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Designing for a Growing Need

InternationalInternational Truck and Engine Corporation's 8500 regional haul tractor is equipped with International's new HT 530 engine. Its release follows the February 2001 launch of the high perfor...


International Truck and Engine Corporation’s 8500 regional haul tractor is equipped with International’s new HT 530 engine. Its release follows the February 2001 launch of the high performance 4000, 7000 and 8000-series medium haul vehicles. The 8500 offers such features as a multiplex electrical system, increased payload capacity, and a tighter turning radius with a 50-degree wheel-cut and the HT 530 engine.

The International 8500 is available only in tractor configurations, and offers a strong frame rail system and air-ride cab suspension.

The International HT 530 high torque diesel engine is designed for applications requiring a high power-to-weight ratio. The engine weighs up to 600 pounds less than alternative engines in the same class, International claims.

The HT530 I-6 engine has an electronically-controlled, variable geometry turbocharger, delivering 280, 300, 320 up to 340 horsepower ratings with 700 lb-ft of clutch engagement torque for sure starts under full load. No hydraulic brakes are available in this model.

The HT 530 diesel engine also offers reduced maintenance costs and can extend service intervals by at least 25 percent, it is claimed.


Hino introduced a new flagship model for 2002: the nine-speed SG3325. With a GVW of 33,000 lb., Hino says the rig is particularly suited to Canadian applications with heavy handling requirements such as transport cariers, construction and reefer.

The Class 7 offering is equipped with Hino’s nw J-Series six-cylinder, overhead cam, turbo intercooled 252 hp engine. It also includes a full-time, flywheel driven power takeoff with 80 hp capability. The SG is being made available with an optional five-speed Allison MD automatic transmission and has a wheelbase for most applicable body lengths.

According to Hino, some of its customers are reporting an up to 20 percent fuel savings with the J-Series engine versus comparable units. What’s making the difference? The company says its new valve and cam configuration as well as a newly designed turbo charger are leading to improved fuel mileage performance. Combined, these features work to micromix in the fuel system.

The engine accessories are also gear driven from the flywheel, eliminating drive belts and harmful vibration.

Hino is also implementing some changes for 2003, including the application of clear plastic tape to reduce the incidence of stone chips.

Also, for 2003, the FA and FB series automatic transmission has been upgraded from the Allison 542 to the Allison 545.


MFTA Canada has increased the GVWR on its Mitsubishi Fuso FG with manual transmission from 12,000 to 14,050 lb., raising the front gross axle weight rating to 5,730 lb. and the rear gross axle weight rating to 9,480 lb.

The FG, the only four-wheel-drive, medium-duty cabover in the market, has a 145-hp, intercooled, turbocharged diesel engine, five-speed manual transmission and optional, limited slip differential for control in mud, snow and other slippery conditions.

Also, Mitsubishi Fuso’s latest FE-SP Crew Cab is now being offered for the FE-SP with automatic transmission and a new 175-hp engine. With a GVWR of 14,500 lbs, the truck is aimed at grounds maintenance, landscaping and municipal applications. MFTA says the FE-SP with Crew Cab’s 165.4 inch wheelbase can handle landscaping bodies in the 13-15 ft. range, and lawn service bodies up to 16-17 ft.

Other changes for 2002 include an increase in the gross axle weight rating on the 2002 FE-HD with automatic transmission from 5070 lbs. to 5299 lb. for the front axle and from 9040 lb. to 9480 lb. on the rear axle. Also, the Mitsubishi Fuso FM-MR six-speed manual transmission and the 10-speed FM-SP manual transmission are now available in a new 144.0 inch wheelbase designed for tanker service and short-length dump body applications.


Kenworth’s Allison 2000 Series and 2400 Series automatic transmissions for its T300 medium-duty truck were unveiled in December 2001. Both models are fully automatic, five-speed overdrive transmissions with lockup and a 32-bit microprocessor. Power-take-off drive gears are optional.

The Allison transmissions are mated to Caterpillar’s 3126 engine rated at 545 foot-pounds of torque or below. A Spicer SPL100 driveline is also part of the package.

The company has also introduced a new dash for the T300, designed to improve ergonomics and the HVAC system while providing a more contemporary styling. The dash includes a wrap-around instrument panel and rotary controls for the heater/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system. An optional under-dash console is also available. Split ventilation between the defrost and floor enables the driver to circulate heat up from the floor while defrosting the windows at the same time.

While Kenworth T300s have been widely used in Class 7 applications, Kenworth says it wants to make the T300 more attractive to Class 6 users, according to Mike Parrish, Kenworth medium-duty product marketing manager.

“The majority of Class 6 trucks feature automatics. We now have an excellent T300 product with the transmission and hydraulic brake configuration that also makes us extremely competitive in that marketplace,” said Parrish.

Kenworth is also now offering a hydraulic brake option for its T300 Class 6 model. Bosch hydraulic disc brakes are now an option on the unit, which is made available with a GVWR of 26,000 lb.


Mack’s Freedom series models, designated M, L, XL, and XXL, are available in one of two cab sizes- the Standard cab, with a 63-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) length, and the XTRa cab, with a 79-inch BBC.

