Why Not To Start Out In An Automatic Truck

Topic 19961 | Page 2

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Rick S.'s Comment
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To be fair isn't it like 30 grand or so to repair an automatic transmission for one of these things?

Most people still don't get that these are not "fluid driven automatic transmission", like we have in cars. They are "automated manual transmissions". Sometimes I think we need to change what they are called here, to what they actually are called - Auto-Shifting transmission.

Granted, there's more involved as far as the computer that controls it, and the solenoids and air actuators that do the shifting - but the GEARBOX ITSELF, is the same as any other gearbox.

The cost to rebuild a blown manual, is about the same as an auto-shift. And in the newer systems, the wear on the actual gearbox is LESS, because the computer shifts a lot more efficiently than a human can - so there's less "wear and tear" on the internals (as opposed to a human gear-jammer), which makes the actual maintenance expense on them LESS. No burnt clutches and clutch brakes to replace, shift bushings, dogs/etc. to replace.

In overall balance of things, the modern auto-shift system actually costs LESS to maintain, than a standard shift gearbox.

If they weren't so profitable in fuel efficiency, overall cost of maintenance, and enhanced safety (drivers paying attention to driving, instead of shifting) - as well as easier training - the industry wouldn't be shifting entire fleets over to them.

Rick

Brett Aquila's Comment
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We should note that maintenance costs are a bit higher in some regards with auto-shifts because you have to have trained mechanics that know how to fix the shifting mechanism, you have to stock the parts to fix the shifting mechanism, and when that shifting mechanism does fail the truck is usually dead in the water, requiring an expensive tow bill and the need to locate a service station qualified to do the work, which is usually a dealership.

They are, of course, also more expensive to buy and install in the first place.

Over time the maintenance to the gearbox will likely be less expensive, but that wouldn't offset the higher costs I mentioned above.

Over time the auto-shifts will get better fuel mileage and they'll be easier to drive. These two factors may ultimately make it the better option regarding overall affordability and desirability for large fleets which hire large numbers of inexperienced drivers.

You're still not going to see small fleets or owner operators going to auto-shifts for quite some time I don't believe. These fleets normally won't hire inexperienced drivers so making it easier to shift is kind of a moot point. They also will not want to invest in the training for the mechanics, nor the price of stocking the parts and doing the more extensive repairs to the shifting mechanism.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Pat M.'s Comment
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A 10 speed was built so you would appreciate every other transmission that much more.

Parrothead66's Comment
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I try to teach all my trainees to float em. I'll admit driving a big truck is something that takes getting use to and I'm still learning things but I'm amazed at how many folks try just holding the clutch in while changing gears.

Christopher, I seldom even use the clutch when driving a standard transmission truck. You need to get someone to show you how to "float" the gears. You really only need to use that clutch when starting from a stop or when coming to a stop.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Kat H.'s Comment
member avatar

I try to teach all my trainees to float em. I'll admit driving a big truck is something that takes getting use to and I'm still learning things but I'm amazed at how many folks try just holding the clutch in while changing gears.

double-quotes-start.png

Christopher, I seldom even use the clutch when driving a standard transmission truck. You need to get someone to show you how to "float" the gears. You really only need to use that clutch when starting from a stop or when coming to a stop.

double-quotes-end.png

I have it on good authority that you will not be allowed to Float the gears while being tested by a DOT Examiner. I agree that if you possibly can- test standard. And float your career!

I myself have some issues with my "clutch leg" and opted for Auto. I have that restriction- and, it is actually my choice. Now I'm 2 weeks out of school and STILL have not landed a position with anyone because --

Either they only do orientation with Standard transmissions (West Side Transport) OR they require stringent agility like stepping up on a 12 inch box for 2 minutes without any supporting contact. (Shnieder) I need to climb into a truck and often a trailer- and it is no problem with the 3-point contact as required. And yet both these companies have mostly automatic trucks.

I understand that great agility is required for some jobs- and rightly so- those jobs ought to pay better than someone driving as "no touch " and "hook and drop". It frustrates me that I am having such a challenge getting my foot in the door. I know that I would be an excellent addition to any business.

Oh, I did have an offer to work for someone who I will name Shady who was going to teach me to fudge log books and skirt weight stations. I spent a week observing and talking to his drivers and decided that I would never work for someone like that. I feel that it's my reputation on the line.

So- I'm still hoping.

And looking

Float The Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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