Comments By Jim S.

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  • Jim S.
  • Joined:
  • 9 months ago
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Posted:  4 months ago

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Tools needed?

Jim, after almost seven years out here, I can tell you what I've used the most.

Hammer

Flash light

Wire cutters/strippers

Electrical connectors

It's not going to be common for you to turn any wrenches on your truck. You'll have scheduled maintenance visits at your terminal where the mechanics will make sure everything is up to speed. The most common things I end up doing myself are replacing lights and/or mudflaps on trailers. Other than that I've had very little need for tools.

I have wire cutters, channel locks, and vice grips on my list. Also electrical and duct tape, bungees and zip ties. Do you use a carpenters hammer or one of those mechanical hammer around two pounds? Maybe a rubber mallet when a hammer is too much? Maybe I will get combo wrench set if it goes on sale.

Posted:  4 months ago

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Sleeper floor clutter?

Will DOT give a driver a hit for storing non rollable things such as boxes or. Refrigerator on sleeper berth floor? What about n ice chest with one set of wheels if they are chocked?

Posted:  4 months ago

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Tools needed?

Guys, I am upgrading in a few days and am wondering which tools I should have on my truck. I am thinking a socket wrench and combination wrench set, both metric and American. A hammer, a pry bar, and flashlight. And of course, extra fuses and light bulbs. Anything else I should have?

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jake Brake?

Yes that is stab braking. Only way you are going to over heat your brakes or lose air is if you stay on the brakes. Stab braking allows you to use the service brakes without overheating them if you do it correctly. I run a lot of the mountains out west in the winter and have never had an issue.

Yes there is a manual option on the end of the lever to the right of the steering column. Push it in for manual.

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Thanks Big T, I'll will try manual override and stab braking. I have been lucky so far, and haven't had to drive in a lot of rain. I should familiarize myself with the manual override and stab braking. When I go solo in a couple of weeks, there might be a chance that some early snow might occur on my route. So, I really need to get it right before I solo.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Update

Hey Jim! Thank you for responding. Lol I have had some ice cream but not too much. 😅 I have yet to speak with a Swift Recruiter but I do plan on it. How has your experience been so far? It's funny you say that, Schneider has not been pushing a Dollar account more Team Driver. Werner is pushing the Dollar accounts but I have been overlooking that. It's not the companies fault the recruiter is pushing that when I have expressed I dont want it. I'm open to most Mega Carriers.

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Don’t they give ice cream after tonsil surgery? You could eat much ice cream. Good to hear about your recovery. I am mentoring with Swift right now. One of the things that was a factor in my decision was tuition reimbursement, which Swift offers. I also wanted a big company with many divisions and opportunities. Werner and Knight were also high on my list. Schneider sent a recruiter to my school, but they really seem to push those Dollar accounts on new grads, which are driver unload on multiple stops. Hope that helps.

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Cecelia, so far it's going good. I am into my third week of mentoring. Most of my driving is at night, which is hard for me. I am more of a start things at 0400 am type of guy. Most of my driving has been on freeways. I do wish that I had more of a variety with some two lane hwy. driving, which I will probably need in the future. I am driving in the Southwest, so I am getting a lot of practice with steep downgrades and upgrades. There are some construction zones on my route where the lanes are narrowed down to one lane in each direction, and where no oversized vehicles are allowed. So, some nerve wrecking driving, but good practice.

When I was in CDL school and doing my research, it was Werner that seem to be pushing team driving, and Schneider the Dollar accounts. The Werner website was really pushing team driving, and I wasn't even sure if they offered solo driving. I had to verify with the recruiter that Werner offered solo routes. I guess each region has different needs. I believe that CRST is only team driving. Knight was also on my short list and seems like a good company. There are other carriers that are big, but not as big as the megas, that might be concentrated in certain areas, but have routes outside of those areas. Good luck, and keep us posted.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jake Brake?

These guys are right. Wet roads have less traction available. The problem with engine retarders ("Jakes") is they only work to slow down the drive axles. The other parts of your truck only slow with the brakes. So if there's a difference in traction between the axles, you're just asking for a jacknife.

Here's a principle to keep in mind on wet/slippery downhills: it's harder and even dangerous to slow down, so be careful about speeding up.

I personally play this mind game: I imagine what my maximum safe speed should be, then start out too slow. I try to manage my speed so I'm finally at my imaginary maximum speed at the bottom of the grade.

Finally, if you are going "too slow" for other trucks and they keep passing you, let 'em. First, better safe than crashed. And the time "lost" by going too slow won't add more than a minute to your total drive time. It's insignificant in the bigger scheme of things.

I don't plan on getting in a hurry a risking not making my most important stop. I have had several trucks pass me, then get off on the next exit just a mile or two down the hwy.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jake Brake?

Yes using the Jake in wet and slick conditions increases the chance of a jackknife. Think about what a jackknife is: the trailer is moving faster than the tractor and basically pushes the truck out of the way.

What does the Jake do? It slows the truck from the tractor back using the engine against itself. Thus slowing the tractor first and creating a situation where the trailer is going faster than the tractor. Wet conditions make it much more likely to break traction and end up jacking.

