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  1. #1
    Light Load Member
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    If U were spec'ng a truck for fuel mileage...

    I am planning on jumping out on my own sometime in the early next year if things work right. I am already trying to sift through truck ads and just see what the going rate is on used trucks and trailers and trying to come up with business models and just trying to plan ahead in general. I know how to drive a truck pretty good and i am not mechanicly stupid but I am by far from being able to be paid to work on things so when it comes to figuring out things like rear end gear ratios and stuff I am kind of into water i cant swim in yet so i need some better understanding. I have not yet decided if i want to go general van freight or flatbed yet(experience in both) but I would like input from you flatbedders and van movers alike. What kind of set up would you yourself shop for when it comes to getting the best fuel mileage. Would you go 13 speed,10 speed, 3:55 rear,3:90 rear...in general if you were looking for optimal fuel mileage what would you look for.I am not concerned with being the fastest or best looking truck going down the road, i just wanto be blowing less money out of the stacks than the average guy and I want to do my research early and get it right the first time. So what do you guys think.


  2. #2
    Road Train Member broncrider's Avatar
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    My Truckers Blog
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    post 04
    cat, 13, 3.36

    pre 04
    cat, 13, 3.55

    post 07
    i just wouldnt buy it


    business sucks
    most o/o's on THIS board would sell you thier set up
    go to college instead

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by broncrider View Post
    post 04
    cat, 13, 3.36

    pre 04
    cat, 13, 3.55

    post 07
    i just wouldnt buy it


    business sucks
    most o/o's on THIS board would sell you thier set up
    go to college instead

    I tried the college thing straight out of high school...did not work out well the first time around. That was 10 years ago. Now I have the wife and kids and my little 3-4 years out on the big road, got into my blood and thats what i want to give another wack at. I would love to take a second stab at college but it just isnt written into the book of practical things at the time being. As far as the post 07 goes....My back pocket agrees with you. As far as the college thing goes...one of the old sayings is if I knew then what i know now. Certainly applies. I never expected in a million years to ever drive a truck and even then get the bug to do it again as my own boss but its in me now. Just when i thought I was burning out i switched over to flatbed and figured out again why i like trucking. Life has barriers and self caused problems and those things have taken me off the road for a few months but I expect to be back out there chasing the dream again this next year except in my own truck this time. Good thing i have an understanding wife with a steady career. College worked for her. Me,I just couldnt get over being away from home and having the freedom to party at free will,Now i am where I am. My earlier driving skills did at least help us buy the roof that is over our head right now. Anyways...after all that,thainks for the input on the setup. I am about 70 pages into your giganticly long thread and see that you do have some good real world experience on the matter so i appreciate you hopping in on the disscusion,cant wait to get further into your adventures, I know I am way behind but it's like a good book.

  5. #4
    Road Train Member broncrider's Avatar
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    no sence blowin smoke up my skirt (hey...they make a guy feel sexy ok?)

    if your only 70 pages in i'll save you alot of time....until about page 220, its pretty dry, busines/rate stuff....they haven't really changed...mostly cheaper now

    the rest is just random chatter between a bunch of o/o's, alot of good knowledge to be found, but its gonna take some surfing

    honestly my advice
    buy a pre 07 Paccar (pete or kw)
    areo is a must (just look at the rates....cut costs where ya can)
    cat aint the best mileage wise, but they are as reliable as my 1936 .22 rifle
    get a 13, or if hualing a bit heavy an 18
    gear ratio's above
    pre 04 1425 rpm is about the best
    post 04 1325 rpm is the best (or so i hear)

    i admire your courage to even think about this
    but read mine, MM's and especialy pharm's before you do it
    way too much to think about to just jump in

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  7. #5
    "Village Idiot" dancnoone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broncrider View Post
    post 04
    cat, 13, 3.36

    pre 04
    cat, 13, 3.55

    post 07
    i just wouldnt buy it
    Bronc, actually many of the post 07 models get great fuel economy if set up properly. Something that the larger companies refuse to do...it appears.

    I'd go with the same post 04 set up, using Cat or the new DD 15.

    BTW, college grads are the reason my cat gets 5.9 mpg instead of 6.6 mpg

    Same engine...same rears. But it now has a "more" cost effective and fuel efficient 10 speed

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  9. #6
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    Some of the fleet trucks have been spec'ing direct drives, which is supposed to be good for a couple more per cent fuel mileage.

