Trucks And Bodies: What's In Store For '94

Refuse trucks will be anything but dull in the new year. A combination of a business recovery and attractive features of the 1993 trucks are already pushing sales of new trucks to record highs. The outlook is for expansion of the boom, resulting in delayed deliveries of specialized trucks in the year ahead.

The 1994 line reveals the benefits of truck makers and their component suppliers working together to develop new or improved products for the waste industry.

Heavy Duty Demands New governmental regulations and impending rules were the drive behind many of the big changes in heavy trucks for 1994.

For instance, an Environmental Protection Agency reduction of diesel exhausts was met by one of two types of change.

Some engines were brought into compliance by internal adjustments, such as increases in fuel injection pressures.

Others made it with the addition of costly electronic controls that deliver benefits beyond emission control, such as improved fuel economy.

Detroit Diesel, which took the lead in offering engines with full electronic control when it introduced its powerful, six-cylinder Series 60 engines in 1987, added to its line with new Series 50 diesels unveiled last spring.

The new engines are for light-heavyweight trucks and the lightest Class 8 models, the industry's strongest offerings. Series 50s come with horsepower ratings from 275 to 315. They met the new 1994 emission standard on the day of their introduction.

Cummins Engine, the truck diesel industry's volume leader, re-designed much of its line for 1994, adding additional power plants with an 11-liter displacement while joining an industry trend to high-horsepower engines by adding a 500-horse model. There is great emphasis on electronic control at Cummins.

The 1994 engines will virtually replace Cummins' successful 10-liter L10 engines. In step with a general move to cater to those who favor mechanically controlled engines, Cummins will continue L10s for them.

Cummins B and C engines, the firm's offerings in the light-heavyweight market, were also redone for 1994.

Low-sulfur or "clean" diesel engines are major parts of the emission control efforts of Navistar and Caterpillar. Particulates in standard fuel contribute to undesirable exhausts. Taking them out, a move now required by federal regulation, costs money but not as much as full electronic engine control.

Navistar, which started showing its "smokeless" diesels that met the 1994 emission standard in 1992, has since expanded the effort with the introduction of a line of three six-cylinder engines with horsepower ratings from 175 to 300. Coming in early 1994 is a V-8 with electronic controls and a novel fuel injection system.

Improved fuel economy is the feature of the newest diesel engine from Mack Trucks, which with Navistar makes powerplants for its own trucks. The newest Mack is an E7 model that turns out 300 horsepower and relies on the company's V-MAC electronic control system.

Meeting Brake Regulations Antilock control systems (ABS) for air-braked vehicles are the next regulatory item which is reshaping the truck industry.

Federal regulators have been told by Congress to study the systems to make sure they work before requiring them. (They didn't when first tried in 1975.)

There have been lots of studies and the regulators appear to have fallen behind their own rule-making schedule. As a result, there are some doubts about when ABS will be required, although most observers feel sure that a rule will be enacted.

A consensus guess: Through the last half of the 1990s with the rule-making passing from tractors to trailers and on to straight trucks. There is good reason to believe that straight trucks with hydraulic brakes will be included before the year 2000.

In the regulatory arena, there is a clear trend among truck makers and their suppliers to begin offering what appear to be attractive advances before they are required. This past summer, Freightliner announced that ABS will become standard equipment on many of its volume models in the 1995 model year.

To move the program forward even more, Freightliner, in cooperation with its ABS supplier, Rockwell WABCO, will offer sophisticated four-channel ABS systems for the reduced price of $1,250 per truck beginning on Jan. 1, 1994.

All truck and trailer makers are sure to offer ABS systems when they are required. Likely suppliers include Bendix, Robert Bosch, Midland and possibly Eaton as well as Rockwell WABCO.

ABS uses electronic controls to combat wheel lockup during emergency braking and to maintain control of the vehicle. Control of the drive axle(s) when starting on difficult surfaces can be delivered by tracion control setups (called ASR systems) that take advantage of the cost of much of an ABS system. Since ASR delivers a bonus feature at little added expense, it is expected to come in with ABS.

Automatic slack adjusters will soon be on the required parts list, making sure that brakes are always in adjustment for safe operation.

