Spec’tator sport

Freightliner Coronado

Ask eight truck makers to offer their strategies on suiting out their best owner-operator trucks in the right specs for certain applications, and there are no losers. The results show how an amazingly flexible U.S. truck industry can work with diverse components to meet individual needs. You’ll see the potential for building something unique when purchasing a vehicle for any application – common or uncommon. It’s well worth the effort to spec’ out the vehicle that precisely matches your job and delivers maximum performance and efficiency.

APPLICATION: Efficient highway vehicle that delivers good performance in high style.

The owner-operator looking to haul maximum weight cost-effectively through most parts of the United States – and be perfectly comfortable all along the way – would find Freightliner’s premium owner-operator truck outfitted with a 14-LITER DETROIT DIESEL SERIES 60 does the trick. It delivers excellent acceleration and highway cruise performance with good fuel economy.

The Freightliner Coronado is designed for owner-operators who want “traditional styling along with the latest engineering innovations, superior comfort and outstanding maneuverability,” says Jennifer Harris, Freightliner’s on-highway marketing manager. For example, Freightliner’s Smart- Shift, a lever on the steering column, frees space between the seats for easier access to the sleeper.

Detroit’s 14-liter engine, delivering 515 horsepower at 1,800 rpm, balances performance and fuel economy. Its 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque produces more than adequate hill climbing ability and matches well with a 10-speed, while saving powertrain weight and friction. With more than 500 horsepower, the drivetrain maintains highway cruise speeds with little effort and provides immediate response.

The EATONFULLER ULTRASHIFT 10-SPEED guarantees optimum shifting for fuel economy, even when its owner is tired, minimizes driver fatigue, and saves on transmission and air system maintenance and weight.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally


  • 70-inch raised-roof sleeper cab with aero fairing.
  • Aluminum wheels for increased payload; two 150-gallon fuel tanks; premium noise abatement package.
  • Freightliner EZ Rider seats with larger cushions, NS parallel arm suspension.
  • Bergstrom NITE 12-volt DC heating and air conditioning system works while engine is off.
  • AC 120-volt cab wiring with AC outlet, shore power connection, and Xantrex inverter/charger.
  • Driver Message Center and iWay500 Navigation System with GPS for route optimizing.
  • Dual hood-mounted air intakes with Donaldson air cleaner.
  • Delco-Remy Surepower low-voltage battery disconnect.
  • EatonFuller 151/2-inch ceramic Solo XL VCT Plus adjustment-free clutch; torque-limiting clutch brake; zerk fitting with extension hose for greasing the clutch bearing.
  • Steertek set-forward front axle with AirLiner front air suspension saves 70 pounds compared to a spring suspension; 12,000-lb. capacity.
  • Meritor ART-40.0 40,000-lb. R-Series rear tandem axles with 3.73:1 ratio; iron rear axle carrier with standard housing.
  • 18-N. Meritor Main driveline; Interaxle and/or differential lockouts.
  • Airliner 40,000-lb. rear suspension.
  • Meritor SteelLite X30 brake drums without weld-on balance weights.

APPLICATION: premium highway performance with reasonable economy.

Stylish and aerodynamic, the premium-length, high-roof, aerodynamic Peterbilt 387 sleeper fits the bill for a fuel-efficient over-the-road truck.

“The sleeper is integral and smooth-sided, there are fairings on the fuel tanks, and the bumpers are curved,” says Al Zwicky, Peterbilt senior applications engineer. “Yet, it still has a Peterbilt grill that is very recognizable, and a very wide cab for a roomy interior.”

The 15-LITER CUMMINS ISX provides 475 hp at 2,000 rpm and 500 hp at 1,800 rpm, with 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,200 rpm. “We chose this engine primarily because of the horsepower,” Zwicky says. “It’s an ideal compromise between performance and fuel economy.”

The FULLER RTLO 20918B 18-SPEED, with 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque, has the rating and endurance needed for this application. With a low of 14.4 and top gear of .73, it has the right starting gear and keeps the engine in the correct spot on the highway because of narrow gear splits.

Fuel economy is helped by aluminum and composite cab construction, aero mirrors and a one-piece curved windshield.


