Profile For Iron9s

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    Company Driver In Training

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    4 years, 10 months ago

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Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Prime Inc is disabling Manual Mode on their trucks with the D12 Manual Automatic Transmission !

As a tanker I live by manual mode when taking off, especially when starting going up a hill. The economy mode that is default wants to skip shift because the way the liquid surges. This causes issues if it skip shifts from say 2-4 when taking off the truck will wont have enough power to move and you will come to a dead stop as the transmission finds the right gear now that the liquid has surged back onto the drives. Even Peterbilt has said “the way Prime has the ecm programmed for tankers is killing these trucks.” I’m l/o so I will still have my manual mode, but company tankers deal with chaos multiple times a day.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

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Trucking With A Partner- Prime

Don’t do a Pete. Remember that anything other than something simple like an air filter or oil change has to go to a Pete dealership. TA’s/Prime itself cannot work on warranty items. You can always expect to be down for 1 week minimum at a Pete dealership. If you want to keep running, and be able to get your truck fixed faster, go freightliner. If I recall their are a couple FM’s that don’t want anyone on their board with a Pete due to the extended downtime. On the leasing front....shhh, don’t let anyone on this board know, but I lease as well. I was a partner in a business for 15 years, so I know how to manage P/L, and pick my loads that make business sense (I am on the load choice), and am financially stable due my job in my past life. I like lease because I like the freedom to go where I want when I want.

Posted:  3 years, 5 months ago

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Prime Inc vs CDL School

So I'm pretty sure I can get into Prime. No felonies or misdemeanor for the past 10 years. Clean Driving record. Good health. I've been with the same job as courier for 11+ years, not one accident or tickets. My question is should I just go with them or pay $4400 for one of best CDL schools in California. It's literally down the street from my house. I know most people say don't sign a contract but I plan on staying with Prime for at least a year anyways. I'm really interested in their Tanker Division. Plus I don't think Prime takes money from your checks, unlike other companies. I think it's all paid for as long as you work for a year. What do you guys think??

One thing you might want to do is reach out to a recruiter at Prime to find out if there are any issues with the school. I took a year long sabbatical after I left my last job before deciding to do this and went to a CDL school near me. Figured I didn’t want to sign a contract with a company that had training (commitment issues), and also didn’t want an auto restriction in the event I would leave. The school had a 180 hour career course that apparently a lot of companies either require or prefer. I talked to a guy that was sitting outside the building, and found that the hours were helping you study for your permit, your endorsements, some safety classes, then some road time. The issue i saw with this was there were 5 people in each class that was 2-4 hours long. So 4 people would wait while 1 person drove around for a little bit with a trainer. I found that the school offered 1 on 1 training where you just pay for hours. I went to the DMV, got my permit, and all the endorsements, then paid for 30 hours of driving with an instructor, they schedule my test, passed, got my CDL.

When I was looking for companies I was interested in TMC, but got denied due their requirements of no spinal injuries. My C4-C7 fusion is apparently and issue, for them. When i reached out to Prime, the recruiter told me “you will have to go through our training since you don’t have the 180 hours.” I told her “I have a CDL from NYS, that trumps 180 hours.” She was hesitant, but said I can come to orientation. In orientation they they called me out and said “come with us.” The cadre made me drive their video game to show them that I “know how to drive.” The thing is, they didn’t tell me that I was being tested right then and there. Since I passed the video game, they sent me right out as a “C seat” with a TNT trainer. One of the cadres told me if i so much as crashed in this video game that gives you vertigo, Prime would of made me go through their PSD, and sign a contract. SO if you do come with your CDL, get the specifics once you get to orientation.

Also, you may have a little issue with living in California and going tanker. We do have a couple receivers out there, but no many loads going there. Food grade we are east of the Mississippi, and Inedible is Midwest and some east coast. Again, a recruiter can give you more details.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

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Wow, Iron9s, you seem to have a huge wealth of knowledge when it comes to pulling tankers. I am grateful! "Driver in training", my a$$! 😉

You mentioned Montreal. Is a passport required for tanker division?

