Trucks Reach New Level Of Sophistication For '95

Currently, the truck business is booming, with delivery dates running from six months to a year for some of the more popular models. While this is a "high-class" problem, truck manufacturers are scrambling to meet the demand, which is causing some to increase their production capabilities.

For the first time in years, federal truck regulators have stepped up the pace of required changes in truck hardware. Reportedly, enforcement of the new rules isn't far behind, with state and local regulators be-coming more active. This, of course, translates into higher prices for the truck-buying hauler.

What does this mean for truck operators in 1995? In some cases, refuse haulers will have to wait for delivery of new models while determining how to meet the price in-creases caused by new regulatory demands.

The list of redesigned 1995 truck models, while not a long one, suggests some very useful machines. Here's a summary of the key hardware changes made in the larger ref-use trucks for 1995.

Ford Ford Motor Co. reports changes to its bread-and-butter line, the F series, in 1995. These conventional trucks range from light-duty pickups through Class 8 units with heavy-duty diesel engines.

The list of key features of the larger, new F series trucks includes one-piece fiberglass tilt hoods and a wide selection of optional components such as front axles with capacities up to 14,600 pounds.

Ken Smith, Ford heavy truck general manager, said that the truck di-vision has been expanding its operations since 1989. One of the most significant expansions, he said, was the purchase of an interest in Cum-mins Engine Co. in 1990, which led to the Ford-Cummins development of diesels for medium through heavy trucks.

Another of Ford's recent efforts is a $650 million expansion at Ken-tucky Truck Plant, near Louisville, where the company builds all of its larger trucks.

"We offer a factory-installed, factory-warranted LPG engine, a variety of transmissions including a 'hands free' electronic automatic and an optional Hendrickson air suspension with a lowering feature," Smith ad-ded.

Freightliner A new version of the FLD 112 conventional truck has been introduced by Freightliner Corp.

This model combines two features that have become increasingly at-tractive. Since haulers have been de-manding trucks with increased load-carrying capacity, the FLD 112 is built with a long list of low-weight features, including many aluminum parts, low-profile tires and cam brakes.

Freightliner's electronically controlled rear air suspension, AirLiner Plus, is a novel feature of this model. It uses air springs, as opposed to the metal ones, which is another weight saver.

Air suspensions have been growing in popularity to improve the driver's ride and to make advanced moves such as shifting the cargo weight.

The company continues to add re-fined features to its Business Class of light-heavyweight trucks. (These units replaced the Mercedes-Benz trucks in the United States, due to the fact that Freightliner is owned by the German Mercedes-Benz AG group.)

Also new in the Business Class for 1995 is a model with an extended cab which provides seating space for up to six or secure space for tools and equipment.

Still another new offering is a truck with an exclusive engine/ transmission combination of a five or six speed Allison automatic transmission and a 275-horsepower De-troit Diesel Series 50 powerplant.

Kenworth Another major U.S. truck company has made its first move into the Class 7 conventional truck market. Kenworth Truck Co., after years of supplying the nation's refuse industry with cabover models, has introduced the T300 series. This new en-try takes its place alongside its tra- ditional K300 cabovers.

Paul Skoog, Kenworth's general marketing manager, said that the T300 can be ordered with a standard gross vehicle weight rating of 30,000 pounds, with higher axle ratings available.

Kenworth cab features are combined with readily available components in the new T300. A 210-horsepower Cummins C-series engine is standard power.

The T300 includes a sharply sloping hood and one-piece windshield for increased visibility.

Mack Trucks Aided by the advice from refuse haulers and body manufacturers, Mack Trucks has developed its Low Entry (LE) Refuse Vehicle. One of the most recently introduced trucks in its class, the unit was unveiled at this year's Waste Expo held in Dallas in May.

Hank Kryeski, Mack's sales engineer for the waste/refuse industry notes that Mack Pedigreed powertrain moves the LE. Dual steering with right-side walk-in cab capabilities are other features of this new model.

The key step measurement of the unit is 18 inches from ground to the truck floor. Like the Freightliner's Business Class models, the light-heavy Mid-Liners from Mack are expected to have extended cabs for 1995.

Navistar Refinements in its extensive line of International trucks have been an-nounced by Navistar at the rate of a-bout one a month so far this year. The following changes apply to ref-use vehicles:

The company recently introduced a special, factory-installed, dual drive, walk-in refuse and recycling truck. The new unit, called the Step Saver, is part of the company's 4000 series.

Changes in the Severe Service units in the Paystar 5000 series in-clude models with set forward front axles which should aid in weight distribution when using a large packer body.

The truck's weight is reduced by as much as 700 pounds with the use of a new standard engine, the company's 530 model, which is de-signed to develop 275 horsepower.

Peterbilt Like its sister in the PACCAR division, Peterbilt is invading the Class 7 conventional truck market just be-low the heaviest Class 8 where the pair have traditionally done well.

Aimed directly at the refuse industry along with Pete's Model 320, the new Model 330 has a base GVW rating of 31,000 pounds. The 330 sports a light-weight, high-strength aluminum cab using huck-bolt construction and a Caterpillar 3116 die-sel that develops 200 horsepower as its standard engine. Optional 185-275 horsepower ratings are available on this engine, as well as a Cum-mins C series with 210-300 horsepower.

Peterbilt introduced this model af-ter completing its move from Calif-ornia to Denton, Texas.

Volvo GM Volvo GM Heavy Truck Corp. has not yet announced major product changes for 1995. However, the company has said that it will spend $200 million in the next five years on its factory, distribution and service programs.

The biggest investment will be in an advanced painting facility adjacent to the Dublin, Va., truck as-sembly plant. In addition, the plant's capacity to assemble WhiteGMC is expected to be expanded by 20 percent.

Eaton Corp. Eaton Corp.'s Fuller Transmission division shifted into high gear late last summer with significant developments in its automatic transmission line.

The company announced that it will feature three products: the Auto Select automated mechanical transmission, which has been a Kenworth and Peterbilt exclusive for a year; an improved CEEMAT (converter-en-hanced, electronically managed, au-tomatic transmission), which better matches special needs including providing for dual controls and specialized features for refuse applications; and an additional Autoshift automated mechancial transmission.

With all the changes in the waste industry, keeping up with the in-creasing demand from refuse haul-ers is the challenge manufacturers will face in the near future.