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Ford’s new low cab forward medium-duty
Ford’s LCF (low cab forward) is a Class 4 and 5 tilt-cab truck – a major departure from Ford’s traditional commercial designs. Ford developed the LCF as part of its Blue Diamond joint venture with International Truck and Engine Co.

Ford’s new truck will be powered by a Power Stroke 4.5L V-6 diesel delivering 200 hp at 3,000 rpm and 440 ft.-lbs. of torque at 1,850 rpm. The engine will be paired with Ford’s TorqShift 5-speed electronic automatic transmission, which debuted last year on F-250 through F-550 Super Duty diesel trucks. The truck offers four axle-to-frame choices, including a standard 34-inch frame. Buyers also have five cab-to-axle options, ranging from 84 inches to 156 inches, and five wheelbase lengths.

The Ford LCF will go into production early next year as a 2006 model. Class 4 and 5 configurations with GVWRs of 16,000; 17,999; and 19,500 pounds will be available for order late this year.


Bridgestone’s new steer radial
Bridgestone has introduced a new steer axle radial incorporating technologies to fight irregular wear. The R280 is designed primarily for long-distance and long-regional hauling, two segments where steer radials tend to be removed early from service because of irregular wear.

The R280’s footprint shape automatically optimizes itself during early stages of wear to increase the effectiveness of Bridgestone’s Equalizer Rib design. The radial also features stress-relief siping along every rib to combat river wear, special sipe contouring to resist block wear, straight-sided ribs and Bridgestone’s Defense Groove design to fight wavy and shoulder edge wear.

The tire also has an exceptionally wide tread that helps even wear, the company says.


Tiny LED marker
Truck-Lite introduced its LED Mini-Marker Light, which it said is the world’s smallest LED lamp to meet clearance, side marker and identification requirements. This new LED helps reduce damage to truck lighting systems while making a more efficient trailer door design possible. It measures less than 3/4 inches in diameter and depth. Two mounts are available: a grommet mount or a more permanent, theft-resistant flange mount.


Utility’s new dry van
Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company introduced the 4000D-X series of dry vans. The van, available in 101 1/4-inch or 100-inch interior widths, is built with traditional sheet and post construction for improved durability and ease of repair. The sandwich sidewall design used recessed rivts to attach lining to side posts, providing a snag-resistant interior.


New options on Western Star 4900 FA
Western Star introduced a 123-inch BBC LowMax option for its 4900 FA model. The truck features an overall cab height of less than 103 inches.

The new LowMax has a hood length 9.5 inches shorter than the original LowMax, but it offers many of the same features as the original with 22.5-inch low-profile tires, reduced rear suspension height, redesigned lower cab mounting, low-profile oil pan and special exhaust routing packages.

Western Star also introduced a new lightweight 4900 SA tractor, spec’d utilizing current production components to achieve maximum weight savings. The tractor has a dry chassis weight of approximately 15,300 pounds when equipped with the company’s new 68-inch sleeper and a 435-hp MBE 4000 engine, the market’s lightest 13-liter engine. Other weight savings come from using an Eaton Lightning 10-speed transmission, a 1,300-square-inch cross flow aluminum radiator, aluminum cross members, lightweight carrier housings for drive axles and Michelin X One single tires on tandem wheel axles.


Fontaine intros new lightweight trailer
Fontaine Trailer has a new trailer that promises to cut weight without losing strength or durability. The Renegade features a steel main beam with a lifetime warranty; aluminum I-beam cross-members on 12-inch centers to reduce weight while increasing strength; stainless steel side rail braces for strength and corrosion resistance; and aluminum front and rear skirts for lighter weight and durability.

The Renegade also features removable, bolt-on stainless steel components, including uprights, filler plates and outside riser channels.


Cat adds 625-hp rating to C15 ‘King of the Hill’
Caterpillar released the biggest horsepower rating for an on-highway tractor with its introduction of the 625-hp “King of the Hill” C15 model.

