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Entries in Trucks (14)


Vroom Room

Good Morning,

NostalgiaIts Friday, last day of the month, a long week end on the horizon, and its the Vroom Room, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti.

Join the conversation.

We just had a warm (understatement) week, in the Dog Days of Summer, its all good...

Fascinating that Sergio Marchionne seems to find that everything is expensive, and there is always a place on the planet that is less money for one reason or another. At the same time FAC gets hit with a 105M fine for mishandling recalls. Think about that for a moment...105M fine.

An informative article on how to save money assembling vehicles Japans Back Door.

The thought vector in the auto industry is to use universal components, and increasingly with the smaller size of vehicles sharing even more of these components. One common platform, common components, with different bodies, finishes, interiors to uphold the branding.

It all makes a ton of sense to save money...and perhaps, hopefully, presumably provide more value to the customer. Better yet...perhaps customers don't even care.

Here is the deal...

We will see cases where the concept will be stretched, especially within the "premium economy" segment. Customers will pay a premium for the brand, a better interior, the touch points, and have a common money saving platform that perhaps does not fit the brand.

Here is another deal...

How many combinations of a 4 cylinder with a turbo coupled to a multispeed automatic do you think we will see? Agreed there is already a ton of 4 cylinders with a turbo. As well as a wide variety of multispeed (more than 5) automatic transmissions. The torque curve of these 4 cylinders is fascinating since each manufacturer has their own vision of how their engine should torque up.

Are we finally witnessing the demise of the manual (with a clutch pedal) transmission? Would you really prefer padelling around to shift gears?

Think of this...the old rule of thumb was that if a manual had X gears, an automatic could have X minus 1 with the torque converter compensating for 1 gear. Now that automatic transmissions have 8 gears a manual would have 9 gears...who will actually use and shift a manual transmission with 9 gears?

Agreed its also getting into truck territory with a 5 speed and 2 speed rear axle for a total of 10 if all the shifts would be split. Or a 13 speed, or delete the overdrive splitter on the 13 speed and its down to 9 speed. Think of have comparable gears to medium and heavy duty trucks.

Our usual old race cars from Monza Historic 2015.





The 4.10 Gears 

A few days ago momentarily watching Barrett Jackson and hearing the 4.10 and some with 4.56 gears it struck us that way back in the day we were pretty limited in our choices while being content.

The healthy engine under the hood was a given.

The transmission choice was usually a 4 speed, the by now famous Muncie Rock Crusher had stouter gears and synchronizers while making a ton of interesting sounds.

Now we come to the gears, if you were seeking top end speed you had a high 2 or a low 3 something in the differential. If you were seeking acceleration you had a 4 something in the differential.

In most cases manufacturers made a choice for you with the various packages of the day. You wanted a drag pack with a smaller displacement engine it was 4.56 gears in the differential, a 4 speed with a lower 1st gear ratio to provide the reduction to generate strong initial acceleration.

Now imagine cruising at 100 KPH taching close to 4,000 RPM with 4.56 gears...what an unpleasant experience.

Back in the day trucks with diesel engines also had 4.11 gears with a 13 speed Fuller RTO 913 Roadranger transmission. With spur cut gears and no synchros...human rev matching was essential.

With all the technology there are still mechanical aspects that have not changed for decades, gear ratios are one of those.

Today's blinding acceleration of cars...put more splits in the transmission while keeping the 4.10 gears or close. The 4 speed has gravitated to 6 and even 7 speed in the Corvette, or 8 or 9 and possibly 10 speed automatics.

Are we getting close to the old RTO 913 in trucks?

In a car you can go either way, bigger engine or more blower, more splits, phenomenal acceleration and speed. The other way is small engine with a blower, more splits, improved acceleration and fuel economy.

Trucks are similar to cars with small engines, you need to "lift the load" similar to acceleration in a car, and power the load down the hghway overcoming wind resistance with exceptional fuel economy.

In both cases the splits in the transmission will keep the engine in the ideal power band, in both cases the car and truck will cruise at 100 KPH at around 1,500 RPM. Perhaps we should give the 4 cylinder with a turbo a few more revs to be on the safe side...or some blinding fast downshifts.

A couple of generation back, if anyone would have hinted that cars would have a similar set up to a truck with an 8V-71 Detroit, RTO 913, 4.11 gears, and start splitting shifts to stay in the power band...we all know the answer to that one.



427 Truck Engine

A bit of nostalgia this morning. If you have been around this business long enough you remember, and perhaps you even sold GMC trucks with 427's way back in the day.

Here is the deal:

Back in the day a GMC or Chevrolet truck with a 366, 5 speed, 9 front, 18,500 2 speed in the back, 10.00x20 tires and a 27,500 lbs GVW was the standard of the industry. These trucks sold by themselves, they had such a reputation of being the best.

At one point GM truns the 366 to a 427, as an aside this was not the same 427 as in cars, it had a tall deck block, and was used in trucks and marine applications. Although the 366 was bullet proof. The 427's were not lasting as long. 

