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Daf goes high and wide

10th February 1994
Page 12
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Page 12, 10th February 1994 — Daf goes high and wide
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Keywords : Volvo Fh, Truck, Daf Trucks

by John Kendall • According to Daf the Super Space Cab cubes out at 10.2m, which beats the Renault Magnum, MAN Roadhaus, Mercedes-Benz Eurocab, Iveco Ford EuroStar, Volvo FH Globetrotter and Scania Topline Streamline. Headroom over the engine hump is 1.93m (6ft 4in). The bottom bunk is a generous 2.05m long, 810mm wide with a 140mm-thick mattress. The top bunk measures 1.92m long and 700mm wide with 70mm-thick mattress.

Locker space runs to about 1.1m3, which is on a par with the cargo space in a hatchback carderived van. It includes a large under-bunk area, part of which is accessible from inside and outside the cab. Another section is accessible from the outside only and has been made gas-tight to prevent oil and fuel smells entering the cab.

Over the windscreen, there are three deep lockers with space for a 24V microwave oven in the centre locker. Deep pockets over the doors provide space for maps and other oddments: there's also a new storage bin for the centre console and the option of Dafs modular storage system.

Driver comfort is a high priority in the Super Space Cab. As well as the usual 95 equipment it has electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, ECAS electronically controlled cab air suspension, red internal night lighting, electrically operated roof hatch and windows, and air conditioning as standard. As reported in CM (22-28 July 1993), the highest power rating comes from Cummins 14-litre, 373kW (500hp) N500E with Celect electronic engine management. Daf will not offer the Cummins engine with any other cab. Its own WS 11.6-litre unit is also available for the Super Space Cab in three power ratings.

Price for the 95.500 will be around £86,250 (exVAT), The Super Space Cab will add around £7,000 to the price of a WS-powered Space Cab.

Cummins' own C-brake engine brake will be an option in the UK. The C-brake will operate in six-cylinder mode only, providing up to 235kW (315hp) of braking at 1,800rpm. Daf thinks it is too rough in two and four cylinder modes for the Super Space Cab.

The 14-litre engine's electronics are compatible with Oaf's DAVIE II diagnostic tool. Like the 11.6-litre engines, the Cummins will have 40,000km service intervals.

Daf introduced the latest generation ZF Ecosplit 165151 and 16S221 aluminium-case gearboxes on the 95 range last year. The 95.500 uses the 165221 box, driving Dafs latest SR1347 drive axle with 3.31:1 final drive ratio-2.93:1 is available for special applications An air-suspended drive axle will be standard on the Super Space Cab.

The hydraulic gear shift (FIGS) system is unique to the 95.500. In place of mechanical linkages, it has a four-line hydraulic system which uses normal brake fluid and car-type hydraulic line components. Daf claims the system is self-adjusting and maintenance free with reduced noise and freedom to site the gear lever wherever it is needed.

Instead of a hole in the floor which fits over the lever, the hydraulic lever is mounted permanently on the floor and tilts with the cab. The system also offers the possibility of servo assistance to reduce shift loads. Other 95s will get HGS later and Daf is considering other options with the Cummins engine, such as Eaton's SAMT.

According to Dafs marketing director, Hans Staals, the Super Space Cab completes the 95 programme by providing more power and a better living environment for the driver on longdistance runs: 'With the 75 and 85 as our medium/long-haul vehicle it means the 95 can be repositioned," he says. "We anticipate that the Super Space Cab will take 5-10% of 95 sales but we expect that figure to increase in the future because of the better driver facilities: 5-10% is a startup figure."

Daf points to the 2,0002,500km long-haul European journeys which are now possible with the opening up of Eastern Europe. Germany has also moved part of its industrial base to southern Europe, which adds to the number of long-haul truck journeys. Even so, Daf research shows that truck utilisation across Europe is about 60%-70% on average. Improved utilisation could mean moving another five tonnes per journey on average with existing vehicles.

Rob Kieft, Daf's Product Definition Manager, points out that the driver represents 48% of an operator's costs, compared with 16.5% for fuel. "Because of the high investment an operator can only increase productivity by getting more tonnes/km from the driver," he says. This means improving the driver's working environment

Dri'a% impressions

First impressions are of the space in the cab—more than in the MAN Roadhaus, which was probably the biggest cab before the Daf came along. Storage space is cavernous; enough for several weeks away from home.

There's no disguising the Cummins engine despite the "430" badges on the grille. Fire it up and the noise is instantly recognisable as the 14-litre. Our drive was in a vehicle which had just returned limn arctic testing and the truck was only lightly laden for the tests being carried out. The truck was one of Daf; early prototypes and the bunk was full of test equipment. Other trim was either early one-off build or missing to make room for the test gear.

Dafs test engineers had taken no less than five driver's seats with them for the arctic test and the cab was fitted up with the fully electrically adjustable seat found in the top-spec Volvo FH.

The 95.500 was an effortless drive in its lightly laden state. The hydraulic gearshift offers the same feel as a mechanical linkage. Our test vehicle had Dafs excellent lift-and-twist collar for the splitter and rangechange, but another Super Space Cab model we saw had two separate switches on the gear lever. We hope Daf hasn't fallen victim to change for the sake of it.

Cummins' C-Brake offers excellent retardation in six-cylinder mode and should help to keep up average speeds on hilly ground. We've experienced Dafs all-air ride before, in the 95.430. The extra weight of the Super Space Cab take away some of the "float", which is no bad thing.

Drivers will love this cab and for anyone spending a long time away from home it is no more than they deserve. Our first impressions are favourable and experience with other N500-powered vehicles is good. We look forward to testing a laden 95500 with production cab, to find out what the big Daf will be like to live with.

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