Three sticks

This video suggests changing gear in this old US Kenworth is incredibly complex. Of course it isn’t, the two extra sticks perform the function of the splitter and range change switches on a modern 18 speed. Why make the whole job so highly complicated by fitting such long gear levers? Driving a truck is hard enough in itself before you go and make it even more difficult.

Building your own Kenworth

Ever wanted to build your own Kenworth truck? Well here’s how you do it, with Lego! Not quite as satisfying as the real thing.

Cutting costs with Kenworth

In the USA, all the truck buyers are talking about is fuel economy. At the same time, the Obama Government has laid out regulations ensuring truck manufacturers reach specified fuel economy targets by a series of set dates. It’s all about fuel economy, and truck and trailer makers are going all out to offer genuine fuel consumption changes in their current product, with more fuel saving technologies to come. Read more

Back o’Bourke

How the world has changed in the last few years? Just a short time ago a truckie proud of their truck would carry, at most, a grubby print of their pride and joy taken with an Instamatic film camera. Now, we expect nothing less than a fly past! This is some great footage with our truckie, Mat Dockerty, parking the B-double up on a red dirt road out the back of Bourke and sending up the drone fitted with a camera (probably a GoPro) to buzz around in the sky above the truck capturing spectacular images of both the wild country and his livestock combination.

Paccar stabilises in the Territory

After the announcement about the decision by Western Diesel to go into receivership in early April, the situation surrounding the two Paccar brands in the Northern Territory has been in question. The situation has been resolved, this week, with an announcement by Paccar of a deal to bring in CJD Equipment as the company’s representatives in the state.

 

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CJD have considerable experience with both Kenworth and DAF as they already own dealer groups selling the two brands in Western Australia and Tasmania. The company will take over the Paccar related business formerly run by Western Diesel, after coming to an arrangement with the receiver who is handling the former dealer’s affairs.

 

Handing the business over to CJD should mean Kenworth and DAF customers will see a continuing support for the Paccar product. CJD has been dealing with trucks in remote areas like the Pilbara and around mining areas like Kalgoorlie for some time , so will be able to bring its considerable experience to bear in remote situations.

New engine from Kenworth

Kenworth officially launch the new Paccar MX engine this week, with a series of events at the Anglesea test track in Victoria and an official unveiling at the International Truck Trailer and Equipment Show in Melbourne. This will be the first proprietary engine to be available in a Kenworth truck in Australia.

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A Kenworth T409 fitted with the new Paccar MX 13 engine at the Anglesea test track

The 13 litre MX has been a long time coming, but finally made to our shores. The engine has been available here for several years fitted in the DAF range and sold in the US in some Kenworth and Peterbilt product.

 

Surprisingly, the version of the MX chosen for the Australian truck market is the European model. As a result, the T409 and T409SAR models fitted with the new engine will be using a 24 volt electrical system, another first for the Kenworth brand anywhere in the world.

 

“The MX-13 engine is set to be a game-changer in Australia’s mid-range heavy-duty market,” said Brad May, Paccar Australia’s Product Development Manager. “It utilises next-generation technologies to deliver higher levels of fuel efficiency, reliability, and performance from a quiet power plant.”

 

The Paccar MX13 is a six cylinder in-line turbo charged diesel engine and is going to be available rated at 460 hp (343 kW) and 510 hp (380 kW), offering 2305 Nm (1700 ft lb) of torque at 460 and at 510, it puts out 2508 Nm (1850 ft lb), in the rpm range from 1000 to 1410 rpm.

Diesel Magazine took the opportunity to test drive the new engine in the Kenworth models on the test track and a full report will be in the May issue of the magazine

New year, new DAF, new questions

Paccar are promoting the new DAF Euro 6 range of trucks for the European market and have released this video. Apart from the obvious promotional aspect of the video, it does stimulate a couple of questions Australians would probably like to know the answer to.

The new shape for the DAF looks good and will eventually end up in Australia, but how long in the future? The answer is likely to depend on whether the new design will fit with current engine technology as we are not expecting to see Euro 6 mandated here much before 2019.

The Paccar MX 11, now, this is an interesting engine. Kenworth are introducing the MX 13, this year, into their line up. Will the 11 litre option be offered, down the track, to Kenworth buyers whose trucks are at the lower end of the weight range and looking for a certain amount of power, but also very low tare?

Deniliquin Freighters boosts productivity with Vawdrey A-Doubles

Leading Riverina transport contractor Deniliquin Freighters is operating two purpose-built Kenworth T909 A-Double roadtrains which haul 60 tonnes of export rice from SunRice’s newly reopened Coleambally mill in southern NSW.

