CLASS 3 - 7medium

DODGE After a spate of new offerings last year, the Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs medium-duty trucks won't undergo much change for 2009. The 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs feature one of the largest standard fuel tanks in the segment (52 gal.) and feature increased power takeoff (PTO) pump ratings a 55% increase in gallons per minute to provide more power for pumps, lifts and hydraulic use.


After a spate of new offerings last year, the Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs medium-duty trucks won't undergo much change for 2009.

The 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs feature one of the largest standard fuel tanks in the segment (52 gal.) and feature increased power takeoff (PTO) pump ratings — a 55% increase in gallons per minute to provide more power for pumps, lifts and hydraulic use.

The 4500 and 5500 — with their gross vehicle weight ratings topping out at 14,000 and 19,500 lbs., respectively — also come with an all-new ambulance prep package for the 2009 model year, enabling easy upfit for ambulance body builders.

This all-new prep package includes a Cummins-specific battery voltage monitoring system with automatic idle control.

Other new product features include a Cummins 6.7L diesel engine option (automatic transmission only) that will now be available with remote start. Both are offered in dual-rear-wheel models and four cab-axle lengths (60, 84, 108 and 120 in.), in 4×2, 4×4, dual-rear-wheel, regular and quad cab configurations.

A 6-spd. automatic transmission with PTO is available for these models, along with a 6-spd. manual transmission, also featuring PTO capability. An available electronic-shift transfer case is offered, as is a factory-installed exhaust brake.

Bringing even more “big rig” feel, commercial capability and enhanced safety, the brake system on the 3500 chassis cab is upgraded with larger rotors and calipers and thicker brake pads, while its standard GCWR has been increased to 24,000 lbs.

The 3500's all-new brakes are upsized to provide more stopping power, increased brake-pad life and improved fuel economy.

To improve stopping power, front and rear rotor sizes are increased 2% to 360 mm on the front and 358 mm for the rear. In addition, front calipers are upsized 7% to include large, twin 60 mm pistons for maximum stopping power. New brake pads are 14% thicker (12.5 mm) with a 36% larger surface area (99 sq. cm). The 3500's new brakes also help reduce brake drag, which results in a fuel economy improvement of 0.5 mpg, said the OEM.

Dodge Ram 3500s also feature a new 5.7L next-generation Hemi V8 with VVT (variable valve timing) that will appeal to fleets requiring a gas engine. The new engine incorporates a 9% higher compression ratio (10.5:1) and an active intake manifold. These technologies, combined with engine and powertrain integration improvements, result in a 4% improvement in fuel economy. Preliminary results also show peak torque increases 8% to 404 lbs.-ft. and peak power increases 15% to 380 hp. At 2,000 rpm, torque improves 6% to 350 lbs.-ft.


Few changes are going to be made to the F-Series Super Duty for 2009, as Ford completely revamped its medium-duty lineup last year. The F-Series Super Duty still features a new 6.4L, power stroke V8 turbocharged diesel engine built by Navistar with a beefed up towing capacity of 24,000 lbs. and maximum payload of more than 6,000 lbs.

The F-450 model now incorporates a rear leaf-spring suspension while using the radius arm front suspension. This setup provides for the tightest turning radius in its class, greatly improving maneuverability when towing. The engine delivers 350 hp. at 3,000 rpm and 650 lbs.-ft. of torque (on the F-250 and F-350) starting at 2,000 rpm. Transmission choices include a 6-spd. manual with overdrive or a TorqShift 5-spd. automatic. On the gasoline side, a 5.4L, three-valve SOHC Triton V8 gas engine is offered with 6-spd. manual transmission.

Ford is making some updates to its E-Series line of medium-duty vans for 2009, including a redesigned instrument panel and console, door trim panels with more storage, built-in auxiliary switches users can customize, wider-opening rear doors, and more comfortable seats. The center console doubles the usable storage space of the previous version — and now includes three larger cup holders.

Four new optional user-defined switches on the dashboard are also included as well as a more efficient wiring harness, which makes it easier for upfitters to integrate aftermarket features.

