2009 Makes & Models: Heavy-duty Class 7-8

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For 2009, International and Mack introduce the two biggest newcomers to the heavy-duty scene – International with its owner-operator-minded LoneStar, and Mack with its severe-service behemoth Titan. And Daimler Trucks North America is ending the Sterling Trucks brand in March as part of a response to continued low truck sales and structural changes in the market. (We continue to list specs for Sterling products because dealers will take orders through Jan. 15 and because Daimler may continue some models under the Freightliner and Western Star brands.)

Meanwhile, the other major players are making their own model modifications and spec adjustments. Here are some highlights:

Freightliner: The truck maker is adding several enhancements to its Cascadia tractor and other models. The Cascadia now is available in a 72-inch XT sleeper model targeting flatbed and tanker operations. Dometic under-bunk refrigerators, also available for the Cascadia, include a slide-out drawer to ease driver access and can serve as both a refrigerator and freezer (based on thermostat setting).

Air disc brakes are available as factory-installed options for the Cascadia, Columbia, Coronado and Century Class S/T. The Bendix ADB22X-V Air Disc Brake, designed for 22.5-inch steel and aluminum wheels, is compatible with all 22.5-inch wheel combinations and approved for all on-highway applications; the disc brakes also are compatible with drum brake-equipped trailers.

Freightliner, in conjunction with Meritor WABCO, announced the availability of the OnGuard Collision Safety System for select Cascadia and Century Class S/T fleets; OnGuard is a forward-looking radar-based adaptive cruise control system with active braking. Also, high-visibility bright-orange seatbelts manufactured by LifeGuard Technologies are a factory-installed option on the Cascadia, Columbia, Century Class S/T and M2.

GM: The Chevrolet Kodiak/GM Topkick now boasts revised air seats and Allison Prognostics on all 3000/3500 Series transmissions. GMC’s T-Series also offers Allison Prognostics on all 3000 Series transmissions.

International: International Truck and Engine touts its new LoneStar tractor as merging the classic styling preferred by chrome lovers with aerodynamic design and technologies sought by fuel-conscious owner-operators. The company says the LoneStar offers improved ergonomics, an industry-leading suspension, advanced electronics and a quiet cab. Automotive-style features include standard ABS, roll stability, traction control, automotive-style dash and gauges with rosewood or titanium trim, and a 50-degree wheel cut.

The PayStar 5900i Set-Back Axle is a vocational on/off-highway vehicle that features an axle configuration targeting severe-service applications. The wide-track set-back axle design addresses customers’ needs for front axle load distribution and improved maneuverability. Powered by Caterpillar or Cummins diesel engines up to 15 liters and up to 625 horsepower, the PayStar 5900i SBA is built on a standard 12.25-inch frame rail PayStar chassis. A sloped hood was designed for better jobsite visibility.

Kenworth: The truck maker revealed new front and rear suspensions. The AG130 is a front-axle air spring suspension, while the AG400L is a tandem rear suspension using a trailing arm design. The AG130 features a four-bag air spring configuration, compared to the typical two; 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 T660, T800 and T2000 models. The disc brake-compatible AG400L is a 40,000-lb. highway rear suspension system for T660, T800, T2000 and W900 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.

Kenworth also has added a driver information center designed to provide instant trip 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. Meanwhile, a revised state-of-the-art dash for the T2000 is more ergonomic and also easier to service, according to the company; the system is supported by the Kenworth Electronic Service Analyst, a computerized diagnostics tool designed to enable technicians to quickly troubleshoot dashboard electronics.

The Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system is now a factory-installed option for W900s and T800s equipped with the 72-inch AeroCab sleeper. 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.

