The next time you buy a piece of heavy construction equipment, it will probably have a Tier 4 Interim (Tier 4i) or Tier 4 Final (Tier 4f) engine. Equipment manufacturers have spent much time and money on developing equipment that meets new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards. That means these new machines initially are likely to cost more.
As an equipment buyer, these more expensive machines are the only ones you can buy new as manufacturers are no longer making products with other engines.
The advanced engines have slightly different maintenance needs, which also means your employees and customers will need a few new skills to keep the equipment running
as it should.
This all sounds like nothing more than increased costs for rental store owners. However, these new machines also create an opportunity to raise rental rates since the equipment runs cleaner and more efficiently, which can save the operator money on fuel costs and more.
As you add Tier 4i and Tier 4f machines to your fleet, you also need to think about how you can sell the benefits and advantages in a way that your customers see that using the new equipment can increase productivity and save them money despite higher rental rates.
This means you need to properly train both your employees and customers on how to get the most from these machines. Manufacturers also are available to help. Many realize that there will be a learning curve and they want to make sure their buyers are comfortable and satisfied with their purchases.
Our cover story starting on page 20 outlines what you need to know about Tier 4i and Tier 4f technology and maintenance needs, so that you and your employees are prepared.
Also, mechanics responsible for over the road (OTR) diesel truck fleets have been working with these new technologies for at least five years since higher emissions standards were introduced for the trucking industry in 2007. As a result, some of the potential maintenance problems already have been identified and resolved.
For example, to achieve emissions reductions, Tier 4i and Tier 4f engines might use exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), which is a process where some cooled exhaust, mixed with fresh air, is diverted back through the engine. The engines also might have a diesel particulate filter that has a catalyst that removes particulate matter from the exhaust.
Using EGR and DPF technology creates a need to use newer formulated CJ-4 engine oils that are designed to produce less soot, which is important as there is more exhaust that is being pumped back through the engine than on earlier engines.
CJ-4 is the American Petroleum Institute’s specification for lower ash content oil and using CJ-4 also allows the DPF to run for an EPA-mandated 4,500 hours before cleaning.
However, you, your employees and customers need to know that non-CJ-4 oil should not be used if an engine is equipped with EGR and DPF. CJ-4 can be used in lower-Tier engines without a problem, so you may want to consider switching to CJ-4 for all diesel engines in your fleet rather than keeping two types of oil on hand for a mixed fleet to eliminate the possibility of a mistake.
That doesn’t mean all challenges related to Tier 4i and Tier 4f engines have been resolved for construction equipment. As you begin to introduce Tier 4i and Tier 4f equipment into your fleet, help us help the industry. Let us know how the new technology has impacted your business — positive or negative — so that we can share your stories with your peers.
Wayne Walley is editor for Rental Management, the official magazine of the American Rental Association, 1900 19th St., Moline, IL 61265. He can be reached at 800-334-2177, ext. 253, or 309-277-4253; fax 309-764-2747; email@example.com.