Cover Story/Machine Matters: Let’s give them something to talk about

Last year about this time, the talk was about new EPA ’07 engines in heavy duty vocational trucks. Truck manufacturers have done a heck of a job building efficient Class 8 trucks around the EPA ’07 engines and are deep into planning for the next emission deadline in 2010. But trucks do not haul on engines alone. Since we have a little breathing room between emissions deadlines, let’s talk about what else you’ll find in the 2008 Class 8 heavy duty vocational truck line up.

Free advice
You know what they say about the value of free advice but this year, manufacturers are giving some pre-purchase counsel that will save buyers money.

“Don’t expect the same truck as before,” says Frank Bio, product manager for Volvo Trucks. With new engineering and features comes new packaging. Bio says it’s important this year for customers to work closely with their dealers and body builders because some of the changes made to meet EPA ’07 – like diesel particulate filters and larger radiators – can affect the truck’s final configuration and application. “Make sure you’re working with a sales team who understands what you need your truck to do,” he says. “Ask what kind of packaging changes to expect and how your application’s requirements will fit.”

Freightliner’s vocational segment manager, Steve Morelli, gives a good example of how Freightliner is helping bodybuilders locate components past the after-treatment device. “We’ve expanded our exhaust system configurations and are providing bodybuilders with new tailpipe modification guidelines for the M2 112V model so they can move the tailpipe to accommodate different applications.” Some truck makers are posting bodybuilder specifications and manuals on their websites. Buyers can take a quick look at the new configuration guidelines and diagrams before sitting down with the sales department.

Efficiency can’t be measured by size – bigger isn’t always better and smaller may not be cheaper. “Work closely with the dealers and field support people who have a broad knowledge of the recent engineering changes to make sure you don’t add to your costs by under-spec’ing or over-spec’ing,” says Richard Shearling, Western Star’s product strategy manager.

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Steve Ginter, Mack Trucks’ vocational product manager, says, “Once you have a suggestion in hand, ask the salesperson what overriding feature is their leading recommendation of a specific truck. Then consider whether that feature is the one most important to your application. Talk to us.”

Ginter brings up another point: “Because the new models are clean running trucks, they are going to last a lo-o-ng time. Ask about the resale value of the truck and what specifications next person will be looking for.”

Talking points
Tier 3 engines run hotter than pre-2007 engines, so cooling systems are a major consideration on ’08 trucks. “Dissipating engine heat is a key for top performance in high demand vocations like heavy hauling,” says Mike Dozier, Kenworth’s chief engineer. The new 1,780-square-inch radiator, part of Kenworth’s large-cooling package, is available on the T800 wide hood heavy hauler and cools up to 600 horsepower engines and up to 140,000-pounds GCW with no limit on grade.

If you do business in a state that requires compliance with the Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula, weight restrictions can have a big impact on how your truck’s axles need to be spaced. Set-forward and set-back axles on many 2008 models give more configuration options depending on your weight and maneuverability requirements. Some states in the northeast are trying to lessen wear and tear on their roads by requiring non-torque reactive air suspensions, such as Volvo’s new TriDrive system.

Transmission choices in ’08 trucks are being driven by fuel economy, power delivery and possibly by the age of drivers. Manual transmissions still give the most miles per gallon for an experienced driver but Robert Braswell at the Maintenance & Technology Council of the American Trucking Associations says he’s heard one out of every three trucks built this year has an automated manual shift. He speculates that the AMT transmissions may help inexperienced drivers get their trucks to perform effectively.

Allison Transmission says they are seeing the demand for fully automatic transmissions in vocational trucks increasing because many younger drivers just coming into the job have never learned to drive stick. Allison’s Rugged Duty Series automatic transmissions are making on/off road trucks with 300 to 600 horsepower more attractive to newbie drivers, plus veteran drivers who are looking for a smoother way to get through the gears.

