Paul Matthei

Baby Of The Bunch

Diesel News got a chance at test driving N Series models released by Isuzu. The first cab off the rank is baby of the bunch, an NLR 45-150 fitted with a van body. Outward appearance is little changed over the previous N Series, with new badge work and larger turn signal repeaters on the doors being the most visible difference. Read more

Permanent All-Wheel Drive System

Permanent All-Wheel Drive System

Available in both single and dual cab configurations with GVM ratings of 4,495 and 5,500 kg and a towing capacity of 3,500 kg, the Iveco Daily 4×4 has a permanent all-wheel drive system dividing the power 32/68 per cent between front and rear axles.

Permanent All-Wheel Drive System

Dimensions include a 3,400 mm wheelbase, 2,600 mm overall height and 5,420 mm overall length. Importantly for a 4×4, front and rear track widths are identical at 1,670 mm while ground clearance is 255 mm. Departure and approach angles are 48 and 39 degrees, respectively, with a ramp-over angle of 153 degrees. Both single and dual cabs feature a kerb-to-kerb turning circle of 13.4 m and kerb masses of 2,700 and 2,990 kg, respectively. Wading depth is 660 mm and there’s a switch in the cab to turn off the engine cooling fan during water crossings. Nifty!

Nestled beneath the steeply sloping snout is a 3.0 litre common-rail diesel featuring a variable geometry turbo. Using a combination of EGR and SCR technology, it delivers 170 hp (125 kW) between 3,000 and 3,500 rpm coupled with 400 Nm of torque maintained across a broad band from 1,250 to 3,000 rpm. Iveco claims a low AdBlue use of just three litres for every 100 litres of fuel burn.

Permanent All-Wheel Drive System

The six-speed manual transmission features a 0.79:1 overdrive top and connects to a double reduction transfer box providing a total of 24 ratios. A lever to the left of the driver’s seat enables normal high and low range selection, while to the left resides a second lever providing an additional reduction in low range of 1:1.3.

This means the slowest ratio is a staggering 1:101 which enables the Daily 4×4 to creep, literally at a snail’s pace, down the steepest incline without touching the brakes. Similarly, when ascending a rocky mountain trail it provides the means for clambering over boulders without the damage inducing momentum, needed if such a low crawler ratio wasn’t available.

This feature, coupled with front, rear and inter-axle diff locks, selected via dash mounted buttons, certainly gives the vehicle a formidable advantage over less equipped competitors in severe off-road conditions. Suspension is by way of parabolic leaf springs, three-leaf packs at the front and four-leaf at the rear. The fuel tank holds 90 litres.

Permanent All-Wheel Drive System

On the safety front the new Daily 4×4 rates highly. The cab is now crash test certified to the ECE-R29 standard applying to trucks. Front disc and rear drum brakes are controlled by an EBS known in Iveco parlance as ESP9. This includes all the usual features as well as automatic hill hold, trailer sway mitigation and brake fade compensation.

Put simply, it takes the reins in any situation where a loss of traction or vehicle instability is detected. Importantly for 4WD enthusiasts, the system is deactivated when low range is selected.

Looking at the Hyundai Mighty 

Looking at the Hyundai Mighty 

After some time looking at the Hyundai Mighty, initial impressions suggest the all-new truck represents a substantial step-up from its HD predecessor, with a far more modern cab offering car-like appointments on the inside, with a stylish, contemporary exterior. It’s available in three variants, EX4, EX6 and EX8.

Looking at the Hyundai Mighty 

The EX4, which competes in the 4.5 tonne GVM sector and can, therefore, be driven on a passenger car licence, is available with either a factory tipper, pantech or refrigerated pantech body. It comes in two wheelbase configurations, short and medium.

Next up is the EX6, a medium wheelbase 6.5 tonne GVM truck. This will be available as either a cab/chassis or factory tipper.

At the top of the model range is the EX8, a 7.5 tonne GVM unit offered in medium, long and extra-long wheelbase configurations and with a choice of refrigerated and non-refrigerated pantech bodies.

A choice between Standard Cab and the more spacious Supercab will be available on all three models. The cabs are constructed of galvanised, high-strength steel for maximum driver and passenger side impact protection.

