If you enjoy this web site, please show your support.

If you enjoy this web site, please show your support.

Truck Driving Jobs

Author Topic: Iced foot...  (Read 2115 times)

coloradogreen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2699
    • 10-4 Magazine
Iced foot...
« on: November 21, 2013, 07:11:15 PM »
“The truck’s way behind, got held up in LA.”

With dark clouds hanging over the Rockies, I was fueling the truck, getting ready to leave town and make a relay run to another driver so the freight stayed on schedule. We’d meet in the desolate stretches of Eastern Utah.

A snowstorm was coming into Colorado, but, if I kept my foot into it, I might just dodge them on the passes. With the truck fueled (the same truck I’ve hauled milk with), I hooked the trailer and left with nightfall coming.

I started pulling Genesee (properly, “Mt. Vernon Canyon”) west of Denver and let the truck settle into pulling the hill and watch the temperature continue to drop. On down through the slides until I hit Floyd Hill, gear down and keep her held back for the 90-degree at the bottom. The temperature keeps dropping.

Through Idaho Springs and Dumont as traffic continues to thin out. It’s night time, but, not tremendously late. The impending storm has folks sticking at home as the roads thing out to mostly just other trucks.

By now it’s getting to freezing temperatures and I keep an eye on the road for slick spots and watching the passing four wheels for road spray. At Georgetown I hit the base of Eisenhower and get to pulling again. Some folks refer to this pass as Loveland Pass. Couldn’t say why, Loveland Pass is on US-6 and is the alternate for hazmat and overheight loads. Anyway…

About the Bakerville exit I could see the snow starting to flurry in front of me. Not much, just enough to see some specs in the headlights. But, I knew it could mean something a lot different on the other side of the mountain. On through the tunnel, the other side it’s snowing a bit more, but still plenty of visibility. Pull off and check a couple of things before heading down the mountain.

Lots of chance of slick out here right now, come off the pass a little more conservative than normal (let that ice cool your right foot down a bit)...  With the jakes running, I keep an eye in the mirror in case the truck breaks loose.

When you’re in the middle zone between jakes and no jakes on a down-grade because of slick conditions, the first thing to do if you feel the tires lock up and break traction is to get your foot on throttle. Every instinct in your body is going to tell you to hammer the brakes, but, the first thing to do, when your jake causes a loss of traction, is to get the jake off, and then on the service brake.

And that’s why we’re coming off the pass a bit slower than normal. If I felt the jakes getting the truck sliding it’d give me a pocket to get on the throttle enough to get the wheels spinning again and then get back on the brakes.

Luckily no such handling was necessary and on down the pass into Silverthorne where I pulled the bluff up to the base of Vail Pass. The East side of Vail was reasonably clear, the flurrying snow was still coming down, but, it hadn’t fallen long enough to accumulate on the roads much. By the top of Vail, however, the snow fall was growing. I pulled into the pull off at the top of Vail and did a traction check. Rolling along in about 3rd gear I hammered the brakes, enough to lock them. Why might you ask? To see what the truck and trailer did. I felt the trailer twitching and moving on me a bit.

As I’ve mentioned before, this particular truck has a single drive axle with a dead-axle behind. This is about the worst drive set-up for traction you can use. EXCEPT, on this particular unit you can modulate the weight you’re carrying on each individual axle. And that’s precisely what I did, pushing as much weight as I safely could onto the drive and pulling it off the dead axle.

And just like that, it was like I was glued to the road coming down the west side of Vail. Stilll, keep it a bit conservative on the snow. You come down a mountain too slow as many times as you want, you go down a mountain too fast once.

And glad I did! Coming down the west side of Vail the flurrying snow was picking up with forced and by the first bridge had become a full white out blizzard. How bad? About 50 to 100 foot visibility and no visible fog line. Nerve racking as you’re driving across a 100-foot tall bridge.

Slowly rolling down the hill the blizzard finally began to let up. A tense few minutes driving near blind and by the time I was in Vail it had warmed up enough towards rain. By Edwards and Dotsero it was raining and I picked my pace up (carefully, temperatures were still close enough to freezing to present hazards).

Glenwood Canyon was all rain and wet, and then it had dried up (and warmed up to the high 30s/ low 40s) by the beginnings of the Western slope. Out of the weather now, I put the throttle down and wound the truck up to 70mph, about the limit of where she’d comfortably cruise (time was of the essence, and the passes had cost me plenty of it). With the 3.58s and low-pro 22.5s, 70mph was up around 1610rpm. Much faster and that 6NZ wasn’t a happy motor.

Down through DeBeque Canyon and onto the Western Slope and out to the wide expanses of Eastern Utah. Clear and cool, even up at 1600rpm the 6NZ was staying plenty cool (one thing I do like about the colder months) and pulling great.

The other driver and I met and we switched trailers. He was shut down for the night (me relaying the trailer had bought him all sorts of time) and I trucked back the way I had just come. Loaded light, I was rolling right along.

I won’t bore you with the route back. The weather had cleared, CDOT had cleared the passes and it was smooth sailing besides a little fog back into town. Bump the dock, unload, and the whole schedule still on time.

It got my truck dirty though!

Troy.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 08:09:04 PM by coloradogreen »
Your friendly neighborhood vegan heavy haul punk.


