WITH THE MAJOR TRUCK MANUFACTURERS ALL HAVING FINALISED THEIR ENGINE LINE-UPS FOR EURO VI ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTIC (OBD)-C, NOW IS THE TIME TO REVIEW THE DRIVELINES ON OFFER FOR GROSS WEIGHTS OF OVER 44 TONNES. RICHARD SIMPSON REPORTS.
Truck manufacturers utilising increased low-end torque to maintain road speed while reducing fuel consumption is a trend which has accelerated with the introduction of the latest Euro VI OBD-C emissions requirements. Engines themselves have reached standards of environmental cleanliness thought unattainable by diesel just a few years ago; and independent tests reveal that in terms of pollutants produced per mile travelled, today’s heavy-duty diesel engines are actually cleaner than many of their light-duty counterparts. These very welcome improvements do mean, however, that careful attention must be paid to the specification of dual-purpose and dedicated heavy-haulage tractors.
As one industry insider put it to us: “If you are replacing a truck that is five years old, then there is no such thing as a like-for-like replacement. Probably the only part that won’t be new is the cab: everything else from engine to drive-axle will have been substantively changed.”
UK truck market leader DAF isn’t the first name that springs to mind when the purchase of a bespoke heavy-haulage prime-mover is contemplated, but nevertheless the manufacturer’s evolving range has a lot to offer customers who are looking for vehicles operating in the 80-150 tonne GTW sector, says marketing manager Phil Moon. A rolling programme of revisions to DAF’s standard tractor range has implications for heavy-haulage operators, Phil reckons: notably with the changeover to ZF’s latest Traxon automated gearbox and the introduction of new drive axles.
“Most of our STGO customers to date specified the 16-speed ZF EcoSplit manual gearbox, but we may see that change with the availability of Traxon coupled to a double-drive bogie,” he says. Moon says that DAF has no current plans to offer the torque-converter module which ZF offers for Traxon, but there are changes afoot on the axle front. “Our standard offering for heavy-haulage at weights above 80 tonnes has been DAF’s hub-reduction double drive HR1355T bogie,” he explains. “But we now have a new double-drive bogie: the HR1670T: it’s made for DAF by Meritor “Train weights of up to 80 tonnes can be handled with a hub-reduction single drive axle,” he points out. “That enables customers to run a dual plated vehicle which can perhaps move a large piece of plant to a job, and then run with a conventional tipper trailer for example while the job is being done.”