A message center is available in E-Series vans and wagons that feature standard vehicle maintenance information and miles-to-empty and fuel economy numbers.

The message center is standard on vans equipped with the 6.0L, power stroke V8 turbodiesel engine and includes an engine-hour meter that keeps a running total of engine use.

The company is rolling out a new package of products called Ford Work Solutions for its F-Series Super Duty XL, XLT and FX4 and E-Series trucks — a collection of technologies aimed at making business and fleet owners more productive and successful.

Ford Work Solutions include: an in-dash computer developed with Magneti Marelli and powered by Microsoft Auto that provides high-speed Internet access via the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network and navigation by Garmin; Tool Link, a radio-frequency identification (RFID) asset tracking system developed with Dewalt and ThingMagic to maintain a detailed real-time inventory of tools or equipment stored in the vehicle; Crew Chief, a fleet telematics and diagnostics system; and a cable lock security system developed in partnership with Master Lock.

The chassis and suspension improvements have also resulted in an increase in the maximum GVWR from 14,050 to 14,500 lbs. Additionally, the maximum front GAWR is increased by about 10%, from 4,600 to 5,000 lbs.


Freightliner Trucks' newest medium-duty Business Class model is the M2e Hybrid drop-frame truck. It was engineered specifically to deliver fuel savings and reduced emissions in beverage fleets, according to the OEM, which said the truck is also ideal for utility, P&D and power-takeoff (PTO) applications. The Class 6 truck is powered with the Eaton medium-duty hybrid diesel-electric system.

“Freightliner engineered a vehicle more conducive to sustainability,” says Melissa Kellogg, director of product marketing. “Our customers want a better business tool that improves efficiency and environmental stewardship.”

Freightliner's hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) design, which features a diesel engine coupled with an electric motor/generator and batteries, works in line with the engine and transmission enabling operation with electric or diesel power either separately or together, according to Freightliner. “The M2 106 can boast up to a 30% savings in fuel consumption and up to an 87% reduction in idling time,” says Mark Lloyd, market development manager for Eaton, which developed and supplied the hybrid electric system for Freightliner Trucks.

The OEM points out that an added benefit of reduced idling and subsequent lower emissions is that the M2 106 produces less noise, allowing for quieter loading and unloading in urban settings. Freightliner engineers also maximized the 12-bay beverage body space by mounting most of the integrated hybrid components underneath and behind the cab. “We designed the M2 106 Hybrid to maximize capacity so that our beverage customers could haul larger quantities,” Kellogg says.

Ideal for easy access to cargo and featuring simplified loading and unloading, the drop-frame truck maximizes load capacity while maintaining superior maneuverability, visibility and driver comfort, states the OEM. Like all M2 models, the truck has an aerodynamic aluminum cab and offers a 55-deg. wheel cut, sloped hood and a 2,500-sq.-in. windshield for excellent visibility and increased safety.

The M2 106 Hybrid originally entered the market as a prototype at a 2006 truck show and then traveled across the U.S. to customers interested in testing it within their fleets. The OEM said the M2 106 Hybrid is available for order.

Freightliner Trucks has not as yet made any other major product announcements for its medium-duty models.


The biggest changes to the MT-45 and MT-55 walk-in van chassis built by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) deal with the rapid rise in quotes for hybrid and compressed natural gas (CNG) powered models, in fact, outstripping the number of quotes for the company's standard diesel-powered chassis, says Mike Stark, FCCC's senior technical sales manager.

FCCC says that under federal incentive programs its hybrid trucks may be eligible for up to $4,500 in tax credits, while a CNG-powered chassis can get up to $25,000 in tax credits. “With those tax credits and diesel at $5/gal., fleets using CNG-powered walk-in vans get a return on investment [ROI] in less than a year,” notes Stark. “For the hybrid models, we're still aiming to get down to a three- to five-year ROI — and we're much closer to that with diesel reaching $5/gal.”

