Kenworth Trucks K108

By: Dave Cox

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We take Kenworth’s 625hp 2.8m sleeper K108 out on the road.

Kenworth Trucks K108
This Kenworth K108 sleeper truck has been done up with loads of extras, from a TV to a fridge.
  • 625 CAT engine
  • Big sleeper cab
  • Plenty of storage
  • Large side opening in sleeper gives good ventilation
  • Comfortable and easy to drive

The big blue Mainfreight Kenworth rig pulling its six-axle B-train does a nightly trip from Tauranga to Wellington and then returns to Tauranga the following night.

The inside

This Kenworth K108 has been specc'ed with extras by owner Grant Norwood. The cab is described as the Delux version and comes with a huge amount of locker and storage space, including a good length wardrobe, lockers and cubbyholes in good supply.

A few other creature comforts include a fridge and a TV/DVD, which has a cut-out switch on it for safety - you can't watch TV while driving the truck.

Grant has gone for an upgraded stereo unit and has all the normal mandatory communication equipment like CB, RT and cell phone. The interior trim is the classic Kenworth buttoning in a deep red colour, which gives a warm, comforting feel to the big sleeper cab. He has air conditioning that runs independently in the sleeper alone and will do so without having to have the truck engine going. All the gauges on the dash have gold bezels around them.

The driver's seat is a top of the range ISRI seat for maximum driver comfort.

The outside

These new trucks come with lots of polished alloy, but Grant spent extra to get shiny chrome. The result is pretty good, with two chromed exhaust stacks, two chromed air cleaner tubes with chrome air intakes and a nice big exterior sun visor, which is chromed as well.

The big front bumper, which apparently is an aftermarket one, is chrome and comes with the under-run safety protection package to help in the instance of a head on crash. Grant also had some skirt extensions made (chromed of course) and then had some marker lights fitted to them to give the truck an outstanding night appearance.

The air vent covers for the side of the sleeper are polished and he has had stainless inserts made for the steps, which also have marker lights in them. Opinion Holdings laser cut some polished stainless with the KW badge to fit between the two guards.

The workings

The engine is the Cat Acert 625hp, which puts out a hefty 2050ft lb of torque and meets Euro 4 emission standards.

Slotted behind this is the Eaton 20918 18-speed Autoshift gearbox, and transferring the power to the road are the 46-160 Meritor diffs, which have a gearing of 3.9 ratio and are coupled up with Double crosslocks and Interaxle lock.

It has full ABS braking and rides on the Airglide 460 8 bag air suspension to cushion the pounding our New Zealand roads give.

The front axle is Meritor, and Grant has super single 385/55 R22.5 tyres, which certainly give it a good footprint on the road.

Twin fuel tanks give the truck a 1100L capacity. Also fitted for less maintenance concerns is Auto Greasing on the tractor unit.

The drive

I found getting in and out of the cab is still the classic Kenworth "climb the ladder and swing in the door". Although this would be difficult with a cup of coffee in your hand, and in comparison with Euro trucks may seem a little more difficult, this is definitely classic Kenworth and is taken as expected.

Once in the driver's seat I felt really comfortable and thought the gearshift lever for the auto or manual change is positioned very nicely. This whole set-up is well designed and within minutes I felt confident enough to take it to Wellington fully loaded without needing to spend an hour to come to grips with everything.

The steering is light and positive, which makes manoeuvrability easy. The big 625 Cat pulled away effortlessly with the gear selection in the manual position and we seemed to glide up to top gear.

After a few minutes on the road I had sorted the engine Jake brake out on the wee stalk that protrudes from the steering column, so I decided to give it a go in Auto mode. As it changes through the gears using its computer to decide the right revs and road speed to change at, I felt the changes were a little chunky. I have driven many auto shift gearboxes and they all seemed a lot smoother than this one. Maybe the computer's file needs adjustment to make the changes a bit smoother?

Apart from that, this truck is lovely to drive, with ample horsepower, and the visibility from the driver's seat is excellent, with nice big mirrors that are both heated and remotely adjustable.

Overall this is a top unit and has been specc'ed with so many extras it is a real head turner.

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