  • Front Axle: Dana Spicer 1322W; 13,200 lbs. rating; axle has a wide track and better wheel cut for sharper turning radius; safety margin weight-wise in case user wants a deep fifth wheel setting.
  • Drive axles: Dana DSP40 (DS404); 40,000 lbs.; 3.25 ratio; Excellent fuel economy ratio.
  • Suspension: Peterbilt FLEX Air; 38,000 lbs.; lightweight and simple for reliability; low ride height and center of gravity for stability.
  • Driveshaft: Spicer SPL250HD-XL Main Driveline with SPL170HD-XL Interaxle; Spicer Life driveshaft with a center bearing for smooth operation; robust, long-life, advanced design with extended lube interval because of sealed U-joints and splines.
  • Frame: 101/2-in. steel; heavy-duty frame; trouble-free and light in weight.
  • Dana front and rear brakes
  • Bendix 4S/4M ABS.
  • Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program and Smart ATC Traction Control on individual wheel brakes to optimize traction when starting out on slippery surfaces, and for better control on sharp curves.

  • VOLVO VT 880
    APPLICATION: efficient highway cruise at 70-75 mph; climb hills on long grades.

    The Volvo VT880 has a 374-cubic-foot sleeper with a 77-in. raised roof and a tan/beige interior. Designed to protect drivers in the most common injury scenario, a rollover, it boasts welded construction and a one-piece 2,100-square-inch windshield.

    “This is an aerodynamic vehicle that still offers some of the muscular hood look of traditional trucks,” says Frank Bio, Volvo product manager for trucks.

    THE VOLVO VD D16 550 I-TORQUE PLUS engine delivers 550 hp and 1,650 to 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,100 rpm. Governed speed is 2,000 rpm. Torque is reduced in low-range operation to minimize drivetrain stress.

    “This engine is a great way to stay with traffic in rolling country when less power can really hold the vehicle back,” Bio says. “You can stay in high gear and pull hills with 80,000 pounds.”

    The recommended transmission is the 18-SPEED EATON FULLER RTLO-189 18B with 14.14 low and .73 top gears. “If you need to drop a gear, you can split down, keeping the engine nearer the ideal rpm,” Bio says.

    “Some customers prefer spring suspension because they find the handling more predictable in corners,” Bio says. “The cab is slightly to the rear and the axle forward, which improves ride by putting the driver closer to the center of the distance between front and drive axles.”


    • Volvo F12 front axle with a 13,200-lb. rating, steel springs and unitized hubs.
    • ArvinMeritor MT40 143M drive axles with a 40,000-lb. rating and Volvo unitized hubs; a 3.36:1 axle ratio ensures good fuel economy with hill climbing performance, optimized via Volvo Predictor.
    • ArvinMeritor driveline; for
      higher resale value, all components spec’d for upgrades to 625 hp and 2,250 lb.-ft.
    • 38,000-lb. Volvo rear air suspension with 54-in. axle spacing.
    • Bendix ABS with traction control; Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology is standard, featuring Bendix ABS-6 Advanced with ESP.
    • Volvo engine brake with exhaust pressure governor; 500 hp at 2,000 rpm.

    APPLICATION: 140,000-lb. GCW on-highway transport.

    To meet the challenge of overweight loads with a T800 extended daycab, a 565-HP CUMMINS ISX would do the trick.

    “500 horsepower is sufficient to pull a 140 GCW load, yet provides a balance between power and fuel economy,” says Samantha Parlier, Kenworth vocational marketing manager. “The engine should be a 15-liter.”

    The Cummins ISX delivers 565 hp at 2,000 rpm and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,200 rpm. It also features an Intebrake integral engine brake.

    The FULLER RTLO20918B, with oil cooler and pump, fits this application because an 18-speed is a must for loads over 110,000 lbs. GCW. Its low 14.40 first gear is necessary for starting heavy loads, and its .73 overdrive top gear ensures efficient highway operation. The narrow splits enable you to shift up while losing less speed on hills, yet keep the engine in the sweet spot.

    “If a sleeper is needed, in order to keep the wheelbase as short as possible for maximum maneuverability, Kenworth’s 38-inch AeroCab increases BBC by a mere 28 inches,” Parlier says. “When sleeper berths are not required, Kenworth’s extended day cab has become a popular option for heavy haulers,” she says.

    The aluminum cab is Huck-bolted for additional strength, Parlier says.


    • Dual cowl-mounted 15-inch air cleaners.
    • Fuller Easy Pedal 151/2-inch, 6-spring ceramic clutch with a torque rating of 2,050 lb.-ft.
    • Dana Spicer 22,000-lb. EFA-20F4 front axle; if a lift axle is required, remember that it will be raised for maneuverability on a job site; spec a front axle robust enough to take on the increased load.
    • Dana Spicer 46,000-lb. D46-170HP tandem drive axles with 4.10:1 ratio to help prevent failure under starts and downshifts.
    • Two SPL250XL driveshafts with center bearing.
    • Kenworth tandem AG460 rear suspension, rated 46,000-lb., which is suited to extra-heavy hauls because its parallelogram design eliminates torque-induced windup.
    • Watson & Chalin Tru Track steerable pusher suspension; rated 20,000-lb.
    • Huck-bolted steel frame rails at 115/8 in. x 37/8-in. x3/8-in. with full insert.
    • Dana Spicer ES S-cam front brakes at 161/2 in. x 6 in., rated 20,000-lb.
    • Dana Spicer ES S-cam dual rear brakes at 161/2 in. x 7 in.; rated 46,000-lb.
    • Bendix 6S/6M antilock brake system.

