Style Meets Function

by Ingrid Phaneuf

PORTLAND, Ore. – Freightliner Truck has unveiled several changes to its 2004 line-up, including two EGR engines for medium and heavy-duty trucks, an AGS transmission for its Business Class M2 vehicles, a new look for the Century Class S/T and a new interior for both the Century Class S/T and the Columbia.

The Mercedes-Benz MBE4000 and MBE900 diesel engines for Freightliner heavy and medium-duty trucks are built to meet upcoming 2004 emissions standards, using an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system. Freightliner claims both engines are lighter and more powerful than other engines in their class.

The 12.8-litre MBE4000 is a heavy-duty engine for use in regional distribution, vocation, truckload and bulk-haul applications. It’s offered in the Century Class S/T and the Columbia, as well as in heavier-duty Business Class M2 vehicles.

The 4.3 through 7.2-litre engine MBE900 is for use in medium-duty truck applications including distribution, food and beverage delivery, towing, utilities and fire and emergency service. The engine is offered in Business Class M2 vehicles.

Both engines combine electronic controls, fuel injection and extended maintenance cycles.

The MBE4000 delivers high torque at low RPM, say company officials. They say it develops 90 per cent of its peak torque at 1,000 RPM, which reduces shifting while increasing acceleration and gradeability. The turbocharger is matched with high-pressure injectors for better driveability, fuel economy and low emission output, according to the company. The horsepower ranges from 350 to 450 hp and the torque ranges from 1350 to 1550 lb. ft.

MBE900 diesel engines are available in four and six-cylinder configurations and offer 170 to 330 hp and torque range from 420 to 1,000 lb. ft. The range of torque is delivered at a low RPM, officials say, allowing for fewer, smoother shifts, better driveability and more capacity to climb hills and negotiate stop and go traffic.

As far as engine braking goes, the MBE900 includes exhaust brake, compression brake or combination exhaust/compression brake options for improved control and less service brake wear. The combination exhaust/compression brake produces up to 215 braking hp (182 hp at 2,300 RPM). The MBE4000 engine brake system includes the standard exhaust/compression brake with an optional lightweight turbo brake producing over 500 braking hp, contributing to shorter stopping distances and extended brake life, the company says. Both brake systems operate at noise levels below those of typical engine brakes, Freightliner claims.

MBE engines also include electronic control systems designed to provide the customization opportunities. Detroit Diesel Diagnostic Link software allows operators to run periodic reports.

Durability is built in, according to Freightliner officials, with core components including induction-hardened cylinder bores (on the MBE900); cam and crankshafts; forged steel connecting rods; chrome ceramic-coated piston rings and a cast-iron engine block for lightweight strength.

The MBE4000 comes comes with a two-year, unlimited mileage standard warranty; the MBE900 with a three-year 150,000-mile warranty for on-highway applications.

Mercedes-Benz AGS transmission for Business Class M2 vehicles

The Mercedes-Benz Automated Gear Shift (AGS) transmission for Freightliner Business Class M2 vehicles is designed to make driving easier and more fuel efficient.

The transmission will be available on Freightliner Business Class M2 vehicles in the first quarter of 2004.

The new AGS transmission includes a two-pedal, automated clutch actuation system. With the AGS transmission, no manual shifting or clutching is required. The elimination of the clutch pedal should extend the life of both the clutch and the transmission, according to Freightliner.

A manual shift option is also offered. Freightliner’s SmartShift lever allows drivers to shift manually, depending on conditions or preference.

The AGS transmission is available with Mercedes-Benz MBE900 engines with 170 to 250 hp. Two torque ratings of the AGS are offered: 520 lb. ft. torque for vehicles with GCW up to 40,000 lbs., and 660 lb. ft. torque for vehicles with a GCW up to 60,000 lbs.

Both versions feature a right-side, Power Take Off (PTO) mounted in a five o’clock position to avoid exhaust system interference.

The Transmission Control Unit (TCU) controls the automated clutch actuator. The TCU continuously senses road conditions, load conditions and grades to determine shift points, thus increasing efficiency and fuel economy. The TCU selects the engine RPM for the best shift possible.

