Volvo FH

Volvo FH

Infobox Automobile

name = Volvo FH series
manufacturer = Volvo Trucks Corporation
parent_company = Volvo AB
aka =
production = 1993-present
assembly = Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), Brisbane ( Australia), Durban (South Africa), Bangalore(India),Curitiba (Brazil)
predecessor = F series
successor =
class = Heavy truck
body_style = COE

  • Day cab
  • Sleeper cab
  • Globetrotter High cab
    layout =
    platform =
    engine = Inline 6 turbocharged intercooled
    • Volvo
      • D12A(12.1 L)1993-1998
      • D12C (12.1 L)1998-2001
      • D12D (12.1 L)2001-2005
      • D12F (12,1 L)2004-2006 EGR
      • D13A,B(12.7 L)2005-present
      • D16A,B(16.1 L)1993-2001
      • D16C,E(16.1 L)2006-present
    • Cummins
      • ISX600(14.91 L)1998-2006 (Australia)
        transmission =
        • 14 speed synchro manual
          • SR1900 (1993-1998)
          • SR(O)2400 (1993-1998)
          • VT2514(OD) (1998-present)
          • VT2814(OD) (2006-present)
        • 16 speed synchro manual (ZF)
          • ZT1816
        • 12 speed semi-automatic (I-shift)
          • V2512AT (2007-present)
          • V(O)2812AT (2007-present)
          • VO3112AT (2008-present)
        • 6 speed automatic (Powertronic)
          • VT1706PT
          • VT1906PT
            wheelbase =
            length =
            width =
            height =
            weight =
            fuel_capacity =
            electric_range = 24 V
            related =
            designer =

            The Volvo FH is a heavy truck range produced by Swedish Volvo Truck Corporation. Introduced in late 1993 as FH12 and FH16, production still continues with the now the second generation of FH range model lineup. FH stands for Forward control High cab where numbers denominate engine capacity in litres. The FH range is one of the most successful truck series ever having sold more than 400,000 units worldwide. [ [ FH12 and FH16 - 1990s : Volvo Trucks - Volvo Trucks Global ] ]


            In late 1993 Volvo had unveiled its replacement for the legendary F cabover series in production for almost 25 years. [ [ F10 and F12 - 1980s : Volvo Trucks - Volvo Trucks Global ] ] The development of FH in what it appeared to be a clean sheet of paper design took seven long years. The development of all new design 12 litre engine with its overhead camshaft and electronic unit injectors technology took Volvo among the world's leading engine design ranks.

            First Generation (1993-1998)

            There were two models, FH12 and FH16 which shared common cabs and chassis and the FH12 immediately won "Truck of the year" award in 1994. The 16 litre engine, gearboxes and the driveline were carried over from previous generation albeit with many improvements and the host of additional features including all new Volvo engine management and its diagnostics for the D12A engine.

            Design and Technology


            The cab produced at Umeå from hot dip galvanized, high tensile steel allowed for greater strength at thinner panels and box sections while reducing overall weight. The new FH cab was a logical progression from , for its days spacious but boxy F series cab to more aerodynamically efficient, with much improved ergononics and much better seating unit while reducing overall weight of the cab by almost 30%. [ [ Safety milestones : Volvo Trucks - Volvo Trucks Global ] ] The cabin was exccesively tested in wind tunel facility to confirm shape aerodynamics properties to reduce air-drag thus improving fuel efficiency. The cab featured more sharply raked windscreen while wedge shaped sides rounded into front panel at much wider radius corners and the rear vison mirrors were also streamlined.The cabin was subject to the toughest cab impact test where procedure involved placing a 15 tonne static weight on the roof and one tonne pendulum striking at the cab rear wall and at the windscreen pillars , at the end of which the cab doors must be able to be opened. [ "Nobody builds safer trucks.pdf"] In 1995 Volvo FH series became first heavy duty truck to be fitted with a SRS airbag to further improve passive safety. [ FH - 2001 - 2000s : Volvo Trucks - Volvo Trucks Global ] ]

            =D12 Engine=

            From the design angle the new D12A engine was the one of the largest engine project from Volvo Trucks since 1950 -ties at the time . The basic design was still based on direct injection in-line six diesel engine around 12 litres displacement but with entirely different fuel and valve systems when compared with previous Volvo engines. Built at the purpose built facility at Skövde on fully automated line where the bulk of the engine assembly is done by robots and the final engine "dressing is carried out manually. The D12A was designed as a "world engine" to be able to meet latest demands in high power output,low fuel consumption and lower emissions with its single OHC camshaft design, four valves per cylinder and one centrally located electronic unit injector, integrated engine compression brake and two-piece, steel and aluminium pistons. The engine design left the door open for future upgrades in both power output and emission technologies.

