Let’s work together and grow together – that is the relationship we at Pittsburgh Power have always had with 10-4 Magazine. For the past 12 years I have been writing about how to improve your semi-truck to better suite your needs, and the 10-4 staff has added their fine touches to the articles, as well. We have worked many truck shows together, had many dinners after the shows, and even a backyard cookout at Jean and Erik’s home in sunny Southern California once. We worked together to help a man who is paralyzed from the waist down who’s dream was to ride in a W900-L Kenworth and attend a trucking event. We picked him up in Allentown, PA and rode him to the dyno event at Alban Caterpillar in Elkridge, MD. Our working relationship has been flawless for the past 12 years, and I hope it continues for another 12 more.
10-4 has always been geared toward the owner-operators, and the pictures of the trucks and the stories behind the owners and builders of the trucks they feature are phenomenal! This magazine finds its way all around the world – I receive phone calls from people in the Netherlands, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and even Switzerland that read 10-4. Every month the magazine improves, and since offering full color and upgrading to all glossy paper, the pictures are even better than before. To have your truck featured on the cover of 10-4 is an honor and something that any owner-operator would cherish for the rest of their life. Thank you to Jean, Erik, Dan and Shannon for a job well done on a wonderful magazine – and congratulations on your 20 year anniversary. I am proud to be affiliated with your organization. Now, on to another current topic.
Have you made the switch to 2:64 gears yet? David Shea from the Chicago area has a 379 Peterbilt with a 6NZ Caterpillar engine with 1,130,000 miles on her and he recently made the switch to 2:64 gears, which increased his fuel mileage from 7.3 to 7.7 mpg. He pulls a tanker and gained 4 tenths mile per gallon (keep in mind that the higher your fuel mileage is the harder it is to improve, so 4 tenths is a great improvement for a truck that was already getting 7.3 mpg). He has all of our parts on his truck, and his very first comment to me after making the gear change was, “I love this 2:64 gear setup!”
If you change your rear gears to the 2:64 ratio you will now operate your truck in direct gear, so an 18-speed will drive in 16th gear, a 13-speed will be in 11th gear, and the 10-speed will run in 9th gear. 2:64 gears are the same speed in direct gear as 3:55 gears are in overdrive. So, you do not drop RPM because the transmission is one full gear lower. However, the truck will gain about .5 mpg because the transmission is not turning the several additional gears and two extra shafts, which also results in about 80 more horsepower to the rear tires. Some people feel they will lose their starting ability – not so. Many company trucks run a 10-speed direct with the 2:64 gears and their drivers do not have a problem. Some owner-operators that made the switch say they just start out a gear lower. Cruising down the interstate, the engine will require less turbo boost to maintain the same speed, there is less down-shifting, and the engine and transmission produce less noise. Trust me when I say, your truck will cruise along the interstate effortlessly if you switch to the 2:64 gear setup.
Another client of ours, Chris Broege of Metalcraft Trucking in Wisconsin, recently built a new Western Star glider (see photo) with a new 2002 Reman Detroit 12.7 engine. He also installed 2:64 gears and an 18-speed transmission in this truck. Chris was amazed at the difference in pulling power, cruise-ability, and the quietness of the transmission and engine with this setup. If you run 80,000 lbs. or less and stay on the interstates, 2:64 gears are the way to go.
As of this writing, we can get new Eaton pumpkins (drop-ins) for just about the price of a Reman unit and install them in your truck so you can start taking advantage of the fuel savings of the 2:64 gear setup now. And, to make sure your truck is tracking straight down the highway and not scuffing off the tires when you leave, we can also do an MD Alignment (the high-tech system we use) on your truck and trailer to make sure you are getting the maximum benefit of your newly-geared rig.
One final thought: if there is over 500,000 miles, 15,000 hours or 10 years on the crankshaft damper on your engine, please get a new one. By smoothing out your ride with our American-made torsional damper and Mercury-filled engine balancer, you will have more energy after driving all day and your truck will last longer. Our engine balancer is made for us by Balance Masters, the same people that make the Mercury-filled wheel balancers. If you have any questions, I can be reached at Pittsburgh Power in Saxonburg, PA at (724) 360-4080 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s to 20 more years with 10-4 Magazine – I hope you come along for the ride with us, too!