Equipment Spotlight Allison 4700 Automatic Transmission in Kenworth T880 Short Hood

Built for use in general construction trucks and other applications like Airport Rescue and Fire-Fighting (ARFF) Vehicles, Heavy Equipment Transporters, and Refuse Vehicles, the Allison Series 4700 is a powerful and versatile transmission. The seven-speed transmission, with “2nd Reverse”, allows for improved control as drivers are able to creep slowly and perform other slow-speed maneuvers.

“With the Allison 4700 RDS, customers can spec a highly maneuverable mixer of any type and benefit from greater precision of concrete delivery with no shifting required,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

The transmission also offers a 400-pound weight savings over other transmissions – an impressive feat considering that automatic transmissions are usually heavier than their manual counterparts.

“By coupling the Allison 4700 RDS with the PACCAR MX-11 and the T880 short hood, truck operators get a truck with a lighter gross combination weight and an additional six inches of body space on the chassis for more payload,” said Swihart. “It’s a great choice for other customers who need trucks with increased overall transmission ratios, such as those equipped with dump and refuse bodies as well as cranes.”

The Allison 4700 RDS is currently available with the PACCAR MX-13 engine as well as the PACCAR MX-11. Combining it with a short hood maximizes speed, control, and maneuverability in diverse applications.

Allison automatic transmissions can achieve faster work cycles and extend service intervals. The 4700 Allison transmission also includes a no-power interrupt system. This provides full power shifts and makes complete use of the engine’s horsepower.

“Every time you shift with a manual you take your foot off the throttle,” said Lou Gilbert, director of North American marketing and global brand development for Allison Transmission. “With an automatic you have full power shifts and gain anywhere from four to seven seconds every quarter mile. Spread those small gains out over an eight hour day and you’ll be getting more work done in the same amount of time.”

Drivers skilled in stick shifts are rare. Thankfully, with automatics, companies have the ability to use drivers with less experience. Automatic transmissions are easier for drivers to learn and don’t require additional extensive training after obtaining a commercial driver’s license – unlike the time needed to master a manual transmission.

The Allison 4700 is similar to driving an automatic transmission passenger vehicle. This makes it easier to sell its benefits to potential drivers, especially inexperienced and younger ones, on the relative ease of use – while also retaining fatigued yet experienced talent as part of the driving team. By reducing fatigue caused by near constant shifting, you can also increase overall safety and improve retention rates – an issue on everyone’s minds these days.

According to Bob Costello, the American Trucking Association’s (ATA) Chief Economist, for the last three years the annualized turnover rate for large truckload fleets has hovered around 95 to 98 percent. Add this to the current shortage of 35,000-40,000 drivers – a shortage projected to reach upwards of 150,000 by 2024 – and companies are smart to consider all of their options when it comes to enticing and incentivizing new drivers to join their teams.

One of those options is to replace and upgrade old equipment with models that are less tiresome to drive. The ease of driving that is accomplished by supplementing and replacing existing manual transmission fleets with automatic transmissions can help recruit and retain talent.

“Spec’ing an automatic transmission for tough vocational applications can also help make a Kenworth truck even more driver friendly and comfortable to operate,” said Swihart. “The Allison 4700 RDS is an important option to consider for retaining and recruiting drivers.”

The 7-speed Allison 4700 Rugged Duty Series™ fully automatic transmission is a current option on Kenworth T880 Short Hoods – providing further opportunities to make fleets easier and safer to drive and maneuver.

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