The engine, which also comes in a 600-hp rating, is equipped with the company’s ACERT Technology to meet federal emissions standards.

The engine features 2,050 lb-ft of torque at 1,200 rpm and constant torque at 1,700 rpm. The new C15 is designed for heavy haulers and owner-operators. Maximum horsepower is achieved at 1,800 rpm, with 595 hp at 2,100 rpm. The rating features a 38 percent torque rise.

While the engine is based on the 550-hp C15 design, it has higher flow series turbochargers, a unique camshaft and a more powerful electronic control module, the company says. It is available with two different engine retarders.


Kenworth expands sleeper options
Kenworth now offers more sleeper choices with the introduction of the 86-inch and 72-inch AeroCab Diamond sleepers. The new Diamond options offer a fixed 42-inch-by-80-inch lower bunk with an optional upper bunk for team drivers, up to 69 cubic feet of storage with room for an optional refrigerator, plus a weight savings of up to 150 pounds.

The AeroCab design is a bulkhead-free floor plan which provides more room for the driver in the cab, plus more space in the sleeper.


Sterling adds features to Acterra
Sterling Trucks is enhancing its medium-duty Acterra truck, offering a pair of new two-pedal automated shift transmissions, factory-installed all-wheel drive and other new features.

Later this year a two-pedal Mercedes-Benz Automated Gear Shift transmission, based on the Mercedes-Benz manual six-speed transmission, will be available. Sterling said the system’s Transmission Control Unit enhances performance and fuel economy by sensing and evaluating road conditions, load conditions and grades to precisely determine shift points. The transmission requires no manual shifting or clutching. Sterling will also offer the Eaton UltraShift 6-speed.

Sterling now also offers factory-installed all-wheel drive (AWD) featuring full four-wheel automatic traction control using an exclusive Automatic Lock Control Transfer Case coupled with standard front and rear wheel traction control system. Acterras equipped with AWD offer front axle ratings of 12,000, 14,000 and 26,000 pounds.

Acterras will also now offer an improved turning radius, due to a 5-degree improvement in wheel cut angle.


ConMet introduces brake drum, improved fifth wheel series
Consolidated Metco Inc. unveiled the TruTurn, a fully machined brake drum, inside and out. Company officials said comprehensive machining creates dimensional consistency and uniform wall thickness generating improved performance.

Because the drum is fully turned, there is no need for weld-on weights or balance cuts that can sometimes weaken standard drums. This means less potential for cracking, lower stopping temperatures, more uniform distribution of temperature and braking force.

ConMet also announced an improved series of its Simplex (formerly known as Simplex Lite) and Simplex II model fifth wheels.

The enhancements include:

  • New handle design improves driver ergonomics and requires less force to operate;
  • Undated jaw shape and return spring prevents jaw from closing while bobtailing;
  • New eccentric pin design for finer increments of slack adjustment; and
  • A retooled top plate that maximizes contact and extends product life.
    ConMet also introduced a new optional slider, which is 42 pounds lighter than its predecessor.

Air-Weigh offers in-dash LCD gauge
Air-Weigh now offers a new in-dash 2-inch LCD truck scale gauge. The 2-inch gauge-type LCD display includes all the functionality of the company’s AW5750 series of truck and trailer scales and is a direct replacement for analog air gauges. The re-packaged truck scale was designed for easy installation at truck OEMs and pre-delivery centers.

The company also introduced the Trailer Payload Scale, designed for end-dump operators who need a trailer-only scale. The scale provides the payload weight of each load, with the weight display mounted on the front of the trailer. The scale combines the weight on the hydraulic lifting cylinder with the weight on the trailer air suspension to determine payload weight.

Each payload scale has its own alarm circuit.


Dometic offers auxiliary air system
Dometic Corp.’s Tundra line of auxiliary truck air conditioning solutions provides year-round cooling and heating for the truck’s sleeper without idling the engine.