The all-new EX range features vertical headlights with daytime running lights incorporated in the front bumper, giving it a strong on-road presence. Access to and from the cab is easy thanks to the doors opening up to 80 degrees and the wider, deeper steps.

Generously raked A-pillars and large side windows provide excellent visibility and the cab interior is claimed to be whisper quiet due to the employment of double-seal weather strips.

Looking at the Hyundai Mighty 

Emphasis has been placed on operator comfort and efficiency, with a driver focused dash, cruise control, dusk sensing headlights in addition to powered mirrors and windows. The steering column is tilt and telescopically adjustable and there is improved pedal positioning.

Cabin storage is generous in both cab layouts with each having a large roof console, seat back console, sizeable glovebox, deep door pockets and a big centre console. Passenger comfort hasn’t been overlooked either, with all variants having a multi-adjustable seat similar to the driver’s seat.

A powerful HVAC system is designed to keep occupants comfortable in all weather conditions and to keep them entertained, all EX models feature an AM/FM audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, as well as MP3 and IPOD compatibility, with steering wheel controls. Mobile phones and laptops can be charged from no less than four 12-volt power outlets.

At the heart of the EX range is a 3.9 litre common-rail four-cylinder turbo diesel engine with two output levels. The EX4 develops 140 hp (103 kW) at 2500 rpm and delivers max torque of 392Nm (290 ft lb) at 1400rpm.

Power and torque increase to 170 hp (125 kW) and 610 Nm (450 ft lb) when fitted in the EX6 and EX8 variants, providing enough power and torque to operate with the extra carrying capacity. Both the EX4 and EX6 share a five-speed manual transmission, while the EX8 features a six-speed manual.

All EX models have a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features including Vehicle Dynamic Control for improved stability and a shock absorbing steering wheel designed to reduce driver fatigue by minimising vibrations. Also standard, are four-wheel disc brakes and hill start assist.

In what Hyundai describes as a unique departure from the norm, the EX range’s 3 year/ 200,000km warranty applies not only to the cab/chassis but also the body fitted to the truck. The EX bodies are built by Hyundai Special Vehicles. In addition to the comprehensive warranty, all EX models come with a 24/7 nationwide roadside assist program for the length of the warranty.

Summing up, the new Mighty range appears to be, and needed to be, a big improvement over the HD range it replaces. As for just how good it is compared to its competitors, we’ll reserve our judgement until we’ve had the chance to conduct a comprehensive road test. Stay tuned for this in a forthcoming edition of Diesel Magazine.

N Series AMT is Much Improved

Since it first saw service in Isuzu trucks back in 2005, the The N Series AMT is much improved. For many, the first generation AMT left a bit to be desired in terms of shift quality and smoothness and this issue was addressed with the release of the 2nd generation unit in 2007. This was achieved largely through the use of a new linear solenoid arrangement and more efficient transmission to engine communication. By this stage the AMT had been made available in most models across the N Series range. Read more

Ravaglioli Commercial Vehicle Wireless Mobile Column Lifts

Keeping Fuel in a Spin

In investigating keeping fuel in a spin, using centrifuges to limit particles in fuel, Diesel News talked to a bloke who has extensive experience with centrifuges. Brian ‘Spud’ Murphy has been maintenance manager with a number of large fleets and is well known in the Australian trucking scene. Spud is happy to sing the praises of a product he’s been using for the past 15 years.

“I first used centrifuges in gen sets when I was working for Power and Water,” said Spud. “At the time the Government was giving grants to promote efficiencies and environmental friendliness so extending service intervals fell into these criteria.

“With Series 50 and 60 Detroits we went from 250 to 500 hour service intervals straight up and still with good oil quality left. The 3500 series Cats have a sump capacity of 200 litres and we took them from 500 to 1000 hour drain intervals with no problems. Again we could have gone more because the oil samples showed the oil was still good.

“My other history is with on-highway truck engines in road trains rated at 160 tonnes. With the EGR units, the soot loading in the oil was mad and we were lucky to get 150 hours between changes, but after fitting the Spinners it was straight up to 250 hours without a problem. Our other trucks which were 120 to 140 tonne rated were doing 300 hours on each oil change after fitting Spinners.”

