Reliability, serviceability, driver comfort key new design elements

Peterbilt Motors Co. took the wraps off its newest product platform, a premium over-the-road aerodynamic conventional truck, last month in Las Vegas.

The aerodynamic shape offers a 13% reduction in drag and is characterized by a sloped hood and fender design, which optimizes air flow and allows improved visibility through the contoured windshield. Other aerodynamic features include a swept-back bumper; chassis fairings that provide a smooth cover for fuel tanks and battery boxes; and large, aeroshaped rearview mirrors.

The look is complemented with a chromed crown and stainless steel grille design and aerodynamically contoured headlamps. The headlamp lens is 60% thicker than a typical automotive lens, resulting in a more durable system. An advanced-reflector optic technology system projects a higher quality of light in a fanned pattern, resulting in improved down-road coverage. Other safety features integrated into the headlamp include the inboard turn signal and amber daytime running lights, as well as the side marker light and reflector.

>From the driver's standpoint, the new 387s are bigger and quieter. There >is a full 30 in. between the seats, plenty of room for moving to and from >the sleeper. Even with a 17% increase in volume for the cab and sleeper, >extensive use of aluminum resulted in a vehicle as lightweight as a >comparably spec'd Peterbilt Model 385 or 377A/E. A new dash design puts >easy-to-read switches within comfortable reach.

A foot actuated tilt/telescoping steering wheel, optimum pedal placement, and footrests allow the driver to find the most comfortable operating position.

The Model 387 comes in three sleeper configurations: a 120-in. BBC and high-roof sleeper, and a 112-in. BBC that is available in mid- and high-roof versions.

Inside the sleeper, a 42-in. liftable bunk covers 25 cu. ft. of storage area, which is also accessible from exterior baggage compartment doors. An overhead and bunk lighting system is located throughout the sleeper, while upper tilt-out windows and tinted side windows provide improved ventilation or additional lighting.

Serviceability is another key concept inherent in the 387 design. For instance, the sloped hood has three panels and the bumper two, elements that facilitate repairs. The hood release system, located inside the cab on the floor, allows easy access. Once released, little effort is needed to bring the hood to a full 90-degree tilt, thanks to a torsion-bar tilt assist.

Also key in enhancing engine access was the development of a unique two-piece fender liner. The primary function of the liner is to reduce engine noise, thus providing a quieter environment for the driver. The hood-mounted fender liner tilts out of the way. When combined with the setback front axle and 50-degree wheel cut, working space is plentiful.

The electrical system on the Model 387 features four individual load centers for the cab, sleeper, chassis, and trailer. By isolating system functions, the load centers simplify troubleshooting and repairs. LED continuity indicators pinpoint exact circuits to repair if a fault occurs, allowing a service technician to quickly identify a problem.

The electrical system also features electronic instrumentation with self-diagnostic capabilities and multiplexing technology, resulting in a 45% reduction in parts and wiring.

Another breakthrough is the side-by-side cooling package, where the radiator and the charge air cooler are mounted adjacent to each other. With this design, the new radiator offers 10% greater cooling capacity than today's 1,270-sq.-in. unit, even though it comes in a smaller package. Also, the side-by-side cooling system is engine mounted, which reduces fan tip clearance and improves air flow through the radiator and charge air cooler.

Production will begin this summer with the medium length configuration, followed by the long conventional later in the year.

New tractor integrates advanced electronic systems

Mack Trucks Inc. has introduced a highway tractor aimed squarely at over-the-road linehaul applications. The new Vision is a 112-in.-BBC conventional that will be offered only with sleeper cabs. It combines a wide range of driver comfort features, new advanced electronics systems, aerodynamic styling, and lighter weight, making it perfect for "super regional" and other medium-length-of-haul fleet applications, according to the company. Mack will continue to serve the day-cab market with its CH model.

