Because every fleet has its own unique needs, trucks often fill very specific and specialized vocational roles. This necessitates adapting the vehicle to the need of the fleet.

Fortunately, many OEMs offer fleets the opportunity to make these alterations at the factory. Below is an overview of some of the OEMs who offer fleets the ability to adapt vehicles to their specific operational needs.

FORD: Rolling Back the Ford F-650 & F-750

Among Ford Motor Company’s most popular vocational upfits is a rollback/wrecker body for the F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks. This variation is available with a class-exclusive 6.8L V-10 gasoline engine, which helps reduce vehicle acquisition costs compared to diesel, according to the automaker.

The rollback/wrecker configuration is used by both small business owners, e.g., “mom and pop” towing shops, and such national fleets as auto associations, e.g., AAA. 

The F-650 6.8L Pro-Loader with 19.5-inch wheels starts at $54,840 MSRP and the F-650 6.8L Dock Height with 22-inch wheels starts at $55,065. The average vehicle savings for an F-650 gasoline model, compared to F-650 trucks with diesel, is $8,300, according to Ford. 

The rollback/wrecker for the Ford F-650 and F-750 is among the automaker’s most popular vocational applications, ideal for both large and small towing operations.

The rollback/wrecker for the Ford F-650 and F-750 is among the automaker’s most popular vocational applications, ideal for both large and small towing operations.

The 6.8L three-valve gas engine renders 362 hp and 457 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine couples with a Ford 6R410 6-speed transmission with double overdrive gears for improved fuel economy. Further, an optional gaseous fuel preparation package is available for conversion to compressed natural gas (CNG) or propane autogas, which could help lower fuel costs. 

The F-650 and F-750 are also available with an optional Cummins ISB 6.7L turbo diesel, rated from 200 to 360 hp and 520 to 800 lbs.-ft. of torque. The Cummins diesel can be paired with available Allison five- or six-speed automatic transmissions or Fuller or Dana Spicer six- or seven-speed manual transmissions. 

Depending on gross vehicle weight (GVW), a choice of air or hydraulic brakes is available, along with a range of axle choices from Meritor and Dana Spicer. 

F-750 GVW tops out at 37,000 lbs. to help tackle the toughest medium-duty tasks, according to the automaker. 

In addition, the F-650 and F-750 feature: 

● Two diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank sizes to accommodate clean CA choices.
● Diesel GVWRs range from 20,500 lbs. up to 37,000 lbs.
● Gasoline GVWRs range from 20,780 lbs. up to 30,000 lbs. (F-650 only).

All 2012 Ford F-650 and F-750 models will have available SYNC technology to help keep drivers better connected without them having to divert their eyes from the road, according to the automaker. In November 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a ruling prohibiting interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held electronics while behind the wheel. According to the automaker, Ford SYNC allows drivers to communicate wirelessly without sacrificing safety.

HINO Model 338: Versatility on Display

Versatility is a key feature of Hino Trucks’ 2013 model 338 design. Hino medium-duty utility trucks, box trucks, dump trucks, or Hino flatbed rollbacks offer a versatile solution for urban delivery, service, transport, and towing operations that demand fuel economy, dependability, reduced operating expenses, as well as reliability and power, according to the company. 

According to Hino, model 338’s standard 80,000-psi and optional 120,000-psi frames are ideal for the high demands of utility bodies. And, the clean back-of-cab and under-step battery box and air tank make it easier (and more economical) for upfitters and body builders to meet special needs.

This versatility is on display everyday in the fleet of Hino customer Southern Electric Corp. (SEC) of Mississippi. Managing more than 35 crews is demanding, and SEC must be available any time and at a moment’s notice while sometimes working in difficult conditions. SEC offers a variety of services to satisfy a host of electrical and water/sewer needs. If an electrical system is not working, it can mean money out of its customers’ pockets. The wide range of applications in Southern Electric’s fleet include 15 Hino model 338 trucks with vocational uses ranging from bucket lift utility trucks, digger derrick, a flatbed setup for the boring crew, and a maintainer for the mechanics department. 

Southern Electric Corp. of Mississippi has taken advantage of the Hino model 338’s versatility by using the truck in a variety of configurations, including a bucket lift utility truck

Southern Electric Corp. of Mississippi has taken advantage of the Hino model 338’s versatility by using the truck in a variety of configurations, including a bucket lift utility truck 

The company’s reputation for quality and reliability made the Hino model 338 an obvious choice, according to SEC President Steve Weaver. “In our industry, equipment failure can be very costly when it shuts down the crew,” he observed. “We are very impressed with Hino’s extended warranty, which no one else in the industry offers. From a safety standpoint, visibility is crucial and Hino’s great over-the-hood visibility is unmatched.”

Maneuverability is essential to urban work areans, and Hino addresses this with one of the tightest turning radiuses in the industry, according to the company.