The innovative  A-Double two-trailer configuration, which is 36.5 m – 10 m longer than a regular B-Double, is a first for the state. The company was granted a special permit by the NSW Government’s Roads and Maritime Services. This enables the trucks to carry two 20-foot (6.1 m) TEU shipping containers of up to 30 tonne gross weights on specific routes from the mill to rail terminals in the region.

The permit allows the Kenworths to carry containers which are, for the first time, filled to capacity. That is around a 13 percent increase or 3.5 tonnes of milled rice per load more than trucks were permitted previously.

The new road limit load approvals, which were arranged following talks with NSW Roads and Ports Minister, The Honourable Duncan Gay, who played an important role for SunRice in ensuring maximum efficiency in the movement of rice for export, particularly from the recently re-opened Coleambally mill.

SunRice’s Coleambally and Deniliquin mills had been closed almost five years earlier due to severe droughts which decimated Australian rice crops. Today, SunRice has had its second consecutive year of full rice production, with a harvest of more than 963,000 tonnes. That’s a dramatic turn-around compared to its low of just 19,000 tonnes in 2008. To meet the increased capacity, it reopened the Deniliquin mill in early 2011, followed by the mill in Coleambally in November 2012.

Deniliquin Freighters has been contracting to SunRice since the transport company was established in the mid 1970s and, since 1999, it has been one of the company’s key road carriers from the rice mills in the Riverina. In addition to managing a large team of contractors, the company maintains its own fleet of 10 Kenworth prime movers which distribute SunRice finished rice to wholesalers and retailers throughout mainland Australia. It also handles haulage of milled rice between the three mills as well as the export containers carted from Coleambally.

Deniliquin Freighters’ Managing Director, Russell Tait, said he worked with SunRice to find a more efficient transport solution for the Coleambally mill since it was the only one not located near a rail terminal.

“The closest rail terminal to Coleambally is in Tocumwal – that’s a 256 km round trip which our trucks need to make several times a day,” he said. “We spent 15 months working with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to try to find a cost-effective transport solution. The special RMS’ permit achieved that. It enabled us to implement a new transport configuration that increased payload capacity to 60 tonnes at CML (concessional mass limits) weights.

This was important to ensure efficiency at the re-opened mill, and it’s become a win-win for everyone. The A-Double roadtrain substantially lowers the overall cost of transport and provides SunRice with significant productivity gains. It also benefits the local community and the state with less trucks on the road,” Russell explained.

Deniliquin Freighters purchased its Kenworth T909s from award-winning dealer, Graham Thomson Motors in Shepparton. The T909 is a versatile model which suits almost any application where the front axle weight is critical.

Kenworth custom built the prime movers to the exacting requirements of the Coleambally mill operation. This included making provision on the chassis for the installation of a dual-wheel, lift-up Hendrickson pusher axle in front of the drive axle. When employed, the pusher axle enables the vehicles to carry a heavier payload that is spread more evenly across the axle groups.

Rated to a GCM of 106 tonnes, each truck is powered by a Cummins ISX EGR engine, generating 600 hp and 2050 lb/ft of torque. The truck features an 18-speed Eaton UltraShift Plus FO-22E318B-MXP automated transmission with Hill Start Assist to prevent rolling backwards on an incline. It also includes Meritor MFS73 front axles (7.3 tonne capacity) and Meritor RT46-160GP rear axles (21 tonne capacity), and rides on Kenworth’s Airglide 460 eight-bag rear suspension. The model has also been fitted with Kenworth’s Aero 50-inch integrated sleeper, Front Under-run Protection System (FUPS) bumpers as well as the Kenworth Electronic Brake Safety System (EBSS) Level 1, including ABS, automatic traction control (ATC) and drag torque control (DTC).

The T909s pull two, low-profile, drop-deck skel trailers by Vawdrey, which are linked by a tri-axle dolly. The 36.5 metre, Kenworth A-Double roadtrains operate two shifts, five days a week, from 3 am until midnight, and one shift on Saturday, from 3 am until 1 pm. Each truck makes five round trips in a full day. Four deliveries are made to the Tocumwal rail terminal, which is a 256 km round trip, and one is made to the Deniliquin terminal, a 330 km round trip. The trucks also make three trips on Saturdays.

Every week, the Kenworths haul in total 112 shipping containers with a combined payload of close to 3000 tonnes of milled rice. The containerised rice is sent by rail to the Port of Melbourne, where it is exported to various countries throughout the Pacific.

Russell looked at a number of Kenworth models before deciding on the T909. He said he chose it based on several factors, including its longer wheelbase, which allowed for the pusher axle, and provided better steering for the lengthy rig.

