GM reveals new trucks, options

FROM new chassis to minor tweaks, General Motors had news throughout its truck line.

New trucks include a new 4 × 4 one-ton Silverado/Sierra, a chassis cab version of the mid-size Colorado and Canyon, and a hybrid-power pickup.

The 9,900-lb GVW truck is scheduled to be introduced in December, according to Dan Tigges, marketing/production manager for Colorado/Canyon and full-size trucks. The single-wheel-rear truck will be available in all three cab styles — with or without a pickup box. Removing the pickup box will reveal the 56-inch C/A.

The truck will be available only as a 4 × 4 model which, according to GM, represents 80% of the market for trucks with this GVW rating. It will be offered with a big-block gasoline or Duramax diesel engine, and with a choice of two automatic transmissions.

What Tigges described as the industry's first full-size hybrid truck will be offered to fleets on a limited basis at the end of the 2004 model year. The combination of gasoline and electric power will reduce fuel consumption by 10-15% in addition to providing 120-volt power outlets inside the cab and inside the pickup box.

The hybrid will become more widely available in the 2005 model year.

The chassis cab version of the Colorado/Canyon will offer a choice of the Vortec 2800 2.8L I-4 engine or Vortec 3500 3.5L I-5 engine. A five-speed manual transmission will be standard, with an optional four-speed automatic transmission.

The mid-size chassis cab will be rated at 5,300 pounds GVW. It will be equipped with 15-inch wheels and tires, a heavy-duty battery that generates 690 cold-cranking amps, four-wheel antilock brakes, and a 19-gallon fuel tank. The C/A will be 49 inches. Wheelbase and overall length of the chassis cab is the same as the extended cab pickup.

New crew

General Motors also will strengthen its presence in the hot crew cab market with a half-ton pickup aimed almost exclusively for the personal use market.

“Four years ago, half-ton crews did not exist,” Tigges said. “Today they account for 23% of the half-ton commercial business.”

The truck will have a 7,000-lb GVWR in the four-wheel drive version and 6,800-lb GVWR for the two-wheel drive model. Payload ratings for the four- and two-wheel-drive models will be 1,800-lb and 1,700-lb, respectively.

The new crew cab will be launched only with up-level trim. Tigges advices not to put ladder racks on the trucks. Cross-mounted toolboxes should be limited to 300 pounds, and siderail-mounted boxes should be limited to 250 pounds.

Medium-duty update

In response to feedback received at the Truck Product Conference last fall, GM has designed a new 32-gallon fuel aft-of-axle tank for its TopKick/Kodiak medium-duty trucks, according to Elliott Benson. The new design, developed to reduce interference with dump body applications, gives the truck the same C/A dimensions as the Ford F-450/550.

Benson also explained the new model designations for the Allison 1000 automatic transmissions. They include:

  • The Allison 1000 HS (Highway Series. This is the base model transmission. It does not have a provision for a power take-off).

  • The Allison 1000 RDS (Rugged Duty Series). Equipped with a PTO opening and drive gear, this model is required for snowplow prep packages.

  • The Allison 1000 EVS is designed for emergency vehicle service.

  • The Allison MH is for motor homes.

C and T Series update

General Motors has made a series of changes to its C and T Series, according to Mike Eaves. Among those changes:

  • The engine control module has been revised. It now can be programmed at the GM dealer.

  • Class 8 models have been added to the T Series. The T8 (or T-8500) is rated at 33,000-39,000 pounds as a single-rear-axle model and up to 56,000 pounds as a tandem. The tandem-axle model is available with wheelbases up to 260 inches.

  • A 16,000-pound front axle is new.

  • A 40,000-pound rear tandem axle has been added.

Isuzu news

A new NPR/W5500-HD topped the news from Isuzu. According to Dan Cutler, the truck has a body/payload allowance that is at least 1,000 pounds higher than competitive models. It comes with an Aisin automatic transmission, 4HK1-TC diesel engine, and a 19,000-pound GVWR.

Also new is the 4HK1-TC 5.2-liter diesel engine. It generates 190 gross horsepower and 387 ft-lb of torque — enough muscle for GVW ratings up to 19,500 pounds. It meets federal emission requirements through the use of a catalytic converter and a water-cooled EGR system.

The engine control module has some programmable features, including cruise control capability, engine-idle up for PTOs, and speed limiting. An optional PTO switch is available (including from the OEM's parts distribution center). Isuzu offers stationary preset mode in which the OEM presets the engine speed at 1,300 and 1,700 rpm. However, the company also offers stationary variable mode that permits engine idle to be set almost anywhere.

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