LACHINE, Mich. – (January, 2016) – When you’re a one-man, one-truck operation, buying a new rig means betting your business.
Buy a truck that doesn’t hold up over the long haul and you’ll have to replace it years sooner than you thought. Pick one that breaks down and you’re out of work whenever the truck is in the shop. Choose one that can’t handle the job and, well, you’re out of a job.
That’s why James Hansen began researching his next truck purchase two years before he made it. His truck had 1 million miles and was showing its age. He’d driven Kenworths for 42 years, but he wanted to see if there was something better out there before committing to another. So he read the literature, visited web sites and talked to other drivers. As a one-man operation, he knew he could not afford to make a mistake.
Hansen owns James Hansen Forest Products of Lachine, Mich. He hauls logs from forests in northern Michigan to sawmills throughout the state. During a typical workweek, the 60-year-old gets into his truck on Monday morning and doesn’t return home until Friday evening, putting 2,000 to 2,500 miles on the odometer and sleeping in the sleeper in the forest four nights in a row.
He knew his new truck had to be rugged and stable enough to navigate miles of bulldozed trails to the logging sites, powerful enough to pull a double trailer loaded with 50 tons of logs back out over those same rutted trails, nimble enough to handle interstate traffic and efficient enough to deliver loads without racking up huge fuel costs.
After two years of research, he bought a 2015 Western Star 4900 SB in February 2015.
“I’m extremely happy with the truck. It’s performed even better than I expected,” Hansen said.
He spec’d the truck with a Detroit™ Diesel DD16® engine with 600 horsepower at 2050 torque, tri-drive axles for extra power, an 18-speed Eaton UltraShift Plus transmission and multiple lift axles. A log crane is mounted behind the tractor and a heavy-duty grill protects the front end from stumps, brush and unlucky deer and moose.
“You need a stable ride, particularly when you’re off road and pulling a full load of logs, and the Western Star gives me the traction and the control I need,” he said.
The DD16 is delivering an average of 4.1 mpg, good for a loaded gross vehicle weight of 158,000 pounds and an improvement of more than 0.5 mpg over his previous truck.
Hansen lives three hours from the Western Star dealership where he bought the truck, Grand Traverse Diesel Service in Traverse City, Mich., so he performs some basic maintenance himself, including oil and filter changes.
“It’s easy to access the engine. Everything is exposed and it makes it that much easier to work on it, which saves me time and money,” he said.
Hansen knows he’s tough on his truck, but he’s convinced his new Western Star is up to the job.
“Hauling heavy logs is hard work on a truck. That’s why I chose Western Star because I know in 10 years it will still be going strong,” he said.
Western Star Trucks Sales, Inc., headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C., produces tough custom trucks for highway and vocational applications. Western Star is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 5-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.
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