A legacy lives on

Steve Sturgess | September 01, 2012

For this drive, continuous readings from the DataStar display showed fuel economy exceeding 7 miles per gallon, despite the big cab and relatively uncompromising spec of external air filters and cab-mounted exhaust.


Standard configuration delivers big comfort



The 4900EX’s standard interior configuration — revamped a year or so ago — with Phoenix Grey Mordura cloth with burl elm accents for the dash and doors is mighty fine.

Even when working hard under a heavy load and steep grades, the DD15’s design helps reduce engine noise.

Seats by Bostrom are wide, with good slide adjustment so that the cab can accommodate drivers small to husky. Pendant pedals for clutch and brake and adjustable steering column make this easily possible, and there’s stand-up headroom from the seats.

Behind a sizable pass-through between the seats, the customizable sleeper on this 4900 consisted of a 42-inch lower bunk and a slightly narrower upper one. The lower bunk lifts to give access to baggage compartments with rubber mats. Elsewhere, storage is in real-wood-paneled cabinets that add to the comfort feeling. Shelves in the closets are adjustable.

Storage is reasonable, though it would be improved with back-wall cabinets in the absence of the upper bunk. The cab has a dash glove box, despite the fact that the electrical distribution center is there as well. Doors have storage, as does the overhead.

There’s a fridge, mounted high for convenience, below it a slide-out work/eating surface. Wiring provisions can accommodate a microwave and a TV.



Western Star 4900EX specs as tested

Frame: Western Star 5/16X3-1/2 X 10-5/8 in steel, 120ksi

Engine: Detroit DD15 560 hp, 1,850 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: Eaton Fuller RTLO-18913A – 13 speed O/D

Wheelbase: 265 in.

Front axle: Detroit DA-F 13,300 lb. dual taper-leaf suspension

Front tires: Michelin XZA3+ 275/80R22.5

Rear axle: Detroit DA-MT-40-14X 40,000 lb., 3.08 ratio

Suspension: Freightliner Airliner 40,000 lb. air-ride

Rear tires: Michelin XDN2 275/80R22.5

Seats: Bostrom T915 Wide Ride

Other: Moto heated, motorized mirrors; roof fairing, skirts, side extenders; exterior stainless sunvisor; AM/FM/CD weatherband radio w/MP3, USB and aux interface; Dual Donaldson cowl-mount air cleaners; Delco Remy 36-SI 160-amp alternator; Alliance AGM batteries; Borg Warner on/off fan clutch; Delco 69MT starter; BW BA-921 air compressor; block and lube heaters; Haldex long-stroke spring-brake chambers; BW AD-9 air dryer; Davco 482 fuel/water separator.

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