And the most obvious question I forgot to ask you: Is a hazmat endorsement required?

Eh, always in training. I’m inquisitive so always learning. I always ask something about tanking to every tanker driver. Doesn’t matter if they are here at Prime or another company. Always want to make my life easier out here. I don’t like the feeling of being helpless in a situation when it comes to my job, so I will always try to learn everything I can. I may not be able to fix every issue permanently on the spot, but I want to be able to at the least find or know way to complete the task at hand. When I am able to get that issue fixed permanently I will then question the hell out of who ever fixes my issue so I know what to do the next time.

A passport is not necessary, unless you want to go to Canada. If you don’t have a passport, they just won’t route you there. There are always loads going to Ontario (Toronto area) and Montreal. They are great miles for company drivers, so if you are company, and want to train as company, I would suggest getting your passport so you and your student can knock out more miles quicker.

For hazmat, you know, I can’t for the life of me remember if it is required or not. I do have mine, but we don’t haul anything that warrants a hazmat.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

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Anyway... What is different about a truck that pulls tankers compared to a truck that pulls dry van or reefer? Does it have different gadgets inside?

I am a trainer. I'd like to train tanker drivers too eventually. Do tanker drivers get longer loads during tnt like we do in reefer? I don't think I'd like to train a student while doing a lot of short loads.

You mentioned taking your 10 hours often at shippers/receivers/tank wash places. What kind of accommodations do these places have? Bathrooms? Do they usually have enough parking spaces available?

And "bankers hours"? Were you being sarcastic, or do you you really pretty much keep to a steady schedule?

No difference with the truck itself, other than having hydraulic lines run from the PTO/Intransit heat lines running through the coolant reservoir/eco heater mounted on the catwalk. Inside you will have your missile arm switch for the eco heater and your pto switch. As for Freightliner vs Peterbilt, you will want a Freightliner. The Freightliners have a raised 5th wheel which is helpful when unloading since you need the product to flow to the back. Of course when you pop the trailer brake it does dip but, the more the better. The Peterbilt's have the low profile 5th wheel so suckers like me will occasionally have to lower the landing gear, stop pumping, detach from the trailer, raise it up more, then pump. In the winter its ok because it will warm you up, but raising a trailer in the heat of Georgia sucks.

As a trainer you are not going to get the long loads just because. We run a little different here in this division. We only have about 300 drivers and there are only 5 fleet managers. 1 company FM, 2 OTR FM's, 1 for regional out of PRIDEC, and 1 Northeast regional that also has a few OTR guys on his board. If you are Company and a trainer, you will get trips out to California and Utah, but they are not consistent. Since we run a tight circle, you really don't get to stretch your legs. Training in Tanker usually takes at least an extra month than it does in reefer/flatbed. Also, depending on your FM once you are on a load you can/will get pre-planned. My FM would be throwing pre-plans on me before I grabbed my original load. He knew I liked to run, so he took full advantage of it.

At all the tank washes they have driver lounges, so restrooms and vending machines. OJSK/OJLAN and a few others have showers, that are clean, as well as washing machines. As for parking, the only place that gets packed sometimes is OJSK. Since there are a lot of loads out of AAK down the road, OJSK sometimes falls behind on clean tanks, or AAK has all their pickups at lets say 0700 so everyone just hangs out. Personally, if OJSK has a clean tank for me to bring to AAK for my load in the AM, I'll bring it over to AAK, drop it there, and park outside the gate. You always have to bring a clean to AAK to pick up your load. If the latter is your plan, always tell the person at the front desk when they ask "what time is your load" just say "now". For some reason they like to distribute tanks to people on their own terms. Don't give them that luxury.