"Suzie-Q"

IMAGES COPYRIGHT TROY MILLER/ 10-4 MAGAZINE

Contributor 10-4 Magazine

Hank's Truck Forum

Iced foot...
« on: November 21, 2013, 07:11:15 PM »

NHRS

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4568
Re: Iced foot...
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2013, 08:15:25 PM »
Wow!

That is exactly why I did this last spec-out with the dead axle AHEAD of the drivers. That way, if it's lifted or aired less to give the drivers MORE needed traction, it also gives a little more bear-down to the steer, too. If that dead axle is behind the drivers, taking weight off still helps the drivers, but does a teeter-totter thing and lightens the steer. NOT a good idea when traction is compromised.

Did that Vail slick-out thing, back in 78, when I still had my Cummipart in my Pete, so I had a Jake. Was jaking down the west side just fine, "pop pop pop......". And then, "pop pop.pop..pop...pop". Very scarey sound! I instantly visualized actually killing my motor, which I definitely didn't want to happen!

Of course, instantly shut the Jake off, stared at the mirrors & totally thrilled to see the trailer still exactly where it should be, so I knew I could still work some air. The question would be, how much air, because without the Jake, I'd need more.

This event also displayed a nice feature of the 252" wheelbase, since committing sideways never came up on the things my Pete was asking me about doing on that downgrade. Dearly loved it for that, too.

And this all means, you set a truck up for the worse day you can imagine driving on, not the very best.
If you don't ask, they can't say no.

TylorH

  • Regular Membership
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 168
Re: Iced foot...
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2013, 06:03:47 PM »
I'd love to see pictures of this truck you were driving!

norseman

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 37817
Re: Iced foot...
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 06:45:48 AM »
That is exactly why I did this last spec-out with the dead axle AHEAD of the drivers. That way, if it's lifted or aired less to give the drivers MORE needed traction, it also gives a little more bear-down to the steer, too. If that dead axle is behind the drivers, taking weight off still helps the drivers, but does a teeter-totter thing and lightens the steer. NOT a good idea when traction is compromised.

Funny. Here in Norway, as far as I know, the only 6x2 setup considered even remotely useable in slippery conditions is the lift axle behind the drive axle. The other way around, with the lift axle in front of the drive, which is called a pusher axle, is considered about as useless as a 4x2 in slippery conditions, and is almost never used on trucks here.

Jan.
"Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper." - Mark Twain

NHRS

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4568
Re: Iced foot...
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 07:29:20 AM »
When it's behind and lifted up, that extra weight is counter-balancing some very welcome weight on the steer-axle for adverse conditions, & adding unwanted rotational inertia if a skid starts.

I base that opinion on my observations. When I built my 76 Pete kit, I had track to slide the 5th wheel 30", with 3" increments from dead-center to 24" ahead, or 6" behind.

One afternoon, wonderful summer weather, load was light, so slid ALL the way back, take weight off the steer (no power-steering), make the truck look cool, steer easier, etc. Did not enjoy the extra "squirrelly" feel she then had whatsoever, so at my next service stop, I slid back to dead center.

Over the years (ran that truck 12 years), I soon found the ideal setting for ride, handling was 3" ahead of dead center.

For icy roads, conditions of questionable adhesion, I'd instantly slide the full 24" ahead (add 100 lbs. weight to the steer for every inch ahead of dead center). She'd then handle like a Lionel locomotive with magni-traction.

When your drive tires are fighting adhesion, taking weight off the steer tires to address that can make some real big control problems.
If you don't ask, they can't say no.

Chris_E

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6463
Re: Iced foot...
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2013, 04:56:55 PM »
I find that guys with single drive tractors, whether if it's set up as a pusher or tag, generally dislike them in slippery conditions.  I guess that's why certain roads like Donner Pass restrict their use in the winter time.
The foot turned to the horse, the horse to the carriage, the carriage to the train, and the train to the truck.

NHRS

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4568
Re: Iced foot...
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 02:49:31 PM »
Must have added that restriction since I ran out there.

All I ever saw on Donner, was the big board where they'd list the chain-up requirements, listing all the axles, for each particular hour of a storm, & it can change real fast, too. So fast in fact, sometimes guys who know the weather & sense a break coming, just wait around in the chain-up-lot until the chain-law goes off.

Chains are also just as important, maybe more so, for braking traction during the descent, than for power on climbing.

Think it was in Heavy Duty Trucking decades ago, ran a nice article about snowplow jockies in Sweden, & all their equipment was 6x2. Their fast & reliable solution to any compromise in traction was to raise the lift axle, dump ALL the weight on the drivers. They considered our fascination with twin-screw to be a joke.

Climbed Cajon one time only, with chains required on one drive axle. AND, learned during that event, I wouldn't have needed to chain-up, if I'd had PA speakers under the sleeper, & could play a tape of the "slink-slink-slink" music that chains make.

All the guy was doing was, standing in the middle of I-15 just up from the closed scales, & listening for that music as we idled past. He was much more intend on watching further down the grade, in case somebody came flying up & he could get hit.
If you don't ask, they can't say no.

Hank's Truck Forum

Re: Iced foot...
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 02:49:31 PM »

Truck Driving Jobs