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Never Take A Day Off


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#1 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2012 - 09:53 PM

I started rambling on about this in another thread, and it turned out to be downright cathartic, so I thought I should expand on it. I didn't want to completely hijack that thread though, so I figured I'd start another.

I took last Friday off. We're in shut down and things are supposed to be slow enough that work is optional. They do need a driver though, and the other driver has been there forever and has a new kid, so I told him to take the time. We officially don't work Fridays during shut-down, so...not having been through this before...I made plans.

That's all well and good, my bosses understand, being that they are nice people. The truck I drive for work is just a class 5, so anybody can drive it, so they can find fill-in drivers.

Except that a Class 5 flatbed is still a flatbed and a truck is still a truck. Odd thing about flatbeds...you require a working knowledge of physics and a working brain to operate one. 8,000 pounds doesn't sound like much until you have to stop. I know that truck drivers aren't geniuses...if they were, I'd get booted out of the brotherhood for being a little dim...but most of us have learned something over the years. Forklift drivers who own small cars have not learned these things, although they love the idea of just driving around.

Now, my personal opinion is that the first problem is the radio. When I drive, I listen to CBC until Jian Ghomeshi is over, then turn on the I-pod. I stick with Eddie Spaghetti and the Supersuckers, the Drive-By Truckers, maybe a little bit of early 80's outlaw stuff, some cow-punk by Speedbuggy USA, perhaps a little Steve Earle, and that kind of thing...lively enough to keep me paying attention, but nothing to get me all excited. We have, by most accounts, some of the stupidest drivers in North America right here in Winnipeg, so you want to stay calm and peaceful. This is not the place for heavy metal, speed metal, rap metal, jabbering political commentary, or whatever the kids are listening to these days.

The second problem is speed limits. People look at them as a goal or challenge. Never go above them, never panic when the guy in front of you won't let you reach that magic mark. We get paid by the hour and you'll waste more time getting loaded and unloaded than you ever will in traffic. Wanna make up time? Be nice to that shipper-receiver so he gets you loaded quicker. And, yeah, I can tell how you were driving by the marks on the deck.

The third problem is stupidity. Don't go trying to put a two wheel drive truck into four wheel drive by turning on the PTO. Okay, maybe you don't know what a PTO is or what it's for, but you mess up my transmission when you drive around with it on. Now I have to add a litre of fluid every few days, and it will never get fixed.

On a related note, I've gone a year without a flat tire. I know there are broken skids all over the ground and bits of steel everywhere. It's the nature of the business. I do my best to drive around them. When somebody else drives my truck on Friday and the first thing I find on a Monday is a flat on one side and a low tire on the other, I stay calm and get a coffee or eight while I wait for the tire guy. That doesn't mean you aren't wasting my time. I might get paid by the hour, but sitting and waiting is waaaay more work than driving.

Fourthly, learn how to strap things down. It's really not that hard. It's actually easier than washing the stain out of your shorts that no doubt happened right after whatever you were hauling slammed into the headache rack. Bet that was loud. Right behind your head too. You weren't hauling drawbars, frames, or wheels though, so the only way something moved like that...even if you drove into a building...is if it wasn't properly strapped. You've got a four foot steel bar. Lean on it.

Fifth and finally, clean the damned truck out. I know the air conditioning doesn't work and it's hotter than hell in there. I know you likely got back with only 20 minutes until the end of shift. You know what else I know? You had two coffees, a Dr. Pepper, a Coke, and two bottles of Gatorade. Also, you ate at A&W and paid with your bank card. And you dust the ashes off your smoke on the floor. Look, I know it's not all new and shiny, and it's just a company truck, but I have to work in there. Every day. You know what a half-eaten Teenburger smells like after a weekend in the sun?
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#2 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2012 - 10:03 PM

All I can say to that is that you're a man after my own heart Rev! Sorry that you had to endure all that...I'm also glad that you put it down so I could chuckle a bit at someone else's misfortune for a change! (I'm not laughing at you though...) Hope that Monday brings a clean truck, four round tires, and no new bumps dents or scratches to deal with!
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#3 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2012 - 10:06 PM

Rev, as always.. spot on.