    APPLICATION: dump rated for 80,000-lb. GCW and on/off road use.

    At just under 700 cubic inches, the 11-LITER MACK MP7 405M provides all the muscle needed for demanding on-road and off-road use. It delivers 405 horsepower at 1,500 to 1,900 rpm and 1,480 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,200 rpm.

    The Maxidyne version provides a 60 percent torque rise, an operating range from 1,200 to 2,100 rpm, and 1,200 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,000 rpm for difficult starts.

    “This specification features heavy-duty steer and tandem drive axles, three pushers and a Strong Arm trailing axle to make it 80,000-lb. legal per the federal bridge formula,” says Steve Ginter, Mack vocational product manager.

    Pusher axles are air-lift units that support the vehicle when lowered into position. They turn in relation to the frame when the vehicle goes into turns to minimize tire scrub.

    The MACK T310M 10-SPEED TRANSMISSION with low-low and low gears, as well as eight normal forward gears, accessed through the standard two ranges, gives the Granite the ability to yank heavy loads out of excavations, while being easy to drive on the highway.

    The four usable reverse gear ratios are engaged with an air shift button, allowing quick maneuvering in tight quarters. The triple-countershaft gearbox with an aluminum case makes a transmission cooler unnecessary at this horsepower rating. Its eight normal ratios match to the wide, flat Maxidyne power curves.

    The top gear is .73, while low-low gear is 17.35, giving a 23.77:1 overall ratio. Low gear is 11.40.


    • Unimax FX L-20 front axle; 20,000-lb. rating with unitized hub; synthetic grease lubed for life and taperleaf springs.
    • Mack SS440 drive axles; 44,000-lb. tandem with Hendrickson HaulMaax suspension; solid rubber bolster springs and auxiliary springs and a 4.17:1 ratio.
    • Drive and steer axles designed to allow Strong Arm and pusher axles to be lifted in off-road creep mode without overstraining.
    • Three steerable air-lift pusher axles; rated 8,000-lb. each.
    • Strong Arm trailing axle rated 13,000-lb., lowered via hydraulics and set to desired weight rating when moving onto the road.
    • Cornerstone frame system with 120,000-psi steel, 7.5-mm thick and 300-mm deep with 90-mm flange.
    • ArvinMeritor S-cam 161/2 x 6 front axle brakes.
    • S-cam brakes for both drive axles, all three pusher axles and the Strong Arm.
    • Bendix ABS with traction control for difficult starts on soft surfaces.

    APPLICATION: efficient highway cruising with the ultimate cab and sleeper.

    With a large, lightweight premium sleeper and a fuel-efficient powertrain, Western Star’s 4900 EX 132-in. BBC is ideal for highway driving while optimizing payload and fuel economy.

    “It is a welded, galvanized steel design with a 17-step E-coat anti-corrosion process, giving it the same anti-corrosion characteristics as aluminum, but making it more durable,” says T.J. Reed, Western Star product manager.

    For strength and light weight, the 82-in. Stratosphere sleeper’s “aerospace sandwich panel” incorporates a honeycomb structure between aluminum panels.

    The recommended engine is the 14-LITER DETROIT DIESEL SERIES 60 with 515 hp at 1,800 rpm, 2,100 governed rpm and 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,200 rpm. “The 14-liter engine gives good fuel economy yet has good torque at low rpm, so you can keep engine speed down pulling grades,” Reed says.

    The recommended transmission is the EATON FULLER RTLO-16913A 13-SPEED, with a low gear of 12.31 and a top gear of .73. “The top gear ratios are so close you can often maintain road speed by just splitting down,” Reed says.

    Reed spec’d the tractor with 24.5-in. polished aluminum wheels and Goodyear 24.5-inch low-profile tires because “owner-operators like the looks of the tall boots,” or larger diameter wheels.


    • Hendrickson Steertek SW 3.50-in. Drop FF1 front axle, rated at 12,000-lb.
    • Meritor RT-40-145A R-Series aluminum carrier rear axles, with a 40,000-lb. rating and 3.58:1 ratio.
    • Dana Spicer 1810 main driveline with full round yokes and solid rubber midship bearing; Dana Spicer 1710 inter-axle driveline with full round yokes.
    • Airliner 12,000-lb. front air suspension; Airliner 40,000-lb. rear air-ride suspension.
    • 5/16-in. x 105/8-in. single channel frame rail.
    • Meritor 15 x 4 Q+ Cam front brakes with Steellite X30 drums; Meritor 16.5 x 7 Q+ stamped spider cam rear brakes with Steellite X30 brake drums.
    • WABCO 4S/2M ABS without traction control.

