Image credits: © GMC. GM Corp

2003 GMC TopKick


2003 GMC TopKick
So many market-driven design innovations have been engineered into GM's new conventional-cab line of Class 4-5 trucks that it's safe to say the medium-duty segment will never be the same again. In fact, the launch of the new 2003 GMC TopKick C4500/C5500 Series trucks has set lofty new standards for best-in-class vehicle capability, durability and performance. 2003 GMC TopKick
In addition to their unparalleled maneuverability and visibility, these new trucks sport improved powertrains; stronger, more-versatile frames; a fresh, aerodynamic exterior design and safer, more comfortable interiors. Plus, there's a wide range of vehicle configurations to suit nearly every medium-duty application. The C4500 Series carries a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 16,000 pounds, and the C5500 is available in 18,000- and 19,500-pound GVWRs.

2003 GMC TopKick
Best-in-class maneuverability
Increased maneuverability can mean increased safety and time-savings - things that commercial-truck customers really care about. So, thanks to new steering geometry, longer front-suspension springs and a set-back front axle, maneuverability in the new models is best in class.

2003 GMC TopKick
The wider front tracks of the TopKick C4500/C5500 Series models permit a 53-degree wheel cut and greater stability, allowing turning diameters as low as 35.3 feet. On average, that equates to curb-to-curb turns 17 to 19 feet shorter than in comparable competitive products. The complete redesign of the steering system and axles provides excellent on-center feel, effortless tracking on the highway and minimal correction on rough roads. Entry and exit into the cab is also easier, thanks to well-placed and generously sized steps and convenient assist handles.

Reliable and durable
Already boasting the least amount of unscheduled downtime in their class, according to J. D. Power and Associates, these new medium-duty trucks have been designed to provide even more reliability and durability, and are also easier to service should repairs become necessary. A unique service design, called 'Priority Access System,' integrates components into major modules within the engine compartment allowing groups of parts to be removed by a technician either independently or in sequence, depending on how much accessibility is required.

Other upgrades have been engineered to increase reliability and lower the overall cost of ownership. For instance, all C4500/C5500 Series models are designed off a medium-duty chassis that features a more robust and durable foundation frame, constructed with higher 50,000- and 80,000-psi-strength steel.

Braking-system design improvements include not only longer design life, but also a simpler disc-brake-pad removal and replacement process. The electrical system has been redesigned to take advantage of new multiplexing technology, meaning fewer wires and connections doing more work with less complexity. And a whole host of new service-design features have been engineered into all-new Duramax engines, resulting in higher durability with lower operating costs.

Other key components, such as new bolt-on door hinges validated to a half-million full-load duty cycles and regulators, handles and check links, have been upgraded for increased reliability. A new, one-piece engine accessory-mounting bracket allows for better alignment of all components for longer drive-belt life. The trucks' air-conditioning systems feature self-sealing lines, which can be disconnected without the loss of any refrigerant, while new 'snap-to-connect' power-steering and air-brake lines help make repairs that were once tricky fast and easy.

Even the exterior paint features a long-lasting, fade-resistant, high-gloss finish, to keep the truck looking newer, longer. These and a myriad of other serviceability enhancements in a variety of critical areas combine to significantly improve customers' bottom-line profits.

Increased visibility
Another major factor contributing to safety and cost savings is increased visibility. Visibility in the new models is best in class, thanks to an aerodynamic sloping-hood design, a windshield that is some 40 percent larger in area and integral convex outside rearview mirrors which are larger than the old door/cab-mounted mirrors. The state-of-the-art exterior mirrors are attached to the body-side cowl to greatly reduce vibration during operation and can fold forward and backward, making them less prone to damage.

2003 GMC TopKickThe net result is the ability to see objects on the ground as close as 13.8 feet in front of the truck (as measured from the front bumper), which gives a 13-foot sight advantage over comparable competitive models (with their average of 26.8 feet). That's even better than the forward visibility measurements of many compact pickup trucks.

