2005 NEW MODELS: CLASS 8 heavy

Autocar Autocar Trucks is making a whole range of changes to its Xpeditor line of low cab forward heavy-duty trucks for the 2005 model year. The cab of the Xpeditor has been completely reworked to provide a more ergonomic, quiet and comfortable cab environment for drivers. The controls and instrument panel have been reconfigured, more insulation installed to reduce noise and vibration, and more comfortable


Autocar Trucks is making a whole range of changes to its Xpeditor line of low cab forward heavy-duty trucks for the 2005 model year. The cab of the Xpeditor has been completely reworked to provide a more ergonomic, quiet and comfortable cab environment for drivers. The controls and instrument panel have been reconfigured, more insulation installed to reduce noise and vibration, and more comfortable seat options made available to improve operator comfort.

Autocar has expanded the engine options for the Xpeditor in ‘05, adding the Cummins ISL 350-hp. rating, which cranks out 1,250 lb.-ft. of torque and can be equipped with a PTO. The ISL 310 hp. and 330 hp. will continue to be available. The new Cummins Westport L-Gas Plus alternative fuel engine can be spec'd as a factory-installed feature.

Autocar is also offering Hendrickson's Haulmaax heavy-duty rear air suspension as a standard feature on its Xpeditor line, along with a range of optional lift axles from Hendrickson — both tag and pusher configurations — as factory-installed features. Last but not least, starting Oct. 1 this year, Autocar will provide Telma retarders as a factory installed option. According to the OEM, these retarders provide extra stopping power for the truck, thus extending brake life and helping to lower the overall cost of brake maintenance.


Freightliner LLC says its new Business Class M2 112V is a Class 8 vehicle engineered for vocational use such as for refuse, mixer, snow plow and utility applications. According to Mark Lampert, senior vp-sales & marketing, the 112V supports a wide range of bodies and chassis-mounted equipment while delivering power and performance.

Key standard features include a front engine power take-off (PTO), a stationary grille and L-section front frame rail extensions. The frame extensions are offered in 12-, 18- and 24-in. increments, allowing for packaging around body equipment. This system offers 2.5 million inch-pounds of RBM per rail while maintaining a hood line that gives great visibility, says the OEM.

The 112V features a clean back-of-cab to allow for easy body installation. Maintenance-oriented features include a multiplexed wiring system with color-coded wires, see-through fluid reservoirs and simplified electronics. Options include factory installed Crew Cab and Extended Cab.

Visibility is enhanced by an expansive, 2,500-sq.-in. windshield and by a sloped hood and low-profile dash. An up-to-50-degree front wheel cut and tight turning radius aid maneuverability. Inside, either a flat or wing dash can be spec'd.

The 112V offers front axles rated from 12,000 to 23,000 lb., with rear axles ranging from 23,000 to 58,000 lb. Suspension choices include Freightliner's heavy-duty TufTrac rear suspensions with ratings of 40,000, 46,000 and 52,000 lb. and the OEM's AirLiner suspensions with ratings of 40,000 and 46,000 lb. Also available are a variety of Hendrickson air and walking beam suspensions.

A 12.8-liter Mercedes-Benz MBE4000 350-hp. engine provides standard power,. Engine and transmission options include Caterpillar C11 and C13 engines. Allison automatic transmissions and Eaton-Fuller manual transmissions are available.

Freightliner has given a “new look” to its Class 8 Century Class S/T (Safety/Technology) truck.

Design changes include a new boldly styled hood, grille and bumper. Along with the styling changes, the 120-in.-BBC conventional boasts additional performance benefits such as increased cooling capacity and better headlamp light distribution. The OEM says the changes are designed to further the Century Class S/T's reputation as a leader in North American Class 8 truck technology.

According to Freightliner, the Century Class S/T is the most advanced heavy-duty vehicle in its product line and is “loaded with advanced systems that increase driver comfort, enhance safety and maximize productivity.”

The OEM points out that the new grille allows for more cooling capacity to accommodate hotter-running 2004 EPA-compliant diesel engines. The grille and lower panel increase the frontal opening to 55% of the total surface area. By opening up the grille, airflow has been improved to boost cooling performance. Headlamp design has been improved by replacing the 7-in. round, sealed beams with a new composite headlamp for better light distribution on the road and increasing nighttime visibility.

A wide range of component options are available on the century class S/T, including factory installed Crew Cab and Extended Cab.

“The latest Century Class S/T retains all of the exceptional safety and performance features that have made the truck the leader in heavy-duty truck technology,” Lampert states. “The redesign of the S/T only increases its technological leadership, while adding a further touch of style to what was already a great-looking truck.”


