INTERNATIONAL presented the new truck products to body builders and upfitters during the 37th annual NTEA Convention and T3 Expo. “This is the first public showing of the new products,” said William Lawrence, marketing manager for International Truck and Engine Corporation. “Although International did have a publicity photo session in Las Vegas this past winter for International dealers and press, we chose to publicly unveil the product here because the NTEA membership is the group that will be working to make our trucks fit the end user's needs.”
International started working on the design for the new International 4000, 7000, and 8000 series trucks over four years ago, according to Lawrence. “The approach to developing this truck is a little different than we have taken in the past,” said Lawrence. “I believe that our approach to the design of this family of truck products is innovative in that we designed the trucks for specific applications to enhance the customer's performance.”
International will start releasing the new family of trucks to dealers in a sequenced fashion during 2001. The medium-duty 4000 series will be immediately available to dealers on an order basis, with full production in April/May. The 8000 series Class-8 line-haul tractor will be available for dealer order in May, with full production ramping up in October. The severe-duty International 7000 series will be available for order this summer and will go into full production in December.
“While designing this product, there were many focus points that we looked at and agreed to substantially improve,” said Lawrence. “Nevertheless, there are five areas that I believe we have really improved and that we have exceeded beyond our competitors: cab and driver environment, high performance drivability, chassis and cab exterior, electrical system, and maintainability and serviceability.
“To build a high performance truck, you have to increase the performance of three main components: driver performance, vehicle performance, and financial performance.” Lawrence said he feels confident that International is introducing a product that will accomplish those goals.
“To increase a driver's performance, you have to retain them at their job as well as keeping them productive,” Lawrence said. “To increase the vehicle's performance, it has to be on the road and doing the job that it was designed for. That's a component durability issue. To improve the financial performance requires lowering the operating and maintenance cost, providing the lowest body integration cost because of efficient back-of-cab layout, and build a truck that will retain its resale value.
“Customers told us that the cost of hiring and training a driver can range from $2,500 to $5,500, on average — depending on the applicant,” Lawrence said. “International has listened, understands, and has developed a cab and driver environment intended to address driver acquisition, productivity, and retention.”
International's new steel cab is used throughout the 4000-, 7000-, and 8000-series. “We've improved the driver's environment by providing a larger and roomier cab,” Lawrence said. Compared to the current cab version, the new cab is two inches wider. It has one inch of additional headroom, combined with 4½ inches of mid-section room. The cab's lap joints have an improved fit and finish to +/- one mm.
International has reduced interior cab noise by more than 33%. The new-styled cab, equipped with the optional premium interior, has a noise reduction level in excess of 50% compared with the current premium cab model.
The premium interior features of the cab include textured covering, cloth inserts on door trim panel, map lights and compass, outside temperature display, and two additional sun visors with courtesy lights. Interior seating offers two standard high-back seats that replace the bench seat for increased driver comfort. An optional high back, three-man seating arrangement features an individual driver's seat, with a two-man combination-style passenger seat. A full cloth seating option is available.
The temperature of the interior will be controlled by a newly designed HVAC system. Compared with the prior models, this system will provide 100% more air-conditioning and 200% more heat/defrost capacity to the cab, according to Lawrence. It will reduce maintenance cost because the system has no cables or vent doors to adjust. The HVAC system generates fault codes for the International EZ Tech diagnostics system and provides its own automatic shutdown prior to system failure.
The cab features a three-point entry and egress with offset steps. There are ergonomically placed grab handles inside the cab, with optional handles outside the cab.
The driver's ergonomic features include an 18-inch, tilt steering wheel and cruise control as standard equipment. The controls will be located on the steering wheel. The black-background gauge console is a set back design in a rounded molding piece. The gauges will not be set-alone instruments. Integral into the gauge console will be three warning levels for component failure. They are visual/gauge indication, LED light, and an audible alarm.
The windshield for the cab has 44% additional glass area. This will also include a new 28° swept-back angle to more readily deflect road debris.
New Base-Line Specs
International is changing its base-line specs to reflect the company's new line of thinking. Integrated Powertrain is now the key word at International. “We've focused on optimizing our engines by combining them with the best transmissions. We've redesigned transmission and rear-end gearings to best fit the engines' operating range. And we've brought all of this together under an optimized, electronic analog-type pedal.”
To improve overall drivability, the entire suspension system and steering geometry has been redesigned throughout the entire family of truck products.
For the front suspension, taper leaf springs replace the former multi-leaf suspension design. Optional rubber auxiliary springs will be available for applications where high center-of-gravity loads will be encountered. To achieve better handling without encountering ride degradation, an optional auxiliary air suspension system can be added. This will be a driver control system that can be adapted to the either side of the truck. The design of the system will allow for counterbalancing unequal loads.
