I have driven a lot of trucks over
the years. Ford super duty single axle hauling fuel, Cab over Ford with a
Cummins triple nickel motor 555, hauling gravel, a Chevrolet 1957 single axle
with a tag axle and a wooden box hauling gravel. It had a 292 gas engine with a
two-speed axle (that one didn’t have the power to pull the skin off a rice
I drove an International KB8 with
a Rolls Royce diesel engine, hauling gravel. It was a very quiet, smooth
engine, which was okay empty, but when loaded, it had about the same power as
the 292 gas pot. I also drove a 180 International 345 cube with a V8. It was a
nice little truck, but it could have used a few more horses too.
Then I drove a Western Star single
axle with a paymaster tag axle. That truck was the fastest way I knew to get
stuck on uneven ground. I also drove a Conventional Peterbilt with a V12-71
Detroit engine. It was noisy, but it had loads of power.
I drove a lot of Kenworths. One
had a V8 Cat in a Conventional – it had
lots of power, but it only got four miles to the gallon and was very heavy on
the front axle. Then there was a cab over Kenworth tandem with three
transmissions on a winch set up. The three transmissions let you choose how
fast or slow to run the winch. I also drove a Cab over K.W. with a 335 Cummins.
That was a good motor. Then there was the Conventional Kenworth with a German
Deutsch diesel air-cooled engine. It was noisy and did not have water heaters.
Think about that - no heaters in the wintertime in Winnipeg. The heater was
colder than a back street hooker’s heart. It was all right in town, but it
wouldn’t put out in the hills. (It was like some of my girlfriends.)
In the early days, not many could afford new trucks. So they rebuilt what they
had or would build gliders with a new cab and frame rails. The power train was
whatever they had lying around the shop.
Of all the trucks I have driven, I liked the 2007 Westers
Star I owned while hauling cars the best. It had a Detroit 60 series with an 18-speed
I was lucky enough to get to know a fellow who had a laptop
and knew how to change the parameters in the E.C.M. The engine warranty covered
everything because it had settings that were so low that the engine wouldn’t
hurt itself. I knew I needed better fuel mileage and more power than the 475
horsepower it came with, so I asked the fellow to turn it up but not so high that
it would melt down. He told me to try it out, and if I didn’t like how he set
it up, then I could bring it back, and he would re-adjust it. He said that his
setting should work out to be about 725 horsepower. Right off the bat, It
gained 2 ½ miles per gallon, and that truck drove like a car, but it was not
for everyone. It was a “hot” motor.
I put about 1.5 million km on the truck and then sold the
truck and trailer to New Age Drivers. I told them that I could get it turned
down to stock, but they said they knew everything. Maybe even more than I did.
Two months after they bought it, they melted it on Steamboat Mountain. They
must not have learned how to read gauges or possibly didn’t know what they meant.
I asked them on the phone what the water temperature was before it shut down,
and they said it was right at 240 degrees. I told them it might run for a while,
but it wasn’t going to be a high miler. The truck ran poorly until it blew up
in Louisiana, where they had it hauled into a Detroit repair shop. I would have
loved to see the shop foreman’s face when he read the engine computer settings.
The rebuild cost $46,000.00 U.S., proving that some
experience comes with a high price!