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Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC), Gaffney, S.C., has designed a “lowered engine” option for its XC raised rail Class A diesel chassis that offers OEMs a flat-floor format.
Currently, the lowered-engine option is available with the 300- to 350-hp Caterpillar C7 ACERT or the new 7.1-liter 330-hp, 7.1-liter Mercedes Benz MBE 926 engines.
Both the new chassis configuration and the Mercedes Benz engine were unveiled along with other upgrades to Freightliner chassis during the 42nd Annual National RV Trade Show Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Louisville.
“We saw the lowered-engine option as an advantage that would set us apart from our competition to allow our builders to design `east-west’ bedrooms that didn’t have the step up,” said Dean Schaper, director of marketing for the DaimlerChrysler subsidiary.
Schaper said Freightliner by the middle of 2005 will offer the lowered engine as an option on all of its chassis while maintaining production of standard raised and straight rails.”
The lowered-engine option requires some modifications for the coach builder,” Schaper said, adding that it calls for relocating the muffler outside the rails instead of between them.
Although new to the RV segment, the 330-hp Mercedes Benz MBE 926 engine has been installed by Freightliner in bus and walk-in van chassis for four years.
“Our dealers are well acquainted with the engine,” Schaper said.
He added that although fuel economy tests have not yet been performed on the MBE 926 in combination with the XC chassis, the engine has proved to be more fuel efficient in other Freightliner products. A fan clutch to reduce cooling fan noise and increase fuel efficiency will be standard on the MBE 926 and optional later this year on Cat and Cummins engines.
Also new as an XC chassis option is a tag axle for coaches longer than 40 feet that increases the maximum GVWR by 10,000 pounds to 44,600 pounds and is equipped with an automatic load proportioning system.
The tag chassis features ZF independent front suspension with a 56-degree wheel cut, while the wheel cut on FCCC’s new I-beam front axle has been increased from 50 to 55 degrees. Bendix air disc brakes are now available optionally on all Freightliner chassis.