Our appliance repair guy had my Company van for a week while his was in getting fixed. He "Cleaned it all out" on tuesday. Today, I had calls to do & I spent about 15 minutes getting candy wrappers, 3/4 eaten Ho-Ho's and all manner of other junk out from under my seat and in the cargo area. I saved them all and am waiting for a day that he doesn't lock his van up...

#4 wilberj ONLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2012 - 10:09 PM

Same when peaple get into my tool box...

I dont care if you use them just put them back were they were so I can use them!

Or tell me what your useing so I know were to go to get them.....

Edited by wilberj, August 02, 2012 - 10:10 PM.


#5 ncb OFFLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2012 - 10:19 PM

Same when peaple get into my tool box...

I dont care if you use them just put them back were they were so I can use them!

Or tell me what your useing so I know were to go to get them.....

nobody but nobody gets into my toolbox or borrows my tools,its just the way it is. :(

#6 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2012 - 10:54 PM

All I can say to that is that you're a man after my own heart Rev! Sorry that you had to endure all that...I'm also glad that you put it down so I could chuckle a bit at someone else's misfortune for a change! (I'm not laughing at you though...) Hope that Monday brings a clean truck, four round tires, and no new bumps dents or scratches to deal with!


Oh, likely the same thing again.

The thing that really gets me is the transmission. "I thought it was the four wheel drive," doesn't explain why he thought he needed four wheel drive to drive on pavement in the middle of a dry summer. The truck is a 2003, so nobody is going to pay to fix it. Due to the placement/size of the transmission filler though, I have to pour fluid from a four litre (gallon) jug into a one litre (quart) bottle, then wiggle a funnel into an improbable spot. I'll have to do that likely twice a week. The truck will likely run fine for another couple of years though...it only has 280,000 kilometers on it. It's in pretty good shape.

There's been talk of getting me something bigger though, so if I get a chance I'm going to angle for something with a 9 speed. They're cheaper that way and that whole air valve thing scares the heck out of most people. Also, the new Internationals are pretty.

#7 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted August 02, 2012 - 11:03 PM

Rev, can I make a suggestion? Take a piece of 5/16 or 3/8 clear tubing that is OK for oils & size it with your drill index. Go with a size smaller bit and drill a hole in a lid that will screw onto the ATF jug, then force the hose thru about a half inch. (if this last part was easy, you used to big of a drill)

Put the hose in the tranny fill, invert the jug and lightly squeeze... much faster than transferring and funneling.

If you have any concerns, test it on an empty refilled with water.
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#8 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2012 - 08:37 AM

I thought the Rev was talking about my co-workers there for a while! :spanka:

I have told the bosses that if they were to assign trucks to drivers they would get to easily see who takes care of equipment and who doesn't give a *%^#. No go.
I'll enclose a picture of what I found early one morning when I was doing my pre-trip inspection. The guy that drove this truck the day before is a real deal! This guy even came to work one day and anounced he has bed bugs so we should be on the lookout for them in the truck seats. If that don't give you the willys nothing will.
I'm not sure how he got the hood to latch but he did. There was a LOT of pressure to bend that fibreglass hood like that. Needless to say the wipers didn't work because everything in the linkage was bent/destroyed.

I can sure sympathize with you Reverend!

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#9 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2012 - 08:38 AM

Rev, can I make a suggestion? Take a piece of 5/16 or 3/8 clear tubing that is OK for oils & size it with your drill index. Go with a size smaller bit and drill a hole in a lid that will screw onto the ATF jug, then force the hose thru about a half inch. (if this last part was easy, you used to big of a drill)

Put the hose in the tranny fill, invert the jug and lightly squeeze... much faster than transferring and funneling.

If you have any concerns, test it on an empty refilled with water.


That's a fantastic idea! Not only will it make it easier to pour, but it won't take up much room in my truck.

That's one thing about that truck...I love the short hood when I'm driving, but it sure makes things cramped when you have to do something. Luckily I don't have to fix much myself. A couple of months ago I had a leaky fuel injector right at the back of the engine though. The first thing the mechanic did was take the seats out so he could access the doghouse and have room to work.