The MT-45 and MT-55 hybrid models are powered by a Cummins ISB 5.9L diesel meeting EPA 2007 emissions requirements and Eaton hybrid technology with lithium-ion batteries. The Eaton system features a new low-profile hybrid drive unit that provides a completely flat floor in the driver compartment without any cab modifications. The diesel-hybrid package offers a 40% improvement in fuel economy and a 90% reduction in emissions compared to non-hybrid vehicles, according to FCCC. The CNG trucks use the Cummins D Gas Plus engine, producing 195 hp. and feature twin aluminum fuel cylinders that provide a fuel range of up to 275 mi.

MT-45 and MT-45 SR (Straight Rail) medium-duty chassis offer a GVW rating between 14,140 and 19,000 lbs. The significant difference between the MT-45 and MT-45 SR is in the 8-in. tall steel straight-rail frame chassis, designed to enhance overall strength and reliability. It can accept bodies up to 22 ft. in load length and volumes up to 950 cu. ft. and has a payload capacity of 10,000 lbs., plus a 50-deg. wheel cut for greater maneuverability. The standard engine for both the MT-45 and MT-45 SR is the Mercedes-Benz MBE900 170-hp. diesel engine, with Allison 1000 Series automatic transmissions as standard equipment, as well as multiplex instrumentation wiring with full diagnostics and a heavy-duty TRW steering column. The MT-55 is a bigger version of the MT-45, offering a larger GVWR of 20,500 to 30,000 lbs. Both the MT-45 and MT-55 are offered with an optional 190-hp. MBE 900 4.8L engine that cranks out 520 lbs.-ft. of torque.


The big medium-duty product news this year is the rollout of the 4500 model cutaway version of the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express commercial vans. These Class 4 trucks are supported by a stronger chassis that enables a 14,200-lbs. GVW with lower mass — giving them a “best-in-class” payload rating of 9,100 lbs., according to GM.

The new 4500 models are Class 4 units that “fill out the line” for GMC and Chevrolet medium-duty offerings, says John Gaydash, director of marketing for GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “The new 4500 chassis brings real choice to Class 4 customers, with great capability, exceptional engineering and numerous best-in-class attributes,” he says. “And we are the only OEM to offer an emissions-compliant V8 diesel in this GVW category.”

The Express/Savana 4500 is offered with a gas V8 and GM's 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel V8. A Hydra-Matic HD 4L85E electronically controlled 4-spd. automatic transmission backs both available engines. It was designed for the heavy-duty use of commercial cutaway vans and features a brazed torque converter turbine, induction-hardened turbine shaft, five-pinion reaction and output gear carriers, and improved overrun roller clutch. With a new, strong frame and robust powertrains, the 4500 offers up to 20,000-lbs. GCWR for exceptional towing capability, says GM. Each model comes with a 5-yr./100,000-mi. limited powertrain warranty.

Unique frame enhancements, chassis design details and drivetrain features deliver flexibility in a single platform, according to the OEM, while the 4500's body structure is designed to handle the extreme duty cycle encountered by many cutaway vehicles. Key features include a new rear axle with reinforced housing, gears and axle tubes, a high-capacity rear spring assembly, rear stabilizer bar and an enhanced parking brake system with thicker rear brake rotors for improved heat dissipation.

Any 4500 chassis (except school bus applications) spec'd with the 14,200-lbs. GVWR and Duramax diesel engine receives a 57-gal. rear-mounted fuel tank that was designed with input from upfitters. The tank is mounted lower on the chassis, providing a flat mounting position for ambulance bodies, etc. The tank's fuel sender and all fuel lines have been upgraded to meet B5 biodiesel performance requirements.

All other General Motors medium-duty models are expected to continue unchanged into the new model year. These are the conventional Chevy Kodiak and GMC TopKick as well as the Chevrolet and GMC T-Series and W-Series


For the 2009 model year, Hino Trucks will offer Eaton's Ultrashift highway value (HV) transmission in select Class 6 and 7 chassis, along with an extended cab option available for all of its platforms. Hino says its 268A and 338 models can be equipped with the Eaton Ultrashift HV, designed for Class 6 and 7 trucks up to 33,000 lbs. GVW, with diesel engines delivering up to 260 hp. The Ultrashift HV also features a lubed-for-life design with no scheduled maintenance, no filters to change, and an automatic hill assist to reduce rollback.

