For most operators in the standard 44-tonne bracket, the Volvo FH16-660 is going to be a bit of overkill. This is a truck designed to do the heaviest haulage. Most often you are going to find the Volvo FH16-660 hooked up to a low loader...Read More
For most operators in the standard 44-tonne bracket, the Volvo FH16-660 is going to be a bit of overkill. This is a truck designed to do the heaviest haulage. Most often you are going to find the Volvo FH16-660 hooked up to a low loader...
For most operators in the standard 44-tonne bracket, the Volvo FH16-660 is going to be a bit of overkill. This is a truck designed to do the heaviest haulage. Most often you are going to find the Volvo FH16-660 hooked up to a low loader with a serious piece of plant on the back. The Volvo FH16-660 has a 6x4 T-ride configuration and, as the name suggests, there are 660 wild horses under the cab, straining at the bit. It is also available in 580hp guise, but with a combined vehicle weight of up to 90 tonnes the bigger power plant seems a good fit.
All those horses are produce by Volvo's D16E engine. This is a 16-litre six-cylinder unit with a single piece cylinder head, overhead cam, four valves per cylinder and electronic fuel injection. The power plant meets Euro 4 standards with SCR. The 580hp engine offers 2,800Nm of torque between 1,000 and 1,450rpm, with the maximum power coming in between 1,500 and 1,800rpm. The more powerful 660 keeps the same rev bands but results in a massive 3,100Nm of torque. To harness all of that power, Volvo created a new version of the I-shift transmission system. This automated 12-speed manual box has a single dry-plate clutch but no pedal. Instead, the shifts are performed electronically, which gets rid of the need for synchromesh on the gears. For the Volvo FH16-660, though, Volvo has done away with the manual element, gently informing drivers that the beast is best tamed by its automatic wizardry. To be fair, there is still a manual override in addition to power and economy settings.
On a truck with this combined weight and all of that power, the braking system is just as vital. Thankfully, there is no chance of the Volvo FH16-660 running away from itself on the slopes as the Swedes have installed their sophisticated VEB+ system. This can conjure up stopping power equal to 580hp at 2,200rpm. The standard VEB system deploys a combined rocker arm for engine and exhaust braking duties but VEB+ adds an extra rocking arm that is utilised during braking. Apparently, this means Volvo can increase the cylinder pressure on exhaust valves to maximise stopping power. VEB+ works on the exhaust pressure governor and compression brake to manage exhaust gas flow and engine compression forces, generating superb additional retardation power. The system needs to be on top of its game on a rig with these kinds of weights and, thankfully, it is. The Volvo FH16-660 can be brought to heel in most situations simply by deploying the VEB+ system, leaving the service brakes cool and ready to intervene decisively whenever required.
The Volvo FH16-660 has been created to be more than equal to the challenges of the extreme weight duty cycles that it is mostly destined for. The immense power is matched by that fantastic braking system and the only problem will be resisting the temptation to be dismissive about the sheer mass of the combined load you are carrying. Even fully laden, the Volvo FH16-660 is barely stretching its legs as it hits the legal limit of 40mph for such loads, at barely over 1,100rpm. Keeping on the right side of the law is therefore an active task.