Old trucking reminiscences

Discussion in 'Talk' started by Jordan, 16 December 2018.

  1. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    It was very weird!! I only had a couple of them, on agency work so usually the "Fleet Nail" not in the best of health. I had one once with a sticky accelerator pedal; with no clutch to help control speed, it made reversing under the trailer interesting - BANG!!! - those kingpins are pretty tough!! :oops: :rolleyes: ;)

    The other 'strange' one I recall was in a MAN, again on the agency. Of habit, I always started the engine with the clutch pedal dipped. I did the same in this new unit, on a new job, one dark morning, and then with the engine running & pedal still down, felt for the gear stick. At that time most MANs had the 4x4 'knock-over' stick, but my hand this time was waving around in thin air - there was no gear stick, just a blanking plate on the floor where the gear stick usually was!!! :confused:
    I checked again that I was actually pressing a clutch pedal; yes - that wasn't a figment of my imagination, so where the ????? was the gear stick?? :confused::confused::confused:
    Then I noted a new display on the dash, of gear numbers, and a stalk on the column I was unfamiliar with. Turns out you could pre-select the gears with the stalk, but actually change in the usual way by using the clutch. It took a bit of getting used to, but wasn't a bad shift. What I didn't like was having to look at the dash to see what gear you were in, instead of being able to tell by touch - the position of the lever & the switches on it.

    That sort of thing has got worse, with cars as well. There are far too many things these days that require you to look at the dash and/or controls to know what the setting is - taking your eyes off the road. Even stupid things like heater controls - the old rotary switches told you by touch what the temperature was set to, where the flow was directed, etc. My current car has one of those 'climate control' centres which takes far too much concentration to drive safely as well as operate the demister, in my opinion!!

    Just realised - I really am turning into a Grumpy Old Man now..!!! :eek: :shit::shit::shit:
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  2. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Osgood has explained the gearbox, above (better than I could, thanks!! :thumbs: :) )

    To dump the air out of the tag axle; on a 3-axle Artic unit, the middle axle (usually) is there to support part of the load. On an unladen truck, a switch on the dash can be pressed that will raise it up off the road as it's not required. On a laden truck, the tag axle takes some weight off the rear, drive axle - to keep it in the legal limits. But taking weight off the drive axle means that in some road conditions, usually wet/snow/ice, the drive axle hasn't got enough grip and it might wheelspin. A second switch on the dash for the tag axle doesn't raise it off the ground, but does let the air out of the suspension system for that axle, so it's not supporting so much weight, putting more weight back on the drive axle, to help it grip. It's usually a temporary setting - releasing the switch resets the air suspension to normal.

    Maybe the Flying Squad can move most of these posts over to the new & very interesting "Grumpy Old Truckers" Thread..? :D well that's my name for it, anyway... :p
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  3. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Absolutely. :( :rolleyes: :confused:
  4. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    In 1957 the maximum speed limit for goods vehicles was raised from 20 mph to 30 mph, so if a driver could keep that up for 10 hours, theoretically he could travel 300 miles. Somehow I doubt he'd get that far in reality on the roads of the time, unless he bent his log book and drove for more hours than was legal. The fact that this was common practice is why we got lumbered with tachographs years later. :rolleyes:
  5. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Here's a neat way to combine the themes of railways, 3 speed auxiliary gearboxes and Australia :) (and maybe help spend a bit of John Birch's money at the same time....):

    Following the exploits of a pioneer family of road transport in the bush, from early days in the '20s with a postal contract using Bitsa trucks (bitsa this and bitsa that) through the immediate post war development of the 'road train' and a little bit of everything else thrown in. A fascinating saga of triumph over adversity in the Australian bush.

