July 1, 2011
Ford Only minor changes are being made to Ford's F-Series Super Duty medium-duty truck line this year, largely due to the major overhaul the vehicles received for the 2011 model year. Chief among the upgrades that occurred last year is the addition of the Ford-designed and built 6.7L Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel engine rated at 390 hp. and 735 lbs.-ft. of torque, which replaced diesel engines


Only minor changes are being made to Ford's F-Series Super Duty medium-duty truck line this year, largely due to the major overhaul the vehicles received for the 2011 model year.

Chief among the upgrades that occurred last year is the addition of the Ford-designed and built 6.7L Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel engine rated at 390 hp. and 735 lbs.-ft. of torque, which replaced diesel engines of the same name formerly supplied by Navistar.

Ford notes that its Power Stroke remains B20 biodiesel compatible, meaning it can be safely operated on a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% regular petroleum diesel.

The manufacturer maintains that its new diesel engine boasts an average 18% improvement in fuel economy for pickup models and up to 25% improvement for chassis cabs versus its 2010 Super Duty models.

The engine and aftertreatment system also meets 2010 federal emissions requirements for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by using a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) supplied by Terra Environmental Technologies under Ford's Motorcraft brand name.

In addition, models equipped with Ford's new 6.2L V8 gasoline engines, which crank out 385 hp. and 405 lbs.-ft. of torque, some 85 more hp., and 40 lbs.-ft. more torque than the OEM's current 5.4L V8 gas engine, will deliver an average 15% fuel economy improvement over the OEM's comparable 2010 models.

New for its 2012 Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks is upgraded towing capacity, resulting from a beefed-up frame and hitch. Ford F-350 and F-450 Super Duty trucks with the Power Stroke diesel engine and dual rear wheels now can tow 17,500 lbs., an increase of 1,500 lbs. versus the 2010 Super Duty models, or some 9% more tow load capacity.

Higher-strength steel in a frame cross-member and an upgraded trailer hitch give the Super Duty additional towing capacity. These specification changes also boosted the F-350 DRW 4×2 pickup maximum payload to 7,070 lbs. and maximum fifth wheel towing to 22,600 lbs.

Ford says the hardware upgrades to the Super Duty complement software upgrades to the powertrain control system of the Power Stroke to make towing even easier.


Freightliner Trucks is now offering a new automated manual transmission (AMT) for its line of medium-duty Business Class M2 trucks. The OEM says the AMT3 transmission combines the design principles of a manual transmission with what it calls “intelligent electronics” to form an automated, two-pedal shift system that “equalizes driver performance and improves fuel economy.”

Unlike automatic transmissions, Freightliner's AMT3 eliminates the torque converter and instead couples the engine to the transmission with a hydraulically actuated clutch, according to T.J. Reed, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks. This innovative clutch actuation results in minimal torque interruption during acceleration and shifting while providing constant lock-up, he notes. In addition, clutch control and gear shifts are managed by the Transmission Control Unit (TCU). Reed says this means that the TCU evaluates road, grade and load conditions to perform shifts at optimal engine rpm, resulting in faster and smoother shifting — and significant fuel savings.

Reed also says the AMT3 should significantly reduce wear, virtually eliminating the need to replace the clutch over the lifetime of the truck. At the same time, lightweight materials, such as the AMT3's aluminum housing, help increase fuel efficiency. “With the Freightliner AMT3, we have created yet another tool that will reduce fuel and maintenance costs to positively impact the bottom line,” Reed adds.

Expected to be listed as a published option starting late this year or early next is a Dometic battery-based, engine-off truck cooling unit in Business Class M2 day cabs. Initially, the split-system cooling unit will be installed at the OEM's own post-delivery and inspection facilities, according to Dometic. The maker says it is designed to deliver 5,000 Btu/hr. of cooling with a 1.5-hr. run-time and meets all federal, local and CARB emissions requirements. Dometic will provide training for personnel who will be installing and servicing the cooling units.


An all-electric walk-in van (WIV) is the big news this year from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC). The van was developed jointly with bodymaker Morgan Olson and powered by Enova Systems' 120kW all-electric drive system technology.

