The C-5 from the American brand Crown is its first forklift truck on the market with an internal combustion engine. The range includes LPG trucks with a 2, 2.5 or 3-ton lifting capacity and is characterized by a high degree of design, robustness and ease of use. Performance is thereby well above average. We thought it was high time to take a closer look.
Crown is known as a brand that likes a high degree of vertical integration in its products. The company produces many components – in fact almost everything – itself, primarily in order to ensure quality and optimize the overall alignment of the components. The same is true for the latest truck series, C-5. In order to globally provide customers with a robust and comfortable IC truck, Crown has developed its own line with its own engine. The choice here fell on a power source that was originally designed together with John Deere, but has been improved and produced by Crown itself.
With three models between 2 and 3 tons, Crown globally targets the largest group of users of a truck with an LPG engine. In the US this is the most common type, IC. Expansion into heavier models will be just a matter of time, we suspect. The model originates from the truck that was introduced in the US in 2009.
The introduction of new models with a modified chassis makes it now a real European truck that is not afraid of heavy-duty work. The use of solid rubber tyres with a larger size also gives better performance on poorer surfaces. The newly designed steel cab completes the driving comfort.
At first sight the C-5 looks like a genuine Crown product: stylish, robust and accessible. In the past the brand was the first with a strongly curved cabin design to give as much space as possible to the driver and is also practical when entering and exiting the cabin. The extra step here is generous and equipped with a good anti-slip profile, including a mud scraper on the edge. The step could – in our opinion – be slightly lowered.
The enormous cabin floor is completely free of obstacles, provided with a thick rubber mat and placed precisely at the correct angle of inclination. The pedals for acceleration and braking are well positioned. The brake pedal is extremely wide and combines braking and inching for precise manoeuvring (separate pedals are available at no extra cost for braking and inching). The tipping moment between driving and inching needs to be smoother, because it is currently often a matter of all or nothing. Crown is aware of this feedback from the field and promises improvement.
Thanks to the cleverly rounded shapes of the dashboard and the slender steering column, you experience the cabin as very spacious. The driver’s seat is a comfortable Grammer MSG65. The inclination of the steering column is steplessly adjustable. The steering wheel is positioned just a little bit too high but this cannot be changed because there is no height adjustment option for the steering wheel.
You cannot just start the C-5 and drive away. For safety reasons Crown provides an optional ‘Seatbelt interlock’. You first need to sit down, start the truck and then fit the safety belt. The directioin lever must be in neutral and the electric parking brake must be activated. If that is not the case, or the order is incorrect, all driving and lifting functions will be shut down. With this safety system Crown anticipates possible legal requirements in the future.
Driving and working with the C-5 is not a problem at all. The truck responds accurately to the given commands and behaves in a predictable manner. The hydraulic levers are conventionally positioned near the dashboard and allow a simultaneous operation. Because of their position and shape, it is also possible to enter or exit the truck on the right-hand side.
The duplo mast responds well to the commands, but we have to increase the lifting speed ourselves with the accelerator pedal. Always perform this operation with care, because the lifting speed increases directly with the corresponding RPM of the engine.
The additional Cascade side shift limits the visibility through the fork section and it is a pity that the cabin has no standard storage options for the driver on the truck. Crown plans to resolve this with an additional mounting bracket.
The self-manufactured internal combustion engine which is used in the Crown C-5 is special. Crown focuses on robust materials for long life and low cost, so no lightweight aluminium parts are used, but sturdy cast iron and solid steel instead. No vulnerable timing belts or noisy chains for the camshaft, but rather a maintenance-free gear system is used. The engine is almost vibration-free thanks to two balance shafts and a special suspension. A demonstration with a full glass of water on top of the engine shows that the C-5 will not spill a drop at the start or even at full throttle.
Crown’s Power Brake covers the entire circular surface of the brake discs and thus prevents dust, rust and wear.
Equally robust is the separate radiator for cooling the hot transmission fluid and engine oil. The test truck also has the ‘On-Demand Cooling’ option. This system is provided with a self-thinking, hydraulically controlled fan that blows reversed clean air briefly in the direction of the radiators just before every engine start. On vehicles equipped with this option, Crown gives 5 years (or 10,000 hours) of extended warranty on the Power Train.
During deployment on our test track the C-5’s performance is powerful yet smooth. It takes some getting used to the somewhat vague inching character of this truck, but we clock stable values. Both productivity and consumption are slightly better than average for this class of truck. It makes little difference whether the truck is set to economy or productivity mode. Even driving at 15 km/hour instead of 20 km/hour makes very little difference. In fact, in the fast mode, the vehicle is even more economical, because you get more benefits from the rollout without accelerating. However, we noticed that at full capacity the noise level also increases. Perhaps a slight reduction of the max. RPM would be sufficient, because the truck seems powerful enough to work at a lower RPM.
All in all, our first encounter with the newest asset of Crown is very positive. The truck is spacious, easy to operate and comfortable. The performance is as expected and well above average. Thanks to the special and ‘typical Crown’ approach, problem-free operating times can be expected at little cost. Some points for improvement are a better tipping moment for the inching pedal and slightly less engine noise at full power. If possible, a height-adjustable steering wheel would also be nice.
Tags:Andersom test, Crown, Crown C-5, Forklift test, Test
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