Scania R470

Papakura-based P & I Pascoe Cartage has always been a big supporter of Scania, but is overly thrilled with its latest purchase – a R470 6x4 with only delivery miles on the clock

Scania R470
Scania R470

When Garry Oppert first started driving for P & I Pascoe Cartage, he was there just to "help them out for a couple of weeks." He has ended up being with the company for the last decade.

Now into his 44th year as a professional truck driver, Garry has witnessed many changes since starting as an 18-year-old in a petrol-powered four-wheeler Thames Trader, but none quite seem to have made quite an impression as the Scania R470 6x4 tipper he recently started driving for the Pascoe family transport business.
"I’m really impressed with it … it’s the best rig I’ve ever driven," the transport veteran states.

Not only does the tipper version of the newest Scania range mark a milestone for Garry; it’s also quite significant for Ian and Peter Pascoe, the directors of the Papakura-based firm as this is the first brand-new Scania they’ve ever added to their fleet. Although they have about a dozen of the Swedish-badged trucks in their colours, none have ever come to the company with delivery-only kilometers on the clock … until now.
The reason? None other than Garry Oppert himself.

"We got it because of the driver," Peter Pascoe says. "That’s what he wanted, so that’s what we bought him.
"He’s a top bloke, a really good guy, and we want to look after him."
For Garry, the new Scania represents a step-up from the 4-series tipper he was previously driving. Although the truck had been well cared for, it had covered around 700,000km when he climbed in and more than 1.1 million kilometres by the time he swapped it for the new R-series six-wheeler.

While Scania’s 4-series had proven itself in a range of New Zealand conditions and had continually been improved to keep up with growing world truck trends, the R-series range had a lot to live up to when it was launched in New Zealand in March last year. It had already generated a hugely positive impact when it hit the European market and its reputation arrived here considerably earlier than the first of the R-series models.
But it didn’t take long for New Zealand operators to consider the new Scania was fully deserving of its claimed status

For proof of that, the transport industry needs look no further than the huge Scania order recently placed by dairy giant, Fonterra, which will see almost 200 8x4 R-series tankers going into the fleet over the next three years.
Those milk tankers will be powered by the 308kW (420hp) version of Scania’s 11.7-litre six-cylinder engine while the Pascoe truck is fitted with the 345kW (470hp) model of the DT12 06 Euro 3 four-stroke, direct-injection powerplant – the largest engine of that displacement in the Scania range before having to opt for the much larger 16-litre V8.
Turbocharged and intercooled, the DT12 engine features high pressure injection (HPI) and turbo-compounding, where a second turbine is situated ‘downstream’ from the main turbocharger in order to recover wasted energy that would typically be lost with a single turbine. This technology is becoming an increasingly common way of achieving an increase in power output without affecting fuel economy.

The result is an engine that delivers its power and torque in an incredibly smooth fashion. Peak torque of 2200Nm (1623ft/lb) is delivered from 1050-1350 rpm and begins to taper off just as the power curve starts to climbs steeply towards its 345kW (470hp) maximum, which it reaches with the engine spinning at 1900rpm.
With the truck loaded to its legal maximum with 28-tonne of gap-65 metal for a railway extension job in the West Auckland suburb of Henderson, the engine proved highly capable as it negotiated the traffic from south Auckland through to the job site.
When moving off, and negotiating the tight city streets and traffic in the Henderson township, the engine’s torque proved to be a real asset, allowing easy manoeuvring, especially away from traffic lights or intersections.

This performance is also achieved with a ridiculously low level of noise from inside the cab. At road speeds, the most prominent sound is generated by the air around the cab but, at idle, it’s almost possible to think the truck has stalled because there is almost no engine noise at all coming up through the floor of the R470.
However, the engine is only one of the impressive characteristics of this particular R470, with the 14-speed transmission contributing a fair chunk to what makes this truck something pretty special.

The range of standard Scania manual transmissions is pretty driver-friendly, but the computer-controlled Opticruise automatic gearshift system adds significantly to the
14-speed Scania GRS900R transmission on the Pascoe truck.
The Opticruise provides an electronic link between the functions of the engine and gearbox and, in automatic mode, the system processes a range of information gathered from sensors located around the truck. After calculating such factors as road speed, engine revs and weight, amongst others, gear selection is made automatically by servos mounted on top of the transmission.

However, the driver can also take over full manual control to override the system’s automatic shifting characteristics for situations when manual shifting is more suitable for the conditions.

Even with the Opticruise system, the truck still has a clutch pedal and this needs to be depressed when starting or stopping. In all other circumstances, the clutch pedal becomes redundant and doesn’t need to be operated during gear-changes, even in manual mode.
The system is extremely easy to operate and, once the clutch pedal is depressed, a collar on a stalk to the right of the steering wheel is turned from "N" (neutral) to the "A" setting, indicating the transmission is set in automatic mode. Then it’s just a matter of depressing the accelerator and driving the truck away, letting the Opticruise system change up or down the gears as required.

If more "positive" gearchanging is required, the collar can be turned to "AH", which sees the engine climb higher in the rev range before changing gears. This can also be achieved by depressing the accelerator pedal further towards the floor and through a "gate".
Even when in automatic mode, the driver can make the transmission shift up or down by using the stalk. Pulling towards the driver causes the transmission to climb a gear while pushing it away causes it to drop a gear.

If the driver wants to take full manual control, a button on the end of the stalk changes modes and the driver then has full manual control over the gear changes, again by pushing or pulling on the control stalk.
When in standard automatic mode, the truck tends to operate at its most fuel efficient and, around 35,000km into its operating life, the Pascoe R470 is now delivering a fuel consumption figure of 2.16km/litre (46.3 litres/100km, 6.1mpg) – not too bad for a truck that is completing relatively short runs and regularly has to negotiate the stop-start that is a part of life when driving around the Auckland region.

The same stalk that operates the Opticruise system also controls the Scania retarder – a five-stage system that can produce a maximum of 229kW (312hp) of retardation on stage five, when the retarder works in conjunction with the exhaust brake. However, the engine has to be spinning at 2300rpm to achieve this maximum retardation and it’s unlikely that many drivers will push the needles on their tachometers this high too often. Even so, the retardation system works incredibly well, almost to the point of needing to be treated with caution when operating at its maximum setting with an unladen truck.

Together, the retarder and the Opticruise, along with the cruise control system, all work together to operate a downhill speed control feature. By using a button mounted on the steering wheel boss, the driver can set a downhill speed and allow the truck to make over maintaining that speed as it descends.

Externally, the new R-series maintains many of the characteristics that mark it as a Scania and, at a quick first glance, there’s not a lot to distinguish it from the previous 4-series cabover, but the refinements are there and, when compared directly to one of its predecessors, the new R-series has a more modern appearance.

Inside the cab too, there are changes aimed directly at improving the environment for the driver, including a redesigned dash, which places everything within easy reach and storage that can handle almost anything a driver cares to pack away.
Garry is fastidious about keeping the interior of his truck clean and tidy and the ability to store everything away helps immensely, along with a brush and rags he keeps handy to ensure any dirt or mud that is carried into the cab is cleaned out at day’s end.
It’s that attention to appearance that has established Garry’s reputation with P & I Pascoe Cartage. The R-series is just reward.

By Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson is a freelance writer and business owner based in Hamilton. He has been involved in the road transport industry since mid-2000, as the editor of a trucking magazine.


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