The Tundra systems are designed to be installed by truck builders as original factory equipment or integrated with auxiliary power units for retrofit on existing trucks. They operate on standard 115-volt AC power from an on-board generator set, inverter/battery package or shore-power hookups. Models are available in 7,000, 10,000 and 14,000 BTU capacities, with built-in electric heat strips providing an integrated cooling and heating solution with a single set of ducts and controls.

The Tundra units are built in a single low-profile chassis, which can be mounted under a bunk or in the bottom of a storage space. The closed refrigerant loop is pre-charged and sealed at the factory.


New impact wrench eases tire changes
Ingersoll-Rand’s Productivity Solutions unit introduced the Ingersoll-Rand 2190Ti, a 1-inch, ultra-duty impact wrench that reduces the time it takes to remove lug nuts, the company says.

Featuring titanium design for enhanced durability, the IR 2190Ti weighs less than 14 pounds. The tool also features a chainsaw handle with a 6-inch extended anvil that makes it easy to operate. The 2190Ti is also available with a traditional D-handle.


Mack adds to highway tractor options
Mack Trucks unveiled a 60-inch mid-rise sleeper that will be available on CH and Vision models.

The CH and Vision model series currently consist of a 70-inch mid-rise, 48- and 56-inch flat-tops, and a daycab – all optimized for local and regional distribution. The new 60-inch mid-rise sleeper is designed for companies looking for more interior space than flat-top designs offer, without the added cost and weight of larger sleepers.

Mack is also adding 12,000- and 14,300-pound versions of its UniMax front axles. The new models join Mack’s line of 18,000-, 20,000- and 23,000-pound axles. UniMax axles weigh less than comparable industry front axles and feature unitized wheel hubs that are permanently sealed with synthetic grease, virtually eliminating maintenance costs.


DanaSpicer axle designed for severe service
The new DanaSpicer D170 series axle has been designed to improve performance in some of the trucking industry’s most demanding applications, including logging, refuse and construction.

With gross axle weight ratings from 46,000 to 50,000 pounds, and a broad range of gear ratios – from 3.07 through 7.17 – the D170 series allows for strong performance across a variety of vocations. Dana expects the axles to be particularly popular in Mexico and Canada, where payloads often exceed those in the United States.

“These axles have the dependability and reliability features that are vital to reducing our customers’ maintenance requirements, while also providing enhanced performance features, improved fuel efficiency, and more quality time on and off the road,” said Steve Slesinski, director of product planning for Dana’s Commercial Vehicle Systems.

The D170 series includes extra wide face-width gearing for increased strength and durability with heavier loads and significantly larger wheel differential gearing for maximum strength and reliability. For optimal spinout protection, improved fuel efficiency and cooler operating temperatures, a patented on-demand lube pump with internal no-maintenance filter is offered as an option.

Additional D170 features include forged, heat-treated steel differential cases; integrated ring gear and wheel differential mounting system; integral pinion cage and carrier; high precision bearing adjustment system; and inter-axle driveline angles that reduce harmful vibrations.


Pete launches Model 335 medium-duty truck
Peterbilt’s new medium-duty truck, Model 335, is now in production. The truck will be available in Class 6 and 7 truck and tractor configurations and will replace the current Model 330.

The 335 will feature a sloping, aerodynamic hood that is lighter than its predecessors and also allows more visibility. The one-piece hood is integrated with the fenders and constructed out of Metton, a composite material that is light, durable and impact resistant.

The truck also features repeater lights located on the quarter fenders, complimenting those in headlamps, to signal lane changes and turns to vehicles to the side and rear.

The company also announced it would end production of its Model 379X special edition Class 8 owner-operator truck in December. The company said production of the model, which has special polished aluminum and chrome features, will end to keep the popular model a limited edition.


Ancra introduces flatbed tie-down anchor
Ancra International announced its new GlideLock cargo bracket for flatbeds. GlideLock slides onto the trailer rail of any standard flatbed and allows any standard flathook strap to be secured.

The product, made of extruded aluminum and rated for 5,000 pounds, meets the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tie-down standards that became effective in January. The regulations prohibit tie-downs from being outside the rub rail.