Western Star To Offer Proprietary Front Air Suspension System For Heavy-Duty Trucks

AirLiner Front Suspension and Steer Axle System Available on Select Western Star Constellation Class 8 Trucks

Western Star Trucks will unveil a new, proprietary integrated front air suspension and steer axle system for its heavy-duty trucks at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., in March. The "AirLiner" front suspension system provides the ride comfort associated with air suspensions while offering excellent stability and weight savings. Rated at 12,000 pounds, the AirLiner front suspension will be available exclusively in select Western Star models, as well as in Sterling- and Freightliner-brand trucks.

Previous front air suspension designs were forced to incorporate additional stabilizers and reinforced structures to strike a balance between ride comfort and stability. The AirLiner front suspension employs a unique, lightweight design

that shares the load equally between leaf springs and air springs. This configuration delivers the stiffness and rigidity of a spring suspension, while providing the soft ride of an air suspension.

Leading features of the AirLiner front suspension and steer axle system include:

Convolute leaf spring -- Featuring a rolled-back shaped for stability and a soft-ride, the patented spring design carries 50% of the load while eliminating the need for rear spring shackles.

Box-shaped, fabricated axle -- Integral to the AirLiner system, the box-shaped axle beam resists vertical and longitudinal load more effectively than traditional I-beam axles. In conjunction with the front section of the leaf springs, the axle forms a torsion system that improves roll stability and handling.

Performance air spring -- Engineered to support the other 50% of the vertical load while providing a very low spring rate, it has nearly twice the capacity of comparable systems. Integrated steering and tie rod arms for increased strength and reduced weight.A two-piece knuckle design to allow king pin bearing replacement without king pin removal.

High-quality, tuned shock absorbers with a long service life.

Maintenance-free rubber front bushings and rear rubber mounts.An axle clamp group with four-side clamping pressure that eliminates the need for retorquing. A design that accommodates industry-standard wheel-end and brake components. As a result of its optimized design and new materials, AirLiner is over 100 pounds lighter than other leading suspension and axle systems.

Western Star also recently introduced the proprietary "AirLiner"

rear air suspension. AirLiner rear suspensions are available in tandem 40,000-pound and 46,000-pound ratings, as well as tridems at 69,000 pounds.

"The ability to specify proprietary air suspensions on both the steer and drive axles provides Western Star customers with the benefit of a complete air platform that is 'tuned' for maximum on-road performance," said John Merrifield, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Western Star Trucks. "This is another example of Western Star delivering best-in-class technology to our customers."

Production of Western Star trucks with AirLiner front suspension systems begins in April 2001 in Constellation set-back axle configurations (49SX). Front AirLiner will be available in set-forward models (49FX and 49EX) by summer 2001.

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