Truck Comparison

Topic 24952 | Page 3

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PJ's Comment
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Everyone has preferences in this life. Trucks are no different. Alot of that preference depends on what you learned to drive first. And you add or take away based on experiences. My preference is a 13 spd, however my truck has an 18. Not a big deal to me. I prefer a cummins n14 engine, but mine has a ISX 15, again not that big a deal. I prefer long nose pete’s. My preference. I pull heavy and average 5.8-6.2 depending on the weight of my right foot. That is awful fuel economy, but again its my preference. It’s not my male ego, it’s my desire to be comfortable. I have more than a couple lights on it. Again no ego, safety in mind. Most trucks have 2 tail lights, mine has 18. Most companies don’t do driver survey’s to decide what type of truck to buy. Company drivers get what the company decides to buy.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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Rob, that is a great story and a great example for shifting. I have always drove synchronized manual cars and light trucks. I was told I would have trouble learning to double clutch and that is exactly what happened. Now drivers like Rainy always drove automatics and didn’t have to unlearn “single clutching”. But she became an expert at it. Wow, there is so much psychology involved with professional driving.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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And yeah, now I am going to sound sexist, so sue me. I think a big part of the auto vs manual debate is the male ego/ testosterone.

When I took my CDL training and went through Schneider’s Academy, all I drove were manuals. I struggled with the downshifting but got progressively better and when I went out for my two weeks with my training engineer, I got fairly competent even though not 100 per cent consistent. I desperately wanted to drive a manual, because it’s like Rainy observes, it’s a male ego thing. It can also be a female ego thing if the female wants to prove she’s as good as if not better than the males. And any woman who can drive a manual has my upmost respect. But with me, they put me in an automatic right away so to this day I haven’t been able to be alone in the truck and drive a manual on my own. I knew I could do it because I always do these things better when no one is watching. So Raptor, not everyone even has a choice and like GT said, part of our professional duty is to drive what is provided. Am I disappointed in not getting to go solo in a manual? Yes. But I have to admit that the automatic is a nice labor saver and as I’ve said before, I could still drive if my left foot was amputated. Always look on the bright side.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


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.
Bird-one's Comment
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That was a very interesting read Rainy. Thanks for sharing that.

Brett makes a great point on parts.

Most of Prime is FL and they have a wide selection of parts in stock. Petes,Volvo, and International need to go to the dealers more often because of it. Lease op friends all want a Volvo but say the parts costs more.

It also comes down to fuel economy. FL are lighter than Petes Volvo and International, so Prime puts most company drivers of full size in FL and the lease ops get the others. they figure the lease ops can pay more for fuel rather than the company. I have friends who leased several FL in the past and now have a Pete. He says he spends 10% more on fuel with the Pete and he is going back to the FL.

However, drivers want what they want when living OTR. I see men in the parking lots arguing over 1 brand new Pete when there are 40 other trucks there. They never drove a Pete and have no idea if they will like it, but almost all the new male drivers i meet want a Pete. Therefore companies wont order trucks that are uncomfortable or difficult to drive. I was told a year ago, Prime was getting away from the Internationals. But then the trans and engine changed, so now Prime is amping up the ordering with another 800 coming in the next couple of.months.

My friend owns a Volvo and she says it drives like a cloud. She never mastered a manual so when her hubby suggested the auto she jumped for it. She swears she will never drive anything but a Volvo again. But, it is heavier therefore she spends more in fuel. I took it out for a quick spin and it feels a lot like my International. However she does pay a lot more in fuel than my boyfriend does for his auto FL.

Weight is another issue. The FL are lighter, even the full size are lighter than the others. that means more freight weight in the trailer and possibly more money for the load. This is also why they get better fuel economy. It is another reason why they are "freight shakers" and so bouncey and rocked by wind. Some shippers get charged a flat rate for a load, whether 1000 pounds or 44k, so using heavier trucks for lightee loads may not cost that much.

So parts, fuel economy, weight, driver favorites, and dealership deals.

I have driven 2012, 2015, 2016 FLs, a 2015 Pete, and a 2017, 2020 International.

Because I dont have to pay for fuel etc, My favorite by far is the 2020 International. The FL seems so flimsy and weak in comparison. Ten mph wind will rock you and they creaked a lot when turning or in wind. The Pete and Internationals felt a lot more solid but can be dangerous in the wond because you dont feel it until its in the 30mph range.

