Tuesday, October 19, 2010

another mouth to feed........

one of the perks of being a team of company drivers is that we get a brand new truck every year......we put around 250,000 to 300,000 miles on a truck and then trade it in and start all over.....for about 3 years now, we've been burning ultra-low sulfur fuel in the trucks ....a design effort to reduce emissions and comply with epa standards, especially california epa standards.....at first it was a hassle as not all truckstops were carrying the ultra-low sulphur fuel and we were constantly having to track down a place that had it, but then as there became more and more demand for it (all trucks with engines 2007 and newer require it), more and more places carried it........



about the same time we started using the ultra-low sulphur fuel, we also got a handy little feature on our engines called "regeneration"........this meant that while going down the road, our truck would occasionally go thru the "regen" process where internal temperatures could reach as much as 1500 degrees and would burn off any carbon buildup......occasionally you would also have to "regen" manually if you had been idling for long periods of time....when you have to manually "regen" you have to make sure you're not sitting on grass and/or near any paper or combustible materials........i've gotta tell ya, it took quite awhile to get over feelin anxious every time we were in "regen" mode......with all the little silly things we've had mechanics miss on our trucks over the years, it's a little hard to trust that truck builders always do everything right to keep you safe from those kind of temperatures under your butt........



last month we got our 2011 freightliner cascadia.....it has a detroit motor in it.......detroit, in their infinite wisdom, designed an engine that not only has all the features i've already mentioned, but it also has this handy little receptacle that you have to keep filled, in addition to the fuel tanks........ this extra tank holds a product called d.e.f......which stands for diesel exhaust fluid....an additive that makes the "regen" process burn cleaner and supposedly more effectively.....


you have the above pictured gauge(the row of green lights) on your dash to let you know when you need to add def.....and you're warned to keep a close eye on this gauge as running out of def will shut your motor down............we've been told that eventually most truck stops will also have a pump on the fuel islands for def, but so far, in three trips from coast to coast, we've only found one truckstop in washington state with it and they only had one pump on one fuel island for it.......the truckstops who do carry def stock it in the packaging you see below......2 and a half gallon plastic jugs with foot long nozzles that come packaged in cardboard cartons.........it causes me some concern that the same people who came up with this wonderful idea, are the same people who couldn't figure that the packaging should include a vent in the plastic jug so that the fluid would actually go into the tank with out you having to pull out your trusty pocket knife and punch a hole in the jug.............it also causes me concern that even tho i'm not picking up the tab on the def, it's $14 for one of these jugs and we have yet to determine how many jugs it actually takes to fill the tank up......ours was on half full and we put in 6 jugs and think we could have easily added two more.......let's see....that's $84 and two days later we had to fill it again.......i'm all for saving the planet, i just want to be able to afford to live on it while i'm keeping it green........


so now we leave this nice mess on the fuel islands.........




and this mess down the side of our truck, because the way the tank opening is situated and the way the jug nozzle is made, it's impossible to keep it from dripping......



not to mention that on the stops where you have to add the def, it adds at least another 15 minutes to an already tight schedule.........but hey!.....who gives a rat's derriere if we're overloading the landfills with plastic and cardboard as long as we're keeping the air cleaner in california?????





5 comments:

Gi-Gi Roxx said...

Oh good grief seriously? * sigh *

CJ said...

Wow. Sounds like a total pain in the, as you said, "derriere."

Plum Trucker said...

Our new truck has the DEF too! I am totally not looking foward too it either! We are governed at 65 but were told to do 62 so we can get better fuel milage, with a new truck the requirements have gone up. But will they change dispatch times for these changes? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Is this DEF what Europe calls Ad Blue? If so it is pig urine which is injected into the exhaust and makes the world turn green again.......... Good to know that we are paying for a waste agri product..... Poor farmers again..............

Anonymous said...

I got a new Cascadia this year too, so I feel you on the DEF, although I think if it reduces air pollution and saves even a little bit on gas it will ultimately be better for everybody. I know that all the new regulations and new technologies are a pain in the rear-end, but we have to start somewhere cleaning this mess up. A little bit more in the landfill short-term is not so bad when you compare to 90% reduction in ozone. I sure hope more fuel stations start carrying it at the pump like Pilots are starting to. Here's a link to their locations that do have DEF in bulk at the pump: http://www.pilottravelcenters.com/Locations/Travel_Centers/Amenities/Amenity_Finder.aspx?Title=Locations+with+Diesel+Exhaust+Fluid&Amenity=Bulk+Diesel+Exhaust+Fluid+(DEF)