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Truckers

Started by SirDavidAlhambra, April 22, 2022, 05:50:54 PM

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Big hi to all you truckers out there.

What's it like driving a big truck?

Keep on truckin'.
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

Could write a book I suppose after 40+ years in the industry (now retired) from 20 years with Sainsbury's and a couple of years with Gateway formally Fine Fare supermarkets. The rest of my time on general haulage (roping and sheeting) and tanker work (before needing Hazchem requirements)
Believe me it's not as glamorous as portrayed on TV it can cause problems at home if you want to be a Family man, most firms I've worked for think they own you and you will do as your told or your out.

As for the vehicles there's no skill anymore, they are mainly automatic or should I say automated manual gearboxes anyone with good spacial awareness would pick up driving the newer vehicles pretty quickly.

A bit different back in the 70's when I started not all vehicles had power steering that was one of the most tiring, reversing into a tight space slowly.

And then there's the gearbox loads of variations depending on the vehicle make mostly being non synchromesh, this is where skill came in anticipating road ahead, double de-clutching, skip shifting.

Even identical looking vehicles may have different gearchange pattern as vehicles of that era had choices of engine make and size and gearbox make and type EG.A simple 6 speed with splitter giving you 12 forward ratio's.

Fuller Roadranger was popular again came with many different patterns, and then my favourite the Eaton Twin splitter.

There was also another way of increasing available gearing this was to have an ordinary five or six speed gearbox with an Eaton two speed axle effectively doubling the gears, again there was an art/procedure to change the gearbox ratio and the axle ratio together, these were seen on lower gross weight vehicles.

So conclusion new vehicles are more comfortable and have all the refinements you get in the modern cars like aircon, cruise control etc but are boring to drive as there's so little physically to do.

That's my opinion anyway
2016 Vauxhall Insignia Elite Nav in White 2.0CDTI Manual.
2009 Kia Sedona GS In Black 2.9CRDI 183PS. 5 Speed Manual WAV.
2003 MK2 Galaxy Ghia In Solid Black 1.9 TDI 115PS. 5 Speed Automatic.
Upgraded Eberspaecher booster heater to independent heating with 7 day timer.

With VCDS lite (full version) need a code clearing or want to scan for faults in the north kent area, PM me. All for a pint of Strongbow.

April 23, 2022, 09:59:12 PM #2 Last Edit: April 23, 2022, 10:00:53 PM by SirDavidAlhambra
Yes, I imagine life on the road must be quite hard. Back in the day there must have been real skill to controlling the truck, using its complicated gears and so on, even having the strength to turn the big steering wheel and those heavy tyres... these days it sounds like they almost drive themselves.

What is it like in the cabin area? I hear that some long distance truckers even sleep in the cabin and it's like a little caravan in there.

Also what is the trucking community like? Do they use CB radio and suchlike in this country? Do you get to know the other truckers who follow similar routes?

Truckers are the backbone of the economy.
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

Very many years ago, I purchased an AEC Regent V double-decker bus c. 1967 and a few years later, a Leyland Beaver BV68 tractor unit c. early 70s, both for off-road work. The Regent V had absolutely no sound-proofing around the engine compartment, no power steering and the driver's seat only had thin horse-hair cushions and a solid frame. The AEC 691 cu in/11.6 litre diesel engine was noisy but not deafening, and the steering was geared so that even manoeuvring at low speed was not difficult.
The Leyland tractor unit had a considerable amount of sound-proofing around the engine, 680 cu in/11.1 litres, very effective hydraulic power steering and a comfortable seat mounted on springs. The Leyland was almost pleasant to drive. Both vehicles had fluid flywheels and Wilson epicyclic semi-automatic gearboxes, which made gear changing very easy, but the Wilson boxes used air pressure to pull  the brake bands around the gear trains. The driver therefore had to pause briefly between changes to  ensure that a gear disengaged properly before engaging the next, otherwise two gears were engaged simultaneously, leading to premature failure. One of my uncles was a maintenance engineer on a fleet of early Leyland Atlanteans, which had the driver at the front, the 680 engine and epicyclic gearbox with fluid flywheel at the back and little communication between the two, and gearbox failures were the bane of his life.   
The Leyland fluid flywheel in the Beaver tractor unit incorporated a simple centrifugal clutch inside the flywheel which flew out and engaged above a certain RPM, locking the transmission. I never drove the Beaver unit on the open road with a full load, but I believe that one of the oil companies used the Beaver in its tanker fleet, and that hill-starts with a full load could be challenging. 

Driver comfort and vehicle driveability have evidently improved considerably in the last 45-50 years.

I did hear a report about an airline pilot who was laid off during the recent crisis, found a job as a truck driver and discovered that he was earning more on the road than in the air, but I do not know which employment offered him more time at home.     

I drove a 1971 Beaver briefly that had the 680 engine with the two stick box, this one didn't have power steering.

