Pete shows new conventional, upgrades entire line

May 1, 2005
ADDING to its line of low-drag conventional tractors begun with the Model 387 in 1999, Peterbilt Motors Company introduced the new Model 386 at the Mid-America

ADDING to its line of low-drag conventional tractors begun with the Model 387 in 1999, Peterbilt Motors Company introduced the new Model 386 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The company also announced enhancements to its entire line of convention cab trucks and tractors.

The new Model 386 has a sloped hood, integrated headlamps, swept-back fenders, a form-fitting front bumper, and chassis side fairings. Craig Brewster, Peterbilt's chief engineer, says the 386 offers a 10% improvement in aerodynamic performance compared to its predecessor model, the 385-120. Better aerodynamic performance translates to an increase of 3/10ths mile per gallon in fuel economy, he says.

Designed with computation fluid dynamics, Peterbilt analyzed every exterior component for drag efficiency. For instance, 80 different sun visor shapes were considered. Peterbilt also analyzed materials such as the Metton material used for the front bumper. It is a composite that is 60% lighter than steel and durable enough to withstand the rigors of highway applications.

The Model 386 has a new chassis design that allows the radiator to mount lower for a more radically sloped hood that lets the driver see the ground at least two feet closer to the front of the vehicle. The new chassis also repositions the front axle, allowing a shorter wheelbase that, combined with a 50-degree wheel cut, reduces the turning radius by one foot.

The new Model 386 is available in sleeper configurations with the full range of Peterbilt sleepers or as a daycab. Sleepers can be detached, turning highway tractors into daycabs for a second or third user.

Peterbilt has upgraded its entire line of conventional cab vehicles with a new multiplex electrical system that improves instrument performance and diagnostic capability while reducing the amount of wiring required to build the truck. All conventional Peterbilt models can now be ordered with Platinum Level premium interior packages in addition to the more basic ProBilt or Prestige interiors. Conventional cab tractors can be ordered with a 36-inch low roof sleeper, a 48-inch sleeper in the UltraCab or low roof configuration, a 63-inch berth with UltraCab, high roof or low roof, or a 70-inch UltraCab sleeper.

Drivers should be able to see better out the sides of Peterbilt conventional for 2006. The sill for both the street side and curbside windows has been lowered two inches at the front and one inch at the rear, improving visibility by 17%, Brewster says. New air-conditioning ducts and a digital temperature management system combine to increase airflow in the cab by 20%. Side window defrost capability has been improved by 400%.

Bendix ABS-6 antilock brakes are available as an option throughout the conventional line. Antilock brakes are standard on all Peterbilt trucks; the Bendix system can be ordered at no additional cost. New heavy-duty Paccar commercial batteries are available for all Peterbilt vehicles. The dual purpose battery will be standard on all Peterbilt trucks. It has 700 amps of cold cranking power. The Paccar starting battery has 1,000 amps of cold cranking power for use in extreme weather conditions.

Peterbilt has added the Caterpillar C9 engine rated at 335 or 350 hp to the engine options for the Model 357. Specifying the C9 compared to the C11 reduces chassis weight by 780 pounds, the company says. The Model 357-111 can be powered by the Cat C11 or C13 or the Cummins ISL or ISM engine in addition to the C9.

At the other end of the power scale, Peterbilt has added the Cat C15 rated at 625 to the engine options for the Model 357. With the high horsepower engine, radiator area has been increased to 1,440 square inches.