International Truck and Engine Corp reports it is developing an all-new Class 8 linehaul tractor that will be unveiled next year. According to truck group president Dee Kapur, the new tractor is intended to be “the most technologically advanced, highest value highway sleeper ever produced.”

This year the OEM rolled out the new American Eagle 9900ix model, which it says combines classic style with comfort and high performance to give buyers an “unparalleled driving experience.” The limited-edition model will be marketed to owner-operators and to fleets seeking a premium vehicle to reward top drivers.

Setting the truck off is an American eagle graphic along the cab and a unique hood ornament that depicts a soaring eagle over the International badge. Key features include an aerodynamic hood design, fully curved wraparound windshield, wide-track front axles for improved wheel cut, International Ride Optimization Suspension, and an extended sleeper cab wider than most competitors offer.

International is also offering a limited-edition International 9900i or 9900ix model that displays the official NASCAR colors. Only 200 will be produced. Each will feature a unique package of chrome and stainless accessories, vinyl graphics and NASCAR badging.


Kenworth Truck Co. has enhanced its swoopy T2000 model to further increase aerodynamics and driver comfort and reduce repair costs. According to KW chief engineer Jim Bechtold, “through creative engineering, the enhanced wide-body T2000 will have an even lower cost of operation. “By reconfiguring the front bumper to three pieces instead of one, and isolating the bumper from the body of the T2000, we've focused on where front-end damage can occur,” he says. “This new design lowers repair costs. What's more, we've added a new steel sub frame to better protect the radiator from front collision impact.”

Other T2000 improvements include a change in the mounting of the sun visor mounting to direct more air up and over the truck. “It doesn't look like a big improvement, but it makes a significant impact,” says Bechtold. “It reduces drag by nearly 1% and can cut fuel bills by more than $200 per year for the average longhaul operator.” To provide more interior room. Kenworth gave the driver's seat an extra 6 degrees of seat recline and added 2-1/2 in. of belly room.

Kenworth has expanded its sleeper choices with new 86- and 72-in. AeroCab Diamond sleepers. The new Diamond options offer a fixed 42-in. by 80-in. lower bunk with an optional upper bunk for team drivers; up to 69 cu. ft. of storage with room for an optional refrigerator; plus weight savings of up to 150 lb.

KW says the unique AeroCab design makes the transition from cab to sleeper easy in both the 86- and 72-in. AeroCab Diamonds. “It's a bulkhead-free floor plan which provides more room for the driver in the cab, plus more space in the sleeper,” says general marketing manager Steve Gilligan, “The increased space will enhance driver comfort if they have to spend additional time in the sleeper due to the new hours-of-service regulations.”

Both the 86- and 72-in. AeroCab Diamond sleepers boast four color schemes, “vista” windows, and a wall-mounted console that provides independent temperature control in. the sleeper and lighting adjustment. There's even a jack for plugging in. headphones. And, notes Gilligan, the AeroCab design means the sleepers can be removed and retrofitted with an extended day-cab conversion kit by a second or third owner.

Also new from Kenworth is an Extended Day Cab for its T600, T800 and W900 models. It runs six inches longer than standard models with the cab roof raised five inches. The result is two inches of increased belly and leg room and 21 degrees of recline in. the driver's seat. It also provides two cubic feet worth of extra storage behind the driver's seat.


Mack Trucks Inc. says its biggest news is underneath its highway tractors — a new chassis dubbed the Advantage. It will be used in all Mack Vision and CH models. For example, a range of frame rail options allows precisely matching rail size to specific applications. “With Advantage, customers can choose from four rail options — 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm and 9.5 mm — all with increased resistance bending moment, or RBM,” said Tom Davis, marketing manager- highway products. “The increased RBM provides greater strength. Weight-sensitive bulk haulers will be pleased with the addition of the 7 mm rail, which has a higher RBM than our current 8 mm, but, depending upon wheelbase, is up to 100 lb. lighter. And for customers requiring a very heavy-duty rail, the new 9.5 mm is an excellent alternative. It is lighter but also eliminates the need for an inner channel, which prevents corrosion in this area.”

The new chassis also allows up to 50-degree outside wheel cuts to “dramatically” improve turning diameter. According to the OEM, an Advantage vehicle with a 185-in wheelbase could gain an improvement of up to 15 ft. in turning diameter.

Advantage features that enhance ride and handling include a standard front taper leaf suspension that has new taper leaf springs spaced slightly apart to reduce friction and a spring rate reduced for a softer ride. An optional Hendrickson Airtek air-ride front axle/suspension combination gives a smooth ride and additional weight savings.

Noise and vibration, the OEM says, have been cut by combination of a new engine support crossmember and new cab mounting system as well as new sound dampening material in Mack cabs.

Other interesting Advantage elements include rear engine mounts that simplify transmission removal and reduce how long it takes. The combination of the engine mounts and new taper leaf front suspension position the engine sit lower in the frame, which reduces the overall center of gravity for improving handling.

