Machine Matters

|  November 09, 2010 |

Heavy trucks, Heavy drama

2010 may have been the Year of the Engine in trucks, but 2011 welcomes an old engine supplier into the full truck game

By Mike Anderson

Yellow iron customers who also buy heavy-duty trucks are about to enter a new era of choice, opportunity and perhaps conflict.

The dominant brand of their world, Caterpillar, is revving up to take a run at the vocational truck market. For customers who’ve taken their truck business to players outside their yellow iron field – or left their trucking need for somebody else to tend to altogether – the question will be: Do I want/need/appreciate these two worlds coming together?

It won’t take long to start to find out. Caterpillar will introduce the CT660, its first Class 8 truck model, this March at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011 in Las Vegas. The truck’s debut will mark the dropping of the other shoe in a process that began with Caterpillar pulling out of the truck engine business, where it had long been a supplier to many of the truck brands and manufacturing companies it will soon be competing head-to-head against for vehicle customers.

For weight-sensitive fleets wanting a superior ride compared to traditional spring suspensions, Kenworth newly offers the four-bag AG230 single-axle rear air suspension on a number of models, including the vocational W900.

For the truck market, where the numbers of both brands and the corporate owners have gotten fewer, a new player naturally adds market choice. In this era of emissions regulations, there’s more to it than that, though.

The truck brands owned by PACCAR (Kenworth and Peterbilt), Volvo (Mack and Volvo) and Daimler (Freightliner and Western Star) subscribe to the newer selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet EPA’s stringent 2010 on-highway diesel emissions requirements. These regulations require more than 90-percent cleaner exhaust than that from trucks just eight years earlier.

“SCR doesn’t rely on engine heat to treat emissions, so SCR-based engines offer the advantage of higher fuel economy,” says Samantha Parlier, Kenworth vocational marketing manager. “Since SCR doesn’t narrow the engine’s maximum speed range for optimum efficiency – or its sweet spot – to attain emission reductions, fleets can still maintain fuel economy at lower or higher engine speeds.”

Explains Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks North America product manager: “The EPA 2007 engine requirements increased the amount of soot produced in the engine and required the introduction of the diesel particulate filter (DPF). To clean the soot and turn it into ash, a parked regeneration of the filter is required, if the vehicle is not producing enough heat during the normal operation. Typically, construction trucks do not produce enough of the exhaust heat needed to produce a passive regen, or change the soot to ash by using the exhaust heat, so an active or parked regen parked is needed more often. A parked regen takes about 20 to 40 minutes or more, reducing the availability of the trucks,” says Bio. “Volvo introduced its SCR solution in EPA 2010 and sized the DPF and SCR to drastically reduce the requirement for parked regens.” Correspondingly, says Curtis Dorwart, Mack vocational products marketing manager, “our Mack ClearTech SCR solution provides improved performance and fuel efficiency while at the same time reducing the amount of underhood heat and stress on the engine.”

Navistar uses an enhanced version of the traditional exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology in the MaxxForce engines powering its International brand trucks. Using EPA emissions credits to achieve 2010 targets, Navistar has argued vociferously that its Advanced EGR technology, which does not require customers to purchase diesel exhaust fluid, produces a combination of mileage and performance results that holds up in both short- and long-haul applications.

Caterpillar, which had served the truck power sector with the enhanced EGR technology it labels ACERT, is developing its new truck with Navistar and is expected to initially use 11- and 13-liter Cat-branded CT Series engines similar to the EGR MaxxForce engines, currently topping out at 13 liters. (A 15-liter MaxxForce is reportedly being developed based on Caterpillar’s established C15 engine platform; Caterpillar has since announced plans for the 2012 offering in its new trucks of a new CT15 engine model at a maximum 550 horsepower.) However, Caterpillar chief executive officer Don Oberhelman has stated publicly his company’s new truck featuring a Cat CX31 torque converter style automatic transmission is not a Navistar simply re-branded, calling it “beefy” and “Caterpillar-like.”