This model is based on the FCCC MT chassis and is named the MT-EV WIV. FCCC said it partnered with Morgan Olson to develop a ground-breaking body style to provide further benefits to the delivery van owner as well as the driver.

The body is built with lightweight, durable composites that are completely recyclable; the interior of the cab features an automotive-style interior, maximizing driver comfort and productivity and allowing for improved aerodynamics without giving up the functionality of the vehicle, FCCC says.

The MT-EV WIV chassis offers GVWRs ranging from 14,000 to 19,500 lbs. and features a durable steel straight-rail chassis frame construction that reduces flex and bowing to minimize stress while carrying heavy payloads. It also features a flat-leaf spring front and rear suspension, allowing for a smooth, solid ride that minimizes cargo shifts on uneven road surfaces.

Morgan Olson's body features a one-piece bonded windshield that allows for outstanding visibility, yet one that also takes into account wind flow over the hood, cab, headlamps and mirrors of the body. This helps to boost its aerodynamic profile, further improving upon the vehicle's efficiency.

The instrumentation panel within the cab incorporates automotive styling and adds additional features that constantly monitor the EV operating system to provide the driver information such as battery state-of-charge data. Also, the vehicle performance gauge is included to assist the driver in the operation of the vehicle.

The full-feature gauge and informational display includes a larger messaging center display area, prognostic information, and is completely sealed to fully protect it from dust and water projected from backsplash. The larger messaging center display area enables easier reading of fault codes and maintenance notifications.

Rather than relying on predetermined maintenance schedules, the incorporation of prognostic information provides the driver critical up-to-the-minute maintenance information such as the life of the engine, transmission, oil and filters, FCCC notes. The MT-EV uses Enova Systems' 120kW all-electric drive system technology, Tesla Motors' lithium-ion batteries, and is 100% electric, including its HVAC system, says FCCC.

Battery packs provide up to a 100-mi. driving range on a single charge and can be fully recharged in six to eight hours. In addition, the vehicle charging system is incorporated into the overall operating system so no exterior devices are required to charge the truck.

The regenerative braking system reduces friction during braking, resulting in less brake wear and extended brake life, FCCC notes. The system recycles and stores energy, and then reuses it to propel the vehicle instead of losing it to heat, as is the case with traditional brakes.


The big news from Hino Trucks USA, a division of Toyota, is not only the re-emergence of a cabover engine (COE) model for its medium-duty lineup, but a diesel-electric hybrid model cabover as well.

Hino will offer four models of the newly designed Class 4 and Class 5 COE trucks: the Class 4 Model 155 and 155h (with the ‘h’ indicating the hybrid model) and the Class 5 Model 195 and 195h.

The 155 and 155h models will carry a 14,500 lb. GVW rating, while the 195 and 195h carry a 19,500 lb. GVW rating. All of those COE models will be powered by Hino's J05E Series 5L diesel engine, rated at 210 hp. and 440 lbs.-ft. of torque mated to an Aisin A465 6-spd. automatic transmission.

Hino added that its COE models feature an ergonomically friendly wide cab with a North American standard 33-in. frame rail width; a 56,900 psi frame; and a standard center mounted rear fuel tank. Inside, the new cab uses its increased width to provide room for drivers up to 6 ft. 6 in. tall, seating for three, and a versatile mobile workspace with a variety of organizational storage options. A crew cab version is expected to be available in the near future.

Those new COE models join Hino's existing conventional lineup (the 258, 268 and 338), which is also undergoing changes as well.

For example, the 2012 33,000-lb. GVW Hino model 338 is powered by a J08E series 8L diesel engine producing 260 hp. and 660 lbs.-ft. of torque, 13% more than the 2011 version. The 338 also comes with a 5-yr./250,000-mi. warranty and standard features such as powder-coated frame rails, diesel engine exhaust brake, and Allison automatic transmission.

Hino has expanded the optional equipment list to accommodate more vocational needs as well, including a combination of a clean cab-to-axle (CA) and an Allison 2500 transmission with shift energy management (SEM) for straight truck beverage delivery fleets, while municipalities and utility service companies have options for 14,000-lb. front axle, front frame extension, and 120,000-psi frames.