Plenty of power and torque
In medium-duty trucks, power and torque are the name of the game. To that end, available Duramax 6600 6.6L turbodiesel V8 and Vortec 8100 8.1L gasoline V8 engines drive the TopKick C4500 and C5500 Series trucks to the head of their class in both power output and performance.

The Duramax 6600 with 300 horsepower at 3100 rpm and 520 lb-ft of torque at 1800 rpm outmuscles competitors such as the Ford PowerStroke 7.3-liter V8 and Cummins 5.9-liter six-cylinder diesels. The standard Vortec 8100 also provides a higher, best-in-class gas V8 rating of 325 horses at 4000 rpm and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2800 rpm. Lower-rated Duramax and Vortec versions are available to optimize fuel economy.

Both the Duramax 6600 and Vortec 8100 mate to high-capacity transmissions, including an electronically controlled Allison 1000 five-speed automatic or a fully synchronized ZF six-speed. The Allison offers a Power Take Off (PTO) option - available for the first time in a conventional-cab GM Class 4-5 truck.

World-class braking
To go along with all that class-leading power is world-class braking, thanks to new hydraulic four-wheel antilock-disc-brake systems with standard four-channel ABS, electronic brake distribution and available traction control. The C4500 and C5500 trucks use two systems to optimize performance for particular GVW requirements, but both offer reduced stopping distances, lower pedal effort and quieter, longer-life operation.

Depending on the required capacity, the brakes use either a HydroBoost (C4500) or HydroMax (C5500) booster for their actuation. Both operate on the same principle, with the power-steering pump supplying the booster power. A tandem (split) master cylinder provides the independent front and rear circuits for the hydraulic brake system. Sensors warn the driver of 'low fluid' or secondary brake failure. A traction-control system, available for the first time, helps in improving acceleration and vehicle stability on slippery surfaces by employing the ABS hardware to help control wheelspin.

Expanded model range
The totally redesigned and re-engineered TopKick C4500 and C5500 Series trucks enjoy an expanded model range for complete freedom of choice, allowing customers to find exactly the right truck for the job. They are available in regular, commercial and RV cutaway chassis cabs in two-wheel drive, and there are also six special vocational packages offered, including school bus, shuttle bus, ambulance, fire and rescue, wrecker and snowplow applications. Crew-cab and four-wheel-drive models will be phased in later.

The key to low-cost modifications rests with new superior-strength frames. All models share a stamped, straight-section, C-channel frame, providing maximum strength and a clean back-of-cab design for easy, low-cost body and equipment installations. By using three variations of frame strength, GM's Class 4-5 models optimize weight- and load-carrying capability for their specific applications, without requiring any reinforcement.

The C4500 and C5500 frames are so strong that even the lowest-rated frame has a higher strength rating than the 36,000-psi rating of comparable competitive frames. New crossmembers are web-mounted to the frame, providing additional torsional stiffness and rigidity. The stronger, longer frames allow wheelbases ranging up to 235 inches, with plenty of rear overhang for upfitter applications. Fuel tanks, available in four different capacities, are mounted cleanly between the frame rails. They include 40-gallon, 60-gallon and 80-gallon single tanks, and 40-gallon capacity provided by dual tanks.

Finally, the new TopKick C4500 and C5500 Series models improve on the best-in-class ride and handling features of the previous-generation C-Series. Tuned tapered-leaf and multileaf spring suspensions combine with a new three-point cab mounting system to optimize the flexing capability designed into the new, stronger frames. These new trucks are substantially quieter - achieving a 50-percent reduction in NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).

More room and comfort
New cab designs provide more room and comfort by blending the operator-friendly feel and easy-to-use controls of light-duty trucks with the functionality of a true medium duty. A full range of seating options is available for one to six passengers (three to six with the crew-cab model), including driver and front-passenger air-suspension seats for optimum comfort. There's even more front-seat head, shoulder and hip room. To enhance safety in the event of a collision, a driver-side air bag is available along with an available passenger-side air bag with on/off switch.

Powerful climate-control systems are capable of heating and cooling cabs twice their size, and gas-engine models also provide best-in-class defroster performance. Amenities include a range of high-quality Delco audio systems, large cupholders, map pockets, 12-volt power points and flexible storage, including seat-delete options for extra interior room and a step-well storage compartment, complete with a locking hinged door.