  10. #7
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    Go with a Detroit Diesel DD4 or DD3, with some ECM adjustments the will out perform a Cat, get better fuel mileage and last longer. Parts for the new motors are expensive, the new MBE 500 (Mercedes Detroit) turbo cost over $6000.00 I believe the older trucks are going to see a increase in value after the 2010 engines come out and start having their problems. There won't be a 2010 CAT.

  11. #8
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    I will preface this by saying that you are very unlikely to find these specs on the used truck market.

    If I were looking to buy a truck that I was going to drive, I would buy a truck with an 13 speed or 18 speed tranny and 2.64 rear gears. If you drive that truck in the direct drive gear(11th in a 13 speed or 16th in an 18 speed) it would be the same final ratio as driving a typical overdrive gear with a 3.55 ratio.

    What that setup does is gives you flexibility. When you can drive slow, drive 60-63 mph in direct drive gear for maximum fuel efficiency. When you need to go, well....you got two more gears and can get right on down the road. That allows you to drive at a faster speed of 70 or 75 while still running very low RPM's so as to not hurt the fuel mileage quite as badly as you would if you were running a more traditional gear (3.36 or 3.55) with an overdrive tranny.

    Like I said, good luck finding that setup on the used market. I have seen one or two, but it is rare. You can order a new truck setup like this, but the salesman will likely look at you like you got two heads.

    If you decided that this is what you want to do, find the truck that you really want with a 13 or 18 speed tranny, and swap out the rear end gears to the 2.64 ratio. You can swap rears fairly cheaply(relatively speaking of course). Last time I considered doing it, I got a quote in the $3500-4000 range for parts and labor.

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  13. #9
    Have a Cup Of Concrete
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eskimo6804 View Post

    If I were looking to buy a truck that I was going to drive, I would buy a truck with an 13 speed or 18 speed tranny and 2.64 rear gears. If you drive that truck in the direct drive gear(11th in a 13 speed or 16th in an 18 speed) it would be the same final ratio as driving a typical overdrive gear with a 3.55 ratio.

    What that setup does is gives you flexibility. When you can drive slow, drive 60-63 mph in direct drive gear for maximum fuel efficiency. When you need to go, well....you got two more gears and can get right on down the road. That allows you to drive at a faster speed of 70 or 75 while still running very low RPM's so as to not hurt the fuel mileage quite as badly as you would if you were running a more traditional gear (3.36 or 3.55) with an overdrive tranny.
    An interesting idea, but i feel compeled to offer this up..

    at those speeds at lower rpms, i would guess that most motors wouldnt really have the power to pull the gearing efficiently.

    Out here, as the weights go up, so too must the rear ratios.

    this is to put the engines higher up the HP band.

    I know a few roadtrain guys who run HEAVY, and one has 4.11 ( rather than the more usual 4.33 or even 4.56 ), and he has to run the truck in 17th rather than 18th as it wont pull well in the top hole with weight on.

    A cat would be more effective at the lower rpm pulling at speed, due to the way they make their power, although how efficently any setup would do it, would need to be tested.

    the few setups you have seen like that Eski, i wonder if they were guys that like to run way up in speed looking for something extra?

  14. #10
    Road Train Member Mr. PlumCrazy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eskimo6804 View Post
    I will preface this by saying that you are very unlikely to find these specs on the used truck market.

    If I were looking to buy a truck that I was going to drive, I would buy a truck with an 13 speed or 18 speed tranny and 2.64 rear gears. If you drive that truck in the direct drive gear(11th in a 13 speed or 16th in an 18 speed) it would be the same final ratio as driving a typical overdrive gear with a 3.55 ratio.

    What that setup does is gives you flexibility. When you can drive slow, drive 60-63 mph in direct drive gear for maximum fuel efficiency. When you need to go, well....you got two more gears and can get right on down the road. That allows you to drive at a faster speed of 70 or 75 while still running very low RPM's so as to not hurt the fuel mileage quite as badly as you would if you were running a more traditional gear (3.36 or 3.55) with an overdrive tranny.

    Like I said, good luck finding that setup on the used market. I have seen one or two, but it is rare. You can order a new truck setup like this, but the salesman will likely look at you like you got two heads.

    If you decided that this is what you want to do, find the truck that you really want with a 13 or 18 speed tranny, and swap out the rear end gears to the 2.64 ratio. You can swap rears fairly cheaply(relatively speaking of course). Last time I considered doing it, I got a quote in the $3500-4000 range for parts and labor.
    I am with Agent86 on this
    With 2.64 Rears you RPM would be to low to pull it. You would have a lot of top end if you can find a 5-10 mile downgrade to get it wound up and as soon as you hit a hill you'll be better off backing up it

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