FOR many commercial truck customers, the ability to transport passengers is as important as the truck's ability to carry cargo or power truck equipment. Mitsubishi Fuso will address that need in the 2002 model year with a crew cab version of its FE640 chassis rated at 14,500 pounds GVW.
The crew cab will have a 165" wheelbase, Leighton Good, product application engineer, said at the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America presentation at this year's NTEA convention in Baltimore. The longer cab cuts into the cab-to-axle dimension. However, the 100.8" of useable CA should be enough for mounting bodies as long as 17'6".
The chassis will be powered by a Mitsubishi 4M50 diesel rated at 175 hp. The engine, introduced last year, is a major advancement for Mitsubishi. The 4M50, with four valves per cylinder, has almost exclusively gear-driven components other than the alternator. It will be coupled to an Aisin electronic automatic transmission.
The cab interior is designed to be used as a work truck, with vinyl upholstery and manual windows and locks. The front of the cab will be virtually the same as the conventional FE640. However, a bulkhead installed for safety purposes will separate rear passengers from the front.
The crew cab will retain the same lift mechanism as the conventional cab. The rear of the cab is bolted down, but it can be released and raised for major service. For routine service, the engine can be accessed through an opening beneath the seat.
Primary applications of the crew cab are expected to include landscape and lawn service companies, along with tow-truck operators. Mitsubishi expects the typical body lengths to be 15'-17'6" for platform bodies and 15'6"-17'6" for van bodies.
The Mitsubishi model year starts in late May. The crew cab should be on dealer lots by June or July.
Other news from Mitsubishi included:
New axle ratings are being offered for the FE-CA649, a 14,050-GVW truck Mitsubishi introduced as a 2001 model for the California market. The front axle has been increased from 5,070 pounds to 5,290 pounds. The capacity of the rear axle has been increased to 9,480 pounds, 440 pounds more than last year.
“This has allowed us to increase the flexibility of the truck for equipment installations,” Good said. “In the past, we only have had about 40 pounds of margin between the sum of the axle capacities and the gross vehicle weight rating.”
Shorter wheelbases are now available for two of the company's trucks — the FM617A and the FM657C. The FM617A, a 27,995-pound GVWR model, and the 32,900-pound GVWR FM657C both will be available with a 144.9-inch wheelbase. The shorter wheelbase option provides an approximate CA dimension of 115", of which 109.7" is usable.
The use of LED lamps on truck bodies has affected the rate that turn signals flash, according to Mitsubishi's Tom Marchini.
“A loop of metal in the lower left corner of the flasher controls the resistance value,” he said. “We have determined that if you replace that shunt with one of a different value, you change the rate of flash. If this is an issue, call us.”
As a patch, the US office would send a different flasher, although details were still being worked out. Ultimately, Marchini thought the factory in Japan could install the specific flasher needed for chassis that were to be equipped with bodies with LED lamps.
Mitsubishi also announced the availability of brackets for installing the following:
Reefer compressor brackets for the FE640 equipped with the new 4M50 engine. The brackets can be ordered directly from the manufacturers — Bracketry Systems Inc of Fort Worth, Texas. Brackets are offered regardless of whether the truck has factory air-conditioning.
Clutch pumps enable trucks to offer live hydraulic power whenever the engine is running. Mitsubishi announced a prototype for the company's 6D34 diesel for its FH model — a Class 5 truck rated at 17,995 pounds GVW. The kit includes a bracket, tensioner pulley, and drive pulley for a poly grooved belt. Developed in conjunction with DewEze Manufacturing in Harper, Kansas, the kit is almost ready to be released. DewEze also is working on a clutch pump kit for the Mitsubishi FE640 powered by the 4M50 diesel, but development is in the early stages, Good said.
An in-frame, aft-of-axle fuel tank is in the works. The company hopes to be able to offer it as an option (installed at the port of entry) this summer. The 32-gallon tank is designed for use on the FG and FE models. Developed in partnership with Transfer Flow of Chico, California, the tank matches the capacity of the factory-installed side-mounted tank. “We see this tank being requested for utility body applications and instances where weight distribution is a consideration,” Good said. “It is not meant as an auxiliary tank.”
The Allison MD3060 has been available on the Mitsubishi FM-SP since last fall, Marchini reported.
“This transmission is not new to the industry, but it is new to Mitsubishi,” he said. “We have been waiting in line for this, and we finally have it.”
The transmission is offered as a six-speed with two overdrives. It is completely controlled electronically and is equipped with lock-up torque converter, Mitsubishi exhaust brake, and twin transmission oil coolers. Each is mounted on the outboard surface of the frame rails. Thermostats in the lines turn the fans off and on. The transmission has a 10-bolt PTO opening that can accommodate either a Chelsea 277/278 or Muncie CS10/CS20 power take-off.
“We stock PTOs for Mitsubishi and Aisin automatic transmissions at our parts distribution headquarters,” Good said. “As has been our policy in the past, we will continue to refer requests for other PTOs to Chelsea or Muncie distributors.”