Source - GMC


2003 GMC TopKick
As part of GM's extensive revamping of its conventional-cab line of C-Series medium-duty trucks, GMC has expanded its Class 6-8 chassis-cab lineup to include models with easier loading capability and longer-wheelbase models that handle larger bodies and more carrying capability. The move allows the 2003 GMC TopKick C6500, C7500 and C8500 Series trucks to offer easier upfitter installations without the need for extensive and costly modifications. 2003 GMC TopKick
'Our expanded lineup of TopKick C6500-C8500 trucks offers more variety and longer wheelbases to accommodate any customer's needs,' said David Dunahay, marketing director of medium-duty products, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. 'Úpfitters will also like the way in which they're able to mount bodies and equipment more easily and inexpensively.'

2003 GMC TopKick
Bigger wheelbases and frames
Overall, the new Class 6-8 models offer a wider choice of 16 Regular Production Option (RPO) wheelbases to take on a broader range of applications and improve customers' productivity. Wheelbases now reach up to 296 inches on single-axle models and 308 inches on the tandem-axle trucks, compared to the previous 281-inch maximum.

2003 GMC TopKick
The longest-wheelbase models use a 450-inch frame, which is 80 inches longer than the previously largest size. This allows customers to easily mount bodies up to 30 feet in length on single-axle models without the need or expense to extend the frame. Frame strengths can be ordered in 50,000-, 80,000- or 110,000-psi ratings, depending on application and GVW ratings.

Regular-cab models provide a clean back-of-cab design with fuel-tank capacities of up to 75 gallons. Crew-cab versions, with their 41 inches of additional cab length, also provide a clean back-of-cab design with fuel-tank capacities of up to 75 gallons. All C6500-C8500 models have a standard clearance for engine-mounted PTOs.

There is a wide range of available equipment options, enabling customers to tailor their trucks to fit a particular job, territory, driver, climate and other such variables. Plus there's a LoPro Package available on C6500 models which reduces chassis height by about 4-5 inches over regular Class 6 models, thanks in part to a specially 'notched' frame.

Expanded powertrain choices
Led by an expanded lineup of new and upgraded inline diesels and automatic transmissions, TopKick C6500-C8500 models provide outstanding power, performance and durability, along with reduced operating and maintenance costs.

'Our new powertrains nail every requirement for high performance, low operating costs and long-term reliability and dependability,' said Dunahay. 'They also enable customers to more precisely tailor powertrain selections to their specific needs.'

The new inline six-cylinder diesel lineup features a special version of the Duramax 7800. This engine offers a total of 10 separate power ratings and mates to carryover Eaton Fuller and Spicer manual transmissions, Allison 2000/2400 Series automatics and the Allison MD 3000 Series automatics.

Power ratings of the new Duramax 7800 range from 200 to 275 horsepower at the same 2200 rpm; maximum torque ratings range from 520 to 860 lb-ft, all at 1450 rpm. The Duramax 7800 also provides an outstanding durability rating of 410,000 miles without requiring major servicing.

2003 GMC TopKickCustomers requiring a premium, high-range engine can opt for the Caterpillar 3126E, an inline, air-to-air aftercooled six-cylinder diesel with three valves per cylinder and an HEÚI (Hydraulically-actuated Electronically-controlled Únit Injector system). All CAT 3126E diesels are exhaust-brake compatible and approved for operation up to an altitude of 10,000 feet. Their 11 different horsepower ratings range from 175 to 300 hp. Torque offerings range from 420 to 860 lb-ft.

Finally, the Vortec 8100 gasoline V8 provides Class 6-8's lowest-cost engine, plus a low-cost entry for conversion to alternative fuel use. Its attractive price and features make it an ideal choice for municipal truck operators and other customers who need medium-duty capability for their work but don't log a large number of miles on a yearly basis. The Vortec 8100 mates to the Eaton Fuller manual transmissions or the Allison 2000/2400 Series five-speed automatics.

