Mixer-, pump-ready DC chassis brings Autocar back to concrete

An American transportation brand tracing its roots to 1899, but best known in recent decades for refuse-grade cabover trucks, has announced twin models purpose-built for ready mixed concrete and boom pump operators.

The manufacturer arrived at ConcreteWorks 2019 with one of the first DC-64 chassis to roll off its Alabama assembly line. The premier model carries a 112-in. bumper-to-back-of-cab spec with axle set back just shy of 50 inches and overall 232-in. wheelbase. Autocar Trucks has booked DC models for spring 2020 delivery, scheduling assembly at its Birmingham plant.
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Autocar Trucks has worked with a pilot group of ready mixed concrete producers on the DC-64M concept and plans formal unveiling of a full mixer package in Q1, timed with World of Concrete and ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020 in Las Vegas. The 82-in. wide DC-64M and DC-64P (pump) cab is equipped with a 7-in. display programmed for one-button diagnostics, including big and bold fault warnings plus a smart electrical system instructing mechanics or shop technicians what is wrong and how to fix it. DC engineers cite the cab’s extra-wide door openings, plus comfort-ride suspension system with wide-set large displacement dual air bags, dual shocks and lateral stabilizer.

Previewed last month at the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s ConcreteWorks 2019, Autocar Trucks’ DC-64M and DC-64P share a conventional truck platform engineered from the ground up for severe duty. The guiding mission behind the manufacturer’s first completely new platform since 1988 is “to build trucks to be ‘Always Up” to stay “in service year after year.”

“The DC models are the result of extensive input from our advisory board of concrete professionals,” says Eric Schwartz, managing director of Birmingham, Ala.-based Autocar Trucks. “Every inch of these trucks has been reviewed and improved based on the decades of experience of people operating concrete mixer and boom pump trucks.”

The DC cab is designed for exceptional safety, productivity and durability in concrete delivery and placing operations, he adds. It combines steel, judiciously chosen aluminum components, and corner castings to withstand years of abuse ready mixed plant and concrete construction sites dish out. The workspace maximizes productivity for a full spectrum of drivers, from the biggest guys to petite women. Every control across the dashboard is visible and in easy reach, while the wide, raked windshield provides high visibility. True to the “Always Up” mission, company engineers note, the interior uses authentic materials like polished aluminum bars for door pulls, steel sheets as dash panels, and a full steel structure inside the dashboard.

The DC-64M and DC-64P and sister models are the first Class 8 trucks to feature ultra-high-strength, 160,000-psi steel frame rails, 24 percent stronger and lighter than conventional heavy-duty model members and capable of eliminating the need for frame liners in nearly all mixer applications. “This breakthrough results from the requests of mixer operators who were frustrated by corrosion caused by moisture and muriatic acid penetrating the gap between frame rails and liners,” explains Autocar Vice President for Concrete Mixer Trucks Tom Harris.

Pointing to the DC’s upgraded electrical system, he adds, “We’ve routed air lines and self-cleaning electrical harnesses on separate sides of the frame rail to make service easier. But even more importantly, everything is mounted away from the frame rail channels where concrete and liquids accumulate, so that will avoid additional problems we’ve all had to deal with.”

The DC also sports the new Always Up display; with prominent warnings and dynamic gauges, it not only tells what fault has occurred, a “one-touch diagnostics” feature actually shows the mechanic or technician how to fix it. “It’s a game-changer that gets trucks back into service and making money faster than anything anyone has had before,” Harris affirms.

“The DC-64M incorporates a raft of improvements and features specific to concrete mixer trucks, such as rear-engine power takeoffs and asymmetrical self-leveling front suspensions,” Schwartz observes. “And every DC-64P will be custom-engineered for the specific pump body the pumper selects. Suspensions and multiple steer, drive, and auxiliary axles will all be selected and placed for optimal weight distribution and Autocar’s industry-leading maneuverability.”

The DC powertrain initially includes Cummins X12 engines in 380- to 500-hp and up 1,700 lb.-ft. of torque ratings, with additional engines and specs available in the future. Charter transmissions are Allison RDS4500 and 4700 series for maximum torque at low speeds and easy drivability on-road and at tricky construction sites. The DC joins the ACX and ACMD cabover trucks and the ACTT terminal tractor as Autocar’s fourth line. It also signals the rebirth of a model The Autocar Company introduced in 1939 as its premier severe-duty and diesel-powered work truck, the fuel aspect revolutionary at the time. — Autocar Trucks, Birmingham, Ala., 877/973-3486; www.AutocarTruck.com/my-new-truck