Finally, the truck maker has rolled out Hino Insight, powered by Webtech Wireless, which is a telematics solution designed to provide fleets with efficiencies and improvements to safety and security.


Navistar International Corp. says it has received certification from the Environmental Protection Agency for its 2011 MaxxForce DT midrange diesel engine at 0.39 g/bhp-hr. The certification indicates that Navistar has reduced its emissions 22% from the original 0.5 certification. The OEM, which uses Advanced EGR plus engine credits to meet EPA emissions levels, must still lower its emissions output to the 0.2 g/bhp-hr. standard before its available credits expire. The company also says it has submitted its MaxxForce 13 for certification at the 0.2 g NOx standard. According to Navistar, it will continue to phase in lower emissions engines over the next several years.

The OEM is now offering a 4×4 version of its TerraStar medium-duty truck, which debuted last year as a 4×2. “With the addition of a 4×4 model, the TerraStar is poised to win over an even broader range of customers with more severe demands,” contends Jim Hebe, senior vice president-North American sales operations.

He also notes that Navistar is offering a broader range of alternative-fueled vehicles for the medium-duty market, including an International DuraStar Hybrid and a DuraStar model powered by either compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG) natural gas powertrain.

The natural gas option comes via a conversion program. According to Navistar, a kit developed by Emissions Solutions Inc. (ESI) allows DuraStar conversions ranging from 175-300 hp. with 460-860 lbs.-ft. of torque and will support either liquefied or compressed natural gas. Navistar adds that the natural gas-powered DuraStar will be fully certified to meet EPA 2010 emissions.

In addition, Navistar notes it will also make available an ESI natural gas conversion kit, and either frame- or back-of-cab mounted natural gas tanks for customers ordering an International WorkStar model with DT 466 engine. The truck can be ordered through its Truck Specialty Center.

The OEM says features have been added to its vocational trucks “to improve the driver experience” in the waste collection field. Navistar says driver productivity is improved with a stair-step entry/exit system for DuraStar and WorkStar trucks. Buyers may spec either of these trucks with stand-up, right-hand drive configurations. In addition, improved cab ergonomics help boost productivity by decreasing operator fatigue, the OEM adds.


One of the big additions to the 2012 model lineup from Isuzu Commercial Truck of America is a gasoline-powered option for its N-Series low cab forward medium-duty trucks, an option that hasn't been available from Isuzu for over two years.

The new 2012 N-Gas models that complement the existing diesel-powered options will be powered by a Vortec 6.0L small-block V8 engine that produces 297 hp. at 4,300 rpm and generates 372 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The new gasoline engine is mated to a 6-spd. automatic transmission with double overdrive and lock-up torque converter for enhanced fuel economy and performance. Previous N-Series gasoline models offered only a 4-spd. automatic.

N-Series models getting the gas option include the NPR (12,000-lb. GVWR) single cab in wheelbases of 109, 132.5, 150 and 176 in.; the NPR crew cab in wheelbases of 150 and 176 in.; the NPR-HD (14,500-lb. GVWR) single cab in wheelbases on 109, 132.5, 150 and 176 in.; and NPR-HD crew cab in wheelbases of 150 and 176 in.

Another new option being offered is a telematics system called Fleet Director, which is provided by Teletrac. Designed to help fleet managers and dispatchers track vehicle usage in real time, Fleet Director sends detailed vehicle and driver performance reports that are accessible from any Internet-connected computer.

The system is backed by a 3-yr./unlimited-mileage warranty and is available for 2011 and 2012 NPR-HD, NQR and NRR models as either a port- or dealer-installed option. Availability for 2011 and 2012 NPR Eco-Max and 2012 N-Gas models will follow at a later date, the company says.

Isuzu says fleet managers can view the analytics generated by Fleet Director for the entire fleet, by any group of trucks the user selects, or even by single vehicle and driver via customizable “dashboard-style” screen views that allow the user to summarize monitoring of various areas on a single screen. The company notes that this telematics system can generate up to 18 management reports that document vehicle location, operational status, mileage, speed, and idle


Kenworth Truck Co. has added a 6×6 configuration for its T370 medium-duty truck. The application-specific model, according to chief engineer Preston Feight, has a factory-installed front drive axle available in ratings ranging from 10,000 lbs. to 16,000 lbs. The 6×6 will be equipped with a 40,000 lb.-rated rear suspension. Initially, the Chalmers series 854-40 suspension will be offered, followed by the addition of the Hendrickson Primaax EX rear air suspension later this year.

