CLASS 8 heavy

Autocar Trucks says its Xpeditor heavy-duty truck now boasts the most ergonomic and comfortable cab of any LCF (low cab forward) truck available for waste-industry fleets. Drivers will immediately notice a roomier interior with more knee room, belly and foot room, says Bill Dolesh, vp-engineering for Autocar. The new dash and composite interior panels provide a rugged and durable interior.


Autocar Trucks says its Xpeditor heavy-duty truck now boasts the most ergonomic and comfortable cab of any LCF (low cab forward) truck available for waste-industry fleets.

“Drivers will immediately notice a roomier interior with more knee room, belly and foot room,” says Bill Dolesh, vp-engineering for Autocar. “The new ‘soft-touch’ dash and composite interior panels provide a rugged and durable interior. The high-back seat option is now tapered for better rear visibility and we've integrated an armrest and two cup holders into the console.” Another key feature is an electronically controlled, automotive-style HVAC system that Autocar says produces 28% more airflow.

According to Autocar, functional improvements to the Xpeditor start with a substantial increase in visibility due to the lowered forward edge of the dash. An overhead console now holds individual gauges, radio, and a digital system display with room for other accessories. Also, notes the OEM, the “black box” used for body controls is a thing of the past because a joystick and other switches are now integrated into the center and rear console.

“One of our key goals with the new cab was to enhance its serviceability,” Dolesh adds. To do so, he says critical components were repositioned and access panels were added for improved electrical and pneumatic service point accessibility. “Body builders will appreciate our new simplified electrical system,” he says, “which provides a better interface for easier body integration and attaching add-on components.”

All these enhancements are now available on WX single-drive Xpeditor models. They will be available on WXR single-drive models this summer, and on WX dual drive Xpeditors in September.


Freightliner Trucks is making a range of improvements to its Class 8 vehicle offerings for 2006. These include big changes inside, starting with a new standard instrument cluster and a redesigned interior for both the Century Class S/T and Coronado models.

The new instrument cluster places 8 to 12 removable gauges on a single-unit circuit board for improved reliability, according to the OEM. Backlighting is provided with LEDs designed to last the life of the vehicle. LEDs are also used for all warning lights. The new cluster includes a Driver Message Center with LCD display and a 10-key keypad. It can display fuel consumption, incoming messages from wireless communications systems and outside air temperature, as well as trip and diagnostic information.

The updated Driver's Lounge option for Century Class S/T, Columbia and Coronado models provides increased driver work space, thanks to a self-contained, fold-away table. There is increased legroom under the table and a wall-mounted lamp to illuminate the tabletop.

Freightliner reports it is making Bendix Spicer air disc brakes optional on all of its Class 8 models. The OEM said the disc option will reduce brake fade and improve pedal feel. It will be available on trucks spec'd with Freightliner's proprietary front axles carrying 24.5-in. wheels. And the Columbia model now features a new premium noise-reduction option that includes additional thermal insulation and arctic door seals.

Power news includes the availability of two new horsepower ratings for the Coronado — Cat's “King of the Hill” C15 engine, in choice of 600 hp. with 1850 lb.-ft. of torque or 625 hp. with 2050 lb.-ft. of torque.

On the vocational side, Freightliner says its FLD SD model's latest features include an enhanced heavy-duty chassis, frame rails rated to 120,000 psi, a durable yet lightweight reinforced cab, and engine options of up to 550 hp.

On the entertainment front, Sirius satellite radio service is now available on the Coronado, Century Class S/T, Columbia, Classic XL, Classic, FLD SD, and Argosy models.


Kenworth Truck Co. reports that for the 2006 model year its T600, T800, W900 and C500 Class 8 trucks will sport all-new interiors that feature multiplexed electronics behind the dash and luxury-automotive grade cab materials up front.

Overall, the '06 trucks will boast 25 new standard features, more than half of which were previously options.

Leading the pack is an instrumentation system with a new multiplexed design engineered for enhanced reliability, serviceability and functionality, according to KW. The speedometer and tachometer cluster, for example, has 2-in. gauges with chrome bezels. Also now standard are an outside temperature gauge, engine hour meter, odometer and trip odometer. In addition, LED back-lighting in the face plate and pointers makes it easier for drivers to read gauges and see warning lights. Mike Dozier, chief engineer, says wiring behind the dash has been greatly simplified, as well as color-coded and numbered for easier servicing. He notes that positive locking connectors help ensure that the durability of critical connections is maintained. A computer-based diagnostic tool is available for use with the new instrumentation system.

