Sterling Truck Corporation Introduces New Chassis Platform For Heavy-Duty Trucks

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New HX Chassis Offers Weight and Durability Improvements to Regional Haul and Vocational Customers

ST. THOMAS, ONTARIO … Sterling Truck Corporation today unveiled the new HX chassis for heavy-duty trucks. The new chassis was designed to accommodate new engines that comply with 2004 emissions regulations and will feature stronger, lighter weight frames; a new proprietary air cab suspension; a new cooling system; new fuel tank offerings and additional front and rear suspension options. The new HX chassis is intended to extend Sterling’s reputation for durability, value and the customization capability of its products. It was unveiled at an event to mark the production of 100,000 trucks at the Sterling truck manufacturing plant here.

“We are pleased to offer such a comprehensive package of enhancements to our heavy-duty customers,” said John Merrifield, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Sterling Truck Corporation. “The HX chassis represents Sterling’s commitment to providing our customers with the highest quality products that exceed industry standards for their applications.”

Stronger, Lighter-weight Frames

The new HX chassis merges existing frame materials and the technology that has made the Sterling frame an industry benchmark; it also provides customers with increased frame choices. These new frame offerings include new section heights from 10 inches to 11 inches, plus an all-new 13-inch frame, which is over two inches taller than any current frame offering. The HX frame also offers improved frame strength ratings, with optional RBMs up to five million inch-pounds when an insert is added.

The chassis also will include the “OptiLock Chassis Grid System,” a frame hole layout process that provides pre-determined rows of potential chassis hole locations that are spaced 50 millimeters (approximately 2 inches) apart, center-to-center. All chassis component mounting holes (cross members, mounting brackets, etc.) comply with the grid pattern and allow for a more consistent process for chassis component mounting that is important for custom order units. Sterling also can pre-punch body and equipment mounting holes in the grid area for customers, saving them time during installation.

Air Cab Suspension

Sterling also has developed “Comfort Ride,” an all-new durable air cab mount system, for the HX chassis. Comfort Ride will provide customers with a simple and compliant design that provides improved ride comfort and motion control with less complexity, improved service life and lower cost of operation.

Improved Cooling Systems

Cab positioning has been adjusted to accommodate larger cooling systems. The HX Chassis will offer new radiator options: a 1,000 inch crossflow with or without in-tank oil coolers, a 1,200 inch crossflow radiator and a 1,400 inch crossflow radiator.

In addition, the chassis features an improved accessory drive system that includes an industry-first scroll air conditioning compressor from Visteon as the standard offering for all A-Line and L-Line trucks. The air conditioner compressor will be available exclusively in Sterling trucks for the next year.

The scroll-type compressor, used for many years in luxury and high-end automotive applications, has been upgraded for heavy-duty trucking use. With fewer moving parts and almost no wear points, compared to typical piston-type compressors used currently in heavy duty truck air conditioning systems, scroll compressor technology offers greater durability and is backed by a two year warranty.

New Fuel Tanks

The most visible change in the mid-chassis area is the fuel tanks. Cylindrical aluminum fuel tanks will now come standard on Sterling A-Line and L-Line trucks in both 23 and (optional) 25 inch diameters. The new tanks reduce the overall chassis weight and provide greater consistency in step height and positioning.

Additional Options for Front and Rear Suspension

The HX Chassis also will introduce new offerings in both front and rear suspensions for highway and vocational applications. Front suspensions will now include both taper leaf springs rated to 20,000 pounds, and multi-leaf designs up to 23,000 pounds; in addition to maintenance-free suspension designs with ratings up to 14,600 pounds. New for the A-Line is a 12,000-pound rated optional lightweight composite springs made from highly durable fiberglass, offering a 77-pound weight savings per truck.

The Sterling AirLiner suspension family will now include a new front air suspension that will offer an improvement in overall ride quality with no reduction in handling or stability.

Rear suspension enhancements for the HX include expanded offerings from Hendrickson, including Primaxx, an innovative air suspension system for heavy-duty vocational applications, and the new Haulmaxx walking beam rear suspension system. In addition, HX will offer an enhanced TufTrac two-stage suspension that provides an improved unladen ride quality.

Another improvement for HX is the addition of the new THP60 high-pressure steering box from TRW. The THP60 offers significant design improvements, including a more compact shape allowing greater wheel cut angles.

The HX Chassis design will be phased in to the complete line of Sterling heavy-duty conventional trucks beginning in November.

Sterling Truck Corporation, based in Willoughby, Ohio, produces heavy- and medium-duty custom trucks for regional hauling and diverse vocational applications. Sterling is a member of the Freightliner Group. Freightliner is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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