Power for the new tractor is supplied by Mack's 12-liter E-Tech diesel with ratings ranging from 300 to 460 hp. In keeping with its on-highway focus, Vision is offered with a choice of Eaton Fuller and Meritor transmissions, including new automated mechanicals such as Eaton's AutoShift and Meritor's SureShift. Standard front and rear axles are supplied by Dana Spicer. A two-axle Vision with 48-in. sleeper weighs 11,800 lb., while a three-axle version can be as light as 13,810 lb.

The aerodynamic cab, styled with the aide of Mack's parent company, Renault, is all new and rides on a new subframe design with its own air suspension. It features a two-piece bumper, proprietary headlights with halogen bulbs that can be replaced without tools, a hood that tilts open 90 degrees, and a two-piece windshield.

Inside, Vision has a wraparound dash with controls and gauges placed to maximize driver convenience. A proprietary seat offers multiple adjustments and heated cushions, and can be swiveled 180 degrees for access to the sleeper. Interior lighting uses aeronautical fixtures to eliminate windshield reflections and includes a work light over the steering wheel. The standard sleeper is a 48-in. flat-top, with five other configurations available including an 80-in.-high-rise with over 64 cu. ft. of storage space.

The new highway tractor features an impressive array of advanced electronic systems, including Mack's standard DataMax onboard data logger and an all-new onboard computer option that's completely integrated with the dash (see sidebar). It has also been designed to integrate with other advanced electronic systems such as the Eaton VORAD collision warning system, and QUALCOMM and HighwayMaster mobile communications systems.

Mack dealers will take delivery of demo Vision tractors in the early spring, with full production ramping up in July. The company says it expects to deliver 2,500 Visions by the end of the year.

The Vision Information Profiler (VIP) is the industry's first fully integrated onboard computer (OBC). Using a high-resolution 6-in. display mounted in the dash, it is networked with Mack's V-MAC electronic engine controls to provide drivers with real-time vehicle operating information and trip data. It not only monitors the vehicle for fault codes, but advises drivers on appropriate actions based on those codes. It can help drivers set and monitor performance goals, offer driving tips, and provide up to 50 individual screens of data.

The display, supplied by Planar Systems Inc., is an electroluminescent screen that can be viewed in full sunlight through a wide arc of viewing angles and that is unaffected by ambient temperatures. Ten large, lighted keys are used to enter data into the VIP, which sits just to the right of the dash's main bank of gauges.

The VIP will be available as an option in all Vision models beginning in August.

New tractor integrates advanced electronic systems

Mack Trucks Inc. has introduced a highway tractor aimed squarely at over-the-road linehaul applications. The new Vision is a 112-in.-BBC conventional that will be offered only with sleeper cabs. It combines a wide range of driver comfort features, new advanced electronics systems, aerodynamic styling, and lighter weight, making it perfect for "super regional" and other medium-length-of-haul fleet applications, according to the company. Mack will continue to serve the day-cab market with its CH model.

Power for the new tractor is supplied by Mack's 12-liter E-Tech diesel with ratings ranging from 300 to 460 hp. In keeping with its on-highway focus, Vision is offered with a choice of Eaton Fuller and Meritor transmissions, including new automated mechanicals such as Eaton's AutoShift and Meritor's SureShift. Standard front and rear axles are supplied by Dana Spicer. A two-axle Vision with 48-in. sleeper weighs 11,800 lb., while a three-axle version can be as light as 13,810 lb.

The aerodynamic cab, styled with the aide of Mack's parent company, Renault, is all new and rides on a new subframe design with its own air suspension. It features a two-piece bumper, proprietary headlights with halogen bulbs that can be replaced without tools, a hood that tilts open 90 degrees, and a two-piece windshield.

Inside, Vision has a wraparound dash with controls and gauges placed to maximize driver convenience. A proprietary seat offers multiple adjustments and heated cushions, and can be swiveled 180 degrees for access to the sleeper. Interior lighting uses aeronautical fixtures to eliminate windshield reflections and includes a work light over the steering wheel. The standard sleeper is a 48-in. flat-top, with five other configurations available including an 80-in.-high-rise with over 64 cu. ft. of storage space.