With 17.5-inch wheels, the Class 6 M model has one of the lowest cab heights among medium-duty vehicles and allows for one-step cab entry. The vehicle also has a very low loading height, ideal for operators working retail and wholesale deliveries. The L (Class 6) and XL (Class 7) models include 19.5-inch wheels and two-step cab entry. The Class 7 XXL model features 22.5-inch wheels, two cab steps and a standard frame height. Both the XL and XXL models are available in GVWR ranging from 26,000 to 35,000 lb. In addition, wheel cuts have been maximized at 50 degrees to ensure the tightest turning circles for any application.

The 79-inch XTRa Freedom cabs offer an additional 16 inches of length, and are available as an option on all models.Freedom series owners opting for the XTRa cabs can also make use of the new driver’s seat, which reclines and is capable of sliding back to the rear wall for stretching and relaxing during break time.

Four-wheel disc brakes – combined with a new suspension system that consists of parabolic springs, gas shocks and stabilizer bars on the front and rear axles – are standard on all Freedom vehicles. This system provides progressive braking action to reduce stopping distance, resist brake fade and provide stability.

Freedom series trucks are powered by Mack E3 diesel engines with enhanced performance and a standard horsepower offering of 210, with 250 hp as an option on the XL and XXL models. Mack Freedom series trucks also include the performance and intelligence capabilities of the V-MAC (Vehicle Management and Control) system, which provides fully electronic engine and vehicle management for fuel economy and low emissions levels.

The hinged front panel is easily lifted so that fluid levels can be checked by glancing at the translucent fluid reservoirs. Checking the engine’s oil level is even easier because the driver doesn’t have to do it. It is automatically displayed on the oil pressure gauge every time the ignition switch is activated.


In October, Peterbilt Motors Company made available Bostrom Talladega LSO seats, for its medium-duty vehicles. The new seats, available in both high-back fabric and high-back leather styles, have multi-density foam padding, two-chamber air lumbar support and a two-inch thigh extension for added support to the knees and legs.

The seats also feature the Motion Master Suspension Dampening System that automaticall
y adjusts the suspension of the seat to offset movement from changing road and operating conditions.

The seats are available for Peterbilt Models 387, 379, 378, 385, 362, 357 and 330 and can be ordered with optional armrests or a seat heater.

Peterbilt has also enhanced driver comfort and convenience in its medium-duty 330, which is used in a number of diverse applications, including P&D, beverage distribution, fire and rescue and dump. The enhancements include an optional extended rear window on the Unibilt cabs, providing an extra two inches back of seat travel for extra leg room.

The UltraRide seat is also now available with an integrated air seat base for the Class 6 Model 330. The seat’s electric compressor permits for the feel of an air-ride seat in the Class 6 configuration, which is equipped with a hydraulic braking system.


In January, GMC began phasing in a new generation of medium duties, code-named the GMT560, as early 2003 model entries.

The lineup includes a redesigned and re-engineered C4500/C5500 (Class 4-5) Series of two-wheel-drive conventional cab models, with GVWs ranging from 16,000 to 19,500 lb. They are available in regular, crew cab and commercial cutaway chassis cab configurations.

Both the C4500/C5500 and new C6500/C7500/C8500 (Class 6-8) trucks also share a highly aerodynamic new cab for heavier applications. They feature a totally clean back-of-cab design, providing easy, low-cost body installations, new braking systems and serviceability enhancements.

The Class 6-8 offerings are built upon a common frame to handle GVW’s ranging from 19,501 lb. to 61,000 lb. Available power ranges from175 hp to 300 hp and is delivered by GMC’s Duramax 7200 and 7800 six-cylinder diesels. Also available is Cat’s 3126E.


Freightliner, still restructuring since the departure of its President Jim Hebe, is expected to announce plans for a new medium-duty platform late this year. In the meantime, Freightliner continues to tweak the available componentry on its medium-duty lineup. The company is touting its Mercedes Benz and other components in particular.

Back in 1999, 4.3- and 6.4-litre designs of the medium-duty MB900 were made available for North American specs. This year, Benz manual transmissions – the MBT520S-6D and the MBTT660S-60 (the latter offers overdrive) – followed the same mighration path.

It cites fuel economy, reliability and overall performance as the engine’s strongest characteritics.


A relative newcomer to the truck name game, Sterling is carving out a niche for itself in the medium-duty market. With two products in the medium-duty range, the Acterra and the heavier L-Line vocational, the company is growing its Canadian market share faster than in the U.S.

The company believes the Acterra’s hydraulic brakes fill a void not covered by the product inherited from Ford.

The company describes its offering in this market as basically a Class 8 cab in a medium-duty package.


Advertiser Page Phone Web Address
Balance Masters 27 514-233-8120
Bandag Inc 10&11 319-395-6527
Bridgestone 2 905-890-1990
CFMS 13 519-886-6265
C.R.Ind 23 1-800-323-8024
Datacom Mobilus 29 1-888-776-3333
DE-ON Supply 29 1-800-824-4115
International 32 905-332-3323
Maddocks 29 1-800-663-0626
TruckWorld 2002 31 416-249-7401

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