The 33,000-lb. GVW Hino 2013-model 338 features a Hino J08E series 8L diesel engine producing 260 hp and 660 lb.-ft. of torque, which is an improvement over previous models. Standard equipment on the Hino 338 includes an Allison 2500 transmission with Shift Energy Management and an exhaust brake. Options for 2013 include a clean cab-to-axle and an Allison 3000 transmission, along with a 14,000-lb. front axle, a front frame extension, and a 120,000-psi frame.

(Click next page to read on about International, Isuzu, Kenworthy, and Mitsubishi Fuso). 

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INTERNATIONAL: TerraStar Takes on Tough Jobs

Launched in 2010, the Class 4/5 International TerraStar work truck is suited for a variety of applications, including pickup and delivery, landscaping, municipal, utility, and construction. 

Landscaping companies, in particular, have been utilizing the TerraStar in their operations. Juniper Landscaping has been an International customer for 15 years, with most of its purchases being International DuraStars. It recently took delivery of a 2011 TerraStar for its install division. The truck features a fifth-wheel attachment and is used as a “mini tractor-trailer” to deliver plants and trees on an ongoing basis for large jobs (e.g., a recent big municipal roadway project) and typically pulls a 40-foot trailer. The TerraStar also handles deliveries to customers from the farm/nursery it recently purchased. According to Juniper Landscaping, the truck is filling a new niche due to the growth of the nursery and its other businesses. 

The International TerraStar is suited for a variety of applications, including pickup and delivery, landscaping, municipal, utility, and construction.

The International TerraStar is suited for a variety of applications, including pickup and delivery, landscaping, municipal, utility, and construction.

Caple Landscape Management in Southwest Florida has also employed the TerraStar, with four new TerraStars and two DuraStars in its fleet. Owner Dave Caple said he has been impressed by the power of the unit and its 11 mpg fuel economy. He also “loves” the roominess of the cab and calls it his employee “lunchroom.” 

Features include 80,000-psi commercial-duty frame rail, standard Allison 1000 Series automatic transmission, MaxxForce 7 engine with 300 hp and 660 lb.-ft. torque, enhanced forward visibility, and 30-percent greater cab room with available extended and crew cabs. Recent enhancements to the TerraStar include improved maneuverability, now boasting a 50-degree wheel cut; an available Chrome Appearance Package, which includes chrome updates to the grill and headlights; and a 4x4 configuration with a durable gear driven transfer case available for production in March 2013.

ISUZU: NPR ECO-MAX Caters to Deli Express

Deli Express/E.A. Sween Company, a sandwich brand supplier headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn., has been able to take advantage of the features offered by the Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX. To provide an efficient refrigeration unit to complete the new truck, Deli Express selected Thermo King’s new V-520 RT Spectrum direct drive unit. The Spectrum is suited to handling the company’s requirements for both the fresh and frozen compartments of the truck. 

The heating system improves productivity by allowing specialized thawing applications to occur on the truck. The refrigeration system is capable of maintaining the required temperatures throughout the geographic reach of Deli Express, which includes both hot and cold climates. 

The 12,000-lb. GVWR NPR ECO-MAX features Isuzu’s 4JJ1-TC 3.0L four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that generates 150 hp and 282 lb.-ft. of torque.

The 12,000-lb. GVWR NPR ECO-MAX features Isuzu’s 4JJ1-TC 3.0L four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that generates 150 hp and 282 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Spectrum uses electric standby to reduce fuel consumption and corresponding emissions. The unit also uses a low amount of refrigerant, which helps reduce its impact on the environment, according to Isuzu.

The time span from concept to delivery of the first specially equipped Isuzu trucks was 18 months. More of the vehicles are being integrated into the Deli Express fleet. 

According to Gregg Hodgdon, head of fleet operations for Deli Express, the vehicles are demonstrating nearly 50-percent better fuel economy than the rest of the fleet and emitting about 700-lbs. less carbon dioxide each month, or 4.2-tons less CO2 over the next year.

“These results are proof that it is possible to improve a fleet’s carbon footprint through weight reduction and efficient technologies while still utilizing a traditional fuel source,” Hodgdon said.

Deli Express drivers also prefer the new trucks to their predecessors, according to Hodgdon. “It’s closer to the ground, so they don’t have to stretch to get in and out. We love the design of the whole truck,” he said.

In addition to the food/beverage industry, the NPR ECO-MAX is suited for construction, landscape, rental/lease, and utility applications. 

Introduced for 2011, the 12,000-lb. GVWR NPR ECO-MAX features Isuzu’s 4JJ1-TC 3.0L four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that generates 150 hp and 282 lb.-ft. of torque, and has a B-10 engine life rating of 310,000 miles.

The NPR ECO-MAX meets EPA 2010 and California Air Resources Board (CARB) HD-OBD emissions standards and is clean-idle certified in all 50 states. Isuzu medium-duty trucks offer selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) injection to reduce NOx emissions by 85 percent, according to the automaker. 

Click next page to continue reading about Kenworth and Mitsubishi Fuso.

