2005 NEW MODELS: CLASS 3-7 medium

July 1, 2004
Ford Ford Motor Co. is offering a range of improvements to its 2005 F-Series Super Duty models. At the lighter end of the category, tow ratings are being increased, reaching a maximum of 17,000 lb. for the F-350. Also new is a system called TowCommand, a combination of standard and optional features that make towing easier, including a factory-installed trailer brake controller. Payload capacity for


Ford Motor Co. is offering a range of improvements to its 2005 F-Series Super Duty models. At the lighter end of the category, tow ratings are being increased, reaching a maximum of 17,000 lb. for the F-350. Also new is a system called TowCommand, a combination of standard and optional features that make towing easier, including a factory-installed trailer brake controller. Payload capacity for the F-250 and F-350 lines will also see an increase: the F-350 will have up to 5,800 lb. of cargo carrying capacity in '05, while the dually versions of both the F-250 and F-350 will get yet another 500 lb. and 1,000 lb., respectively.

Ford is also providing a new front suspension and improved steering on its 4 × 4 pickups, for better ride, handling and maneuverability. In addition, a revamped 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine, built by International Truck & Engine Corp., offers 570 lb.-ft. of torque.

Enhancements to the F-450, F-550, F-650 and F-750 lines for '05 will be modeled after improvements made last year to the commercial version of the E-Series van chassis. One example is a new engine offering for the F-450 and F-550. Ford's three-valve-per-cylinder-head engine design, first introduced on the 2004 F-150, is now available on a V-10 engine for some of its heavier Super Duty trucks. The new 6.8-liter, 3-valve Triton V-10 engine is produces 355 hp. and 455 lb.-ft. of torque.

Turning diameter for F-450 and F-550 trucks has improved by an average of 12 ft. on '05 models.


Freightliner LLC's medium-duty Business Class M2 trucks are now powered by 2004-model Mercedes-Benz MBE900 diesel engines. Sized from 4.3- to 7.2-liters, the MBE900 boasts advanced electronic controls, sophisticated fuel injection and extended maintenance cycles. Available in 4- and 6-cyl. configurations, the engine offers ratings from 170 to 330 hp. and a torque range of 420 to 1,000 lb.-ft. Freightliner points out the MBE900 delivers this range of torque at a low rpm to allow for “fewer, smoother shifts, better driveability and more capacity to climb hills and negotiate stop-and-go traffic.”

The MBE900 uses an exhaust gas recirculation system (EGR) to meet ‘04 emission standards. The engine features an optional exhaust brake, compression brake or combination exhaust/compression brake for improved vehicle control and less service brake wear. The OEM notes the combination exhaust/compression brake produces up to 215 braking horsepower (182 bhp @ 2,300 rpm).

Also new is the availability of the Mercedes-Benz Automated Gear Shift (AGS) transmission on Business Class M2 models. The transmission features a two-pedal, automated clutch actuation system. With the AGS transmission, no manual shifting or clutching is required. The transmission automatically manages all gearshifts, which Freightliner says makes the truck more efficient and easier to drive. And by eliminating the clutch pedal, the life of the clutch and the transmission are significantly extended. While AGS is designed to operate as an automated transmission, a manual shift option is offered. Freightliner says its SmartShift lever allows drivers to shift manually, depending on conditions or preference, to allow for “total control and versatility while driving in tough road conditions.”

General Motors

General Motors' introduction of factory-engineered four-wheel drive represents the big improvement for the 2005 GMC TopKick and Chevrolet Kodiak models. The 4 × 4 TopKick and Kodiak trucks are available in both regular and crew cab configurations; wheelbases range from 152 to 235 in.

Off-road handling is enhanced by a new electronically controlled Venture Gear Model NV273 2-sp. transfer case and an instrument panel-mounted rotary selector switch for 4-low, 4-high, and two-wheel-drive settings. Four-wheel-drive TopKick and Kodiak models also feature manually activated front locking hubs for additional traction capability, and a heavy-duty off-road skid plate to protect the transfer case.

The TopKick and Kodiak keep their gasoline- and diesel-engine options: the Vortec 8100 MD V-8 gasoline powerplant is standard, while the Duramax 6600 V-8 turbo diesel is optional. Both are mated to a standard Allison 100 series 5-sp. transmission. To zero-in on optimal engine power for various operating conditions, all TopKick and Kodiak models come equipped with electronic throttle control. This means the 4 × 4-equipped trucks will have better throttle control in slow-speed maneuvers like parking, as well as during fast response situations when operating off-road.
www.chevrolet.com and www.gmc.com


The new family of conventional medium-duty Class 4-7 trucks, introduced by Hino Motors Sales USA last year to replace its cabover line here in the U.S., is undergoing some changes for 2005. Hino's conventional lineup is comprised of six models: the 145, 165, 185, 238, 268 and 338. GVWRs range from 14,050- 33,000-lb., and all models are equipped with Hino's J-Series 5-liter or 8-liter engine, offering between 175 and 260 hp.

