November 2008, TruckingInfo.com - Test Drives
Ford has quietly returned to Class 8 with higher-rated rear axles in its F-750 allowing GVW ratings of up to 37,000 pounds; tandem rears are being considered. F-650 and F-750 continue into ’09 with two-door Regular and four-door Super or Crew cabs, taken from the high-volume SuperDuty models. Engines are the standard Cummins 6.7-liter ISB with 200 to 325 horsepower and optional Caterpillar 7.2-liter C7 with 190 to 300 horsepower. But Cat is withdrawing the C7 in January, leaving only the Cummins ISB in Class 6 and 7 Fords for the time being. Eaton manual and Allison automatic transmissions are used. “Full power” Meritor Quadraulic brakes are standard, with full air brakes optional on some models. Ford offers 13 wheelbases and cab-axle dimensions with Regular and Super Cabs and 12 with the Crew Cab.
Business Class M2-106 conventional is available in two-door Day and Extended Cabs and a four-door Crew Cab, and in truck or tractor configurations. A V-for-vocational variant has a front frame extension to accommodate a front-drive PTO, hydraulic pump, snow plow or stabilizers. An M2e hybrid uses the Eaton electric-drive system with a 240-horsepower Cummins ISB. Standard in most M2-106s is the Mercedes-Benz 926 diesel, while the Cummins ISB and ISC are optional. A new Wired Rite option includes a switch panel in the dash or over the windshield for running auxiliary lights or other electric accessories via the truck’s multiplexed wiring system; the plug-in body builder’s module has been moved from outside the cab to inside for protection against the elements. A Sears C2 seat with contoured metal pans for greater comfort than tube supports is optional on most M2s. A $5,000 incentive is available on the M2e hybrid through Dec. 15.
Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC TopKick C6500 and C7500 series conventionals (and the C8500 Baby 8) come in Regular and Crew Cab styles and, starting in December, will use only the Isuzu 6H diesel because the Cat C7 is being dropped. Also gone in December is the 8.1-liter Vortec 8100 V-8, the last gasoline engine available in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The 6H will have an automatic idle-shutdown to comply with anti-idling laws in California and seven other states, but this feature will be included on engines for all 50 states. The shutdown cannot be turned off but can be adjusted to work after five to 15 minutes. As before, Kodiaks and TopKicks are available with Eaton manual and Allison automatic transmissions, and with a variety of axles, wheelbases and other chassis equipment. GM also continues to build medium- and medium/heavy-duty T series LCFs using Isuzu cabs with domestic chassis components.
Navistar International’s DuraStar mediums, including the 4400-series Class 7 tractor shown, were extensively redesigned late last year to take EPA-’07 diesels. As before, they come with a wide variety of transmissions, axles and other chassis equipment, and use Diamond Logic multiplexed electrical systems. The Class 7 4400 uses the 7.6-liter MaxxForce DT (formerly the DT466), and for an upcoming hybrid tractor is fitted with Eaton’s electric-drive system. The 9.2-liter MaxxForce 9 (formerly the DT 570) is an option. The 4400 also is built as a Baby 8 with tandem rears. The 4300, as a regular or low-profile 4x2 or a new 4x4 with hydraulic or air brakes, uses the 7.6-liter MaxxForce DT and the 6.4-liter MaxxForce 7 V-8 (a redesigned VT-360). All engines are now approved for B20 (20 percent biodiesel blend) fuel. International’s 2010 diesels will use higher levels of EGR to meet tighter exhaust-emissions limits, and will lose 1 percent to 2 percent in fuel economy. But they’ll cost less to buy than trucks whose engines use SCR, so “total cost of ownership” will be less, International insists.
Iuzu’s FTR, FVR and FXR tiltcabs correspond to the Chevrolet and GMC T6500, T7500 and T8500, with GVW ratings from 19,501 to 56,000 pounds. All are built by General Motors in Flint, Mich., using cabs and engines from Japan and many drivetrain and chassis components from North America. The vehicles are all outfitted the same. The only engine is the Isuzu 6HK1-TC (called the 6H by GM) with 215, 230, 260 and 300 horsepower, all with 1,450 pounds-feet. Horizontal and vertical exhaust systems are offered, and transmission choices include Eaton 6-, 9- or 10-speed manuals or 6-speed Allison automatics. Many wheelbases are available and cab-to-axle combinations are available. Isuzu wants to expand sales of all its LCFs, which already dominate this field, and is going after more business from vocational users such as landscapers, oil delivery and towing.