    APPLICATION: Regional bulk hauling, Efficient cruising.

    In bulk hauling, every pound saved on equipment increases revenue, so this daycab has plenty of weight-saving options while still providing a bunk for the driver to rest in.

    The aerodynamic 8600 has a 26-in. extended cab with a BBC of 133-in., dramatically sloped hood, and sloped, wrap-around windshield.

    The CUMMINS 11-LITER ISM with 410 horsepower at 1,800 rpm and 1,550 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,200 rpm provides value and sufficient power.

    “We picked the ISM because it is a good choice in most weight-sensitive applications,” says Ken Bultemeier, an International product manager. “You can get 400-plus horsepower and still take advantage of the weight savings the engine offers,” adds Leslie Rainear, regional haul product manager.

    The EATON ULTRASHIFT 10-SPEED transmission with aluminum clutch housing offers optimum weight and drivability. With a low gear of 12.80, closely and evenly spaced ratios, and a top gear ratio of .73, it will start and accelerate heavy loads even on steep grades while offering efficient highway cruising.

    The vehicle offers “incredible maneuverability, forward visibility and incomparably smooth ride, thanks to its standard cab air suspension,” say the product managers. An axle load indicator that shows the load on the rear suspension will help you maintain legal weight.


    • Meritor 12,000-lb. front axle.
    • Meritor rear tandem axle, 40,000-lb. capacity with aluminum differential carrier, 3.36:1 ratio.
    • International Front Air suspension offers a 56-lb. savings over standard front spring suspension, with improved ride.
    • International Air Suspension for drive axles with 40,000-lb. capacity and a 91/4-in. ride height.
    • Aluminum air tanks (28 lbs. savings).
    • Centrifuse brake drums (112 lbs. savings).
    • Single 100-gallon polished aluminum fuel tank (62 lbs. weight savings in material and 720 lbs. in fuel).
    • Stationary fifth wheel (159 lbs. savings compared to a 24-in. air slide), which can be moved by unbolting.
    • Super single tires (200 lbs. savings).
    • Aluminum rear single disc wheels, 221/2-in., with aluminum hubs (368-lbs. savings).

    APPLICATION: on/off highway heavy construction equip

    Pickup and delivery often means running off-road in construction hauling, so a rig in this line of work has to be especially durable. This 112-in. BBC L-Line, with steel-riveted construction, meets the test, says product manager Matt Gervais.

    “It has air cab suspension, critical for driver comfort in the kind of terrain the truck will see,” Gervais says. “Good visibility and lightweight cab design are critical. Additional tag or boost load axles may be necessary in some states.”

    He recommends the CATERPILLAR C15 with 475 hp at 2,100 rpm and a Cat compression brake. Besides saving on weight, the C15 has 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,200 rpm, important for startability, Gervais says.

    An ideal transmission for this application is the 18-SPEED EATON FULLER RTLO-18918B. It has a low gear ratio of 15.06:1 and a top gear ratio of .86:1.

    “The low transmission first gear, high axle ratio and the ABS with traction control are also important for startability, especially on soft grades where the earth or gravel is loose, rather than compacted,” Gervais says.


    • Meritor MFS-14-143A single front axle at 14,700 lbs.
    • Meritor RT-46-160 P-Series tandem rear axles at 46,000 lbs. with a 4.56:1 ratio, which has a heavier gearset for the higher torque needed to pull heavy loads.
    • Meritor 18N main driveline with full round yokes; Meritor 17T Inter-axle driveline with half-round yokes.
    • 14,600-lb. flat-leaf spring front suspension; Airliner 46,000-lb. rear suspension; leaf springs equalize side-to-side torque as much as possible, minimizing frame twist with heavy loads.
    • Frame: Sterling 11/32-in. x 31/2-in. x 1015/16-in. 120,000-psi steel frame with 1/4-in. C-channel inner frame reinforcement.
    • Brakes: Meritor 161/2-in. x 5-in. Q+ Cast Spider Cam front brakes, double anchor, fabricated shoes; Meritor 161/2-in. x 7-in. Q+ Cast Spider Cam rear brakes, double anchor, heavy-duty brake and shoes.
    • Wabco 4S/4M ABS with traction control.

    Showcase your workhorse
    Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
    Submit Your Rig
    Reader Rig Submission