#10 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2012 - 08:52 AM

I thought the Rev was talking about my co-workers there for a while! :spanka:

I have told the bosses that if they were to assign trucks to drivers they would get to easily see who takes care of equipment and who doesn't give a *%^#. No go.
I'll enclose a picture of what I found early one morning when I was doing my pre-trip inspection. The guy that drove this truck the day before is a real deal! This guy even came to work one day and anounced he has bed bugs so we should be on the lookout for them in the truck seats. If that don't give you the willys nothing will.
I'm not sure how he got the hood to latch but he did. There was a LOT of pressure to bend that fibreglass hood like that. Needless to say the wipers didn't work because everything in the linkage was bent/destroyed.

I can sure sympathize with you Reverend!


That's why I'm kind of hoping for a nine speed in whatever I get next. There are two of us who drive the straight trucks, and we each have our own. Two others (a maintenance guy and a guy from the office) can drive the non-synchro transmissions. All four of us look after things because all four of us have experience with what happens when you don't.

The catch is that we have my truck because it's small and light enough to fit into some smaller spaces easily, and the nine speeds tend to be in the bigger trucks. We have some suppliers in pretty tight spaces, including one guy who runs two CNC machines out of his garage at home.

#11 middleageddeere OFFLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2012 - 09:06 AM

Agreed, the lack of ownership seems to be the real problem, "it's not mine, so who cares?" or "it's not really my job, so does it really matter?" Very frustrating.

#12 John@Reliable OFFLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2012 - 03:54 PM

What a pain, I use to drive and we had over 100 trucks, but also 10 spares at the garage I worked from. Lucky each truck had an assigned driver so I never had to deal with what you do. Was a good company to work for,even had a truck wash, that they payed a guy overtime so your truck was cleaned weekly. New Mack's every two year's and our "used" trucks would be sent out to a smaller service area, sometimes it was like you just got the truck the way you liked it, and you were due a new one :thumbs:

#13 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 03, 2012 - 04:09 PM

On filling the transmission. If you use the spout off a gear oil bottle and attach a small fuel line type hose over the spout it can be used to fill the transmission. The fluid can even be pushed uphill this way so it can be done from under the truck.

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Posted August 07, 2012 - 04:09 PM

I used to drive an armored van for Loomis Fargo in Charlotte NC.. My van was the only one that didn't have dents in it (it was also infamous for being the getaway van used by David Ghantt when he robbed the place.). I drove it for a year and no dents, no flats, nothing broken or out of place. Only problem I ever had was a lock up AC compressor I got a promotion to Messenger ( guy who goes in to the stores) and they gave me an "experienced" driver. While I was in the vault loading up money on the pallet I heard a terrible noise out in the loading bay. I pushed my money out to eh van and I found out what the noise was. My driver had backed the van into 3 others while trying to move the van so we could "leave faster" two hours later all the reports were filed and we finally got to leave - in the van with the back bumper pushed in on both sides into teh sheet metal with big dents above it and a flattened front fender.

I also was a security supervisor at Greenville Memorial Hospital. We had 2 trucks we patrolled with . One was a beat to pieces S10 Blazer and the other was a new s10 pickup. In one night a guy drove the blazer into the pickup and 4 visitors cars - because he saw a gal in a short skirt.

#15 HowardsMF155 ONLINE  

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Posted August 07, 2012 - 04:22 PM

I also was a security supervisor at Greenville Memorial Hospital. We had 2 trucks we patrolled with . One was a beat to pieces S10 Blazer and the other was a new s10 pickup. In one night a guy drove the blazer into the pickup and 4 visitors cars - because he saw a gal in a short skirt.

:rofl2: :rofl2: If it was Greenville NC, I sure can understand what you're saying! I worked at an apartment community there just off the ECU campus one spring. Everything was going well and everybody was working pretty good until all our hard work at the pool paid off and it was opened. You never saw so many guys finding an excuse to be around the pool so they could check out the co-eds.




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