Still more Advantage features include a wider front frame section for a 10% larger cooling system, a MaxLite rear suspension, and a Lo-Pro deck plate.

According to Mack, there will be no “upcharge” brought on by the introduction of the Advantage chassis.

Mack has also rolled out a new 60-in. “Midrise” sleeper for its CH and Vision tractors. The new unit is aimed mainly at regional haulers. The OEM says the 60-incher is “designed to meet the needs of customers looking for more interior space than flat-top designs offer without the added cost and weight of larger sleepers.”

The OEM's vehicles are powered by either highway or vocational versions of the Mack ASET engine.


Peterbilt Motors Co. reports it will be announcing some “product introductions and enhancements” to its Class 8 line this fall. But that is all the OEM would say of that as of press time. However, Pete has made various changes to its existing heavy-duty lineup.

Passenger-side visibility for Models 379, 385, 378 and 357 cabs on has been improved with a new side-view window, increased in size by 70 sq. in., and by repositioning the side-view mirrors further forward by mounting them to the cab and cowl (instead of the door). The new position allows eliminating the “wing” window, which Pete says gives a more unobstructed view.

All Class 8 Peterbilt tractors are now available with optional Jost fifth wheels. These feature a reliable, positive-locking mechanism that causes a spring-loaded steel locking bar to automatically slide into position to secure the kingpin for “secure and safe coupling.” The Jost design also boasts high-hitch lock guards to help prevent high coupling and remote grease fittings that allow for direct lubrication of the lock jaw and kingpin even when coupled to a trailer.

Pete is among the first OEMs to offer Dana Spicer air disc brakes. They are available for order on Models 379, 378, 357 and 387 configured for on-highway applications and with set-forward front axles. “The new air disc brakes are ideal for over-the-road linehaul customers, reducing standard stopping distance and extending brake life by 50 to 100%,” says assistant gm Bruce Ewald. The brakes feature quick-change pads and serviceable components interchangeable between the right- and left-hand wheel ends.

Another enhancement, offered on Models 379, 378 and 357 (and standard on the special-edition Model 379X), is a premium stainless steel Donaldson air cleaner that the OEM says improves filtration efficiency, reduces maintenance and presents a “professional, polished appearance.”

Also new is an optional remote keyless entry system for the Model 387. It can be used to lock/unlock driver and passenger doors — and the truck's marker lights will come on to indicate when either operation is complete. System range is up to 30 ft. and it uses “random” signal technology to safeguard the remote signal.

Now standard with American Class and Canadian Class interiors in 43- and 63-in. sleepers, as well as in Platinum level interiors, is Pete's premium Concert Class sound system. The radio head unit is XM satellite radio-ready. A cassette player comes standard with the unit and an optional CD player is offered.


Sterling Truck Corp. has made various enhancements to it's A-Line of vocational Class 8 trucks. According to senior vp John Merrifield, the improvements are aimed at LTL, food distribution and local retail day cab customers.

The OEM says its new design for aerodynamic mirrors increases fuel efficiency by reducing wind drag. The new mirrors also feature smaller heads to improve side and forward visibility. Aluminum extrusion brackets provide a small weight savings on each truck.

The trucks' Bostrom Freedom seats now come standard with a longer headrest, wider suspension, increased lumbar support, convenient adjustment features and newly designed foam density and contours. Optional features include front seat cushion adjustment, low-profile suspension, heavy-duty shock absorbers, swivel function and a heater.

Upgraded for heavy-duty use is a Visteon scroll compressor. Sterling says it uses fewer moving parts and by having virtually no wear points compared to typical piston-type compressors, it lasts longer. It is backed by a two-year warranty. Also, Sterling has relocated all chassis wiring to the bottom flange of the frame rail for easier body mounting.

Sterling is another OEM to emphasize chassis developments. The OEM says its new Sterling HX chassis was designed to accommodate the new EPA ‘04 engines. The chassis design boasts stronger, lighter-weight frames; new proprietary air cab suspension; new cooling system; new fuel tank offerings and additional front and rear suspension options.

With the HX chassis, frame offerings now include new section heights from 10 to 11 in. and an all-new 13-in. frame, which is over two in. taller than any current frame offering. Frame strength ratings have been enhanced with optional RBMs of up to five million inch-pounds when an insert is added.

The chassis features the “OptiLock Chassis Grid System,” a frame hole layout process that provides pre-determined rows of potential chassis hole locations spaced 50 mm (approximately 2 in.) apart, center-to-center. Sterling says all chassis component mounting holes (cross members, mounting brackets, etc.) comply with the grid pattern to “allow for a more consistent process for chassis component mounting.”

