When your regular daily route tackles the steep remote west coast of Tasmania, there’s a few things you need in a truck; plenty of power, good reliability and back-up service.
Photo below: Andrew Arnold, owner of Arnold’s Transport, is more than satisfied with the DAF product.
Smithton is the commercial centre for the thriving agricultural industry of the North West Coast region as well as the beginning of the spectacular Tarkine Wilderness.
Owner of Arnold’s Transport, Andrew Arnold, says Smithton and the surrounding communities are prosperous, with diverse industries. Consequently demand on fuel usage is high in the area, which keeps the Arnold’s tankers busy.
Introducing DAF trucks into his fleet was a decision that Andrew deliberated on for some time. The trucks needed to be reliable, safe, and well supported. They also needed the flexibility to operate in tight environments or run economically to the other end of the state when required.
“We are also very mindful of the environment we work in and wanted a truck that was quiet in operation as we are often required to work within towns after hours,” said Andrew.
“Creating and maintaining good public perception is very important not just for our business but also for the transport industry in general.
“We settled on a DAF CF85 460, with the 12-speed transmission,” Andrew said. “We’ve been more than happy with its performance and extremely pleased with the fuel economy of it. We average 2.4kpl on stop-start farm work and 2.5-2.6kpl on highway work. These results were better than we expected, especially when you take into consideration the PTO pumping time for farm deliveries.”
Andrew said manoeuvrability is good and visibility especially good. “They have great vision, which is such an asset for farm work where you need to have your wits about you constantly.
“I particularly like the MX engine for its low down torque and quietness,” Andrew revealed. “A lot of our work is running outside of top gear where we utilise the lower ratios in the ZF box. There’s lots of short little bursts and it’s a nice smooth engine that delivers really good fuel economy. It’s a very quiet engine too; even with the engine retarder engaged it’s especially quiet, which means we can operate it in towns without disturbing the community.”
Andrew said that when he was offered an evaluation CF85 with the MX engine set at 510 horsepower he was confident that the additional power would be an asset to their operation.
The low cab DAFs offer a unique blend of ease of entry and enough power to cope with pretty much any application.
“Our first CF85 460 is a very well-balanced truck and has been doing a great job for us in the two years we’ve had it. I’d heard good reports of the 510hp engine.”
Arnold’s CF85 510 produces 375kW (510hp) between 1,500rpm and 1,900rpm, with top torque output of 2500Nm (1845lb/ft) available from as low as 1,000rpm through to 1410rpm. The CF85 510 is equipped with a 16-speed ZF AS Tronic Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) instead of the 12-speed that is standard for the 460hp engine version.
The front axle is rated to 7,500kg and the rear axles are Meritor MT23-165 with a maximum design load of 20,900kg, The GVM is 24,600kg, and GCM 70,000kg. The truck is fitted with both inter-axle and cross-locks. Andrew agrees that any fine-tuning of the integration of the mature driveline and braking technologies to suit Australian conditions in the CF85 510 have long been sorted out in the other PACCAR trucks and he is confident the 510hp version of the CF85 will work seamlessly right from the get-go.
PACCAR claim that they’re hoping to position the CF85 510 as a contender for the B-double market due to the 500+hp rating and the extra gear ratios.
In terms of safety, the CF85 510 is right at the cutting edge. Brakes are disc on the front and drums on the rear with EBS (Electronic Braking System incorporating ABS), exhaust brake (retardation power 320kW at 2100 rpm), ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) and Hill Start Aid with AS-Tronic transmissions only.
Depending on the application operators can chose to incorporate the optional safety package that includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with forward collision warning, lane departure warning and vehicle stability control. The cab of the CF85 has a cockpit-style wrap-around dash that puts all controls within easy reach of the driver.
“The fit and finish inside is superb,” Andrew adds. “One thing I really like about the CF85 is the two-step entry. In our line of work where we can have up to 30 or 40 deliveries in a day, the ease of the two-step entry really is an advantage for us.
“From the driver’s seat the two trucks are identical when you look at the dash, all the switches are in the same place and the driving position is the same. However there are subtle differences in driving the two trucks, and the difference in gearing shows up in certain spots.”
The 510 has already proved more miserly on fuel than the 460s, something that has also pleasantly surprised Andrew.