Mitsubishi Offers New Chassis for California

New truck chassis, engine changes, and electrical componentry with updated connection locations grabbed NTEA members' attention at the Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks of America (MFTA) chassis seminar during the NTEA Truck Product Conference September 18-20. The Dearborn, Michigan, conference highlighted upcoming 2001 model year changes from several chassis manufacturers.

"We just mailed an update for the body builders book, which should be available to everyone by November," said Robert J Aquaro, a senior product-planning spokesperson for Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks of North America. "If you work on Mitsubishi products, take a few moments to look it over and learn about the changes that we've made."

California Gets New Model Chassis dealers and body upfitters in California will be seeing a new Class 3 product this year. The FE-Californian series will be a strong contender in the Class 3 market, especially in the vocational markets that it serves, according to Aquaro. "By meeting the California Air Resource Board's (CARB) benchmarks, we've put together a product that will really excel at meeting operators' needs in California. A cab-over-engine design just adds so much versatility for operators in the pick-up and delivery business."

To meet the CARB requirements, Mitsubishi Fuso upgraded the new FE product to a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,050 lb and is equipping the truck with the 4D34 engine.

The 4D34 is a four cylinder over-head valve engine that is rated at 145 horsepower. It will be somewhat different than the 4M50AT engine that many upfitters are used to seeing. However, the 4M50AT will still be the standard engine in the FE-SP model.

The 4D34 is not equipped with a lower outboard harmonic balancer. "When you look at the 4D34, it won't have a crankshaft harmonic balancer," said Aquaro. "But plans are underway to introduce an installed V-fan hub that will facilitate further upfitter options." A dual swash-plate styled compressor system is one of the options being mobilized for this model's application for refrigerated deliveries.

The FE-Californian is only available with the Aisin automatic transmission, but that is seen as a benefit to users of the truck, according to Aquaro.

New Wheelbase The Mitsubishi FE-SP will have a new wheelbase of 165.4 inches. "This is designed to handle an 18-ft body, not a 20-ft body, or longer," says Aquaro. "Quite simply, Mitsubishi Fuso doesn't want this wheelbase extended.

"Please read our addendum for the 2001 Body Builders Book," Aquaro said. "It will provide some specific instructions on this chassis. Rule number one is don't extend it."

FGs Get Uplift for Snow Mitsubishi Fuso's four-wheel-drive FG has received a front axle rating increase, Aquaro said. The front axle has been increased to 5,510 lb. According to Aquaro, this provides for applications in the snowplow arena. "That's an area that more and more upfitters are outfitting the chassis for."

The FG will also be available with the Aisin transmission with a side (frame) mounted transmission cooler. Mitsubishi Fuso's change to the Aisin transmission has been enhanced by Chelsea-Dana's new dedicated PTO product, the model 243-A, a powerful tool for the snowplow industry, Aquaro said. This PTO development for the Mitsubishi Fuso has been welcomed by many upfitters as it greatly lessens installation time and the chance of mis-installation for body upfitters.

The 243-A utilizes hot-shift engagement and should remedy gear clash and inadvertent shift-up. Upfit is enhanced by a six-bolt, direct-mount at the side of the transmission.

The 243-A PTO rotation is opposite of engine revolution and is geared to elevate 140% of engine rpm. The 243-A has five pump styles available, ranging from 4.5 gallons to 11.5 gallons. It has a universal one-inch key shaft.

At the beginning of the 1999 model year, Mitsubishi introduced the Zexel full electronic pump assembly. This unit controls idle-speed via electronics, compared to prior mechanical systems. Under certain applications, an additional PTO idle speed potentiometer could be required. Mitsubishi issued a service training bulletin, #98-001, to assist upfitters when installing a second PTO idle speed adjustment location.

Don't Cut the Line "The FH model has received a facelift for the ABS control module," Aquaro said. "The module was located outside the frame rail. We have now moved it to the inside of the left-side frame rail."

Antilock brake extension kits were highlighted by Aquaro. "Don't cut into the ABS harness under any circumstances," said Aquaro. "It's just not worth the exposure for you or us."

Mitsubishi Fuso has available a 24" ABS harness extension kit for Class 5-7 chassis. Along with the ABS kit, Mitsubishi Fuso also has brake line extension material. These materials will be useful for most upfitters when lengthening a frame. "Again, use looping for shortening the harness in most cases," Aquaro said.

Last year's chassis improvement of higher capacity batteries in the Class 3 and 4 trucks has created the need to move some battery boxes around, according to Aquaro. "There were some upfitting frustrations that the larger capacity batteries have caused; but we are standardizing Mitsubishi Fuso batteries with extra capacity to provide an electrical power platform for the future electronic needs of the truck. We have been working on this since last year."

More Transmissions Allison MD 3060 automatic transmissions will be offered in the FM-SP-657, 32,900 GVW model. "This transmission offering will round out the Mitsubishi Fuso model line as a full-service product for almost any application," said Aquaro.

The MD-3060, when used in the Mitsubishi truck application, will be equipped with twin, frame mounted transmission coolers. "These shouldn't interfere with any mounting applications; nevertheless, if there is a concern, please contact us, and we will be happy to work with you to resolve the upfitting problem," said Aquaro.

Recommended Mounting Aquaro spent a few moments reviewing recommended body mounting procedures. He emphasized the proper use of wooden spacers along with the recommended strapping to ensure that wood spacers between body and frame don't work loose over extended time or environmental changes.

Structural rail support was a key item that he feels is not always being handled properly in the field. "A spacer support should be used in-rail when mounting with U-bolts, or any other attachment device," Aquaro said. Careful attention should be used to keep mounting attachments away from crossmembers. This substantially deteriorates ride quality by adding rigidity to the frame. This does not strengthen the frame capacity, but it can diminish the frame's ability to counter damaging forces.

How High and Blue "We get a lot of calls from upfitters wondering how high they can mount a piece of equipment or how tall they can make a structure," Aquaro said. "We publish information on allowable vertical center of gravity (VCG) in the body builders and data book. But please, if there is a question, call us. We want to help you find the best solutions for your customers.

Aquaro closed the session by asking upfitters for their help on electrical connection problems. "We provided lots of electrical connection assemblies through the entire chassis of the truck," Aquaro said. "Use them. You can't miss them. They are, as they always have been, wrapped in blue tape. They are for your convenience. Using these will stop many of the perplexing electrical connection problems that we get calls about." All of the blue connectors are additionally marked with an imprinted foil tag for identification.

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