NISSAN DIESEL AMERICA made its first appearance at an NTEA truck product conference, introducing its UD Truck lineup and offering guidelines on how to install commercial bodies and equipment on its line of cabover chassis.

The company has three new chassis models for the current model year-the UD1200, the UD1800CS, and the UD3300. With these introductions, UD fills every GVW class from 3 to 7.

The UD1200 has a GVW rating of 12,000 pounds. It is powered by a 4.6-liter four-cylinder diesel. The optional Aisin automatic transmission is an electronicallycontrolled four-speed.

The UD1200 competes directly with one-ton trucks. "Its maneuverability is an advantage," Nissan America's Evan Smith said.

The UD1800CS is a hybrid chassis. The "CS" stands for city spec, a truck that has most of the specifications of the standard UD1800 chassis but is priced more competitively.

The UD3300 is Nissan Diesel's reentry into the Class 7 market after a four-year absence.

Lighter UD models have a 29.5-inch frame rail spacing. The 1800CS has a 31.1-inch-wide frame and a high-tensile steel frame option when ordered with the 156-inch wheelbase. The remaining UD models have industry-standard 33.9-inch-wide frame spacing. (For a more detailed report on the new UD entries, see the August Trailer/Body Builders, Page 46.)

Nissan Diesel has sold 30,000 UD trucks in the U S market, a figure the company plans to surpass sharply in the coming years. UD expects to sell 3,600 trucks during its fiscal year 1998 ending March 31, 1999, 4,200 units for the next fiscal year, and 5,000 for fiscal year 2000.

Several investments are in place to help make that goal achievable. The company has opened two regional offices-an eastern office in Swedesboro, New Jersey, and a western office in Irving, Texas. Also new are parts support managers, additional technical support managers, and district managers.

Nissan Diesel America added a parts distribution center in New Jersey this year, giving the company three PDCs. The PDCs offer training to dealer and customer personnel.

The company operates four port facilities for bringing the chassis into the U S. The facilities are located in Seattle, Washington; Long Beach, California; Jacksonville, Florida; and Port Elizabeth, New Jersey.

"The result of all of these changes has been a sales increase of 42% compared with the prior year," Smith said.

The company also is working to increase the number of dealers from the present 130 to 200 by the year 2000.

Recommended Practices Larry Schultz, vice-president of service operations, offered several recommendations when working on UD chassis:

* Remove the battery during body or equipment installation.

* Electronic control units should be disconnected from the wiring harness when welding on the vehicle.

* Fuel tanks include lead plug melt-out plates designed to keep the fuel tank pressure from rising in the event the tank is subjected to fire. The fuel caps do not. If the installation of a fuel-related accessory requires the removal of the plate, the original fuel tank cap must be replaced with a cap that contains a melt-out plug.

* Use the proper SAE-grade fasteners when attaching brackets to the frame. UD does not recommend welding to the frame rails or crossmembers.

Getting Wired UD trucks offer simple tie-ins to the chassis electrical system with dedicated electrical circuits, Schultz said. The body-light supply wire is located on the left frame rail near the transmission. The prewired circuit ties into the headlight combination switch. Body lights will operate with the switch in either of two positions.

The 12-volt circuit is rated at nine amps. If the total body lighting requirements exceed nine amps, Schultz offered two options. One is the fuse panel inside the cab. It has a spare 15-amp power source for a load of less than 10 amps. If the load requirements exceed 10 amps, UD recommends that a new power source be wired into the vehicle junction block, a fusible link, or wired as close to the battery as possible and protected with a circuit breaker.

A PTO prewiring feature is standard on all light and medium-duty models. It allows engagement of the PTO through a dash-mounted electrical on-off switch. It does not allow the PTO to engage unless the operator first releases the clutch.

The PTO kit that is available through Nissan Diesel America includes PTO assembly and mounting hardware, the on and off switch, clutch-limiting switch, and necessary relays. It also includes a warning lamp that is incorporated into the instrument cluster.

The tail light and backup light harnesses include 36" of additional length so that the lights can be positioned on the rear outer edges of the body without splicing more wire into the wiring harness.

New ABS One of the most significant changes to 1999 models is addition of ABS for hydraulic brakes, Schultz said. The three Class 5 vehicles from Nissan are equipped with a Nippon ABS that uses a single four-channel modulator that splits the front and rear axles.

The UD2300, UD2600, and UD3000 models use a two-channel modulator. The Class 7 UD3300 model is a full air-brake chassis.

The ABS warning lamp comes on when the ignition switch is in the on position. It will not extinguish until the vehicle reaches a road speed of approximately 4 mph.

The Class 3 and 4 vehicles are equipped with a vacuum hydraulic booster, disc front brakes, and self-adjusting rear drum brakes. It is a dual-braking system that does not require the final-stage manufacturer to make brake performance adjustments to a load-proportioning valve.

Six of the UD Class 5-7 models have air-over-hydraulic drum brakes. The system uses an air-brake treadle valve that signals the booster assembly where the energy is multiplied to the corresponding hydraulic brake pressure. The energy then moves through the ABS modulators and the brakes. The system includes an 8.8-cfm air compressor, two separate brake booster assemblies, and an air drier.

The UD3300 is equipped with full-air drum brakes. The external frame-mounted air tanks incorporate a protective top plate with skid protectors for the air tank drain valves. The truck comes standard with front-mounted Anchorlok spring brake assemblies that leave the rear of the axle assembly clear for equipment or body installation.