14 March 2018

Freightliner Coronado is King of the Mountain

A Freightliner Coronado on a service contract has been given the thumbs-up by a company that services the Victorian snowfields region.

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Mt Buller Area Transport (MBAT) recently added a Freightliner Coronado 114 B-Double to its fleet after picking it out as the best tool for the job.

Company owner, Evan Lowing, who opted to buy the truck from Daimler Trucks Laverton, says the service and maintenance program was one of the key selling points.

“It just makes good business sense to be able to fix costs,” Lowing says.

“We have had a great run with the truck and no problems, but it is nice to know that we are covered if something goes wrong.”

Before switching to the Freightliner, Lowing owned a non-Daimler truck that was not on a service contract.

“It was a real lucky dip when it went into the dealership. You never knew what costs were around the corner,” Lowing says.

‘This way, I know how much it is going to cost me in the future, in minute detail.”

Having a Freightliner Service Plan means Daimler Trucks Laverton performs scheduled servicing and mechanical repairs in accordance with the vehicle maintenance manual, uses genuine parts and trained technicians with preferential rates for parts and labour and also provides 24-hour support.

“If there's a landslide up the mountain (like the one in 2010) or something out of our control, that's one thing, but we're responsible for everything that's in our control,” says MBAT senior driver, Paul Thomas.

“It's our job to make sure we always deliver the vital freight on time," he says.

“They’ve got the parts in stock; all the tools to do the job and get you back out on the road quickly.”

Lowing and Thomas did a lot of research before committing to the Coronado.

One of the truck’s strong points was the 560hp 15-litre Detroit engine and its reputation for good economy. The DD15 can run to 50,000km oil drain intervals (depending on application), something that impressed the team.

MBAT selected the optional Eaton UltraShift Plus fully automated 18-speed transmission, which can be controlled by the SmartShift lever mounted on the steering wheel column.

While Thomas is a fan of the manual Eaton shifter, he admits the AMT is a good gearbox that is both clever and smooth.

"I'm really impressed with the UltraShift and SmartShift combination," Paul says.

"It is particularly good in the stop-start traffic you get in Melbourne's peak hours and around road works on the freeways. I thought I'd be using the manual mode a lot more often, but the UltraShift really reads the road and load well and adapts quickly. It basically instigates a shift automatically when you typically do one in a manual transmission," he says.

Another advantage of mounting the SmartShift on the steering column is that it frees up useable floor space, providing easier access between the driver's seat and the sleeper area.

Mr Thomas says there is a good amount of space inside the cab, which is fitted with a 34-inch bunk.

"The Coronado is a spacious truck inside," he says.

"We specified the wider bunk option which gave us a full-size single bed with an innerspring mattress. The dash is well laid out and it's a remarkably comfortable truck to drive."

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