Mercedes-Benz has completely revised the Axor model series. Closely modelled on the Actros in visual and technical terms, the Axor is the specialist for payload-optimised construction operations with a high proportion of on-road use and creates the link between the new Atego and the Actros. To this end the Axor series was completely restructured last autumn. In addition to the previous two and three-axle semitrailer tractors (4x2 and 6x2), there are heavy solo trucks with two axles (42 und 44) and a gross vehicle weight of 18 t, three-axle variants with 25 t (6x2) and 26 t (6x4) gross vehicle weight and – completely new - four-axle variants with a GVW of 32 t in an 8x4 configuration as a platform for tipper and concrete mixer bodies. By virtue of the Mercedes-Benz modular construction system, this has produced a self-contained family of heavy trucks below the Actros with the main focus on construction transport operations.
NEW: Axor 6x4 and 8x4 as a tipper and concrete mixer
In a different payload category, the three and four-axle Axor models for construction operations which are now starting to be delivered to customers have a role comparable to that of the Actros family. Accordingly the new Axor construction variants are designed for the particularly payload-sensitive construction sector with a high proportion of on-road applications. Compared to the Actros, which is designed for traction, overload capability and difficult terrain, the Axor has a payload advantage of up to 300 kg as a tipper and up to 200 kg as a concrete mixer.
For customers supplying the construction industry the light tippers and concrete mixers provide a real cash benefit, for in view of increasing cost pressure it is the actual freight or payload that is increasingly important for operators carrying bulk materials or delivering concrete.
More payload means higher profits
The optimised payload of the new construction Axor from 260 kW (354 hp) has been achieved with a number of new features – including weight-optimised, parabolic front springs, bumpers made of impact-resistant plastic with a swing-out step and fully-shrouded, maintenance-friendly disc brakes on the front and rear axles instead of drum brakes. The vehicle also features the still compact but 18-centimetre longer S-cab with space behind the seats for jackets and working boots, plus good cross-cab access by virtue of the lowered transmission tunnel. The front air intake and optional exhaust mounted between the second and third axle of four-axle variants help to ensure that the Axor does not tip the scales at a single gram too much.
Since August the new Axor construction variants have been equipped with a 16-speed transmission and robust HL7/HD7 planetary axles. This means that they are also well-equipped for occasional off-road operations. At a later stage the light Axor construction vehicles will also be available with even lighter, single-ratio hypoid tandem drive axles. A conventional nine-speed manual transmission will also be available.
The new Axor models for light construction-site operations are equipped with pneumatic brakes with a constant pressure of 10 bar – ensuring short braking distances and low fading under frequent use. The disc brakes used for the first time are a new feature for off-road vehicles. In conjunction with the optional, electronically controlled Telligent braking system, this means that the Axor sets new standards in terms of braking safety. All the other two-axle Axor construction vehicles are also equipped with this braking system, though drum brakes continue to be used at the rear axle for 4x4 all-wheel-drive vehicles.
Plenty of stowage space for a tidy workplace
The Axor construction vehicles are equipped with the 180 mm longer, European version of the S-cab as standard. The extended rear wall of this S-cab allows space for additional stowage behind the seats.
The redesigned interior of the cab features a large number of practical stowage facilities. All the controls are logically and clearly arranged within easy reach of the
driver, from the A4 document tray on the instrument panel to the penholder and ashtray, and from the heating/air conditioning controls to the power take-off switch for the tipper and crane tipper.
There are further stowage spaces above the windscreen for a radio, CB radio or "FleetBoard". The high-grip steering wheel is pneumatically adjustable at the touch of a button, by a maximum of 66 mm in height and by 22 to 39 degrees for angle. The switch array in the driver’s door features all the controls for mirror adjustment and heating, as well as for the optional power windows, central locking and convenience closing system.
The air-controlled heating quickly responds to desired temperature changes and can be individually adjusted. Eyeball vents on the doors prevent the side windows from misting up. The warm airflow also forms a "thermal wall" inside each window when outside temperatures are cold, and in the summer the driver benefits from a flow of cool air.
Power units: three engines in five output classes
The new Axor is powered by three basic six-cylinder engines in three displacement classes. The six-cylinder OM 906 LA engine is available with a displacement of
6.37 litres and outputs of 170 kW (231 hp) and 205 kW (279 hp), with a maximum torque of 810 and 1100 Nm respectively. A recent addition to the engine range for the Axor is the enlarged version of the six-cylinder unit, the OM 926 LA with a displacement of 7.20 litres. This has a rated output of 240 kW (326 hp) and a maximum torque of 1300 Nm.
