What's the deal with these tiny Pro-Stars?

Discussion in 'Central Refrigerated' started by chp56, May 31, 2014.

  1. chp56

    chp56 Light Load Member

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    That are in the Swift Fontana yard? They assigned one to a guy I know, and there's not even room to hang up his clothes, he has to pile em up on the passenger seat! I could see assigning them to a local driver, but this poor guy is doing 48 states! No room for a cooler or t.v. either--it's a Pro-Star Eagle (without the plus sign)
     
  2. 8thnote

    8thnote Road Train Member

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    Sounds like they're jumping on the Prime bandwagon. Drivers don't need comfort. That extra 1000 lbs of freight is what matters.
     
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  3. Chucktaylor

    Chucktaylor Road Train Member

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    Believe it or not, customers pony up for that extra capacity. When paired with a lightweight trailer, it can be a couple more 1k pounds of freight.

    At least at Prime they'll yank out the passenger seat and install mounting brackets to strap cabinets or fridges. Drivers have been pretty creative with that space.... really opens open the living space... some guys at Prime put in a dorm size fridge in (far bigger than a "trucking fridge") and build elaborate shelves around them.... extra .05/mile pay takes a little sting out of it too.

    Besides, with the passenger seat and a passenger in the seat, it creates a whole different problem on where said passenger sleeps in that single rack. So not much use for that seat in my book.

    I would have easily taken one as a solo company driver if I didn't get paid more as a trainer in a condo.
     
    8thnote Thanks this.
  4. 8thnote

    8thnote Road Train Member

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    So how much can a lightweight truck and trailer scale out, roughly? I used to drive a Volvo 670 and with a new lightweight dry van, it could handle 47k with 1/2 tank of fuel. I'm now in a KW T-680 and it will hold 45k in a light dry van.
     
  5. Chucktaylor

    Chucktaylor Road Train Member

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    The "Eco49" label on the Prime trailer advertises that it can carry up to 49k lbs when loaded properly and paired with a lightweight truck.

    Prime box trailers are 99.9% reefer. (technically we have a handful (less than 10) of dry van "roller" trailers that are exclusively used for a specific customer's loads)

    With my condo Cascadia, around half on fuel, I could haul a least 46k in the lightweight reefer trailer. So I can see 49k possible with a lightweight truck. Its the older, heavier trailers I had to worry about at 45k
     
    8thnote Thanks this.
  6. SlowPoke44magnum

    SlowPoke44magnum Medium Load Member

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    I almost went to work for a company that used those small Pro Stars, Keller Trucking out of Defiance, OH, until I tried sleeping in the truck the night before I was to be dispatched out on my first load. I had to have the shop take out the passenger seat just so my fridge would even fit in the cab and there still wasn't enough room, virtually no storage space, not to mention the battery powered APU not actually keeping the truck cool enough to sleep in. When I laid down in the bunk, one elbow was against the back wall of the sleeper and the other was against the back of the drivers seat. I unloaded my stuff out of the truck and turned in my keys, fuel card, etc. and never looked back. There was no way I would have been able to live in that truck for two weeks at a time. I can hear some drivers saying just to suck it up and deal with it and I have in the past. I started off this career in a Transtar II cabover with no AC, no power steering, no power mirrors, etc so I have paid my dues and there are just certain things I won't tolerate anymore after 20 years in this business. Keller is one of those companies that sells it's ability to haul heavy loads, they claim 50,000 lbs in a 53' van and that comes at the expense of driver comfort.
     
  7. Dryver

    Dryver Road Train Member

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    Here is a simple answer, don't drive for a company that wants you to live and drive below par equipment. As long as they find drivers to work for them it will only get worse. There are so many opportunities to drive for good companies with great equipment I don't understand drivers complaining but putting up with it at the same time.
     
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  8. Chucktaylor

    Chucktaylor Road Train Member

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    Yeah, I don't know how it is at those other companies... but at Prime, its funny how most people's first claim is that they won't be able fit into the bed in these smaller trucks when the mattress is the same size in all our trucks. condo and lightweight.

    OMG the seat backs up to the bunk! Guess what? in my condo the cabinets backed up to the bunk. First thing I noticed when I laid down in the lightweight bed. zero difference sleep space in that regard.

    Now the first step out of bed? Well thats a little different... first step and your practically in the driver seat. Like I said before, at Prime they'll remove the passenger seat and install mounting brackets to strap things in. Guys get very creative with the things they build or strap into that area with fridges, shelves, microwaves, and drawers.

    I had a 6'7" former boxer for a trainee. He was very worried until I took him down and had him climb into the 3 models we had at the time. (we don't use the Peterbuilt lightweights anymore) He clearly saw that most of his worries about sleep space were in his own mind, and all the other lack of space was worth it (to him) in the extra pay he was going to get. After seeing what other guys had did without a seat he had some ideas of his own.

    At Prime the company solo driver can look at it two ways. You're getting paid $.05/mile more than the other solo guy driving a Condo. Or the Condo guy is giving $.05/mile pay to Prime for the extra bunk and extra space.

    looking at the math, that $130-165 extra dollars a week, $6-8,000 dollars a year. I averaged 2800 miles a week..

    Again, look at it both ways. You're getting 6-8k more per year to drive that lightweight. Or you're paying $6-8k per year to drive that Condo and maybe have a passenger. As a trainer you can easily make up that difference in a condo, but not everyone wants the hassle of a trainee living in their space.

    Solo company drivers being assigned the Lightweight is not an absolute at Prime, though a new solo hire is more likely to be assigned one. New hires are placed in condo's all the time simply by asking and subject to truck availability. Its not a guarantee their request will be met. Sometimes the condos are assigned without even asking! However, for the most part, Ive seen Fleet Managers go to bat and get lightweight guys into condos if the driver develops a good working relationship and proves reliable to his FM with a couple solid work months.

    As far a APUs, the same models we put on the Condos are on our lightweights. So in that regard, if thats subpar then I guess its equal opportunity.
     
  9. Jabber1990

    Jabber1990 Road Train Member

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    I had one, I lived in it for the 11 months I was with the company

    I had to pile my clothes and everything on the bunk so I only had half of a bed to sleep on, add to that the mattress they gave me was 18" too wide, they argued with me and said all beds are the same size

    I argued with Saftey about how this truck was too small to live in, they basicly told me to "suck it up"
     
  10. Jabber1990

    Jabber1990 Road Train Member

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    I have also heard that they bought them for the O/O's who run Coors so they haul the extra 1000lbs of freight, but the O/Os refused to drive them (can't imagine why) so they gave them to those on the midwest fleet

    I was told they were going to give everyone on the Midwest fleet one of those, if thats true then I expect them to have alot of drivers quitting

    I was told that about a year ago, I have no idea if that ever happened
     
    R.Rodriguez Thanks this.
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