Equipment Type

Peterbilt 567 A Dream Drive

A bigger cab is the obvious improvement over the current Model 367, but there’s much more to praise

July 26, 2013

Folks who deal everyday with products from Peterbilt Motors probably can keep up with changes in their model names. I don’t so I can’t, but now I know what a Model 567 is: basically, the builder’s latest vocational truck that will eventually replace the 367. We could also look at it as a 367 with the wider Paccar cab that Pete numbers as “5.”

Commonality like this is creeping into heavy duty vehicles produced by Peterbilt and Kenworth, its corporate sibling, but that doesn’t mean they’re identical. The two companies’ heavies retain differences even as they’re modernized and share more components. The 567 is an example: The 5-series aluminum cab shares a lot of structural, skin, window and door parts with that of Kenworth’s latest T series, including the new T880 we drove for Construction Equipment in June. Both cabs are 2.1 meters wide, or 8 inches more than the narrow cab on the 367. Dashboard structures are very similar, but some switches and controls are arranged differently, and the rear cab structures are set up differently.

Peterbilt 567 Test Set

Truck: 2013 Peterbilt 567 conventional-cab vocational straight truck, w/ 2.1-meter-wide aluminum cab, BBC 121 inches, GVW rating 80,000 lb.
Engine: 12.9-liter (788-cu-in.) Paccar MX-13; 430 hp @ 1,700 rpm; 1,550 lb.-ft. @ 1,000 rpm; w/ engine brake
Transmission: Eaton Fuller FO16E309ALL, 11-speed w/ Low-Low range and overdrive
Steer axle: 20,000-lb. Dana Spicer D-2000F w/ TRW-Ross TAS85 dual hydraulic power, on taperleafs, w/ Bendix air disc brakes
Lift axle: 18,180-lb. Watson-Chalin SL2065 self-steering
Rear tandem: 46,000-lb. Dana Spicer D46-170 w/ 3.91 gearing, on Peterbilt Air Trac air suspension, w/ 16.5x8.6-in. Bendix S-cam drum brakes
ABS: Bendix 6-channel w/ Electronic Stability Program
Wheelbase: 222 inches
Tires, wheel: 315/80R22.5 Michelin XZY-3 front and pusher, 11R22.5 XZY-3 rear, on Alcoa polished aluminum discs
Fuel capacity: 100 gallons
Body: East Genesis 17.5-ft. 22-yard polished aluminum dump

This and more I learned from Charlie Cook, Peterbilt’s vocational segment manager, who had journeyed up from Texas to central Ohio, where the truck resided during some verification work on its stability control system. He said that the rear of Pete’s 5-series cab is designed to take a separate sleeper box while KW’s would be grafted to an integrated sleeper. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages; Peterbilt’s philosophy is that it’s wiser to allow a sleeper to be removed if the truck’s role changes in a fleet, or to make it more attractive to prospective second owners. 

Aside from the bigger cab, Cook said the 567 differs from the current Model 367 in other mechanical ways:

  • A crossmember mounting for the new cab stretches over the transmission instead of under, which stiffens the chassis and cuts transmission vibrations and noise in the cab. For some installations this can also increase PTO clearance at the transmission, though this truck had a rear-engine PTO.
  • Steering gear is angled 8 degrees from the frame rail to reduce right hand curb-to-curb turning radius by up to 9 feet.
  • The three-piece Metton hood is more resistant to damage from impacts and road debris.
  • The hood’s slope provides a 12 percent improvement in “ground strike” visibility.

Cook and I were at Link-Radlinski Inc., a brake testing specialist that performs work in its shop and at the sprawling Transportation Research Center nearby. The TRC was originally built by the State of Ohio and is now owned by Honda Motor Co. Technicians in the shop had gotten a load of sand aboard the Pete and the rig was all shined and ready to go. They apparently had ordered up some beautiful, sunny warm weather, or maybe Cook did, to make our drive doubly pleasurable.

The 567 really was smooth, quiet and comfortable. It rode well whether the single steerable pusher axle was up or down, turned on the proverbial dime—or maybe a quarter for such a large  truck—and steering through the TRW-Ross power gear was assuringly stable. Outward visibility was super through the large side windows and windshield, and over the sloped hood. At the nose was a convex mirror that showed the areas directly ahead of the front bumper and alongside the right fender, like the mirrors found at the rear of delivery trucks. As time went on I increasingly appreciated the premium interior, which coddled me to where I felt pretty special.

A large multifunction color screen in the center of the dash could display information about the truck, show a moving map and spout navigational instructions, and project virtual gauges to supplement the permanent electro-mechanical gauges on the dash. This and more could be called up by the driver, though the screen can be somewhat obscured by direct sunlight. HVAC controls were three simple rotary knobs housed in chrome-trimmed bezels—easy to comprehend, quick and accurate to use, and pleasing to look at.

The Paccar MX-13 diesel performed well and, even though its power and torque numbers were somewhat modest at 430 and 1,550, respectively, it propelled us well. The transmission deserves a lot of the credit for that. I was prepared to work a little with a clutch pedal and gearshift lever, but no: Under the floor was a self-shifting Eaton UltraShift Plus, the automated version of the popular Fuller 9LL vocational gearbox. All I had to do was start the engine, release the brakes, punch D for Drive and move out. A readout on the dash told me which of the tranny’s 11 ratios was being used at the moment, and its electronic controls always seemed to choose the right one for a situation. Clutch engagement was flawless when starting from a standstill, and gear changes were done quickly and smoothly.

A prime example was about two-thirds into our brief journey on county and state roads and the nearby U.S. 33 freeway. I had pulled off the wide four-laner and cruised into a ski hill’s parking lot to shoot some pics; upon leaving, I did a hard right turn onto a road that almost immediately climbed the ridge on which the ski slopes were carved about a mile west. The road turned left and ascended what Cook estimated was a 9 percent grade. The tranny started out from my slow-rolling stop in 4th gear, then skip-shifted to 6th, went to 7th and 8th, then back to 7th as we ground up the hill with my foot maybe two-thirds down on the accelerator and the engine burbling at 1,600 and 1,700 rpm. Toward the top, the road turned right as the grade eased, and the tranny upshifted into its top gears as we resumed level travel at a more brisk pace.

The UltraShift did all this smoothly and precisely. I wished it had been programmed to upshift at lower rpm, but Cook figured it was about right for a dump truck like this. On the freeway it cruised at 65 mph, its electronically limited top speed, at about 1,600 rpm, which is also correct for a vocational truck. An automated LL might carry a $6,000 to $9,000 premium in this truck, Cook said. That’s about half-again more than a simpler UltraShift in a highway tractor, but I’d find the money to buy it because it removes so much of the driving work, treats the driveline gently, and widens the pool of prospective drivers.

Even with a manual transmission, this deluxe Peterbilt would certainly be attractive to a driver looking for a job or maybe wondering if he should try to find greener grass at another outfit. There’s very little I’d do to this particular 567 that would make it nicer to drive and work in, and it’s one of those trucks that I didn’t want to turn in when our drive time was up. I envy the guy or gal who’ll end up assigned to it or, better still, owning it.

 
 

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