Trucker 6961 Atvnx1 0

Big power at the heart of retooled VNX heavy-haul tractor

March 15, 2018
VTNA said it will begin producing the new VNX in May.

To power what it is calling a “revitalized” VNX heavy haul tractor line, Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) will offer its own proprietary D13 engine and optional Cummins X15 Performance Series diesel, with ratings from both engine offerings combined providing truckers with big power ranging from 455 hp and 1,750 lb.-ft. of torque all the way up to 605 hp and 2.050 lb.-ft. of torque.

The retooled VNX tractor line – unveiled during a press event at VTNA’s New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, VA – is available in three cab configurations: the VNX 300 daycab; the VNX 400 flat-roof regional sleeper, with a 42-in. sleeper berth; and the VNX 740 with a 70-in. sleeper compartment. Approved gross combination weight ratings (GCWR) range from 125,000 to 160,000 lbs., with ratings of up to 225,000 lbs. available with application approval and appropriate components.

John Moore, VTNA’s product marketing manager-powertrain, said the D13 engine will be standard in the VNX and mated with the OEM’s proprietary I-Shift automated manual transmission (AMT) in 12-, 13- or 14-gear configurations. An Eaton Fuller RTL 13- or 18-speed manual gearbox is an option, he added.

The D-13 will be offered in two configurations. The “Straight Torque” package comes with ratings of 455 hp and 1,750 lb.-ft. or torque or 500 hp and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque, while the more fuel-efficient “Eco Torque” package features a rating of 455 hp and a 1,450 to 1,750 lb.-ft. torque range or a rating of 500 hp with a 1,550 lb.-ft. to 1,850 lb.-ft. torque range, Moore said.

He noted that new “Heavy Duty” or HD shifting software will be available for the I-Shift to “optimize” gear changes for gross combination vehicle weight (GCVW) ratings of 135,000 lbs. and above.

For those spec’ing the optional Cummins X15 Performance Series engine, Moore noted two options will available: a rating of 565 hp and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque or a rating of 605 hp and 2,050 lb.-ft. of torque. Four versions of the Eaton Fuller UltraShift AMT will be offered with the X15 option in the VNX – with 13- and 18-speed options – along with either a 13- or 18-speed Eaton Fuller RTL manual gearbox.

He added that VTNA expects most VNX buyers will operate them in “severe” conditions, meaning situations where fuel economy will be under 5.5 miles per gallon on average. Thus oil drain intervals on the Cummins X15 option will most likely be pegged at 25,000 miles, with diesel particulate filter (DPF) cleaning in the 250,000 to 400,000 miles range.

“The revitalization of our new VNX model shows we’re capable of handling heavy haul; to support customers operating forestry and logging, heavy tanker operations, heavy flatbed and lowboy applications, and B-Trains,” said Chris Stadler, VTNA’s product marketing manager for regional haul. “Heavy haul is not a very big market but it is a very specialized market – there is no typical application or operation in heavy haul. There are different dilemmas and limitations to deal with. So our purpose [with the new VNX] is to bring more value to this market; to bring VNL features into the VNX and give customers more value than what they expect.”

A range of optional steer axles, lift axles, tridem drive axles, and longer fifth-wheel slides will be made available on the VNX to help meet a diverse range of weight distribution requirements, the OEM noted, including: 6x4 tandem, 8x4 tandem, and 8x6 tridem configurations; front axle ratings range from 16,000 to 20,000 lbs.; up to 445 tires to match front axle load capacity; rear axles ranging from 46,000 to 55,000 lbs.; and a “premium” rear heavy-haul suspension that ranges up to 52,000 lbs. Dual steering gears also help provide better maneuverability while under a heavy load, VTNA said.

The VNX also comes standard with the Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST) electronic stability control system as well as automotive-quality LED [light emitting diode] headlights, with automatic lighting and rain-sensing wipers available as options.

Stadler said the VNX features a new hood design that is shared with the VNR regional and VNL long-haul models that will help improve both engine performance, due to improved airflow, as well as fuel economy due to its aerodynamic shape. He added that the VNX also shares a range on interiors features moved over from the VNL to help with driver retention – amenities Stadler said have rarely been offered in the heavy-haul segment.

“The new VNX is a heavy-haul work tool for demanding jobs, and it gives professional drivers a comfortable working environment for performing at their best,” he explained. “The workspace was designed for maximum comfort and productivity, while the sleeper was designed to offer drivers a calm, restful space for their hours off the road.”

The dashboard on the VNX has been redone in the VNL style to reduce distraction by displaying the critical information a professional driver needs at a quick glance and by grouping frequently used controls within easy reach. A configurable, five-inch color driver information display with improved graphics works with steering wheel-mounted controls providing key operating information, as well as the ability to choose your preferred diagnostic data. On top of that, a dash-top tray with multiple USB and 12-volt connections provides a “safe, convenient home” for a driver’s many gadgets, which can also be linked to the optional in-dash infotainment system.

VTNA added that it will begin production of its new VNX in May.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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