Western Star Trucks has a tangled history. It was founded in 1967 as the White Motor Company but worked closely with AutoCar and shared the same cabs. In 1981, Western Star sold to Bow Valley Resources. Ten years later, in 1991, it was purchased by Terry Peabody, an Australian businessman selling the Western Star Trucks. In 2000 Terry Peabody sold the entire company to Daimler Chrysler, who merged it into the Freightliner Trucks division.
Western Star Trucks have a reputation for being premiere, rugged commercial trucks. They have a good market share in Canada and Australia, but they’ve never managed to capture a significant market share in the United States. They are popular in particular niches such as dump trucks, logging operations, and mining operations, but with the release of the new X-Series, they are looking to change that.
The models of trucks break down into several “generations.” We’d call the first generation trucks from the 1990s up through around 2002. Shortly after Freightliner acquired Western Star, they changed the naming scheme of the trucks in 2002; but they were the same trucks, but we’ll call them the second generation. We saw some new models, such as the 4700 Series, enter this era. This generation lasted until 2021 when Western Star started to release a complete re-design called the X-Series, which we will call generation 3.
You will also see that suffixes are added to the model trucks, so we want to explain those. They are as follows:
SF = Set Forward Axle
SB = Set Back Axle
TS = Twin Steer
XD = Extreme Duty
EX = Extended Hood

Western Star 4700 Series

The Western Star 4700 Series started production in the model year 2012. The Western Star 4700 series is considered the entry-level truck for the Western Star products. It is available as a 4700SF or 4700SB but only comes with one sleeper option, which is the 40″ low roof sleeper. The truck is available with both Detroit Diesel (DD13) and Cummins (X12, & L9) engine options. While both versions of the truck have a 110″ bumper to back of cab (BBC), the SF version had 29″ from the front bumper to center of the steer (Also called the CA). In contrast, the SB version had 47″.

Western Star 4800 Series

The Western Star 4800 Series has the shortest BBC of all the Western Star model trucks coming in at 109″, and the bumper to center axle (CA) at 33″ for the 4800SF and 50″ for the 4800SB. The Western Star 4800 Series is designed for slightly more rugged applications such as construction, government, refuse, and utility. The Western Star 4800 Series does not allow for sleeper configurations and is only available with the Detroit Diesel DD13 engines. This model line also allowed for heavier axles and was known as the 4800TS for the twin steer application.
Below are details on the nomenclature name in the Western Star 4900 Series. Still, a quick note to state that VIN decoders will not tell you for 2002 and older if the axle is set back or set forward due to Western Star not being specific enough in their VIN decoding data.

Western Star 4900 Series

The Western Star 4900 Series is the most popular lineup from Western Star. You can have a 4900SF, 4900SB, 4900EX, 4900XD, or 4900TS. Western Star has made the history of the models confusing. For example, the 4900EX is the long-hood version. Before the model year 2002, that model was called a 4964EX. These extra digits, 64, stand for a 6×4 axle configuration. They did a similar thing with the 4964F (which became the 4900SF) and the 4964S (Which became the 4900SB). If you look at the hood and cabs on these trucks, they are identical from everything we can tell, so keep life accessible and go with the 4900 Series naming scheme for even the older vehicles. The unfortunate situation with VIN decoders is that for the 2002 and older 4900 series, we can’t tell you which exact model, only that it is a 4900 series.
The 4900XD was available in the model year 2018 and is also known as the Western Star XD-25. As a side note, people may also reference these trucks as 4964EX, a nomenclature Western Star used in the 1990s and early 2000s.
There are five sleeper options ranging from 34″ to 82″ along with four options for the roofs (Ultra low roof, low roof, high roof stratosphere, and ultra-high roof stratosphere) depending on which variant of the Western Star 4900 series you were ordering. The Western Star 4900 Series opens the engine options with the entire Detroit Diesel lineup of DD13, DD15, & DD16, along with the Cummins X15 engine. Each of the hoods was slightly different, as the 4900SF, 4900SB, and 4900XD had the 123″ BBC while the 4900EXS had the longer 132″ BBC.

Western Star 5700XE

Announced in late 2014 for the model year 2015, the Western Star 5700XE was launched as the flagship truck for on-highway fleet applications. DTNA, the owner of Western Star, had brought it to market as the second most aerodynamic truck, only behind the Freightliner Cascadia. It targeted owner-operators and small to mid-size fleet operations. This truck was discontinued in the model year 2022 to make room for the new Western Star 57X.

Western Star 5800

The Western Star 5800 came to the market in the 1990s and last produced for the model year 2001. This truck was always configured with a setback axle and had a little more of an aerodynamic look than the 4900 series at the time. It had the popular engines of the time from all the manufacturers, such as Detroit Diesel (Series 60), Caterpillar (3406 & C12), and Cummins (M11).

