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Old 07-29-2008, 12:05 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Very true. My fiance's family has a trucking company and the pickins are slim. The best you could do now for a more aero truck is hope you know someone with some scrap sheet metal and a welder to test with.

And yeah, they're manly men who love their Harlies, red meat, and mass produced beer-like products. They're also not the brightest, but they're family so it's ok ;-)

You figure out how to quickly and cheaply retro-fit existing trucks to reduce fuel costs by even 5% and you'll have yourself "the better mousetrap" for which people will beat a path to your door.

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Old 07-29-2008, 03:13 PM   #22 (permalink)
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economics/big government

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My family's bread and butter is trucking. My father owns a company, two uncles drive trucks, my brother and two cousins are mechanics.

Yes, it is fair to say that many truckers are big-block lovin, manly men.

However, i think the reason for lack of change is financially driven as you'd expect the reasons FOR change to be. With a sudden up-shot in deisel prices, many companies are struggling in this industry. You can't just change your fleet over to more efficient trucks. A new "typical" truck is like a hudred grand. Some technologically advanced engineering spectacular would cost much more. That buys a lot of gas and uses a lot of money that these companies just don't have right now.
Most people seem to hate government intervention in any aspect of their lives.Today,in the US,EPA mileage figures on new cars are drawing much interest.Funny thing,those numbers wouldn't exist without "big government".Class-8 truck manufacturers have done what they can with their tractors,with no pressure from the EPA.They're kinda deadlocked now with mpg,because very little has been done with trailers.Just supposing,what would happen if the EPA had "voluntary" goals for 18-wheeler mpg,as associated to the truck/tractor combination,say,10-mpg? Perhaps there would be incentives for any company to step up to the plate.Something like the Program for New Generation Trucks(PNGT),like President Clinton tried to do with automobiles,which were supposed to go on sale last year,with 80-mpg.By the way,are the car makers going to return all those millions of taxpayer dollars they received to produce a car they never manufactured? Inquiring minds want to know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:19 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I think it would be VERY difficult to mass produce a truck or trailer who's additional cost due to engineering offset fuel cost by enough to make people's heads turn. The construction of a brick-like trailer is just so simple compared to something more aero. That simplicity likely also makes it less weight and more durable/repairable. Every time I'm in dad's shop there is a trailer there with a bent bumper or scrapes down the sides, or a gash in the roof. If it was made of some wavey-shaped fiberglass it would be more expensive to repair.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:03 PM   #24 (permalink)
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cost

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Originally Posted by MazdaMatt View Post
I think it would be VERY difficult to mass produce a truck or trailer who's additional cost due to engineering offset fuel cost by enough to make people's heads turn. The construction of a brick-like trailer is just so simple compared to something more aero. That simplicity likely also makes it less weight and more durable/repairable. Every time I'm in dad's shop there is a trailer there with a bent bumper or scrapes down the sides, or a gash in the roof. If it was made of some wavey-shaped fiberglass it would be more expensive to repair.
Seems like all the engineering is behind us.Hucho's extensible boat tail image from the 1930s would get us most of the way there.In my photo album there's an article about the Fruehauf/International combo from the 1980s,which got 10-mpg.Sure,you might have to pay a royalty to the first guy out of the chute.But that didn't keep people from building electric light bulbs and paying Edison for the privilege.And yes,OTR operators would have something else to deal with,but the Waggoners are already dealing with it,and may be in business long after others have fallen by the wayside,because they could not compete against the increased mpg of the competition.My aunt and uncle were one of the first husband/wife OTR teams in the US,and my uncle was also a pilot,had been a flight instructor during WW-II,and he definitely new the connection between aero and 18-wheeler mpg.Beyond driving an "ant-eater" and installing "Nosecone" on all the trailers,there wasn't muchin the marketplace for him.I was too young and cash-poor to make a difference.Now I'm older and still cash poor! Frustrating! We lose billions each year.We just pile 'em up into mounds and set fire to them.Computers vs typewriters.Everybody seems to understand that one.But when you put wheels on something,people go immediately stupid.Shame.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:14 PM   #25 (permalink)
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You mistake science and engineering. Yes, the science of it is well-known in the aero field. You need an engineering firm to make the drawings and test the concepts. Sounds simple, but it ain't (I figure you know that much!)

So how does a kam-back truck hold the same amount of freight as a box-shaped truck? make it 10 feet longer? that is out because if htey could make it 10 feet longer, it would be square, and hold 8 more skids to make more money than the kamback could recoup in fuel. Okay, make it some sort of accordian fold-up deally that you deploy for hte highway. Now you're talking about a 15-thousand dollar piece of heavy equipment if you want it to last for 20 years problem free. What if it breaks? Does your in-house trailer repair dude know anything about fixing it? Nope, send it to a specialty repair shop for 5 grand. And what does a heavy piece of equipment like that weigh? factor that into the fuel equation, and MUCH more importantly, tell the trucking company that their maximum load has just been reduced by that much.