Keeping Fuel in a Spin

Asked his opinion why, given the overwhelmingly positive results, more truck operators don’t choose to fit Spinners, Spud had this to say:

“I think some people steer clear because it’s another cost and you have to rely on someone to pull the cap off and put it back on properly. People are looking for simplicity, just spin the filters off and away you go. But it’s really not a hard task and if you upskill your maintenance guys properly and use the disposable rotor centrifuges, you can’t go wrong.”

Laurie Hyland, owner of Engine Care Systems Australasia says there are other spin-off benefits to be gleaned from using centrifuge oil cleaners than simply the removal of soot and other wear particles. For example, he claims the creation of acid in the oil (measured as Total Acid Number or TAN) is higher when the oil is not being continuously cleaned by a centrifuge.

Also, the Total Base Number (TBN) of the oil remains stable for much longer due to the elimination of sludge formation.

“We’ve found that once the oil is cleaned particle wise by the Spinners the TAN remains significantly lower over the life of the oil compared to one without a Spinner fitted,” said Laurie. “Indeed, with the aid of computerisation in recent years it has been categorically proven that the dirtier the oil the quicker the additive pack (TBN) in the oil is depleted.

“When you install a centrifuge in any vehicle you can at the very least double with complete safety the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended oil drain interval,” he adds. “I must stress that quality oil sampling is imperative to ascertain oil extension limits.

“In nearly 50 years of using and installing centrifuges, I’ve never seen one application where the oil drain interval wasn’t able to be safely doubled. In fact, often the oil at double the mileage is in a cleaner condition than when it was first put in the engine.”

Permanent All-Wheel Drive System

Playing Dirty in a Daily 4×4

Diesel News decided to head for the hills, to play dirty in a Daily 4×4, and see what these rugged babies of the Iveco range can do. Would they be as impressive in real world situations as they are on paper? It didn’t take long to realise the answer was a resounding ‘you bet, and then some!’

Playing Dirty in a Daily 4x4

Climbing into the cab was relatively easy although we’d like to see a grab handle on the B-pillar to complement the one on the A-pillar. The matter of three-point contact for entry and egress to cabs is another OHS stipulation of safety conscious employers. Once seated in the suspended chair, the first impression was of outstanding panoramic vision, an asset when negotiating tight forestry trails. Mirror positioning is also spot-on (no pun intended) with minimal intrusion on forward and side vision.

The thick rimmed wheel adjusts telescopically, but not for rake which could be an issue for taller drivers. I’m average height and still would prefer the wheel a bit closer as my left knee was resting against the gear lever tower.

Playing Dirty in a Daily 4x4

Initial familiarisation with the vehicles includes some basic ‘obstacle courses’ including a creek drive which affirms the wading ability and the chassis twist section with opposing 45 degree side slopes. Taking everything in its substantial stride, the Daily seems to be begging for some tougher action.

Time to point the stumpy snout at the steepest and roughest climb at the centre. With low/low range and all three diff locks engaged, Daily picks its way up the treacherous slope without a care in the world. Granted there’s no payload, yet the impressive low down torque enables uniform progress as each wheel bites into the various jump ups with no fear of stalling the engine.

It clearly demonstrates the beauty of having all four wheels driving in unison. Stopping mid climb proves the worth of the hill-hold feature as progress is resumed smoothly without danger of the dreaded roll back before the clutch is re-engaged.

It’s a similar story on the way back down in bog cog as complete control is maintained without any brake intervention. In fact, it’s actually necessary to accelerate slightly at some stages because progress is too slow. That said, with a full payload aboard the retardation should be about right for this sort of challenging descent.

In conclusion, it’s a double thumbs up for the new Daily 4×4. Put simply, it’s a no compromise vehicle, well equipped to perform in a myriad of roles where off-road ability is paramount. Iveco is to be commended for developing and bringing a vehicle of this calibre to market. Quite simply, in this price range there’s no other similarly equipped vehicle to compare. Job well done.

Automated Manual Transmissions Are The Gearbox For Me

Automated Manual Transmissions Are The Gearbox For Me

Diesel News’ regular contributor, Paul Matthei, says ‘automated manual transmissions are the gearbox for me’, as he tries to get some perspective on the way we look at  the AMT.