Western Star 5900 Series

The Western Star 5900 Series mainly sold as the Western Star 5964SS. This setback axle truck was a step up from the Western Star 5800 Series, which sold at the time. This version would allow larger liter engines such as the Caterpillar C15 and 3406. It last sold in the model year 2001.

Western Star 6900 Series

You have probably never seen a Western Star 6900 Series truck unless you are involved in mining or extreme heavy haul operations. Western Star’s tagline for the 6900 series is “Give impossible the day off,” and they mean it. As with other Legacy Western Star Truck models, the nomenclature has changed a bit over time, but the exact truck now sells under the 6900XD model name. The 6900XD only comes with the most significant on-highway diesel engines of the time, which are now the Detroit Diesel DD15 & DD16, along with the Cummins X15. This truck can be built with up to quad channel frame rails, drive axles up to 110,000 lbs, and steer axles with 61,600 lbs in a tandem configuration. While uncommon, they do have their uses, including overseas. This truck still gets manufactured today.

Western Star 49X

Announced in late 2020, the X-Series from Western Star released after six years in the making. The X-Series intends to replace the legacy model trucks over the next several years, and the 49X was the first to come off the assembly line. The 49X will replace the famous 4900 and is lighter (By 350 lbs), more durable, and safer. It is the first Western Star Truck to offer the Detroit Assurance 5.0 suite of active safety systems. The 49X is an entirely new design taking technology from Freightliner and putting it into the vocation market. This includes:
New C-bar mirror system mitigates the effects of chassis and engine vibrations.
Dual stage heated LED headlight system that can melt 33mm of ice in less than 10 minutes at -40F.
Trenched roof design allows room for roof-mounted components such as lights, air horns, and other equipment.
The introduction of the Detroit Diesel D12 automated manual transmission
The Western Star 49X first became available with the model year 2021 as a day cab or sleeper configuration ranging from 36″ to 72″ stratosphere high roofs. Several different trims and interior options are available, along with the standard engines from Detroit Diesel (DD15 & DD16) and Cummins (X12 & X15).

Western Star 47X

A year after the Western Star 49X was released, Western Star announced the 47X was ready for the 2022 model year. It follows the same playbook as the X-Series, as the Western Star 47X has the latest safety features, a similar cab design, and the new Detroit Diesel DT12 transmission. It is best to think of the Western Star 47X as the minor brother to the 49X. The Western Star 47X has a 112″ BBC but also has a unique 111″ BBC for specific federal and local bridge law requirements, while the 49X is 10″ longer at 122″ BBC.
The Western Star 47X also has different engine options in, mainly the smaller liter engines from Detroit (DD13) and Cummins (L9 & X12). The Western Star 47X is available starting with the model year 2023.

Western Star 57X

As of the date of this blog post, the Western Star 57X is the newest model truck in North America. This is Western Star’s 3rd and final truck to join the X-Series and will replace the 5700XE. This truck is more geared towards highway operations but still has the ruggedness of the Western Star brand. This truck has a 129″ BBC, giving it a more aerodynamic hood. It can be ordered as a day cab or with a sleeper ranging from 60″ to 72″, with the 82″ no longer offered. Western Star stated that the 72″ is 22% more interior space due to additional height and width. Compared to the 5700XE, the truck is around 1,000 lbs lighter, which is a big deal in the truck market.
The other unique situation with the Western Star 57X is it can only be built with all Detroit powertrain, which means the DT12 automated manual transmission and then your pick of the Detroit Diesel DD13, DD15, or DD16 engine. The Western Star 57X  releases in the model year 2024.


We love hearing from our customer’s stories and thoughts about the various Western Star Truck models produced in the last 30 years, so make sure to leave a comment!
Diesel Laptops does offer a vast range of diagnostic tools, repair information, parts information, and training classes to help you quickly and efficiently diagnose and repair all of the Western Star trucks we have listed. Let us see how we can help you save both time and money!
Model Year Started Year Ended Weight Class
4700SF 2012 Current Class 8
4700SB 2012 Current Class 8
4800SF 2012 Current Class 8
4800SB 2012 Current Class 8
4800TS 2012 Current Class 8
4900SF 1990 Current Class 8
4900SB 1990 Current Class 8
4900EX 1990 Current Class 8
4900XD 2018 Current Class 8
4900TS 1990 Current Class 8
5700XE 2016 2022 Class 8
5800 1990 2001 Class 8
5900 1990 2001 Class 8
6900XD 1990 Current Class 8
49X 2021 Current Class 8
47X 2023 Current Class 8
57X 2023 Current Class 8

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