Battle of the APUs

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Hazardous, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Hazardous

    Hazardous Light Load Member

    Jul 25, 2012
    So we have a few trucks with a diesel Thermoking APU. They came on the trucks we bought. Since the used truck market is so #### slim right now, we are looking at trucks that don't have an APU because, well, we need trucks lol.

    What I'm wondering is if anyone has any experience with the Thermoking Envidia electric APU? These diesel APUs we use are so plagued with problems that they almost aren't worth it. To install a new diesel is $13,000 while the Envidia is only $6,000. Do they actually cool the truck, and continue to cool for the full 10 hours? How fast do they charge for a driver doing their 34hr reset?

    Any insight is appreciated.
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  3. jason6541

    jason6541 Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Hmmm I have a thermo king evolution
    That is on 3rd truck with 21,000 hours on it. Regular maintenance and oil changes every 1,000 hours and belts yearly and check refrigerant top off if needed.
    not much maintenance required,
    Have a carrier APU with 18,000 hours on its 3 rd truck as well. Same maintenance as thermo king. Every time they are switched from each truck they receive a mini refurb.
    have known some people with the thermo king electric apu. They work good for a few years. A/c has a hard time in anything over 85 deg. Batteries seemed to last between 2.5 years and maybe 3. Very spendy on the batteries
    rachi and bzinger Thank this.
  4. jason6541

    jason6541 Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Carrier apu $10k with 4 year 8,000hr warranty. Carrier Omaha
    bzinger Thanks this.
  5. Dave_in_AZ

    Dave_in_AZ Road Train Member

    May 4, 2015
    Wrench that had some experience with the electrics said they suck when it really gets cooking. @InTooDeep has a new electric one I think. My older TK can be a pain, but it's 9 years old, typically wiring. Still can hang meat in the truck in Phoenix, and always fires right up. The newer one that only has like 4000 hours on it runs like a champ as well.
  6. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

    Apr 4, 2017
    The way I understand the electrics is its kind of like a reefer trailer. It won't cool warm cargo but it will keep cool cargo cool. So you want to cool the truck with the engine first, then use the APU to maintain. Another thing supposed to help in hot weather is drawing the curtain to shrink the area being cooled.
    Trucker61016, SoulScream84 and bzinger Thank this.
  7. BeHereNow97

    BeHereNow97 Light Load Member

    Sep 15, 2020
    Serious question - How do you tell if an APU is diesel or electric? I'm assuming if it's diesel it is somehow connected to the fuel lines so it's not like you'de have to fuel your APU, right?

    I had a ThermoKing Trip Pac Evolution in my 2020 International. I don't know if it was electric or diesel. It had around 4500 hours on it when I left the truck. Ran like a champ. Only broke down on me once in two years and it was a quick fix. Kept me cool during the summer days and warm during the winter.

    We would have to idle our trucks when the temps got below 15 F. I will say that I always slept much better with the APU running than with the truck idling.

    The only thing about APU's on company trucks is that for me at least with my company, the company never kept track of when the PM Services on the unit were needed on it. I got the truck brand new and I always made sure that it got serviced according to the APU manuals standards. While my company was good at accommodating my loads so that I could get the APU serviced when it needed to be serviced, like I said they never kept track of it like they did with the truck PM Service intervals.

    So I can see how in some companies the drivers might not service their APU's for PM Services like the manuals state to, thus causing problems with it down the line. Maybe many companies keep more close tabs on their APU unit service intervals than mine did, I don't know.

    All I can say though is that I loved my APU. I don't think I would like to do OTR trucking without one. It really improved my quality of life out on the road and I was really thankful for it and thankful that my company had them.
    bzinger Thanks this.
  8. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    They do cool.

    they charge slowly, not designed properly. They don’t have a proper battery management system made for proper charging,

    a lot of owners go through batteries because they are discharged beyond what they can handle.
  9. Frank Speak

    Frank Speak Road Train Member

    May 3, 2016
    Hot Springs, AR
    I’ve had both (as a company driver). I‘ve two diesel powered, a TK that worked like a champ. I also had some off brand that I can’t think of to save my immortality (had it when I worked at Poly Trucking). That POS was broke more than it ran.

    The electric that I had worked fine, but you had to work around it’s limitations. If you wanted to keep your truck at 68 degrees, no way the batteries would last 10hrs.

    I’m local and don’t sleep in the truck anymore but if I did, I would MUCH prefer the diesel powered units.
    JoeyJunk Thanks this.
  10. jason6541

    jason6541 Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Also keep in mind the battery powered apu’s will most likely require a alternator
    Upgrade to about 400 amp. is that included in the purchase price of the units?.
    also where will you put the batteries?.
    The truck will probably have to fast idle for at least a few hours to partially recharge the batteries. System is designed to be recharged during a day of driving.
    bzinger Thanks this.
  11. PoleCrusher

    PoleCrusher Road Train Member

    Aug 26, 2014
    I have a TK Tripac Evolution now. I'll never have another APU on a truck. More trouble than their worth. At least some parts you can only get from TK, and boy are they proud of their junk.

    You can buy a generator a lot cheaper, and do a lot more with it.
    reeferwrencher Thanks this.
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