T370 66× customers can choose either the Paccar PX-6 or PX-8 engine. Feight notes that the truck “builds upon the 44× configuration introduced for the T270 and T370” last year.

“This new offering will benefit operators running utility service, construction, oilfield service and boom trucks, in addition to municipal applications, such as fire and emergency vehicles,” adds Feight. “Customers get a great medium-duty truck for applications that require a heavier front axle and tandem rear axle to get the job done.”

Kenworth is also offering Hendrickson's Primaax EX rear air suspension on both the Kenworth T270 and T370 front drive axle-equipped medium-duty models.

The T440, the OEM's newest model, was rolled out last year. This heavy Class 7 to light Class 8 model continues to be offered as a truck or tractor model and is targeted at various vocational work-truck applications as well as for regional, P&D and municipal fleet operations.

According to KW, its NavPlus in-dash technology platform, which is available on all Class 5-8 trucks, is being enhanced with mobile connectivity as Sprint is integrating its network into the NavPlus system. NavPlus includes truck-specific navigation, vehicle data, hands-free phone options, audio controls, camera inputs, roadside assistance and optional Internet access. It comes with a high-resolution, 7-in. color screen and 8 gigabytes of memory. It is standard on all premium trim offerings and optional on all others. NavPlus is built on the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform and is expandable, notes the OEM.


Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America (MFTA) is rolling out a new 4-door Canter FE160 crew cab addition for its 2012 model lineup. The beefed up 15,995-lb. GVWR vehicle offers a longer maximum body length of 129 ft. to give the Canter FE the capability to carry a crew of seven, plus a substantial amount of gear.

MFTA added that it has refined the 2012 Canter's instrument panel, adding a digital display that gives the operator every detail of vehicle operation, fluid level and system status at a glance. The cab is fully trimmed with more interior space, a full bench seat second row, and increased storage area.

For the 2012 model year, MFTA said it has combined a new engine, new transmission, and new emissions treatment system into the FE160 crew cab's standard powertrain. The company says its Canter FE160 crew cab provides smooth, efficient operation and car-like drivability with its new 4P10 dual-overhead-cam, dual-balance-shaft, dual-turbocharged, intercooled 4-cyl. diesel engine coupled to an advanced Mitsubishi Fuso 6-spd. demonic transmission.

The emissions control system components are sourced from Daimler Trucks North America, specifically the company's BlueTec emissions control package, which combines SCR technology with a diesel particulate filter to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards.

Dual-caliper, hydraulically actuated disc brakes with vacuum servo assist and ABS are standard at all four wheels of the FE160. A drum/driveline internal-expanding-shoe type is used for the parking brake.

MFTA has completely restyled all of its Canter FE models for 2012, adding a larger windshield and deeply sculpted door windows to improve the aesthetic profile and driver visibility. The company noted that line of sight from the driver's eye level to the street in front of the Canter FE is only 8 ft., compared to up to 25 ft. for a conventional Class 4 truck. In addition, compact halogen headlamps allow sculpted fender profiles, but their greatest contribution is “improved nighttime visibility.”

The FE Canter cab now sports a smooth V-shaped frontal surface joined almost seamlessly with the side panels and grille for the 2012 model year, not only lending an air of refined styling but also helping reduce wind noise. Even the engine air intake uses a noise-reducing snorkel design with dry paper element to help make the cabin quieter and less fatiguing for the driver and up to six passengers, the company says.

For better visibility, MFTA is offering standard split door mirrors with convex surface mirroring on the lower section to increase the driver's view of objects adjacent to the vehicle. The doors still sport the company's unique offset hinge, which opens to 70 deg., then pushes forward several inches. The result for drivers and passengers is access equal to a 90-deg. opening, but with limited extension of the door into traffic or curb-side obstructions.

The FE160 crew cab has a 169.3 in. or 187.0 in. wheelbase for the 2012 model year, accommodating 12 to 19 ft. bodies.