The new highway tractor features an impressive array of advanced electronic systems, including Mack's standard DataMax onboard data logger and an all-new onboard computer option that's completely integrated with the dash (see sidebar). It has also been designed to integrate with other advanced electronic systems such as the Eaton VORAD collision warning system, and QUALCOMM and HighwayMaster mobile communications systems.

Mack dealers will take delivery of demo Vision tractors in the early spring, with full production ramping up in July. The company says it expects to deliver 2,500 Visions by the end of the year.

The Vision Information Profiler (VIP) is the industry's first fully integrated onboard computer (OBC). Using a high-resolution 6-in. display mounted in the dash, it is networked with Mack's V-MAC electronic engine controls to provide drivers with real-time vehicle operating information and trip data. It not only monitors the vehicle for fault codes, but advises drivers on appropriate actions based on those codes. It can help drivers set and monitor performance goals, offer driving tips, and provide up to 50 individual screens of data.

The display, supplied by Planar Systems Inc., is an electroluminescent screen that can be viewed in full sunlight through a wide arc of viewing angles and that is unaffected by ambient temperatures. Ten large, lighted keys are used to enter data into the VIP, which sits just to the right of the dash's main bank of gauges.

The VIP will be available as an option in all Vision models beginning in August.

Kenworth Truck Co. says its new WorkCab model combines the cab from its medium-duty T300 with the chassis of its heavy-duty T800 to provide an "economical truck solution" for dump-truck fleets.

According to Brian Lindgren, vocational & off-highway market manager, the WorkCab retains the dependability and reliability features of other KWs, yet in a more cost-conscious package.

"We were able to develop this simplified, hybrid truck to be Kenworth's most economical Class 8 dump truck," Lindgren states. "It's a true workhorse."

He says the new vehicle was designed to be extremely durable, lightweight, and maneuverable, allowing dump-truck operators to carry more payload in tight delivery areas. Use of the short, sloped T300 hood improves visibility.

In addition to its aluminum cab, the WorkCab saves weight with several lightweight spec options and its 112-in. BBC measurement. The latter also enhances maneuverability, providing a wheel cut of 40 degrees when 425/ 65R22.5 tires are used.

The truck offers front axle ratings from 14,600 to 20,000 lb., and is available with 40,000- to 45,000-lb. rear-axle capacities. A 67-in. front-axle-to-back-of-cab dimension allows taking full advantage of front-axle ratings.

The WorkCab will be powered initially by Cat C-10 and C-12 engines up to 410 hp. and 1,450 lb.-ft. torque. Cummins ISC, ISL, and ISM engines will become available late this year.

Eaton Fuller transmissions are available, as are rear suspensions from Reyco, Hendrickson, and Chalmers. Comfort and convenience options include air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, am/fm cassette stereo, heated mirrors, and KW's Daylite door.

According to Lindgren, Kenworth expects that in the next five years up to half its dump trucks will be spec'd with a 112-in. BBC - in either its WorkCab or T800 configuration.

"The 112-in. BBC momentum is driven, in part, by the 10- to 12-liter high-torque engines that now fit into our smaller hood envelope," he points out.

Freightliner Corp. has begun using major componentry from traded-in Class 8 cabovers to produce remanufactured conventional trucks. Dubbed the Legacy Class, the heavy-duty 112-in. BBC daycab tractors carry a comprehensive warranty and are immediately available at Freightliner SelecTrucks used-truck superstores as well as at participating Freightliner dealers.

"Through an innovative remanufacturing process," says the OEM's president & CEO Jim Hebe, "we're transforming a product with limited demand into one that will have great appeal in the market."

The trucks combine new FLS 122 steel cabs and new chassis with remanufactured Detroit Diesel Series 60 11.1-liter (350 hp. @ 2,100 rpm), engines; reman'd Eaton RTF-13609A (9-speed) transmissions; and rebuilt Eaton DS402 (40,000-lb. capacity) rear axles harvested from used cabovers and restored to "new-truck condition."

