Trucking 101: 4 Things you Should Know When Choosing The Right Truck Engine and Transmission
Purchasing a new or used truck can be exciting and stressful at the same time….
Purchasing a new or used truck can be exciting and stressful at the same time. You have many things to decide, including the type of truck you want and the fuel type. However, even after you decide on the most suitable option for your needs, you will still need to determine the right model for you.
As you determine the right vehicle to purchase, you’ll also need to consider the right powertrain. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about the powertrain when shopping for a truck, even though it directly affects how the vehicle performs.
Here are four things you should consider when selecting the right powertrain for your truck:
Manual vs. automatic
Automatic transmissions have become the norm over the last couple of years. However, the right transmission should match the applications, power and torque, and driving experience. Although some drivers will still prefer manual transmissions over automatics, automatics are considered to perform better in multiple areas.
When determining the right transmission for your truck, you may be tempted to choose a manual transmission truck, especially if you’re used to driving a manual shift personal car. But an automatic transmission can benefit you greatly.
Some of the benefits of an automatic transmission include:
- Easy to drive
- Reduced distractions and fatigue
- Better gas mileage
- Greater control over the vehicle
To determine the right engine and transmission combo, you have to first understand the truck’s application. You can determine the right engine and transmission for your truck by considering the truck’s operating weight, intended road surface, and maximum starting grade. Some transmissions have GCVW limitations. Plus, the road condition, maximum grade, and GCVW will help determine the torque and gearing needed to move your used truck and trailer. If you’re going to be hauling heavier loads, consider using a Gooseneck trailer, which is known to be more efficient and well-balanced.
Therefore, ensure that you ask yourself where the truck will be operating, the kind of terrain, what it will be hauling, and how heavy the load will be. These variables will tell you how much power your truck will need to operate efficiently.
Truck engine volume
How much weight do you plan to pull? How fast do you intend to go? And how much do you want to spend to accomplish your goals? These are the main questions you should ask yourself when deciding on the right engine spec. For instance, if you intend to pull a typical American load (36,000 kgs or 80,000 lb) on flat ground, you’ll need an engine that can produce approximately 350 hp.
However, if you plan to pull eight-axle B-trains through the Rocky Mountains, then you’ll be better off with a 15-liter engine that produces an average of 580 hp. Keep in mind that how much engine you’ll need will depend on what you want to do with your truck.
Select the rear-axle ratios
To determine the right powertrain, you need to also consider the rear-axle ratio. When you choose the right engine and transmission combination but choose the wrong axle ratio, you’ll not enjoy the fuel economy benefits. To choose the right axle ratio, you’ll need to determine the purpose of your truck. For instance, you cannot use a long-haul highway axle ratio for regional or short-haul operations.
In addition, low axle ratios are more suitable for direct drive transmissions, while higher numerical axle ratios are ideal for overdrive transmissions. Therefore, you should consider how your overall powertrain will affect other factors like top gear time and cruise speed to ensure that you select a rear-axle ratio that meets your needs.
Failing to choose the right engine and transmission combination can lead you to overwork your truck, and even cause premature maintenance. Determining the right powertrain is crucial to ensure that you get a truck that can do its job perfectly.
Consider the few ideas highlighted above to choose the truck powertrain you need.
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