Wyton Transport adds 130-tonne Kenworth W900SAR Legend

Wyton Transport's new Kenworth B-triple.

Queensland carrier, Wyton Transport, has added to its roadtrain arm with a new Kenworth W900SAR Legend.

The prime mover is running up the middle of Queensland from the company’s Carole Park depot in the western suburbs of Brisbane to Mt Isa, 1805 kilometres away, via Roma where they add a third trailer.

Powered by a 600hp Cummins X-15 engine paired with an 18-speed RoadRanger transmission, the Kenworth is transporting general freight north and returning with bulk freight items including wool.

“If we can get it on a trailer we will take it,” said Michael Wyton, the owner of the business.

“That truck leaves Saturday morning and he normally gets home sometime Thursday, so the driver is pretty well in it five nights of the week,” he told Prime Mover.

Having narrowly missed out on a 75th anniversary Diamond Edition Kenworth, Wyton jumped at the opportunity to purchase a new W900SAR Legend.

For the driver, who is living out of the truck, the W900SAR is essentially a home away from home.

Making it comfortable is a must.

The Aero Roof cab features a 1360mm bunk, customised shelves, a microwave, two fridges, and ICEPACK air conditioning system.

Rated to 130 tonnes the big spec includes a longer wheelbase and an air release JOST adjustable sliding fifth wheel, an advantage when carrying oversize loads.

“On the return journey the loads can change in size and shape so when we need to shift it back a bit we have that option,” said Wyton.

“The freight we cart can be all different stuff and that might mean not being able to get the weight far enough forward or back and it doesn’t take much movement of the pin to throw weight,” he said.

That can make a big difference for the ride of the driver. Especially if they’re doing long-distances according to Wyton.

“If they get kicked from behind, they can push the JOST turntable forward a touch and get more weight forward which helps with the ride,” he said.

“It’s about getting our weight right and adjusting weights by putting more onto the steer axle or taking weight off it depending on the circumstances.”

Kenworth W900SAR Legend Aero Roof cab.

The Kenworth W900SAR Legend is built on a double chassis rail right through.

Wyton favours a NeWay suspension despite a prevalence of late by some roadtrain operators in the industry who have shifted to a PRIMAAX air suspension.

“We’ve been using NeWay for a long time and never had an issue with it,” he said.

“Given the nature of the work and the distances involved if there was an issue with the product we would have found it by now.

“I know it’s a little bit heavier, but I’ve stuck with NeWay because it’s a product I know and trust.”

Wyton also opted for a taller rear axle ratio of 4:30:1 given the application.

“I feel as though these engines don’t like revs,” he said.

“Cummins X15 don’t sound right up in the revs, so I’ve geared this one a little bit taller so it’s not revving so hard and chasing a better fuel economy and better longevity out of the motor.”

Predominantly most people in the application are comfortable at 4.56:1 or a little bit lower for three trailer work according to Wyton.

The Wyton name might sound familiar to Australian Kenworth afficionados.

There is a historic connection with the brand.

It was Michael’s grandfather Doug Wyton who purchased the first Kenworth sold by Brown and Hurley back in 1965.

That 318hp Kenworth W923 cost £15,000.

American drivelines are still very much in vogue on the rugged long haul tasks which are mainly handled by Western Stars and Kenworths.

The fleet runs 18 prime movers, six rigids on local work and three semis in total.

One of the ongoing challenges in the market, especially for managers of smaller fleets, has been in ensuring every asset has an allocated ride.

Fortunately for Wyton that isn’t an issue at present.

“I’ve got a driver in every truck for the first time in three years,” he said.

“Work wise we can’t complain. We’ve got enough to do.

“But all my long distance drivers are 50 plus years of age. There’s no youngblood coming through.

“I’ve got a couple of young fellas in the yard but by the time they get old enough to drive or they can get insurance they’re normally off doing something else.”

Wyton believes more tax breaks need to be offered to lure and retain young drivers.

“Perhaps it’s time to look at the [living] away from home allowance again,” he said.

“We are a part of a vital industry that provides valuable services to communities around Australia.

Wyton said truck driving needs to be appealing for the next generation to consider it as a serious career path.

“They’re given little incentive in tax breaks even though they’re living out of a 2×2 unit for most of their stint with limited access to showers and toilets other than roadside stops which must be timed right with driving hours and breaks and next to no access to grocery shops to buy supplies.”

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