AUSSIE ANGLES - SAR IN ACTION

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Exceptional manoeuvrability, generous payload and unsurpassed economy are the key factors that drove Walters Contracting of Tasmania to specify a Kenworth T410SAR for its truck and dog fleet.

It’s fair to say that when a family company is in the hands of the third generation and has been trading for more than 50 years, business decisions are well planned. They’re choices driven by experiences often taught by life rather than gleaned from textbooks; proficiencies passed down from generation to generation. To a certain degree, it is the case at Walters Contracting in Deloraine, Tasmania.

Consequently, when Joseph Walters starts talking about truck specifications and what works to deliver the best productivity and profitability based on the transport task, it’s well worth getting your notebook out and jotting down a few key points.

“It was a tall order, but we were searching for a truck that could perform dual roles,”Joseph says. “We required a nimble, manoeuvrable body truck that could work out of our Devonport landscape- supply yard, where deliveries are mostly into tight building sites. At the same time, when we have large civil construction projects, we wanted it to slot into a bulk delivery role.”

The T410SAR is the 10th Kenworth in the Walters Contracting fleet. “Our other Kenworth trucks are bigger, heavier models, specified to endure the more rugged working conditions of civil construction tasks. The light tare of the Kenworth T410SAR, combined with the PACCAR MX-13 engine, certainly ticked a lot of boxes for us,” Joseph explains.

Like the bigger trucks, the T410SAR is spec’d with a traditional 18-speed manual transmission and Meritor RT46-160 rear axles. “From a fleet point of view, it’s terrific because it gives us parts commonality across the fleet,” says Joseph.

The T410SAR’s MX-13 engine is rated at 380kW (510hp) and produces 2508Nm (1850lb/ft) torque between 1000 and 1400rpm while still punching out 2170Nm (1600lb/ft) at 1650rpm. Meantime the MX-13 engine brake delivers up to 335kW (450hp), which is an excellent asset in Tasmania’s hilly terrain.

The T410SAR bonnet is lighter in weight, making accessing the MX-13 a one-person job.

Emily’s right at home.

With PBS and pulling a three-axle dog trailer, the T410SAR is running a 32-tonne payload. With a bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) length of 2850mm there is nothing to stop Walters Contracting from coupling it up to a quad dog in the future. “So far, we’re more than pleased with the economy and payload we’re getting,” Joseph continues.

According to Emily Shadbolt, the T410SAR’s driver, it’s luxurious to drive. Before stepping behind the wheel, Emily drove Walters’ old W-Model.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she says. “That W-Model is a great truck, and it certainly gives you an immense appreciation of how far along technology has come.

“The visibility from the T410SAR’s cabin is exceptional,” Emily says. “Since the mirrors on the T410SAR sit lower than traditional mirrors on other trucks, they enable a broader panoramic view because I can see over the top of the mirrors. However, I like the rearward vision, too, especially when I’m running gravel because they are so sturdily mounted there is no vibration.”

Emily finds that the dash layout is well thought out and the dash display menu also has some useful features, like the four trip meters, driver score and digital gauges. “The trip meter is also handy for our job-costing because I can zero the trip meter at the start of the load, then get a snapshot of the fuel used, average speed, distance covered and idle time at the end of the journey,” she says.

Driver Emily Shadbolt came off an old W-Model and into a whole new world.

She is also a fan of another feature: “The truck’s light check activation button on the key fob makes checking the lights easy during my pre- start. I use it every day.”

Emily says the T410SAR is the first truck she’s driven where she’s been able to open the bonnet by herself. “With the other trucks, I’d have to get my dad to help me open the bonnets because they were that heavy. This T410SAR has an automatic lock on the left-hand bonnet strut that prevents the bonnet from accidentally closing. It’s an excellent safety feature, especially for us here in Tasmania where we often get strong winds that can blow a hood closed.”

According to Emily, the ride and handling of this T410SAR is terrific. “Even on the narrowest rough-country back roads, the steering is precise. The truck goes exactly where I steer it. My partner even commented on how much happier and how much more energy I have when I get home in the evenings since I’ve started driving the T410SAR. That certainly reiterates how the improved ride and handling of this truck make my work so much more pleasurable.”

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