Spec’ing trucks for liquid bulk application can be a complicated process. Weight, performance, drivability and durability are all components to consider when spec’ing your truck.
Here are a few items to keep in mind when choosing specs for a liquid bulk application:
There are many variables between efficiency and performance when it comes to engines. Engines today are engineered to run at low RPMs while in top gear. Companies should examine their operation thoroughly and collect data such as percentage of highway miles, off-road miles, grade, idle time and percentage of time in cruise using top gear. This data allows you to select the RPM within the manufacturer’s recommendation to achieve superior fuel mileage without sacrificing performance.
Automated transmissions are quickly becoming an industry standard. Transmission choice not only affects performance, but residual value as well. Bulk carriers need to be very specific in their transmission choice, balancing performance in this stressful application against improved 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 to a direct drive tailored for a specific route.
Should you spec disc or drum brakes? This decision needs to be specific to the unit’s 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.
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.
Wheels and Tires
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 and on/off road usage in order to choose the best tire and tread design.