This will undoubtedly be part of the pitch for construction truck customers, for whom the Caterpillar brand has overwhelming market recognition and presence. “We coupled customer input with our knowledge learned from years of experience working closely with different industries to meet their heavy equipment needs,” George Taylor, Cat Global On-Highway Department’s director and general manager, said in a teaser announcement released in late October by Caterpillar. Applications for the new Caterpillar will range from hauling rock and trash to ready-mix concrete placement and logging. “These trucks are everything the Cat brand represents in terms of quality, durability, reliability and driver ergonomics, so we’re looking forward to seeing the reaction to the CT660 at CONEXPO,” added Gary Blood, Cat Vocational Truck product manager.

In a 2009 Randall-Reilly survey on the use of heavy-duty trucks in construction, Equipment World readers indicated a fairly balanced split among brand preference. To the question of which brand primarily makes up the construction customers’ Class 7 and 8 fleets, five different brands (Peterbilt, followed by Mack, International, Kenworth and Freightliner) scored between 18.1 and 13.2 percent. A little more than two-thirds of EW respondents – 67.4 percent – own dump trucks; 52.8 percent pull lowbeds or goosenecks to haul equipment.

The same survey indicated an engine preference that may complicate Caterpillar’s entry into the Class 8 truck market. Among Equipment World readers, 36.1 percent preferred Cummins, followed closely by Caterpillar at 33.3 percent. Other engine brands followed in single digits. What the effect of Caterpillar’s departure from that area of the trucking business – leaving Cat-powered Brand A and B truck owners searching for alternatives – may be answered in sales of the soon-to-be-introduced Caterpillar trucks. EW


Kenworth T800

• vocational truck for dump/mixer/regional haul applications

• natural gas powered version available

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 46,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tandem)

T470 (new)

• vocational/municipal truck for snowplow/mixer/utility applications

• 50.5-inch bumper setting for front engine PTO installation

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 46,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tandem)


• Dedicated Class 8 truck for dump/mixer/heavy haul applications

• 115.5- to 133.4-inch BBC in set-back axle configuration

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 105,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tridem)


• Class 8 truck for dump/mixer/logging/heavy haul applications

• 121- or 130-inch BBC in classic long-hood configuration

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 58,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tandem)


• Class 8 truck for heavy off- and on-highway vocational applications

• 123-inch BBC in conventional configuration; cabover available

• 40,000 pounds maximum front axle rating (tandem)

• 120,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tandem)

Built on the platform of the T470 introduced earlier in 2009, the new Kenworth T440 merges “brain and brawn to forge a whole new class,” says the company. The truck has a gross vehicle weight ranging from a heavy Class 7 rating of 33,000 pounds to a light Class 8 rating of 68,000 pounds. “This versatile truck will benefit vocational and municipal customers who need a heavy front axle for dumps and mixers,” says Gary Moore, assistant general manager for marketing and sales. Both the T440 and T470 offer customers the Kenworth Driver Information Center as standard, as well as the same multiplexed dash installed in the PACCAR company’s Class 8 family.

Western Star 4900 FA 109" BBC

4900 Family

• 109- or 123-inch BBC for off-highway vocational applications

• FA (set-forward axle), SA (set-back axle) or Twin-Steer front axle configurations

6900 XD

• 141-inch standard BBC for extreme-duty applications

• 175 tons rated gross combination weight

Earlier this year, Western Star Trucks reintroduced the 109-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) truck to the vocational marketplace. “The 109-inch put big power in a short BBC, which makes it ideal for length-challenged vehicles/vocations that need to maintain 40-foot lengths,” says Dan Silbernagel, vocational product manager. Also available for spec’ing by Daimler Trucks’ Western Star division is the Detroit Diesel DD13 engine with 2010 BlueTec emissions technology, which combines the diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst into one component. Detroit Diesel says this improves fuel economy by lowering engine back pressure.


Peterbilt Model 365

• dump/mixer/vocational truck (all-wheel drive option)

• hybrid version available

• 20,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 46,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tandem)

Model 365

• dump/mixer/vocational truck (available with sleeper or day cab)

• 115-inch BBC in set-forward or set-back axle configurations

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 66,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tridem)

Model 367

• dump/mixer/vocational truck (available with sleeper or day cab)

• 123-inch BBC in set-forward or set-back axle configurations

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 66,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tridem)

Model 388

• tractor-trailer (available with sleeper or day cab)

• 123-inch BBC in traditional Peterbilt styling

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 66,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tridem)

The newest construction truck offering from Peterbilt, the Model 348 with weight ratings up to 66,000 pounds GVWR is available in either a traditional diesel mechanical or a hybrid electric configuration. The hybrid configuration provides a fuel savings up to 40 percent and what Peterbilt says is a dramatic reduction in tailpipe emissions. Recent construction product line features/improvements introduced by the company include Fuller UltraShift PLUS vocational transmissions, the RollTek side-roll occupant protection system, the Bendix ESP electronic stability control system, a vocational back of cab/emission after-treatment exhaust system, Bendix air disk brakes, and updated PACCAR MX and Cummins engine options.