            = VEB=

            VEB The Volvo Engine Brake is a compression type engine brake first introduced on D12A and since used on later designed OHC engines from 9 to 16 litre displacement. The brake operates on a principle were exhaust valve cam followers acts on secondary cam profile when engine brake is activated. Engine oil pressure is used to eliminate extra valve clearance thus this action forces the follower against secondary lobes and unseating exhaust valves temporarily to achieve so-called compression bleeding as employed by similar systems from Jacobs, Cummins and Mack however Volvo system has an extra cam lobe thus giving two openings of the exhaust valves and is designed to work in conjunction with an exhaust brake so two of the engine's four strokes are used to raise engine braking effect - Exhaust and Compression strokes.
            *Operation Description
            ** The exhaust stroke is used when exhaust brake shutter closes exhaust manifold after turbocharger opening as a result exhaust back pressure is raised creating braking effect.
            **The compression stroke is used next to utilise the back presssure in exhaust where at the piston's Bottom Dead Centre the exhaust valve are opened briefly and high pressure in exhaust manifold is than let in acting against the the piston moving upwards on its compression stroke thus slowing it even more and increasing the engine braking effect.
            ** At the end of the compression stroke just before piston's Top Dead Centre exhaust valves are open briefly again to release "bleed" compression thus again slowing the piston on its subsequent downwards movement and consequently achieving engine braking effect while also storing the pressure in the exhaust manifold again using the exhaust brake shutter ready for the next repeat of the cycle.

            "Version 98" (1998-2002)

            ----In conjuction with introduction of FM series in 1998 [ [ FM7, FM10 and FM12 - 1990s : Volvo Trucks - Volvo Trucks Global ] ] , Volvo had facelifted existing FH series with minor modifications to the cab but major upgrade to the electrical system,engine and gearbox. The so called TEA Truck Electronic Architecture introduced a technical solution to possibility of various electronic control units to work and communicate with one another. The systems have been linked using two data buses or data links which allowed control units to exchange relevant information over the data network.


            TEA is a computerized control and monitoring system which is used to control and coordinate the various functions of the vehicle main components. The control units communicate over what is known as CAN at two speeds SAEJ1587/1708 @9,600 bit/s and SAEJ1939 @ 250,000 bit/s where up to eight Electronic Control Units were used to control various functions. J1939 data link is used for mission critical rapid communication among ECUs and J1587/1808 is used for diagnostic and programming link as well as "slow" communication e.g. for back up purpose. The new instrument cluster included a LCD panel to show information or diagnostic messages from the systems broadcasted via J1708 data link.

            =D12 facelift=

            The original D12A engine was considered as a rather conservatively power rated and expectations of higher horsepower output from such an engine design was always at the mind of not only designer but customers alike. The D12C differs from earlier version substantially with completely redesigned engine head , timing gears and addition of bottom end of reinforcement with a stiffening subframe to cope with increased power output to 460 HP.


            The gearboxes were based on previous SR1900 series and shared the same number of gears and gear change pattern. The SR2400 series gearbox was discontinued and replaced with the now same model shared across entire FH and FM range. Torque increase from 1900 Nm to 2500 Nm was due to changes to machining of the gears as well as use of the new type of narrower synchromesh mechanism allowing to increase gear width. The single control housing and the synchro mechanism reduced gearchange effort by about 50%. [] The control housing was also identical for left and right hand drive versions reducing overall production cost and assembly.

            Version 2 (2002-Current)

            In 2001 Volvo introduced the third generation of the FH and FM series with the cab and driveline given major makeover. [ [ VOLVO TRUCK CORPORATION LAUNCHES NEW, EVEN SAFER VOLVO FH12 WITH INTELLIGENT GEARCHANGE SYSTEM AND NEW HIGH-PERFORMANCE ENGINE ] ] with an investment cost of 600 million euros [ [ VOLVO TRUCKS INVESTS SEK 5.5 BILLION IN NEW HEAVY TRUCK RANGE ] ] Major changes included redesign of the cab to improve aerodynamics , the new automatic gearchange transmission I shift , new electronics system and the engine improvements.

