Navistar prepares for vocational truck release

Dec. 6, 2015
NTEA Truck Product Conference 2015 coverage

NAVISTAR provided a glimpse—albeit a very brief one—of the vocational truck it will unveil next year, with Carl Webb saying it will offer “some features that don’t exist in the market today.”

Earlier this year, Navistar announced that it will launch a new line of premium vocational trucks for the severe service segment, leveraging shared technology and intellectual property from its venture with Caterpillar. In addition, the company announced that it will transition to Caterpillar the production and engineering of the Cat-branded severe service trucks the company has been supplying to Caterpillar since 2011. Navistar will continue to manufacture trucks for Caterpillar through December 31, 2016.

Webb, vice president and general manager of medium-duty truck for Navistar, the parent company of International, said final endurance tests are being held now. Select customer units will be produced in the winter, with full production beginning in the spring.

“Next year, we’ll introduce a brand new vocational truck designed to have a higher level of endurance,” Webb said. “We’ll do this by offering some features that don’t exist in the market today and also by leveraging some of our existing technology.

“That project started over five years ago and we’ve had a chance to look at vocational customers’ needs and the challenges they face. It started from a customer-centered perspective. We wanted it to be easy to maintain. And wanted to make sure it was a good-looking truck. Customers wonder, ‘How long is it going to last?’ As you know, those in construction are going to work those vehicles really hard day in and day out, for 10 years, 12 years, sometimes even longer. So we built a truck to match their expectations.

“We’ve built trucks that exceeded SAE standards for vocational trucks. That’s why 95% of 10-year-old DayStars are still on the road. The introduction of onboard diagnostics changed the perspective on how trucks are actually used. We’ve taken data from customers and are using it to determine how we’re going to launch this new product. We have a new chassis with an undercarriage foundation designed to increase longevity, improve serviceability, and withstand the toughest challenges.”

The vocational offering will be one of two products launching in 2016, joining the Project Horizon truck. The concept vehicle, unveiled in March 2013, used advanced, yet available technologies to demonstrate the potential for improving fuel economy, safety and ease of operation, while also meeting new federal greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations.

In May 2013, the company became the first truck OEM to receive federal approval for an innovative clutched air technology it uses for reduction of GHGs emitted by its vehicles.

Other news from International:

• The Eaton Procision transmission became available on October 1.

The newest member of the Eaton transmission lineup, it is a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. A dual-clutch transmission combines the gear efficiency of a manual with the smooth shifting of an automatic. It consists of two independent but interlocked manual transmissions, each with its own independent clutch. Electronically controlled and hydraulic-actuated gear changes are achieved by pre-selecting the correct gear and “swapping” torque between the two clutches. The result is smooth and continuous delivery of torque to the wheels under all shift conditions.

Procision is easy to spec. Customers can choose from two models, then tailor the selection to meet specific business needs.

The Procision is loaded with smart features such as Eaton Dynamic Shifting, which uses grade, vehicle weight and driver demand to select optimum shift points for a good balance of economy and performance. Shift points, as well as the economy/performance blend bias, can be customized to meet the unique demands.

There is optional and adjustable Urge to Move and Creep Mode, which provide low-speed maneuverability. Optional and adjustable Hill Helper technology prevents roll back or roll forward for up to three seconds, while on grades of up to 8%, allowing for a controlled launch. With Procision, these features can be turned on and off using Eaton’s ServiceRanger software.

Procision three standard PTO openings. PTO functionality can be enabled by dealerships after purchase.

The optimized design delivers an 8% to 10% or greater fuel economy improvement over a torque converter automatic. The Procision is fully integrated with Cummins Vehicle Acceleration Management, which can be used in conjunction with Eaton Dynamic Shifting to reduce the impact of an aggressive driver on fuel economy.

• The WorkStar is available with Cummins ISB 6.7 diesel.

“If you do have a customer who maybe doesn’t need big horsepower or torque to do the job but wants all the features of the WorkStar that are available, we’re seeing a lot of great success with this,” said Chad Connelly, director of the North American medium-duty platform. “People really like the idea of having the WorkStar with the ISB.”

With a range of horsepower, every facet of the Cummins ISB 6.7 has been engineered for fuel efficiency, reliability and durability—while meeting EPA 2010 emissions. The Cummins ISB 6.7 is engineered to offer dependability, reliability, and a low cost of ownership, with ratings ranging from 200-325 hp and 520-750 lb-ft of torque.

It has a broad range of available powertrain options designed to handle the heaviest loads and the most rugged jobs, an electrical system that offers body control functionality and more efficient diagnostics, and a huck-bolted frame and crossmember system designed for maximum vocational durability with a number of frame-rail options.

• Webb said customers have been experiencing record-breaking fuel economy with the ES spec.

Three years ago, they embarked on a mission to figure out how to save customers money on their greatest expense—fuel. They identified the best hardware packages to optimize fuel-efficiency, evaluated hundreds of component combinations to determine the most viable options, then tested to validate the work to develop the ProStar ES.

When a truck is on the road the wind doesn’t typically hit it head-on. It usually hits the truck a few degrees off-center. With that in mind, they didn’t set out just to minimize head on drag, they shaped the ProStar to have the lowest wind averaged drag coefficient, helping it slice through the rough crosswinds it faces when it hits the road.

In a full-scale wind tunnel, they tested a complete tractor and trailer, turning (or yawing) the vehicle several degrees in either direction to account for any impacts in crosswinds. They they put it on the road to study the impact crosswinds had on the overall aerodynamics of the truck.

To improve the ES drivetrain, they paired the Cummins Eaton SmartAdvantage engine with the most efficient rear axles in the industry. This combination gives the ES superior downspeeding capabilities, allowing it to run at 150-300 fewer rpms at cruising speed compared to previous offerings. This equates to an 11% improvement in fuel efficiency. The ProStar ES is also available with the Eaton Fuller 10-speed automated transmission paired with the N13 engine.

• International’s new body control module for Diamond Logic will be built into International trucks when production begins in November.

The new body control module, designed in line with Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 500k baud standards, will expand customer and truck equipment manufacturer electronics capabilities. The new design will deliver six times the current processing speed for truck and body electronics, add 16 more input/output slots for equipment manufacturers, and provide three additional data links to expand truck capabilities.

As a result of the new body control module design, new Diamond Logic features will be made available to increase uptime for customers. These new features include:

• Intelligent start. Single ignition activation on the key is all that is required and the vehicle will manage starting the engine automatically. The starter motor is disabled the moment the engine starts, which prevents over cranking and overheating to extend starter life.

• Programmable real time starting. International trucks can be programmed to start prior to the driver’s arrival at specific time each day, ensuring the vehicle is warmed up and ready for operation. With real time starting, drivers can save time and effort, and fleets can increase productivity.

• Auto start-stop. Auto Start-Stop not only reduces idle time and saves on fuel but allows vocational customers to recharge batteries automatically, or heat the cab for drivers without continuously running the engine.

All International medium-duty and vocational trucks are equipped with the Diamond Logic Electrical System, which offers nearly 200 factory available body integration and driver efficiency features, plus the ability to customize infinitely more vehicle functions. ♦

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.