One change for '05 is the addition of a low-profile option with 19.5-in. wheels to the Model 238 line (23,000-lb. GVWR), according to Guy Bradford, Hino's national marketing manager. A fully air braked version of the 238 will also be available for '05, complementing the hydraulic brake option that is currently available. At the heavier end of the conventional lineup, Model 268 (29,500 lb. GVWR) and Model 338 (33,000 lb. GVWR), Hino is offering an optional air rear suspension package from Hendrickson. “We plan to roll all of these new changes and options out starting in August through the end of this year,” says Bradford.


International Truck & Engine Corp. has rolled out the CF Series line of low-cab-forward trucks. The line consists of the CF 500, rated at 16,000 lb. GVW, and the CF 600, rated at 19,500 lb. GVW. The OEM says the CF Series marks its entry into the Class 4-5 market with an all-new product “designed and produced in North America, for North American customers.” Both the CF 500 and CF 600 are powered by the newly developed International VT 275 diesel. The 4.5-liter V6 boasts peak ratings of 200 hp. at 3,000 rpm and 440 lb.-ft of torque at 1,850 rpm. International says its new powerplant is built on technology first used for its VT 365 diesel V8. The CF's integrated powertrain includes a 5-sp. overdrive automatic transmission as standard.

The CF Series offers “great ride and handling along with superior visibility and maneuverability,” says Dave Johanneson, group vp & gm for International's Medium Vehicle Center. “Drivers will immediately notice its responsive power, smoother shifting and quiet, comfortable cab environment.” The trucks are built on a high-strength, low-alloy steel frame with 34-in. wide frame rails, taper-leaf front suspension and standard front and rear shocks. PTO capability is offered optionally.

International will build the CF through its Blue Diamond joint venture with Ford Motor Co., using components from both OEMs. All International dealers will offer the CF Series; production is slated to begin in January.

Also new to International's medium-duty lineup are two brawny trucks. Only looking like a pickup, the 7300 Commercial Use Vehicle (CUV) is a severe-service 4x4 designed for fleets needing an off-road truck that can be piloted by a non-CDL driver. It boasts a four-door, air-ride cab that seats six and carries a six-ton payload. The CUV is powered by an International DT 466 engine offering from 210 to 255 hp. and is driven through an Allison 2000 Series automatic transmission.

The other new bruiser is the Commercial Variant of the International SmarTruck III. This truck is aimed at government agencies, such as the Border Patrol, as well as commercial customers seeking a very rugged vehicle offering a 16,000-lb. GVW (20,000-lb. GCW) rating. The truck features a four-door air-ride crew cab and is powered by an International VT275 4.5-liter V6 diesel (230 hp.) with 5-sp. automatic transmission and 2-sp. transfer case.


General Motors Isuzu Commercial Truck (GMICT) is making few changes to its N-Series and F-Series cabover lineup for 2005 because it considers the models released last year to be 2005 models. A notable exception, however, is the addition of an NRR model equipped with a diesel engine, offering engine displacement of up to 190 hp. In fact, the entire N-series line will see an increase in engine torque.

The OEM is boosting the payload capacity of its NRR Class 5 by 1,500 lb. A beefed-up Aisin automatic transmission will be an option for the entire N-Series line, through 19,500 lb. GVWR, according to Todd Bloom, the company's vp-marketing. Previously, this engine was an option only on models up to 19,000 lb. GVWR.

The big change for GMICT's heavier F-Series remains the tandem axle 56,000-lb. GVWR model, which was added to the lineup for 2004. Single-axle configurations for the F-series are rated between 19,501 and 39,000 lb. GVW. The engine for these trucks, the Isuzu 6HK1 7.8-liter, will be available in 275- to 300-hp. versions.


Kenworth Truck Co. has announced a range of enhancements to its T300 medium-duty conventional model. The T300 is available as a single or tandem-axle straight truck or tractor in a variety of wheelbases, with air or hydraulic brakes, in GVWs ranging from 26,000 to 54,000 lb. Improvements to the T300 come as the OEM celebrates the model's tenth anniversary, notes assistant gm Gary Moore.

