Old trucking reminiscences

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

  1. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Ah, the Back of The Class! Glad to see it is still alive and well on WT :thumbs:

    I must have dozed off though, as I've only just seen this Thread, for which, amazingly, I can move to the Front of The Class as I knew what a Chinese 6 was already. :cool:

    Of course it's from the 'classic' age of British lorries, which fortunately was waaaaay before my time, as they were all heavy, underpowered, slow plodding things, with wooden framed cabs that were worse than useless as crash protection, had no heating apart from the engine hump in the middle of the cab, the cab was fixed so access to the engine was a nightmare for fitters... the list could go on :rolleyes: so they were utterly inadequate for the motorways to come or the more modern designs that came from abroad; Volvo, Scania etc, and also why there is no British Lorry Industry today.
    One thing they did have in their favour - a lack of power steering, so all lorry drivers had muscles on their muscles and nobody messed with them! If that had continued I would have been rather stronger than the 14-stone weakling I am now :oops: I did have the power steering drive belt go on a Merc once, right in the middle of a 3-point turn, which suddenly turned into a 20-point turn... :confused::shit::D
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  2. Purple-haze

    Purple-haze Western Thunderer

    Ah,Jordan,remember it well. Just after Christmas 1968,Guy 8 wheeler up Tog hill on the A420 to Chippenham,narrow road with a sharp left hander right at the start.Squeeze the wagon round the bend in bottom gear,press the gas pedal to the floor,and stick a lump of 3x2 under the bulkhead (no fancy dashboard) and sit back and fl************ freeze:shit: Happy daze.


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  3. Len Cattley

    Len Cattley Western Thunderer

    I had a Guy 1973 no heating bur it did have power steering, but the engine used to jump out of gear in fourth.

  4. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    Must admit I had it easy with Mercs and then Scania, I got off lightly with breakdowns in my driving career, the worst being the air assisted clutch linkage snapping whilst hauling up a gradient before Firenza, with a semi synchronised gear box, and no clutch, driving all up of 44 tons 'aint funny :eek:, managed to drop the trailer at the agents depot and crawl round to the Scania dealer for parts.
    Apart from that it was always trailer tyres going awol :rolleyes:
    Last edited: 16 December 2018
  5. Giles

    Giles Western Thunderer

    I had a Leyland Marathon with a Chinese box, broke a spring centre-pin, so the back axle drove itself forward on one side. Crabbing at a strange angle with 20 tonnes of bricks on the back past a Police car did have me worried....

    I had an old Bedford coach as a mobile home for some years (a 45 seat Duple Viscount with a Ford engine). That had no power steering, and a crash box on the first two gears. I learnt to steer 'on the roll' very quickly! I often used to drive round North Wales visiting the railways towing a 14' dinghy behind that thing.... it was brilliant!
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  6. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Chinese box?
    Modern drivers who don't go up and down the box look away now -
    Though if you must be lazy you can skip 2 and 5...
    You should try a Scammell gate-change! :cool:
    Neutral is anywhere along the green line, but if you leave it idling in neutral without the stick between 1 and 2, the gearbox internal oil pump doesn't run and the box seizes up. :eek:

    Scammell Gearbox Gate.jpg
  7. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    Our little old Bedford TK's you never used first unless pointing up hill. If it did more than two wheel revolutions before picking up second, you disappeared in a cloud of black smoke..
    We had 4 for coal delivery and light haulage. Spent many a late night trying to get them out to work the next morning. How used we have got having vehicles that you never touch between services.
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  8. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    My favourite gear box to use was the 12 speed twin splitter fitted to the Iveco's, proper crash box, if you got the rev's right with the road speed you could change gear with out using the clutch :D....not I might add on a steep down hill gradient when fully freighted .

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  9. parky

    parky Western Thunderer

    I used to like the Daf 4 speed with range change and split to give you 16 to play with. Providing you had the 430 it would keep up with most of the opposition

    Yes Chinese 6 was way back the maybe a cut and shut with a spare axle like some of the clever people on Startseite - Das Wettringer Modellbauforum that make 4 and 5 axle heavy tractors
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  10. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    Ah, the ERF/Eaton Twin-Splitter - the "gearbox of a thousand neutrals" for those who couldn't master it!
    My favourite gearbox type of choice was the 4-over-4, range & split. With that, a diff-lock & a switch to dump the air out of the tag axle, there weren't many winter road conditions I feared getting stuck in.
    The last trucks I drove were fully auto boxes, with traction control and suchlike, horrible things that I never felt fully in control of, & woefully inadequate at dealing with snow & ice. No wonder so many trucks got stuck that really bad winter a couple of years ago. I never thought I'd say it, but during the bad weather early this year, I was glad I'm not on the road any more.
    Fully auto-boxes are the way trucks have gone recently, though, & the time will soon come when, just as now there probably aren't that many drivers left who rope & sheet on a daily basis, there won't be many drivers who've used a manual gearbox. :rolleyes: look out for even more chaos every winter... :shit:

    Sorry to take the Thread further down the "Old Trucker's Nostalgia Route", & away from the OP question!!! :oops:
    Last edited: 18 December 2018
  11. parky

    parky Western Thunderer

    To save other threads from our reminiscences we can all join in here

    To start this new one off, how did people get on with the Merc EPS boxes when they first came out ?
  12. 3 LINK

    3 LINK Western Thunderer

    IMG_0853.JPG Mustn't forget the old coaches....
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  13. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    In the period of (say) 1955 to 1960, how far would a driver have travelled in one day? I ask because I lived in High Wycombe at that time and the A40 (trunk between London and South Wales via Gloucester) passed through the town centre. There were a number of places adjacent to the road where trucks could be found parked overnight, mostly parked facing the road and invariably in the vicinity of a roadside cafe (pre Littel Chef days). I have thought that these were drivers working between South Wales and London who were resting overnight before making the journey into the London area.

