Michigan Special Kenworth Trucks

Michigan Special Kenworth Trucks are unique, but for good reason.

When your state allows a truck to weigh more than 160,000 LBS., it also has its kind of truck.

Michigan has a unique system of truck-weight law based on the amount of weight measured at each axle, not gross vehicle weight (GVW) as is the measure of other states. Gross vehicle weight includes the weights of the truck, the cargo, the fuel on board, and may even include the driver in some cases.

Maximum allowable axle weight rules are the same for a standard truck in all states, but Michigan allows the use of more axles in combination with lower axle weight creating a greater gross vehicle weight than other states. Consequently, Michigan allows trucks to measure up to an astounding 164,000 LBS.

What is a Michigan Special?

Considering the unique weight laws in Michigan, the unique specs of a Michigan Special truck starts to make more sense to those outside the Great Lakes region.

In order to control larger and longer loads, a truck needs to pack a punch. In other words, a Michigan Special comes standard with a big motor cranking out 500 or more horsepower.

Of course, a big motor is great for getting that weight moving, but an extreme duty braking system is also required to safely bring that mass to stop.

The added weight also necessitates heavier axles. Where a long haul highway truck might have 12-14,000 LBS front axles, a Michigan Special will come with 18-22,000 LBS. front axles.

As mentioned earlier, 164,000 LBS. means a load will be much longer than the typical application for heavy-duty trucking. This length helps define the Michigan Special’s distinctive look by maximum payload needs resulting in a typically shorter wheelbase.

Kenworth Michigan Special Trucks

The Michigan Special is at its best when it’s the World’s Best. The unofficial truck of Michigan is the Kenworth T800, having arguably more Michigan Specials on the road than any other truck model.

A typical Michigan Special Spec includes:

  • 18-22K Front
  • 46K Rears
  • Double frame
  • Tare weight 48-50K