    A Son of the Red Centre 1.jpg
    A Son of the Red Centre 2.jpg
    A Son of the Red Centre 3.jpg
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  6. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    My 142m had a tag axle ( electro-mech), it had a habit of slowley lowering it's self although I rarely ever ran without a loaded trailer or without a trailer.
    On one occasion I took the unit home, one Saturday, after a long late haul back from Italy. Parked on the grass opposite the cottage I was living in on the edge of Gt Wakering Common. It rained heavily through the night and Sunday morning I was greeted with the site of the old Scanny nearly up to her rims in mud :eek:. No amount of back and forth would shift her even with 14 litres of V8 and 400 bhp :oops:.
    To my embarrassment and £5o lighter Wakering Services came out with no less than a twin boom wrecker to pull me 15 bloody feet to the tarmac with a chain :rolleyes:.
    but at least I got back down to Dover that evening.

    Last edited: 18 December 2018
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  7. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    All for the better, some of the haulage contractors I worked for would have you working 24 hrs a day if they had their way.
    The amount of arguments I used to have sat at Dover out of hours at 2.00am and they'd want me to put another chart in and drive back to Essex there and then. The only way I got 'em to stop moaning was to suggest I'd put their name on the tacho'.... put the phone down on them and get back in the bunk.:D
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  8. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Well, yes, maybe 'lumbered' was the wrong word. They were/are a pain at times, but I do agree that overall, a protection for the driver against his employer - many of whom would still like to work you "24/7" if at all possible.
    My last Company's proposal was that instead of having the set days of the week we worked, which could vary between driver and were often set on a voluntary basis ( I had volunteered for Sunday to Thursday, for example.) we should be available 'any five days out of seven', and instead of a set start time with a small window of +/- 30 minutes either side, a window of 3 hours either side. So, for example, my usual start time was 21:30. Under that scheme, they could've had me start anywhere from 18:30 to 00:30. No quality of life or home/sleep routine (especially important on Nights) at all.
    Then they wondered why there was a minor stampede when redundancies were called for!! :rolleyes: :D :cool:
  9. parky

    parky Western Thunderer

    Ah that explains things the admins have been doing some moving around of things. I wondered how my new thread was getting on and very nicely by the look of it

    For me the favourite manual box was the Daf 4 speed range and split as there was always a gear for the job and it made some nice noises as you used it

    The EPS in the Mercs was an interesting experience as like the Twin splitter you could end up with a box of neutrals all of a sudden, but it did have it's fun value. When it was good was the auto select ability by pushing the stumpy stick to the left as you barrelled up to a roundabout. Stick to the left and give it the beans and you could really make some progress especially with the 480 or 530's that we had on 40 tons
  10. Peter

    Peter Western Thunderer

    Hi Tony,

    The story of Kurt is a great story as are the stories of the "pioneers".

    Locomotives have until quite recently and maybe still so, been transported by road between the west and east coasts, and from the north of Western Australia south.

    The following comes from:

    Home | NHVR



    Attached Files:

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  11. Giles

    Giles Western Thunderer

    Ah the old Duple Val? Very similar to my old Viscount....... wonderful days. I also did a year as a fitter-driver with a fleet of Caetano Estoril II's, on Bedford chasis, out of Daventry. The adventures we had with those getting them back with no clutches or with no throttles (mid-engined - one person driving, the other person lying in the aisle with the engine hatch open, reaching down manually operating the govenor, dropping the revs to enable the driver to change gear when it sounded right....)

    Hated every minute.....
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  12. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    I can’t add anything material to this fascinating thread, as I’m just a fan of old transport of all kinds.

    I did, however, come across a couple of videos recently uploaded to YouTube. A five-year restoration of a 1967 Foden S21 2-stroke culminated in this first road test…

    Clicky link in case the embed doesn’t work.

    Linky clicky thing, etc.

    The last video has a demonstration of the gear shifts towards the end. Now, as an old lorry fan I’ve often read of the classic 2-stroke howl, but never heard it before. I have to say, I now understand completely. What a fabulous noise!

  13. Peter

    Peter Western Thunderer

    Hi Heather,

    Thanks for the links. A nice job!!

