Western Distributing representatives recently visited the Kenworth Chillicothe plant in Ohio to claim six new W990s—one day cab and five with 76-inch sleepers—the family-owned company plans to deploy in its refrigerated division.
Western purchased the Kenworth W990s from MHC Kenworth-Denver for use by its longest-tenured drivers, who “eagerly waited for their chance to see the new Kenworth model” upon taking delivery in February.
“We run a fleet of 200 trucks, and all but 10% of those trucks are long-hoods,” said Marty Garcia, Western Distributing’s vice president. “Our drivers, many of who have driven for us for years, appreciate trucks with that traditional look. I believe that has played a major role in keeping our driver retention high.
“The Kenworth W990 turned a lot of heads when it rolled up to our headquarters. We had drivers asking if they could be considered to be assigned a W990—even drivers who were not ‘Kenworth guys.’”
While providing a truck with high driver appeal was a key factor in the decision to add Kenworth W990s to its fleet, engine performance also was important.
Western Distributing specified its W990s with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 510 horsepower and 18-speed transmissions. According to Garcia, the reliability and power of the PACCAR MX-13 engine played a major role in the company’s decision to add the truck to its fleet.
“Our refrigerated division operates predominately in the Western states,” Garcia said. “Our headquarters are in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, so our drivers constantly travel over mountain passes and rugged terrain. We needed an engine known to be reliable, coupled with the power required to traverse steep grades. The PACCAR MX-13 meets those requirements.”
For Tom Bogle, who has driven for Western Distributing for nearly 24 years, the W990 sleeper unit provides plenty of room for his 6-foot-6 frame.
“I couldn’t believe how much room there is in the W990’s cab and sleeper,” Bogle said. “You’d be surprised how much space there is in a 76-inch sleeper when it is designed right. I’ve heard that Kenworth factored in tall drivers when developing the sleeper, and I’m really happy with it.”
Bogle, who was on-hand to receive the first production W990 at the Chillicothe plant, could hardly wait to start driving the truck. After taking some time to personalize it, adding chrome and a horse emblem to the hood, Bogle began driving his W990 in the spring.
“It was such an honor for me to go with Marty Garcia and Marty Rau (Western Distributing refrigerated division general manager), to Kenworth in Chillicothe,” Bogle said. “Watching the process behind the build of the truck was fascinating. The plant employees were smiling as the truck moved down the line. You could tell they were building a truck that they were truly proud of. It made me that much more excited to start driving the W990.”
A typical trip for Bogle has him delivering beer to California and returning to Denver with fresh produce.
“I’m an old-school driver, so I love the feel of riding in a long-hood truck, operating a manual transmission,” Bogle said. “It’s safe for me to say the W990 is the best driving truck I’ve ever driven, and I’ve been on the road for a long time.”
Western Distributing’s lone W990 day cab operates out of its Denver terminal, delivering beer to Grand Junction and Montrose CO, before returning to Denver with a load of sawdust. Harold Hutton, who has driven for Western Distributing for more than 16 years, started driving regionally five years ago after driving long haul for years.
As a regional driver in Colorado, Hutton spends much of his time climbing mountain passes along his route. Operating equipment that can handle the rugged terrain he encounters is essential, and the W990 he drives is proving its worth, according to Hutton.
“I’m very pleased with the PACCAR MX-13 engine and the way the W990 has handled for me so far,” Hutton said. “This engine is outperforming and providing me with more power than the engine I had in my previous truck. When you’re navigating steep terrain, naturally an engine is going to be working hard, and in most cases, it’s going to be noisy. That hasn’t been the case with this engine. The quieter engine, combined with the comfortable cab has improved my overall experience on the road.”