All Hino models can now be equipped with an optional 30-in. extended cab version, side windows with operating vents, and a fully trimmed Hino interior. The outside is constructed using corrosion-resistant composite materials, the company says. “We can now offer the same Hino advantages our customers have grown to expect to owner-operators and fleets who require the additional cab room,” says Glenn Ellis, Hino's national manager for marketing and dealer development. “The 30-in. cab extension has the same cab height as our standard cab, making for a comfortable, roomy interior for drivers and passengers alike.”

The base model has no seating, with an optional full-width bench seat in black vinyl, or a 26-in. day bunk with foam mattress and under-bunk storage. Hino offers six conventional truck models: the 145, 165, 185, 238, 268 and 338, with GVW ratings ranging from 14,050 to 33,000 lbs. and are equipped with Hino's J-Series 5L or 8L engines, which offer horsepower ratings of 175 to 260.

Standard features for 2009 models include a new cab interior color scheme; exhaust brake; aluminum fuel tanks; powder-coated steel wheels (not available on 145 model); programmable idle shutdown; and new chip resistant coated bumper. New factory order cab configurations now include the extended cab, right-hand drive standup, and dual steer sit down style.

Optional features include a 120-psi frame available for all 338 wheelbase options; air suspension on MDT hydraulic models; power locks packaged with power windows; differential lock on 21,000-lb.-capacity rear axle including 268A; and additional rear axle ratio options

Also, all of Hino's truck models now come standard with an air tank, even if the truck uses hydraulic brakes. That's because all trucks will be equipped with an air-controlled butterfly valve engine brake to help manage exhaust backpressure and engine heat while offering a way to slow the vehicle without using the brakes.


International has rolled out the medium-duty DuraStar Hybrid diesel-electric truck. Already in production, the DuraStar improves fuel economy by 30% to 40% in city P&D applications, and by more than 60% in utility-type applications where the engine is completely shut off so crews can operate equipment such as aerial booms solely on electric power from the vehicle's battery reserve, says the OEM. International notes that in such applications, the diesel engine restarts roughly every two hours to recharge the battery pack.

“Hybrids are the wave of the future,” says Steve Guillaume, gm of medium truck group for International, “and we are in full-scale line production of our hybrid truck. We expect to sell not only [hybrids for] utility applications but also P&D trucks and beverage truck and tractor models. We are moving beyond the initial ‘bucket truck’ application.”

Another new medium-duty model is even more job-specific. The International RouteMax, developed jointly with Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies, will be offered exclusively with Johnson truck bodies. This alternative to reefer units for transport refrigeration relies on the charging of “cold plates.” RouteMax features a self-powered, extended-route cold plate refrigeration system used exclusively in Johnson truck bodies.

The RouteMax charges the cold plates — coated steel plates with tubing that contains a salt-brine solution — to provide an efficient way to maintain a cool temperature inside the truck body, says International.

While a traditional cold plate refrigeration system requires an overnight plug-in to refreeze the salt brine, the RouteMax's plates are recharged during the route by a condensing unit that quickly restores the body's internal temperature and removes heat from the cold plates.

The power to charge the condensing unit comes from International's Diamond Logic PowerPack 3 — the first factory-installed, 3,000-watt AC power solution in the truck industry, notes the OEM. PowerPack 3 offers fully integrated, on-demand power. It is also available on DuraStar and WorkStar truck models.

No major changes have been announced for the other trucks in the International medium-duty range, including the cabover CityStar, CF500 and CF600 models and the 4100, 4300 and 4400 Series conventional trucks.


Navistar's purchase of General Motor's medium-duty business is going to change how Isuzu approaches the U.S. medium-duty market, but this shouldn't affect its 2009 product lineup.

According to John Gaydash, marketing director for GM Fleet & Commercial Operations, GM still has about two more years to go in its agreement with Isuzu, which is more than enough time to plan an orderly transition.

