Industry News

Driving a Shift in the Western Star 47X

The take away for PowerTorque, after driving a shift in the Western Star 47X, is that this truck does exactly what a tipper and dog operator would want from it. There is power and torque to handle the job without much fuss. The safety systems work effectively out on the highway and the driver can relax and be comfortable in their seat.

From the outside it does look like a Western Star and sometimes in the tipper game appearance is important. There’s probably enough cues in the design to satisfy the traditionalist driver. They can change gear manually if they really want to but can leave it all to the computer if they care to.

From the driver’s seat, there the central binnacle to the left, with a basic radio fitted which has got a USB you can plug into. Below this there’s three old fashioned gauges, an air gauge and two temperature gauges. Below this, again, is the air conditioning controls. To the right of them is a space, which can have a large information screen fitted, but in this case is home for the set of switches to control the various systems on the dog trailer. Operators can choose between entertainment system screen or switches, when the screen becomes available. 

There is a series of power outlets to run whatever the driver needs in the cabin. Below this is three banks of switches, all different shapes and sizes. As the system is now multiplexed, the operator can configure all of these switches wherever they prefer, to suit both applications and personal taste. Also here, are the maxi-brakes and the trailer brake hand-piece, nice and traditional.

Directly in front of the driver there is a very clear screen with a menu across the top. The test truck is configured with the speed, outside temperature and the current state of the cruise control system as a default view. To the right is the gear being used and how many seconds the truck is behind the vehicle which is ahead, when one is detected.

To the left and right of this screen are the more traditional gauges. There’s tachometer, oil pressure and fuel to the left, and speedo, air pressure and coolant temperature, to the right. 

Directly in front of the driver’s right knee and out of the driver’s eye line is the switch which turns the lights on. Indicators, main beam and wipers are controlled by the left-hand stalk, while the right hand one controls the transmission and engine braking. Pressing the button on the end sends the AMT to manual and driver paddles the stalk up and down to change gears.

One of the issues from the past has been the failure of the doors to seal properly when closed. This has been overcome and the doors are well sealed, but this does mean the door needs to be closed quite firmly, to be properly closed.

The seats are large, wide and comfortable and from the driver’s seat the visibility is quite good for a bonneted truck, matching equivalent competitors. The kerb mirror on the passenger side can be augmented by the side guard assist which will tell the driver there is a vehicle on the passenger side with a triangular white light on the A pillar and a warning if the left indicator is activated.


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