New reefer vs used, pros and cons revisited.

Discussion in 'Refrigerated Trucking Forum' started by TallJoe, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. Scooter Jones

    Scooter Jones Road Train Member

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    Very informative, thanks for sharing.
     
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  3. TallJoe

    TallJoe Road Train Member

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    I knew there would be someone giving a good review about new reefer trailers. So fuel efficiency and reliability then. 10K hassle free hours translates into about 3-4 years of usage? I value the reliability even more than fuel efficiency, so much less stress. I did not know that it takes a while to get one after ordering.
    Good to know. Thank you!
     
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  4. RedForeman

    RedForeman Momentum Conservationist

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    Since I'm the cheapest driver on payroll, I got to haul the first new trailer on the regular. My usual run is a turn around with frozen product on board for 2.5-3 days -10ºF cycle, then usually produce or dairy for 2.5-3 days 34ºF continuous. I hit the 3000 hour service interval right at the one year mark. In my case, I expect right at 3 yrs before the new trailer smell wears off. The unit should be at around +/- 15k hrs when it's time to sell, so still marketable life remaining.

    You probably ought to study the warranty on whatever new reefer unit you decide on carefully. Mainly so you know what to expect (or not). Thermo King stages it out in 4 phases. Nose to fuel tank for the first 2k hrs, then progressively less is covered to 4k, 6k, and at 8k the warranty ends. I've always had the best uptime from TK units, so I never considered or looked into a new Carrier.

    All that said, even new stuff can break down. For the first 3-4 months my first one had an ongoing high pressure transducer fault causing the continuous set point to drift a few degrees upward for a short time at random. Long story short, it involved about 10 attempts by the dealer to get it working right. The second unit has been trouble free since day 1. Apparently the fault on the first one was one of 3 or 4 nationwide, so it was a rare problem. I have a good relationship with my dealer, so trust and agree with their assessment of a short term part supply issue that has since been resolved. Or I wouldn't have bought another one.
     
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  5. TallJoe

    TallJoe Road Train Member

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    What you are saying is another level of expertise. For example, what you mentioned in your earlier post about an owner operator specked reefer paused me to think about it, that is that a reefer could be specked towards specific needs. Also, it seems that a reefer unit is not just another motor with compressor, there is much more to it....pressure transducer for instance (I have to look it up honestly). So studying refrigeration, or how those units work they way the are programmed (towards frozen freight, or towards produce) seems inevitable. I like the idea of owning something brand new, as I know that that it would be only myself responsible of the unit and how the trailer is handled. I yet have to determine, if it is financially doable for me.
    I hauled reefers as a company driver for 8 years until 2010. Most of them were old clunkers in which a attached remote temp sensors inside and tried to monitor and control the temperatures like that. I'm somewhat missing all that Salinas produce loading hell and ... I have to admit, missing California country site a little too.
     
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  6. RedForeman

    RedForeman Momentum Conservationist

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    All excellent points. I really wanted to spec a lift axle, disc brakes, and two rows of e-track in the walls. All that would have added around $3-4k to my out the door price, but would have taken 5-6 months for delivery. I'm not customizing for a particular product/shipper, so the compromise was take a stock unit that was reasonably well equipped (a few extra lights, thermoguard liner, aluminum outside wheels, auto inflation system, skirts) and get it in one month or less. I'm gonna let it go in 5 years, so it's not exactly like I'm stuck with it for life. Then maybe next time I'll be in a better position with the current trailers to plan ahead with the custom order I really want.

    Likewise, the reefer unit comes with a good, but generic setup that will probably suit you for all sorts of products. Most of the customizations are not worth the time and money it takes to set them up.

    Funny you mention Cali. We don't haul much west of I-35, but I spec'd S-series reefer units that are indefinitely Cali compliant. So I can get an edge on the sale to the next owner. I could have saved a few thousand by buying C-600 units, but that would have made the resale drop even more since they would only have a couple years of Cali compliance left before an emissions/engine upgrade would be needed.

    I'll re-state what @Scooter Jones mentioned: it's a chunk of change to get into, that isn't on the same level as trading $15k beater trailers. Definitely a big step up in commitment. If you are willing and can pull it off, the reliability and fuel saving benefits are worth it IMO.
     
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  7. DUNE-T

    DUNE-T Road Train Member

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    Wow, you are really thinking about reefer. Seems like with reefer to make good money you should be out two weeks at a time, it's gonna be hard to make it home every weekend. If you want to rent one, GT Lease out of new Chicago rents them month to month for 1200-1400 with no credit check. I like those people, can't stand those filthy crooks at Compass.
    If buying, I say go new. I just bought a new dry van, cause used one cost me $3k of lost revenue in December due to wastingwtime repairing small stuff.
     
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  8. Misesian

    Misesian Road Train Member

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    I just bought a second trailer, both are 2011 Utility reefers. I've said before if you're looking at an X2 vs an SB series, the X2 is the better unit. Compare an X4 to a Precedent and I think they're both really good. Utilities are a dime a dozen and their base insulation package is pretty good. Buying used I'd stick with Great Dane or Utility. Other models have a higher number of "high cube" reefers around and you don't want to get ahold of one because the salesman doesn't know the specs. I'd keep one until it's 10 years old at maximum, preferably 9. After 7 years you've lost a lot of R value and it continues from there. The reefer units themselves can last the entire life of a trailer. You may have a starter gonout, a seal or two go, or close to the end, a compressor may go. Either way, maintenance on a reefer trailer is not very intensive.
     
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  9. TallJoe

    TallJoe Road Train Member

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    I can't get home every single weekend anyway. Can't find such an efficient loop.There is just no way to get anything decent to get back to Chicago towards a weekend. So many times i simply deadheaded for as long as 500-700 miles just to get home and with ELDs now that is stupid in the long run. LOL. In other words, I need to work over some weekends to make ends meet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
  10. Rocknroller4

    Rocknroller4 Road Train Member

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    Question for you Owner ops who've been out there on the roads for a while. Is this industry worth getting into at this point? See so much negative news and posts, etc. I know trucking is like the number 1 most dangerous job in America but just curious your thoughts and whether or not it's worth doing for like ten years? All I want to do is pay a mortgage and own a house someday. Is that possible in this industry? Thanks.
     
  11. rollin coal

    rollin coal Road Train Member

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    Joe, you'll like the consistency of reefer work and rates versus vans. Your van will be sitting most of the year. You'll probably get rid of it. A friend of mine who lives in the Chicago area has already been down this road. He got rid of his van a month ago. It sat for over a year un-used.

    Those few times when the rates are exceptional on van freight it's nice for me to escape the reefer world for a few weeks though. His and your market is different than mine though. It's worth it for me to keep that van on the side. Chicago is just too competitive.

    Having a reefer and doing van work with it just isn't the same as having a van on the side for van only work. I know most guys will say reefer can do both but truthfully the best paying van freight normally isn't loading in a reefer. But most likely your van will be history so a moot point anyway.

    I'd definitely go with brand new. No downtime, or at least very minimal if there are any bugs like with Red. Fuel efficiency and piece of mind, unless you get a lemon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
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