Mack unveils new highway chassis

MACK'S Advantage gives the company's highway trucks and tractors more agility coupled with lighter weight. Mack introduced the new Advantage chassis for its entire highway line of Vision and CH vehicles at The Truck Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 10, 2004.

Just as the name implies, the Advantage provides no fewer than five advantages for Mack users. The new chassis offers four frame rail options built from material rated at 120,000 psi. Frame rails can be specified with a 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm, or 9.5 mm cross section. In every case, the resistance bending moment of the rail is stronger than previous rail of similar cross section. With the stronger rails, a 7 mm frame can be used in many applications that would previously have required an 8 mm frame rail. Depending on the vehicle wheelbase, the 7 mm frame rail can result in a weight reduction of 100 lb compared to a frame with an 8 mm rail cross section. In addition, the 9.5 mm frame rail can handle applications that previously required frames reinforced with an inner channel. The single channel 9.5 mm rail eliminates the potential for corrosion that results from reinforced frames.

Drivers will note two immediate advantages of the new chassis. With an outside wheel cut of up to 50°, the new Advantage chassis offers the potential for a turning diameter 15 ft less than previous Mack chassis. The possible improvement is based on a vehicle with a 12,000 lb front axle, aluminum disc wheels, 11R22.5 tires, and a wheelbase of 185 inches.

Not only does the new chassis turn tighter, it rides smoother as well. Standard suspension for the front axle is available with 12,000 lb or 14,600 lb capacity. Taper leaf springs with a reduced spring rate for smoother ride are spaced slightly apart in the suspension to reduce friction between the springs and smooth the ride as well. For a smooth ride and reduced weight, the Advantage chassis can be ordered with the Airtek air-ride front suspension from Hendrickson.

The Advantage chassis reduces vibration and noise inside the cab with a new engine support crossmember and a new cab mounting system. In addition, Mack uses a new sound damping material in its cabs. Mack says that noise and vibration are the primary causes of driver fatigue, following only dehydration as fatigue factors.

Service technicians get an advantage from the new chassis as well. All chassis lines are color-coded and have push-to-connect fittings for quick and easy service. In addition, the rear engine mounts attach to the flywheel housing, making transmission service or removal faster and easier.

The Advantage chassis is wider at the front than previous Mack chassis, allowing the engine to be mounted lower in the frame for a lower center of gravity with its attendant improved handling. The lower and wider engine mounting also allows for a 10% larger cooling system. In addition, plumbing for the charge air cooler has been rerouted to help protect it from damage from debris thrown up from the road surface.

Mack says that the new chassis will not result in a price increase, providing all the benefits of the new Advantage at no additional cost.

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