2015 Cascadia OTR Performance

Discussion in 'John Christner' started by Aminal, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. Aminal

    Aminal Heavy Load Member

    Just got in one of the 2015 Cascadias and I thought I'd share/ journal my experience with it; and always, have some fun.

    Brief spec:
    2015 Cascadia; It was the Mule for the transport (drive unit piggybacking 2 others from factory) so it had 1,124 miles when I got in it day before yesterday. Built in Mexico (VINs starting in 1, 4 and 5 are USA; 2 is Canada; 3 is Mexico). Not that, that matters. Now-a-days a factory is pretty much a factory anywhere. Just nice to know where the Mule was born. That's all.

    DD15 SmartWay power plant, DT12 automatic tranny, 3:07 rears turning Michelin 22.5 X (green) series super singles w/ drum brakes and Michelin X (green) series w/ disc brakes rolling on the steers.

    Amenities (?):
    LED lights, Bambi Basher (I'm SO gonna hear from PETA on that nick name; Josh at the shop bout busted a gut when I asked him how to keep the Bambi Basher from hitting the front of the hood when I flopped it to do my PTI), bunk windows upper and lower both on both sides (4 bunk widows), Carrier Comfort Pro APU, Dometic 50 fridge and Delphi Sirius ready (but not BT capable) tune tosser. Standard seats (w/ chug arrestor - or whatever Freightshaker calls it, the front to back slidey thing for bumpy roads) and two lumbar supports: the internal "integrated" stereo and CB antennae system. It has the longer wiper blades. The dash cluster is individual gauges w/ a driver info LCD display as opposed to the recessed flat cluster w/ clear plastic front over all of it. No side cubbies w/ the nets over the passenger and driver doors and instead of the one big center top compartment w/ a door it has two deep open ones. Peep mirror over the right door, chrome caps on the mirrors which do seem a bit wider. Other than that a typical Freightshaker interior. Same lights, compartments, 12v pug ins - everything else.

    OH, but it did come with some kinda Cab Fit exercise system so I can hook fancy, pretty colored rubber bungies to all kinds of built in places and clips and what not and stretch rubber bands all day while driving. Came in a nice size, medium heavy canvas zippered bag. I took that stuff out and put the bag to good use. It holds my all sockets and box end wrenches. Yeah Baby. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Free tool bag! (once you got the " Wellness" crap outta it). I can use the pretty colored rubber chords and clips to tie up my wife and then whip her with a bright pink . . . never mind. Prolly shouldn't go there.

    So: Do I like her? Hard to say right now. I like her being brand new and no letters behind the number. That's for sure. No more nursing a Mule a bunch of other drivers rode hard and put up wet. I get to break her in right, then ride her hard and take good care of her all around; inside and out. That makes a lot of difference to me. This girl's all mine. Not a hand-me-down that's been handed down a bunch of times. I like her so far. Haven't named her yet, though. We haven't gotten to know each other well enough for that yet. Sounds silly but you know what I mean.

    Never even been in an automatic big truck before, much less driven one. That was my biggest hesitation. I am a businessman and this is all business, but I am a driver too, a fairly old school one and not immune from the deeply profound, prevalent and pervasive predisposition all humans have to resist changes to a comfort zone. End of the day, though, I researched eight ways to Sunday and the data VERY strongly suggests this Smart DD15 with a DT12 Autoshift, 3:07 rears and 22.5 Super Singles with good Michelin "green" rubber and running in economy mode (speed too) to be significant enough fuel savings to put enough more in my pockets that I'd be a foolish business person not to get onboard with the new "Green Way World" and at least give it an honest and truly open minded try. I can tell you this, though; my first trip (bobtail) up to the Quick Trip to get some fuel and run her on the road was a real TRIP! Remember, never even been in an Autoshifter.

    Got a 20 second "How To" from Jack sitting by his cubicle (not slammin' Jack a hair. I think the world of him). Asked him if someone would show me how to do the automatic. "No problem. It's simple, just flip the this, push the that and if you wanna do this or that then just flip the this and move the paddle this or that and bump the end once for this and twice for that, up does this and down does that. Simple man. You'll have it down easy as pie. Just like a car. Except remember backing it hesitates at first and you gotta get a feel for getting it to go smooth and watch the Jakes. Full will put you in the dash if you're not wearing your seatbelt. Not kidding. It has very STRONG Jakes in full." "It has an owner's Manual; Right?" "Sure. It should anyway, and if it doesn't, come see me. We'll get one."

