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Old 12-03-2012, 09:13 PM   #1
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Spartan - Class A - "Extol" Concept Gas Chassis



Louisville, KY -- Spartan Chassis displayed a new concept chassis called the Extol, a front engine, gasoline powereed, Class A chassis at the 50th RVIA Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky. Seen for the first time by RV industry members, the Extol had a lot of people looking into the rails and asking questions.



The Extol is comprised of a straight ladder type frame with bolted cross members. The front axle of the concept chassis was fitted with large air bags on semi trailing arms with rebound controlled by custom tuned Bilstein shocks. The wheel ends on the Extol were equipped with air brake components. 22.5 inch tires are used on the concept chassis which were mounted on bright aluminum wheels. The engineer at the display shared that the Extol could also be conventionally sprung with leafs and equipped with hydraulic brakes if it were ordered that way. The Extol will feature a 50 wheel cut.

Although the concept rail did not exhibit any standard hardware systems that one would see on a fully functional chassis, the powertrain on the concept is what the buzz is all about. The prime mover for the front gasoline powered Extol would be the PSI 8.8L MPI V8 engine. The 8.8L engine as seen in the concept would provide 430HP and 512 lb-ft of torque. The Extol is equipped with an Allison 2000 series automatic transmission.



The chassis is planned to be rated from 22,000 pounds to 28,000 pounds on wheelbases from 178 inches to 228 inches. The Extol will most likely undergo OEM frame sectioning where a plug is inserted stretching out the wheelbase. This has been a standard practice that OEMs have pursued since the early 2000s. There are manufacturers that do it better than others however what is evident is that the Extol's power train would be up to the task of powering chassis from 33 feet to 39 feet long without too much difficulty at all.

In production, service will be provided by over 585 authorized Spartan service centers. A Road Side Service program will be provided in partnership with Good Sam and provided by 40,000 mobile service providers.

Since Workhorse closed its doors there has been no competition in the gas motorhome chassis market. Ford will continue to get the majority of the orders for the foreseeable future and the remaining orders would be up for grabs between Spartan and American Power. Over the past few months since Workhorse stopped shipping, OEMs have compiled data that clearly show that they sell so much percentage of diesel vs. gasoline motorhome chassis. Those percentages are unlikely to radically change therefore manufacturers will continue to build on their successes. Whether competitor gasoline chassis will make any in roads using technology enhancements into the existing gasoline market is still up for speculation however I expect that business plans exist where it makes sense for Spartan to bring a product to market.



In my opinion it is unlikely that the Extol will make it to market much before the 2014 model year since the 8.8L engine has yet to achieve on-road federal certification. Once the certification is obtained and Spartan builds its first chassis for the OEM industry, it is expected that this will give customers choices and choice is what drives competition. RV customers are always looking for the edge when they buy products and the 8.8L engine and Allison transmission combination will generate a lot of interest from the buying public.

For more information about the PSI engine see the article on the iRV2.com Facebook page: Power Solutions International | Facebook

For more information:
Spartan Chassis.com
1451 Reynolds Road
Charlotte, MI 48813
517-543-6400
.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Extol.pdf (1.45 MB, 121 views)
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:06 PM   #2
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Looks great Allison and air bags and looks like air brakes, some one needs to test drive it, you should be first in line.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:13 PM   #3
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... someone needs to test drive it, you should be first in line.
Roger if the opportunity presents itself, I'll be there! You know it!
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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I hope psi can achieve EPA certification. It is major mountain to climb in engineering and cash resources. CARB and EPA are looking beyond 2014 with a co2 limit in addition to lowering the current HC / NO2. Difficult to do in heavy duty truck market.

This emission challenge will be as difficult for the Ford V10. I would not rule out Ford dropping the gas option and installing their Diesel used in F350.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:54 PM   #5
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This emission challenge will be as difficult for the Ford V10. I would not rule out Ford dropping the gas option and installing their Diesel used in F350.
About that please allow me to say this; the reprsentative at the Ford exhibit at the RVIA wanted me to make sure that I made a point of dispelling any rumors that the V-10 is going away anytime soon.

