New Trucks Deliver Loads of Value

Over the past decade, The NTEA Work Truck Show has become one of the premier events in the vocational truck market. This year was no exception and manufacturers pulled the wraps off a variety of new models, features and enhancements.

Mack Extends Granite MHD Line

One of the latest additions to the Mack Trucks line is the Medium Heavy Duty (MHD), which is engineered to deliver Mack durability in a truck targeted to perform shorter runs and have lighter duty cycles. This year, the MHD concept has been expanded with the Granite MHD 4x2 model. Offered in a heavy-duty or medium-duty configuration, the vehicle comes equipped with a 345-hp Cummins ISL9 engine with a maximum torque rating of 1,150 lbs.-ft.

“The MHD 4x2 offers a great option for customers needing a truck tough enough to manage their daily operations, but in a lighter weight configuration to increase their ROI,” says Curtis Dorwart, Mack Trucks vocational marketing product manager.

A clean back-of-cab design helps the MHD 4x2 accommodate a variety of body options. The short bumper-to-tire distance offers front-end swing clearance and optimal wheel cut for navigating tight turns on construction sites.

The galvanized steel cab is mounted on airbags and shocks so the driver stays comfortable throughout the workday. The Cornerstone chassis is built of high-strength steel alloy for a stronger, lighter frame, and is offered in four frame rail thicknesses ranging from 7 to 11.1 mm.

Ford Unveils Chassis Cab and Cutaway Transits

Just a few months after unveiling the Transit van, Ford Motor Company announces Transit chassis cab and cutaway models.

The chassis cab features an enclosed passenger compartment and bare frame ready to accept aftermarket body modules ranging from custom cargo delivery to a utility body. The cutaway is similar to the chassis cab but with the rear of the passenger compartment open so it can be paired with specialty body modules such as shuttle or school bus bodies. Both versions will be offered in 138-, 156- or 178-in. wheelbases and gross vehicle weight ratings from 9,000 to 10,360 lbs.

The foundation for Transit chassis cab and cutaway variants is a uni-ladder structure that combines the cab with a durable girder frame. The fully welded platform underpins 100% of the cab area, with frame rails reaching from the front to the rear bumper mounts. Extensive use of high-strength steel in the frame, delivering up to 50,700 psi of rigidity, helps shoulder heavy loads. High-strength boron steel in the cab structure helps improve safety. To increase adaptability, the high-strength steel uni-ladder frame can be extended with support plates, allowing an upfitted body to accommodate additional cargo through the extended length.

Transit chassis cab and cutaway models can be specified with a factory-installed towing package including hitch and lighting connections, as well as a pre-wire package for upfitted body lighting.

The Transit van will replace the E Series in many applications, offering up to 25% fuel savings. Transit offers a range of fuel-efficient engines, including a standard 3.7-liter V6, the same 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine proven in the Ford F-150, and an all-new 3.2-liter Power Stroke Diesel option. Each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission for efficient rear-wheel-drive operation.

CNG/LPG-Ready Offerings Expanded

Ford has expanded its portfolio of product offerings in response to increased customer demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquid propane gas (LPG) ready vehicles.

“Since 2009, we’ve seen the number of Ford commercial vehicles sold with factory prepped engines for CNG/LPG upfit increase by more than 350%,” says Jon Coleman, Ford Fleet Sustainability and Technology manager. “To expand power of choice for our commercial customers, we are offering CNG/LPG prepped engines in additional vehicle nameplates — from the Transit Connect compact van up to medium-duty F-650 models.”

The Transit range of full-size vans, wagons, cutaway and chassis cab models will be powered by a 3.7-liter V6 equipped with a CNG/LPG prep kit. These vehicles join the current compact Transit Connect van, wagon and taxi lineup, Ford Super Duty pickups, stripped chassis E-Series vans, wagons and cutaways and medium-duty F-450, F-550 and F-650 variants in offering factory prepped engines for CNG/LPG conversion. The next generation of the Transit Connect range will add yet another CNG-ready engine when it goes on sale later this year.

Each Ford engine factory prepped for gaseous conversion comes equipped with hardened valves and valve seats. Super Duty trucks equipped with the 6.2-liter V8 feature a unique bi-fuel intake manifold to accommodate the cleaner-burning fuels.

CNG/LPG engine prep from the factory costs approximately $325 before the customer chooses a partner to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. Upfits run approximately $9,500 to $12,500, depending on fuel tank capacity. Once equipped, the CNG conversion can help to lower vehicle operating costs. CNG sells for an average of $2.10/gal. compared to unleaded regular fuel, which sells for a national average of $3.78/gal., according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

Service Body Upfits with Westport WiNG Power System

Westport Innovations Inc. and Knapheide Mfg. Co. are combining their expertise to engineer custom vehicle bodies for the Westport-powered Ford F-250 and F-350 bi-fuel Super Duty trucks with box-deletes.