“The A-Double roadtrain is a major step forward for NSW transport, particularly regional agribusiness. But the 13-axle configuration, the long operating hours and the often hot Riverina conditions would tax most trucks. That’s why I didn’t seriously consider any other brand – only Kenworth.

“We have used a variety of American and European models since the 1970s, but for the past 11 years, I have only purchased Kenworths. It just makes sense. They are engineered in Australia for Australia’s toughest environments. And they are custom built in the factory to our specifications. If we used any other brand, it would have been much more difficult and time consuming, with no guarantee it would be the best vehicle for the job. With Kenworth, we get exactly what we need without any compromise,” he explained.

Russell says the T909 has proved to be the ideal model for Coleambally job.

“I needed a strong, powerful truck to handle the work but, because we are carting heavy containers with a set weight, I needed a light prime mover to ensure we stayed within the permit limits. The T909 has a surprisingly light tare weight and it’s economical to run. They’re real workhorses and yet they’re so comfortable to drive. We work them long and hard, and they haven’t missed a beat.

“The beauty about the T909, in fact all Kenworths, is their flexibility. If the Riverina went back into drought, we could remove the pusher axle and turn the T909s back into bogey drives and they would join our other Kenworths doing linehaul work. We run a variety of models which are configured as single trailer, B-Double and roadtrains. It all depends on the needs of SunRice and our other customers. Our Kenworths are versatile, and that allows us to react quickly to changes in the market,” he explained.

Russell said another important reason he continues to buy Kenworths is the often overlooked dealer service.

“Graham Thomson Motors is an excellent dealer – we have been buying Kenworths from them for years. They have very knowledgeable and long-term staff, who understand our business, and always give us prompt service and advice. In fact, they played a key role in the development of our A-Double roadtrains,” he added.

 

Major Makeover for Kenworth’s Cab-Over

There’s no doubt about it! Inside and out, the K200 represents the most dramatic and most overdue design change in the 40 year history of Kenworth’s stalwart cab-over. In this detailed report, STEVE BROOKS is invited behind the wheel to sample this remarkable rework of the venerable K-series, arguably the biggest single development from the Kenworth camp in decades.

rEVOLUTION

In the broadest terms of truck design, evolution can perhaps be loosely defined as those gradual updates and modifications which change and enhance the style and performance of a particular model over time.
Revolution on the other hand occurs when a great heap of major developments are implemented all at once, dramatically altering a particular design to the point where it not only looks vastly different but is also fundamentally better in function and form than anything that went before it. Subsequently, it becomes the foundation for future designs.

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Kenworth K200

In our estimation, Kenworth’s K200 probably sits somewhere between the two definitions. Yet such is the extent of change on a series which from day one has been a cornerstone of Kenworth’s Australian operation, that the lean is definitely more towards revolution than evolution. Revolution with a small ‘r’.

Whatever the judgement though, the K200 – or something akin to it with the enhancements to overcome a few increasingly evident flaws in the internal design of Kenworth’s crucial cab-over – has been a long time coming. Forty years have passed since the first truck, a K-series, rolled out of Kenworth’s Bayswater (Vic) factory and since then more than 11,000 cab-overs have followed, easily making K-series the most enduring and successful of all Kenworth models. Indeed, one of the most enduring trucks to ever compete on the Australian market.

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In the K200 demo truck, control tower for the Eaton Ultrashift-Plus automated shifter actually infringed on movement from seat to bunk more than its manual counterpart with a collapsible gearlever. Automated or not though, space and convenience for the driver are massively improved in the K200.

Of course, much has changed over those 40 years, not least America’s departure from heavy-duty cab-over trucks which effectively left Kenworth’s Australian operation on its own when it came to continuing development of the K-series. Yet many years back, around the late ‘80s, there was actually plenty of talk of a completely new Kenworth cab-over design being developed at Paccar’s Seattle headquarters in the US. Corporate colleague Peterbilt had already produced a radical new cab-over model and most pundits thought it inevitable that Kenworth would eventually follow with something similarly advanced.

However, changing US regulations continued to favour conventional designs, meaning that Peterbilt’s new cab-over would be relatively shortlived and Kenworth’s anticipated new model would forever remain nothing more than a rumour. As for some suggestions at the time that Australia should design and produce an entirely new cab-over of its own, well, in a relatively small market like ours the costs are simply way too high – particularly given the engineering complexities of the cab-over design – and the returns way too low to justify such an expensive endeavour. Thus, the K-series was here to stay.

