The Western Star 4900 and 4800 were designed with power and versatility in mind. The trucks come with various options available which made them perfectly suited for a wide range of applications, starting with long hauls missions and finishing with vocational jobs.
The trucks are available in five configurations with both Day and Sleeper cabs and also with either set forward or set back axles and conventional or double steer configurations. Under the hood, the Western Star 4900 can be equipped with a choice of Detroit Diesel or Cummins engines which can develop up to 600 hp.
Western Star never shined when it comes to design and all its trucks look almost the same, without any fancy designs or fluid lines. The 4900 makes no exception and shares the same “brick” style as its siblings, looking like it received an overdose of testosterone.
The long hood is dominated by a robust polished grille with a chromed border and the company’s logo on top. The front bumper is also designed with durability put on the first place and features a solid build quality and a rugged shape that underlines the heavy-duty character of the truck. The rectangular headlights share the same utilitarian style as the rest of the truck and don’t add any dynamism to the overall design.
The hood is made of fiberglass and tilts open to a 90 degree angle providing easy access to the engine. We especially like the polished vertical exhaust stalks which are mounted behind the cabin as they enhance the rugged nature of the vehicle. The Western Star 4900 also comes with numerous polished or chromed elements which will make you forgot about its rudimentary design as they add a dose of modernism to an otherwise rudimentary appearance.
For maximum strength and durability, the cab is made of galvanized steel with either roped in or bonded windshield.
Hop inside, using those well placed steps and you’ll find a familiar design. The Western Star 4900 and 4800 share the same interior design with all other models built by the company and this is not a bad thing at all, as we like the overall ergonomy and the built quality of Western Star’s cab. It’s true that we still aren’t 100% convinced by the robust design, but the materials are surprisingly good for this segment of vehicles, while the fittings are also part of the high class.
The wrap-round dashboard design is not intrusive and merges well with the rest of the cabin. All the controls are big enough to be used even with gloves on and are close to the drivers’s seats being easy to reach. On the other hand, we still find the HVAC controls a bit too low for our tastes.
Besides the usual bunch of controls and switches, the center console is also fitted with the DataStar driver information center, which displays critical vehicle functions including engine data, vehicle settings, multi-trip odometer, air systems, clock, alarm and other.
The central instrument cluster is one of the most cluttered units in the segment and you’ll need some time until you’ll get use to it. The good part is that the so called “Star Gauge System”, is controlled by Swiss-made electronic stopper motors providing better accuracy, readability and reliability. We also like that the Star Gauge system allows you to lay out the instrument panel gauges any way you like, and rearrange them anytime, a feature that can’t be seen at many trucks in the business.
As we’ve expected, there is plenty of room inside and the seats offer a fair amount of head-, shoulder- and leg-room. The driver’s seat is fairly comfortable and comes with a wide range of adjustments. For enhanced comfort there is also a Premium seat available which comes with additional options. The tilt and telescoping two spoke steering wheel is also ergonomically designed and features a modern design with wood grain and leather.
The sleeper cab offers extra space and a pretty comfortable living area. The sleeper cabs are available in two heights including the 68" and 82" High Roof Stratospheres models. The cabs are offered with a variety of plush interior trims, cabinet finishes and comfort options like the Dinette Sleeper Seating Package, a premium 48" mattress, digital automatic temperature control, a refrigerator and a satellite radio/CD sound system.
Engines and transmissions
The Western Star 4900 and 4800 models are equipped with Detroit Diesel (13, 15, 16) or Cummins ISX engines. The engines are combined with standard Eaton Fuller FR-13210B (7, 10, 11, 13, 15 and 18-speed) manual gearboxes or optional Eaton Fuller AutoShift/UltraShift and Allison Automatic transmissions.
The Detroit Diesel engines have already proven their value and are able to deal with the toughest working conditions with ease. They offer sharp acceleration combined with huge amount of torques which are achieved at low rpms for maximum towing abilities.
The engines feature an amplified common rail system (ACRS) which is combined with a simple turbocharger to deliver maximum performances and smooth combustion for reduced fuel consumption.