Numerous folks at GM were scratching their heads as to why a 366 would easily last over 200,000 kms in a truck and the 427 was barely lasting 100,000 kms. 

Here is another deal:

Been in the business long enough you hopefully remember a company called McCallum that was transporting GM vehicles from the factory or rail heads to GM dealers in eastern Canada. McCallum had a numerous tractors with 427's pulling their trailers. Yes...they did not last very long the 427's.

GM in Canada enlisted McCallum to run various tests on various configurations of 427's. GM will install an engine in a McCallum truck, have the truck cover a speciifc mileage, take the engine out, replace it with another engine. Obvious do a meticulous tear down of the engine taken out of the truck. Yes...the old tachographs were helpful during the tear down.

The conclusion...not enough gas flow, the 427 required appreciably more gas than the 366. The by now iconic single 200 liter step tank with an electric fuel pump for the 366 created instances of fuel starvation with the 427. The solution...dual step tanks with dual fuel pumps.

Another deal:

In Canada, a 427, with a 5 and 4, 12 front, 38,000 in the back, with an Hendrickson suspension was the standard dump truck for countless years.

At the time GM had the medium duty truck market "locked up" with the 366 and 427.

The last deal:

Yes...the 427 were strong performers on the highway, very strong. Fuel economy...don't ask.



The Joys of Winter Driving

What starts out as another winter road trip...with the exception that its a "little colder"...

Nothing out of the ordinary, the usual stretch of the 401 travelling east is very good...its all cool.

Now the return a few days later on the 401 west starts very innocently...and gradually deteriorates

The interesting feeling that what looks like cold wind blown pavement, is not what it seems..."why does the car seem a little loose..."

To being stopped on the 401, having an opportunity to get out of the car and confirm that the car is loose, since its ice, to the closing of the 401 from Prescott to Kingston in both directions. Its all cool fortunate to take an exit and spend time in a McDonald.

Then driving a distance on Highway 2 which is the original 401 from way back in the day.

To getting back on the 401, and then its shut down again near Napanee...another mission to discover, and follow the 401 EDR signs.

At Napanee on the 401 east bound its a war zone in all the lanes...

Trucks strewn all over the place...

Wondering what the 401 EDR looks like in full use?

The 401 when its shut down...

Yes we made it back in close to double the amount of time, and a few "white knuckle" moments.

Gaining more appreciation for the work all "first responders" do in inclement conditions.

As silly and old fashioned that it might sound, helpful to have a heavier coat, boots, gloves, windshield washer fluid, charged up smart might just all be useful on a road trip when you least expect it.




Bitumen Bubble

This morning we have The Colonel with us, our conversation revolves around the "Bitumen Bubble" and cars.

Q- Colonel Good Morning...what is the bitumen bubble?

A- Connect the dots, and its becoming more transparent that there is a lot of oil available, more than we thought a generation ago. Bitumen is the tar sands.

Q- Between the tar sands, fracking, shale, is North America floating on oil?

A- Its starting to look like it.

Q- If its becoming obvious that we are floating on oil, why are we paying so much for gas?

A- Taxes, upholding an infrastructure, we have shut down refineries, a whole bunch of reasons, but we are not running out of oil.

Q- What was peak oil? 

A- Imagine immense oil tanks in the earth, at some point one would reach the top of the bell graph, between finding new oil, consumption, and depletion. Once you reach the peak its a downward slide on the depletion side (emptying the tanks).

Q- Its no longer the case?

A- Does not look like it for the foreseeable future.

Q- How about the price of gas?

A- We have known for several years that when gas gets close to $1.50 a liter its the pain treshold, it will not go down to uphold the infrastructure, but it will not go up. Who am I to speculate on the price of gas.

Q- Will more stringent fuel economy progress?

A- Absolutely...its the right thing to do...from several perspectives...congestion being one.

Q- How will the auto industry adjust or cope.

A- Pick ups will keep on selling, small cars (fuel economy) might just stabilise.

Q- How about hybrids?

A- Hybrids are a propulsion mode, folks that prefer an hybrid electric propulsion will continue to acquire hybrids.

Q- Where do you see diesels?

A- Diesels, catalytic converters, urea injection, 1,000 kms on a tank, at some point the trade off, to not really needing a diesel in any passenger vehicle will be debated. 

Q- Are you implying that if a vehicle is not working/pulling a load a diesel is not required. 

A- Precisely, at a GVW of 3,000 kilos you don't need a diesel, cars, and SUV's do not reach 3,000 kilos at 3,000 kilos and higher a diesel becomes a consideration and at a certain point an absolute necessity.

Q- Where do you see gas engines?

A- We have known for some time that V12 would become V8's with turbos, V8's would become V6's with turbos, V6's would become 4 cylinders with a turbo, and 4 cylinders would become 3 cylinders with a turbo. Its all there with various manufacturers touting what fits for their particular applications.

