Sterling Introduces Enhanced Acterra Class 5-8 Truck Line

Chassis Changes Usher in Further Benefits in Handling, Ride and Flexibility

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WILLOUGHBY, OHIO…Sterling Truck Corporation today announced major enhancements to its Acterra line of Class 5-8 trucks. The changes, focused on the chassis, bring further advantages in handling, maneuverability, ride, weight savings, serviceability and ease of body installation. Customers can now order the new Acterra models from Sterling Acterra dealers. Production begins this month.

"The Sterling Acterra is one of the fastest growing mid-range trucks in North America and these enhancements will only increase its popularity among work truck operators,” said John Merrifield, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Sterling Truck Corporation. “We’ve improved the entire chassis – from the frame rails to the location of the battery box to the rear suspension. Now the Acterra delivers even more benefits in performance, durability and uptime.”

According to Merrifield, the new Acterra incorporates new or redesigned components in several major vehicle systems:


The truck’s frame features stronger single-channel steel rails rated at 50,000, 80,000 and 120,000 pounds per square inch, reducing the need for rail inserts for many applications. With less need for rail inserts, the frame is lighter overall, so operators can haul more payload. The rails’ single-channel design also helps diminish the chance of corrosion and reduces maintenance requirements.

Front Suspension

The new front suspension incorporates single-leaf springs as standard equipment. Taper-leaf suspensions are available in a range of capacities from 8,000 to 18,000 pounds, with maintenance-free rubber bushings. Flat-leaf springs are also available rated at 14,600, 16,000 and 18,000-pound capacities. Maintenance-free front spring bushings are standard.

For 4x2 applications, a replaceable spring deflection pad is used instead of a shackle on the rear of each front spring. The 12,000-pound front suspension option is supplied with the single-leaf spring with a rear spring shackle, plus rubber spring bushings on both ends, for longer life and improved ride.

Rear Suspension

Some of the most significant enhancements to the new Acterra models come in the rear suspension system. The suspension’s rear shackles are spring-mounted, contributing to a smooth and quiet ride, and a slipper pad is standard. The improvements to the Acterra's rear suspension enhance the truck's ride, and the suspension is now lubrication-free.

Two suspension packages are available. The 52-inch variable rate taper leaf rear suspension is standard in a six-step range of capacities rated from 18,000 to 23,000 pounds. Shock absorbers can be added to improve the ride, and an optional low maintenance rubber helper pad provides extra load support and stability. An optional rear stabilizer bar improves handling.

The optional 60-inch two-stage spring rear suspension package comes in 18,000-, 21,000- and 23,000-pound ratings. This suspension design offers the best option for quiet and sure handling over demanding road surfaces without the added cost of an air suspension. Anti-friction spacers are standard, along with shock absorbers, rear shackle mounts and the rubber helper.

Optional 60-inch air rear suspensions are available in ratings from 10,000 to 40,000 pounds, plus extra-duty ratings of 40,000 and 46,000 pound capacities. The stabilizer bar is available for both the spring and air suspensions.

For vocational applications, customers also can specify the optional TufTracTM suspension rated from 40,000 to 46,000 pounds capacity. Hendrickson rear suspensions are available at 40,000 or 46,000 pounds in the RT/RTE or HN series. Hendrickson's RS series suspension is another option, rated at 52,000 pounds.

Design Changes for Easier Body Installation

In addition to the major component enhancements, Sterling engineers made a number of design changes to facilitate body and equipment installation as well as ease maintenance.

A new option improves body installation by reducing back-of-cab component installation. A new battery box/air tank/air dryer package places the components out of the way where they can’t interfere with body installations. The installation includes the steel and plastic battery box, dual 9-inch air tanks and the Bendix DRM AD-IS air dryer system. The standard Bendix AD-9 air dryer is mounted on the front of the chassis, where it is protected from road debris by the bumper.

Air lines are mounted on the driver's side of the frame, minimizing the number of lines that must cross the frame. The line placement gives a clean appearance to the frame and reduces the risk of snagging critical lines during body installation.

New lightweight rectangular aluminum fuel tanks are standard, for maximum ground clearance and easier body installation. The aluminum construction helps reduce corrosion inside the tank. To ease body installations, clean back-of-cab configurations are available with 30-, 40- and 50-gallon fuel tanks. Tanks range in size from 30 to 100 gallons.

Maintenance of the new Sterling Acterra is made even easier due to a new see-through power steering fluid reservoir that lets operators check levels quickly during their inspection routines.

The enhancements to the Sterling Acterra chassis come in addition to the well-established benefits of the Acterra cab: modern styling, premium appearance, outstanding durability, excellent ergonomics and a host of creature comforts.

The Acterra can be customized to meet the needs of nearly any application, offering the latest diesel engines from Mercedes-Benz, Caterpillar and Cummins.

The Sterling Acterra is ideal for a wide variety of work truck applications including construction, waste hauling, municipal and utility applications, pick-up and delivery, distribution, leasing operations, food & beverage hauling, towing and recovery, daily rental, landscaping, excavating, local moving, emergency service and more.

“The Sterling Acterra is a tough, versatile work truck that is making its way in a wide range of commercial vehicle jobs,” Merrifield said. "We are looking forward to introducing many more fleet and business owners to this superb mid-range truck. And to help meet the needs of our growing customer base, we have been aggressively expanding our dealer network, adding more Sterling dealers in urban and rural locations to serve our customers.”

Sterling Truck Corporation, based in Willoughby, Ohio, produces heavy- and medium-duty custom trucks for regional hauling and diverse vocational applications such as construction, refuse hauling, utility work, government services and other applications. Sterling is a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC, a DaimlerChrysler Company. DaimlerChrysler is the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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