Quite often, when it comes to developing a 4×4 version of a truck, the all-wheel drive lags behind the rest of the range, often using an older cab and not including all of the latest gadgetry. The Hino 817 4×4 is different. These are the latest Hino 300 Series cabin and systems on a 4×4 chassis platform.
We can see Hino moving into FWD with the new 817 4×4, which is now on the road. Diesel News went to see the new model unveiled and took the truck out to put it through its paces.
When you are a major player in the Australian truck market like Hino, the idea is to fill as many market segments and applications as possible. Therefore, many would be surprised to find the company has never built a light-duty 4×4 truck. The 500 Series has always featured four-wheel-drive models, but not the 300 Series.
Now, all that has changed. The Australian market is the first to release a new set of models, based on the 300 Series with 4×4 capability. The initiative to develop these models and much of the development work came from Hino Australia, but these trucks will become available elsewhere in the world, over time.
The development of this truck began back in 2009 with a survey of customer needs that identified the possibilities of such a truck. In 2012 Hino’s global technical team came from Tokyo to see for themselves the conditions such a truck would have to handle. By 2014 Hino Australia began field-testing prototype models to fine-tune its design. The decision to go into production with a model came in 2016, and late 2017 saw the introduction of the Hino 817 4×4 models onto the Australian truck market.
The engine used in this new model is the Hino N04C UT, which is rated at 165hp (121kW) of power at 2,500rpm, with a flat-topped torque curve at 464Nm (342 ft lb) from 1,400rpm up to 2,400rpm.
The basic transmission being used is a six-speed manual. This gives the truck a deeper first gear and a higher overdrive capability. Low-range first gear uses a 14.165:1 ratio, whereas at the other end of the scale, top gear uses 0.782:1 to get to 100km/h at 2,450rpm.
Both of these ratios are vital for the truck to be able to do its job properly. The low ratio makes manoeuvring at slow speeds and maintaining traction possible, but the high ratio means the truck can cruise at 100km/h on long highway journeys into the kind of remote areas this truck is designed to cope with. The transfer case uses a 2.2:1 ratio and comes from the bigger 500 Series 4×4 models – clearly able to cope with the task.
All of the models are fitted with disc brakes. This is a first on a 4×4 from a Japanese manufacturer in Australia. All trucks are also fitted with vehicle stability control, which is useful in improving safety out on the highway for a vehicle with a high centre of gravity. ABS is fitted, but automatically turned off when four-wheel drive is engaged.
Through its extensive testing program, Hino had customers working in the dustiest of conditions for a drilling company based out of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The disc brakes stood up well in those conditions.
Another design feature to come from this testing in both Western Australia and North Queensland was the positioning of the air intake – one metre higher than the current 300 Series models. In fact, this air intake configuration will be feeding into the rest of the Hino light-duty range over the next couple of years.
The truck comes as a single cab or a crew cab, both built on the same wheelbase truck. There is a suspended driver’s seat in all cabin options. Reversing camera is standard on all models. Suspension design, a vital issue for a 4×4 truck, sees the new 817 4×4 using multi-leaf steel springs.
In Australia, 4×4 trucks are sold 30 per cent into mining type tasks, 30 per cent into the fire and rescue services, and local government makes up another seven per cent. The rest of the market varies across tasks like forestry and others where a 4×4 capability will come in handy.
Does this video give us our first real glimpse of a new Hino heavy for Australia? This presentation was made at the recent Work Truck Show, held in Indianapolis. A quick examination of the specifications of the vehicle suggests adaptation would be possible to give Hino a foothold in the heavier end of the medium duty and the lighter end of the heavy duty truck market.
Chad Brown’s CNC Cartage operation in Brisbane is set up with six cameras per truck. Each truck is set up with one each on the left- and right-hand side, two looking forward from each side of the cab and two looking rearwards. It gives the system a complete 3600 view and, when downloaded, the image is crisp enough to read things like rego plates on passing cars.
A new heavy conventional from Hino, the XL7 and XL8 models, has been launched at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. The new model sees the Japanese truck maker in its first foray into the US heavy duty market.
The new models are available in configurations from 4×2 through to 6×4. Power comes from a nine litre Hino A 09 engine with ratings from 300 to 360 hp available. Trucks will be available in both rigid and prime mover form. The prime movers are going to be rated up to a GCM of 30 tonnes and the rigids up to 27 tonnes.
“Considering our remarkable success in Class 4-7 in North America, and our growing global presence in the Class 8 market, entering the North American heavy duty segment makes for the next logical step,” said Yoshinori Noguchi, President and CEO of Hino Trucks North America. “Not to mention our customers and our dealer network have been asking for this for some time.”
Specifications of the new models include a Collision Mitigation System using radar to provide active braking, Electronic Stability Control and Lane Departure Warning. Transmissions come from Allison in auto and Eaton in manual.
