I turned in my Freightliner Cascadia at Crete's Marietta Yard. The Marietta Staff told me I was assigned to a 2014 International Prostar. Just like the Cascadia, the Prostar is a pretty fantastic truck to live in and work with.
This is the 8th truck I've moved into over the past 4 years of driving. After Werner moved me to a 2011 Kenworth T660 I stopped unpacking my bags and went into this 'Refugee-mode.' It's been very stressful living in so many different trucks. Am I a transient?... Fuck no! But, I'm starting to know how they feel.
I know I'm going to have this truck for the next 4 to 5 years (that's when Crete cycles it out and sells it), but, breaking out of this refugee mindset is not something I'm finding easy. Right now my cloths are on the shelves. But, I still have everything else packed away in luggage bags. I've also been using a Sleeping Bag ever since I started this career. I'm thinking the next time I get to the Iowa 80 I would very much like to get some proper bedding and blankets. Then maybe I can start feeling 'at Home' a little more and get these bags unpacked.
The new hybrid Optimized Idle and No Idle Cooling/Heating system* is a much needed improvement to the Prostar. The No Idle Air Conditioner has not let me down yet. It keeps the sleeper cool and the engine kicks on when the batteries need a little help. The No Idle system is meant to be used with the sleeper curtains closed. So I've been looking to order a Bed Back Rest and a Laptop Cooling Pad, for when I'm on a 34-hour Reset or such.
I can see this No Idle technology being standardized in more fleets soon. It's a win/win situation for Fleet Owners and the Drivers running those company trucks. The Driver doesn't have to sweat or freeze in the sleeper anymore. And the Fleet Owner will see a reduced idle fuel costs. And less overturn. It would probably be a good thing for the Owner Operator looking trucks over to consider it too.
The MaxxForce 13 engine uses a shifting and operating range of 1000-1400 RPM in the flats. Which is something new I'm getting used to. I've been using an operating range of 1300-1800 RPM for engine breaking. With a target range of 1500 to 1700 RPM when I'm engine breaking down Mountain Passes. I'm one of those drivers who doesn't use service breaks going down Passes. So my practice has been to pick the maximum gear the engine break can handle at that target range, without using service breaks.
This is the first truck I've driven with a fixed 5th Wheel mount. My first two Crete trucks used a locked and pinned 5th wheel. I've pulled 3 (I think?) heavy loads since I've had it. With full fuel tanks my Steer Axle has not been over 11,800 lbs. And my Drive Axles have not been over 34,000. Because of the No Idle Heating and Cooling system on this truck, I also have a 400 lb Weight Exemption in most States. So the tractor weights are good.
*I've called it a 'Battery Pack Air Conditioner' in previous posts.