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Curled up with a Cat


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Australasian Truck News (ATN) / July 9, 2014

In a busy year for Navistar Auspac, yet another variant of the Cat CT630 heavy duty prime mover has hit Australian roads.

The short bumper to back of cab (BBC) CT630SC is Cat's first dedicated 26m B-double linehaul prime mover and features a locally developed high rise walk-in sleeper cab.

The new truck essentially mirrors the long distance attributes of the flagship 630LS but in a B-double envelope package.

The CT630 is based on the Navistar International Prostar platform and until now has only been available in day cab or extended cab form for B-double roles.

In the past I've been critical of the lack of decent driver accommodation in much of the Cat line-up and also in the lack of storage and basic amenities like locker boxes and three way storage compartments.

With the release of the SC model many of these issues have been addressed, the cab has overhead storage bins with elasticised netting over the top, under bunk storage that is accessible from outside the cab and the option of a slide out Engel fridge.

The outside dimensions of the sleeper measure 28 inches but the internal measurement of the sleeper comes in at 40 inches from the back of the seats.

Cat has also attempted to provide more foot well clearance for the driver with a new firewall engine cover.

As I've spent quite a bit of time behind the wheel of Cat trucks this year I certainly didn't need to drive it too far.

But I did need to try out the new bunk and see if it's up to the task of being a home away from home.

I found a suitably quiet and creepy spot west of Ouyen in the heart of Victoria's Mallee and bedded down for the night.

It was a chilly winter's evening as I pulled the wrap around curtains around the cab and I was expecting to wake up in the pre-dawn gloom chilled to the bone.

Surprisingly the cab seems quite well insulated and even after all the driveline heat had dissipated from the cab I was still comfortable under my doona and blanket.

The SC comes with an inner spring mattress that I found to be very comfortable to sleep on. The bed, however, is mounted quite a bit higher than some will be used to in an effort to provide more storage.

As the sleeper was developed locally, the reading light and power outlet are on the high side of the cab, while at the other end a TV was mounted near the bunk roof.

I found that care had to be taken when reaching into the under bunk storage as it's easy to hit your head on the catch.

Another annoyance was that the horn went off when I locked the doors with the remote control. This will probably cause violence and/or abuse in a rest area if someone is woken up by it.

The SC is available in either 4600mm wheelbase or 4700mm wheelbase.

My test vehicle was the shorter of the two and ride and handling was not as good as the longer version.

The Hendrickson Primaax rear suspension is stiff and stands up well but the steer axle seemed to cop some chop on rough roads.

This wasn't an issue for the 4700mm CT630S. The arrival of this cab, however, is not before time and Cat now have a linehaul truck for the east coast.



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