Styling details for the 2006 K-whoppers include a new door pad with a “soft and very luxurious feel,” a dash top made of Recticel polyurethane — a material often used in luxury automobiles with a low-gloss finish to reduce sun glare — and wood grain trim on the instrument panel. Kenworth Class 8s will come in two trim levels for '06: the classic Kenworth Diamond with its “rich, luxurious look” and the Splendor style, which includes a door map pocket. Both are available in four primary/trim color combinations.

Kenworth says it addressed driver comfort by lowering in-cab noise levels by 20%; by adopting a new “turning stalk” with intermittent wiper controls on the steering wheel; and by installing pedals that are more ergonomic. Other improvements include availability of curved windshields on the W900, T800 and C500 models. For day cab applications, a large 17-in. by 36-in. rear cab window, with sliding or tinted versions, is now available. Kenworth DayLite Doors and power door locks are now standard with electric window lifts standard on the passenger side and optional on the driver side. Window, door lock and mirror controls are located on the door to provide easy access,the OEM notes.

Kenworth also announced it will offer the Bendix ABS-6 Advanced braking system with ESP (Electronic Stability Program) as an option on select heavy-duty models.


Mack Trucks Inc. has added a 70-in. high-rise sleeper to its Vision Class 8 truck series. The OEM says the new model is ideal for team drivers, particularly in training operations as the new sleeper offers double bunks, plenty of storage space and wall-to-wall cabinets with a tall closet. It also boasts all of the amenities drivers expect when spending time away from home, says Mack, such as a refrigerator, pullout worktable, and superior interior lighting package.

The new 70-in. high rise is built on the recently introduced Mack Advantage highway chassis, which the OEM points out offers an array of customer benefits, including a wide range of application-specific frame rail options, 50-degree wheel cuts, and exceptional ride and handling.

Also new is the Rawhide edition, a premium version of the Mack CH model. It features a mid-rise sleeper and is aimed at “regional haulers looking to turn heads while increasing profits.” The Rawhide is also built on the Mack Advantage chassis and stands apart, says the OEM, as nearly every exterior component comes in chrome or stainless steel.

According to Mack, “Inside, Rawhide's ergonomic styling, full array of gauges and exceptional soundproofing create an environment that truly spoils drivers.” Other features include a wood grain dash, and a wood-grain-and-chrome steering wheel along with a classic “button-tuck” interior.

On the vocational side, the newest Bulldog is the Granite Axle Back. According to Mack, this Granite model is designed for fleets operating in some states and in Canada where laws governing roadway use allow having the front axle set back to legally carry more payload. In addition, the axle-back position provides a shorter overall wheelbase for enhanced maneuverability.

The OEM says the new model combines an axle-back setup with all the advantages of the original Granite, including a large, strong, comfortable cab; “best-in-class” visibility; ergonomically designed electronic dash; and advanced electronics. A bold new exterior boasts distinctive flexible fender extensions, halogen headlamps, optional stylized mirrors, and “the eye-catching Mack ‘M’ grille.”

A wide range of frame rail thickness and crossmember options make it possible to configure the new model as a straight truck or tractor for almost any application, Mack notes, including mixer, dump, roll-off, or rear loader.


Peterbilt Motors Co. has plenty to talk about for the 2006 model year, starting off with the rollout of its new aero-design Model 386. Sporting more “conventional” styling than Pete's aerodynamic Model 387, the new premium Class 8 tractor is nonetheless 10% more aerodynamic than the truck it replaces, the Model 385-120, according to the OEM. One major difference is the Model 386 is available with a full range of Unibilt sleepers, allowing removal of sleeper compartments for a second or third life as a day cab in regional or vocational applications. Its chassis design gives the Model 386 a new front axle position for improved weight loading and a tighter turning radius. It also accommodates a lower radiator position. Other Model 386 features include multiplexed electronics, an advanced composite bumper and a redesigned headlamp system. Model 386 production is scheduled to begin this month.