    For what it is worth, my recollection is that most of the vehicles were 8x4 flat beds or open sides.

  14. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    For those of us who only progressed to the main / hi-lo / overdrive of a Land Rover (four reverse gears...) Jordan (@Jordan) please explain "4-over-4, range & split" and "a switch to dump the air out of the tag axle".

    regards, Graham
  15. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    In 1960 a friend and I decided, on a whim, to go hitch hiking for a weekend. We took a bus to the A40 at Yeading after school on a Friday and stood by the side of the road with our thumbs out. We had no destination in mind, so it was where ever the first vehicle to stop was going. As it happened it was a 4-axle flat bed and he was on his way to South Wales from London. So we went to Crickhowell with him. I reckon we were at the A40 by 5pm, and we arrived at Crickhowell at about 10.30.

    Sorry - I can't tell you what the truck was, but I remember the driver was absolutely exhausted when he dropped us off. That was the days before any legislation about the number of hours at a stretch, and before any sign of the motorway, of course. Friend and I learned some new and interesting Anglo Saxon that evening......

    We camped alongside the river and got a lift to Symonds Yat the following day where the straps on friend's sleeping bag broke and it fell over the cliff edge, so we went cliff climbing to get it back. No accommodation booked so we stayed, with permission, in a farmers field. Trouble was he'd only just ploughed it and it was probably the most uncomfortable nights non-sleep I've ever had.

    The corollary was when we tried to get a lift back to London on the Sunday. No-one would stop for these two scruffy herberts and in retrospect neither would I have! So we scratched together our remaining money and stopped a Black & White coach on its way to London, who dropped us back at Yeading. I've no idea what the fare should have been, and he certainly stopped at unauthorised places for us, but he took our money and got us home in time for school on Monday.

    So, Graham, you are correct in surmising that at least some of the vehicles at High Wycombe were likely to be on their way to South Wales. Thank you for stirring a deep memory. Happy days!

    I just wonder how many parents would even consider letting their 14-year old son do the same thing today.

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  16. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Graham - imagine a 4 speed box with a range change - effectively same as a Landrover 4 speed with high/low.

    So you can go up through the Low box, then change range on-the-move by hitting a button / lever as you change from 4 back to 1 (which is now 5) and go through the second set of 4 (4 over 4 - except that on the Landrover 4L is about 2 1/2H so more like 4 trying to climb up on to 4 :))).

    Then imagine on top of this the ability to automatically 'split' each gear using a simple button/lever - in other words get two speeds out of each gear stick setting with the ratio of the split gear 1/2 way between the two gears. If the ratio of the Fairy overdrive was different it might have been able to act as a splitter for each gear (ratio 1/2 way between two gears- as it is, from memory the ratios are all over the shop.

    Here's a typical shift pattern with a single splitter button/lever - 4 speed box with range change (4 over 4) which with the addition of a split gives 16 forward gears total (18 includes the 2 x reverse gears):
    Range Change with splitter.jpeg

    So when, say, accelerating in 7L (which is gear stick in 3 high range position and split in Low), while the power is on you flip the split lever from L to H - nothing will happen until you momentarily ease off the power and the drive goes 'slack', at which point it automatically splits or changes up/ into 7H.
    Power back on - then at some stage when slowing down (with truck pushing the engine) you may flip splitter lever back from H to L - again nothing will happen until you blip throttle when it will change from 7H to 7L.
    At some point flip split lever from L to H - then when you use clutch and change gearstick from 7 to 6 (2 high range) it will automatically revert to H and you will have gone from 7L to 6H.
    And so on - 6H split 6L split & gear stick shift 5H split 5L split + range change + gear stick change 4H split 4L split gear stick shift 3H split 3L.

    Not surprising they're mostly automatic now.......but all the fun and skill has gone.

    The Twin Splitter is usually a 4 speed box without high/low ranges, but with 2 splits in each gear lever position, giving 3 gears in each gear lever position, giving 12 gears.
    As Col says, once on the roll you don't need to use the clutch even when using gear lever to change gear if you get the engine revs right, but if you don't know or forget about the clutch brake, it gets extremely embarrassing until you work out that there must be a clutch brake (once had a demo Foden 8 wheel tipper for a day - it was fine after the first 10 minutes :oops:).

    Then there are those people who just like to show off in old American trucks with a 4 speed main box and 3 speed auxiliary or 2 x auxiliary boxes - have a look on Youtube for some unbelievable cogging tunes, but it will seriously interfere with progress on Scrufts Junction.

    Last edited: 18 December 2018
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  17. Peter

    Peter Western Thunderer

  18. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Backing those Aussie units up must be a joy:))

  19. Peter

    Peter Western Thunderer

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  20. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    I'm gonna give up model railways and go to Australia.........