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Fuel for Thought

You Bet Your Chassis

By Greg Huggins
Posted May 8th 2019 8:22AM

Deciding to buy a truck, new or used, can be a daunting task. Once you have figured out what you can afford, you have to find it...or build it.

For years, new truck buyers had a few options. Buy one off the lot or order one. Get a stock sleeper with whatever options were available from the manufacturer or order a fully customized sleeper. While there are positives and negatives to each, these were the choices. Sacrifice a little comfort in a stock sleeper or get all the amenities you can imagine in a custom sleeper...but at a substantial price. Do you NEED a 96 - 144+ inch sleeper? Can you afford one? If the answer is NO, fret no more, you now have another option.

Buying a new truck starts with spec’ing the truck for your application. Engine, transmission, rear differential(s), tires, wheels, fuel tanks, color, etc. Then you need to decide on the interior. Color(s), seats, flooring, gauges, trim levels, etc. Then you would naturally move to the sleeper accommodations. One bunk or two. Fixed bunk or folding bunk. Cabinetry design and material(s). Colors and trim levels. Inverter and appliances. Once that is done, if not already decided, what about auxiliary power? APU or generator, maybe solar or battery HVAC. And the list goes on and on. It seems there are quite a few choices when ordering a new truck, and there are, but there are limits.

Now there is a truck that can be a stock/custom.

Why settle for a stock sleeper? For a whole lot less than a full custom sleeper and daycab, you can get a custom sleeper in a stock sleeper cab.

Everyone has their own opinion when it come to brands. Diehard (insert truck manufacturer name here) fans can be found everywhere, but if you are a Freightliner fan and you have not considered a Western Star yet, now is a good time to rethink it. For that matter Volvo, Kenworth or Peterbilt fans should look into the Western Star 5700xe Aero with an 82” Stratosphere Ultra High Roof.

Western Star is known for being very customizable from the factory, and while they have great options for a factory sleeper, you can also order one with bare walls and have a custom sleeper installed in it for a fraction of the cost of a full custom sleeper with a day cab. If you don’t think 82” is a big enough sleeper for you, stay tuned for the next installments in this series. You will be surprised by what can be done, of course, it all starts with the right chassis.

While I have long since been a Freightliner guy, after looking into some options, I decided to go with Western Star. My current Cascadia and the Western Star 5700xe might share a lot of components, but there are many differences as well. Many of the dependability features of the Cascadia are present in the Western Star. Solid powerhouse in the Detroit engine. Dependable Detroit DT12 AMT transmission. They even share the same frame.

I opted for the custom sleeper in the empty stock sleeper. Any truck sleeper can be made into a custom sleeper, but why pay for all the sleeper interior parts, only to have them removed for customization. That’s just added cost.

Stay tuned for future articles featuring the building of a Western Star 5700xe Aero 82” Stratosphere Ultra High Roof Straight truck!

You bet your chassis you will like it!

See you down the road,