Specialized Vocational Tools for Freightliner

April 1, 2000
Freightliner strengthened its vocational options and presented information to help body builders understand and incorporate many of those options into

Freightliner strengthened its vocational options and presented information to help body builders understand and incorporate many of those options into their chassis orders. The Freightliner presentation at the 36th annual NTEA Convention covered powertrain combinations as well as vocationally specialized options for the chassis.

"What used to be nondata-book equipment options are now fully integrated into the upfitters information that Freightliner is circulating," said Bill Thomas, marketing programs manager for Freightliner. "Freightliner is really offering more options than ever contemplated by many manufacturers.

"Previous options that were introduced during past NTEA chassis seminars have been line coded and are available throughout the entire Freightliner production line wherever applicable," said Thomas. Freightliner options available for the Business Class and construction models include the MBE900 engines, both Aisin A581- and Allison 1000- automatic transmissions, the Eaton Auto-Shift, the LucasVarity parking brake, the TufTrac suspension, and new seat covering options.

Power Train Components The MBE900 engine is doing well in the US market, said Thomas. This DaimlerChrysler product, designed in Germany, has helped Freightliner assemble a strong midrange engine offering for this market. Along with the Detroit Series 50 DDEC, the Business Class product couldn't be stronger for powering options, said Thomas. "You've got those power combinations, plus Cummins and Caterpillar."

The six-cylinder MBE900 is rated from 190 to 300 horsepower with peak torque of 860 lb-ft at 1250 rpm. The MBE900 is fully electronic and utilizes J1587 and J1939 communicating standards. An engine compression brake is available for much of the MBE900 horsepower range. Thomas noted that the MBE900 does have an electronic throttle pedal. Upfitters should contact the local Freightliner dealer for assistance in PTO throttle-control mounting.

Freightliner now has three automatic transmissions for the FL series of medium-duty trucks. The Aisin A581, the Allison 1000, and the Eaton automatic shift are all designed for vocational use.

The Aisin A581 automatic transmission is an electronically controlled unit with a steering column shift lever. The transmission is designed for use in medium-duty trucks up to 33,000-lb GVW. This 5-speed transmission fits well into applications requiring up to 230 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque.

The Allison 1000 automatic transmission is another Freightliner transmission option. The Allison 1000 is designed to work in a maximum 19,850-lb GVW configuration. It is a column shift transmission with a parking pawl. The transmission has dual six-bolt PTO ports. In some weight classes, the Allison 2000 and 2400 are offered.

The Eaton AS2 automatic shift is gaining popularity as an optional transmission for both the medium- and the construction- duty chassis, said Thomas. The auto-shift works as a toggling shift transmission that requires clutching during initial gear engagement. "This transmission will work well for the beverage, ready-mix, and dump business, especially with the 6-, 10-, or 18-speed configurations," said Thomas. "And we should see the 7-speed Eaton AST being installed in chassis by the third quarter of this year."

Along with new transmission options, LucasVarity has developed a parking brake system for Freightliner Business Class chassis equipped with hydraulic brakes. It has a dash mounted push-pull applicator button. It differs from driveline parking brakes in several ways, including the rear drum brakes, which are activated through a special canister assembly to provide the holding force. This eliminates the need for a wire cable to perform a direct tension-set of the brake.

"This system should really be used by beverage haulers, tow truck, fire and ambulance operators, or in cases where superior brake holding-power is necessary," said Thomas. The LucasVarity brake is compatible with the MeritorWabco hydraulic antilock system, now standard on all medium-duty Freightliner products.

Freightliner's proprietary TufTrac suspension is offered for on/off and off road use. "This suspension is designed for applications in the emergency off-road response, landfill, and construction oriented business, and it has done very well for us," said Thomas.

Freightliner has added products that are specifically designed to help certain vocational applications, said Thomas. "Last year we included rubber inserts on the cab-mounted grabhandles that comply with the Government Service Administration and the National Fire Protection Association emergency response guidelines for vehicles."

Vocational Option Codes Freightliner has added other factory installed vocational-use items such as: * 622-1CW 10,000-lb GAWR Freightliner Airliner rear suspension for ambulances. * 910-005 Ping Tank for Airliner Suspension. * 420-1CJ Coach Gearing for RS-13-120, 13K suspension. * 016-003 Horizontal muffler, vertical tailpipe, and modified B-pillar for service body. * 400-1AT 12K Front free-wheeling axle and 2-speed transfer case for all-wheel-drive applications. * 329-009 Prewired overhead for Wired-Rite switch panel. * 607-001 Clear frame rails aft of back-of-cab. "These are just a few of the examples of what we can do at the factory level," said Thomas. "The key is for the body builder to remember that published and nonpublished options are available. We welcome you to get with our vocational sales managers. They have the expertise to show you what options are available for certain vocations."