For anyone worth their salt in the trucking business, it is well understood how much the Western Star brand puts into maintaining their classic, rugged truck styling that always features the traditional radiator and air cleaners. The Western Star 5800, however, was built to stand out from its predecessors. From its aerodynamic shape to its modernised look, we officially have a newer, much smoother star to talk about.
When you gaze upon the 5800, some standard Western Star attributes are featured, including the big shiny grill. However, the external air cleaners are absent and, the vertical exhaust system is nowhere to be seen. This is because the air cleaners are now inside the bonnet and the exhaust system is down facing. The 5800 also features a set-back front axle. This allows for an easier attainment of the maximum weight on the steer axle, while the more even spread of weight on the axle reduces your chances of getting axle mass issues as you maximise on the payload.
Why were the changes so important this time round? Why not stick to the traditional Western Star look?
Well, it has become apparent over recent years that truck owners are now shifting from being stuck on the good old truck aesthetics and more focused on the economical bearing that the trucks have on the business cash flow. This shift has been fuelled by the entry of some European trucks into Australia that have over recent years swallowed up a lot of the market share all thanks to their lower fuel consumption. The savings from lower fuel consumption was not lost on the truck owners who now seem to put more and more emphasis on fuel consumption rate when purchasing trucks. This has pushed truck manufacturers to work on producing more fuel-efficient trucks if only to get a sale in. The 5800 thus seems to be Western Star’s attempt at switching up their models to be more economical so as to get back the market share that they have lost in recent years.
It is interesting to see the gradual acceptance that the 5800 has experienced in the Australian market over the past couple of years that it has been around. Truck buyers seem to have taken their time to read deeper into the running costs of the truck, and over time, have seen its economic value in their businesses. Thanks to the smoother, more aerodynamic shape of the 5800, Western Star reckons there has been as much as a 1.5% decrease in fuel consumption as compared to the 4800. This decreased fuel consumption has had a positive impact on the sales of the 5800 which has risen from the low base over the past two years and now accounts for about a third of B double primers sold by Western Star in Australia.
Another reason the 5800 seems to be making waves in the market is the large fuel load of 1400 litres, which truck owners seem to approve of. This however means that the battery has been put behind the cabin, on top of the chassis, to allow for four fuel tanks to sit along the side of the truck. This is unlike the traditional positioning of the batteries on the side of the truck which would limit the number of fuel tanks that one can put in the truck and thus limit fuel load.
Another reason for the lower fuel consumption is engine rating which was rated at 500hp. And though this can be recalibrated to the usual 560hp, that would not be advisable for truck owners who are looking to reduce on fuel consumption. The engine for the most economically sound model is a DD15 which is manufactured by Daimler in Detroit which still retained the 2500Nm of torque even at its lower rating. The 5800 also boasts of an Eaton Ultrashift Plus with 18 speeds as has become the staple in American trucks.
As you can see, the Western Star 5800 has seemed to pick up speed and much up well to its competitors. The truck can handle a 34 pallet B double application and still get under the 26-metre mark Thanks to the standard 40-inch Stratosphere sleeper. So, if you are thinking of a fuel-efficient powerful truck, think of the much smoother 5800 Star.