Five years ago, someone tried to sell Chad Brown, owner of CNC Cartage in Brisbane, dash cams for his trucks at the Brisbane Truck Show, to sell him his own eyes on the truck. He asked whether he would be able to see the dash cam from his office when the truck was on the road, in real time.
Responsibility and liability are important in any trucking business, operators need to keep an eye on things. One operator in Queensland has developed an innovative way of keeping an eye on things in the fleet and talks to Diesel News about the system used. Read more
Diesel News’ Paul Matthei put a truck through a tilt ’n’ slide test when assessing Hino’s 300 Series Crew Auto fitted with a Kyokuto Slide Tray body. It was part of Paul’s long-held ambition to restore his first car, a 1963 EJ Holden Special sedan, which he has owned since 1985.
With the car stripped down to the bare shell. The next step was finding the best way to transport the various components from his home in south-east Queensland to ReCoat Smash Repairs and Paint Stripping in Wodonga, Northern Victoria, the outfit entrusted to carefully and skilfully remove every skerrick of paint and rust from the components, thus leaving Paul with a base of shiny steel to begin the build.
This is where Hino stepped in and offered the use of a terrifically versatile 300 Series crew-cab unit fitted with a Kyokuto three-tonne slide-tray body. Now, there were a number of technical difficulties involved with removing said body shell from the garage behind my house, not least that it had to come out through an opening with just two metres’ head clearance. Furthermore, with the shed’s internal height of 2.5 metres, once the body was hoisted to the rafters there was barely half a metre of space between it and the floor. In other words, the nifty slide tray unit on the Hino easily accomplished what would have been an impossible feat for a conventional tilt tray.
With the rear of the truck positioned about two metres from the doorway, the tray deployed rearward and then tilted down until the rollers at the rear contacted the floor. It then started to ramp downwards as it cleared the rear of the truck until the entire tray sat horizontal on the floor, thus easily sliding underneath the suspended body. From there it was simply a matter of carefully reversing the truck until the body was positioned over the centre, then lowering it onto the tray.
After strapping it down, the process was reversed and the tray glided effortlessly forwards and upwards onto the truck, just like poetry in motion. As the clearance between the roof of the car and the roller door during the extraction process was only about 100mm, it was vital to be close to the action while the unit was in operation. This is where the handheld remote control unit proved invaluable as it enabled fingertip control from any position around the truck.
The unit is imported and fitted to the Hino chassis by Import Machinery & Equipment Australia (IMAEA), based in Caloundra West, Queensland. According to the company’s brochure, the Kyokuto JN02-45 Slide-Deck Tilt Tray is priced from $44,750 + GST, fitted (truck not included). Body length and width is 5,700mm x 2,070mm.
“It works in the same way as a conventional tilt tray, but [with] with the added advantage of being able to slide the deck level/flat on the ground,” the company says. “This not only has the benefit of to allow loading of low-bodied cars without damage due to the 0.9o approach angle, and also minimises workplace health & safety (WHS) ‘trip and slip’ hazards, as the body is horizontal and at floor level.
“The unit can be fitted to a crew or single cab chassis and comes complete with certified tie-down anchor points, a winch and handheld remote. It’s ideal for applications like contract landscaping for ease of loading ride-on mowers and the ability to carry six people – a complete crew of two mower operators and four line-trimmer operators all in one vehicle. It is covered by a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty.”
Another point worth mentioning is the exceptional low-speed ‘creepability’ afforded by Hino’s automatic transmission, which was a boon for negotiating the tight access around the side of my house. With literally a few centimetres of clearance between truck and eaves, it was necessary to manoeuvre at a snail’s pace to ensure no contact was made between the truck and the house or retaining wall on the other side. With a manual version this operation would have involved a considerable amount of clutch slipping.
A field trial of truck platooning in Japan shows how the new technology is spreading across the globe and sees a much more cooperative approach to the subject from the Japanese Government.
The trial took place this week on a highway in Tokyo’s West. It is part of a project to bring the platooning concept to the Asian industrial giant. Japan, like many developed countries, suffers from an acute driver shortage and concepts like platooning are seen as a way of overcoming this problem.
Interestingly the project involves all four of the Japanese truck manufacturers we are familiar with in Australia, Isuzu, Hino, Fuso and UD. A company called Toyota Tsusho is also involved representing a number of interested parties, including the Japanese Government.
The trucks used in the first tests include representatives of all of the truck brands involved. Running in a tight group on the highway the 6×2 rigid truck held a spacing of about 35 metres apart as they headed down the highway at 80 km/h. These test drives are scheduled between January 23 and February 1 on Shin-Tomei Expressway southwest of Tokyo and on Kita-Kano Expressway, north of the Japanese capital.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) initiated the platooning test. It is part of the Japanese government’s Future Strategy 2017. This strategy aims to roll out innovations like the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence across all industries. In the commercial vehicle sector, truck platooning is expected to contribute to the reduction of fuel consumption and to lower CO2-emissions. In addition, truck platooning will help with Japan’s dramatic driver shortage issue.
