. We suppose the price isn't much of an issue when both models regularly command six-figure prices. Air-cooled Porsche cars continue to rise in value, too. Keeping a 356 in factory condition, even if it requires almost $10,000 worth of brake components, might be worth it in the long run.

    Porsche says the complex manufacturing process creates the fun-to-drive characteristics of yore with the benefits of modern-day braking safety. The brand also tested the brakes on the 356 models itself to ensure factory performance with increased safety. The equipment used to make these brakes is much improved from the original manufacturing methods, meaning the tolerances to which they are produced are far more exact.

    The 356 helped Porsche make a name for itself in motorsport long before the 911 succeeded it in 1963. Today, the 356 is an icon among Porsche aficionados. After watching Porsche Classic's video explaining the development and engineering of these brakes, perhaps $8,500 doesn't seem so expensive. Nah, it still does.

  • 2019 Audi e-tron first ride: pulling all the brakes

    Ignore the flashy, high-tech vehicle wrap, a cross between pixelated camouflage and hunting orange. The 2019 Audi e-tron is a non-event from inside, and that’s just what its maker intended.

    When it goes on sale next year, the e-tron electric crossover SUV will be the anti-Tesla. Its conservative crossover SUV shape will draw no more and no less attention than the countless leased Audi Q5s that infest big city streets like Japanese beetles mowing down a prized rose bush. Its interior wows with its trio of screens and its dearth of buttons, but then so does the Audi A6 parked across the showroom.

    MORE: Reserve a 2019 Audi e-tron following September 17 global debut

    From the front seat, where I find myself perched next to bespeckled Audi engineer Oswin Roeder as he gently guides this crossover SUV, everything seems normal.

    Well, other than the fact that this comfortable Audi is gliding silently down the buttery smooth pavement at Pikes Peak as the sun rises over our shoulders.

    2019 Audi e-tron prototype drive, Pikes Peak2019 Audi e-tron prototype drive, Pikes Peak

    The Audi e-tron prototype I’m riding in has all the hallmarks of a high-end, mid-size crossover SUV. Its doors close with a solid “thunk,” the mix of leather and synthetic suede surfaces feels just right, and its seat heaters are plenty warm for a chilly 32-degree morning at the summit of of a Colorado mountain. A trio of screens handle infotainment, audio, and instrument information. It's all very high-tech, but there's nothing to be found here that doesn't show up in the latest Audi A6 and A8.

    The e-tron’s ride quality is firm over the occasional bump in the road, and it’s clear that the 21-inch wheels fitted to the prototype contribute to little lean into corners.

    ALSO SEE: No mirrors, just screens: Audi shows off e-tron electric SUV's cockpit

    Roeder’s voice barely rises above a whisper as the e-tron snakes down the mountain before tourists begin to arrive. He’s attempting to explain why we didn’t drive up Pikes Peak in the e-tron. The focus of this drive, he tells us, is to show how effective the e-tron is at recuperating power from coasting and from using its unique braking system. In most situations—90 percent, Audi optimistically estimates—the vehicle’s hydraulic braking system, including its pads and rotors, will be charged but not activated. Instead, its two electric motors—one per axle—handle braking until the pedal is pressed extra hard, such as during an emergency maneuver. That’s when the hydraulic system kicks in to bring the e-tron to a halt.

    To wit: about halfway down Pikes Peak sits a small hut, where a park ranger uses an infrared thermometer gun to check brake temperatures of every vehicle. The e-tron’s front brakes are barely above the ambient temperature, about 55 degrees at this point.

    Flatlander tourists sometimes cook brakes to the tune of 500 degrees.

    “We see it all the time,” the park ranger chuckles. “But we smell it first.”

    Certainly, Roeder’s careful driving has something to do with the low temperatures. But it’s also a reminder that the e-tron’s electric motors have done nearly all of the braking downhill.

    2019 Audi e-tron prototype drive, Pikes Peak2019 Audi e-tron prototype drive, Pikes Peak

    Paddle shifters mounted behind the e-tron’s steering wheel control three levels of recuperation.

    Level 0, signified by a tiny marker in the digital instrument cluster, means the e-tron drives like a normal car. Level 1 amps up the electric motors’ deceleration for something closer to one-pedal driving. Two taps of the paddles activates Level 2, which Roeder says is true one-pedal driving.

  • The fat Dodge Demon brakes harder than a Viper ACR

    Haters love to bash the Hellcats, and already the Demon, for only going fast in a straight line. They pounce on the fact that these Mopar muscle cars weigh over two tons.

    While that's true, weight is only one piece of the equation.

    Despite being somewhat "fat," the Demon is good at more than just blasting down a dragstrip into the sunset. In fact, it can brake harder than a Dodge Viper ACR.

    You read that correctly. The Viper ACR, which set 13 lap records and in so-doing destroyed the million-dollar Porsche 918 Spyder and McLaren P1 lap times, can't stop as well as the new Demon.

    ALSO SEE: Dodge Demon can actually do 0-60 mph in 2.1 seconds, but there's a catch

    First, fun with numbers. The Viper ACR weighs 3,374 pounds, and the Demon weighs 4,280 pounds. For those at home busting out the calculators right now, the Demon weighs 906 pounds more than the Viper ACR.

    That's not insignificant.