Using the service brakes to descend a grade is fairly simple. First make sure you are in the proper gear for the safe speed of decent. When you reach that speed brake until you are 5 to 10 mph below it and then let off the brakes. Rinse and repeat until you get to the bottom.

Remember prior to the late 50s trucks didn't have Jake's, but still had mountains.

I am driving a 2020 Cascadia. It tries to keep the transmission in 12th, even downhill for fuel economy. Sometimes, it does downshift, but only after starting downhill, and it seems to downshift pretty hard, slowing the tractor hard. It also downshifts when using the Jake. Does the Cascadia have a manual override for downhills? Seems like your describing stab braking. Does that slow enough on steep downgrades? Any threat of overheating or loosing air pressure?

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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I LOVE the newer Freightliner Cascadia's!

Guys...its really not advisable to attempt modification of company property. Not your truck.

You don't have to worry about me G-Town. My mechanical skills are limited to the use of duct tape, lol.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jake Brake?

OK guys, we are taught not to use the Jake Brake during wet conditions because of the risk of jackknifing. Is the risk of jackknifing really that high using the Jake during wet conditions? I drive Southwest with it's many steep and long grades, and rely on the Jake for slowing the rig. I avoid using my service brake as much as possible because of the risk of overheating the brakes and loosing air pressure. In fact, I have seen four rigs burnt to the ground in the past three weeks of my mentoring, and assume brake fire as a probable cause. Also, the Jake on the Cascadia I am driven is integrated with the transmission, and the transmission downshifts during Jake use. Does the integration decrease on increase the risk of jackknifing? So, am I to avoid the Jake during wet and slick conditions? If so, and if I am to rely on the service, how do I avoid overheating? I know I could use a combination, but I would really have to use the Jake more than the service due to the steep downhills. Also, since many new rigs don't have a trailer brake, would I have to engage the trailer spring brake during a jackknife? If I use the spring brake, would I just engage it briefly, then disengage it?

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Update

Don’t they give ice cream after tonsil surgery? You could eat much ice cream. Good to hear about your recovery. I am mentoring with Swift right now. One of the things that was a factor in my decision was tuition reimbursement, which Swift offers. I also wanted a big company with many divisions and opportunities. Werner and Knight were also high on my list. Schneider sent a recruiter to my school, but they really seem to push those Dollar accounts on new grads, which are driver unload on multiple stops. Hope that helps.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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I LOVE the newer Freightliner Cascadia's!

I don’t like the lack of upper bunk ventilation. The upper bunk is about 20 - 30 degrees warmer, even with a/c wide open.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Is a mentor suppose to count backing a bobtail to couple toward your required backings?

Eleven days mentoring and I have gotten only one real backing and one coupling.

Posted:  5 months ago

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Should I Request A New Trainer At Swift?

I forgot to add, he is on a dedicated route with about 4 warehouses. Do you think that is enough variety?

Posted:  5 months ago

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Should I Request A New Trainer At Swift?

If I change mentors, will I have to wait three weeks again? I have been on this truck four days and only have 26 hours btw even though this truck has moved 2300 miles. The first thing my mentor did when I got on the truck was to log me into the sleeper so that he could drive first, and I drive latter in order to make a 750 mile trip in 15 hours. I have only done one backing, because we are always late and he is in a hurry. He is taking loads that should be for teams only, and trying to make it work when I am supposed to be solo only for at least 50 hours. We haven’t been to a terminal yet so that I may shower, and only stop at truck stops long enough for fuel. Do other companies take 3 weeks for a mentor?

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Amazon Fleet?

Maybe they previously had the name "Prime" on them but had to be removed due to pending lawsuit by Prime Inc. against amazon for using the name Prime.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Today is do or die day

Stevo, equipment maintenance seems to be a problem with these private schools. The truck in my school had 700,000 miles on it, and was in the shop several times during my training and not available. It too had problems with air brake checks. I know the examiners at Fontana are really hard on students. A CDL is not required to be an examiner in CA. Getting an appointment at Fontana is hard. Most open dates are 40-60 days out. But, if you keep trying online, several times per day, eventually someone will cancel, and you may get an earlier date. Hang in there and we'll see you on the road soon.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Today is do or die day

Which school did you attend? Fontana is big on parallel parking. They also like to ask “what did that roadside sign read.” If they ask, and you didn’t actually see it, just say “truck route.” That is a very common sign on their test route. Also, for the governor cut in test, waiting longer in between brake pumps might help. Good luck.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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How long before I am asigned a mentor at Swift?

Thanks for the replies guys. I spoke with the office today, and they stated that they are still looking. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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I Got Some New Wheels Today - Brand Spanking New

Old School, those models that they advertise with the reclining bunk and overhead bunk table must be the upgraded models, lol. I guess for the working people model, it's prop your head up with pillows and place your laptop in your lap.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Time to Say Goodbye...

You will truly be missed. But, we will be looking forward to those times when you do find a moment to stop in. Perhaps those endeavors that require more of your time will somehow still bring us together in the future. Than you for all of contributions and God bless.

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