Western Star grows X-Series line

Western Star’s new X-series of vocational trucks has expanded. The 47X, introduced today, provides all the benefits of the recently introduced 49X but in a more compact, lighter-weight design.

Visitors to Expocam were the first to see the new model, which was revealed online on the evening of Sept. 23.

While it’s the second model introduced as part of the revamped product line, Samanta Parlier, vice-president – vocational market development with Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), said the 47X actually beefs the line up to six offerings. Both the 47X an 49X are available in set-back and set-forward axle configurations, and both can now be spec’d with twin steer axles.

Showing a crowd at ExpoCam gaathered around the Western Star booth
Expocam visitors gather to see and hear about the new Western Star 47X. (Photo: John G. Smith)

She says Western Star has never been better equipped to handle the full range of vocational applications.

“There’s not an application we can’t do with these two products,” Parlier said during an online press reveal.

The 47X replaces the 4700 model and was nearly five years in the making. It comes with a full suite of Detroit Assurance active safety systems, and Parlier said vocational buyers are increasingly interested in the safety benefits. Even the DT12-V – Daimler’s automated manual for vocational applications – is winning over vocational truck owners, but Allison automatics and Eaton transmissions are also offered.

She spoke of a fleet in Michigan that would often get bogged down in mud working off-road, but is now able to get free using the DT12’s rock-free mode. Previously, the driver would have to walk back a mile or two in the mud to get a piece of heavy equipment to free the truck.

“Anyone who tries it is falling in love,” she said of the DT12-V.

Showing the new Western Star 47X
The new 47X (Photo: DTNA)

The 47X comes standard with a 111.6-inch BBC, and can also be spec’d with a 110.8-inch BBC to meet certain federal or local bridge law requirements. That was one of the greatest challenges in introducing the new model, said Parlier, noting there are 3,143 counties in 50 states – and one federal highway system.

“Any time you leave the federal highway you are susceptible to local laws and there are 3,143 counties creating laws,” she said.

The 47X is about 10 inches shorter than its bigger brother, and with that comes weight savings of about 200 lb., making it a good fit for mixer and bulk hauling applications. About 120 lb. of that weight reduction is attributed to a new 9.5-mm frame rail, which Parlier said offers the same strength of an 11-mm rail.

Engineers actually weighed every single part on the truck individually to find areas where weight reduction was possible.

“We built a truck from scratch and weighed every nut, bolt and washer, so we could get a 100% accurate weight. When a truck goes down the line you don’t know if it was double-washered or something,” she explained.

Additional weight savings come in the form of aluminum crossmembers. The aluminum cab is reinforced with steel, and a two-person bench seat can be spec’d for work crews. An in-cab battery box mounted under the seat has been redesigned to provide more legroom since the introduction of the 49X.

Operators can spec’ bright yellow grab handles, which Parlier says improves driver safety, as do wide stair-like steps.  

“Mixer operators can be in and out of the cab 50 times a day. That’s a big difference to the wear and tear on a human body,” she said.

The B-panel can house a tablet, or be configured for an additional 12 switches or 10 gauges. And a “quick flip” panel atop the dash provides quick and easy access to electronics. Western Star also says the 47X offers 24.8 feet of forward visibility, an 11-inch improvement over the 49X.

Showing the Western Star X Series
The new X-Series now consists of the 49X and 47X. (Photo: DTNA)

Power options include the Detroit DD13, as well as the Cummins L9 and X12 engines. The company says the Cummins options can be combined with rectangular fuel tanks and a raised aftertreatment system mounting for increased ground clearance, ideal for belly plows. There’s also a recessed roof design to reduce cab height and accommodate roof-mounted equipment.

Body builders will also benefit from the new design, according to Parlier. Its mid-chassis packaging has a number of clear back-of-cab configurations and easy access to the frame rails allows for faster body installation, she said.

Exterior features include standard heated headlamps that can “melt thick ice in a matter of minutes,” said Parlier, while also defogging the lamps in humid climates.

Parlier likened the new model to a trusted partner in the most rugged of applications.

“On logging roads in B.C., the danger is real,” she said. “The threat is real, and you are trusting this partner to not let you down.”

Showing a Western Star twin steer
Twin-steer offerings are now available on both the 49X and 47X. (Photo: DTNA)

Back at Expocam, Brad Thiessen, head of DTNA in Canada, told Today’s Trucking “Our goal from a corporate perspective is to come up with the toughest trucks in the world for vocational applications. We’re very much looking forward to introducing the 47X, the counterpart to the 49X, with just some small modifications as it relates to things like BBC. Today, we’re able to provide our customer base not only the toughest truck, but it will be capable of handling all various applications based on size, scope and dimension, so we’re very excited by it.”

The new offering can be ordered now and deliveries are expected to begin early next year. Asked what it has been like to bring two all-new models to market during a pandemic, Parlier said “It’s been a helluva ride for the team. The greatest challenge has been the unconditional need to pivot for the team.”

She said the truck maker had nine different launch events planned, but continually had to reschedule. Then there were the labor and supply chain challenges that came with it.

“Where we could get things in one to two days, now we’re talking about a week, two weeks. That has been challenging,” she said. However, she said the timing of the launch couldn’t be better, with major infrastructure spending about to flow. “We can capitalize on things like the infrastructure bill,” she said. “There’s so much momentum on that.”

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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