Based on the Mercedes-Benz six-speed manual transmission, the AGS consists of parts that require little or no maintenance. The hydraulic shift actuator is compact and virtually maintenance free, according to Freightliner. Heat-treated steel alloy gears and sealed bearings undergo rigorous performance tests for quality.

The AGS transmission remains lightweight by using aluminum alloy housing with integrated bell housing.

New Look for Century Class S/T

Design changes to the Century Class S/T include a newly-styled hood, grille and bumper, aimed at giving the truck a bold new appearance. The new design also incorporates additional performance benefits such as increased cooling capacity and better headlamp light distribution.

The bolder frontal view was achieved without altering the aerodynamics or visibility of the original Century Class S/T. And the larger grille allows for more cooling capacity to accommodate the new, hotter-running 2004 engines. In fact, the grille and lower panel increase the frontal opening to 55% of the total surface area. By opening up the grille, airflow has been improved allowing for improved cooling performance.

The Century S/T’s three-piece bumper has been redesigned and restyled as well. The outside pieces are still manufactured with damage-tolerant plastic but the centre section now comes with an optional chrome package. Optional inset road lamps and amber accent lights are also available.

Freightliner has changed the headlamp design by replacing the seven-inch round, sealed beams with a new composite headlamp, providing better light distribution on the road and increasing nighttime visibility. The bulbs are protected by a polycarbonate lens.

As for the inner fender splash shields, they are now mounted on the hood itself, rather than the chassis. The splash shields provide protection of the engine compartment from splash, spray and road debris. Fender star cracking from rocks is also precluded by the inner fender shields. In addition, when the hood is tilted, the inner fenders move out of the way allowing for easy access to the engine. This makes routine servicing of the engine easier and reduces maintenance time.

(As for access to the windshield with a short-handled squeegee, you still have to climb up on the wheel.)

Another update to the new Century Class S/T is the one-piece sun visor. This exterior sun visor decreases drag for improved fuel economy. The one-piece design also reduces replacement and repair time. The visor also weighs several pounds less than the original three-piece design (still available as an option for the enhanced S/T). The sun visor is available for SleeperCab configurations only, beginning fourth quarter 2003.

Freightliner introduced the Century Class in 1995. In 1999, it introduced the Century Class S/T (Safety/Technology) vehicle adding numerous standard safety and technology features such as a driver’s side airbag, Eaton-Fuller AutoShift 10-speed transmission, EzyRider Seat and enhanced noise reduction and ride enhancement packages. Today, the Century Class S/T incorporates numerous standard and optional safety, information technology, performance, serviceability and driver comfort benefits. In addition, the Century Class S/T includes a lightweight aluminum cab and numerous weight-saving features for additional vehicle productivity.

The Century Class S/T is available with a choice of engines from Mercedes-Benz, Detroit Diesel and Caterpillar and in seven s
eparate sleeper configurations. The Century Class S/T comes with a three year, 350,000 mile warranty.

New interior available for Class S/T and Columbia

The new version of the Signature Interior, available for the Century Class S/T and Columbia heavy-duty truck lines, is available in vinyl or cloth with four color options: Autumn Red, Horizon Blue, Opal Gray and Graphite Black.

Colour-matched curtains and loop-cut pile carpeting complement the new trim panels, which feature button-tufted styling, a diamond stitch pattern and a color-keyed Freightliner logo embroidered on the back wall. Extra thick foam padding gives the upholstered panels a deep, plush feel while contributing to better insulation and a quieter ride.

The seats have a diamond stitch pattern inserted in the centre of the seat, along with the colour-keyed Freightliner logo embroidered into the seatbacks. The interior also includes added padding and softer upholstery.

The optional leather-wrapped, black-spoked VIP steering wheel (no driver airbag available with this) also complements the Curl Elm wood grain accents that are found on the dash and throughout the interior.

For more information, visit the Freightliner Trucks Web site at

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  • I’m using this engine in southern Africa and its very hot,the funny just stopped running,no more fresh me how can solve it