Let's talk trucks

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by LumbermanSVO, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

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    Denton, TX
    #1
    Big trucks! Np I don't mean big pickups, I mean semi's. I'm a truck driver and in the last 9 weeks I've driven over 30,000 miles. The average person only drives around 12,000 a year.

    So I thought we could have a thread where anyone could ask me, and any other professional drivers that may be on the board, any truck related question you might have.

    Now folk let's keep this friendly. If you want to just complain about trucks or drivers then please start another thread. That's not what this one is for.
     
  2. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #2
    I have a random question: What's the longest you've driven in one stretch, ie where did you start and finish, and how many miles?
     
  3. LumbermanSVO thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Actually, yesterday. I took 28,000lbs of general merchandise from the Target DC in Pueblo, CO to a store in Rapid City, SD. I couldn't drive until 9:15am and the delivery time was 7:30pm. I got there at 7, so 9 hours and 45 minutes, straight through, didn't even stop to use the restroom. Normally I would stop every 2-3 hours to stretch and use the restroom.

    A driver can only legally drive 11 hours straight. A driver also can't drive 14 hours after coming "on-duty" after there last 10 hour break. We also can't drive after being "on-duty" for more than 70 hours in the last 8 days. If you work and drive no more than 8.75 hours a day you'll never have to worry about the 70 hour rule. Yesterday could come back and bite in the rear in a week if I don't watch out. Luckily I've only driven 2 hours today and am 15 minutes from my next pickup at 7 am.
     
  4. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #4
    Does it annoy you when people want you to honk your horn? You know, what kids do and everything. Or am I alone in this childhood experience?
     
  5. LumbermanSVO thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Its funny, I had forgotten about it. I did it a lot as a kid on vacations.

    The first time a kid did that to me it gave me the "I'm finally a trucker" warm feeling. I'll only honk though if there isn't someone directly in front of me.
     
  6. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    I would like to compliment you on the fact that is sounds like you take your job seriously and obey time limits. For a little frame of reference, I have a long family history with state police, and my uncle was killed on duty by a trucker who fell asleep...

    Glad to hear you like you job, and I hope you will honk for me if I ever see you!!!! ;)
     
  7. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #7
    i'm a warehouse manager and a cargo van driver. i gotta say that i have respect for most of you with how much you drive. although i'm sure most of those trucks are more comfortable than my van. :p
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    From what I've seen, truck drivers have actually been quite safe when compared to some other drivers on the road. Never had any trouble from a truck driver. This is especially surprising when I look at how far you drive every day. :eek:
     
  9. FrankBlack macrumors 6502

    FrankBlack

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    #9
    It seems to me that driving a huge rig must be a difficult skill to acquire, especially if the cargo is something like gasoline. Most pro truck drivers make it look easy, but I'm guessing this comes with lots of experience.

    Is it true that you have to double-clutch on every shift? How many forward gears do you have?

    Some of our younger members may not believe this, but I found that some of those Union 76 Auto Truck stops in the south west had excellent food. What's your experience been with good food, and are there places to avoid at all costs? :eek:
     
  10. LumbermanSVO thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Denton, TX
    #10
    Thanks for the compliments guys, wasn't sure what kinda of a reaction I was gonna get.

    I watch my log very closely and try to stay under the 8.75 hours a day. I have no problem just stopping the truck if I am feeling too tired to drive. I'd much rather be late than dead.

    Driving a truck isn't for everyone, thats for sure, doing the long haul thing adds other stresses than just the driving too. Many people never make it past their first month, even more their first year.

    The first time I took a truck and trailer out on a public road was pretty frightening, for me and other people. After only an hour I climbed out of the truck and my hands were literally shaking.

    Yeah, if you use the clutch you need to double clutch. If you single clutch, like a car, you will very rarely complete a shift. I sometimes just "float the gears", also known as not using the clutch. Much simpler but takes more skill. Lucky for me I've been doing it for 9 years in my own cars. My truck has 9 foreward gears and 2 reverse. 1rst is very rarely used as well as reverse/high.

    There are two separate endorsement you need on your license to haul gasoline, tanker and HAZMAT. Many tanker trucks are double, so you also need a doubles/triple endorsement. I I have my doubles/triples and tanker but right now I just do dry van stuff.

    Food is hit or miss. Some good, some bad. At the moment I'm a bit shy of anything unfamiliar due to some food poisoning I got at home for Thanksgiving, wound up in the hospital. I haven't had any "issues" caused by road food, but I only eat at a truck stop every other day or so, the rest of the time I eat food I have on my truck. Mostly fruits and nuts, like I'm a squirrel or something.

    Its not somewhere I've been in a truck, but if you ever want a great omelet and hash-browns you need to visit Beth's Cafe in Seattle, right next to Greenlake, even better if you are hungover.
     
  11. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    I've always wanted to try driving a truck, just to see what it's like. I don't know that I'd want to do it as a career but I think it would be fun to do it one or two times. My step dad is a dock supervisor for Yellow Freight so we've got a trucker (sort of) in the family too.
    It must be hard on you and your family with you being on the road a lot. When I was younger our next door neighbors were truck drivers (husband and wife team) and they did two Salt Lake City to Chicago and back hauls every week. Since they were both gone their 9-year old daughter stayed at our house. I felt sorry for the poor kid because she only slept at her own house two days out of the week when her parents were home and the rest of the time she was with us.
     
  12. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #12
    You an independent? Any lines that make you shudder when you see their trucks? Any you wanna drive for?
     
  13. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #13
    This is more of a driving in general question, but what the heck is "double clutching"??? I only recently (like last month) learned how to (sort of) drive a manual. Just curious what this is.
     