Japan is rated 11th in the world on the KPMG Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, well below the leading countries in the world, The Netherlands, Singapore, USA and Sweden. However, in the Index’s analysis of the readiness of the road infrastructure to handle autonomous vehicles and platooning, Japan is ranked just 3rd.
The issue for Japan is, in fact, consumer acceptance, which is very low, 16th in the world. Trials like those taking place in Tokyo are aimed at trying to allay public fears and mistrust of the new technology.
Incidentally, Australia is ranked below Japan in the AVRI, at 14th. Although our consumer acceptance rating is much higher than Japan, France and South Korea, our road infrastructure is deemed well below the levels achieved in Europe. However, we are considered better prepared than New Zealand and Canada.
Overall, Singapore is reckoned to be number one in preparation of its policy and regulation, while the US is classified as the leader in technology and innovation, The Netherlands leads the infrastructure ladder and the highest consumer acceptance is in Singapore, a country which has lived with driverless trains for some time.
Versatility and practicality are key priorities in a vehicle purchase. As Diesel News’ Paul Matthei discovered during a recent test, Hino’s 300 Series Crew Auto fitted with a Kyokuto Slide Tray body has these qualities in spades.
Travelling south from the Gold Coast to Wodonga with a renovated car body on board was a good way to assess the new Hino. With the relatively light payload, and Hino’s claim of having the most powerful engine in the light-duty league ringing in my ears, it was perhaps easy to assume this wasn’t going to be a slow trip.
The engine boasts hearty power and torque figures of 151kW and 600Nm, respectively, with the latter produced uniformly between 1,500 and 2,000rpm. Peak power arrives at 2,600rpm, which is 100rpm shy of the red line. These figures feed into a six-speed Aisin torque converter automatic featuring double overdrive (0.77 fifth and 0.63 sixth) and lock up of the torque converter on all forward gears except first. The final drive ratio is 5.14:1, which allows a theoretical top speed of 120km/h, and 100km/h cruising at around 2,100rpm.
Due to my regular driving job I’m a frequent flyer on the Pacific Highway, so I chose to take the inland route for a change of scenery. This involved heading west through Lismore and Casino to Glen Innes then south through Tamworth, Dubbo and Wyalong. Through the winding mountainous terrain east of Glen Innes, the little Hino gave a good account of itself, maintaining a respectable average speed up hill and down dale.
Particularly impressive was the compatibility between transmission and engine, which kept the revs in the peak torque range between 1,500 and 2,000rpm. Furthermore, it was pleasing to note no tendency of the transmission to ‘hunt’ or kick down too early when climbing hills, thus keeping the revs in the aforementioned sweet spot. In fact, during steep climbs with the accelerator pedal pressed hard into the floor, the transmission remained in the right gear to enable maximum torque to reach the drive wheels.
Shifts aren’t as smooth as a car but this is largely because the torque converter locks up after each change to ensure full power reaches the road. This feature also helps maximise exhaust brake retardation, which proved surprisingly effective on the steep descent of the Moonbi Range, north of Tamworth. Locked into fourth gear, the Hino maintained the regulation 60km/h with only a few taps of the brake pedal. I think psychology comes into play here – due to its quiet operation the exhaust brake isn’t perceived to be having as much effect when compared with that of a bellowing Jake brake on a prime mover.
The lock-up function also helps fuel economy and in this regard the Hino averaged 5.5km per litre over the course of the trip. It was interesting to note the difference in fuel consumption when cruising on the freeway at the 110km/h limit compared to knocking the cruise control setting back to 90km/h. The difference was an astounding one kilometre per litre and I put this down to the considerable extra wind drag created by the ramps. Indeed, this added drag acted a bit like a parachute on long downhill freeway sections, holding the speed steady at 100km/h where you would normally expect to gain speed.
As for driver comfort, the ride is characteristically firm with the four-way adjustable driver’s suspension seat isolating all but the worst bumps from the driver’s bum. In typical Japanese light-truck style, the seat base is virtually flat which makes for easy entry and egress but doesn’t do a lot for lateral posterior positioning on long trips. The seats are clad with heavy-duty canvas seat covers that look like they’d take many years of hard use without flinching. Adding to driver comfort is a steering column that adjusts for rake and reach, although those with long legs and short arms would perhaps appreciate a little more telescopic extension.
Hino’s multi-function touchscreen ‘infotainment’ unit featuring sat-nav and radio proved easy to use and the digital radio maintained clear reception in the more isolated parts of the country.
In-cab noise intrusion at highway speeds could be a bit lower, in my opinion. Some extra underbody sound-deadening measures would do the trick here.
The rear seat area is fittingly utilitarian and features a separate aircon unit and a decent grab handle across the width of the cab. The squab is hinged at the rear enabling it to be stowed vertically against the seat back, thus providing a cavernous storage space when required.