As a professional driver of semi-trailers and B-doubles for more than two decades, I have witnessed the steady development and acceptance of the automated manual transmission (AMT) from late last century. In fact, my first taste of a two-pedal AMT was in 2002 when I was assigned a new Volvo FM12 I-Shift equipped prime mover to do local refrigerated pickup and delivery work around Western Sydney.

Automated Manual Transmissions Are The Gearbox For Me

I vividly recall the immediate reduction in fatigue I felt after a 10 hour stint compared to driving a manual truck. It just made the job so much easier and left me feeling no compulsion to return to driving a manual on a day-to-day basis. In short, I was sold on two-pedal automated transmissions after the first shift (pun intended).

These days, doing similar work driving two-pedal European trucks around South East Queensland, I remain convinced of the benefits of the AMT in reducing not only driver fatigue and vehicle wear and tear but also fuel consumption. The reason for this is that when driven in economy mode the engine rpm is kept as low as possible and by anticipating stops and getting off the throttle early, a worthwhile improvement in fuel economy can be achieved without sacrificing performance.

While the benefits are more pronounced in heavy-duty applications, AMT equipped light-duty vehicles such as the Isuzu N Series can be also expected to achieve superior results to manual counterparts, particularly in the hands of less experienced drivers.

And so it was, on a brisk morning the trucking media assembled at Isuzu headquarters in Port Melbourne to find out all about the new N Series. First up was an introduction to and from recently appointed Managing Director and CEO of Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL), Hiroshi Nishizaka, who said Isuzu expects continued strong demand for its products in developed countries such as Australia, Japan and the US.

Automated Manual Transmissions Are The Gearbox For Me
Managing Director and CEO of Isuzu Australia, Hiroshi Nishizaka

“This will see Australia playing a more buoyant role as a developed economy in the Isuzu global picture,” he said, adding that 2016 was a very important year for Isuzu Australia on the product front. “It also marked a significant milestone for Isuzu Motors Japan, the 100th anniversary. The first Isuzu Japanese car was produced in 1922 and the first truck in 1924. Then in 1959 the very first Elf light truck was introduced, a forerunner of today’s N Series. Obviously the 2016 N Series is a far cry from the first generation Elf, representing over half a century of development and innovation.”

Next to the podium was Phil Taylor, Director and COO of Isuzu, who described 2016 as a watershed year for the company.

“It marked the first time two-pedal trucks outsold three-pedal variants in the light and medium-duty markets,” Taylor said. “We’re seeing a lot of businesses, especially those operating in urban PUD (pick-up and delivery) applications, making the switch to two-pedal trucks because of the much broader employment pool it offers. That’s because automatics and AMTs require less training than a manual, which immediately creates more options in staffing and a reduction in training costs.

“We’ve responded to the need for a more ‘car-like’ feel and ease of operation through our product ranges like the Isuzu ready-to-work line-up,” he added.

“The introduction of the Isuzu automated manual transmission with torque converter (TC-AMT) to our F Series range has generated a fantastic response, with our customers praising its efficiency, smoothness and ease of operation. We’re confident the updated 2016 N Series with Isuzu 3rd generation TC-AMT will be just as popular.”

Competent All-Wheeler Canter 4×4

The competent all-wheeler Canter 4×4 returns to full form in the latest model to be released by Fuso. Diesel  News got the lowdown during a drive program at a Melbourne 4×4 proving ground.

Competent All-Wheeler Canter 4x4

It’s a bit of a climb getting into the cab, but once seated the extra elevation makes for superb all-round visibility. Rear view mirrors are the same as used on the regular Canter, mounted on stout brackets pivoting inwards and seeming well up to the task of surviving the odd tree branch hit.

The first obstacle on the test course is a series of 45o side batters to test chassis twistability to the max. Even with a 750 kg earthmoving machine tyre as payload the Canter feels safe and stable at this angle. No doubt the lower centre of gravity thanks to the gooseneck chassis helps in this respect.

The next obstacle was a 45o hill which tested ramp-over (centre under-body ground clearance) as well as approach and departure angles. Using second gear with a short run-up achieved the desired result to maintain traction up the slope. Again the LSD at the rear proved its worth in the greasy conditions.

During this test Canter’s ground clearance at both ends and in the middle proved ample. Even though the transfer case is the lowest point between the axles, it didn’t bottom out on any of the tests. Other components like the 100 litre fuel tank and diesel particulate filter are tucked up high and well out of harm’s way.

