June 30, 2020
Truck Spec’ing – Get the Most Out of Your Liquid Haul
By Stacy A. Van Scoyk, National Account Sales Executive
Spec’ing vehicles is a very complicated process, especially in a liquid bulk application. With new and improved products being introduced on a regular basis it is important to look at your spec with a fresh eye.
Repeating the same spec year after year will not allow you to be as efficient as you should be. Whenever the conversation turns to specs for liquid bulk carriers - weight is the hot topic. Every pound of payload is added profitability. The more you move – the more you make. However, it is important to spec a balance of lightweight, performance, drivability and durability. PACCAR products are designed and built with the ability spec customized lightweight applications with durability in mind.
Here are just a few items to consider when choosing specs for a liquid bulk application:
Work with your PacLease Representative to match up your specific requirements with the engine’s performance. There are many variables between efficiency and performance when it comes to engines. It’s not just about horsepower. Engines today are engineered to run at low RPMs while in top gear. Companies need to examine their operation thoroughly and collect data such as percentage of highway miles, off road miles, percentage of grade, idle time, and percentage of time in cruise using top gear. This data will allow you to select the RPM within the manufacturer’s recommendation to achieve superior fuel mileage without sacrificing performance. Not taking all of these items into consideration will result in poor performance or driver frustration.
Automated transmissions are quickly becoming the industry standard. Transmission choice not only affects performance it will also affect the residual value. Bulk carriers need to be very specific in their transmission choice, balancing performance in this stressful application against improved fuel efficiency and the available driver pool.
Using a direct drive transmission or an overdrive transmission should also be taken into consideration. A direct drive transmission can offer better fuel mileage. However, trucks equipped with overdrive transmissions can be used in various applications, which can help with vehicle values compared a direct drive tailored for a specific route.
Should you spec disc or drum brakes? This decision needs to be specific to the units application. High mileage? Navigating mountains or steep grades? Disc brakes offer great value. If your application is less aggressive, drum brakes may be the better choice.
As the industry changes it is important to spec your trucks with the right batteries and the right alternators, in the right combination. Truck manufacturers spec trucks with a basic system. It is critical not to under spec the electrical system for your application. This can lead to starting problems as well as electrical component damage. Your PacLease Representative will work with you to understand your operation and provide expert guidance.
Wheels and Tires:
The standard wheel spec for all PacLease equipment includes aluminum rims. Lightweight and machined true, aluminum rims provide a platform to get the most out of your tire life. As you spec your truck, it will be important to know the annual mileage, weight requirements, on/off road usage in order to choose the best tire and tread design. PacLease partners with major tire manufacturers choose the optimum wheel/tire combination.
There are many more items in addition to the ones covered in this article to take into consideration when spec’ing a truck for a liquid hauling application, but you are not alone. Contact your local PacLease Representative to discuss how they can custom build a truck to your specific needs and ensure your truck is efficient for your application.