Daytime running lights are standard, and doors include internal crush bars to help increase frontal-impact protection. Extra storage compartments are available in the cab area and an enclosed storage area is available under the rear seat.

The full line of Canter FE and FG models for 2012 include a 3-yr./unlimited mileage bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 4-yr./unlimited mileage rust-through warranty, and an exclusive 5-yr./175,000-mi. powertrain limited warranty. The 5-yr. warranty includes most bolt-on components as well as “wetted” driveline components.


Peterbilt Motors Co. has expanded its medium-duty powertrain options, including all wheel drive (AWD) capabilities, with the Paccar PX-8 diesel engine. “The PX-8 engine partnered with all wheel drive provides customers maximum power and performance for utility, municipality and vocational applications,” says general manager Bill Jackson. “The combination also provides enhanced fuel economy, durability and overall low cost of operation.”

The PX-8 engine with AWD capabilities is available on Peterbilt Models 337 and 348. The Model 337 is available in both truck and tractor configurations with a GVW of 26,000 to 35,000 lbs. Both the 337 and 348 AWD models are also available with the Paccar PX-6 engine and can be spec'd with either an Eaton Fuller manual or Allison automatic transmission.

The Model 337 is Pete's flagship medium-duty offering. Rolled out last year, it replaced the Model 335. It can also be ordered with a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain.

Also out for just a year is Pete's Model 348 midrange truck. It replaced the Model 340 and is again being offered as a truck or tractor. Its GVWR starts at 35,000 lbs. and it comes powered by the Paccar PX-8 diesel engine.
Workhorse Custom Chassis, a Navistar company,

Ram Trucks

The 2012 Ram chassis cab medium-duty truck models are getting beefed up to offer more payload and towing capability, along with some other upgrades as well.

For starters, the 2012 Ram 4500 and 5500 medium-duty Class 4 and 5 chassis cab commercial truck models will be available with an optional 30,000-lb. GCWR (an increase from 26,000 lbs.) and an upgrade that's part of an optional “max tow” package available on both regular and crew cab models and in 4×2 and 4×4 configurations.

The Ram max tow package includes a new transfer case gear set and chain and sprocket upgrades, recalibrated transmission software, and an enhanced collection of thermal management devices, according to the company.

The 2012 Ram 3500 model chassis cab truck comes standard with a 5.7L Hemi V8 and new 6-spd. automatic transmission to increase GCWR to 20,000 lbs. (a 3,000-lb. increase) while delivering 383 hp. and 400 lbs.-ft. of torque. The 6.7L Cummins turbocharged diesel engine is an option for these models as well; it can crank out 305 hp. at 2,900 rpm with 610 lbs.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm.

The beefier Ram 4500 and 5500 medium-duty models come standard with the Cummins diesel, along with an optional Aisin 6-spd. automatic transmission and 4.88 rear-axle ratio. A 4.44 axle is standard on 4500 models and not available with the max tow package. A class-exclusive 6-spd. manual transmission is standard on Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cab models.

The 30,000-lb. GCWR gives the Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cab a 4,000-lb. increase in trailer-towing capabilities, up to a maximum of 22,300 lbs. if those trucks come equipped with a 6-spd. automatic transmission.

Ram said it will continue to maintain what it calls “upfit friendliness” via the chassis standard 34-in. frame rail spacing and flat, clean frame rails on a proven one-piece C-channel rear-frame rail boasting 50,000-psi steel strength. All chassis components are below the frame surface allowing easy adaptability and versatility for virtually any upfit application, the company said.

Last year, Ram introduced four all-new upfitter switches with one fused 20 amp battery feed and one fused relay-controlled 20 amp ignition integrated on the instrument panel and linked to an auxiliary power distribution center (PDC) located under the hood.

In addition to these feeds, the PDC supports four new customizable switches. Two switches are ignition-fed and the remaining two are either battery or ignition. Switch outputs are found under the hood in a connector for further ease of upfit. A seven-circuit trailer harness and a special upfitter jumper cable — a wiring harness for ancillary power needs — remain standard.