            New Cab

            The changes to the cab included a new day cab , which is 150 mm longer with redesigned air intake and flat floor. New rear view mirrors were introduced to reduce blind spots and improve air flow , new headlights and front side marker lights, new split sunvisor and new wider front steps complemented the external modifications. The interior has been redesigned with more rounded edges around the dashboard , the new seats with integrated seatbelts and integrated telephone speaker and microphone with steering wheel controls for radio and inbuilt GSM phone were an option.As a standard equipment FH models also included FUPS (Front Underrun Protection System) to further enhance safety by preventing smaller vehicles from being "underrun" or wedged under front of the truck in a event of frontal collision.

            TC and I-shift

            *D12D's further development of venerable D12C resulted in increased power output to 500 hp equipped with turbo compound (TC) technology which utilize more energy from exhaust gases after the turbocharger using an extra turbine to drive the engine crankshaft via hydraulic clutch and reduction gearing. The cooling system changes coincided with more advanced electronics for engine management system (EMS) with electronically controlled cooling fan which was now fully controlled by the Engine ECU (EECU) and as a result fuel consumption is also reduced.

            *I-shift transmissions [ [ I-Shift : Volvo Trucks - North America ] ] is a concept of manual transmission with computerized gear change control Transmission Management System(TMS) which contains two ECU's the transmission control unit (TECU) and the gear selector control unit (GECU). I-shift borrowed from old transmissions technologies like non synchronized main gears which allowed to reduce size and weight and a counter shaft brake to achieve more precise shift control while matching engine rpm to transmissions rpm e.g TECU request the EECU to correct engine rpm as to synchronize the rpm so smooth gear change can be made aka double clutching in "old days".The main advantage of the system is in safety and comfort of an automated gear changes while driver can concentrate on "just driving".

            2003 FH16 Intelligent Power

            After delaying introduction of new 16 litre engine for 2 years in 2003 Volvo had introduced what was at the time its most powerful truck ever built. [ [ VOLVO FH16 – THE STRONGEST VOLVO TRUCK EVER FOR TOMORROW’S EFFICIENT TRANSPORTS ] ] The D16C engine was available in two power outputs configurations 550 hp and 610 hp and it was a completely new design similar in the lines of D9 engine introduced a couple of years earlier for FM series. The notable design changes included timing gears being on the flywheel side of the engine (rear mounted), design which allows for increased airflow around the engine , more precise injection and valve operation, noise reduction and manufacturing cost due to flywheel casing being used to house timing gears as well. In 2005 Volvo had increased the available power of D16C to 660 hp [ [ FH16 -2003 - 2000s : Volvo Trucks - Volvo Trucks Global ] ] respectively making in it one of the most powerful production truck available. Currently D16E engines are available in Selective Catalytic Reduction at power output 540 hp, 580 hp 660 hp.

            2005 FH to Present

            In 2005 Volvo introduced new design 13 litre unit D13A [ [ Volvo Trucks adds 360 hp to the D13-programme ] ] incorporating same design features as its 9 and 16 litre engines and available in various power outputs variants from 360 hp , 400 hp, 440 hp 480 hp to 520 hp. Initially available to meet Euro3 emissions requirements further improvements will enable the engine to meet or exceed Euro4 and possibly Euro5 emissions targets. [ [ FH - 2005 - 2000s : Volvo Trucks - Volvo Trucks Global ] ] D13A featured closed crankcase ventilation and also included a new type of unit injector (UI) E3 from Delphi. [ Delphi E3 unit injector ] As a part of makeover Volvo has also removed its naming scheme and decided to drop engine size in the model name so the models are known from now as FH only. Volvo had also introduced on D13A engine with Selective Catalytic Reduction a improved version of its engine compression brake the "VEB+" featuring additional helper rocker arm and fourth cam lobe per cylinder. Power outputs available from 360 hp, 400 hp, 440 hp and 480 hp.In 2007 Volvo introduced D13B [ [ Volvo adds EGR exhaust gas recirculation to its successful 13-litre engine series ] ] with Exhaust Gas Recirculation configuration and VGT turbocharger but without exhaust particle filter and is the only manufacturer to offer this solution thus far. The engines are available in slightly reduced power output ranging from 360 hp, 400 hp, 440 hp and 500 hp and being shared with FM series however 500 hp option is only available for FH series.

            In August 2008 Volvo launched an upgrade to FH series [ [ A foretaste of the new Volvo FH and Volvo FH16 ] ] with main emphasis on a driver comfort and usability , among features listed are windscreen wipers controlled by a rain sensor, cornering lights for better visibility when turning, powerfull audio system with USB aux and MP3 inputs as well as swiveling pasenger seat. Early photographs show redesigned grill, steps, sunvisor and headlamps combination.



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