    2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, 2017 New York auto show2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, 2017 New York auto show

    The Viper ACR sports Brembo 15.4-inch carbon ceramic brake rotors with 6-piston calipers up front and 14.2-inch rotors with 4-piston calipers in the rear. The Demon? Steel, 2-piece vented and slotted 14.2-inch rotors with Brembo 4-piston calipers up front and 13.8-inch vented and slotted rotors with 4-piston Brembo calipers in the rear.

    Yes, the steel rotors on the heavier Demon are more than an inch smaller up front and nearly half an inch smaller in the rear compared to the Viper ACR's carbon ceramic rotors.

    READ: How the Dodge Demon runs a 9.65 quarter mile and a 2.3-second 0-60

    2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, 2017 New York auto show2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, 2017 New York auto show

    So how does it stop shorter? Dan Reid of SRT Communications says it's mostly the tires. The Demon runs a square setup of 315-mm wide specialized Nitto NT05Rs all around. The compound of the barely street-legal Nitto drag radials helps them bite the pavement. It's also worth highlighting that while the main performance numbers for the Demon were certified on a prepped dragstrip, this braking number was achieved on regular pavement, not at the strip.

    The Viper ACR, on the other hand, runs specialized Kumho Ecsta V720s with 295s in the front and 355s in the rear. While the Demon has wider front tires than the Viper ACR, the meats on the rear of the ACR throw shade on the Demon's setup. Nonetheless, it's the Nitto's compound that get the job done.

    How well do they do that job? The Viper ACR takes 101 feet to go from 60 to 0 mph. The Demon does the same thing in just 97 feet.

    DON'T MISS: Dodge can't stop dealers from pricing Demons above MSRP, but is taking some measures

    Not only that, but the Demon handles, too.

    "You put this car into Sport mode, this car has amazing handling. This car will pull 1 g on the skid pad. This car will handle better than a Hellcat," Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars at FCA North America, told Motor Authority.

    And that's with those wide 315s up front.

    So, the next time someone makes fun of the Demon's weight, feel free to remind them it will bring them to a halt faster than the world-beating Viper ACR and it will pull a lateral g on the skidpad.

    Not bad for more than two tons of American iron.

  • Replacing brake pads and rotors--it’s not as hard as you think

    No matter if you buy a new car, a pre-owned car, or lease a vehicle, maintenance is unavoidable. And at some point, the brakes will need to be replaced.

    Although many will let a mechanic take care of the work, it's not a terribly difficult process. Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained is here to help anyone who may want to tackle the project on their own or with some supervision.

    First and foremost, the car needs to be raised in order to gain access to the brake rotors and pads themselves. Be sure the car is level when raising it, and check the owner's manual for the proper jacking points as they differ from vehicle to vehicle. Remove the wheels, and the brakes will be accessible.

    Great, now to actually get to the rotors and brake pads, the brake caliper needs to be removed. A wrench should be used to hold the caliper pin in place and a socket wrench to remove the two bolts at the back of the caliper to gain access. However, make sure the caliper does not dangle or hang from the brake lines as this could cause damage. At this point, the pads can be removed as well. After removing the caliper bracket itself, the old rotors are all that will be standing in the way of some fresh stopping power.

    The rotors may be snug, but they will come off with a bit of elbow grease, a screwdriver, and some light taps from a mallet. Before placing a new rotor on, ensure there's no residue left on them with a quick spray of some handy-dandy brake cleaner. Then, install the new pads, replace the hardware, and the job is done.

    Of course, there are a handful of other things that should be checked or cleaned at this time, but many are optional. Jason cleans the rotor's hub with a wire brush to remove some of the rust that has formed over time, for example. For more help and additional tips, check out Jason's entire procedure in the video.

  • What are the differences between race car and street car braking systems?

    You might know that there's a physical difference between race car brakes and street car brakes. The size of the rotors, the materials used in the pads, and the brake lines are all going to be upgraded to handle the rigors of motorsport. But that's only part of the story. Did you know that more is going on under the skin of the vehicle as it pertains to the braking system? If not, Wyatt Knox from Team O'Neil Rally School is here to explain the differences between race car and street car braking systems.

    Once you start turning a street car into a race car, each part you change will affect other parts of the car. There are wheel speed sensors, vacuum lines, and computers that talk to each other. The same is true about parts of the braking system. Race teams might keep some of the stock components as they upgrade others, but they also alter many of the pieces left behind so they don't interfere with the newer, race-ready items. For example, brake boosters get tossed, creating a very firm pedal. ABS systems are disabled, leaving the safety they provide up to the driver. Brake lines are also re-routed inside a race car to protect them.

    CHECK OUT: Learn the difference between rally and street tires

    When you build a race car straight out of the gate, you'll find that it's a bit easier to create the braking system you need, but also considerably more expensive. A racing braking system will run off an aftermarket pedal box with a brake pedal that operates two separate master cylinders. One handles the front brakes and the other operates the rear stoppers. This is so that you can alter braking bias quickly and easily to get the braking feel you desire for a given circuit.

    It gets even more complicated when you're dealing with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. A hydraulic handbrake is employed to help a rally car slide through corners. When the handbrake is pulled, it opens up the center differential while also locking the rear wheels. When the lever is released, that differential is locked again and the four-wheel-drive system resumes operation.

    This is a complex topic, but Knox does a fantastic job of breaking it all down.

    Pun very much intended.

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