The OM 926 LA is an evolutionary development of the familiar OM 906 LA turbodiesel unit. Boring out the cylinders from 102 to 106 millimetres and installing a new crankshaft with a stroke of 136 rather than 130 millimetres has produced a working displacement of 7.20 litres. The new engine generates its rated output at 2200 rpm and, like the basic engine, maintains its maximum torque from 1200 to 1600 rpm.
Compared to the OM 906 LA, the larger engine has modifications to components such as the pistons, connecting rods and crankcase, as well as a different crankshaft. Modified injection nozzles, a slightly lower compression ratio, a larger turbocharger and an adapted air intake are further major features of the larger engine.
Certain variants of the BlueTec-4 versions of these Axor engines which are currently being phased in with a displacement of 6.37 litres exhibit slightly higher output and torque values than the Euro-3 versions described above.
As before, the large-displacement in-line six-cylinder OM 457 LA is available in the output classes of 260 kW (354 hp), 295 kW (401 hp) and 315 kW (428 hp). At 1850, 2000 and 2100 Nm in the most powerful version, the maximum torque is more than ample and already becomes fully available at 1080 rpm. With one exception the key engine data for the BlueTec 4 versions, which Mercedes-Benz is including in the range in good time for the date when Euro 4 comes into force (1.10.2006), remain unchanged: the Axor with 354 hp – identification number “35” in the model designation – changes to a 360 with the identification number “36”.
Transmissions: eight plus one in a double-H
Six, nine and 16-speed manual Mercedes-Benz transmissions configured to suit the relevant engine output are available for the new Axor. A nine-speed range-change transmission developed since 2004 replaces the previous, approximately 30 kg heavier twelve-speed version with a splitter box. The technical features of this
G 131-9 unit (basic four-speed transmission plus range-change plus crawler, accommodated in a compact light-alloy housing) are based on the tried and tested G 221-9 direct-drive range-split transmission. The unit represents a particularly economical solution for light-duty combinations, for example trailer operations or as a semitrailer combination.
The gears in the G 131 transmission are shifted manually with hydraulic and pneumatic servo assistance. This system, whose launch coincides with the premiere of the Axor, offers the advantages of hydraulic gearshifting combined with a significant reduction in effort for the driver.
Telligent gearshift with 16 speeds for more demanding assignments
The splitter box turns an eight/nine-speed transmission into a 16-speed unit. The G 211-16, a direct-drive version of this (top gear has a ratio of 1:1) is available for the new Axor, while the G 240-16 variant with two overdrive gears is optionally available for the Axor with a 12-litre engine in conjunction with the HL7 rear axle.
The G 211-16 transmission is available for the new Axor with either the OM 906 LA or 926 LA engine, both in manual form and with the semi-automatic Telligent gearshift familiar from the Actros, where it has proved extremely popular. This transmission is only available with Telligent gearshift for the Axor equipped with the OM 457 LA. Thanks to computer-assisted gear selection, the capable, fault-free management of more than eight main gears becomes possible for any driver.
In conjunction with a range of robust and efficient rear axles, this comprehensive line-up of transmissions allows an optimal drive train configuration for the tasks in hand.
Frame and chassis: solid and lightweight
The frame adapted from the Mercedes-Benz Actros meets all the requirements for the new Axor in light to medium construction operations. It was designed for a high carrying capacity, using CAD systems and calculations according to the finite element method. Despite its low weight, the frame meets the highest requirements in terms of flexural strength and torsional elasticity. The uniform matrix of holes to accommodate cross-members and body components encourages standardisation.
All steel-suspension variants of the Mercedes-Benz Axor are equipped with parabolic springs. The standard shock absorbers and stabilisers are specifically configured for these parabolic springs. The slightly forward inclination of the two-stage rear spring – with a lower back-up spring – produces neutral to slightly understeering axle characteristics, and therefore improves handling safety. The springs are mounted on maintenance-free molecular rubber bearings, eliminating the need for either central or manual lubrication. Finely coordinated stabiliser and spring configurations greatly reduce the loads acting on the springs and cargo, while also meeting the legal requirements for road-friendly design.
Service intervals: individual according to wear and tear
The requirements for improved economy and lower operating costs were also at the top of the list of specifications when developing the Mercedes-Benz Axor. The optional Telligent maintenance system constantly monitors all the major operating parameters like the ambient temperature, fluid levels such as fuel, coolant, engine oil, steering hydraulics etc., the condition of the air filter and brake linings, and the temperature of the oil in the engine and drive axles. Depending on the operating conditions, the service intervals are always scheduled in accordance with the greatest possible reserves of wear and tear to service fluids and wearing parts.
When servicing is due, the optional Telligent maintenance system automatically informs the driver in good time, by means of a message in the display on the instrument panel. The available "buffer time" can also be called up on the display at any time if required. This enables the customer to time and coordinate the servicing schedule in line with his own experience. The maintenance strategy can also be preset.