I drove a Pete for a few weeks in training and it was difficult for me. The hood mirrors were so low I couldnt see them and I would pull myself up by the steering wheel to get a peak. The seats were higher too, and even on the lowest setting, i could hardly reach the pedals. Every time I hit a bump, the seat went up and down and my foot went on and off the pedals creating a stop go, stop go effect. The manual shifter was more boxy than the FL which made shifting for a newbie easier. It did have a "blindside" warning sensor which i liked if someone was on your right and you turned your blinker on.

At first when i saw the international i thought it had less cabinets and wasted open space. My under the bunk space is completely taken up by the ThermoKing APU. I am guessing that is a Rigmaster vs TK issue not a truck issue. It has features like power locks that activate when you put it in drive. There seems to be better lighting, and even the mattresses are better for the students. However, after driving it for a few months, I didnt want to turn in my 2017, despite the issue it had. So now i have a new one and Yay! luxury, power, and it actually drives!!! lol

i hope this helps


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Susan D. 's Comment
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My company purchases from which ever manufacturer can fulfill the order within the time frame we require the new equipment.. its really that simple.

Cwc's Comment
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My first truck was a Volvo780 with a 9 speed. I learned how to back it up pretty well considering the slower turn radius. It's alot heavier than a FL and I loved it considering the time I spent in Wyoming in high winds. As in sustained 60+mph winds... Parked and rocked to sleep.

After that truck was retired I was moved into an FL. Where I learned that the Volvos were ordered "loaded" with inverters and all kinds of options... That FL didn't. First thing to mention was room. The Volvo had tons of it and even had plenty of space in between the seats. Where the FL made you feel like a can of sardines. The first time I took a gust of wind in the FL I pulled off the road for ten minutes. My codriver was like "what's wrong with you?"

Also going from a team truck to a solo truck was a downsizing experience. My first solo truck was also a Volvo and it was also my first auto trans. I won't say I hated it but it wasn't love at first ride either.

My next truck was a Pete and short of the powertrain I loved that truck also, had it ran on diesel I would have been... Well you get the idea. Loads of room also like the 780. And a really really smooth ride. I would occasionally end my driving day and jump back in the sleeper to find a soda still standing on the shelf where I forgot it that morning.

Those were all some pretty big companies and they had loads of money in those trucks. I now drive a KW T800 and it's gotta be the smallest truck I've ever been in. And if you've made it this far you can probably tell I favor room or bigger trucks. But it's also lighter so I'm sure that lets me take loads others can't and wind doesn't bother me as much with a tanker loaded to the gills. And I'm sure they have a pretty good relationship with KW so they are getting a good deal which means they keep giving me raises. I can live with it. If they offered me a flattop Pete 389 I wouldn't turn it down.

Soon I should be in a new T880 with a Cummins and a 9 speed, can't wait.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bruce K.'s Comment
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My company purchases from which ever manufacturer can fulfill the order within the time frame we require the new equipment.. its really that simple.

Susan, that makes perfect sense. You just answered the issue in the fewest words possible.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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Sorry i should have clarified.. yes experienced drivers have a preference between auto and manual, but i meant new drivers coming into trucking get hung up on things and want a manual or a pete etc just because that is what they have heard they should want.

One thing i liked better about the FL was the foot steps to get to the top bunk. Now they have ladders but the older models had foot rests at different heights to get you on the top bunk. The Pete and International had one and that was it. So if you are short well...i felt like an olympic gymnast swinging my leg over a high bar to get on that Petes bunk lol

Junkyard Dog's Comment
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Of course...with all that said, Prime is the slowest fleet on earth, so perhaps that is why our mpgs are better. Prime is always telling us 56 to 58 mpg gives the best results although most of us never do that.

For once you are wrong Rainy... Raider Express out of Fort Worth is the slowest... if there is traffic and you are behind a Raider express truck good luck passing...LOL

Solo's Comment
member avatar

Rainy: as always great information.

Solo: how do you like TMC other than just the Pete?

I just started my 3rd week of Solo, but thus far, am quite pleased with how everything operates. You don't understand the importance of NOT being able to go above 62mph until you are really low on the clock, and know the trucks passing you are all headed to the same rest stop taking the last available spots.

All that aside, I'm quite happy w/ my decision to join TMC.

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