Fuso HD FS3147 Tractor - HPMV custom build
Russell Marr, dealer principal:
Prestige Commercial Vehicles has its base here in Christchurch; we have service and parts in Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill and Greymouth.
There’s a reasonable number of Japanese fleets in the South Island, and there was no real purpose-built 8x4 tractor unit available.
We knew we had a good base truck to start with. We knew there was a market there. It was a case of coming up with a concept that would work. We really wanted to get to the new HPMV [high productivity motor vehicle permits] regulations, which meant, roughly, we had to get a five-metre wheelbase.
The final brief, I guess, was to try and get an eight-wheeler tractor unit, a good turning circle and have a light tare weight. To get to a five-metre wheelbase, we had 870mm to take out of the chassis and that was always going to be a challenge as to where you mount the bits that are currently in the way.
If we couldn’t relocate the muffler to between axle one and axle two, it was a no go – so I guess that was the first challenge. After that, we were probably always going to be to find places to put things.
The original truck has a two-piece drive shaft in it, so by taking the 870mm out, we were able to lengthen the original rear shaft fractionally and end up with a one-piece drive shaft.
What we did want to do, is make this look as factory as we possibly could, and I think we have genuinely achieved that.
The first job was the moving of the muffler to between axle one and axle two – that was a major on the build.
We had an added advantage once we achieved that; because we can actually now run the pipe underneath and up the other side to give us a vertical exhaust for some applications, certainly the likes of dangerous goods.
We also had to move the air dryer to up here on the chassis from the other side, because we didn’t have any more room over there. And, of course, the new 300L alloy fuel tank to finish the package on this side.
Over the other side, we’ve got, next to the AdBlue tank, we’ve got the AdBlue pump, which we’ve been able to cover. We had to move that, and underneath the chassis covers is the one-piece drive shaft and the two alloy air tanks running parallel with the shaft.
And then, I guess finally, it’s like – ‘where did we cut it?’ Well, if you have a good look, you’ll find it very difficult to see – so, it’s right there.
From a tare weight perspective, we always had a target to get to nine-tonne – fully rigged and ready to go to work. We didn’t know what it was going to be when we started, but we had our fingers crossed and, with a really good engineer, we were able to make sure we didn’t add any more weight than we needed to, but retain the strengths that our in the original truck.
And, when we finished, we filled up the fuel tank, filled up the AdBlue tank, put it across the weighbridge – and it weighed exactly nine-tonne with a fixed turntable on it! And that gives us, roughly, a 400-500kg advantage over the majority of our competitors.
We were pretty confident that we would get the package to work, and it has.