The crew cab has a 3415 mm wheelbase while the single cab version can be had with either the same or a shorter 2815 mm wheelbase. Obviously the short wheelbase single cab would have a superior ramp-over ability. And much better turning circle too. In fact, it’s a full 2.0m better at 11.4m (kerb to kerb) compared to 13.4m for the crew cab. This difference impacts on manoeuvrability quite markedly.

While the test vehicle was relatively lightly loaded, the torquey engine proved to be one sweet unit. It’s a 3.0 litre common-rail item delivering 110 kW between 2840 and 3500 rpm in concert with 370 Nm of torque produced in a wide band between 1350 and 2840 rpm. This flat topped torque curve is the key to good flexibility which is desirable in tricky off-road situations where changing gears midstream is not wise.

The transmission is a five-speeder with synchromesh between second and fifth. No synchro on first is not an issue in low range as second or third can be used to start off in most situations.

Other elements of the test course included a particularly boggy section that Canter sailed through with ease and a circular loop of dirt track where I was able to reach 60 km/h in low range fifth with the engine doing 3600 rpm.

With the tyre payload removed and 4×2 high-range selected, Canter gave a good account of itself on the run back to the airport. Even in the non-suspended passenger seat the ride was reasonable and the cab interior relatively quiet when cruising at 100 km/h.

In the final wash-up, it’s clear the reinstallation of a dual range transfer case has returned true 4×4 capability to Canter. With vital elements including ample ground clearance, a torquey engine and a roomy, well-appointed cab, it ticks all the boxes for this type of vehicle’s target market.


For more Fuso stories, click here.

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New Range Launched by Hyundai

New Range Launched by Hyundai

Diesel News was one of the first to see the unveiling of the new range launched by Hyundai. A newly-appointed distributor, Hyundai Commercial Vehicles Australia, has unveiled the all-new Hyundai ‘Mighty’ range of light-duty trucks to the Australian market. There are three variants, EX4, EX6 and EX8, featuring a bold modern exterior with a spacious state-of-the-art interior.


New Range Launched by Hyundai


The EX4, which competes in the 4.5 tonne sector and can be driven on a passenger car licence, is available with either factory tipper, pantech or refrigerated pantech bodies. It comes in two wheelbase configurations, short and medium.


Next up is the EX6, a 6.5 tonne GVM truck, available as a cab/chassis or factory tipper on a medium wheelbase.


Top of the range EX8 is a 7.5 tonne unit offered in medium, long and extra-long wheelbase configurations with a choice of refrigerated and non-refrigerated pantech bodies.


A choice of Standard Cab or the bigger Supercab will be available on all three models.


At the heart of the EX range is a common-rail 3.9 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel with two power outputs.


The EX4 develops 103kW at 2500rpm and delivers maximum torque of 392Nm at 1400rpm. Output increases to 125kW and 610Nm in the EX6 and EX8, enabling ease of operation with the extra carrying capacities.


Both the EX4 and EX6 feature a dual-mode five-speed manual transmission while the EX8 gains a six-speed manual transmission, also with dual modes.


All EX models have a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features including Vehicle Dynamic Control for improved stability and a shock absorbing steering wheel that’s said to reduce driver fatigue by minimising vibrations.


Also standard are four-wheel disc brakes, hill start assist, long multi-leaf rear springs and gas-charged shock absorbers, providing comfort and control in equal measures.


In what Hyundai describes as a unique departure from the norm, the EX range comes with a 3 year/ 200,000 km warranty that also covers the body fitted to the truck. The EX factory bodies are made by Hyundai Special Vehicles. In addition, all EX models come with a 24/7 nationwide roadside assist program for the length of the warranty.


Pricing for the EX4 starts at $39,990 including GST for the medium wheelbase Standard Cab variant.


Quick Look at the Trade Ace

Diesel News took a quick look at the Trade Ace from Hino. Stepping up to a light duty truck from a car can be daunting for some people. Change can be a daunting thing when car-based utilities or one-tonners have been the workhorse of choice.

When business needs demand a vehicle with a significantly greater carrying capacity, it’s not just the larger size, both length and width, causing consternation, there’s also the extra height off the ground, those wide reaching rear view mirrors and a turning circle somewhat larger than an average ute. Read more