Peterbilt revamps product line, improves aerodynamic performance

WITH NEW model numbers on familiar trucks to highlight the changes, Peterbilt Motors Company has introduced a new product line that represents the largest development investment in the history of the company. Changes range across the entire lineup, including the traditionally styled, low drag, vocational, and medium duty markets.

New trucks introduced during the 2006 Mid-America Trucking Show March 23-25 in Louisville, Kentucky, include the Model 387 daycab and the Model 384, which now complete the line of aerodynamic, low drag trucks and tractors, joining the Model 387 and Model 386. The traditionally styled Model 389 and Model 388 take the longnose conventional cab slot in the lineup previously held by the Model 379. For vocational users, Peterbilt introduced the Model 367 and Model 365. At the lower end of the weight spectrum, the Model 340 and Model 330 have added to complement the Model 355 already in production for medium truck users.

Delivery of the new medium trucks will begin in mid to late summer 2006. The new Class 8 vehicles will begin production for delivery early in 2007.

Four low-drag trucks

Peterbilt now has four trucks in its aerodynamic, low drag line, which began with the Model 387, a road tractor with an integrated sleeper for fleets and independent operators, and the Model 386, a tractor with a detachable sleeper berth. The 386 was introduced late in 2005. New additions are a daycab version of the 387 and the new Model 384. The 387 daycab, available as a medium length or longnose tractor, is ideal for regional operations, Peterbilt says. The Model 384 is a medium length, 116-in BBC, setback front axle, truck or tractor available as a daycab or with a full range of Peterbilt detachable sleepers. By lowering the radiator mounting and increasing the angle of hood slope, the Model 384 improves forward visibility, allowing drivers to see object 12 inches closer to the vehicle than with previous models.

For the Model 386 and other Pete vehicles with detachable sleepers, the company will begin production of new interior packages for its 36-, 48, and 63-inch sleepers in the first quarter 2007. The two larger sleepers will have two trim levels — Platinum and Prestige. The smaller 36-inch sleeper will be available with the Prestige trim package. Increased storage space includes two closets that can accommodate full-length garments in the 48- and 63- inch sleepers. Improved lighting includes xenon overhead lamps as well as directional reading lamps. The 63-inch sleeper will have a pull-out work station previously available only in the 70-inch detachable sleeper.

Operators desiring the traditional look of a Peterbilt conventional tractor now have two models to choose from — the longnose Model 389 or the Model 388 with its slightly shorter BBC dimension. Both new models retain the appearance of previous Peterbilt conventionals while striving for better fuel economy with improved aerodynamic performance, Peterbilt says. Both new models utilize an all aluminum hood assembly with a one-piece grille surround, polished aluminum fender reinforcements, a new hood ornament, and new headlamp assemblies.

The new hoods are secured with a proprietary locking device that prevents unintentional hood closing from the effects of wind or other accidents. Hoods open a full 90∞ for easy service access to the engine compartment. New mirrors have improved airflow reducing drag by as much as 40% compared to earlier models.

Fuel efficiency package

While retaining the look of a traditional conventional cab Peterbilt, the new Model 389 and Model 388 are available with a fuel efficiency package that includes a contoured roof fairing, aerodynamic air cleaners, streamlined tool and battery boxes, oval-shaped exhaust stacks, contoured bumpers, and an underbody fairing.

The roof fairing can improve fuel economy by nearly 10% compared to tractors with no fairing, Peterbilt says. The outer and lower edges of the bumper are rounded to reduce drag while maintaining the appearance of traditional Peterbilt conventional cab bumpers. Air cleaner mountings include a trim panel that forces air around the outside of the air cleaner canisters rather than causing drag by flowing between the air cleaner and the cab. All fuel efficiency package components will become available early in 2007.

For vocational applications, Peterbilt offers the new Model 367 and Model 365. The new models come with a setback or a set-forward front axle.

In addition, the Model 367 can be specified with a high capacity cooling system allowing the tractor to be equipped with the highest horsepower engines available. Both new models use a composite material hood with a one-piece aluminum crown.

New medium trucks

In addition to new heavy trucks, Peterbilt has extended its medium duty offerings with the Class 6 Model 330 and the Class 7 and 8 Model 340. The Model 330 can be ordered with hydraulic brakes and low-profile tires for operation by drivers who do not need to qualify for a CDL. The Model 340 is available for applications requiring gross weight above 33,000 lb. The Model 335 remains the Peterbilt standard for the majority of Class 7 applications, the company says.

To improve the fuel efficiency of all Peterbilt models that can be equipped with sleepers, the company has introduced its universal auxiliary power unit connection module to simplify and reduce the cost of installing an aftermarket power unit. The connector accommodates a wide range of auxiliary power units by providing pre-wired 12-volt power from the battery box to the module and fuel lines from the tank to the module. Power unit installation requires only mounting on the vehicle chassis and hooking up electrical power and fuel from the connection module, typically reducing installation time by about three hours, Peterbilt says.

As an alternative to auxiliary power units, Peterbilt offers its battery-based Comfort Class System that uses deep-cycle batteries to provide heating and up to 10 hours of air-conditioning without idling the truck engine. Power is supplied by auxiliary batteries that function separately from the main truck batteries to ensure that starting power is always available. The auxiliary batteries recharge from a high-capacity alternator during normal truck operation. Peterbilt projects that the battery system can reduce tractor fuel consumption by as much as 8% annually.

The third of Peterbilt's fuel efficiency offerings is a dash-mounted navigation system that uses the global positioning system for route optimization. The system uses a tough screen and has a programmable MP3. The navigation system will become available for Peterbilt 379, 386, 385, and 357 trucks in the second quarter 2006.

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