Pull forward
Several manufacturers are testing new hybrid technology in vocational trucks. The Mack Granite Hybrid Diesel Electric dump truck produced for the U.S. Air Force is generating interest from contractors who have seen it in Las Vegas and Seattle. Mack’s hybrid boasts a MP7-365M, 11-liter turbocharged diesel engine that delivers 365-horsepower and has a 12-speed automated manual transmission. The truck’s electric machine (integrated starter, alternator and motor) provides 161-peak horsepower and 590 foot pounds of peak torque. Energy generated during braking is stored in ultracapacitors that will be used later instead of diesel fuel.

Jim Zito, Peterbilt’s director of sales for vocational markets, says Peterbilt is field testing 12 utility bucket trucks that run the bucket from stored hybrid power that don’t require the truck’s engine to be running. Zito also says that Peterbilt is working with Wal-Mart on a heavy-duty hybrid product. Freightliner, working in conjunction with Eaton, will start production of a heavy duty hybrid product in 2008.

The last leg of the EPA’s four-tier emissions program for on-highway trucks will take effect in 2010 and with it will come more changes. The truck manufacturers are proving they can go the EPA one better and add product enhancements while still meeting government requirements. “It’s an evolution of the products,” says Zito. “We’re starting to get reports of really good fuel economy. We’re all sharing something positive from the EPA required changes.”

Best of all, Steve Morelli assures us, “The difficult changes have been made.” Drive on.

Volvo VHD 200
Volvo’s 2008 VHD 200 and VHD 430 sleeper models feature the new Tri-Drive non-torque reactive suspension system that spreads the load over three axles, helpful in states with strict weight restrictions. TriDrive keeps the truck’s axles from rotating in a heavy torque environment, balancing out the load and providing better traction while transferring less torque to the road. To help prevent rollovers, Volvo’s ABS system includes sensors in the steering mechanisms and chassis that can calculate the driver’s intended direction and the truck’s actual direction, and will automatically slow the engine and apply the brakes to help prevent mixers from rollovers and jackknifing. The VHD 200 and 430 are available in axle forward and axle back styles. Volvo’s tractor is also available with the VHD 430 sleeper cab with a 36-inch-wide bunk for owner operators doing longer hauling. For more information go to

Mack’s Axle Back Granite MP7
Mack’s Granite MP7 series trucks are built on heavy duty Cornerstone chassis and comes in axle-forward and axle-back models. Granite’s creature comforts include a co-pilot cluster driver display, mounted high in the center of the dash for easy reading. Drivers can make adjustments to the new steering column to an infinite number of positions within a given range of movement. The V-MAC IV vehicle control management system updates include ABS-based tamper detection and integrated starter protection. Central Tire Inflation system controls tire pressure from the cab for better traction. Maximum torque on the MP7 405 is 1,560 foot pounds. For more information go to

Kenworth W900S Mixer
Weight-conscious contractors can choose Kenworth’s sloped hood vocational models T800 and W900S trucks with a Cummins 11-liter ISM 425-horsepower engine. This Cummins engine is 500 pounds lighter compared to 13-liter units. Heavy haulers can choose Cummins or Caterpillar engines up to 600 horsepower, cooled by a 1,780-square-inch radiator. The extended day cab option for the Kenworth W900S has an additional 6 inches of length and 5 inches of cab height compared to Kenworth’s traditional day cab. The W900S mixer configuration also offers 2 inches more behind the wheel, additional leg room, up to 21 degrees of recline in the driver’s seat, and an extra 2 cubic feet of storage behind the driver’s seat. Steering gear on the W900S is moved forward ahead of the axle as part of front-end redesign, increasing wheel cut by 4 degrees and reducing the turning radius. For more information go to

Peterbilt Model 365
The new Peterbilt Model 365 replaces the 357 and ends the use of one model number for two hood configurations. The new Model 365 is Peterbilt’s short-hood model, while the long-hood 367 keeps its own name. New front axle positions and steering geometry on both models increase wheel cut angles and decrease vehicle turning radius to improve maneuverability in tight or congested areas. The set-back front-axle position provides 50 degrees of wheel cut in both directions. The set-forward front-axle position gives 55 degrees of wheel cut on a left turn and 45 degrees to the right. A driver information display uses easy-to-understand text-based readouts instead of fault codes for more accurate diagnostics. The Model 367 is also available in a special heavy-haul configuration with a high-capacity cooling system and 1,669 square-inch cooling module. For more information go to

