Over the past week, forum members have been discussing the best options for APUs in order to cut fuel use and engine idling expenses. Despite high initial prices of around $8,000, the ThermoKing TriPac and Carrier ComfortPro are earning recommendations for low maintenance costs and long-term durability, as well as an extensive service network. Rigmaster and derivative models such as the CCS Lightning might sell for $6,000-$7,000, but were panned for frequent and costly maintenance requirements, and excessively loud running noise.
Forum member Rollover the Original gives his advice to anyone looking at APU options:
STOP! Can you get it worked on any where in America? Or only at a FEW Flying J’s? Very few J’s have a shop! The RigMaster is a POS! Maintenance intensive! and that’s what [the CCS Lightning] unit is, a redesigned RigMaster! Research that unit fully before you jump on the “cost”!
Carrier runs all the time but is about as good as the TriPak by ThermoKing and BOTH of those units can be worked on all over the country by their respective dealers and you’ll find that they both have more shops than Flying J!
That’s part of the thing about APU’s. Where to have service done, NOT the price! Sure you’ll save it looks like $1000+ but will you “save” that money down the road when the unit quits and you have to go to a truck stop or a few places for repairs. Will the Flying J have the parts on hand or have to get them shipped in? ThermoKing and Carrier have the parts on hand!
Your new business plan will show that you want a reliable unit and a unit that you can get service for in more than a “few” locations. If the APU isn’t working, you’re hauling around a heavy boat anchor!
There are several more APU units out there but I had a mechanic that works on all of them tell me the most reliable ones he’s worked on is the TriPak by ThermoKing. I loved my TriPak after using the first 3 generations of that POS RigMaster! With the RigMaster you can look forward to oil changes every 100 hours with that Kubota engine! That’s every 10 days of use if it runs for 10 hours while on line 1! The air filter gets clogged up pretty fast too. AND it’s the nosiest APU I’ve heard out there!
The TriPak and Carrier units go for 1000 hours for the FIRST oil change then 1500 after that! Looks like that $1000 savings just went out the door in oil changes!
Do NOT let the cost of the unit guide your decision but look into them better than a “deal”