The tanker fleet with the semi-auto was Esso

You mentioned the AV691 engine I remember that being an option of the MK5 8 wheeler mammoth majors that my Dad drove back in the sixties although the AV590 was normally used.
2016 Vauxhall Insignia Elite Nav in White 2.0CDTI Manual.
2009 Kia Sedona GS In Black 2.9CRDI 183PS. 5 Speed Manual WAV.
2003 MK2 Galaxy Ghia In Solid Black 1.9 TDI 115PS. 5 Speed Automatic.
Upgraded Eberspaecher booster heater to independent heating with 7 day timer.

With VCDS lite (full version) need a code clearing or want to scan for faults in the north kent area, PM me. All for a pint of Strongbow.

I wonder what it's like having all that torque in such a big truck engine
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

The engines we've been talking about although quite large cc were naturally aspirated (non turbo) so didn't have that rush of power that you get with turbo charged engine.
2016 Vauxhall Insignia Elite Nav in White 2.0CDTI Manual.
2009 Kia Sedona GS In Black 2.9CRDI 183PS. 5 Speed Manual WAV.
2003 MK2 Galaxy Ghia In Solid Black 1.9 TDI 115PS. 5 Speed Automatic.
Upgraded Eberspaecher booster heater to independent heating with 7 day timer.

With VCDS lite (full version) need a code clearing or want to scan for faults in the north kent area, PM me. All for a pint of Strongbow.

What is it like reversing a big truck?

I always struggle even with my little motor car hobby trailer!
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

At the risk of being very boring, I might just add some comment about engine control and fuel systems. The AEC 691 engine as installed in the Regent V was fuelled by an inline mechanical fuel pump (CAV?) with a 2-speed governor, and was heavily derated, which I presume was done to restrict BHP(?) and extend engine life. I also presume that the fleet engineers had originally specified 2-speed governors because in an urban environment, the bus was either accelerating from the last stop to the next red light, or decelerating from the last green light to the next stop. Suffice it to say that the governor did not give very impressive throttle response. The Leyland 680 engine in our BV68 tractor, on the other hand, had a similar in-line pump but an 'all-speed' governor and was fuelled for 200 BHP. This gave really excellent and progressive throttle response.

One solution to the poor response of the original fuel system on the Regent V was to throw away the in-line pump and fit a CAV(?) rotary pump which, as I understand it, always came with an all-speed governor, but you had to be careful to ensure that the pump was properly calibrated to fuel the engine.

I was lucky enough to find an AEC Mandator tractor unit with an AEC 750 cu in/12.5 litre engine fitted with a Bosch inline pump and 'all-speed' governor. The vehicle was being scrapped.so I purchased the engine, had the pump re-calibrated for 11.6 litres and 205 BHP and fitted it to the 691. Happy days, my intention was eventually to scrap the 691 and install the 750 in the Regent, but I was unable to complete the project.

I think I became aware of electronics being combined with fuel systems just over 25 years ago. and I guess that digital control has changed the throttle response characteristics of large engines beyond recognition.

S-D-A - I am guessing that you  tow a very short luggage trailer. It is something to do with geometry and the distance between your tow hitch and your trailer axle. If you were able to try a trailer with the axle set back about 5 metres from your tow hitch, you would find it very much more easy to control a reversing exercise.         

Quote from: Solentview on April 28, 2022, 04:12:52 PMS-D-A - I am guessing that you  tow a very short luggage trailer. It is something to do with geometry and the distance between your tow hitch and your trailer axle. If you were able to try a trailer with the axle set back about 5 metres from your tow hitch, you would find it very much more easy to control a reversing exercise.         

I'd agree there - I've used a small trailer, a mid size flat bed and a large horsebox. The worst to reverse with by far was the smaller trailer, as it would go all over the place, particually on uneven ground (slightest bump would be enough to start it veering to one side). The horsebox on the other hand much easier, you could see where it was, and it was heavy enough (even empty) to go where you pointed it towards.

The larger flat bed trailer reverses reasonably ok, better if you use the lockout for the brakes on it first (its a manual one that you flip over onto the hitch to stop the brakes being activated when reversing).

Quote from: Solentview on April 28, 2022, 04:12:52 PMAt the risk of being very boring, I might just add some comment about engine control and fuel systems. The AEC 691 engine as installed in the Regent V was fuelled by an inline mechanical fuel pump (CAV?) with a 2-speed governor, and was heavily derated, which I presume was done to restrict BHP(?) and extend engine life. I also presume that the fleet engineers had originally specified 2-speed governors because in an urban environment, the bus was either accelerating from the last stop to the next red light, or decelerating from the last green light to the next stop. Suffice it to say that the governor did not give very impressive throttle response. The Leyland 680 engine in our BV68 tractor, on the other hand, had a similar in-line pump but an 'all-speed' governor and was fuelled for 200 BHP. This gave really excellent and progressive throttle response.