A potential benefit to refuse haulers who often operate under stop-and-go conditions is the introduction of improved air dryers for brake systems. Stopping and starting builds up the water accumulated.

Here's a look at some of the individual product features which makers of heavy duty trucks will have in the spotlight in the year ahead:

Ford: The company's heavy truck quality "will take a quantum leap up" in 1994 because of advanced technologies achieved in a $650 million expansion of Kentucky Truck Plant (KTP), where Ford builds all of its big trucks.

"Plant expansion was an opportunity for us to obtain levels of quality that are only possible with the next generation of systems technologies," says T.A. (Tom) Phillips, the program manager for the massive expansion.

An unusual in change in the heavy truck industry is that KTP can now build trucks on a first come, first served basis. Trucks will now be built sooner because they will be assembled as orders come in. They will not be held in the traditional manner for batch production of groups of similar orders.

Mack: The Bulldog line has made a number of recent innovations that are unusual in the heavy truck field. One innovation guarantees delivery of a new heavy truck 45 days or less after it is ordered.

The program now covers 55 chassis that are popular in markets that Mack serves. Customers and dealers were polled on specks of the models in the program. That will continue as the effort is expanded.

Navistar: Specialty models are in the spotlight at Navistar, maker of International trucks. Featured now is a concept model which is being used to sample users' opinions of low-profile trucks.

Trucks built with heights cut to ease loading and unloading have proved popular since Navistar started working with them in the late '80s. The producer is now showing a model with a light-weight, low profile wheel-tire-brake package.

Oshkosh Truck: Oshkosh offers the NK series chassis for rear refuse packers, sideloaders and recyclers with front loader and roll-off which are expected to arrive late 1994. It is sold with Cummins diesels from 210 to 300 horsepower.

Allison automatic transmissions are installed along with 12,000 to 20,000 pound front and rear axles with capacities ranging from between 19,000 to 52,000 pounds.

The chassis combines a short turning radius for increased route maneuverability and a tilt cab for ease of maintenance.

PACCAR: The PACCAR, Kenworth and Peterbilt line have not changed much in the past. The two lines have been busy adding new components required and Peterbilt is refocusing itself now that it is a Texas producer.

Kenworth has been developing models for the eastern market which it serves from facilities east of the Mississippi.

Volvo/GM: In an example of meeting a rule ahead of time, White GMC trucks have joined several competitors in using an air conditioner refrigerant that does not attack the Earth's ozone layer. Some Autocar models are getting set-back front axles for improved maneuverability on site.

Midrange Offers Options There is a little of almost everything in the midrange segment of the truck market. Offers are some mediums that are often considered part of the heavy duty scene, some novel imported models and trucks that had been imports which are now made in North America.

There are hardworking domestic midrange models that can handle a real day's hauling work as well as specialized offerings which are looking for some of the volume sales that go to lighter trucks. Gasoline power is mixed with diesel engines. Some midsized units are getting stronger while some are getting smaller.

Add in varied models of a wide range of other components, bodies and truck-mounted working equipment and there is something for almost every trucking assignment in the medium duty field.

While often considered a part of the heavy truck business, the strongest units from General Motors' two truck divisions, Chevrolet and GMC have been sold as medium trucks since GM invested its full heavy trucks in what is now Volvo GM Heavy Truck.

With gross vehicle weight (GVW) ratings as high as 50,000 pounds, diesel engines and tandem rear axle assemblies, some of the two divisions' big trucks are about as strong as many operators need.

Global is a familiar truck industry buzzword. Current cooperative efforts stretch across international borders. In the midsized area, the two GM divisions have a case in point: production on GMC Forward and Chevy Tiltmaster medium cab-over models by Isuzu, a Japanese maker in which GM has a major investment.

At the top of the light truck field, Isuzu has just taken the novel step of offering gasoline power in imported trucks with GVW ratings in the area of 12,000 to 13,000 pounds, a segment where most imported models have diesel power. The new Isuzu offering is a 190-horsepower GM gas engine.

Isuzu offers gas power to users who are not familiar with diesel engines in hopes of increasing sales volume.

Freightliner developed a "business class" of class 6 and 7 models to supplant the Mercedes-Benz mid- range trucks formerly supplied by Freightliner's parent, Daimler-Benz AG of Germany.

