Delta has modified a standard Isuzu freighter truck to boost its payload capacity. The hybrid truck can handle up to seven tons more than the original vehicle.

Delta’s Engineering Division has modified a standard Isuzu freighter truck to boost its payload capacity.

Delta said, in conjunction with Southern Star Engineering, it modified an Isuzu FTR 800 Turbo Freighter through the addition of a TAG (free-running) axle and the extension of the freighter’s chassis. The new freighter has an increased Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) from 14 tons (FTR 800 Turbo) to 22,5 tons (FTM 1200 Freighter Turbo).

This means that the ‘body and payload’ mass of the FTM 1200 is now at 16 780 kg compared with 9 660 kg on the FTR 800 - an increase of seven tons. The most common use of the FTM 1200 is as a refrigeration unit.

“The FTM 1200 was developed to meet and satisfy customer requirements,” said Delta Director of Engineering and Procurement Evan Dold.

“We view this freighter as a niche market product which will bring substantial input cost savings and purpose built applications to our customers’ fleets. As a result, we expect to see an increase in demand.”

The new freighter was developed after customers approached the company with specific vehicle requirements that necessitated the inclusion of an additional axle to meet specific needs.

According to Dold, the FTR 800 Turbo was selected as the base truck for the project because the vehicle has the power needed to accommodate the alterations to the unit and the increased payload / GVM capacity.

“We built a prototype unit during 2001 which then underwent an extensive research and testing programme before we finalised the new freighter. It has been homologated by the South African Bureau of Standards and is registered with National Transport Information System. We had to ensure that it could capacitate all the changes,” said Dold.

Besides the addition of the imported TAG axle, the changes included extending the chassis, larger tyres, adjustments to the front axle to increase its carrying capacity (to 5 400kg), and altering the braking system - the most critical of the alterations - to address the increased GVM.

The TAG axle is supported by an air bag suspension and this, as well as the braking system, is controlled and managed by the leveling valve. The chassis length, measured as cab to axle (CA) of the 6x2 wheeler freighter has been increased by 555 mm, while the overall chassis length (CE) has been increased by 1 685 mm.

With a MLD6Q six-speed manual transmission, the FTM 1200’s turbo-charged six-cylinder OHC/intercooled engine gives 169 kW at 2 800 r/min and torque of 667 N.m at 1 700 r/min.

“Once the first FTM 1200 unit was delivered and then subsequently seen on the roads, we experienced a demand generated by word of mouth. To date we have built 50 of these units and demand is exceeding supply. We expect this demand to grow as the product becomes more known,” said Dold.