Along with the truck's standard sloping hood and DayLite doors with “peeper” windows, the '05 T300 will offer optional corner windows to aid in backing up and negotiating tight quarters. Other exterior enhancements include a distinctive new wire-mesh grille with polished stainless steel center trim. Also new are standard complex reflector headlamps that provide a 50% increase in illumination and optional one-piece stainless steel-clad aluminum bumper with fog lights.

The interior of the T300 was modified to make it more driver-friendly. “Many drivers, especially those making multiple stops in a day, use the cab as their office,” says general marketing manager Steve Gilligan. “To make it easier, Kenworth developed an optional workstation between the driver and passenger seat. Open it up and a small desk emerges for completing paperwork tasks. Two 12-volt outlets can be used to power computers and other devices. Close it up and there's a convenient beverage holder on top.” Helping dress up the interior are new dash colors. Also available are new two-tone seats in either fabric or vinyl.

According to KW, for those wanting a “heavier-duty work truck,” a heavier front-axle option (14,600 lb.) is now available to go along with the available 30,000-lb. rear axle (for single axle applications). Frame inserts are also offered. “These are especially great options for customers running cranes or hanging forklifts off the back of the body,” says Gilligan. “In addition, we now offer an air accessory package for trucks spec'd with hydraulic brakes, and the 330-hp. Cat C7 engine is now available for all T300 applications.”

Mitsubishi Fuso

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America is offering eight new cabovers for the 2005 model year, including standard chassis designs, a low-profile model, a seven-passenger crew cab and a four-wheel-drive medium-duty model. Air suspension will be offered as on option. All new models feature an adjustable steering wheel that tilts and telescopes, power windows and daytime running lights (except on the crew cab), and easy-to-read instrumentation. Blue/gray cloth seats are standard, except for the FE145 crew cab. Cab doors feature a crush bar, intended to help increase frontal impact protection, according to the OEM.

Inside the roomier FE and FG cabs, drivers can expect to find a clear floor area since the transmission shifter has been relocated to the dash, the parking brake has been moved between the seats, and FG's transfer case range-selector level has been mounted to the left of the steering wheel at dashboard height. New offset hinges for the cab doors are intended to allow full-entry access without creating a traffic-blocking wider door swing. Exterior changes to the FE and FG lines include compact halogen headlamps, higher windshields, optional split-door mirrors and more sculpted fender styling.

The OEM's '05 models also sport a new “Fuso” badge on the front — the familiar three-diamond logo nameplate but with “Fuso” spelled out.


Peterbilt Motors Co.'s new Model 335 is its latest entry in the Class 6-7 conventional field. The 335 will replace the OEM's existing medium-duty offering, the Model 330, by the end of 2004. According to gm Dan Sobic, the new truck is distinguished by fresh exterior styling. Front and center is a sloping, aerodynamically styled hood that is lighter and offers improved visibility over that of its predecessor. The one-piece hood with integrated fenders is made of Metton, a state-of-the-art composite material that is highly durable and impact resistant.

A distinctive headlight package derived from Pete's Class 8 Model 387 is said to provide 40% better forward illumination. Other new exterior features include “repeater” lights located on the quarter fenders, complementing those in the headlamps, to more visibly signal lane changes and turns to other vehicles. The new fenders are engineered for use with 19.5-in. and 22.5-in. tires to retain the Model 335's profile and proportions with either tire spec.

The Model 335's interior is upgraded to enhance operator comfort, productivity and ergonomics. Interior styling has been made more contemporary, including a new two-tone color pattern that includes plush charcoal-and-gray seats.

Serviceability is improved thanks to Peterbilt's new proprietary hood tilt assist and anti-blow-down locking mechanism. A torsional hood pivot and tilt assist make opening the hood virtually effortless, according to the OEM. The system is maintenance-free and isolates the hood from the transfer of road noise and impact shocks absorbed by the chassis. While the hood is open, an “anti-blow-down” locking mechanism keeps it in position and prevents unintentional closing. Inside the hood handhold is an ergonomic lever that releases the mechanism and allows the hood to close easily.

Peterbilt also says a program with America's Body Company (ABC) provides customers with “convenient, expedited delivery” of Model 335s equipped with dry freight vans or platform bodies. Other programs available for the Model 335 include Heil dump bodies and London mixer bodies.


Sterling Truck Corp. has made a number of enhancements to its Acterra line of medium-duty trucks. Chief among these are availability of the Mercedes-Benz Automated Gear Shift (AGS) transmission and factory-installed all-wheel drive.