The introduction represented the first expansion of the domestic medium truck industry in more than half a century. It's no longer a Chevrolet-Ford-GMC-Navistar exclusive.

Business Class models have enjoyed a riot of product additions in the last year, including the first application of the Series 50 electronic diesels from Detroit Diesel, a series of all-wheel-drive models and a start at offering low-profile trucks.

A need to cater to the desires for specialized truck models like those has moved production of a few mid-sized lines from overseas to North America.

The Ford Cargo moved from Brazil to Kentucky and the midrangers of Kenworth and Peterbilt are now being manufactured near Montreal after a start in Brazil and Volvo midrange FE models moved from Europe to Ohio.

All of these lines have had a wide range of equipment, optional and standard, added since production was moved nearer their volume markets.

New Diesel Engines Mack Trucks has played a major role in the midrange imported truck market for some years. Much of the production of its mid-liner models has been handled by Renault of France, the company's parent, with Mack doing some Americanizing here.

A major change for 1994 has 190 and 220-horsepower diesels with an electronic fuel injection timing system being added to mid-liners. The new engines from Renault develop more horsepower than earlier models and improve fuel economy by as much as eight percent, Mack says.

Beyond mid-liners and Isuzu offerings, Mitsubishi FUSO, Hino and Nissan Diesel American continue to offer specialized midrange trucks to the American market. Almost all are diesel powered. That called for careful efforts to meet the 1994 EPA exhaust emission standard.

Navistar, the other domestic manufacturer of midsized trucks, is putting a great deal of effort into toning up interiors of its trucks to appeal to those all-important drivers. In a surprise, it turns out that communications equipment from cellular phones to two-way radios are high on drivers' wish lists.

And there is activity at both ends of the weight range of midsized trucks. There is stiff federal excise which adds thousands of dollars to the price of every heavy duty truck. They are in Class 8 and have GVW ratings that start at 33,001 pounds.

Manufacturers, both foreign and domestic, have developed a large selection of Class 7 trucks with GVW ratings like 32,500 and even 32,950 pounds. They can almost do as much work as the lightest Class 8 models at a lower cost.

Low weight has a way of decreasing the cost and at the same time increasing truck sales. This is even more attractive when the lighter unit has special appeal.

Nissan has just made a move in this direction by introducing its UD1400 model. At 14,050 pounds GVW, it's the lightest UD unit offered here. With a payload rating of 8,900 pounds, cabover design and 135-horsepower diesel engine, it would seem ideal for urban refuse work.

Refuse Effort: In one regulatory study that affects only refuse trucks, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are looking at use of alternative (nonpetroleum) fuels in city collection units to curb air pollution and ease reliance on foreign oil.

Mack Trucks, Volvo GM and Volvo laboratories in Sweden are cooperating. Compressed natural gas seems to get the most attention.

And The Smallest Of All A totally new S Series of compact pickup trucks is the big Chevrolet new product for 1994. The division said the trucks were "designed from the inside out" to deliver greater in-cab comfort for driver and passengers.

The S Series power has been increased. Standard power will now be a 2.2 liter, four-cylinder gas engine that develops 118 horsepower. This is 13 more horses than the output of the 2.5-liter engine which was standard in 1993.

Chevrolet's full-sized pickup trucks, the division's volume leaders, have been extensively refined for 1994. Side guard beams are a key safety change. With a line of more than 100 models, Chevrolet offers what could be the industry's largest selection of trucks.

GMC shares a common truck engineering program with Chevrolet, its sister General Motors division. Exceptions include all Chevy models which appear in the GMC line, including units like the new S Series.

One of the industry's most ambitious alternative fuel programs is being conducted by GMC. It is adding compressed natural gas power to pickups, making sure they don't look unusual. It is selling them to customers other than gas companies.

The most dramatic development in the truck business for 1994 is the introduction of a totally new line of pickup trucks by Dodge Division of Chrysler Corp., the first such move in 22 years.

The extensive engine lineup includes a successful Cummins diesel and more powerful gasoline engines with electronic fuel injection.

That lineup is about to be topped off with the industry's first V-10 gasoline engine for truck use. It is expected to be rated at 310 horsepower when cleared for production in early 1994.