Much much much much more to the puzzle than simply "toss on a kam-back and a nose cone".

Everything in that industry is SIMPLE and STRONG. Those are the prime requisits.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:49 PM   #26 (permalink)
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science/engineering

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Originally Posted by MazdaMatt View Post
You mistake science and engineering. Yes, the science of it is well-known in the aero field. You need an engineering firm to make the drawings and test the concepts. Sounds simple, but it ain't (I figure you know that much!)

So how does a kam-back truck hold the same amount of freight as a box-shaped truck? make it 10 feet longer? that is out because if htey could make it 10 feet longer, it would be square, and hold 8 more skids to make more money than the kamback could recoup in fuel. Okay, make it some sort of accordian fold-up deally that you deploy for hte highway. Now you're talking about a 15-thousand dollar piece of heavy equipment if you want it to last for 20 years problem free. What if it breaks? Does your in-house trailer repair dude know anything about fixing it? Nope, send it to a specialty repair shop for 5 grand. And what does a heavy piece of equipment like that weigh? factor that into the fuel equation, and MUCH more importantly, tell the trucking company that their maximum load has just been reduced by that much.

Much much much much more to the puzzle than simply "toss on a kam-back and a nose cone".

Everything in that industry is SIMPLE and STRONG. Those are the prime requisits.
I know I'm being simplistic.The thing about the Fruehauf trailer,is that one presumes all the engineering has been collecting dust since the 1980s.The blueprints are finished,the science is firmly established,the concept has been proven at the Diesel pump,and it is only a matter of someone in a position of authority to sign the go-ahead for production.Their design was a high-cube,longer trailer with more cargo capacity than conventional trailers.More cargo per mile.More range per fuel load.Lower cost/ton-mile.No increase in load on power-train,perhaps less.No moving parts,just the rear cargo split-door as already in acceptance.The weight of the skirts would be offset by the decreased wall height in the boat-tailed area.
Throw in the flotation tires.If I were the government,I'd have the national labs develop no-cost technology for "convoy" driving,allowing truckers to NASCAR draft,bumper-to-bumper in trains ,say,up to 10-rigs long,dedicate lanes for them to do it in,and imprison any motorists in cars which endanger the truckers,driving coast-to-coast,saving up to 15% in the draft.
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:29 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Okay, I definately need to go and look up that specific trailer idea. That sounds good.

Now... freeway drafting technology, THAT is something that truckers could accept! You'd need ONE patented technology (preferably a standard, not a product) that was cost effective so you get massive market saturation as quickly as possible. You would need equipment attached to trailers AND trucks and control systems to manage speed and more importantly inter-vehicle communication. When the first guy in line slams his brakes, ALL the trucks need to slow down at an equal rate. Considering load differences, you'd probably be able to get by with at least a 10-foot following distance, which would be spectacular for fuel savings. If one guy is too heavy, the others around him would have to immediately compensate to give him cushion.

When I drive my cube van (see my thread for horrible FE details), it is WONDERFUL when I can get into a convoy; I lift my foot up about an inch and a half and maintain the same speed. When that convoy is 2-lanes wide it is even better.
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:35 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Is this it?

Most of the info I found when searching for Freuhauf was about current designs, them losing business, and recalls.
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:55 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Nope,that's not it.Let me look at the other posts,see where we are,and I'll jump in.
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Old 07-30-2008, 03:36 PM   #30 (permalink)
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is this it?

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Is this it?

Most of the info I found when searching for Freuhauf was about current designs, them losing business, and recalls.
MazdaMatt,I checked my photo album,and it looks like I never posted the article about the Freuhauf/International truck/trailer combo.There's some other stuff but not what I wanted to share.I've got the article,it's from CAR and DRIVER I think.I can try and scan it and email it to the aero forum or I could mail a copy to you. Since so many everyday-use truck items are standardized(glad-hands,pintle-hooks,Hub-o-meters,etc.)seems like we could have a national standard for convoy stuff and trailer stuff.Anyone could manufacture as long as they respect the standard.Perhaps the cost of royalties are underwritten by the taxpayers(as we all stand to benefit).Nationwide parts and service,universal familiarity,everybody can work on it.Maybe it's so good,it never breaks down! Massive public education programs could bring all motorists up to speed in a matter of a few months,as to how important the drafting could be,not only for the U.S.,but everyone.The impact would quite literally ripple through the entire economy.It would be a way for the government to put it's mouth where it's money is.Our money! I've tried to find fault with the idea,other than it would mean reduced fuel tax revenues to the states and federal govt.

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