The two-pedal AGS is based on the maker's proven 6-sp. manual transmission. It improves performance and fuel economy by sensing and evaluating road conditions, load conditions, and grades to precisely determine shift points. The transmission requires no manual shifting or clutching, allowing operators to focus on driving. The AGS is backed by a two-year warranty with unlimited miles. Also available is another automated transmission, the new Eaton Fuller UltraShift 6-sp.

The Acterra all-wheel-drive system features a full, four-wheel automatic traction control. This includes an exclusive Automatic Lock Control Transfer Case coupled with the standard front and rear wheel traction control systems.

Sterling says that Acterra models equipped with AWD offer an improved three-step cab entry and are available with front axle ratings of 12,000, 14,000 and 16,000 lb.

The new system features excellent driveline angularity to minimize driveline vibrations, outstanding ground clearance, and low maintenance componentry. The all-wheel drive system includes a standard ten-inch offset front differential carrier and right-side mounted transfer case, reducing the need to raise overall frame heights to accommodate the front drive components.

Other standard features include Meritor Q Plus cam brakes with outboard-mounted drums; Meritor automatic slack adjusters; a straight tie-rod for easy toe adjustment; and ABS-ready wheel ends with installed tooth wheel and sensor for additional safety.

Available this summer, the Acterra all-wheel drive is designed for medium-duty applications, including utility, fire and emergency, oil field, snowplow, and municipal operations.

Also new for Sterling's medium-duty lineup is a shorter turning radius on all Acterra models. This results from a five-degree improvement of the wheel-cut, which was gained by new chassis developments.

Now standard on the Acterra is the new THP60 high-pressure steering gear from TRW. Sterling says this offers design improvements, including a new angled tooth system, shot peening for strength, and a faster steering ratio.

Sterling offers the Mercedes-Benz MBE900 engine for medium-duty applications. Standard features include air-to-air charge cooling with a matched turbocharger, electronically controlled high-pressure injector pumps, and data logging to monitor fuel consumption. The engine uses EGR to make it EPA-'04 compliant.

UD Trucks

Nissan Diesel America is completely revamping its UD Truck line for 2005. The OEM is dropping its 12,000-lb. GVWR UD 1200 chassis and replacing it with a 13,000-lb. GVWR UD 1300 model. The UD 1800 CS (City Spec) will undergo several changes, the most significant being a larger cab. The 1800 CS will be spec'd with the same cab used on Nissan's UD 1800 HD (Heavy Duty) model, giving it more side-to-side room so that three people can fit more comfortably. The larger cab also increases the truck's forward visibility, expanding its windshield size from 1,900 to 2,465 sq. in.

Engines for all of Nissan's UD trucks are going to change as well. For '05, units will have either the new 4-cyl. MD 175 or the 6-cyl. MD 230 diesel powerplants. The MD 175, standard on UD 1300, 1400, and 1800 CS models, offers 175 hp. and 347 lb.-ft. of torque. The MD 230, standard on the 1800 HD through the 3300 HD chassis, offers 230 hp. and 506 lb.-ft. of torque.

Other changes include an automatic Aisin transmission as standard on the 1300 and 1400 models. Factory-installed air conditioning will be standard on all UD trucks. Finally, a standard air-ride driver's seat will be offered on the UD 1800 HD chassis and above.

Workhorse Custom Chassis

Workhorse Custom Chassis is now offering a heavy-duty gasoline alternative to diesel engine platforms for 19,500-lb. GVWR walk-in trucks: the GM Vortec 8100 8.1-liter gasoline engine coupled with an Allison 1000 Series transmission. The new engine option produces 340 hp. and 455 lb.-ft. of torque, and has been durability tested for 200,000 miles. Oil and filter changes are the only maintenance required for the first 100,000 miles.

Other changes for the 19,500-lb. model include a new stabilizer bar and parabolic leaf suspension with new technology springs for improved ride and handling performance. The 19,500-lb. chassis is available in wheelbases of 178, 190 and 208 in.

Workhorse is also offering other gasoline engine options for its smaller chassis and walk-in trucks. The Vortec V8 4.8-liter LR4, for example, provides 270 hp. at 5,200 rpm, while cranking out 285 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The 6-liter LQ4 has 300 hp. at 4,400 rpm, with 355 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. Both have sequential fuel injection and two overhead valves per cylinder. Workhorse says they also provide 7% to 10% better fuel economy than its previous standard gasoline engines. Oil change intervals of 7,500 miles and coolant life of 150,000 miles are a few of the benefits that reduce maintenance costs.

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