While it may take some time to complete the introduction, the new Dodge line is slated to be complete when all units are in production. Coming soon are popular Club Cab models with two seats in the cab and bare cab/chassis models on which any specialized body can be mounted.

Appearance changes for 1994 are at a minimum at Ford but safety advances are numerous. "We added a number of safety features to the Ford F Series pickup trucks," says Larry Cooper, F Series and Bronco program manager. "A driver side air bag on under 8,500 pound (gross vehicle weight GVW) models, standard side door intrusion beams and center high-mount stop lights. We also made brake/shift interlock systems standard equipment on all models which have automatic transmissions." (The latter prevent the transmission from being put in gear until the brakes are applied.)

On Ford Econoline vans, this year's safety changes include the addition of interlock systems, installation of side guards and availability of four-wheel anti-lock brakes. Driver side air bags were included in 1992s re-design.

To meet the new demands for more powerful, stronger Ford 1994 pickups will offer a version of the 7.3-liter V-8 diesel engine whose power output has been stepped up to 185 horses.

The imported truck lines, particularly those from Japan, continue to add models that put them in direct competition with the volume U.S. producers of light duty commercial trucks.

Late last year, Toyota became the first import line to challenge a monopoly of the U.S. makers, producing something close in size to the standard American pickup. The offering was criticized as too small and underpowered.

Early this year, Mazda began offering pickup models that are larger than the Toyota offering which have more available engine power. The American buyer apparently can compromise on many things, but not on size and power in a pickup.

Building Better Bodies Stronger, more specialized and more sophisticated traits are expected to stand out in the refuse truck bodies in the year ahead.

From Chattanooga, Tenn., the Heil Co., has entered the 1994 recycling market in a big way. The two recycling bodies just introduced are led by the Recycle 2000.

Available are 33 and 38-cubic-yard models with dual compartments for newspapers and other recyclables, both served by a compacting system.

The company also has a Recycle 1000 for curbside loading.

Pak-Mor Manufacturing Inc, San Antonio, is introducing the FBE800 pack/eject front loader.

The front loader will be offered in two versions, one with 35-cubic-yard capacity and second rated at 40 yards.

The lift arm used in loading the body has been constructed into one piece. It has a rated lifting capacity of 8,000 pounds.

Long-life features stand out in the hydraulic system, the producer says. The system's reservoir is mounted on the chassis frame to assure positive flow of the oil and prevent air bubbling.

Wayne Engineering Corp. of Cedar Falls, Iowa, will be spotlighting the Curbtender, a side-loading body that reportedly can collect from 150 homes per hour.

The high compaction curved shell full eject body can be ordered with payload capacities of either 16,000, 21,000 and 24,000 pounds. Cubic capacity ratings range from 21 to 31 yards. Curbtender can be fitted with a nine-foot-reach lasso gripper.

McNeilus Truck, Dodge Center, Minn., features a front-loading body, in full-eject and gravity-dump versions.

The company says that it offers as standard, sliding access doors, bolt-on arms and hydraulically controlled hopper doors.

McNeilus says that body's tidal wave ejector is of an advanced design that prevents material being ejected from falling behind the ejector.

Maximizer, a system that adds efficiency to recycling operations is the leading 1994 product from Labrie Equipment Inc., which has production facilities in Canada and sells in both the United States and Canada. The American sales headquarters is in Jacksonville, Fla.

The system is designed to vary cargo space inside the body for efficiency in comingling varied refuse in the body.

Bulkheads in the body can be moved as much as seven feet to adjust cargo space to the materials being collected.

E-Z Pack Refuse Systems, Galion, Ohio, will be featuring its one-man side loaders from its varied body array for 1994.

The manufacturer claims that their sideloaders enable one worker to collect as much refuse as two or three using a conventional rear loader.

An hydraulic loading system is mounted in the middle of the vehicle. The accompanying body can have a capacity of 27 to 39 cubic yards.

Marathon Equipment Co. has announced a new version of its Precycler 2 body for the year ahead.

Improvements include extended trough dividers to eliminate load contamination and an optional plastic compaction setup designed to enable the truck to stay on the route longer.

An option provides dual troughs for loading from either side.