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Western Star 49X Heavy Truck

By Tom Berg, Truck Editor | September 29, 2020
Western Star 49X heavy truck.
The Western Star 49X is an addition to its lineup, not a replacement for any current model.

Western Star next-generation 49X heavy-duty truck has a new cab, a lightweight chassis, and electronic safety equipment. The 49X was engineered specifically for vocational duties and is an addition to the builder’s lineup, not a replacement for any current model, said David Carson, SVP, vocational segment, Daimler Trucks North America.

“We’ve completely rethought the foundation of the 49X to make it easier to upfit, deliver greater durability, return greater payload, and improve productivity at the job site,” Carson said. “The clean-sheet design of the 49X enables total weight savings of over 350 pounds in like-for-like spec’ing compared to the current Western Star 4900.”

Helping is an all-new frame, using single-channel rail options in several thicknesses for great durability and RBM (resisting bending moment) strength ratings of up to 3.7 million inch-pounds. Optional C-channel inserts boost RBM ratings up to 5.4 million inch-pounds.

The cab on the Western Star 49X heavy truck is fashioned of aluminum with steel reinforcing, said Samantha Parlier, VP for vocational market development. It is 8 percent lighter than the galvanealed steel cab of current Western Stars. Tall and wide doors open up to 70 degrees for easy entry and exit. Non-slip treads on the polished metal steps have holes of various sizes for self-cleaning of dirt, mud, ice, and snow. An optional three-window backlight allows clear rearward visibility, and the windshield is 28 percent larger than the current cab’s windshield. The cab’s roof is recessed to accommodate marker lights and horns, allowing a low roof height that’s important in applications such as ready mix concrete.

Each side mirror is on a C-bar mount that will support up to 350 pounds, she said. The cab’s back and frame-rail tops are clear for close and easy body mounting. Headlamps are dual-stage LEDs with strong plastic covers wired inside with heating grids to melt snow and ice in cold weather. The hood is supported by an ISO-tech suspension system to isolate the fiberglass composite structure from shock and vibrations. Development work on the cab was the most extensive in Western Star history and included multiple cab crush tests to ensure cab integrity in case of a rollover. Full-vehicle shaker tests replicated 800,000 miles of use.

Rear window of Western Star 49X heavy truck.
An optional three-piece back window aids rearward visibility and can be ordered with impact-resistant glass.

Available diesels include Detroit’s DD15 and DD16 and Cummins’ X12 and X15. Both Detroit engines come with Detroit Connect Virtual Technician remote diagnostic services to increase uptime and productivity. Allison full automatics and Eaton automated and manual transmissions will be available, but the featured gearbox is a new Detroit DT12 Vocational series automated manual product. It is available as either the DT12-V or the DT12-VX and rated up to a gross combination weight rating of 330,000 pounds. The 12-speed DT12 has three driving modes—economy, performance, off-road—that include a “rock-free” function that can move the truck forward and backward to transition it out of deep mud and snow, Parlier said. The DT12 can be fitted with a rear-drive PTO or a standard 8-bolt PTO mount on the transmission’s left-side.

Detroit Assurance safety systems comprise the most advanced collision mitigation package in the vocational market, said Tracy Mack-Askew, general manager for vocational platforms. They include Side Guard Assist, which uses radar to detect moving objects and pedestrians on the passenger side of the 49X that may otherwise fall in the operator’s blind spot, and Active Brake Assist 5, which detects moving or stationary objects that works down to 5 mph. Also included are tailgate warning, adaptive cruise control to 0 mph, lane departure warning, video capture, “intelligent” high-beam, and automatic wipers and headlamps.

All 49X models come with all-metal exterior brightwork for a premium look and long-term durability, and a standard interior with upscale appointments including metal accents. An optional premium trim package uses richly crafted materials including woodgrain and diamond-stitched seating. In all models, a wrap-around dash puts the driver command center and B-panel in easy line of sight of the operator. On the B-panel, a flex panel can be prepped for a tablet or configured for an additional 12 switches or 10 gauges. Along with a QuickFit Dash Access designed for telematics or other device integration, equipment control and device access is placed within easy reach for the operator.

The 49X is the most-tested truck that Daimler has ever developed, Mack-Askew said. Several prototypes are running with customers in Michigan and British Columbia and one has passed the 800,000-mile mark. It is offered in truck and tractor versions and with or without sleepers. The 49X available for ordering now and is slated for production later this year.

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