I say bankers hours because most deliveries are scheduled for 0700-0800. So a lot of times depending on how you run your hours you can get on a schedule. I know how long it takes to get from each shipper to each receiver so for the most part, I am up and rolling at 0300 and park at 1500. This always gets me to my 90 ontime, and time to get to a tank wash, grab a clean tank or live wash and to where I need to be to pick up the next morning. Now since we always have plenty of time to get to our 90's, and if I know they are 24/7, I call and see if they can take me early and if not, if they O/N parking. Some places do not have O/N parking, and are not 24/7, they will let you come early park in the spot you have to unload if you are the first on the list that day. You will unload early very often. I've unload 36 hours prior, and plenty the day before my appointment. Some receivers you have to plan on detention. Hershey, if you bring Palm Oil to them, either they take you right away, or it will be 10-36 hours. Yup, always a good time. Nestle is the same way.

One thing I was thinking of while unloading in Montreal this morning is make sure you have some comfy composite toe/waterproof/oil slip resistant/insulate boots. Standing in the snow up there for a hour behind the pump I count my blessings I have them. Don't get steel toe, you don't need steel and they get cold quick. Also, I have 2 Carhartt bibs. Once for summer and one that is insulated for winter. They help for keeping you clean, warm in the winter, and if you take a palm oil bath, at least you had something to protect your clothes. oh, and a poncho for when it rains.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

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Also, if you join the “Prime Inc Tanker Divison” and “Prime Tanker Yankers” we post every shipper/receiver on them with a map of the layout/where we unload/parking/receiving office is. Also if there is overnight and where/if they take early/if you pump or they pump...all you need to know.

We pretty much do it so you can search by customer code and customer name.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

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I would prefer to go out with an experienced tanker driver for at least 10,000 miles. Brett told me that they do not have enough trainers right now. He said I should be fine with only the 2 days of boot camp. We'll see. Im not going solo if I don't feel comfortable with it. I had experience when I came to Prime. I still requested to go out with a trainer in order to learn how to pull reefers and learn Prime's macros/procedures.

Question time:

So why are chocolate loads so bad?

What is different about a tanker truck? I was told I'd have to turn in my current truck. Not a big deal since it has 260,000 miles on it (my students and i put 240,000 on it in under a year and a half) and it will probably be sold off soon anyway.

What's the place in Newark like? What is the customer code. I will take an overhead look at it on Google maps. I ask bc it seems like a place our tankers go to frequently.

What tools do you suggest I have? How often do you find it necessary to do repairs on the pump?

I'll post again if I have more ???. Answer when you can. No rush. And thanks!

Not sure why he said you need a trainer, you don’t. There are plenty of drivers that took on people that switched from other divisions that are not trainers. I get offered to do it by my FM once every couple months. I’m not a trainer, but will be doing the training come spring. You only need to be in with a competent tanker, one that a FM can vouch for.

Chocolate is dense, and it sloshes slower than let’s say palm oil, so 48k of chocolate is 3/4 of a tank full. Since it’s so dense if you take off to quick, the chocolate surges back and can stop your momentum. Same if you are taking off up a hill and the way these autos shift, it can trick the truck to shift when it shouldn’t. Since the transmissions get their info from the load scale, if the weight of the chocolate is in the process of surging forward after the last shift, the load scale will read 15k light and the truck will skip shift. It’s a pain, but just need to remember to put it in manual mode to take off.

We have a hydraulic pack and lines that connect to the trailer to power the pump when we pump. Also we have the eco heater that keeps the product at temp. The eco heat doesn’t really heat the product, it more maintains the temp that you picked it up at. In the winter time, like now, the temp can drop 5 degrees in 24 hours. That 5 degree drop could get your load rejected if the receiver is a stickler. In the summer you almost never run it unless you are hauling some wax for a candle place. That always needs heat. Always remember to have PRIDEC work on your eco heater since you will have problems with it eventually. PRIPIT and Prime1 will “fix” it while you are there, but you’ll be back the following week for them to “fix it” again.

