The narrative around Australia’s trucking environment has almost become a cliché these days. However, the Australian outback still remains a challenging place to test the outer limits of heavy haulage componentry.
Heat, dust and heavy gross weights all conspire to push engineering capabilities to the test. The Wacol Qld based Volvo Group Trucks Technology team are no strangers to testing times. The team of 40 engineers are tasked with engineering locally manufactured Volvo and Mack products to create an Australian range of trucks. However, the Australian team also provide support to other markets when it comes to torture testing components destined for other parts of the globe.
A recent incident in the Northern Territory highlighted not only the gruelling conditions that these trucks operate in but also just how much damage a Volvo FH can handle and still get the job done. In the dark of night a Simons National Carriers FH16 collided with a spooked cow on the Barkly Highway, South east of the Three Ways junction. Powering the 131 tonne triple road train combination was a European spec Euro 6 16 litre engine that was being evaluated by Volvo Group’s local GTT team.
In the spirit of international engineering cooperation, the Australian team were pushing the continental power plant out of its Northern Hemisphere comfort zone. The resulting cow-related collision damaged much of the cab structure around the engine and even relocated some of the cooling package. Post-collision both drivers inspected the damage, amazingly no coolant had been lost and the major components of the cooling system remained intact.
The trucks was subsequently able to drive the remaining 18 hours to Darwin, completing the trip before heading to the local dealership for repair. No mean feat for a badly damaged vehicle. Whilst in Darwin the truck received a new cooling package, including the air-conditioning condenser and gearbox cooler.
Both bent front cab shock mounts were also replaced as well as an electrical repair to the throttle assembly. Once back in Brisbane the truck received further repairs in the form of a new Wild-bar and some new panel work. The impact with over half a tonne of bolting beef failed to damage the chassis or steering components of the FH.
Source: Volvo Truck