Western Star and Cummins make the perfect partners for SCR and Euro 5 emissions levels
The engine business is certainly full of surprises – some pleasant and some not so good. Think back to the days when Detroit two-strokes were a favoured powerplant and you may also remember the hesitation by operators of adopting the first of the Detroit Diesel electronic control systems (DDEC), which replaced the mechanical fuel injection pump. That hesitation soon disappeared when operators started reporting considerable fuel economy improvements.
In similar fashion, many operators had been slow to move into Euro 5 or ADR80/010 emissions standards and adopt SCR exhaust treatment systems because of distrust of the new technologies involved. What proved to be a game changer for many operators was their wish to stay with their preferred engine manufacturer after some fairly universal concerns about staying with EGR-only technology.
Mark Morcombe of Burrumbeet, near Ballarat in Victoria, is one operator that has willingly made the jump to the combined technologies of EGR and SCR.
The original Morcombe family farm has steadily expanded to become a mixed farm that includes merino sheep and Hereford cattle as well as crops such as wheat, barley and canola.
The history of the Morcombe’s Farming and Transport enterprises dates back to early this century when Arthur Morcombe started the farm as a First World War settler. The transport division of the business was born soon after, initially responsible for delivering supplies to build some of the very first roads in the district, which then lead onto carting produce and livestock thereafter.
Today the farm and transport divisions operate as separate businesses owned and operated by family members. Morcombe’s Transport, which Mark and cousin Stephen look after, is mainly involved in livestock transport covering a wide area that can include both short local trips to sale yards through to long haul interstate trips to destinations such as Dubbo, NSW, to collect livestock.
Back in June 2014, Morcombe Transport took delivery of a new Western Star 4900FXT Stratosphere to replace an existing International Eagle in the three-truck fleet. This 6×4 prime mover is fitted with a Whitlock bullbar and has a 230-inch wheelbase. With a GCM of 106 tonnes, it is an ideal spec for B-double livestock work, complete with its 54-inch sleeper.
Powered by a Cummins ISXe5 six-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled diesel, the new Western Star is matched to an Eaton-Fuller Roadranger 18-speed manual overdrive transmission, together with a Meritor MFS73 front axle rated at 16,000 lb and Wabco ABS drum brake system.
“I’ve always been a fan of Cummins engines, and so the new 15-litre ISXe5 engine rated at 550 hp and peaking at 580 hp was the obvious choice. Peak torque is rated at 1815 lb-ft,” Mark told PowerTorque.
“I’m really pleased with it. The performance and fuel economy are both excellent. It drives really well on the road, and, despite its sizeable length, I find the manoeuvrability very good too.
“The new Western Star runs permanently with B-double stock crates and has now completed just over 100,000 km. At an average of 1.5 km/litre, the fuel economy is consistently 0.2 km/litre better when compared to the Cummins ISX EGR-only engines we have in our fleet. The AdBlue use is also minimal at around 2.0 percent of fuel burn.
“Another advantage is the ISXe5 is running much cooler. The EGR-only engines run mainly at 100 degrees, while the ISXe5 engine runs at a constant 80 degrees. There’s much less fan-on time as well. In fact, the fan only came on for ten seconds during the long descent on the Adelaide Hills in conjunction with the Jake brake. Less fan-on time means less power drain,” said Mark.
The SCR exhaust aftertreatment on the ISXe5 is a fully integrated system developed by Cummins Emissions Solutions (CES), dosing urea into the exhaust stream to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions.
The ISXe5 has the same base engine design as the current Cummins EGR engines, but incorporates a new common-rail fuel system, a wastegate turbocharger and a single overhead camshaft.
The XPI (extreme high pressure) common-rail fuel system provides very precise injection and combustion control. It operates independently of engine speed and provides injection pressures greater than 30,000 psi.
Fitted with a Jost ball-race turntable, the spec of the Western Star also includes an auxiliary power unit (APU) supplied by Truck Air. This electric APU has additional batteries mounted under the bunk area and features the option of providing a cross feed for starting the engine in the event of low voltage in the vehicle batteries. The rear axle is a Meritor RT-46-160GP R-series with a rear axle ratio of 4.33:1 rated at 46,000 lb and mounted on Airliner rear suspension. The tyre choice is to use 295/80R22.5 Michelin XZE2+ on the steer axle and Michelin XDE2 drive tyres.
“One of the key things I was looking at in a new truck was a spacious sleeper cab. Being a driver myself, I know how important it is to be able to stand up and walk around in the cab after a long drive. Also to have plenty of storage space and room for all your personal possessions and things like a fridge. Western Star’s roomy 54-inch Stratosphere cab satisfied all those requirements,” said Mark.
“Given the truck is away for long periods of time, I had an Alemlube auto greaser fitted, which provides me with added peace of mind between services,” said Mark.
The new Western Star 4900 FXT was supplied through James Leo at Westar Truck Centre, in Melbourne.