Newark is a fun time. You will spend many of nights at OJSK (tank wash) with other prime tanker drivers. From there you will 99% of the time be picking up from AAK (AAKPO1). You drop your dirty at OJSK, grab a clean, drop it at AAK, and then grab your loaded trailer and roll out. Sales or dispatch will QC you when your load is ready for pickup. First couple of times at Port Newark is a pain, but like anything, it gets easier. The only real hassles are the container haulers at the port by AAK drive like crap.

In the past 2 months ive rebuilt 5 pumps. Prior to that, 1 in the year prior. Remember, we share these tanks with people that will always deal with a leaky pump for the next driver to fix. I try not to screw the next guy/girl so I have no problem taking care of it. 3/4 inch iron plugs for the blowout valve on the trailer. These are designed to blowout the coolant if it gets too hot. It’s dumb and will ruin your day. This will make it so you won’t wake up in the morning, or after stopping at a rest stop to use the bathroom and find all the coolant drained out of your truck and trailer. It takes 7 gallons to refill everything so always have at least that. 3/4 inch bolts 3-4” long, the pins on the top slide go missing all the time. Sometimes drivers take them to have a spare or two, and sometimes loaders will misplace them when they load the tank. The wire seal that is up there will always break if the door slides open. Spare fittings for your intransit heat lines. Puppy pads for putting under the pump since they will drip a little, 5 gallon bucket, extra gloves, like that $10 10 pack at Home Depot with the nitrate coating. If you use the same dirty gloves you use to fuel to connect a kosher certified cleaned hose and a receiver sees your finger go in the opening and grease gets in there, they will say something and can reject the load. Few others that are slipping my mind at the moment.

Excuse the wall of text, I’m typing on my phone. Can you send pM’s on here? I’ll send you my number. If not, we can keep this thread going so the info is searchable to help others out.

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

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Too bad this question wasn't asked a month from now. I hope to be driving a tanker by then.

I've asked my Fleet Manager to get the process started. She told me I would be taking a big pay cut. Which is true bc I am currently training and being a trainer pays a lot more (for me anyway) than i made driving solo reefer. Im guessing she doesn't want to lose a trainer from her fleet. She has been curiously silent in response to a follow up message I sent her. Quick to respond to other messages though. Hmmm....

Anyway, I looked at some old posts on here too. If you search "prime tanker" there are some threads with good info on there from Icecold24k.

I have close to 3 years experience overall. I dont know if I would have been comfortable starting out pulling tankers. I tend to follow the advice of the more knowledgeable people here at Truckingtruth. They have not steered me wrong yet.

Welcome to Prime’s Unicorn division. Good luck with the switch. Just a note, I started in FB and made the switch. I’ll say even though it is stressed by many people to not to start by pulling tanks, you will find that the way “you” drive a FB/reefer/box goes right out the window. The surge is real, the suggested speed limits on turns are too fast for you now, when you hit the brakes or jake expect to need more stopping distance for 48k of oil to surge you forward.

You’ll embrace sleeping at shippers/receivers/tank washes and enjoy the bankers hours we have.

You will hate pulling chocolate.

If you are company you will head out to Utah and California on occasion, but will also be parked on a sidewalk in Brooklyn pumping off.

I’ll suggest since you are transferring to do the 30 days with a tanker and not just the 2 day boot camp that will be offered to you. There is a lot to learn with pumping off/the oh **** scenarios/how to break down and rebuild a pump/the other tools you should have on your truck.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Posted:  4 years, 4 months ago

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What is the Best Trucking GPS?

I have the new RM TND 85 and it is night and day better than the 740 I was using before. The calculations are fast as well as the recalculation are almost instant. So far after a few months it’s been pretty spot on.

Posted:  4 years, 4 months ago

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Prime Company Team Pay

10.4 MPG!? Wow, best I can average is a solid 7.6. Only time I ever see 10 is when I bobtail home. Life of a tanker with a lumbering mule aka Pete 579.

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