There are plenty of trucks out there, but some of them are the toughest big rigs you can get and they usually deal with the most demanding working conditions. The Freightliner 108SD is one of them, as it was designed to conquer the most severe environments that require maximum maneuverability and strong towing capacity.
The Freightliner’s 108SD severe duty model is available with a bunch of strong Cummins engines, multiple power take-off (PTO) options and a solid chassis engineered for arduous missions.
With a GVW (gross vehicle weight) rating of up to 79,000 lbs., the truck is also pretty versatile and is available in both front engine and rear engine configurations with many PTO options available. The Freightliner 108SD has a starting price of $78.700 and is available in three cab configurations including the Day Cab, Extended Cab and Crew Cab.
The Freightliner 108SD features a conventional cab design which gives it an imposing stance enhanced by the inverted hexagonal grille finished in black paint. The rugged nature of the truck is also evident thanks to the high ground clearance and the solid metallic bumper which was designed to go head to head with the toughest conditions without baking down. Moreover, there is also available an optional 3/8” steel logger bumper which is fitted with a heavy-duty center tow pin that provides 80,000 lbs of towing capacity.
We find the front light clusters a bit too small compared with the gargantuan size of the truck, but they offer a good road visibility during night. Furthermore, they are available with halogen composite headlights for easy replacement and LED turning signals, which use less energy and have a longer life than the conventional lights. Clear or amber fog lights are mounted under the bumper while optional daytime running lights and swivel-mounted utility lights are also available.
The Freightliner 108SD uses C-channel frame rails with or without a frame rail liner for additional reinforcement. For enhanced solidity, heavy duty cross members can be also installed with high strength Grade 8 hex bolts or optional Huck Bolt chassis fasteners.
When designing the 108SD’s cab, Freightliner used lightweight, anti corrosive aluminum reinforced with e-coated steel for more solidity. Thanks to the safe-oriented design, the cab meets all the A-pillar impact, rollover and back wall impact tests. Moreover, the chassis has a robust backbone with either single or double channel frame rails for extra strength.
For enhanced versatility, the truck is also available with integral front frame extensions in either 6" or 24" lengths. Thanks to this feature, the vehicle offers a solid mounting point for hydraulic pumps, winches, hose reels, front stabilizers and snow plows.
Thanks to the well placed grab handles and the low height of the anti-slippery steps, getting in and out of the cabin is pretty easy, despite the relatively low door openings (62-degree).
The standard Freightliner 108SD cab is fairly spacious with plenty of head and legroom for both the driver and passenger, while the optional extended and crew cabs provide even more space which can be only described as extravagant.
As we’ve expected, the dashboard is pretty basic featuring the typical curved design and being fitted with a bunch of useful controls which have a pretty intuitive layout. The cabin is far from being considered modern and we’re not big fans of the fake wood trim either. We’re growing tired of the rock hard materials typical for this category of vehicles, but continue to be impressed with the overall ergonomy which is pretty good despite the dated look.
We’re also glad to see that Freightliner has found an uncluttered way to arrange the instrument cluster gauges which don’t distract you from the road. For enhanced versatility, the Freightliner 108SD is also available with company’s SmartPlex™ Electrical System which helps you to easy configure the truck to suit specific body installations.
We don’t have any complains about the seats either, as they are fairly comfortable even for a long run, and despite their lack of an adequate side bolstering, they offer a proper back support and come with a wide range of adjustments. Not to mention about the tilt/telescoping steering wheel, which further enhances the comfort. On the other hand, the steering wheel looks dated compared with other trucks in the segment and is a bit too big for our tastes, as is hard to use. We’re also surprised to find only a few storage places and cup holders around the cabin.
On the other hand, the high driving position makes you feel like a general which is ready to command its troops. The all round visibility is also superb and besides the generous glass area, the truck is also available with door-mounted mirrors with optional heat and remote control.
Engines and performance
The Freightliner 108SD is powered by Cummins ISB or ISC engines which offer up to 350 horsepower and 1000 lb-ft torque. The Cummins engines have already proven their reliability and offer strong performances with capable torque figures and controlled emission levels.
The Cummins ISB 6.7 liter engine is develops between 200–325 HP and 520–750 lb/ft and features a HPCR (High Pressure Common Rail) fuel system, which allows it to make multiple injections per cycle, maximizing fuel economy and performance.
The Cummins ISC has a capacity of 8.3 liter and offers one of the highest power-to-weight ratios in its segment, being available with replaceable wet liners and an XPI fuel system.
The engines can be mated on either Eaton or Allison transmissions which are available with different power take off (PTO) options to suit a wide range of specific applications. A smart PTO packaging also allows a cleaner installation behind the cab.
|Engine||Cummins ISB6.7||Cummins ISC 8.3|
|Horsepower||200-325 hp||260-350 hp|
|Peak Torque||520-750 lb-ft||660-1000 lb-ft|
|Governed Speed||2600 rpm||2200 rpm|
|Clutch Engagement Torque||400 lb-ft||500 lb-ft|
|Number of Cylinders||6||6|
|Oil System Capacity||4 U.S. gallons||6.3 U.S. gallons|
Ride and handling
The truck is available with a wide range of rear suspensions with optimized ratings including Hendrickson walking beam and air ride, or Freightliner’s AirLiner and TufTrac units. The 108SD features axle ratings of 10,000- to 20,000 lbs on the front and up to 46,000 lbs on the rear.
Judging by sever duty standards the ride is pretty forgivable and the suspensions are able to absorbs most of the shocks without too much drama.
For an enhanced handling the Freightliner 108SD has a 42” set-back axle position which offers a better weight transfer to the front axle. The light steering offers an adequate response and even if it’s not the best in the business, it’s still able to offer sharp turns. Moreover, with a wheel cut up to 50 degrees and a swept-back bumper, the Freightliner 108 SD can be maneuvered without too much drama even on the tight roads.
The Freightliner 108SD is a tough truck which blends well in the rugged landscape of the construction sites and also in the demanding conditions of the utility projects or refuse industries. The cabin has a strong build quality, while the chassis is also well built and offers a high level of versatility.
The interior design is a bit dated for today’s standards, but you won’t complain about the overall ergonomy or the built quality. There truck also offers generous payload capacities, while the Cummins engines provide strong power ratings and are able to get the job done without too much fuss.