Many operators got their first look at some new trucks at this year's NTEA Convention & Exhibition
What was hot at this year's National Truck Equipment Assn.'s 35th Annual Convention & Exhibition in Indianapolis?
If you asked a member of the NTEA staff, the hot news was the association's ambitious plans for T3, its new Commercial Truck, Trailer & Technology Expo. For more on T3, see Dateline News, p. 16.
But if you were having coffee with a representative from one of the truck builders exhibiting at the Indiana Convention Center - Ford, Freightliner, Sterling, International, Isuzu, Hino, GM, Nissan Diesel, Mitsubishi Fuso, or Dodge - the buzz was about how recent mergers and acquisitions, and talk of more, are realigning the truck industry.
In any of the truck-manufacturers' booths, however, or at one of their Chassis Seminars, hardware still held the spotlight.
* Dodge showed a New Venture Gear NGV 5600 6-speed, easy-shift, manual transmission for use with large-displacement gasoline and turbodiesels. Synchronized in 1st and 2nd, it features constant-mesh, helical gears for reduced noise.
* Nissan Diesel America's truck line was represented by the new Class 3 Model UD1200 with 145-hp. 4-cyl. turbodiesel, and the UD1800CS (City Spec), a Class 5 vehicle with a UD1200 cab on a totally new chassis, and a 175-hp. 4-cyl. turbodiesel. Both trucks offer an optional Aisin electronic 4-speed OD transmission. The UD3300, with full air brakes, marks the company's re-entry into the high-GVW Class 7 market.
Four-channel antilock brakes are now standard on all Class 5 through 7 UD Trucks models.
* Freightliner, while declining to talk about the upcoming MBE (Mercedes-Benz) 900 engine, announced mid-year availability of the A581 Aisin automatic transmission on the Business Class FL 50, 60, and 70 Series, and of the Allison 1000 for the FL 50 Series. Later in the year, Allison 2000 and 2400 automatics will be offered on the FL 60 and FL 70 Series. Also coming mid-year will be a range of Eaton AutoShift transmissions.
* Ford's 2000 model year F-650 and F-750 Super Duty trucks will be offered in GVWs of 26,000 lb. (F-650) and 30,000 and 36,000 lb. (F-650, -750); in regular, SuperCab, and Crew Cab configurations; and with three diesel-engine families: Cummins 5.9 ISB (175-250 hp.), Cat 3126 (190-250 hp.), and Ford's PowerStroke 7.3L (210 hp.). Fleets can spec any one of six manual transmissions or three Allison automatics.
* New to American Isuzu's lineup is the tilt-cab Class 5 FRR, which is powered by an all-new 7.8L 6-cyl. turbodiesel delivering 200 hp. and 441 lb.-ft. of torque. The FRR, targeted at applications for which the lighter Class 5 NQR (17,950 lb. GVW, 175 hp.) might be underpowered, offers GVWs of 18,000 and 19,500 lb., a 6-speed manual or AT 542 automatic transmission, and WBs of 148 to 218 in.
* GMC/Chevrolet C-Series trucks, with GVWs from 18,000 to 61,000 lb., now offer a full line of Cat 3126B engines from 175 to 300 hp. and the Vortec 7400MD gas engine at 210 and 270 hp. And power options for the T-Series now include Cat 3126B diesels rated 175-300 hp. and the (Isuzu-built) Duramax 7800 turbodiesel at 200 or 230 hp. GMC/Chevrolet is calling its version of the Isuzu FRR the WT5500.
* Sterling Trucks, which prides itself on its Customer Application Engineering department's ability to custom engineer each truck it builds, reported that its Equiflo system, which provides improved dual-fuel-tank equalization without crossover lines, is now being phased into its product line.
New to Sterling's components lineup are the 40,000- and 46,000-lb. TufTrac high-articulation taperleaf spring suspensions for on/off- and off-highway applications.
* All Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America models - Class 3-7 - now feature "drive by wire," in which an electronically controlled governor regulates engine speed to provide better engine performance and efficiency. And all cabs now include steel side-door impact beams.