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KENWORTH: T270 & T370 Provide Value & Savings

All-wheel-drive is proving popular with Kenworth’s vocational customers, especially in the utility industry where more traction and better performance are critical when working in slick and muddy conditions. 

Clark Electric Cooperative of Greenwood, Wis., recently purchased a T370 4x4 and worked with Kenworth, its dealer (Wisconsin Kenworth), and its body builder to equip the T370 with a 12-foot dump body and 10,000-lb. knuckle boom crane. “We replaced two trucks with one T370 4x4,” noted Mike Ruff, director of operations for Clark Electric. “We use the T370 prominently in the summer to haul underground equipment to and from the job sites. The knuckle boom is used to load reels of wire and transformers in the dump body. And, we can haul up to five yards of dirt or aggregate whenever we need to for fixing yards and driveways.” 

The T270 and T370 are available with all-wheel-drive, 4x4 configurations, and a 6x6 for the T370. Front-drive axle ratings range from 10,000 lbs. to 14,000 lbs. with the PACCAR PX-6 engine and up to 16,000 lbs. with the PACCAR PX-8 engine.

The T270 and T370 are available with all-wheel-drive, 4x4 configurations, and a 6x6 for the T370. Front-drive axle ratings range from 10,000 lbs. to 14,000 lbs. with the PACCAR PX-6 engine and up to 16,000 lbs. with the PACCAR PX-8 engine.

The co-op, which serves more than 1,900 miles of line with close to 9,000 utility members across six counties in central Wisconsin, has six medium-duty trucks in its fleet. Ruff expects the T370 to be in service for 15 to 20 years, about 10 years past the company’s normal trade rotation. Due to the nature of installing underground wiring, he said the 4x4 configuration provides added traction in the off-road conditions they encounter. The truck is equipped with the PACCAR PX-6 engine rated at 325 hp with 750 lbs.-ft. of torque, and driven through an automatic transmission. 

Putting 60 Kenworth T270s into service in 2011 has helped Safety-Kleen Systems improve vehicle fuel economy and lower lifecycle costs for its pick-up and delivery operation. With more than 200 locations throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, the specialized cleaning provider operates more than 1,800 Class 6-8 trucks. The smaller trucks haul 50-gallon drums of chemicals and solvents, along with dry goods. 

According to Dan Kratz, Safety-Kleen’s director of fleet operations, the company purchases all of its vehicles at its headquarters in Plano, Texas, then distributes them to company locations across the country. The T270s, with 18-foot boxes, are spec’d with the PACCAR PX-6 engine rated at 250-hp and driven through automatic transmissions. The trucks were purchased through MHC Kenworth.

“They reviewed all the specs with us and we made a change from manual to automatic transmissions for our T270s,” Kratz said. “That’s been a great decision, especially for our newer drivers. Plus, MHC worked very well with our body builder, making sure of a pain-free installation.”

Vehicle performance, coupled with dealer support, has led Safety-Kleen to standardize on the T270. “Thanks to the T270’s performance and the positive driver reaction, it’s now the truck of choice for our medium-duty fleet,” Kratz said. “While we’re saving significantly on fuel consumption, reliability of the Kenworths is a key to our operation, as is driver satisfaction.”

MITSUBISHI FUSO: Canter FE/FG Series Gets Refined

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America’s (MFTA) Canter FE/FG Series trucks were completely new for the 2012 model-year with an advanced-technology drivetrain, lighter and stronger frame to maximize payload, and an extended service maintenance interval of 18,000 miles. For the 2013 model-year, the trucks were refined even more to enhance the Canter’s utility and lower cost-of-ownership. 

According to the manufacturer, fluids and filters are easier to check, fill, and change, and the oil filter has been made more environmentally friendly with a quick-change replaceable filter element.

The all new 2013 Canter comes standard with dual batteries, and also includes a factory-installed PTO wiring harness designed to receive an optional, matched control switch and to make connection to optional PTOs easy.

The all new 2013 Canter comes standard with dual batteries, and also includes a factory-installed PTO wiring harness designed to receive an optional, matched control switch and to make connection to optional PTOs easy.

The all-new 2013 Canter comes standard with dual batteries, and also includes a factory-installed PTO wiring harness designed to receive an optional, matched control switch and to make connection to optional PTOs easy. A 33-gallon side-mounted fuel tank will once again be available as a factory-installed option, and door-mounted rearview mirrors will have new, wider mounting arms that facilitate the installation of bodies with outside widths up to 102 inches on all Canter FE models, including the Canter FE160 Crew Cab.

In addition to the five cab colors MFTA has traditionally offered, the 2013 Canter can be ordered in solid black to save customers from having to paint the cabs to match their company colors.

Mitsubishi Fuso standard, four-wheel-drive, and crew cab trucks fulfill the transportation needs of a wide variety of businesses and industries, including beverage, catering, refrigerated and dry cargo delivery fleets, vehicle recovery, towing, pest control, plumbing, light construction, and landscaping. 

Originally posted on Work Truck Online

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