Targeting a new range of vocational applications, Western Star has introduced the 47X, a slightly smaller but versatile alternative to the upfit-friendly Western Star 49X that debuted a year ago.
With a standard 111.6" BBC, the 47X is suited to regions or applications that require a shorter overall vehicle length, such as drywall trucks; and for those that need to meet federal or local bridge law requirements, such as mixers or super dumps, Western Star offers an optional 110.8" BBC. With the shorter hood and a wheel cut up to 50 degrees, the 47X further optimizes maneuverability for work on construction sites or operations in congested urban environments.
Daimler Trucks North America detailed the new model in a preview for trucking industry journalists ahead of the official unveiling on Sept. 23.
“People might wonder why [Western Star would make] the investment for a 10-inch shorter truck,” said Samantha Parlier, vice president, vocational market development at DTNA. “Space is everything in the vocational market. Every inch you can shave off means better visibility, which we all know on a job site is critical for safety. It's better visibility in towns, in cities, driving and navigating traffic every single day. And you can’t get a much shorter turn radius than a 47X.
“Ten inches matters," Parlier added. "Ten inches can be an extra thousand pounds on the job site in construction. It can make the difference between a truck that's legal to operate, and one that isn't.”
Indeed, the 47X is about 200 lb. lighter than the 49X in like-for-like spec and is best for weight-sensitive applications like mixers and bulk haul—noteworthy because DTNA engineers devoted a great deal of their development efforts on the 49X to weight savings ahead of that truck’s rollout.
So the X-Series trucks have tougher, yet lighter, single-channel frame rail options versus legacy products. The platform offers frame rails with RBM (resisting bending moment) of up to 3.8 million inch-lb. to last longer and return greater payload, according to the manufacturer. A new 9.5-millimeter single-channel rail option is available and features comparable strength as today’s 11-millimeter rail. Standard high-strength aluminum forward, rear and end-of-frame crossmembers further reduce mass, as does a new two-battery option.
"We wanted to have the premier mixer truck," Parlier said. "We know with mixers, weight is king. Power is less of a priority, so we focused on building a truck that could get 16,100 lb. for the mixer market."
Parlier pointed to the subtle differences between the 47X and 49X, mainly that the 47X will be better suited for lightweight applications like mixers and bulk haul, while the 49X is better suited for heavier applications like logging, oil field, and heavy construction. She added that more sleeper options are available on the 49X compared to the 47X.
“A key priority was to consider how to reduce mass without compromising strength,” said Tracy Mack-Askew, chief engineer of chassis, propulsion and vocational engineering, DTNA. “From the cab to the frame rails, to powertrain and battery configurations, we examined all features to deliver weight savings to our customers for greater productivity and profitability.”
The X-Series steel-reinforced aluminum cab further reduces mass by up to 8% while offering greater driver comfort with 13% more space than competitors, according to DTNA. An optional two-person bench seat is available for applications demanding a large on-site crew, and a new space-optimized, in-cab battery box affords additional legroom to the operator. An optional roof-mounted condenser offers maximum airflow through the radiator for stationary applications like construction and mining while keeping operators comfortable.
All X-Series models come standard with operator-centric features such as a wrap-around dash that provides easy access to the driver command center and B-panel. The truck’s interior also includes upscale appointments such as metal accents, while all-metal exterior brightwork is distinctive as well as durable.
The 47X’s unique hood offers forward visibility of 24.8 feet—an 11-inch improvement over the 49X—while its composite construction and ISO Tech suspension system resists bending and cracking by absorbing and dissipating vibrations from road inputs, DTNA noted.
“The ISO Tech hood suspension has gotten rave reviews from people that have been driving the 49X,” Parlier said.
The 47X comes standard with the Detroit DD13 Gen 5 engine, which features higher compression ratios and a new swirl piston design to further improve combustion and efficiency. ThermoCoasting in the DD13 Gen 5 prevents aftertreatment cool-down during a driving regen to keep the system at its optimum temperature and significantly reduce the need for parked regens.
For weight-sensitive applications, the Cummins L9 and X12 engines are available for the 47X. Optional front-engine power take-off (FEPTO) is offered on both Cummins engine offerings and the Detroit DD13 for applications like snowplows. Similarly, rectangular fuel tanks and a raised aftertreatment system mounting are offered with Cummins engines for better clearance for belly plows, making them a clear choice for municipalities and customers maintaining critical roadways in the winter months.
The 47X is also offered with the all-new DT12-V transmission, which is built on the proven DT12 and has more than 35 million miles of vocational-specific testing. The DT12 includes three work-ready mode applications: Rock-free mode, Off-road mode, and Paver mode for the challenges of specific vocational applications.
Standard for any 47X equipped with the DD13 Gen 5, the Detroit Assurance suite of active safety systems brings active safety solutions to the vocational segment, including active brake assist, side guard assist, adaptive cruise control and more to keep operators, workers at the job site, pedestrians, and other motorists safe.
Western Star partnered with leading truck equipment manufacturers (TEMs) to ensure the X-Series supports fast and efficient upfits. The 47X’s mid-chassis packaging has a number of clear back-of-cab configurations while unobstructed frame rails provide more efficient body integration. The QuickFit Interface System offers ready access to electrical architecture and was designed for easy TEM interface, programming and access to power.
The CHEC Tool from DTNA enables TEMs and dealers to view and modify electrical configurations, giving them the power to customize inputs and outputs and change parameters within minutes, greatly simplifying a previously complicated challenge for equipment installers looking to maximize the operational benefits vocational upfits.
A Flex Panel located in the dash B-panel of the truck gives TEMs the ability to mount body controllers, making Western Star the only OEM that doesn’t require compromising space between the seats to do so, Parlier said. The Flex Panel can also accommodate additional gauges, switches, or a RAM Mount prep, depending on customer needs.
“The Flex Panel is my favorite feature—no other OE can do this,” Parlier said, as she pointed to the empty space between the driver and passenger seats where console-mounted equipment controls would typically be found. “So there’s a lot more space for the driver and they have to spend less time dragging their eyes away from the dash—it’s all right there on the Flex Panel.”
Additionally, TEMs can design and sub-assemble the interface before the truck arrives, then just “pop it in,” saving time and money, Parlier added.
“With the 47X and the 49X, we can offer our vocational customers different options that will give them the right tool for their specific job needs,” said David Carson, senior vice president, sales and marketing, DTNA. “The vocational segment is a broad segment, covering many different applications, and our Western Star X-Series reflects that reality. Whether their work be heavy-haul, logging and timber operations, or construction, we have the right Star for our customers.”
The all-new 47X is available for order now and delivery to customers begins in early 2022.