According to Peterbilt, its entire 2006 lineup of Class 8 conventional trucks and tractors received an interior redesign with three different trim level options. The platinum level now tops the interior options for Peterbilt Models 379, 386, 385, 378 and 357 with luxury materials like wood-grain finish and chrome gauge bezels on the dash, overhead lighting and a two-tone color finish throughout the cab. The mid-level Prestige interior offers “practical luxury,” says Peterbilt, and the ProBilt option is specifically designed for vocational applications.

The new Model 357 Heavy Haul configurations comes equipped with a high-capacity cooling system that boast a 1,440-sq.-in. radiator core. Peterbilt notes it can be spec'd with the most powerful trucking engines available, including the 625-hp. Caterpillar C15. The Model 357 Heavy Haul has a 119-in. BBC and a set-back front axle and comes in both truck and tractor configurations. It features a stationary grille that allows the hood to open without interfering with auxiliary equipment mounted to the front bumper.

Peterbilt is offering the new Platinum Oval package on its Model 379 to “allow customers to give their truck a customized look through exterior styling enhancements.” This optional package includes a stainless steel grille with a punched oval pattern, polished aluminum grille bars, premium Donaldson air cleaners with a punched oval pattern on the air intake screens and a stainless steel sun visor. The new options will be available for the Model 379 in 127-in. BBC configuration.

Another significant change for all Peterbilt's 2006 Class 8 models will be the availability of ABS-6, the latest Bendix heavy-duty antilock braking system. An advanced version of ABS-6 will be offered later in the year, providing electronic stability control and automatic traction control as well.


Sterling Truck Corp.'s A-Line and L-Line tractor models now boast three new sleeper options. “Sterling has always been in the sleeper tractor market,” says John Merrifield, senior vp of sales & marketing. “We pride ourselves on producing a tough work truck as well as comfortable options for those customers who require a sleeper truck.”

The interior of the sleepers includes new top-quality fabrics, decorative accents, and stylish stitching on the wall near the bed. Additionally, the sleeper exterior has a smooth, rivet-free finish, allowing for better air movement and leading to better fuel economy, according to Merrifield.

Sterling points out its bolt-on sleeper design offers one of the largest available passageways from cab to sleeper. This type of sleeper is ideal for resale because it can be easily removed and converted to a day cab, Merrifield notes. The OEM says its bolt-on design features an integral I-beam in each wall panel, which, joined together with solid core huck bolts, forms a structurally superior lightweight assembly.

The factory-installed sleeper options currently available include the 50- and 68-in. Flat Top Plus, 72-in. Mid-Roof, and 68-in. Aero Bullet Plus. The Flat Top Plus features a wedge shape that adds interior space and aerodynamic efficiency, a right-hand sleeper access door, a 37-in. wide liftable lower bunk, and a 22-in. left-hand baggage door. The Mid-Roof offers additional headroom, storage rooms, and an aluminum base, aluminum welded sidewalls, and a fiberglass roof cap. It has a 44- by 36-in. walk-in opening. The Aero Bullet Plus boasts “stand-up spaciousness” as well as ample storage room and an integral roof fairing. It also features Sterling valance panels, an auxiliary heater/air conditioner with temperature control, a roof cabinet with storage pocket and dual radio speakers.

In component news, Sterling now offers a full selection of front and rear proprietary axles that it says deliver outstanding durability, weight savings and performance. According to Sterling, the new front axle design is more robust than many other axles available and can provide up to a 28-lb. weight savings over similarly spec'd competitive axles. Service and downtime is reduced because the kingpins are supported by needle bearings instead of bushings, and the kingpins ‘roll’ instead of ‘rub’ when the axle is being steered, says the OEM. Rear axle offerings include single and tandem models featuring a “revolutionary new design that offers up to a 128-lb. weight savings over similarly spec'd competitive axles.” Sterling says precision cut gears have been designed to ensure more torque is transferred to the wheels, as opposed to being lost to friction.

Sterling will be offering the Mercedes-Benz MBE 4000 engine with a rear engine power takeoff (REPTO) option. A rear-mounted PTO provides a significant payload advantage and improves weight distribution, the OEM notes. Aimed at vocational applications like concrete mixers, the MBE 4000 with REPTO features a 1-to-24.1 output shaft ratio, no added engine length, and a 10 o'clock output location. Gear-driven off the rear of the engine camshaft and an integral part of the flywheel housing, the MBE 4000 with REPTO can supply power while the truck is moving or stationary.


Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) is rolling out a new Class 8 powerplant, the Volvo D16, the first model in a new engine family to be designed with both the 2007 and 2010 EPA emissions standards in mind. The initial configuration, rated 625 hp. at 2,250 lb.-ft. torque, will be offered exclusively in Volvo's new limited-edition flagship truck, the VT 880. The 16L inline, 6-cyl. Volvo D16 will also come in ratings of 500 hp. at 1,850 lb.-ft., 550 hp. at 1,850 lb.-ft., and 600 hp. at 2,050 lb.-ft., and will be available on other Volvo trucks, including the VN780 and VN 670 later this year, according to a company spokesperson.

“This engine is for customers who haul heavy loads or need to maintain a high average speed through the mountains for reduced trip times,” points out VTNA president & CEO Peter Karlsten. The engine employs Volvo's new Intelligent Torque (I-Torque) technology, which the OEM says is engineered to protect drivelines from excessive torque at low speeds. This will extend tire wear and protect drivelines by limiting engine torque output to 1,650 lb.-ft. in startup gears and switching to 1,850 lb.-ft. as speed increases, which “phases” in the higher torque for the 600-hp. and 625-hp. versions, claims VTNA.

VTNA reports the D16's emissions solution entails cooled EGR, high-pressure injectors using four valves per cylinder and a sliding nozzle, variable-geometry turbocharger with electronic actuation. The D16 engine is cast and machined at the Volvo engine plant in Skôvde, Sweden, and assembled in Hagerstown, MD. The engine is now available for order in the Volvo VT 880.

The new Volvo VT 880 model is designed to appeal to independent truckers, says the OEM. “Because this is a Volvo, we couldn't do a ‘me too’ owner-operator truck,” says design director Ruben Perfetti. “We looked for ways to add emotional value to the design of the VT 880.” The resulting styling cues reflect the preference of many small fleet operators for a truck with a long hood, chromed air filters on the sides of the hood or cowl, and a large chrome bumper. Featured on the VT 880 is a 77-in., 374-cu.-ft. sleeper cab that Volvo say offers plenty of room for standing, stretching, and relaxing while providing plenty of storage space. According to VTNA, the VT 880 will reach full production by the fourth quarter of 2005, with 780 units slated to be built this year. Annual production is expected to be 1500 units.

Western Star

Western Star Trucks is making enhancements to the models in its Class 8 lineup. The biggest news is changes to its LowMax chassis package. These improvements include new lowered front and rear suspensions, horizontal exhaust availability, forward-mounted 23-in. fuel tanks, and day cab availability. “These LowMax updates strengthen our ability to create highly customized, premium trucks for our customers,” says product marketing manager Jim Crowcroft.

And for applications such as auto or boat hauling, where the lowest configuration possible is needed, Western Star has introduced an even lower LowMax package. This option drops the front suspension 2.5 in. more than the standard LowMax. Helping make the ultra-low LowMax possible is the newly introduced low-ride AirLiner rear suspension. Normally spec'd at a ride height of 8 in., this lowered suspension rides at six inches but provides the same support. According to Western Star, these updated front and rear suspension offerings can help deliver a 101-in. ground-to-roof height — 3 in. lower than the standard LowMax configuration — making them ideal for customers seeking a a low-profile and low-center-of-gravity vehicle.

For auto haulers who want to keep their cargo clean and those who need maximum cab clearance for rack or body installation, the OEM now offers the option of a horizontal exhaust. And for customers who haul heavy cargo and require additional weight on the front of the truck for correct distribution, forward-mounted fuel tanks can be ordered. Mounted under the cab door, these tanks can be relocated to safely preserve the low profile of a LowMax. And Western Start says it now has day cab availability for 4900 FA and 4900 EX models.

Other news from Western Star includes building all models with new insulation in the cab and sleeper. The OEM says this will greater sound absorption and lighter weight. The OEM's 6900 XD Twin Steer is now available with all-wheel drive, for applications requiring additional traction and power. And the 109-in. BBC 4900 SA has been restyled to resemble the 123-in. BBC 4900 SA. Changes include stainless steel side intakes, improved visibility and increased aerodynamics. Also, Western Start reports it now offers day cab versions of both its 4900 FA and 4900 EX models.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.