Autocar Trucks is expanding its DC-64 conventional-cab series of heavy trucks to include an “M” model for use as a concrete mixer chassis. Introduced early this year as the DC-64R for refuse (trash) service, the series includes a severe-service steel cab and composite hood, as well as a severe-duty frame made of “ultra-high-strength steel” that needs no main-rail reinforcements for most applications.
The DC-64M’s chassis is designed specifically to accommodate rear-discharge mixer bodies, and includes features suggested by an advisory panel composed of ready mix producers from around the country, said Tom Harris, who joined Autocar to help develop the M model after a 39-year career at McNeilus, a major builder of mixer apparatus. Among the features is routing of wiring on one side of the frame and air hoses on the other, with lines suspended outward to stay away from concrete debris accumulated on rail webs over years of service.
“The harness does not lay on the frame rail,” Harris said. “That idea came from the advisory board, and is a pretty neat idea.” The harness is a weave loom that’s easy to clean instead of inside being inside convoluted tubing, he added. The self-diagnostic electrical system includes telematics capabilities, and an Always Up color display in the dash focuses on what’s important at the moment, and can alert drivers, fleet managers and Autocar’s own service specialists before on-board problems cause delays.
The chassis has provisions for rear-engine power take-off equipment, which many ready mix fleets prefer, as well as frames designed for each application, said engineer Gerhard Engelbrecht, VP for DC product development. “Every rail is custom designed, depending on axle-weight distribution for different weight laws, as well as body mounts.”
The severe-service cab uses galvanized steel members and panels, plus cast-steel corner reinforcements and aluminum for non-structural parts, he said. The cab has a seven-stage e-coating that includes primer and final paint colors. The cab is large and roomy with carefully placed steps and handles. Doors are hung on piano-style hinges so they will not sag and provide vibration-free mounts for mirrors.
Electrical and mechanical components are designed for easy access and quick repairs, Engelbrecht said. Avoiding frame inserts eliminates corrosion that develops between the reinforcements and the frame rails as acid-based cleaners splash onto the frame during washings, something pointed out by advisory board members. This also saves about 500 pounds. Yet the high-strength 160,000-psi frame rails are 20 percent stronger than what competitors typically use, he claimed.
The base engine for the DC-64M is the lightweight Cummins X12 diesel, with ratings of 380 to over 500 horsepower and torque of up to 1,700 lb.-ft., Harris said. The lighter-weight Cummins L9, with ratings up to 380 horsepower, is an option. Allison’s 4500RDS six-speed automatic transmission is standard, with the seven-speed 4700 optional. Other components include Meritor rear axles and Hendrickson suspensions and lift axles.
The DC-64M’s steer axle is setback 47 inches from the bumper to limit wheelbase and add wheel cut for good maneuverability. A forward-set steer axle might be added later. GVW ratings range from 66,000 to 80,000 pounds.