Kenworth touts new suspensions, other upgrades

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Kenworth revealed new front and rear suspensions for its heavy- and medium-duty truck models Wednesday, March 26, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

The AG130 is a front-axle air spring suspension. The AG400L is a tandem rear suspension using a trailing arm design. The AG210L single-axle rear suspension is for Kenworth’s Class 6 and Class 7 conventionals.

The AG130 features a four-bag air spring configuration, compared to the typical two. “Four air bags help reduce road inputs and vibration to provide the best riding suspension we’ve ever offered,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth chief engineer. “Drivers will definitely feel the difference. Roll stiffness is also improved to provide better handling and road feel.”

Lighter by 20 pounds than traditional 12,000-lb. taperleaf front-end suspensions, the disc brake-compatible AG130 will be available in 12,000- and 13,200-lb. ratings for the Kenworth T660, T800 and T2000 Class 8 models.

“We designed and tested the AG130 to handle the high torque braking demands of disc brakes,” Dozier said. “The new suspension system is a perfect spec to improve ride and performance for longhaul applications.”

The disc brake-compatible AG400L is a 40,000-lb. highway rear suspension system for Kenworth T660, T800, T2000 and W900 Class 8 models. The four-bag suspension supports fifth-wheel heights as low as 42 inches, has fewer parts and eliminates axle seat welding, the company said.

The AG210L, a two-bag version of the AG400L, is a 21,000-lb. rear suspension for the Kenworth T370 and T270.

Kenworth also announced a new driver information center on its Class 8 models designed to provide instant trip access information for miles per gallon, engine and idle hours, idle percentage and optimum rpm range. A “sweet spot indicator” offers visual cues when the optimum rpm is reached, while a bar graph displays current mpg against trip average mpg, the company said.

Kenworth also announced a new state-of-the-art dash for the T2000 model tractor that’s more ergonomic and visually appealing and also is easier to service, according to the company. A new speedometer and tachometer cluster features large 2-inch diameter gauges with chrome bezels, an engine hour meter, odometer, trip odometer and outside temperature gauge. “The new dash design makes it much easier to check gauges and warning lights with LED back-lighting in the face plate and pointers, while dash rocker switches contain LED indicator lights,” Dozier said.

The system is supported by the Kenworth Electronic Service Analyst, a computerized diagnostics tool designed to enable technicians to quickly troubleshoot dashboard electronics.

In other news, Kenworth announced:

  • Its Clean Power no-idle system will become a factory-installed option for new W900s and T800s equipped with the 72-inch AeroCab sleeper. Among the system’s benefits, according to Kenworth, are warranty coverage and full compliance with California Air Resources Board idling regulations that went into effect Jan. 1 for sleeper trucks with 2007 and later model engines. Kenworth Clean Power uses dedicated, advanced deep-cycle batteries that power a thermal storage cooler with 21,000 BTUs of cooling capacity, according to the company; the system has the capability to provide engine-off cooling and heating, plus 120-volt power for hotel loads.
  • It has introduced new finish trim accents for cabs and sleepers on its Class 8 and medium-duty conventional models. The new seat insert material, Marathon, includes a stain-resistant treatment and will be available as the standard for Kenworth’s Air-Cushion Plus, Air-Cushion Premium Plus and Steel Tool Box Plus proprietary seats, and for sofa beds in Kenworth’s 86-inch AeroCab and 72-inch AeroCab Aerodyne sleepers. Kenworth will incorporate new wood finish trim accents, Trust Walnut, on the instrument panel, header, doors and sleeper cabinets on Diamond and Diamond VIT interiors.
  • It will begin full production of medium-duty diesel-electric hybrid trucks this summer. Kenworth offers the fuel-efficient hybrid option on its new T270 Class 6 and T370 Class 7 conventional models. Kenworth’s goal is to enhance fuel economy by up to 30 percent in pickup-and-delivery applications and up to 50 percent in utility operations.
  • An expansion of its production plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, has added 105,000 square feet to the facility, increasing build capacity by 50 percent. The plant, Kenworth’s largest, has produced more than 300,000 trucks since it was opened in 1974.