A turbo compounding helps the truck to use less fuel without sacrificing power by recovering thermal energy from the exhaust stream and converting normally lost energy into useable power. The engines meet EPA’s 2010 emission regulations and are also offered with an integrated Jacobs Engine Brake and BlueTec SCR technology.
Thanks to the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology the Cummins ISX engine meets EPA’s 2010 regulations and comes with an advanced fuel injection technology, improved cooled EGR subsystem and a VGT Turbocharger. The Cummins ISX power ratings range from 400-600 hp with a maximum 2050 lb-ft of peak torque.
Western Star 4900 engines specifications
|ISX15 600||600 @2000||2050 @ 1200|
|ISX15 600||600 @2000||1850 @ 1200|
|ISX15 550||550 @2000||2050 @ 1200|
|ISX15 550||550 @2000||1850 @ 1200|
|ISX15 525||525 @2000||1850 @ 120|
|ISX15 500||500 @2000||1650 @ 1200|
|ISX15 485||485 @2000||1850 @ 1200|
|ISX15 485||485 @2000||1650 @ 1200|
|ISX15 450||450 @2000||1650 @ 1100|
|ISX15 450||450 @2000||1550 @ 1100|
|ISX15 425||425 @2000||1650 @ 1100|
|ISX15 400||400@2000||1450 @ 1100|
|DD15||455 @ 1800||1550 @ 1100|
|DD15||455 @ 1800||1650 @ 1100|
|DD15||475 @ 1800||1650 @ 1100|
|DD15||505 @ 1800||1650 @ 1100|
|DD15||475 @ 1800||1850 @ 1100|
|DD15||500 @ 1800||1850 @ 1100|
|DD15||530 @ 1800||1850 @ 1100|
|DD15||560 @ 1800||1850 @ 1100|
|DD16||475 @ 1800||1750 @ 1100|
|DD16||500 @ 1800||1750 @ 1100|
|DD16||535 @ 1800||1750 @ 1100|
|DD16||500 @ 1800||1850 @ 1100|
|DD16||550 @ 1800||1850 @ 1100|
|DD16||600 @ 1800||1850 @ 1100|
|DD16||600 @ 1800||1967 @ 1100|
|DD16||500 @ 1800||2050 @ 1100|
|DD16||550 @ 1800||2050 @ 1100|
|DD16||600 @ 1800||2050 @ 1100|
|DD13||370 @ 1800||1250 @ 1100|
|DD13||350 @ 1800||1350 @ 1100|
|DD13||380 @ 1800||1350 @ 1100|
|DD13||380 @ 1800||1450 @ 1100|
|DD13||410 @ 1800||1450 @ 1100|
|DD13||410 @ 1800||1550 @ 1100|
|DD13||435 @ 1800||1550 @ 1100|
|DD13||450 @ 1800||1550 @ 1100|
|DD13||410 @ 1800||1650 @ 1100|
|DD13||450 @ 1800||1650 @ 1100|
|DD13||470 @ 1800||1650 @ 1100|
Ride and suspensions
At the front, the Western Star 4900 and 4800 feature taperleaf (12,000-20,000 lbs.) or flatleaf (14,600-23,000 lbs.) suspensions, while at the rear is available with AirLiner, Hendrickson, Chalmers, Neway, Reyco or TufTrac suspensions with ratings from 21,000 through 78,000 lbs.
On the road, the Western Star’s ride is pretty good despite its heavy duty suspensions. The body roll is also kept to a minimum and the truck feels well balanced. The standard power steering is also up to the task and permits you to maneuver the vehicle pretty easy at low speeds, while at high speeds it needs only minor interventions to keep it on the straight line.
Western Star finds itself in almost the exact same place it has been for the past few years, struggling to provide enough value for the money in a highly competitive truck market. The bad part is that there are very strong competitors out there, which don’t’ offer only a bullet proof built, but also an attractive style and a more appealing interior.
However, in the trucking industry features like reliability and strong build quality will be respected forever and this is why we still like Western Star, as it never failed to prove us that it can build a truck that despite its dated design is still able to stack up against its rivals with dignity.