Sterling Set Forward L-Line
Sterling’s new Set-Forward L-Line model helps drivers meet state bridge formula requirements. The Set-Forward L-Line’s longer wheel base allows better weight distribution and increases under-cab room to accommodate EPA ’07 exhaust filters, fuel tanks, battery boxes, outriggers and underbody scrapers. The Sterling model also includes a new lightweight hood made from Metton substrate, which takes up to 25 pounds of weight off the trucks. Sterling says the aerodynamically sloped hood also provides 12-percent more forward visibility. The LT 9500 111-inch front axle is 29-inches from the bumper and has the longest wheelbase available in the L-Line. For more information go to

Western Star 4900 SA
Western Star’s 4900 SA set-back axle and 4900 FA set-forward axle models are lightening up and maintaining power. The upgraded MBE 4000 engine offers a maximum torque rating of 1,650 foot pounds, and is cooled by larger 1,375- to 1,875-square-inch radiators. To make room for larger radiators, Western Star has added a drop front frame casting for axle castings on the 4900 SA/FA. All-wheel drive is available on the 4900SA with 109-inch BBC, and tandem steer front axles are available on the 4900SA with 109- and 123-inch BBC. Tridem drive is available on the 4900 FA/SA and all-wheel drive is available on up to 10×6 axle configurations. The severe duty cab has additional internal cab reinforcements and the heater core delivers 45,000 BTU’s for cold weather applications. For more information go to

International PayStar 5900i SBA
International is introducing their new big bore MaxxForce 11- and 13-liter engines for its WorkStar Series trucks. The new engine designs are specifically for International’s Class 8 severe duty trucks. Both the MaxxForce 11 and 13 are in-line 6-cylinder engines with twin-series turbochargers. Torque range for the MaxxForce 11 is 1,250 to 1,400 foot pounds, and 1,450 to 1,700 foot pounds for the MaxxForce 13. WorkStar’s new hood design increases cooling capacity for high horsepower engines and allows uninterrupted front engine power take-off mounting below the radiator.

The PayStar 5900i Set Back Axle model is International’s newest addition to the PayStar Series. The lightweight aluminum cab is huck-bolted (a fastening system that reduces slippage up to 40-percent) to the heavy-duty, 12 /-inch severe service frame system. The 5900i offers the highest horsepower in the PayStar lineup with up to 625 horsepower.
For more information go to

Freightliner FLD 120
Freightliner increases its cooling efficiency on the FLD 120SD model with optional high capacity radiators that match both engine and front axle applications. A 1,400-square-inch radiator is available for set-forward front axle configurations, and a 1,350-square-inch radiator cools the set-back front axle model. The Freightliner AirLiner or TufTrac and Hendrickson vocational air or walking beam suspensions provide maximum traction in high articulation areas. Freightliner has added a 16KL rear suspension package for the all wheel truck and a flat-lift extension for the utility market. For more information go to

Caterpillar C9, 335 – 350 horsepower
Caterpillar C13, 305 – 470 horsepower
Cummins ISL, 345 – 365 horsepower
Cummins ISM, 280 – 410 horsepower

Fuller manual 10-, 11-, 13-, 15-, 18-speed
Fuller Autoshift 10, 18-speed
Fuller Ultrashift 10, 13-speed
Allison 4-, 5-, 6-speed automatic

Front Axle:
Dana Spicer 12,000 – 22,000 lbs

Rear Axles
Dana Spicer 21,000 – 26,000 lbs
Meritor 21,000 – 26,000 lbs

Dana Spicer 40,000 – 65,000 lbs
Meritor 40,000 – 70,000 lbs
Sisu 58,000 – 70,000 lbs

Dana Spicer 58,000 lbs
Meritor 67,000 lbs

Western Star
Detroit Diesel Series 60, 380 – 515 horsepower
Caterpillar C13, 335 – 470 horsepower
Caterpillar C15, 435 – 625 horsepower
MBE 4000, 350 – 450 horsepower

Eaton Fuller manual
Eaton Fuller AutoShift/UltraShift
Allison automatic

Front Axle
Meritor FF-961 12,000 lbs
Meritor single up to 20,000 lbs
Westport single 16,000 lbs

Meritor tandem 40,000 lbs.