In September of last year, Isuzu dissolved its joint venture with GM that had been responsible for the sales and marketing of Isuzu-built trucks in the U.S. since 2001. Isuzu switched to distributing its low-cab-forward (LCF) vehicles directly to both its Isuzu dealer network and GM's network of Chevrolet and GMC medium-duty dealers.

While the move marked the end of General Motors Isuzu Commercial Truck LLC, the trucks themselves didn't change — and neither will its low-cab-forward models following the deal between Navistar and GM. Isuzu will still deliver its Class 3-5 trucks badged as the N-Series for Isuzu dealers and the W-Series for GMC and Chevy dealers. Diesel-powered versions of those trucks will still be manufactured in Japan, while gasoline-powered models will continue to be assembled in the U.S. Isuzu is also directly distributing its Class 5-7 F-Series to its 200 U.S. Isuzu dealers.

GMC/Chevrolet versions of that medium-duty cab remain badged the T-Series for now.

The long-serving N-Series line of LCFs received a big makeover for the 2008 model year, so little will change on the 2009 models.

Horsepower now sits at 205 at 2,400 rpm for the 5.2L overhead cam, 4HK1-TC turbocharged, intercooled diesel engine, with torque getting a similar boost to 441 lbs.-ft. at 1,850 rpm. That engine covers GVW ranges from 12,000 to 19,500 lbs. and has a B10 durability rating of 310,000 mi.

An Aisin A465 heavy-duty, 6-spd. automatic with double overdrive or 6-spd. manual transmission is available with the 5.2L diesel.

Producing 325 hp. and 360 lbs.-ft. of torque, a General Motors gasoline Vortec 6.0L V8 utilizes the Hydra-Matic 4L80 4-spd. automatic.

N-Series diesel models include the NPR, NPR HD and NQR in regular or crew cab models, and NRR. The gasoline engine is available on the NPR and NPR HD models.

Available in four different wheelbases, the N-Series can accommodate truck bodies ranging from 10- to 20-ft. long, and body/payload combinations weighing between 6,829 and 9,411 lbs.


Kenworth Truck Co. has expanded its medium-duty offerings into the Class 5 arena with the T170 straight truck, which is offered in a 4×2 configuration with a GVWR of 19,500 lbs. Standard power is provided by a Paccar PX-6 diesel engine rated at 200 hp. and 520 lbs.-ft. of torque. Other standard specs include an 8,000-lb. front axle, 11,500-lb. rear axle, hydraulic brakes and low-frame height chassis with 19.5-in. wheels and tires. The T170 can be spec'd with a manual or automatic transmission.

Other T170 features include a single-piece steel bumper placed forward of the hood to help reduce impact damage and Metton quarter fenders to add durability and impact resistance. According to Kenworth, halogen projector low-beam headlamps provide up to 30% more light. There is also a 35-gal. steel fuel tank, steel battery box and ABS cover, and heat-treated frame rail.

T170 options include a telescoping/tilting steering wheel, workstation with two 12V power ports, corner windows and an electronic shift module. The OEM also points out that because there is no doghouse, noise inside the cab is reduced.

Kenworth has also announced full production of its medium-duty, diesel-electric hybrid models. These Class 6 and 7 trucks feature Paccar PX-6 engines and Eaton's hybrid drive system. According to Kenworth, the fuel economy benefit for these trucks may be as high as 30% in P&D applications and up to 50% in utility truck operations.

The AG210L single-axle rear suspension is described as “an economical choice” for Kenworth Class 6 and Class 7 conventional models. The AG210L, which is a two-bag version of the heavier AG400L, is a 21,000-lb. rear suspension for the T370 and T270.

Continuing in the lineup with no major changes announced are the Class 7 T370, Class 6 T270 and T270 hybrid-electric conventional models, as well as the Class 6 K260 and Class 7 K360 cabovers. The OEM notes the K260 and K360 are based on the LF55 built by its European subsidiary, DAF.


According to Mitsubishi Fuso, after introducing significant upgrades for the 2008 model year, the OEM isn't making any significant changes to its lineup of medium-duty trucks.

