By Jade Brasher
It was just last year that Western Star launched its 49X, a Class 8 that’s purpose-built for the vocational industry. I wrote about my experience behind the wheel outside of Bend, Oregon, driving the truck on a test track made of gravel, dirt, and mud, and then through a quarry. The truck was full of impactful details as a result of customer input, and innovative truck features simplify the upfit process. All in all, it was an impressive machine. Little did I know, the 49X’s little brother was in the works.
INTRODUCING THE 47X
The 47X is the slightly smaller version of the 49X. Western Star markets this truck as being perfect for applications with specific vehicle length requirements or those that must adhere to bridge laws, such as dump trucks and concrete mixers.
“With the 47X and the 49X, we can offer our vocational customers different options that will give them the right tool for their specific job needs,” says David Carson, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA).
First things first, the Detroit DD13 Gen 5 engine powers the 47X. This engine improves efficiency through higher compression ratios and a swirl piston design. The DD13 pumps out up to 525 hp and up to 1,850 lb-ft of torque. The engine also features ThermoCoasting, which prevents aftertreatment cooldown during a driving regen. This keeps the system at its optimum temperature to reduce the need for parked regens.
The Cummins L9 and X12 engines are available in the 47X. The L9 offers up to 380 hp and up to 1,250 lb-ft of torque while the X12 offers up to 500 hp and up to 1,700 lb-ft of torque. A front-engine power take-off (FEPTO) is available on both Cummins engines as well as the DD13. Also offered with the Cummins engines are raised aftertreatment system mounting and rectangular fuel tanks—this offers better clearance for equipment such as belly plows. Paired with a FEPTO, this configuration would work well for those in the business of winter road maintenance.
And just like its big brother, the 47X features the new DT12-V automated manual transmission. This transmission features three mode applications: Rock-free mode, Off-road mode, and Paver mode. If you read the Western Star 49X preview from last year, you’ve already read about the Rock-free mode. The mode essentially allows the truck to rock itself back and forth to free it from ruts in the mud or the dirt.
Further, standard with a DD13 Gen 5 engine comes the Detroit Assurance suite of active safety systems. These systems include an active brake assist, adaptive cruise control, side guard assist, and more.
Customer input was heavily considered when designing the 49X, and DTNA engineers felt customer input for the 47X was just as important. Engineers heard the needs of the customers and completely reimagined the modern vocational truck using strategies such as reducing weight without compromising strength.
The 47X is about 200 lbs lighter than the 49X (even though both trucks in the series offer tougher, lighter single-channel frame rail options compared to Western Star’s legacy products). The platform offers frame rails with an RBM (resisting bending moment) of up to 3.8 million inch-lbs for a greater payload and to last longer. A new 9.5-mm single channel rail option is also available; it features a strength comparable to today’s 11-mm rail. Further reducing weight are high-strength aluminum forward, rear, and end-of-frame crossmembers.
Finally, the new X-Series cab also reduces weight by 8% with a steel-reinforced aluminum cab while giving drivers 13% more cab space than competitor trucks.
Speaking of the cab, it’s important to ensure a cab is comfortable for your operators who spend countless hours behind the wheel. Even though the 47X’s cab is 8% lighter than previous models, DTNA engineers found a way to give operators 13% more space. A new in-cab battery box gives operators more legroom, and owners also have the option of a two-person bench seat for jobs that require a crew.
Drivers can be sure they’re always focusing on the road with a wrap-around dash that houses a command center that faces the driver—no more reaching for knobs and levers. And just like the Western Star 49X, owners can configure the B-panel, or Flex Panel, in the 47X for tablets or an additional 12 switches or 10 gauges.
But aside from in-cab features that help drivers focus on the road, exterior features such as the 47X hood also help. The hood of the 47X offers a forward visibility of 24.8 ft, and that’s an improvement from the 49X by 11 inches. The hood also features composite construction and an ISO Tech suspension system; this allows the hood to resist bending and cracking by dissipating vibrations from the road.
Vocational trucks shouldn’t only be great machines that are capable and comfortable, but they should also be well-prepped for upfits. Western Star partnered with truck equipment manufacturers (TEMs) to ensure the X-Series supports quick upfits to get trucks on the road and to the jobsite.
The 47X features a number of clear back-of-cab configurations and unobstructed frame rails to provide efficient body integration. Further, the truck’s QuickFit Interface System was designed for easy TEM interface, programming, and access to power. And remember the Flex Panel? It allows TEMs to mount body controllers—a space that isn’t in between the seats! This contributes to a functional, comfortable cab.
For those in the vocational segment, last year’s 49X shines bright as a highly capable vocational workhorse. But, if the 49X didn’t fit the bill for you, I’m sure the 47X will.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jade Brasher is the editor of Modern WorkTruck Solutions magazine. A graduate of The University of Alabama, Jade resides in Kennesaw, Georgia, and enjoys writing about her town, travel, and of course, work trucks. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about the Western Star 47X, visit www.westernstartrucks.com.