The Westport READY-link process is a unique mounting process designed specifically to allow the installation of custom Knapheide service bodies over the Westport WiNG Power System. Customers using Westport READY-link for their Ford F-250 or F-350 trucks can choose to upfit their trucks with the KNAP-Link 696-50J44-WCNG or KNAP-Link 696-50FJ44-WCNG, Knapheide’s most popular service bodies customized to fit the Westport WiNG Power System.

The 600-series Knapheide service bodies offer rugged steel construction and external storage for tools and equipment. The external compartments provide protection from the outside elements and allow technicians to access their equipment without having to climb into the truck bed.

Westport READY-link was scheduled to be available for order on Ford F-250 and F-350 box-delete trucks with the Westport WiNG Power System beginning April 1st. The Super Duty trucks are equipped with a standard 18.4- or optional 24.5-gasoline gallon equivalent Type-4 composite CNG fuel cylinder.

Western Star Broadens Product Line

Western Star’s 4700 set-back all-wheel-drive truck is suited for construction and utility applications requiring a lightweight truck with rugged off-road traction. Maintaining key attributes from the 4700 model, the vehicle features a 110-in. BBC and a 42° wheel cut to provide maneuverability on tight jobsites.

Premium, lightweight components include 16,000-lb. front axles and 40,000-lb. rear axles. The vehicle can also be spec’d with a 1/2-in., 3.2-million RBM single channel frame rail option that further reduces weight while providing long-term durability in corrosive environments.

Other features include a body-friendly design for ease of upfit and reduced body installation time; a Cummins ISL engine with up to 380 hp and 1,300 lb.-ft. of torque; an Allison 3000-series transmission; and a choice of front power take-off or rear power take-off.

In addition, a version of the Western Star 4800 Twin Steer model — which has been a mainstay in severe-service niches of the Canadian vocational truck market — is available to meet the demands of select U.S. markets. This eliminates the need for aftermarket upfits. The 4800 is a factory-built and engineered twin-steer truck.

Tandem 40,000-lb. front axles are standard and the truck features a 109-in. BBC. The truck offers wheelbases up to 448 in. and is powered by a Detroit DD13 rated at 350 to 470 hp and 1,250 to 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmissions include Eaton Fuller manual or optional Allison automatic.

Navistar Showcases TerraStar 4x4

The International TerraStar was launched in 2010 in a 4x2 configuration. This year, the company presents the TerraStar 4x4.

The TerraStar is the smaller sibling to the DuraStar, leveraging the same platform and components, says Jack Allen, president, North American Truck and Parts, Navistar. At the heart of the TerraStar 4x4 is its 300-hp, 6.8-liter V8 engine delivering 660 lbs.-ft. of torque. This engine features a compacted graphite iron block that offers high strength without added weight.

The cab is available in extended cab or crew cab configurations. It is constructed with double-sided, galvanized high-strength steel protected by a five-step coating process to resist corrosion.

The International Diamond Logic multiplexed electrical system enables continual communication between the engine, transmission, instrument panel and other vehicle components. By monitoring critical vehicle functions and relaying information to the driver in real-time, the system ensures safe, efficient vehicle operation. A number of smart, customizable features provide added convenience and safety, such as automated pre-trip inspections, headlights on with wipers, automatically engaged safety interlocks, programmable switches and more.

The TerraStar 4x4 boasts huck-bolted crossmembers that deliver frame rail strength of 80,000 psi; a commercial-duty Allison Optimized 1000 Series transmission; and a Fabco TC-28 gear-driven transfer case. Forged helical gearing and roller bearings give high torque and horsepower capacities while offering a quiet, smooth driving experience. A precision cast iron housing offers durability with optimized weight.

Matched with a 6.8-liter V8 engine, the Allison Optimized 1000 Series transmission features Shift Energy Management (SEM), Load-Based Shifting Scheduling (LBSS) and Automatic “Neutral” for simplified operations and greater powertrain durability.

Ram Launches ProMaster Van

The 2014 Ram ProMaster is the brand’s latest addition to its commercial vehicle lineup, and puts Ram Truck back into the expanding full-size van segment. The vehicle is based on the popular front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato, and is the company’s first shared truck collaboration with Fiat Professional. The ProMaster will provide both a chassis cab and cutaway from the factory.

Timing of the ProMaster launch aligns with the recent introduction of Ram Commercial, a new division of the Ram Truck brand to meet the unique requirements of commercial customers. With the entire auto industry growing by 2 million units year over year in 2012, and further growth expected in 2013, commercial business is key as it represents about one quarter of the total U.S. sales volume.