• 14 Cornerstone chassis configurations available for assorted applications

• 116-inch BBC in set-forward or set-back axle configurations

• 23,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 110,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (special order)

With configurations ranging from a tandem-steer mixer to a five-axle dump, the Granite Series is the core construction product from Mack Trucks, calling on 11-liter MP7 or 13-liter MP8 engine models from two different series for a maximum 405 or 505 horsepower respectively. MaxiCruise engines are suited for both on- and off-highway applications; Maxidyne engines are for severe-duty conditions, especially off-road. Air suspensions, walking beams or camelback axles are available on Mack Granite trucks to suit the specific application. The Rawhide Edition boasts such features as bright-finish stacks with 7-inch chrome bullhorns, quad trumpet air horns with snow shields, bright-finish grille surround and two-tone Ultraleather seats.

International PayStar with International WorkStar

International PayStar Series

• Four models for on- and off-highway severe-service applications

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 58,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating (tri-drive)

• 150,000 pounds maximum gross combined weight rating

International WorkStar Series

• Six models in 7000 Series, including hybrid 4×4 model

• 107-inch BBC for dump applications

• 20,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 52,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating

Navistar’s International Trucks is combining the heavy-duty diesel WorkStar 7600 and 7700 trucks into one model with two variations – the 7600 SBA with a 46-inch set-back axle and the 7600 SFA with a 30-inch set-forward axle. Electronic stability control is available on all severe-service PayStar models. Navistar has also added Continental Mixers as the newest member of the company’s portfolio of brands. The Houston-based former Continental Manufacturing makes rear-discharge products under the lines Continental and CBMW Mixers. With its MaxxForce engine family, Navistar continues to counter competitors via its use of advanced exhaust gas recirculation technology.

Coronado SD

Business Class M2 Family

• V versions available for vocational applications

• 106- or 112-inch BBC to support various bodies

• 20,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 46,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating

Coronado SD

• severe-duty version of traditional Freightliner on-highway truck

• 122-inch BBC in set-forward or set-back axle configurations

• 22,000 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 70,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating

Combining what it calls “the durability and dependability of Freightliner’s already tough FLD SD with the driver comfort and style synonymous with the Coronado,” the Freightliner division of Daimler Trucks introduced the Coronado SD severe-duty model late last year. Available with a Cummins ISX or Detroit Diesel DD13, DD15 or DD16 engine, the Coronado SD can be equipped with the Detroit Diesel BlueTec 1-Box, which combines the diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst into one component. The 1-Box configuration eliminates the need for a protruding exhaust tail pipe, so dump or other bodies can be mounted close to the back of the cab for maximum payload.

Volvo VHD Family


• 4×2, 6×4, 8×4, 8×6 truck and 6×4, 8×4,

8×6 tractor versions

• 113.6-inch BBC in set-forward or set-back axle configurations

• 22,800 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 65,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating

VHD 430

• 6×4, 8×6 truck and 6×4, 8×6 tractor versions

• 145.6-inch BBC in set-forward or set-back axle configurations

• 22,800 pounds maximum front axle rating

• 65,000 pounds maximum rear axle rating

With its VHD series vocational products, Volvo Trucks North America offers the Volvo I-Shift automated transmission with expanded applications of 125,000 pounds gross combined weight and higher, including for hauling, snow plowing and logging. As standard, VHD series trucks have a driver side air bag, and mixer trucks are equipped with the anti-roll Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology. A recent expansion of engine offerings boosts the maximum output available to 500 horsepower, with the EPA 2010 version of the Volvo D13. The hood of VHD trucks is mounted to the frame rather than to the cab, reducing the transfer of noise and vibration to the large operator’s station, which boasts 30 inches between the seats for the mounting of controls.


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