One solution to the poor response of the original fuel system on the Regent V was to throw away the in-line pump and fit a CAV(?) rotary pump which, as I understand it, always came with an all-speed governor, but you had to be careful to ensure that the pump was properly calibrated to fuel the engine.

I was lucky enough to find an AEC Mandator tractor unit with an AEC 750 cu in/12.5 litre engine fitted with a Bosch inline pump and 'all-speed' governor. The vehicle was being scrapped.so I purchased the engine, had the pump re-calibrated for 11.6 litres and 205 BHP and fitted it to the 691. Happy days, my intention was eventually to scrap the 691 and install the 750 in the Regent, but I was unable to complete the project.

I think I became aware of electronics being combined with fuel systems just over 25 years ago. and I guess that digital control has changed the throttle response characteristics of large engines beyond recognition.

S-D-A - I am guessing that you  tow a very short luggage trailer. It is something to do with geometry and the distance between your tow hitch and your trailer axle. If you were able to try a trailer with the axle set back about 5 metres from your tow hitch, you would find it very much more easy to control a reversing exercise.         

Mad to think a 11.6 litre lump only produces 200hp, shows how much technology has moved on when there's 3.0 diesels that produce 375hp. The engines we use at work are v12 21 litre 940hp. Huge amount of torque of 3600 nm at max rpm of 1900

Wow, what kind of trucks would those be? Do you still have to go through all the gears when the truck is unladen or can you miss half of them because of the immense torque?

My trailer is a little hobby one, I often jack-knife it when reversing! He he
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

Not trucks but trains for me.

Impressive. I've always wondered how a train engine manages to pull all those wagons, not so much in terms of the power of the engine but how that one little truck at the front manages to get enough grip from its thin little metal wheels on the rails
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

This is high speed multiple units with several motor cars not a loco and coaches type set up. The engines are just a generator unit to provide electricity for the traction packs which then convert AC to DC then back to variable voltage variable frequency AC for the motors. Under floor mounted propulsion gear rather than in the power car like older stuff.

Old loco type was similar where the engine powered a massive alternator and the traction was provided by motors. Just more old tech with DC motors.
To get traction they have Wheel slip protection to cut power in slip conditions and cut brake pressure in slide conditions.

On the subject of today's European spec trucks the technology has progressed in much the same manner as cars or vans. The big budget R&D is in reducing emissions by scr exhaust treatment and the precise injection of fuel, everything from the temperature of fuel in the tank to that entering the injectors or the barometric pressure is mapped hundreds of times per power stroke to ensure every atom of potential energy is gathered. The gearboxes have been of the robotised manual for going on 20 years and now are so efficient and have so much processing power that in high spec trucks the GPS data is used to anticipate needing a lower gear on approach to an uphill gradient. Those high spec tractor units such as the Scania 16lt v8 has 770hp and 3700nm torque that's delivered at 1000rpm through a 12 speed automated manual gearbox that in its latest configuration saves 1% fuel over the previous one. That's how precise the industry is in trying to reduce not just the fuel costs but reaching the ever more stringent emissions regulations, that exhaust system to replace will set you up with a bill for close to £30,000.
In terms of the cab as a workplace its incredible just how much its changed, the real leaps are in refinement so nvh are as little as possible. The front axle is on air suspension along with the cab and the drivers seat all to reduce shock to the drivers body, every comfort possible is available but obviously the costs have risen subsequently. Then there is safety in having perimeter cameras and now most trucks have the option of mirror cam so that there's less aerodynamic drag from hanging big mirrors off the doors, there's brake assist and collision avoidance software that can bring the rig to an emergency stop by controlling the entire process of steering/abs etc. The cabs are designed with pedestrian safety areas of deformable body panels. The aerodynamic efficiency is maximised with less protruding items such as the mirrors with flush fitting doors. As for amenities things like a microwave, coffee maker, cabin heater, fridge, TV are standard across most units other than fleet spec. It's a comfortable place to work and it should be if you are on long distance European work, you could be away for weeks at a time.
The future is a little less certain with all that's happening with fossil fuels but the large capacity compression ignition combustion engine is not done yet, it still delivers everything the industry requires.

It sounds like the designers have gone to considerable lengths to make trucks as technologically advanced as possible, as you say 1% may not sound like much but in the long haul trucking business where thousands of miles are covered every year, every percentage could add up to millions of pounds across the whole fleet.

Just imagine paying £30,000 for an exhaust system, I almost cried when my Alhamb needed a new back box for £150 but then again I guess trucking is big business and so they have the budgets to match.

In an industry where quality and efficiency is everything, it's no wonder that trucks are becoming so sophisticated. They have come a long way from the days of Mr Jones and his delivery truck chundering across the Yorkshire moors, these days it's as much a science as it is an art steeped in tradition and many many years of refinement.
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.