    Off I went and I'll save that for another post. It's funny. The Mule and I are learning each other, though, and so far so good but I gotta get off here and break out that owner's manual . . . again. Spent several hours with it at the Waffle House over breakfast yesterday so I'd have some idea of how to make it do what I want. There's a lot to the settings. Today was my first trip with a trailer and under a load (WHAT'S UP WITH BAMA IN TULSA AND 5 HOURS TO LOAD??) and I've bumped something or flipped something or tapped or tripped or whatever; but somehow I've managed to set it so it's in Automatic Economy (which I wanted), but the engine brakes are set to come on automatically when I have it on cruise, to help maintain the cruise speed; which I don't want. It's dampening momentum I want. I know engine brake ON is not automatic with it in automatic. I done something. I gotta figure out how the hell to un-done it. Answer's in that book. It's the size of a dictionary but I'll find it.

    Manana Folks. Be Safe.
  2. daf105paccar

    daf105paccar Road Train Member

    Apr 15, 2012
    Animal,i will follow your journal with interest.

    AND kudos to you for doing something most don't do...............reading the manual.:biggrin_25514::biggrin_25514:
    Aminal Thanks this.
  3. Bootsie

    Bootsie Bobtail Member

    Oct 26, 2014
    Syracuse, NY
    Aminal - keep it coming, I'm thinking about leasing a Cascadia with the DD 15 mated to the DT 12. Let us know your avg. MPG, how she pulls, does she shake-rattle-and roll, etc.

    'Bambi Basher', you're killing me! I'm in Central NY (farm and winery country), deer are everywhere here. They've turned into roving road hazards, the anti-hunting crowd wants the state to feed 'em birth control pills or something. A lot of my friends like to feed 'em lead at 2800fps. Just sayin'...

    Stay safe.

    Sabre and Aminal Thank this.
  4. CargoWahgo

    CargoWahgo Road Train Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Your truck have an on guard system?

    I got one of these in September

    They screwed up some of the wiring on the bunk heaters. Test yours.

    If it doesn't come on try turning your reading lamp on and leaving it on. If you turn the light off the bunk heater goes out as well.

    Thought I'd give you a heads up & deal with it fix.
    Aminal Thanks this.
  5. Cranky Yankee

    Cranky Yankee Cranky old ######

    Jan 31, 2012
    Green Bay Wi
    running green bay to fontana and back on 80
    the truck we have with that set up is getting 7.4 mpg most trips
    never under 7
    hasn't dropped it into manual to pull the hills
    another friend is only getting 5.7 but he is fighting it and winding that DD15 up too high
    dropping it to manual still acting like it is a standard with a 318 :biggrin_2552:

    they both said dont put the jake on high
    Aminal Thanks this.
  6. Hooda

    Hooda Light Load Member

    Jun 28, 2012
    Rockville, Minnesota
    I'm watching too. Just jumped from a 587 Pete, Paccar 10 speed, to a Volvo 630, I-shift. Took all of 1 hour to forget the clutch pedal. Read your manual, you'll be glad you did when you run into a situation where the tranny doesn't "read your mind". We have a bunch of Short hood Cascadias with 10 speeds, but no DT12's yet. Drivers like them too. Word of advice on the cruise brake, If anything like the Paccar ot Volvo setups, best way to deal with them is to leave engaged and just hold the accelerator pedal 1/4" when you want to disengage to gain momentum on hills. Otherwise, leave engaged to keep steady speed. Of course your driving conditions and style will determine exactly how you deal with this. Keep us posted and good luck.
    Aminal Thanks this.
  7. Aminal

    Aminal Heavy Load Member

    Thanks, but to be honest, if this had been a straight 10 or 13 or stupid 10, I probably would have just read the one for the radio and the Driver Information Display section after messing with them and not figuring out how to get them to display what I want. LOL. It was the Autoshifter and it being brand new and all mine to make or break ($$$), that got me into the book. I am really glad I did, though, and I read it and all the"The Care and Feeding" sections a few times except for the "How to Fasten the Seatbelt" stuff. This definitely ain't me Pappy's ole Pete! STILL wound up calling the dealership to find out how to reset the trip and leg odometer. Service Manager didn't know and had to look it up and call me back. LOL. He did, though. In about 20 minutes he called back and talked me through it. It wasn't in the book.

    Will update more tonight when I go down. Give her a full day's running and actually start playing with the controls in daylight, flat ground and good weather. As far as the other stuff at first blush with just a few hours (Bama Frozen Dough did an outstanding job of digging into my electronic babysitter); naturally, being brand new it won't get near it's full MPG or power til the rings are good and seated and she's past break in. Now-a-days machining technology is so far above what it used to be the machine tolerances are so tight it takes a good 50K plus miles to really start to loosen up good and start performing peak. About 70K to 80K before you get a genuine feel for the real deal. That in mind, this first trip I have 42K in the box which after topping off put her dead on 76K gross (and lucked out on the axels - PERFECT distribution), running Tulsa to Phoenix across the top:

    MPG is King and coming through Tulsa on 244 and 44, then 44 to OKC (hit rush hour in the thick of it), then 35 (scale and fuel, $3.43, plus a nickel back rebate and 4 CPG Diamond level reward points at the Loves - sweet!!), then 40 across to Erick she got 6.6 against about a 20-25 MPH head wind from the left quarter (not straight on) that died down to normal gusts for the area and not bad at all really. LOVE the Driver Display. It has a screen for real time MPG. It shows as a slide type gauge (filling up and letting out a sideways bar) from 0-15 for your instant MPG. The current trip MPG is in numbers at the top and a "caret" (inverted triangle) on the sliding scale. Makes it REAL easy to figure out how whatever you're doing is affecting your MPG right this minute as well as the whole trip. Found myself trying different things to keep the slider above the trip caret and watched the trip MPG slowly go up and up, then down a tenth, then back up etc. Super useful for a fuel miser.