Q- These turbo motors how good are they?

A- In cars they work fine, in trucks with light loads they work fine, once the loads start getting up there, would you rather have a V6 with twin turbos working away, or a naturally aspirated V8 working away, or perhaps a diesel.

Q- Where is fuel economy headed?

A- It will progressively improve, especially in city, congestion, surface street applications and usage of vehicles. 

Q- On the highway?

A- We all know that you need a certain level of power to overcome wind resistance, time is an increasingly precious commodity, folks tend to drive faster than slower, highway fuel economy ratings are calculated at speeds that no one drives.

Q- Is it fair to say that we might have to re conceptualise some of our thinking?

A- Some...we will have to re evaluation many of our established assumptions and beliefs.

Q- We can keep on going...but Thank You or your thoughts this morning.

A- Fascinating subject, its a start, although we had better stop for this morning.




Virtual Technician

Interesting...when will a virtual technician be on cars?



Big Rig

Yes...its all hauled in trucks...enjoy!



Kenworth in OZ

Cool Video...of Kenworth trucks in OZ




Truck World

KenworthIn case you did not know The Colonel at one time was in the truck business selling from light to heavy duty trucks. 

You have to agree The Colonel has a varied knowledge base.

The thing with trucks...once they get in your "system" similar to cars, for some reason it never goes away, or if one remotely thinks that they have perhaps forgotten, just go to a truck show and it instantly all comes back, and the novelties are even more obvious.

We visited Truck World 2012 at the International Centre, its a unique opportunity to quickly get familiar with trucks, and see what is new. 

Its similar to a auto show, with the exception that its primarily trade oriented.

What caught our attention.

  • In the truck world many of the suppliers have not changed in years, Horton still makes thermostatic fans, Bostrom seats, Holland 5th wheels, and so on.
  • Fuller still makes Road Ranger Transmissions, as well as Allison still makes automatic transmissions
  • Many trucks have adaptive cruise controls similar to cars...or is it cars similar to trucks.
  • Axles ratios are down to 2.47...yes...its no longer the days of 3.70
  • Transmission have control modules...are paddle shifts on the horizon?
  • Catalytic converters are huge...really big.
  • Old trucks similar to old cars are collectible and capture the imagination.
  • A 4 or 5 inch exhaust stack is positively an age of 7 inch stacks.
  • The huge single wheel/tire combination are totally cool
  • Air suspensions are all over...gone are the days of Hendrickson suspension with walking beans.

We can keep on going, take a moment enjoy the photo galleries / slide show, and as usual care to share your thoughts...leave a comment.

Our extensive photo galleries with 2 perspectives Truck World 2012 and Truck World 2012 by LPR



Driving on a Saturday

One of the perks of life is to have the "possibility" of doing one's errands during the week, averting the crush of humanity, cars, and boorish behavior on week ends. 

This past Saturday for a myriad of reasons The Colonel got immersed in a profound Saturday experience. 

Here is the story, what does it have to do with cars?

Follow along...

<> For a myriad of reasons, the night before, we made a list of several tasks that had to be done the following day. 

<> Besides a few close to home, the others involved commuting, probably enduring the Saturday crush of people. It might be annoying, and it might be an experience. 

<> Nice day, sunny, reasonably warm, unreal the amount of folks that are out doing the same thing we are doing, keeping retail alive, and well in the GTA.

<> For some reason most folks with a belligerent behavior are all driving the same make...must be a coincidence...not really! Its encouraging...that this manufacturer's sales have been diminishing for some time in Canada. 

<> Saw a few examples of mine is bigger than yours behavior, and some road one looks intelligent deploying, and publicising their version of road rage really don't look smart...chill.

<> Enduring surface street, and expressway congestion on a Saturday is a test of intellectual discipline, and fortitude.

<> If V8's are reasonably economical at highway velocities, enduring congestions is not one of their over $1.50 a liter for premium...lets leave it at that...

<> The motorcycles are out (haven't started mine yet), the convertibles are out, the toys are out, everything is out today....

<> Why folks get irritated in their vehicles? Some are multitasking, there are actually passengers in most vehicles, they are stuck in congestion, they are trying to get something done, its not as fast as clicking on a mouse...

<> Retailing is alive and well...

<> Congestion is alive and well...

<> The habitual stereotype of an individual with a pickup or SUV travelling at obscene speeds on the highway is alive and well...fuel economy...what's that?

<> Think about this...when most folks endure a crush of humanity, a congestion of vehicles on the roads. Does it motivate them to buy something? What do you think? 

<> Yes...I got my fix of humanity, retailing, congestion, poor fuel economy, boorish behavior to last me a while.

<> Yes...kindness is free, try it in a retail environment, especially late afternoon, will always get you a little something coming your way. Its as innocent as Thank You...

<> Fuel economy...don't ask...experiencing humanity in their various modes of transportation...and retailing behavior....priceless!