Making a Truck Easier For Workshops

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Freightliner in the US says it is making a truck easier for workshops. Slated to arrive in Australia in the coming years, the new Cascadia has been launched by Freightliner in the USA. The ‘New’ Cascadia is styled only a little differently, from its predecessor, with some sharper, better defined detail in the bonnet and doors, but this hides the fact the truck is virtually new from the ground up.

Specifically targeted are the maintenance staff with some new, easy-to-fix components and access, drivers with all new interiors including a ‘Driver’s Loft’ and easy-to-use dash and controls and the owner/customer with a major jump in fuel economy from the aerodynamic improvements and a new super-tall 2.18:1 axle ratio for the AeroX model. Overall, Daimler Trucks North America says the latest iteration of the Cascadia delivers unprecedented low real cost of ownership.

“With the new Cascadia, we have not just updated past successes,” said Richard Howard, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Every aspect of the truck has been re-imagined. We are raising fuel efficiency, connectivity, safety, quality and uptime performance to even greater levels, and also introducing a premium driver experience as a powerful customer benefit and driver retention tool. Every element of the vehicle was examined and developed with an RCO-centric approach.”

The new Cascadia, available, in the US, in the second quarter this year, has an integrated Detroit powertrain, which combines the down speeded 400 hp/1,750 lb-ft. of torque Detroit DD15 or Detroit DD13 engines with the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission, complemented by corresponding Detroit steer and rear tandem axles. The new Detroit rear axles have features such as lower sump volume, gear-set coating, friction reducing gear cutting and optional axle lubrication management to reduce parasitic loss and add to fuel economy.

The new DT12 has also been updated to improve fuel efficiency and reduce friction by using super-finished gears permitting the use of low viscosity transmission oil. It also features the latest generation of intelligent powertrain management (IPM4), which uses a GPS-based system to anticipate upcoming road terrain and maximise the power train’s ability to utilise fuel most effectively.

Enhancements such as an additional upper door seal, elliptical-shaped pedestal mirrors, newly sloped hood, and a deep bumper with integrated air deflector and integrated antennas are standard, and all minimise drag. The optional Aero and AeroX packages provide additional aerodynamic benefits to manage airflow, including longer side extenders, lower chassis fairings, drive wheel covers and proprietary-designed wheel fairings around the rear tandem.

Major changes have been made to the front of the chassis, where the frame rails are spread and the front suspension and steering are updated. The splaying of the rails just forward of a mid crossmember allows for additional access to the engine for maintenance work. It also allows the engine to sit a little lower in the chassis to permit a lower hood profile and a larger air filter housing for longer service intervals.

This easier engine access came from early interaction with maintenance managers brought in to critique the new model, said Freightliner executives at the launch. Another significant change was the relocation of all electrical functions to an E-Vault, located ahead of the passenger-side kick panel. Here, all electrical components are protected from the outside environment and located where a technician can perform diagnostics on electrical problems in a single location.

Another maintenance-friendly feature is top access to the aircon components behind the dash. In the new dashboard, the top panel can be popped off without tools to gain access to blower, ducting and switches.

Along with this, is a new front suspension with longer springs for a softer, more controlled ride and a relocation of the TRW steering gear to exactly coincide with the forward spring eye to cancel out any bump steer. The steering gear has been modified to give a much more positive on-centre response to the steering wheel, reducing by 50 per cent the sawing at the wheel when going straight down the road.