The HX offers new radiator options: a 1,000-in. crossflow with or without in-tank oil coolers; a 1,200-in. crossflow radiator; and a 1,400-in. crossflow radiator. The most visible change in. the mid-chassis area is the fuel tanks. Cylindrical aluminum fuel tanks now come standard on Sterling A-Line and L-Line trucks in. both 23- and (optional) 25-in. diameters. The new tanks reduce the overall chassis weight and provide greater consistency in. step height and positioning, Sterling notes.

The chassis brings new offerings in. both front and rear suspensions for highway and vocational applications. Front suspensions now include both taper leaf springs rated to 20,000 lbs, and multi-leaf designs up to 23,000 lb. There are also maintenance-free suspension designs with ratings up to 14,600 lb.. New for the A-Line are 12,000-lb. rated optional lightweight composite springs made from highly durable fiberglass, offering a 77-lb. weight savings per truck.


Volvo Trucks North America's Class 8 line offers eight medium- and long-nose models. The biggest news from the OEM is the introduction of electronic stability control systems on Volvo VN and VHD models beginning in early '05.

The ABS-6 antilock brake systems from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is now standard equipment and early next year, according to Volvo, the OEM will roll out the Bendix ABS-6 Advanced system with ESP (electronic stability program) as a customer-specified option.

According to Volvo, by monitoring vehicle speed and other inputs, ESP can selectively apply brakes at individual wheel ends to control yaw and keep tractor-trailer combinations from in line.

The Bendix system also provides roll stability control to help prevent rollover incidents caused by sudden lane changes or obstacle avoidance maneuvers. The OEM notes that the advanced braking system, which overlays the existing air-brake system, provides traction control as well. Volvo will offer the Bendix ABS-6 Advanced in three configurations: four wheel-speed sensors and four brake modulators (4S 4M); six sensors and four modulators (6S 4M); and six sensors and six modulators (6S 6M).

According to president & CEO Peter Karlsten, Volvo has plans under way to develop and build a new heavy-duty diesel engine, which would be used by both Volvo Trucks North America and its sister company, Mack Trucks. Karlsten says further development of current emissions technology provides a safe path to 2007 requirements. And he adds, Volvo is committed to providing fleets with early versions of those engines by 2005.

Also new on Volvo VN tractors is availability of the Dana Spicer Torsionally Tuned-40 (DST40) tandem drive axle. The twin-screw axle is a component within the Roadranger Torsionally Tuned System. The DST40 reduces inter-axle driveline angles and improves drivetrain durability and performance while reducing size, weight and costs, according to the maker. Dana says when the DTS40 is specified with other Roadranger components, the result is “the industry's only torsionally tuned system of drivetrain components.”

Western Star

Western Star Trucks has rolled out a pair of new model variants — the LowMax option for its 4900 FA and a “weight-optimized” version of its 4900 SA tractor.

The 123-in. BBC LowMax 4900 FA provides a shorter hood (approximately nine inches less) but still provides the same big-bore engine power as the original 4900 EX LowMax. Features include 22.5-in low-profile tires, reduced rear suspension height, redesigned lower cab mounting, low-profile oil pan, and special exhaust routing packages. The front AirLiner suspension, which boasts a lower axle drop and suspension height, is available on the LowMax.

The lighter-weight 4900 FA is aimed at bulk and regional haulers. It is spec'd by Western Star using current production components that taken together achieve a maximum weights savings, according to the OEM.

“Our lightweight 4900 SA truck addresses a critical need for many bulk and specialized haul customers,” said John Merrifield, senior vp-sales & marketing “This truck employs the same lightweight Star Light sleeper technology our customers have grown accustomed to. And it has additional components that offer the greatest weight savings.”

Available weight-saving specs on the tractor include a 68-in. Western Star Stratosphere sleeper and a 435-hp. Mercedes-Benz MBE4000 diesel. According to Sterling, that engine is the lightest 13-liter available and is at least 125 lb. lighter than comparable large-bore powerplants.

Other significant weight-saving items include Eaton Lightning 10-speed manual transmission; 1,300-sq.-in. crossflow aluminum radiator; aluminum cross members; lightweight carrier housings for drive axles; and Michelin X-One single tires on tandem axle wheel ends.

The lightweight vehicle is available spec'd with all standard and optional equipment offered on the Stratosphere sleeper. That deluxe sleeper features walk-through capability, full-height wood finished cabinets, a soft-touch dash and Bostrom “Motion Master” high-back seats.

The new 68-in. Stratosphere sleeper is available on all Western Star 4900 models, including the EX (132-in.-BBC set-forward front axle), 4900 FA (set-forward front axle in both 109- and 123-in. BBC) and 4900 SA (set-back front axle in both 109- and 123-in. BBC).

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