Caterpillar set-forward axle truck enters production

Sources: Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill.; CP staff

Caterpillar has made initial deliveries of the CT681, first shown at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014 earlier this year, with late-third quarter scheduled production on track. The set-forward axle model is a companion to the CT660, a set-back axle workhorse whose ConExpo-Con/Agg 2011 debut served as the company’s Class 8 on/off-highway truck series gateway.  


Extensive CT681 testing as part of Caterpillar’s field follow program brought the equivalent of more than three years’ use. “This process provides a crucial feedback loop between our customers and vocational truck product team, identifying any required changes to design and production,” says Global On-Highway Truck Product Manager Dave Schmitz, a 25-year Caterpillar veteran whose family has strong roots in the Milwaukee ready mixed concrete market. “Customers who have tested the truck tell us it drives well, it’s powerful, it’s quiet and their drivers enjoy getting behind the wheel.”  

With 28-in. bumper-to-front axle spacing and overall 114-in. bumper-to-back of cab length, the CT681 suits ready mixed producers and dump truck operators in bridge formula states. Mixer installation is simplified, owing to vertical tie-in plates mounted behind a spacious, ergonomic cab. The truck’s interior helps reduce driver fatigue, enhance safety and boost productivity, engineers note, adding that the dashboard and center stack feature easy-to-read gauges that can be viewed through the steering wheel. A tuned cab air suspension system, premium grade sound insulation, plus tight fitting components and trim deliver a smooth, quiet ride.

The CT681 affords expansive road visibility thanks to a curved, sloped, wraparound windshield in a one- or two-piece design, sealed-beam halogen headlights, and LED park/turn lights. Large, heated, cowl-mounted mirrors with integrated turn signals also enhance all-around visibility. A generous door opening, three-point grab irons and skid-resistant steps help ensure safe entry and exit.

The standard Cat CT Series Vocational Truck Engine has 365- to 430-hp and 1,250 to 1,550 lb.-ft. peak torque ratings. The engine features a Selective Catalytic Reduction solution to meet emissions standards, with upgraded in-cylinder technology and proven aftertreatment. A compacted graphite iron block reduces engine weight by as much as 200 lb. compared to standard iron. A single Electronic Control Module and streamlined electrical connections help reduce diagnostic and maintenance time, while a fluid-free head gasket eliminates the risk of coolant leaking into engine oil or exhaust gases entering the cooling system.

Performance-matched with the engine is the optional Cat CX31 Automatic Transmission. With six forward speeds and one reverse, it is built to complement CT Series engines’ torque output. The CX31 features what company engineers note is the industry’s highest power-to-weight ratio, full power shifting, and quick acceleration. Other options for the CT681 include a variety of manual transmissions and the Eaton Ultrashift Plus.

Standard on the CT681 is Product Link, a proprietary Cat telematics system that collects data from on-board systems and transmits it via satellite and cellular networks to a secure Internet site. Using Product Link and its easy-to-use web interface, VisionLink, truck owners and fleet managers can access accurate, timely data about how, when and where trucks are being used. Like the CT660, the new model is backed by bumper-to-bumper service at 400-plus Cat dealer locations with over 2,300 service bays in North America.