  14. xodonniedarko macrumors 6502

    xodonniedarko

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    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #14
    I don't know what "double clutching" is, but seeing as I have a hard time driving my boyfriend's 88 honda (5 speed), and I tend to ride ONE clutch, I don't know how you do two, with so many gears.

    (I can drive a five speed, just not my boyfriend's :/)


    My boyfriend's dad, step dad, step mom, and his brother's best friend's dad all DO or HAVE drive big trucks. It's impressive, to me. Oh, my mom did too! But she was really just a passenger, and only drove it like once :p
     
  15. LumbermanSVO thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Denton, TX
    #15
    Nah, none that make me cringe or anything. I work for one of the largest companies in the country, they will go un-named as I dont want to appear to be representing them. A lot of drivers don't like us because of our size and the fact that we train a lot of new drivers. Backing is typically backing is not something a new driver is good at, something the typical motorist will never see. I was lucky, I worked in a yard for my first driving job, I moved about 80 trailers a day. I got good at backing real quick.

    Most new drivers make a lot of little mistakes that only truck drivers would notice. Because of these mistakes the training companies typically get a bad rap from other drivers. The two biggest companies out there train something like 70% of the industry though, so they cant be that bad.

    I gotta give credit to the owner/operators(independent)it takes a lot of stones to give it a go on your own. You can easily make $150k a year and still go bankrupt. The tractor alone will probably cost over $100k, the one I drive retails for around $115k. Trailers cost another $20-60k depending on the setup. Then you throw in insurance, fuel$$$$$, taxes and so on and things can easily go wrong if you screw up a number or two along the way. To give you an idea about fuel, my truck uses about $225 a day in fuel if I've had a productive day.

    I would like to get into the heavy haul area. I could go to that division in my company but my current truck isn't setup for it. I just got this truck and it is brand new. Maybe in a couple years. In our heavy haul division the trucks can weigh up to 105,000lbs instead of the normal 80,000lbs.

    Double clutching: In a car the transmission has synchros, they line up the teeth of the gears so you don't grind. You can also take the stick and put it in any gear (not reverse) while in motion without any problem because of the synchros. What happens when you release the clutch is a whole 'nother matter...

    In a truck you have to line up the teeth yourself. You use the clutch to take it out of gear, put it in neutral and let out the clutch. You then use the clutch again to put it into the next gear. When upshifting you can usually just do it with no delay and be fine. When down shifting you need to rev the engine while it is in neutral. Don't rev it enough and you wont get it into gear, rev it to much and you can grind your way in. Get it just right and you look and sound like you know what you are doing. If you try to put it into the wrong gear you will just get a bunch of grinding and maybe a stare from a passing pedestrian, this normally happens when you forget to flip the range selector switch...
     
  16. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #16
    Gee, wouldn't be Swift, would it? ;) (I live in PHX, they carry way too much drag here with the 90 Dwarves--our state Legislature)

    My uncle was one of the owners of Di Salvo back in the day. Last time I was in a rig it was one of the old 40's-50's round-nose tractors. Why I didn't end up doing that for a living is beyond me.
     
  17. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    Aug 20, 2003
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    sitting on your shoulder
    #17
    I don't know about big trucks, but no mass-produced car today actually has you moving gears around. Good explanation of synchromesh vs. dog engagement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchromesh#Dog_clutch
     
  18. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #18
    :eek::( No thank you ...
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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  20. Rapmastac1 macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

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    In the Depths of the SLC!
    #20
    I've always wanted to be a trucker, even just for a few years. I have a lot of respect for them, it takes a lot of balls to drive them rigs! I always make sure I give them enough room to turn, even going as far as stopping traffic giving them a lot of room to turn. I've always stayed as far away as I could, when I'm next to one I speed up to get out of the blind spot, their job is hard enough...

    What are some of the coolest places you have seen, and what are some of the weirdest things you have seen on the road?
     
  21. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #21



    Signs point to yes :D:D
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #22
    Well, to be fair, that doesn't mean he tosses them.
     
  23. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #23
    Yes, I know, just a little joke. I would have to lean towards no since he seems like an exemplary trucker, but I just can't seem to turn down an opportunity to poke fun these days.
     
  24. LumbermanSVO thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Denton, TX
    #24
    Well, I picked up a load of kitty litter in Colony, WY this morning and now I'm in Cheyenne, WY. The load doesn't deliver in Aurora, CO until the 3rd so I took my time today. This place seems to be hokey as far as internet service goes, normally the truck stop will let you on for free, doesn't connect tonight. The hotel accross the street connects but drops frequently. The EDGE on my iPhone isn't working either.

    JohnNotBeatle, good guess, but being in PHX did help ya a bit :) Those old truck are pretty damn neat, but I'd hate to have to drive one these days. Even the last Freightliner I was in seems horrible compared to this brand new Volvo.

    Counterfit, I'm aware of that, I'm a car geek. but it helps to explain things to people who have never studied an exploded view of a transmission, much less tore one down to replaced crunch gears...

    abiyng87, Thats why most guys dont even use the clutch! :)

    mactastic, no, I've never tossed one, and rarely use a bottle. The guys who do are part of the reason we aren't welcome in a lot of places we once were. For every one they toss they should have to drink two...

    Rapmastac1, thanks, we could use more drivers like you!

    A recent favorite of mine is the Virgin River Gorge: http://www.ziggy1.com/ays/su/suvrg.htm

    When I first went through it I was just tooling along going south on I-15. I saw some signs about a downgrade but they didn't prepare you for the absolutely amazing sights that lay ahead. I just wish I could go through and have the time to stop and take some pictures.

    Odd things? Well, I was hit with paintballs a few weeks back. Scared the poop out me, sounded like a big rock going through the windshield. 3 on the front and 7 down the side, including one to the passenger window.
     
  25. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

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