Rear Axles
Meritor single up to 23,000 lbs

Meritor RT-40-145 R-Series 40,000 lbs
Meritor tandem up to 70,000 lbs
Sisu tandem 70,000 lbs

Detroit Diesel Series 60, 425 – 515 horsepower
Caterpillar C15, 435 – 550 horsepower
Mercedes-Benz MBE4000, 350- 450 horsepower

Eaton Fuller manual, automated manual
Allison automatic

Front Axle:
Available 12,000 – 20,000 lbs

Rear Axles:
Available in dual or tandem 40,000 – 52,000 lbs

Caterpillar C13 305 – 470 horsepower
Caterpillar C15 ACERT 435 – 625 horsepower
Cummins ISX 425 – 600 horsepower

Fuller 10-, 11-, 13-, 15-, 18-speed manual
Eaton Fuller Autoshift
Allison vocational 4000 & 4500, 5-, 6-speed automatic

Front Axle:
Meritor 12,000 – 20,000 lbs

Rear Axles:
Tandem – Dana Spicer 40,000 – 46,000 lbs.
Tandem – Meritor 40,000 – 58,000 lbs.
Tridem – Up to 78,000 lbs.

Caterpillar C9, 335 – 350 horsepower
Caterpillar C13, 305 – 470 horsepower
Cummins ISL, 345 – 365 horsepower
Cummins ISM, 310 – 425 horsepower

Eaton Fuller 10-, 11-, 13-, 15- and 18- speed manual
Allison 5- and 6-speed automatic

Front Axle:
Dana/Spicer 20,000 – 22,000 lbs
Meritor 20,000 lbs

Rear Axles
Dana Spicer Dual-Drive 40,000 – 52,000 lbs
Meritor Dual-Drive 40,000 – 58,000 lbs
Dana Spicer 58,000 lbs
Meritor up to 69,000 lbs

Mack MP7 11-liter, 325 – 405 horsepower
Mack MP8 13-liter, 415 – 485 horsepower

Mack TM308 8-speed
Mack TM 9-, 10-, 13-, 18-speed manual
Allison 4000 and 4500 5-, 6-speed automatic
Eaton Fuller 9-,10-,11-, 13-, 15-, 18-speed manual

Front Axle:
Mack FXL12, 12,000 – 23,000 lbs

Rear Axles
Mack RA23R, 23,000 – 30,000 lbs
Meritor RS-23-160, 23,000 – 30,000 lbs
Dana Spicer S30-190, 30,000 lbs

Caterpillar C-13, C-15, 305 – 550 horsepower
Mercedes-Benz MBE 900, 190 – 300 horsepower
Detroit Diesel Series 60, 425 – 515 horsepower
Mercedes-Benz MBE 4000, 350 – 450 horsepower

Eaton Fuller Direct Drive 5 – 15 Speed
Eaton Fuller Overdrive 6 – 18 Speed
Eaton Fuller Autoshift
Allison MD/HD

Front Axle:
Meritor 10,000 lbs – 22,000 lbs

Rear Axles:
Meritor 17,500 lbs – 58,000 lbs

Volvo D13, 335 to 485 horsepower

Volvo I-Shift; 12-speed
Eaton Fuller FR, FRO, RTO, RTLO 10-, 11-, 13-, 15-, 18-speed AutoShift
Allison 4000 and 4500 4-, 5-, and 6-speed automatic

Front Axle:
Volvo VF20 and VF22; 16,500 – 22,800 lbs
Meritor FG941 and FL941; 12,500 – 22,800 lbs

Rear Axles:
Meritor RT40, RT44,RT46, RT52,
RT58, MT40, MT46 40,000 – 58,000 lbs
Volvo RT2610HV 58,000 lbs
Volvo RT3210HV 65,000 lbs