Joined by the 2014 Ram C/V, the ProMaster targets businesses in a variety of industries, including service and repairs, construction, transportation/shipping, large-medium-small businesses and agriculture.

SuperSprings Adds SumoSprings Applications

SuperSprings International now offers “fit-it-and-forget-it” suspension enhancements for the Ford F-550 (P/N SSR-104) and Ram 5500 (P/N SSR-303).

Composed of microcellular urethane, SumoSprings increase load-carrying capacity, provide a smooth load engagement, reduce side-to-side body roll and improve ride. They have been tested in the harshest environments and will perform in temperatures ranging from -25° to 200° F. Unlike an airbag, they are completely maintenance-free and do not expand outward when compressed.

Introduced in 2009, SumoSprings are available in front and rear versions for trucks, SUVs and RVs. The new applications are mounted to the rear suspensions of the 2005–2013 Ford F-550 and 2007–2013 Ram 5500 using the existing factory holes drilled for the OE bump stops. No additional drilling or fabrication is required. Typical installation takes an hour or less using standard tools.

Propane Autogas-fueled Ford F-550 Unveiled

ROUSH CleanTech and Green Alternative Systems (GAS) revealed a Ford F-550 chassis cab powered by propane autogas.

A certified Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) installer, GAS designs mounting hardware, handles packaging strategy and integrates ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system technology into the F-550 chassis cab. The vehicle maintains the Ford factory warranty and the same horsepower, torque and towing capacity as its gasoline counterpart.

Equipped with a 6.8-liter, V10 engine, the propane autogas alternative fuel system is available beginning with 2013 model year vehicles or newer. With more than 65 usable gallons, the vehicle offers the longest driving range of any dedicated alternative fuel counterpart on the market. The fuel tank sits between the frame rails and behind the aft axle.

Parker Chelsea PTO Provides a Quiet Solution

Chelsea’s 249 Series features a patent-pending noise suppression system. This unique design concept provides a PTO that reduces noise when installed on the new TorqueShift 6 automatic transmission with the engine-driven gear. This reduces torsional noise levels that are found on most PTO applications for these trucks.

The combination of the Chelsea 249 Series and the Ford transmission provides torque capacity of 200 lb.-ft. It is matched with a selection of pump sizes designed to provide maximum clearance and flow rates. The 249 Series also offers ease of installation through a single hose connection and an integrated cartridge valve and pressure switch.

Titan Unveils Fuel Tank for Econoline Vehicles

Titan Fuel Tanks released details on its cross-linked polyethylene replacement fuel tank for upfit on 1999-2010 Ford Econoline diesel cutaway cab and chassis vehicles. The 55-gal. tank is designed to replace the Econoline’s OEM tank.

The replacement tanks eliminate the issue of diesel fuel line contamination resulting from lining delamination in original equipment and steel aftermarket tanks. The solid polymer tank bodies are immune to the effects of diesel, biodiesel and fuel additives that are routinely blamed for causing the degradation of the protective linings of steel
fuel tanks.

Constructed of military-grade, cross-linked polyethylene (XLHDPE), the tanks are compatible with most blends of biodiesel fuel. Polyethylene is lighter than steel and 200 times less thermal conductive. The polymer’s insulating properties are said to eliminate condensation. The new tank features a rollover vent valve with a vent hose, as well as a convenient drain plug.

Miller Unveils Fuel-efficient Welder/Generators

Miller Electric Mfg.’s Trailblazer 275 and Trailblazer 325 welder/generators offer a number of technologies designed to reduce fuel use by as much as 35%, extend runtimes by 50%, reduce noise by 68% and provide a smaller, lighter footprint for ease of mobility and more space on work trucks.

Smart-Cor technology provides independent weld and generator power, ensuring no interaction between the welding arc and jobsite tools such as grinders and chop saws. Welder/generators without this capability can cause fluctuations in the welding arc when a load is simultaneously applied to the generator, creating an erratic arc.

Auto-Speed technology automatically adjusts the engine speed to run at lower speeds determined by the load applied to the machine. Rather than operate at a consistent rpm at all times, the Trailblazer series varies its output based on demand. For instance, welding with a 1/8-in. Stick electrode can be accomplished at idle speeds of 2,400 rpm. This significantly lowers fuel use and cost,
and helps reduce noise in the work area over a machine constantly running at
full speed.

Knaack Updates Underbed Boxes

Knaack LLC announced product enhancements for the WEATHER GUARD Underbed Boxes based on contractors’ feedback.

An easy-to-grip stainless steel D handle with drill-resistant lock core provides added protection against break-ins, while a three-point latching system provides optimum security. A tool-less quick-release drop-down door enables full, easy access and adjusts from 90° to 180°.

The powder-coat finish, gutter design and weather stripping combine to protect against the elements and keep contents of the boxes dry.