    It deserves to be modelled in 1:24 scale by the likes of Sun Star:

    SUN STAR - Limited Edition


    Best regards,

  14. Peter

    Peter Western Thunderer

  15. Chris P

    Chris P Member

    The two stroke howl existed, at least into the 80's with the Bedford TM fitted with the Detroit 2stroke V8. Stupendous noise!!!
    I drove, occaisionally, a big TK tractor fitted with a Detroit V8 and two Exxox stacks, one for each cylinder bank!!! Sounded like the Hounds of Hell at full chat and didn't half go!!! It was like riding a Japanese 2Stoke motor cycle, once you dropped off the power band you were buggered!!! Stirring around the box to get the right gear!!!
    In answer to another question, you could beat the early Mercedes semi auto boxes. If you changed up too fast the poor thing threw its toys out the pram and went to crawler default mode!!! That tended to wake you up!!!
    Bedford VAL coach chassis. That was used on coachbuilt horseboxes. Fearsome to drive! Smooth, fast, marvellous!!! One problem was, one driven axle 'ain't conducive to getting off muddy showgrounds easily!! Still, that is what big Fergies are for!!
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  16. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Dunno as I ever heard the 2-stroke howl - a bit before my time, but I did read that one of the reasons the Eaton Twin-Splitter gearbox was discontinued was that it could howl a bit on the motorway. Can't say that I ever noticed that too much either, but then my experience of them was mostly in old ERFs anyway, which had plenty of other noises available to hold your attention. Wind noise for one - from badly-fitting doors of course, NOT from *ahem* 'bodily functions'!! :rolleyes: :p :D
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  17. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    Sorting out old photo's again :rolleyes:....on this occasion I had been sent down to south of Paris, light unit, can't remember exactly where, might of been Auxerre.
    The job was to bring back to good old 'Blighty', on a solid tow bar, the offending Renault and loaded trailer. The Guv was too tight to pay for repairs or a wrecker to bring it back.
    Coming off the boat at Dover we got stuck on the wet link span, no traction, which was facing up onto the dock, they put two tugs on the front to get us out !
    Mind you I stormed up the hill out of Dover with the Renault driver complaining over the CB :D

    Scania - Renault Rescue.png

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  18. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    I had to look twice - I thought for a moment there were a load of AEC badges strung up across the front screen!
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  19. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    I'd of just left the Renault in France :p

    Did you not have a 5th wheel ballast weight, we have them at work, but that's a marine environment when we're dragging heavy loads off the Ro-Ro, though I have seen the odd one or two on public roads, mainly on STGO vehicles.

    Lovely sound, wet tyres spinning on steel link spans :D ours are all coated concrete decks but the vessel is still steel.

    Slightly off topic, we had a batch of 4 wheel drive tugs ballasted out to pull the paper off the Ro-Ro vessels, massive 50' drop neck Mafi's stacked two high with reels of paper eye to sky. They went to a shed where they were trans-shipped into curtain sided trucks for the newspapers in East London.

    Trans-shipping cost too much so they swapped to containers and loaded eye to door, that leaves a lot of free space; so, to make economies they double stacked containers onto the Mafi's, mostly quad 20's, all up weight just over 120T.

    The flow didn't last long, Finnlines worked out it was cheaper to sail directly to East London, despite the extended slow steaming up the Thames, just as well mind, our 4x4 were shagged in a couple of years.

    The road trains were even better, massive 4x4 tugs, loaded they'd pull three 45' trailers, or 5 trailers if running MT's to the quay. I helped develop a drivers indication that displayed how far to move forward after each box was loaded, no way you can stop accurately two, three, four and five containers back and more importantly, no way to reverse, not more then a foot or so. I'll try and dig some old photos out, that was 20+ years ago.
  20. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    No ballast mate, and it pissed down all the way back with my mate in the Renault shitting himself as he couldn't see where we were going at 60 - 65 mph :)), cruel bastard I know but I wanted to get home ! Not that that mattered it was all down to me up front, the brakes were all linked to my unit. Fortunately we could still run the motor on the Renault for the powered steering, it had wrecked it's gearbox so there was no way to drive it back. probably illegal nowadays I don't know ?
    I'll be interested in seeing those photo's Mick.
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