Isuzu FY agitator video review

By: Matt Wood


Matt Wood has a go at the new, lighter weight Isuzu FY agitator truck.

 

 

The Isuzu FYJ with load-sharing twin-steer was launched in early 2013 and since its launch, word is that there’s been considerable interest in the eight legged banger.

To ice the cake, the model is also available with a locally developed lazy axle 10x8 configuration.

Engine

The FY uses a 10-litre, 350hp (257kW) engine to drive the back wheels and develops 1,422Nm of torque.

Interestingly the Japanese 6-pot meets ADR80/03 (Euro 5) smog laws by using cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) only, but it doesn’t use active regeneration to clean out its diesel particulate diffuser (DPD).

Put simply, it doesn’t have an afterburner to get rid of the soot. Instead it uses a dioxy catalyst, which pretty much uses exhaust gas temperature to clean up after itself.

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Transmission

The FYJ 2000 agitator's transmission choices come from Allison, Eaton and ZF with a choice of stick shift or full auto.

Our test truck is fitted with a 6-speed Allison 4430 RDS transmission that, if anything, is over rather than under-specced for this role.

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Suspension

The load-sharing twin-steer front end uses a dampened suspension rocker to equalise load and the rear uses a combination of Hendrickson (air or steel) and Meritor axles.

Cab and Controls

The cab comes courtesy of the FY series and all of the usual Isuzu fruit is present including the DAVE (digital audio visual equipment) multimedia unit, climate control, a tilt reach steering column and a large storage area/bunk.

The cab is comfy, spacious and well-appointed but perhaps a bit of overkill for an agitator.

This really is a prime mover cab or at least more than enough cab for intrastate and metro distribution. But as an agi, it has almost too much room — an agi doesn’t need a bunk.

The doors of the FY open nice and wide and grab handles are well placed, it’s an easy climb up into the driver’s seat. But for agi work where drivers are in and out of the cab all day it’s a bit too high off the ground.

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Parked in the driveway of the IAL engineering department in Port Melbourne there’s no denying that the FYJ 2000 is one big agi.

The 7.5 cubic-metre Cesco bowl on the back adds to the concrete credentials of the white Isuzu.

A bit of extra fruit had been added to this particular machine, mainly to show off the potential of the DAVE multimedia system.

Other standard kit includes diff locks and cross locks as well.

A flick through the menu on the touch screen brings up an optional tyre pressure monitoring system that can warn the driver of a deflating or damaged tyre.

Satellite navigation on this unit is nothing new, but Isuzu’s recently launched telematics system also means that jobs, addresses and site information can be sent to the driver via the DAVE unit.

In short turnaround roles, such as metro agi work, there’s also the potential to message the batching plant when on the return run to minimise waiting times.

A potentially handy feature, especially when a large fleet is on a big pour.

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Performance

I fired the agi into life and set the bowl on travel mode. There’s nothing complicated about getting moving, just select D and hit the go pedal.

This is where the FYJ 2000 really stands out. For an agitator it’s really very quiet.

The smooth nature of the 6UZ1 engine works well in conjunction with the Allison and the live drive power take-off (PTO) unit.

Most agitators tend to howl when under load both inside and outside the cab but the Isuzu is quiet and leaves you feeling well insulated from the mechanical process.

The performance of the FYJ 2000 off the line was a bit disappointing as the engine seemed to bog down in first gear before the jump into second, where the torque converter locks out.

Most of the competition in this kind of vehicle is using the 320hp (235kW) Cummins ISLe5 for power and the Isuzu should have a 30hp (22kW) advantage over the red North American.

However, a chat with IAL Chief Engineer Simon Humphries reveals the company was considering using a different spec torque converter to combat the initial performance lag.

Once into second gear with the torque converter locked out the eight-wheeler finds some get up and go and rumbles along easily.

The shorter wheelbase of the FYJ could theoretically have compromised its ride with a lot of axles crammed into a short space.

Somewhat surprisingly however, there was little chop in the ride of the Isuzu as I rolled through the streets of Port Melbourne. The load sharing twin-steer axle suspension has a very nice balance between ride and handling.

Some twin-steers make sure they let you know that you are hitting every bump twice.

On the Isuzu, bumps in the road and even speed humps tend to roll through the front suspension from one axle to the next like a wave, rather that impact up into the springs and the cab and ultimately; my butt and my spine.

The shorter wheelbase of the lightened model makes for quite a manoeuvrable platform.

Again the twin-steer axles gently bite into the blacktop, when changing direction it’s very easy to forget there’s actually an extra steer axle under the cab.

The FY cab is very easy to see out of and like the rest of the Isuzu range the external mirrors give a good view down the side of the truck without taking up too much space in the side windows.

Another advantage of the DAVE unit mentioned earlier is the ability to fit extra cameras which can display on the unit’s screen.

My agi was fitted with a rear camera and microphone that is engaged automatically when reverse is selected as well as a left-hand side blind spot camera.

The microphone is a great feature, which means you can hear someone yell out when they’re guiding you into a tight site; it also means that you can hear what names the traffic controllers call you behind your back while you are reversing.

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Verdict

This platform has a lot of vocational potential and under the cab there’s been a simple yet tough approach to putting it together.

The driveline also follows this approach.

Really the FYJ’s biggest issue is its cab, to really nail it as an agi, a front lift bin truck or as a one armed bandit, overall cab height could do with some trimming.

These kinds of roles keep drivers springing in and out of the driver’s seat for much of the working day and an easy step rather than a climb into the cab makes that job a lot easier.

That said, maybe getting into and out of the FY all day is a good way to work off last night’s meat lovers pizza.

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Specifications

Make/model: Isuzu FYJ 2000 8x4 agitator

Engine: 9.8-litre Sitec Series 3 350

Power/torque: 350hp (257kW)/1,049ft-lb (1,422Nm)

Transmission: Allison 4430 RDS automatic

Front suspension: Load sharing twin steer equalising dampeners and double acting shock absorbers

Rear suspension: Hendrickson air-bag with double acting shock absorbers

GCM: 42,500kg

 

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