Still, cab-over acceptance in Australia remained strong, buoyed greatly by the ascendancy of B-doubles. Meantime, Kenworth’s extensive engineering capabilties and world class manufacturing operation at Bayswater combined to put the local outfit in the box seat, providing the ability to quickly react to changing operational and regulatory landscapes.

It’s fair to suggest, for instance, that Kenworth Australia’s capabilities and the burgeoning B-double business delivered a much needed shot in the arm for the K-series, with no better example of this than the cab-over’s adaptation over the years to the various regulatory requirements of B-doubles and its subsequent success as a market leader in B-double roles.

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Steppin’ up. The K200 is a tall truck but the steps are evenly spaced and provide sure-footed access with conveniently sited grab rails for support. On the passenger side though, there was the surprising absence of a grab handle on the inside of the A-pillar.

In fact, the K-series has probably undergone more development work over the past few decades than any Kenworth model to ever compete on the Australian market. Gradual changes based on the K100 platform have seen the evolution of versions from the K100C to the K100E, K100G, the K104 which marked the arrival of engineering modifications specifically tailored to toughening emissions standards, followed soon after by the marginally modified K104B.

In engineering terms, however, the biggest change came a few years later with the K108, a derivative created alongside its ’08 conventional counterparts to meet the massively increased cooling requirements of EGR engines complying with the ADR 80/02 emissions standard which came into effect early in 2008.

Then almost three years later, coinciding with the introduction of the ADR 80/03 emissions standard on January 1 this year, Kenworth late in 2010 shocked the socks off everyone with the launch of several stunningly restyled conventionals. The biggest shock of all though came with the unveiling of the K200.

As several senior Kenworth people have explained when asked why it took so long to introduce a vastly restyled and modernised cab-over flagship, the ’08 range consumed so much engineering time and energy – not to mention funds – in meeting ADR 80/02 that there was little opportunity to concentrate on anything other than the detailed requirements of the new emissions standard.

According to the same people though, there had been firm plans for a number of years to completely redesign the K-series. Thus, with the engineering demands of ADR 80/03 substantially less than those of the previous standard, Kenworth had both the time and the resources to go full throttle on the creation of a vastly changed cab-over series.

New looks

Development of the K200 was unquestionably one of the best kept secrets in the history of Australian truck design and despite a typically lengthy test program across much of Australia, Kenworth still managed to keep the new model away from prying eyes.

Sure, we expected a modified range of trucks fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to meet the 2011 emissions standard, but there was no indication whatsoever that Kenworth would go to such great lengths to

address the criticisms which had dogged the K-series despite its obvious success over so many years. Those criticisms, of course, centred largely on the driver environment with complaints of poor access into and inside the cab, but it’s on the outside where you’re initially left in no doubt that K200 is boldly different to any of its predecessors.

To quote Kenworth, ‘The K200 story starts with dramatic new styling from a wider and lower grille opening and chrome surround. This larger opening, along with the standard contoured FUPS bumper, promotes greater airflow through the new cooling package which includes a new charge air cooler, moulded fan shroud and a repositioned engine to optimise exit air flow.’

The size of the radiator is, however, unchanged. According to our sources, Kenworth was able to achieve considerable gains in cooling efficiency by concentrating on air management, specifically streamlining airflow into and out of the radiator through a redesigned fan shroud.

Meanwhile, cab height has been raised by 50 mm with considerably more shielding under the cab and engine tunnel to substantially lower heat and noise intrusion.

Critically though, considerable engineering emphasis was applied to cab access. Again quoting Kenworth, ‘The new cab access system provides a larger free flowing top step that supplements existing access standards … and allows the driver to maintain continuous three points of contact at all times by utilising grab rails and steps.’

Additionally, there are LED step lights integrated with the remote control central locking system, automatically lighting the steps when the cab is unlocked. Also, the doors have been redesigned with wider armrests integrating switches for mirror adjustment and the standard electric windows.

There are also new seat options providing driver and passenger with 30 mm more shoulder room and greater leg room on the passenger side. What’s more, there’s also space under the bunk for two amply sized slide-out drawers which can be optionally equipped as 30 litre fridges. Likewise, the overhead console includes an additional storage locker and recessed panels for fitment of GPS navigation or other driver information displays.

The truly big achievements on the inside though are what Kenworth describes as an ‘almost flat’ cab floor and a clever fold-away gearlever, each combining to overcome historic K-series complaints of restricted space in the driver’s area and poor access from seat to bunk.

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Look here! The curved edge of the wider, lower grille opening gives the K200 a distinctive look befitting a premium model which marks the start of a new era for the long-serving K-series. Behind the grille though are considerable gains in cooling efficiency.