Mack: The Titan heavy-transport heavy-construction tractor is powered by the MP10, a 16-liter diesel engine with a top rating of 605 hp. The truck is tall, with a long hood and high ground clearance, while the cab is set high in a classic “heavy haul” position for added driver visibility. The MP10 is matched to Mack’s T300ES series 10-, 13- and 18-speed transmissions with triple countershaft performance; Eaton transmissions are available as options. Titan rides on Mack’s Cornerstone chassis, offered in three frame rail thicknesses – 8, 9.5 and 11 millimeters.

The truck maker also introduced its Pinnacle Rawhide Edition, building on its Pinnacle Axle Forward model with an updated exterior and a new level of interior comfort. Target markets are fleets concerned about driver recruitment and retention, as well as discerning owner-operators. The truck is available in three cab configurations: 60- and 70-inch midrise sleepers, plus daycab.

Peterbilt: A low-profile configuration for the Model 388, designed for the car carrier industry, has been optimized with a lower cab height to allow for an aftermarket installation of an over-the-cab car carrier body to maximize the number of vehicles that may be hauled. The tractor can be specified with a variety of drivetrain and suspension options, and can accommodate engines up to 600 hp.

The truck maker will offer three liquefied natural gas configurations on its Models 387, 386 and 367. The Westport Innovations ISX G engine, based on the Cummins ISX diesel engine with cooled exhaust gas recirculation, is available with 400 and 450 horsepower ratings for heavy-duty port, freight and vocational applications.

The Model 320 Hydraulic Launch Assist, suited for vocational stop-and-go refuse applications, utilizes HLA technology developed by Eaton Corp. exclusively for Paccar by capturing the truck’s kinetic energy during braking to assist in launching and accelerating the vehicle.

A proprietary front air leaf suspension offers a 20 percent improvement in ride, while maintaining the roll stiffness and handling performance of a taperleaf suspension, Peterbilt says; it is available on Models 384, 386, 388 and 389. Meanwhile, the ComfortClass system, available in 63-inch sleeper configurations, provides heating, cooling and 110-volt electrical power for up to 10 hours without running the engine through a combination of batteries and a thermal storage cooler, the company said.

Volvo: Volvo Trucks North America says its 42-inch VHD 430 sleeper cab vocational model is offered as a 6×4, 8×4 and 8×6 truck or tractor and in axle-forward and axle-back configurations. The 118-cubic-feet sleeper’s one-piece design helps minimize noise while providing added insulation, according to the truck maker.

The 15-liter Cummins ISX engine certified for 2010 emissions is now standard in the VN. SAF-Holland’s FWAL aluminum fifth wheel, also available for the VN, is designed for standard-duty applications and is rated for 55,000 pounds maximum vertical load and 150,000 pounds maximum drawbar pull; the FWAL utilizes proprietary NoLube technology designed to create a grease-free fifth wheel.

Volvo is offering Bendix ADB22X heavy-duty air disc brakes on front and rear axles on VNs and VTs with 12,000- to 13,200-lb. front axle ratings and 40,000-lb. rear axle ratings; the disc brakes also can be ordered for front axle only.

Western Star: A daycab conversion kit is designed to convert Stratosphere sleepers into daycabs. Also, new proprietary air disc brakes are suited for premium on-highway and extreme hauling applications and are designed to accommodate weight ratings up to 120,000 lbs. GCW; they are available with all drive axle brands and only in combination with AAC proprietary steer axles.

A 1,875-square-inch on-highway copper brass radiator – the largest in the industry, according to the truck maker – is intended to provide top performance for extreme-duty applications. The radiator, designed to be packaged seamlessly into existing hood envelopes on 4900 SA daycab and sleeper cab models, was built to accommodate added heat generated by 2007 engines.

Almost a foot lower than standard trucks, the 4900 EX and 4900 FA LowMax both are available as either a daycab or sleeper. An updated design includes an improved cooling package featuring a 1,625-square-inch lightweight aluminum radiator with optimized fan technology for improved fuel economy. Improvements made to the front suspension and steering system also have resulted in better handling, Western Star says.
-Dean Smallwood

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