With more power than ever, the Vortec 8100 offers 295 hp at 3600 rpm and 440 lb-ft of torque at 3200 rpm, or a version with 225 hp at 3600 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque at 1200 rpm that boasts a flat torque curve for better fuel economy and increased durability.

Also available are the Allison 2400 and Allison 2000 five-speed automatics with certain power ratings/axle combinations on all engines. The two transmissions provide many benefits over the AT Series they replace, including improved gradeability and top vehicle speed, 7 percent better fuel economy and reduced maintenance costs, thanks to a spin-on oil filter that reduces service costs by up to 60 percent.

Improved axles and propshafts help the C6500-C8500 Series achieve best-in-class handling characteristics, while chassis upgrades also provide outstanding ride comfort. Tapered-leaf front suspensions are standard. Adding a front stabilizer bar permits using a much lower spring rate to soften the ride. Without it, stiffer springs are required. Twin-tube 35mm shocks provide the damping. Single-stage multileaf spring suspensions are also available on the heaviest front axles to maximize strength and control. Rear spring suspensions continue to be available in two-stage parabolic tapered-leaf or multileaf design. Single-axle models also offer the Hendrickson air-ride suspension.

Improved maneuverability and visibility
Wider front axles provide higher steering angles and therefore shorter turning diameters, giving the new C-Series improved maneuverability. The axles have the tires further away from the frame, giving them more room to turn and allowing the trucks to take full advantage of their new steering system. The wider axles also provide more stability.

A new, aerodynamic, sloping front hood helps the C-Series trucks attain improved forward visibility. The C6500, C7500 and C8500 models, with slightly higher frames and cabs, provide an extraordinary 18.8 feet of forward visibility. A lower-height instrument panel in all models ensures even shorter drivers of a full view of the road.

World-class braking
The TopKick C6500-C8500 models have a low-drag, four-piston (opposed), fixed-caliper brake design. Premium, high-capacity, 70mm, four-piston brake systems are now standard on both the front and rear.

The twin-piston systems feature a new pin-sliding design. Heavier models, rated at 19,500-lb GVWR and up, employ a new 'totally fixed mount' caliper design. Both brake designs reduce wear, corrosion and potential caliper binding by separating the function of moving the caliper from that of applying actual clamping force to stop the truck. What's more, new non-asbestos brake linings last up to twice as long as before.

New mechanical driveline parking brakes provide easier access to the brake handle on C6500 - C8500 models. And on C8500 trucks and tractors, four-wheel ABS Rockwell Q Plus air-drum brakes are again offered for longer service life.

Building a better truck
Thanks to major renovations and expansion, GM's Flint (Mich.) Assembly Plant has become GM's new core commercial truck manufacturing center. New, state-of-the-art equipment and machinery and the best practices and processes of GM's light-duty truck plants are being used to produce the 2003 TopKick line with improved quality and more efficient customer delivery. For example, some 80 percent of the operations in Flint's new body shop are now automated, with robotics providing consistent high-quality welds and sealant applications from one cab to the next.

What's more, the new trucks also have a high degree of parts commonality, which simplifies assembly and further enhances quality. Many former regular production options (RPO) and special equipment options (SEO) are standard.

GM's Janesville, Wis., plant will continue building previous-generation medium-duty trucks into mid-calendar year 2002 to ensure product availability for customers during the transition to the new products at Flint.

Sales, service and marketing partnerships
A new joint venture, General Motors Isuzu Commercial Truck, LLC (GMICT), now consolidates General Motors and Isuzu medium-duty commercial vehicle sales, service and marketing functions in the Únited States. The partnership, announced late last year, is designed to better meet dealer and customer needs and long-term growth in the medium-duty commercial vehicle segment.

GMICT takes advantage of the established strengths of both organizations by improving operational efficiencies for the GMC, GMC and Isuzu dealer networks. The GMC, GMC and Isuzu brands remain intact while advertising and sales promotion are developed and implemented jointly. With the combined GMC, GMC and Isuzu medium-duty truck dealers, the new company serves over 750 dealerships.

Source - GMC

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