Freightliner Argosy

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It may surprise many people today, but half a century ago, cabover tractors were very popular in America. This lasted until 1976, when the length limit was lifted in the USA. This freed up the hands of truck manufacturers. From that moment they were able to produce bonneted trucks with huge, sleeping compartments. Later, it was the bonneted layout that became the hallmark of American tractors. In addition to the fact that to service the engine on such trucks it was not necessary to raise the cab, the long hood and the exhaust pipes led upwards, gave the car style and charisma.

The Freightliner Argosy was the last cabover tractor in America. Despite the absolute love of Americans to bonneted tractors, the Argosy was loved by some drivers. There are features on this truck that I have not seen on any other truck. Just the retractable steps!
The name of the truck Freightliner Argosy is consonant with the ship of Odysseus, – “Argo”. The truck was equipped with four modifications of cabins; – 63d Day Cab, 90d Mid Roof, 110d Mid Roof and the largest cabin – 110d Raised Roof. The truck was produced with wheel arrangement types; – 4*2, 6*4 and even 8*4. In addition to the USA, this tractor was in demand in Australia and New Zealand. The Argosy truck was built on the Century frame and was produced with it and Columbia at the same time.
This truck has no hood, but it is a real American truck, produced from 98th to 2021. Today this truck can be bought on the secondary market.

Price and sale of Freightliner Argosy.

While gathering information for the article, I familiarized myself with the cost of these tractors from Freightliner today. So one with 700,000 miles on it, a 2003 Freightliner Argosy sold for $63,000 in Pennsylvania. With the same mileage, a Freightliner Argosy with a Raised Roof cab and a 450 horsepower Cummins engine is selling in California for $40,000. I’ve also seen a 2004 tractor for sale in California for $33,000. Of course the value is mainly determined by the condition of the machine. So one ’99 in Missouri sold for $128,500.
Today, the price of a Freightliner Argosy tractor can fluctuate by multiples. Again, – the price tag is completely determined by the condition of a particular truck.

Appearance and photos.

Of course, the main feature of this tractor is the absence of a hood. The exhaust pipe as on Century is moved upwards, – behind the cab. Fuel tanks can be open, or closed with plastic fairings.
Headlights of round shape also remind of Century. But the main feature is the exit steps. In order to move out the steps you need to press the button located at the bottom of the handrails, or just open the door – the steps will move out. When you close the door, the steps will hide back into the cabin. You may notice a sign on the steps advising the driver to hold on to the handrails.
The handrails attached to the cab are reminiscent of the Renault Magnum. And as with the French tractor, these handrails get dirty all the time.

As on other Freightliner tractors, the Argosy windshield consists of two parts. Pay attention to the slope of the windshield. The slope is quite significant and I can’t remember any European tractor where the windshield is sloped as much. This is done for better aerodynamics. In addition to the significant slope, there are special air ducts in the area of the windshield and side windows, which should draw air away from the side windows, which should contribute to their cleanliness.
In the right door you can notice a window through which the driver can notice a passenger car under the right side. The Argosy can be equipped with alloy wheels. Under the door handle on the door you can see the Argosy inscription.

Interior and equipment.

The gearbox lever in the Argosy is considerably shorter than on any tractor of this brand. There is no transmission tunnel in the Argosy cab, but the floor above the engine is slightly higher than in conventional trucks. As we said above, when you close the door, the steps slide under the cab. The Argosy cab itself is wider than on any of the company’s conventional trucks. As on other trucks, Argosy has a digitized speedometer in both miles and kilometers.

Under the headliner you can notice a loop of pneumatic klaxon. Of course, the tractor is equipped with a standard, electric horn. The front panel has the same buttons that you may have seen on the Century and Columbia.

On the windshield there is a curtain, which is very useful during vacations. But this is the norm, which can be found on other tractors of different manufacturers.

To raise the cab you must first press a special button on the front panel, and only then go to the rear of the cab and press the lift button. The tall and long Raised Roof cab is equipped with a hatch in the roof.
On the rear wall you can see the heating and music controls.

Engine and technical specifications of Freightliner Argosy.

Under the cab of the Freightliner Argosy were installed Detroit Diesel engines with an output of 500, 530 and 560 horsepower, as well as Cummins engines with an output of 485, 500, 525, 550 and 600 horsepower.
There are not many electronics in this, American-made truck. So the oil dipstick here is traditional and it’s very long. It’s probably about 2.5 meters long.
The Eaton Fuller ten-speed manual gearbox is also familiar from the company’s other trucks. The box has a cable drive and is not equipped with synchronizers, which significantly increases its life, although it requires special skills when driving.

There is no hood, which in itself has an extremely positive effect on maneuverability. In addition, the front wheels of the Argosy, as well as on the Century are rotated by 50 degrees. This Freightliner uses Meritor axles. Among spare parts you can find oil and fuel filters by Donaldson. The moisture separator filter is located behind the fuel tank and can be replaced without lifting the cab. The starter can be removed by simply folding down the steps. It is also not necessary to lift the cab.
The cabin can be lifted by electric or pneumatic lift. And the cab itself in the raised state is held not on one, but on two hydraulic cylinders, which reduces the load on the frame and spars.
The front suspension is double sprung. By the way, there is a special hinge for closing the engine compartment cover.

For the most part, the solutions used in Agrosy can not be called unique, because they can be found on other trucks of the brand. What makes this truck unique is the absence of a hood. Yes, – there is no hood, but there is a huge sleeping compartment with a very wide lower bed. Very interesting is the pull-out steps. I’ve never seen that on any other truck.

In the USA everything has been done to make a company, and even more so a private driver – carrier choose a vehicle with a bonneted layout. Not only roads, but also all infrastructures in America are designed for long truck trains. In Europe, despite the bonnetless layout, nobody will buy such tractor of course, because of such purely American solutions as unsynchronized gearboxes. Such trucks are valued in Australia, but due to such American qualities as relative simplicity of construction and maintainability.

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