    She pulled surprisingly well for an economy spec'd config. But I didn't do any really decent pulls either. It's got 12 forward gears and that helps a LOT. Brand new out the box and she's out pulling my 2012 with 500K on the DD15 and a straight 10 on this same run. I was very pleasantly surprised but some good hills will tell the tale better. I messed up and set the Jakes to come on to keep her around cruise speed bumping it a little west of Tulsa and couldn't figure out how to make it go back to normal so I could have done better on down hills.

    She does this thing that freaked me OUT the first trip out of the lot. If she senses you coasting down a hill she goes KINDA to neutral (not truly but in effect) and the RPM's drop to 600 like as if you took her outta gear. Freaked me out. I thought I had an engine problem. I'm looking for check engine lights, gauge readings outta whack and thinking: "REALLY? ALREADY WITH THE PROBLEMS?!" Nothing. When I realized what it was doing I thought: "Oh HELL no! That dog ain't gonna hunt. I am NOT going down a hill and not be in a gear! Has Detroit lost their freakin' minds?!" Turns out it only does it up to 5 MPH above your set speed and at 6 MPH above it reengages. Also a tap on the brakes or throttle reengages it. So, OK that's cool. Had some longish slow, down coasts at 600 RPM and 65 MPH. Boosted the trip MPG nicely.

    Rides like any other Freightliner. Tell you what, though. These LED headlights are bright as HELL! I had to stop flashing other drivers over when one asked me not to cause it blinded his rear view. I hadn't thought about that and apologized and quit doing it but once he said it I could definitely see how. Super bright and clear. I really like the Driver Info Display too and you can toggle through all the screens with the +/- on the steering wheel. Fridge being a fridge instead of my Coleman 40qt is nice. I don't have to keep the bunk cool in the cool weather to keep my cooler working well. I like the driver control panel on the Carrier APU better than the TK Tripac. I can set it to do a ton more stuff than the TK. One bad thing is it doesn't kill the APU when you turn the key and I bobtailed to the laundry mat with my APU running. It is a little louder than the TK too but I pull a reefer so the noise doesn't bother me. I pull a reefer so my noise always bothers my neighbors. LOL. Little bit more to getting at the APU itself with the covers, but you can get TO a lot more of the APU and I like the external radiator fill and sight glass. It generates it's own heat so it's not like a bunk heater. I could always smell fuel when the bunk heater first fired up. A/C is ice cold. For power it has a generator instead of working off a big inverter and just monitoring the batteries to keep the inverter from pulling them down, but it will monitor batteries too so if you wanted to augment with a big inverter it would act like a TK. For now, though, for electric the APU has to be running (other than my little 350W inverter for my lap top). Like I said, it will do a lot more than the TK, but the downside is you HAVE to read and understand the book to set it right or it will come on when you're driving whereas the TK won't. BUT it has the "Limp Home" feature the TK didn't so if your alternator fries you can run the engine electrical off the APU keeping the batteries charged. Like I said, the APU will run while the truck is running on this one but not on the TK.

    So far I think I'm gonna like it once I get used to all the electronics and how to make them do what I want when I want and I can't complain about 6.6 with only 1100 on the odometer and going through Tulsa and then OKC in the thick of rush hour - which I REALLY liked the automatic in. That was NICE.

    Well, shower and off to play with her on a full day. Y'all be safe and I'll get back with more this evening if I can find internet. I struggle with that in parts of the west. Be Safe all.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  8. MachoCyclone

    MachoCyclone Road Train Member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Cool. Keep us posted. I'm looking forward to getting one of 2016 Cascadias when those finally get here next year. According to Jack, similar specs to yours.
    Aminal Thanks this.
  9. DenaliDad

    DenaliDad Retired Wheel Dog

    I think learning how to "drive" an automated tranny is what YouTube was designed for. I watched the Daimler video on ithe DD12 and was impressed. My left leg has longed for something like that for a very long time. As age creeps up, I think we all will, especially those of us who spend time in 'creep' mode going through/around big cities.
  10. DenaliDad

    DenaliDad Retired Wheel Dog

    Like the farmland of New York (and many other places) if you drive in central Michigan this time of year after dark, a Bambi Basher is required equipment. That or a very well-supplied checking account.
    Aminal Thanks this.
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