New 47X strengthens Western Star’s bid for vocational sales

September 24, 2021

Tom Berg

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Western Star 47X is aimed at vocational applications like dump trucking.
Western Star 47X is aimed at vocational applications like dump trucking. Wider steel-and-aluminum cab, restyled grille and bright-metal trim on hood sides are among the changes from the current 4700. Headlamps are cool-burning LEDs with embedded heating grids to melt snow and ice. Photo courtesy of Western Star Trucks

 

Western Star Trucks has given its popular 4700 model the “X” treatment with a larger cab, redesigned mainframe, new electrical system and distinctive grille, and renamed it 47X.

It joins the longer and heavier-duty 49X, itself a serious reworking of the long-nose 4900, announced last year, to form the manufacturer’s X Series. The new 47X will be available in truck and tractor versions, as a daycab and a short sleeper, and with a wide range of standard and optional components when it goes into production in early 2022.

Lighter cab with less steel

Among designers’ goals for the 47X was lighter weight, so the new cab, shared with the 49X, is steel framed and aluminum skinned, replacing the current all-steel cab. It provides 11% more room for drivers and helpers and weighs 8% less than the current cab, said Samantha Parlier, vice president for vocational market development. She briefed reporters in a Zoom conference in advance of the new model’s public unveiling Sept. 23. Additional width allows space for a two-person bench seat next to the driver’s air-ride seat.

The 47X retains its medium-length hood with a standard bumper-to-back-of-cab dimension of 111.6 inches. There’s also a 110.8-inch version, accomplished with a set-back bumper mount, is designed specifically for bridge-formula states, where multiple-axle super dumps and “bridger” mixer chassis are used. Set-forward and set-back steer axles, along with varied wheelbases and axle configurations, are available to suit hauling applications and weight laws. A wheel cut of up to 50 degrees makes for easy maneuverability on streets and job sites.

Shorter hoods and frames make a 47X about 200 pounds lighter than a 49X, all other specifications being similar, and cost “slightly less,” Parlier said. New 9.5-mm (0.37-inch) frame rails can be used without insert reinforcements and still deliver exceptional stiffness. Standard aluminum crossmembers help to cut weight, as does an optional two-battery setup replacing more common complements of three and four batteries for Class 8 trucks.

 

New 47X, significantly updated from the current 4700
New 47X, significantly updated from the current 4700, features a larger but lighter aluminum-skinned cab, redesigned main frame, and a new electrical system that’s easy for body builders to plug into. Truck and tractor versions will be available. Cab roof is recessed for more compact mounting of air horns, and composite hood slopes downward for good forward visibility. The 47X joins the previously announced 49X to form a new vocationally oriented X Series. Photo courtesy of Western Star Trucks

A new polished stainless steel grille has vertical bars, as with current ’Stars, but these are canted inward toward the top, providing a distinctive accent. Bright metal trim has been added to the air intakes on the sides of the composite-material hood and incorporate rear-facing amber turn signals. The hood slopes downward for good forward visibility and quick spotting of pedestrians and obstacles on the ground at job sites. Cool burning LED headlamps have built-in heating grids to melt snow and ice in winter weather.

Electrical upgrade

The new electrical system includes a QuickFit interface system that body builders can plug into. Body operations can be controlled with programmable switches in the dashboard B panel, eliminating control boxes commonly bolted to floors. A special tool allows upfitters to view and modify electrical configurations, allowing the quick customizing of inputs and outputs and changing of parameters.

The 47X is standard with Detroit’s DD13 Gen 5 diesel, while Cummins L9 and X12 diesels are optional. Front-engine power take-off is available on all engines for applications like snowplowing. Rear-engine and transmission-mounted power take-offs are also available. Allison’s 4500 RDS torque-converter automatic transmission is standard with larger diesels on the 47X, and 3000 series Allisons can be used with smaller engines. Also offered is the recently introduced DT12-V automated manual transmission, which is built on the highway version of the DT12, and Eaton UltraShift Plus AMTs can be had with Cummins diesels. Ten-, 13- and 18-speed dual range manual transmissions, as well as 8LL and 9LL vocational gearboxes, are optional.

The 47X and 49X will gradually replace the 4700 and 4900 over several years as production of the new models ramps up and customers accept them, Parlier said. Deliveries to customers should begin shortly after building of them begins early next year. Western Star, Freightliner and Detroit are sister companies owned by Daimler Trucks North America. LL

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Tom Berg worked his way through college by driving trucks. Since 1978, he’s been writing about trucks and trucking. He holds a Class A commercial driver’s license and drives trucks as part of story research. While semi-retired, Berg still writes about semis as a contributing editor at Land Line.