Another new addition for 2012 is a customer-selectable maximum speed governor. Ram said its chassis cabs can be ordered with it from the factory or it can be programmed by a dealer at no charge with 55, 60, 65, 70 or 75 mph speed limits. The company noted its Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cab trucks both have a standard top speed of 87 mph, which it believes is important for fire, ambulance, and other safety and rescue truck roles.

Smith Electric Vehicles

New battery technology is the main upgrade to Smith Electric Vehicles' Newton this year. Smith contracted with A123 Systems, the developer and manufacturer of advanced nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries and systems, to integrate its 5 kW/hr. automotive-class prismatic modules into the Smith Newton's battery packs in the second half of 2011.

The Newton is an all-electric medium-duty Class 4-7 truck that delivers a top speed of 55 mph and a range of 50 to 120 mi. on a single charge. Models range from 7.5 tons (16,535 GVWR) to 15 tons (33,000 GVWR). The Newton also offers a payload of over 16,000 lbs., making it ideal for urban delivery operations, the company says.

“We selected A123 Systems as a strategic supplier of lithium-ion battery technology because it offers cost-competitive, high-quality solutions that meet the performance, safety and life requirements for our electric vehicles,” says Bryan Hansel, Smith Electric Vehicle's president & CEO.

“The highly scalable, building-block design of A123's modules also enables us to build customized battery packs to meet individual customers' range specifications,” he adds. “This allows our customers to maximize the performance of their electric vehicles while realizing a faster return on investment.”

Smith's current customer lineup includes Frito-Lay (a division of PepsiCo), Staples, Coca-Cola, and U.K. grocers Sainsbury's and Dairy Crest, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps. www.smithelectric. com

UD Trucks

Not much is going to change for the 2012 models produced by UD Trucks North America (UDNA). The single biggest change is the addition of a rear engine mounted power take off (PTO) as a dealer-installed option.

The company offers seven different models in the U.S. market with GVWs ranging from 17,995 lbs. all the way up to 32,900 lbs.: the UD1800, UD200, YD23DH, UD23LP, UD2600, UD26LP, and UD3300. UDNA's trucks all come equipped with a 7L GH7 diesel engine that was jointly developed with Volvo Powertrain Development. It can crank out from 245 to 280 hp. and is equipped with an SCR-based exhaust aftertreatment system.

UDNA noted its cab and interior were completely redesigned for the 2011 model year, adding more legroom and driver comfort upgrades, as well as the addition of a wide variety of transmission options, including the Allison 3000 Series automatic.


Workhorse Custom Chassis, a Navistar company, has added no new models since its year-ago production launch of the W62 step van chassis. It is powered by a GM Vortec 6.0L gasoline engine that the OEM says delivers better than 20% fuel economy improvement over the larger Vortec 8.1L gasoline engine it replaced. According to Workhorse, the engine uses variable valve timing (VVT) that enables the powertrain to take advantage of late intake valve closing for greater efficiency.

VVT allows a previously unattainable mix of low-rpm, even torque delivery over a broad range of engine speeds, and free-breathing high-rev horsepower, notes Workhorse, which states the resulting benefits are considerable. This includes a cam phaser that maximizes engine performance for given demands and conditions. At idle, the cam is moved to an advanced position, allowing exceptionally smooth idling. And under other operating demands, the phaser adjusts to deliver optimal valve timing for performance, drivability and fuel economy. At high rpm it might retard timing to maximize airflow through the engine and increase horsepower, the OEM points out, while at low rpm it advances timing to increase torque. Under a light load, it can retard timing at all engine speeds to improve fuel economy. It also helps control exhaust emissions because it manages valve overlap at optimum levels and eliminates the need for an exhaust gas recirculation system, according to the OEM.

The GM Vortec 6.0L powerplant is mated to the Allison 1000 HS automatic transmission. The GVWR of the W62 chassis ranges from 19,500 to 23,500 lbs. It is also offered with the EPA 2010-compliant International MaxxForce 7 diesel.

Workhorse's latest W42 step van chassis is powered by the GM Vortec 4.8L gasoline engine, which also boasts variable valve timing as well as extended maintenance intervals, notes the OEM. The 4.8L engine is mated to the GM Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-spd. automatic transmission.

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