Automotive

Volvo shows off new gearbox by pulling 750 tonnes from standstill

Volvo's FH16 pulled 750 tonnes to show off its new crawler gear system
Volvo's FH16 pulled 750 tonnes to show off its new crawler gear system
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The Volvo I-Shift system gives drivers hauling heavy loads a helping hand
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The Volvo I-Shift system gives drivers hauling heavy loads a helping hand
The crawler gears can maintain between 0.5 and 2 km/h
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The crawler gears can maintain between 0.5 and 2 km/h
Truckers who have to haul mining or logging equipment in tricky conditions will be grateful for Volvo's system
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Truckers who have to haul mining or logging equipment in tricky conditions will be grateful for Volvo's system
You won't be troubling the upper reaches of the speedo in your crawler gears
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You won't be troubling the upper reaches of the speedo in your crawler gears
The I-Shift gearbox grows by 12 cm if crawler gears are added
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The I-Shift gearbox grows by 12 cm if crawler gears are added
Volvo's explainer of how the I-Shift system works
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Volvo's explainer of how the I-Shift system works
The truck gets loaded up before its big record attempt
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The truck gets loaded up before its big record attempt
Volvo's FH16 pulled 750 tonnes to show off its new crawler gear system
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Volvo's FH16 pulled 750 tonnes to show off its new crawler gear system

Dual-clutch gearboxes are fitted to everything from family wagons to world-crushing Bugattis in cars, but haven't had quite the same impact in the trucking world. Having launched its I-Shift dual-clutch gearbox in 2014, Volvo has now added crawler gears to the system in an attempt to broaden its appeal. Unsatisfied with a traditional launch, the company has shown off the transmission by pulling a 750-tonne load from standstill.

Rather than using a specially built truck to handle the 20-trailer, 40-shipping container load, Volvo lined up in an FH16 with a factory-spec drivetrain, axles and gearbox. Designed to make life easier for drivers tackling slippery surfaces with heavy loads, the crawler system allows trucks to maintain speeds between 0.5 and 2 km/h (0.3 - 1.2 mph).

Because they're coupled with the regular gear ratios in the dual-clutch gearbox, there's no real disadvantage once you've got your heavy load up to speed. Even fuel economy is unchanged, although the gearbox is 12 cm (4.7 in) longer than a regular unit.

The I-Shift gearbox grows by 12 cm if crawler gears are added
The I-Shift gearbox grows by 12 cm if crawler gears are added

Driven by former "World's Strongest Man" title holder, Magnus Samuelsson, the truck hauled its load 100 m (328 ft) in Gothenburg with trucking journalist Brian Weatherley in the passenger seat. Weatherley was impressed by the feat, arguing he'd "never seen anything like it" during his time in the industry.

I-Shift with crawler gears can be combined with 13- or 16-liter engines across Volvo's range. Although the truck in Volvo's promotional stunt pulled 750 tonnes (827 tons), equivalent to 150 adult elephants or four Boeing 747s, the gearbox and driveline are rated to 325 tonnes (358 tons) for regular use.

A video of the attempt, complete with excitable voiceover and dramatic music, is below.

Source: Volvo

Volvo Trucks - Volvo Trucks vs 750 Tonnes: An extreme heavy haulage challenge

4 comments
habakak
Mighty Magnus....it was fun watching him back in the day. He was always a great competitor. Good to see he is doing well. And what a crazy achievement by Volvo!
McChowdy
So wonderful that Volvo can come up with such awesome transmissions on their trucks & my wife's 2001 Volvo S60 AWD that we've loved and cared for, for many years has a very well known transmission problem where the car starts to jerk in low gear at slow speeds that Volvo just continues to ignore. According to the dealership there's nothing we can do to fix it, hey just buy a new Volvo. Lovely.
normthe1
An Australian currently holds the record with a 1300 ton pull in 2006. Mr Trucking Journalist lacks subject matter knowledge...
Michael Wilson
I'm glad Volvo Trucks is staying true to its swedish roots, still making powerful, quality equipment. They parted ways with volvo cars long ago. @McChowdy the gearbox problem prevalent in the early P2 S60s dates to a faulty valvebody, servo cover and possible solenoid replacement. It was really just a terribly designed transmission all together. I have a 2002 model that shifts well, but some ill-informed individual changed the transmission fluid incorrectly and caused 3rd gear to go missing (removed the 3rd gear band bolt). Volvo updated the valve body and solenoids to address the problem, but good luck in getting them to fix it.