So, having driven many different K-series models over the past 30 years and more in everything from express linehaul to roadtrain triples, these driver factors were the main motivation for jumping at an offer to pilot a K200 on a day-long drive through the Victorian backblocks in the company of Kenworth sales manager Rob Griffin. In effect, it was an assessment of environment and ergonomics rather than performance, and the fact that the truck was coupled to a partially loaded single trailer rather than a B-double set was of little importance.

The demo truck was a full production unit which had already covered 11,000 km on trial duties and as a showpiece for the new series was well endowed with all the latest options, not least the full suite of safety features from Kenworth’s (Knorr Bremse) electronic brake safety system (EBSS) including anti-lock brakes, electronic stability program and what Kenworth calls ‘active cruise with brakes’, or ACB. Like most modern active cruise control systems, ACB monitors traffic ahead of the vehicle and on detecting a potential collision has the ‘smarts’ to automatically apply the truck’s foundation brakes after first applying the engine brake and reducing the throttle.

Built on a 4.28 metre wheelbase and fitted with the 2.3 metre Aerodyne sleeper cab, the test truck was punched by a Cummins ISX engine rated at 525 hp, putting the power to the ground through a Dana D46-170 drive tandem running a 4.3:1 final drive ratio, mounted on Kenworth’s Airglide 460 airbag rear suspension.

The transmission was Eaton’s super-slick Ultrashift-Plus automated 18-speed overdrive and while shifters don’t come much sweeter than this latest evolution of Eaton automation, in this instance it was a disappointment … not because of any deficiency or fault with the transmission, but simply that its manual counterpart would have better highlighted the K200’s unquestionable gains in space and function. As it was, the automated shifter’s Cobra control tower was a somewhat lumpy affair mounted on the forward edge of the engine cowl and consumed more space than seemed necessary.

In fact, climbing behind the wheel of a manual model for a few minutes, it was instantly evident that the stick shift with its innovative and simple ability to be folded out of the way provided a notably easier move from the seat than the automated version. Consequently, a Cobra controller integrated into the fascia on the driver’s left would be an obvious and significant improvement on the arrangement in the demo truck. Simply stated, Kenworth can do better.

Still, in either automated or manual form, the swing out of the driver’s seat in the K200 is massively improved over its predecessors. Lightyears ahead!
Likewise, the lower floor height over the engine is a remarkable achievement which allows drivers up to six feet tall to stand fully upright. And this, combined with immeasurably easier access to and from the seat, effectively silences complaints which have hammered at Kenworth’s door for decades.

Speaking of silence, interior noise levels in the K200 are exceptionally low and Kenworth’s work on reducing noise and heat intrusion appears to have paid off … big time!

As for actually climbing in and out of the cab, the revised step arrangements are notable improvements. The K200 is a tall truck but the steps are evenly spaced and provide sure-footed access with conveniently sited grab rails for support. On the passenger side though, the ease and safety of entry and exit are diminished by the surprising absence of a grab handle on the inside of the A-pillar.

In on-road terms, the K200 behaved brilliantly. Steering and ride quality were exemplary while forward vision through the optional one-piece windscreen was superb. Sure, most operators will probably see the

single sheet as an expensive piece of replacement glass compared to the standard split ‘screen, and of course they’d be right. Similarly though, there’s no question the vision provided by the one piece of glass is exceptional.

Likewise, modified doors coupled with superbly sized and mounted side mirrors deliver an excellent view of ‘the back door’.

For the most part, the dash and switchgear layouts have undergone only minor amendments but there are nonetheless a couple of concessions to modern practice, specifically a switch on the far right of the main dash for regeneration of the diesel particulate filter. What’s more, engine brake controls in the demo unit were via a switch on the left fascia rather than on a thin wand atop the steering column. According to Kenworth, the change to the dash-mounted switch becomes necessary when the suite of safety features is installed.

So all up, the K200 is a major and unequivocal advance on its forebears and while the most important and obvious gains are in the space and convenience afforded by a comprehensive rework of the engine tunnel and floor area along with effective innovations like a collapsible gearlever, it’s more about the complete package than individual elements.
External appearance, of course, is the most striking element of the new model but on the inside there are also numerous nuances in trims, fittings and features which all add to a truck which has taken a generational leap into the modern world.

Sure, there are perhaps other cab-over brands with rights to claim easier access and better internal space and convenience, but given the established acceptance of the K-series built on its long-standing reputation for durability and operational efficiency, the substantial gains achieved by Kenworth engineers are immensely valuable.

In fact, when it’s considered that Kenworth’s cab-over has design roots tracing back 40 years, the advances contained in the K200 are nothing less than exceptional.