Customers requiring more power can opt for a reman'd 365-hp. Series 60 and reman'd Eaton 13-speed overdrive. The OEM also plans to recondition a limited number of rear air suspensions and Fontaine fifth wheels and offer them as options.

Freightliner says the components are upgraded with new technologies incorporated during their ongoing lifecycles. For example, the DDC Series 60 engines boast DDEC III electronic packages.

Other Legacy Class specs include Meritor 12,000-lb. front axles, Con-Met aluminum hubs, Michelin XZE tires, and WABCO antilock braking.

Legacy Class powertrains are covered for 2 yr./200,000 miles; cab structure and hood for 3 yr./ 300,000 miles, and frame rails for 6 yr./750,000 miles. A full-coverage warranty extends for 1 yr./100,0000 miles.

For the short term, all trucks used to create the Legacy Class will be '92 and '93 model cabovers, but Freightliner says it may broaden the program to remanufacture other used trucks as well.

Western Star will introduce a new addition to its Constellation series at the Mid-America Trucking Show this month. Model 4964FXL is available with a Star Light Sleeper, dual exhausts, dual air cleaners, engine brake, and dual 100-gal. fuel tanks.

Through a combination of weight-saving options, the new unit is 15,000 lb. lighter than previous Constellation units, according to Mark Gobessi, chief engineerat Western Star Trucks.

Weight-saving options that are new to the Model 4964FXL Constellation truck include a Caterpillar C12 430-hp. engine, the new Eaton-Fuller transmission, an aluminum rear axle carrier, low-profile tires, and aluminum front and rear wheels.

Four of Cummins Engine Co.'s ISB diesel engine ratings have been certified to meet the 1999 EPA Clean Fuel Fleet Vehicle (CFFV) Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) standard.

The ratings cover the 175- to 215-hp. range and will require exhaust aftertreatment. They include the ISB 175 (175 hp. @ 2,500 rpm), ISB 190 (190 @ 2,600), ISB 210 (210 @ 2,600), and ISB 215 (215 @ 2,500).

The CFFV program - designed to improve air quality and focused on specific areas of the U.S. - requires that a percentage of new vehicles acquired by certain fleets located in those areas must meet CFFV emissions standards.

In another development, Cummins has added three ISM ratings designated specifically for the construction market. The ISM 425V and ISM 335V are offered at a peak torque rating of 1,450 lb.-ft.; the ISM 305V at 1,150 lb.-ft.

All-new ISM 335 VSP and ISM 305 VSP ratings will be available in June, at which time V ratings can be uprated to VSP.

The 64/65 Series offers red stop-tail-turn signals and amber rear-auxiliary turn signals in both grommet- and flange-mount configurations.

The lamps boast sealed polycarbonate assemblies that have integral 9-in. leads. Standard terminations are 0.180 male bullet ends and three-way female connectors.

The new series meets FMVSS 108 requirements and features smooth exterior surfaces to reduce dirt buildup.

The lamps are optionally available with an exterior surface coating that protects from UV exposure, abrasion, and chemicals incompatible with the polycarbonate assemblies.

According to Dialight, all its DiodeLite LED lamp products are available directly to vehicle OEMs.

Hutchens Industries introduced the HutchRide 2000 Enhanced Spring Suspension for van trailers last month. The new suspension combines the reliability, durability, and performance of steel spring suspensions with air-spring technology.

According to Hutchens, the HutchRide 2000 represents an upgrade of traditional steel spring construction, yet is still a cost-effective alternative to air-rides. The new suspension has dual air springs in series with steel springs and a single height-control valve to maintain constant air bag height. A balanced dampening effect is achieved through opposing shock absorbers, and self-lubricating urethane bushings contribute to an extended, maintenance-free component life.

By reducing trailer stress and vibration, ride smoothness is increased by 22-41%. Other benefits include the elimination of dock walk while the trailers are being loaded or unloaded; and the improved tire life that is associated with steel spring suspensions.