Heavy Duty Trucking

OCT 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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test drive e 36 HDT • OCTOBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com suddenly punctuated our oth- erwise easy cruise on highways north of the plant. On the road Alan Fennimore, Kenworth vocational marketing manager, rode shotgun, and we got to talking while breezing up U.S. 23 and shot right by our turnoff for Ohio 361. But about a half- mile later I spotted a gravelly apron that connected to a crushed-stone road that doubled back toward that state route. I snapped on the blinkers and pressed firmly on the brake pedal, and the air discs on the front and tandem axles slowed us straight and true. The wheels and tires on the steer axle were wider than what you see on a typical highway tractor, but the setback steer axle aids wheel cut, and the T880's turning radius was just short enough to make the double right turns without any backing up. And with the autotranny doing the shifting, I Eighty thousand pounds, the federal cap on truck weight that's observed by many states, is regularly exceeded by heavy-haulers. With proper permits and escorts, they carry large, non-divisible loads such as electrical transformers and construc- tion equipment on hefty lowboy trailers. Gross combination weights often exceed 100,000 or 200,000 pounds. When I see a rig like that, I envy its driver. Once in a great while I do drive such things, and this Kenworth T880 heavy-haul tractor was almost that kind of experience. Its gross vehicle weight rating exceeded 80K by 2.5 tons. How- ever, my hosts at Kenworth's Chillicothe, Ohio, plant where this tractor was assembled couldn't arrange a massive load. So we instead pulled a partly loaded van for a GCW of about 56,000 pounds — shucks! But it still gave a hint at how the vehicle performs, which was smoothly, quietly and effortlessly. It had an Eaton UltraShift automated manual transmission and showed surprisingly good maneu- verability in a couple of tight, right-hand turns that Heavy haul is one of many tasks that the increasingly popular vocational model has been engineered for Kenworth T880 heavy-haul Tom Berg Senior Editor test drive Smooth styling, roomy cab, projector-beam headlamps and five-piece hood with bolt-on fenders for easy repairs are among the T880's features. The hood slopes low for good forward and sideward visibility. This curtain-sided trailer was for show; the tractor pulled a van during the test run and never needed the lift axle. PHOTO TOM BERG

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