At the rear of the truck, auxiliary rubber springs have been added to increase roll stability under extreme load conditions. The springs are standard equipment for the 4000 series and optional on the 7000 and 8000 series.
To improve driver-ride comfort, the 7000 and 8000 series are now equipped with a cab air suspension that will greatly reduce shock and vibration. The system is virtually maintenance free, Lawrence said.
The new family of trucks also has been designed for improved maneuverability. The turning radius has been improved by bringing the wheel cut into a 50° capability when using 11R22.5 tires.
Chassis and Cab Exterior
Lighter and stronger frame rails are International's design concept for the new family of products. Several changes have been made to the rail selection options. New to the 4000 series will be single rails up to 2.51M RBM. The inverted “L” reinforcements have been replaced by a 3/8-inch or 7/16-inch thick single frame rail. The familiar “C” channel reinforcement will be available only on the 7000 series, providing up to a 3.58M RBM.
“Not having an L attachment will greatly reduce frame-rail corrosion, especially in the severe winter areas,” said Lawrence. “The chassis will also be easier to modify. We are very confident about our new frame rail designs. International is offering the new rails with a seven-year limited warranty.”
The overall cab exterior and hood design have significantly changed. The hood is a multi-piece design. Fenders can be independently replaced, resulting in a significant cost savings, according to Lawrence. Frontal line-of-site view has been improved. Hood opening effort has been reduced to as little as 23 pounds of effort.
The appearance package for the family of trucks has been improved. A chrome grille is standard. The grille is easy to remove in comparison to the older model. It is attached with four bolts to the hood assembly. A stationary grille is available for both the 4000 and the 7000 series.
The front bumper is a powder-coated off-gray color. A powder-coated front bumper with a painted finish is available as an option. For the traditionalist, an optional chrome bumper is available. Other changes have taken effect on the front of this new family of trucks.
“The 4000 and 8000 series will have an aerodynamic composite headlight system,” said Lawrence. “The 7000 series, because of the extreme environment that we believe the truck will be working in, will use a halogen sealed beam headlight.”
Adding to the frontal appearance of the truck is a new breakaway C-loop mirror. The mirror, available in both a powder-coated or stainless steel version, will help prevent cab rust and corrosion. It also should help minimize cab damage and replacement operations due to mirror bracket, peel-back.
“This family of trucks runs on a multiplexing electrical system,” said Lawrence. “Multiplexing circuitry will help body upfitters to do their job more efficiently. Multiplexing allows instrument panel switch addition, removal, or relocation to be much easier than with the former system. It will also reduce electrical diagnostic time by more than 20%.” One of the reasons for this, according to Lawrence, is that the EZ Tech tool can isolate electrical problems down to the input or output side of the electrical equation.
Guidance for the multiplexing system comes from the electrical system controller (ESC). The ESC integrates or replaces many of the vehicles' former electrical modals. Items such as daytime running lights, flashers, wipe/wash relay, and many fuses and circuit breakers are now replaced by the ESC.
According to Lawrence, body integration will be much easier than in previous times. Prewired instrument panel switches for remote mounted electrical and air modules simplify equipment installation. The multiplexing promotes the ease of connectability and reduces the need for the body upfitter to splice into the vehicle wiring harness. “Our multiplexing system will greatly reduce labor times for the body builders and body upfitters, if you will use it,” said Lawrence.
The multiplexing system uses milliamps in lieu of high current. Items such as turn signal switches will have a longer life expectancy because of the lower amperage.
“Once the upfitters and customers understand the system, they will want more of the multiplexing technology added to the chassis,” said Lawrence. “Even today we could reduce approximately 70% of the mechanical switches on the chassis, but we want to slowly introduce the multiplexing technology to the public.”
Improvements have been made to the maintenance schedule for the newly designed International 4300/4400 DT466E engine. “Oil changes for that engine have increased to 15,000 miles from 12,000 miles, as well as the oil filter replacement. Antifreeze has been moved up to a 300,000-mile replacement from the 100,000-mile replacement. The air cleaner element provides 75,000 additional miles of usage for the customer. And the engine fuel filter replacement schedule has been increased from 24,000 miles to 30,000 miles,” said Lawrence.
Additionally, there are changes in the naming and badging of the new style product:
- International 4000 Series —
- 4300 Model
- 4400 Model
- International 7000 Series —
- 7300 Model
- 7400 Model
- 7500 Model
- International 8000 Series —
- 8500 Model
“Each model has something that is unique to their model number,” said Lawrence. “The best possibility for the body upfitter to acquaint himself with the new family of truck products is to visit your local dealer.”