We did speak about alternative fuels for the V10 as all they had to do was harden the valve seats. In so far as the gasoline model, it is not expected that emissions are going to be the determining factor that kills off the engine. Ford seems to have that under control for the near term.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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I think it's a great idea. The competition will help keep Ford honest and drive both to build a good product. Competition is good.

There is such a gap between the current gas class A chassis and diesel pushers. Offering air ride suspension and air brakes will help bridge that gap for those who want a better ride and braking ability. A 28K GVW also helps bring back some of the CCC that we seem to be losing a bit more of every year.

Going back to a large displacement engine with lots of bottom end torque is going to be a hit with RVers, especially anyone who had the Workhorse with the Vortec 8100. Assuming it passes EPA and can be priced to the right market segment my only concern would be the availability of service for the engine. Being not overly available in the on-highway market it may be a bit harder to get parts locally or find qualified service techs.

I'd sure like to see it happen because Spartan does a great job on everything they do and this would definitely raise the bar.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:49 PM   #7
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Great news to see that there is still manufactures looking to explore and expand their product offerings.

I figure if it does come out to market it surly will be refined by the time I am ready to purchase our next one in eight years
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:26 AM   #8
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It looks like a great opportunity for Spartan, provided they can overcome the certification and parts availability issues. With the price differential between gas and diesel currently at 60 cents to some places almost a dollar a gallon the big gas unit will really appeal to a large segment of the market and with the air ride, air brake issues solved it could sway a lot of folks in the Class A market, now if they would just put that engine in the back where it belongs and get that dog house gone and quiet the cabin down they would really have something. All just my opinion, not to be confused with fact.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:03 PM   #9
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I'm assuming that the 8.8 engine is based on the Chevy big block?? Did Spartan get the tooling for that??
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:07 AM   #10
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I'm assuming that the 8.8 engine is based on the Chevy big block?? Did Spartan get the tooling for that??
427435, (nice screen name) No sir, The 8.8L engine is going to be supplied by Power Solutions International (PSI) to Spartan. One of our members has already pointed out the differences in bore and stroke from the GM engine however there will be some similarities between the 8.1 and the 8.8 in appearance.
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:30 AM   #11
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427435, (nice screen name) No sir, The 8.8L engine is going to be supplied by Power Solutions International (PSI) to Spartan. One of our members has already pointed out the differences in bore and stroke from the GM engine however there will be some similarities between the 8.1 and the 8.8 in appearance.
The tooling necessary to economically produce an engine is very, very expensive. While bores and stroke can change, the key thing is the center line of the bores. Obviously, the tooling for the BB GM engine is still in use somewhere. Does GM still do the machining or has that been sold to another company??
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:50 AM   #12
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The tooling necessary to economically produce an engine is very, very expensive. While bores and stroke can change, the key thing is the center line of the bores. Obviously, the tooling for the BB GM engine is still in use somewhere. Does GM still do the machining or has that been sold to another company??
427435; PSI claims to be able to supply engines at the OEM level. I expect that they are doing their own machining for their own proprietary builds.

GM has long since removed from production the 8.1L engine and has retooled the Tonawanda facility for small bore diesel engines.

On the PSI website, the 8.8L engine is not on the radar screen as a product however I have a brochure here in my office.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:13 PM   #13
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Driver: Are the air bags only on the front of the chassis or are there bags in back also?

Thanks, Mike
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:12 PM   #14
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Driver: Are the air bags only on the front of the chassis or are there bags in back also?
Mike, It's a 4 bagger!

The standard suspension is expected to be leaf springs and hydraulic brakes. Air bag equipped is going to be an option. On a gas unit like this they might choose to run an electric air pump. As shown in the prototype the Extol is also equipped with air brakes.

I don't think that buyers are going to want to hang another belt driven accessory on the front of the motor if buying a gasoline engine but who knows. An air pump might just take the place of a Hydro-Max unit but I think on this class of vehicle I would rather go with hydraulic, 4 piston, Meritor Quadraulic brakes.
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