The light-duty Class 3 FE125 (12,500 lbs. GVW) has an OBD II emissions monitoring system required by California and other states. Power is provided by a 4.9L Mitsubishi diesel producing 185 hp. and 391 lbs.-ft. peak torque. It will only be available with an Aisin 6-spd. automatic transmission. Offered in three wheelbases ranging from 114.6 to 153.4 in., the FE125 will accommodate bodies up to 18 ft.

The Class 4 FE145 (14,500 lbs. GVW) is available in four wheelbases, including a 155.3 in. length introduced for the first time in 2008. An Aisin automatic transmission is standard.

The Class 5 FE180 (17,995 lbs. GVW), which includes five wheelbases since the 2008 addition of a 189.4-in. version, has an available 6-spd. Mitsubishi manual transmission.

The Fuso lineup also includes a 4×4 FE140 (in a 138.2-in. wheelbase) and the FE145 Crew Cab.

The introduction of an aerodynamic cab last year on FK/FM medium-duty models cuts drag up to 25% in flatbed applications and lower chassis heights. Those include the Class 6 FK200 (19,850 lbs. GVW), which has a frame height of 36 in. and can accommodate bodies up to 24 ft. Like all FK/FM models, it is powered by the 7.5L 6M60 Fuso diesel producing 243 hp. and a peak torque of 513 lbs.-ft.

The Class 6 FK260 (25,995 lbs. GVW) is offered with either a spring or full-air rear suspension with the frame height at 38 in. The air-suspension version can dump its air bags to lower the truck an additional 2.5 in. while stationary. The FK260 includes air brakes.

The Class 7 FM330 (32,900 lbs. GVW) can be fitted with bodies ranging from 16 to 28 ft.


Peterbilt's newest medium-duty is the Class 5 conventional Model 325. The OEM says its intended applications include vehicle recovery and towing, lease/rental, P&D and such business services as parcel delivery, landscaping and construction. The Model 325 is rated 19,500 lbs. GVW in straight-truck configuration, putting it at the very top of Class 5. It's powered by Paccar's PX-6 diesel, offered in 200-, 240- and 300-hp. ratings and torque ratings running up to 620 lbs.-ft. Standard specs include front and rear hydraulic disc brakes with ABS and a 6-spd. manual transmission. An automatic transmission is optional.

According to Peterbilt, the Model 325 is extremely durable, thanks to such features as an all-aluminum cab, steel bumper and aerodynamic hood and fenders made from Metton, an advanced composite material that can withstand minor impacts, bumps and scratches. In addition, a stainless steel grille with chrome surround provides greater protection compared to plastic grilles and “also adds distinctive Peterbilt style to the vehicle.” The 325 uses the same headlamp system as Pete's other medium-duty conventionals.

The OEM says it offers drivers a comfortable operating environment. Designed for easy entry and egress, a new step configuration allows drivers to move in and out of the cab at a more comfortable and safe position.

Peterbilt also plans to offer a new dash for its medium-duty trucks soon, complete with a new navigation system to make those vehicles more productive for fleets. The OEM notes that its medium-duty Model 330 and 335 diesel-electric hybrids will go into widespread production this


Sterling Truck Corp.'s newest medium-duty model — the Bullet — is a Class 4/5 chassis-cab truck designed for such applications as construction, utility, landscaping, P&D and municipal services, says the OEM. The Bullet, a twin of the medium-duty Dodge Ram, features such standard specs as a Cummins 6.7L ISB diesel with exhaust brake, a power take-off prep package, air conditioning and cruise control. The Bullet is offered with a regular cab (two door) or quad cab (four doors) with choice of 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrain.

The company has made no announcement of changes to its Class 3-6 Sterling 360 low cabover or to models in its Acterra line of Class 5-and-up conventionals. The 360 is offered in three pre-engineered models in popular weights and sizes. Five wheelbases are offered to accommodate a full range of 12- to 20-ft. bodies.

Sterling has introduced several factory-installed safety options on all Acterras as well as its heavy-duty truck models. These include air disc brakes, a new collision warning system from Eaton, and roll stability control (RSC) from MeritorWabco. The OEM says its proprietary air disc brakes are ideal for applications that are notoriously hard on truck brakes.

