When petroleum hauler Dixon Bros. in Newcastle, Wyoming, wanted to save weight, haul more payload, and enhance productivity, the new Kenworth 40-inch sleeper became the company’s choice for its Kenworth T880s.
“We haul primarily gas and diesel to convenience stores, coal mines, and airports, and also transport propane to wholesalers. Most of our runs are 250 or fewer miles one-way, but we do go as out as far as 500 miles – and we do run into Canada,” said Jim Dixon, who founded Dixon Brothers 56 years ago.
Dixon Bros. Owner Jim Dixon founded the company 56 years ago. He is shown with one of his Kenworth T880s equipped with the new Kenworth 40-inch sleepers.
Dixon Bros. operates 120 power units, nearly all Kenworth models. They’re purchased through Motor Power Kenworth – Billings in Montana. Dixon said the Kenworth T880 with the 40-inch sleeper is now the configuration of choice for Dixon Bros. The trucks feature 525-hp engines and 13-speed automated transmissions. The higher horsepower engines are needed since combination weights can reach as high as 129,000 pounds in Montana and Idaho.
When Kenworth launched the 40-inch sleeper last fall, Dixon was quick to recognize the potential benefits. “We run some Kenworth T880s with 52-inch sleepers. Before the 40-inch sleeper, we had to obtain special permitting to run in Canada because of our overall length. With the smaller sleeper we saved 12 inches to reach a 244-inch wheelbase, which allows us to run legal in Canada,” Dixon said.
“We can also now mount the lift axle closer to the steer axle to optimize weight distribution. And with the complex bridge laws in the United States, we wanted the 40-inch sleeper so our spec would work in all areas and regions. Kenworth’s 40-inch sleeper is the right size for us, and also offers additional payload opportunities with a 260-pound weight savings compared to the 52-inch sleeper,” he said.
Dixon said his drivers might use the sleeper once a week, “or it could be once a month – overall pretty minimal,” he said. “But, we need the 40-inch sleeper just for that, the occasional night’s sleep. It’s also a safeguard for bunk time in bad weather.”
Kenworth provides a very versatile product lineup with three sleeper configurations for the T880 and four for the T680, according to Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.
“Some customers need sleepers for everyday living – and we offer what we feel is the premier sleeper in the industry – our 76-inch high and mid-roof models,” said Swihart. “Other truck operators prefer a more compact sleeper for occasional or emergency bunk time. And some want a sleeper compartment that allows the shortest wheelbase possible to conform to overall length laws, while still offering sleeping space.”
According to Swihart, each sleeper has its own niche – especially Kenworth’s newest sleeper, the 40-inch model. “This sleeper works great in several vocational industries – especially in certain tank and bulk hauling operations, flatbed, and for those running wreckers. For those who can configure a truck around a smaller 40-inch sleeper, the benefits can be significant, as Dixon Bros. has learned.”
The 40-inch sleeper has a compact, yet comfortable sleeping environment and optimal storage. A 24-inch wide by 75-inch long, liftable bunk with 90-degree tilt offers easy access to under bunk storage. The sleeper provides more than 22 cubic feet of storage space to handle gear for occasional stays in the sleeper, and has storage shelves and a cell phone cubby.
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