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Mack Titan

Posted: August 1, 2014 by Jim Park

My ears popped when I pulled the door shut at the beginning of this test drive, and that became a benchmark for the rest of the day. You don’t get an airtight seal in a less-than-solid cab. Every other aspect of this truck proved equally satisfying.

Nobody could ever question Mack’s place in the heavy-haul sector, but the company has been without a truly big truck since it discontinued the CL model a few years ago — or the RW Superliner before that. The 500-hp E9 V8 was the last big engine Mack offered. Now there’s Titan and the MP10. I think time will prove it was worth the wait. 

Based on the Granite vocational series and featuring Mack’s Cornerstone chassis, Titan will go anywhere. Intended applications include logging, oil field, heavy-equipment and float service, and severe heavy haul. Options exist to spec Titan exactly for any job. Frame rails are available in 8mm, 9.5mm, and 11mm thickness with optional full or partial 5mm inserts and application-specific crossmembers.

The front axle is set back 41 in. to boost payload capacity, but its high ground clearance provides a good approach angle for sharp inclines and uneven terrain. We never saw any terrain more uneven than some of the frost-heaved and pot-holed roads north of Barrie, Ont., but Titan’s ­suspension did get a bit of a workout.

The good folks at Mid-Ontario Truck Centre in Barrie made arrangements with G.H. Stewart Construction of Orillia, Ont., for both a trailer and a load for this test drive. I had nearly 39 metric tons of gravel in a self-steer quad Custom end dump, grossing 58,500 kg (128,960 lb). Right up Titan’s alley.

How Big Is It? “I was passed by a Pete 379 and
found myself looking down into the other guy’s cab.”

Just pulling out of the yard, I knew I was onto something special. I short-shifted the first three gears and swung the truck into a left turn crossing Dunlop St. and headed for Highway 400. At about 800 rpm, I left myself lots of revs to pull through the turn. The truck pulled easily from 800 up to 1,300 as I straightened out and could easily make the next shift. There’s tons of torque in the low end of the power band — just where you want it.

From Dunlop St. to the 400 extension is a long gentle pull, maybe a three-percent grade, but Titan still managed to maintain decent acceleration. Even with a good five minutes of 100-percent engine load pulling the hill, the coolant temp never climbed above 180 degrees.

During a good pull and even at highway cruise speed it’s quiet enough in the cab to easily maintain a conversation. The Rawhide interior does a great job at noise reduction, but you can still hear the big MP10 chugging away — a sound that’s not at all hard to get used to.

I didn’t need to venture too far from Mid-Ontario Truck Centre, having found a suitable variety of road conditions in the area between Midland, Orillia, and Barrie. The truck held the road very well on the two-lane sections of Highways 11 and 12 and some of the side roads I ventured down. Steering was firm and positive, but not laborious. I don’t like an "easy" steering box, and this one proved just right for the load and road conditions.

With a wheelbase of 241 inches, it’s not a small truck, but it managed the tight turns well, even with the four axles on the ground out back trying to keep me straight. The self-steering front axle of the quad helped with the turning radius, but the MP10 had to work a little when pulling a tight 90-degree turn. 

Titan’s cab sits behind and well above the
engine for optimized under-hood airflow.

 Drivers who do it every day might disagree, but pulling nearly 65 tons feels good. The suspension is loaded the way it was intended to be, and the engine has to work. There’s a good two-to-three-mile grade on northbound Highway 11 at Orillia, just south of Highway 12. It’ll slow most any truck down by a cog or two, but the MP10 hit the top in 7th-over with 150 rpm to spare before a downshift would have been required.

I exited at Highway 12 and headed northwest toward Highway 400 for the trip back to the dealer. On the 400 heading south, I was passed by a Pete 379, and found myself looking decidedly down into the other guy’s cab. I hadn’t noticed before just how high the Titan cab sits off the ground.

The Titan has a good measure of ground clearance, and the cab sits high on the frame (just look at the line from the top of the steer tire back to the door sill). You need both of the two steps to get into the cab, and once you’re there, you have a commanding view of the world around you.

The cab is mounted high on twin wide-spaced air bags with shocks to neutralize the harsh bumps, while stabilizers prevent cab sway. The extra altitude will be welcome in the environment this truck will operate, particularly the off-road ­portions. Even with the big tall hood, ­visibility wasn’t an issue at all.

What you get with Mack’s Titan is a truck that’ll tackle most any off-road environment while keeping the driver in highway comfort. The big power from the MP10 will keep very heavy loads moving at highway speeds, while giving it the grunt to pull off-road grades with ease. It’s a solid and thoughtfully designed work truck that wouldn’t be out of place at a show & shine event.

Mack’s RW and CL models might have been the heavy-haul benchmark a generation ago (in truck terms), but that bar has been moved up several notches.

For more on the Titan, check out www.titanbymack.com.

 

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