Western Star premieres clean-sheet 49X vocational truck
A lighter but stronger chassis, all-new cab, the latest series of Detroit DT12 automated manual transmissions and a range of segment-first safety features, underpin the next generation of Western Star vocational trucks.
The manufacturer premiered its 49X, a clean-sheet-designed vehicle built to tackle the most gruelling tasks in construction and other vocational segments, on Sept. 29.
“With the 49X, Western Star delivers on our promise of tough, while introducing segment-first safety features, an operator-focused experience and easier upfit solutions that will keep our customers’ businesses running smoothly,” said David Carson, senior vice-president of the Vocational segment for Daimler Trucks North America.
Built from the ground up, the new truck sheds more than 350 pounds compared to the current Western Star 4900. Clear back-of-cab packaging translates to easier upfit with such features as forward mounted DEF tanks; standard in-cab battery box; multiple air tank mounting locations; optimized fuel tank sizes; a compact Detroit aftertreatment system; and functional dual vertical exhaust stacks.
The cab is also entirely new and specially-designed for the vocational market with steel reinforcement throughout the aluminum cab. It is about 10 per cent larger than other cabs in the segment to enhance operator comfort. For visibility the 49X is equipped with a sloped hood and a three-piece rear window 77 per cent larger than its predecessor. Its door-mounted mirrors help mitigate the effects of chassis and engine vibration for improved stability.
A new dual-stage LED headlight system that includes an internally printed heat grid and ambient air temperature sensor also boosts visibility in tough conditions.
“Especially somewhere in Canada, where you have ice build-up and it’s dark, you have the best pattern for visibility with a 45 degree angle,” said Tracy Mack-Askew, the general manager for heavy-duty vocational platforms at DTNA. She added that system is capable of melting three millimetres of ice in less than 10 minutes well below freezing temperatures.
Under the hood, the 49X debuts the new Detroit DT12 Vocational series of automated manual transmissions. Available as either the DT12-V or the DT12-VX the series can be mated to the Detroit DD15 Gen 5 engine or Detroit DD16 engine. Both engines come equipped with Detroit Connect Virtual Technician remote diagnostic services to increase uptime and productivity. Meanwhile, the DT12 transmissions include side PTO capabilities that allow for unique application modes, such as Rock-Free Mode, Off-Road Mode and Paver Mode.
From a safety standpoint, the 49X features a range of advanced collision mitigation systems — from Side Guard Assist (SGA), Active Brake Assist 5 (ABA5) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), to Lane Departure Warning and Automatic Wipers — through its Detroit Assurance safety suite. More tangibly speaking, the truck also introduces specially-designed features for operators getting in and out of their cabs. With slips being one of the most common types of workplace injury, the 49X introduces widened treads on the truck’s staircase, five handholds and door opening angles of 70 degrees.
Western Star has been putting the new truck through its paces on test sites across the U.S. and Canada, including at a logging operation in British Columbia.
The 49X will be available to order this winter and the first deliveries are scheduled for early 2021.