The OEM is offering the new Eaton-Vorad VS-400 collision-warning system, which includes features such as a cruise control regulating tool, a more compact sensor, and an easier-to-understand driver interface unit. The VS-400 provides in-cab notifications that help the driver identify traffic conditions in advance. Alerts are provided for slow-moving vehicles, stationary objects and short following distance warnings, says Sterling. This system includes the SmartCruise feature, which uses data from the collision warning system to help the truck maintain the appropriate minimum distance from the vehicle in front of it. All of these notifications are communicated to the driver through an upgraded driver-interface unit that features an LCD screen with text and graphics.

Already available for order is the MeritorWabco RSC, which Sterling calls an “economical, reliable and proven system for avoiding rollover accidents.” The OEM says it is offering RSC for operators who want to reduce rollovers as well as jackknifing and loss of control. “Roll stability systems have been gaining in popularity, and we're pleased to supply one of the most advanced products on the market,” says Richard Shearing, manager of product strategy for Sterling Truck. He explains that RSC continually checks and updates the lateral acceleration of the tractor and compares it to a critical threshold where rollover may occur.


Not many changes are occurring to UD Trucks for the 2009 model year, says Dave Trussell, marketing manager for Nissan Diesel America, UD's parent company.

First, the top of the frame rails on all UD models are now going to be clean of all rivets to make it easy for body installation, he says. Next, factory-installed Hendrickson air suspensions are going to be an option for several versions of the 2600 UD model, along with every model of the company's larger 3300 chassis.

“Our dealers have been installing a lot of air suspensions, largely for cargo security,” says Trussell, noting that nurseries, especially, wanted the air suspension option for their trucks to make sure flowers were delivered with all the flower petals still attached to the plants. “There used to be a lot of retrofitting performed by our dealers; now we're making it easier for everyone by having this factory-installed option.”

Trussell says the cabs on all UD truck models are going to remain largely unchanged, with air ride seats, air conditioning, and power windows and door locks all standard features.

Highway rib tires are now standard for all positions, whereas heavier lug tread tires used to be standard fare on the rear wheels. This should simplify life for most operators.

Standard equipment includes dual convex side view mirrors with heated versions now available as an option; factory-installed back-up alarms to boost safety and make the upfitter's job easier; and tensile steel frames, which were previously an option.

The UD 2600 LP, so designated to signify it's a “low profile” model, remains an option for the 26,000-lb. chassis, which is designed for fleets working in tight areas.

All UD models are also getting 12V power outlets in the cabs, so operators can charge and use both cellphones and laptops while on the go. Finally, all of UD Trucks' 2009 models are certified as “clean idle vehicles” under California's tough idling regulations, Trussell notes.


Recently, the walk-in van manufactured by Workhorse Custom Chassis has seen a number of changes, starting with its heavy-duty (19,500- and 23,500-lbs. GVWR) W62 chassis and continuing with a reworked front hood and grille. The makeover has also brought the truck a new name, the MetroStar. The OEM says the new moniker relates the vehicle to the “Star” model names — WorkStar, DuraStar, etc. — used by International, of which Workhorse is a wholly owned subsidiary.

The MetroStar is available on 86.5- and 93.5-in.-wide bodies, offers cargo lengths from 10 to 22 ft., and can be ordered built on the full range of Workhorse gas and diesel chassis options, which run from 9,400- to 23,500-lbs. GVWR. The manufacturer uses GM's 4.8, 6.0 and 8.1L Vortec gas engines as well as International's 4.5L MaxxForce 5 V6 diesel. While the MetroStar is offered exclusively through Workhorse dealerships and built exclusively on Workhorse chassis, it can be fitted with Utilimaster and Morgan Olson bodies.

Workhorse is also offering a power take-off (PTO) option for walk-in trucks built on its heavy-duty W62 diesel chassis. The PTO option can be installed at the dealer, the company says, before the truck is upfitted with vocational equipment such as air compressors, generators and hydraulic pumps. Workhorse says it has created an “integrated build process” that enables the PTO option to be spec'd with the chassis right from the dealer.

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