This Mile Long Semi-Truck Has a Message For Us
Even experienced truck drivers know – driving down the highway with two trailers can be dangerous and extremely profitable. Imagine the payday for this truck driver – he’s got a full mile’s worth of trailers to pull at one time! On this Los Angeles highway, one truck driver is willing to pass along a startling message to onlookers… You gotta see this to believe it. While it’s unknown what the cause of this stunning message is – one thing is for certain: nobody is going to try to cut off this vehicle.
With over a mile’s worth of trailer space, this has to be one of the longest trucks in existence. But if you look closer, you can see there’s something a bit suspicious about the whole thing – there’s no seam between the trailers. What gives? Okay, as it turns out – this may have been an overly orchestrated publicity stunt involving some tricky film editing. It’s logistically impossible to get a mile long truck down any highway let alone get it onto the highway. However, it does highlight something that is possible – million mile trucks.
Just slightly more common than seeing a truck running trailers for a mile’s worth of length is seeing a pickup that has reached the coveted million mile mark. It’s something that’s seen a rise in popularity after a somewhat chagrin 2009 US policy plan for “Cash for Clunkers”. The concept that a vehicle can survive one million miles and be running intact is not just a tribute to the engineering that has gone into the vehicle itself – but also to the care and maintenance that the owner provided it. The issue? It’s hard to accurately track. At present, there are two trucks which resoundingly see the most action in North American markets – the Ford F350 and Chevy Silverado. Both have a market for long term use and reliability. Here’s a couple factors that bring these trucks to the coveted million mile mark:
Great Diesel Engine: While it ultimately doesn’t matter what style of engine is used – unleaded petroleum or diesel – there is a distinct trend for great diesels such as the Cummins and Duramax engine line to certainly haul the distance. Why? Because with diesel engines, they’re able to get to full power at a lower revolutions per minute (rpm).
With unleaded petroleum engines, redlines â the point where the engine fails to produce any more power and begins to degrade considerably â are not very far from maximum
With unleaded petroleum engines, redlines – the point where the engine fails to produce any more power and begins to degrade considerably – are not very far from maximum outputs of horsepower. Additionally, most American vehicle manufacturers insure the drive trains on their new vehicles for 100,000 miles. Considerations of whether or not the truck is a fleet vehicle or privately owned, the history of driving, and other factors will likely tabulate high in determining whether or not the engine will live to see a million miles.
Durable Transmissions: Let’s cut to the chase on this one. Allison. Allison makes some of the finest American transmissions on the market. Used in everything from heavy duty agricultural equipment to mining – they’ve found their home as well in pick up trucks. And for great reason! They produce some of the heartiest transmissions on the market. With a heavy duty pickup truck intent on a million miles, the sooner it can get to a high gear on the highway – the better. But if it needs those lower gears, the differentiation between gear ratios is what keeps Allison in the lead. That said, almost no truck hits a million miles on the same transmission. If it does – it’s certainly more of a tribute to the owner than anything else.
There Will Be Radiator Death: Especially with unleaded petroleum engines, because the redline is so close to the optimum output, truck drivers can and will push those engines harder than their diesel counterparts. In the case of the Wisconsin man driving his unleaded Chevy Silverado to the million mile mark, it’s especially true. He claimed that he had five radiators during the life of the vehicle. In Wisconsin, there is a wild variation in temperature. That means that the antifreeze used in the winter months to the summer months has to be flushed completely and replaced regularly. Because temperatures will sometimes flip flop in the spring and fall months, it is extremely hard on the coolant system. High temperatures with low temp anti-freeze can gunk the lines and low temps with high temp anti-freeze can do the same (and in some cases – freeze them). That’s why it’s important to always conduct regular flushes of the coolant system and ensure that the anti-freeze put back in has the correct ratio of water to coolant.
To summarize, while it may be unlikely to ever see a mile long train of trailers moving down the highway – it is possible to get a great American pick-up to the coveted million mile mark. All it takes is regular maintenance, an understanding of why and how equipment fails, and a willingness to drive it like you stole bought it…