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Old 10-02-2008, 07:35 PM
 
372 posts, read 807,571 times
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One more word of advice... If you're towing a car behind, make sure before you pull into the gas pump that you have enough room to drive straight through before turning when you leave. It's easy to clip things with the trailer when you're not used to driving something that large.

That said, I love driving long distance... as long as I'm not doing it for a living.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:14 AM
 
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I am moving in 2 days and have to drive a Penske truck with a car carrier across the country from NY to Cali...am totally nervous about having that much behind me on the road and not knowing what can happen or where to pull off to sleep or even if its safe to pull off and sleep or use a restroom.

Can anyone help me?
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Down the rabbit hole
863 posts, read 1,083,023 times
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I've always found it remarkable that Uhaul and the rest rent those giant trucks to anybody with a driver's license. It's not that they're that hard to drive but if you've never driven anything bigger than a passenger vehicle, it's an adjustment. Do a search for cross country trip planning, I'm sure you'll find a website that can help in planning where to stay and eat.

The trailer can be tough to back up because it'll be much shorter than the truck so pick your stops accordingly. Be mindful of where you pull in and try to situate yourself so you don't have to back up unless you're comfortable doing so. If you have the time before you hit the road, take the whole rig to an empty parking lot and practice backing and watching how the trailer follows when you're turning. Keep your turns wide enough to allow the trailer to follow........and if you aren't used to using mirrors - now's the time for a crash course. Also pay attention to the truck's instructions for towing, even though it will probably be an automatic, you may need to drop it down a gear when pulling long hills.....and one more thing, be aware of the height of the truck you're driving, while most gas stations have ample clearance for rental trucks, there are some out there that don't.

There's some great advice in the thread here, pay attention to what's been said and you'll be fine.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Dillon, Montana
586 posts, read 1,846,464 times
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Talking Fear Not Intrepid Traveler!!!

Standingfirm, how long do you have to make the trip? This is what I learned from my trip, some repeated from my earlier post:

The Penski truck is NOT designed for long OTR trips! Take care of your tush! If I were doing it again, I would invest in a gel cushion and back support. After only 5 days, my bottom was REALLY hurting, and I was VERY glad that the trip was over.

USE PENSKI DISPATCH if you have any questions or feel uneasy about anything. They are WONDERFUL. Just tell them who you are, what your situation is and that you're very nervous and they will take care of you. It's a little like OnStar!

Do NOT let your fuel drop to less than 1/2 tank looking for cheaper fuel! First reason is that the Penski diesel trucks have an audible alarm when the fuel level drops to 1/4 tank. You can NOT turn it off or make it stop and it WILL drive you absolutely mad! Reason for this is that if a diesel engine runs out of fuel it will likely result in a "vapor lock" condition, disabling the truck and costing Penski about $1000 in lost revenue and cost to fix it. Actually, Penski is more likely to dump the engine and put in a new one. Also, when you're looking for a suitable fuel stop, there may not be one for hundreds of miles. I ran my truck nearly to empty in rural Arkansas before I found a single standalone diesel pump that I could use. VERY scary!

Even if you feel good and are alert, please do not drive more than 8 hrs a day. With Google Maps you can pretty much plan out your entire trip to the minute. Have your stopping place picked out and reservations made for each night BEFORE you leave!! Trying to save money, I decided to just "drop in" to a Motel 6 wherever I was when I decided to stop. DO NOT DO THIS. First, Motel 6 sucks! Second, trust me, you don't want to be motel hunting when you're exhausted from a day of driving.

Finally, remember that pulling a trailer isn't rocket science . . . it goes where you go! Try to remember that backing up sucks, and don't get yourself into that situation in the first place! When you do have to back up, take it slow. Heed Catdancers advice and practice!! If you've ever hauled a boat or horse trailer, or even a lawn tractor with a trailer, you'll pick it up pretty quickly. If you've never pulled a trailer, don't be afraid to ask a trucker for help. One night I had to park in a pretty tight spot, and had to back it in between two vehicles. I quickly found a trucker and asked if he would mind helping a girl out! He also told me that backing my combination was harder than backing his!!

The trailer is rated for 45 mph and the truck won't go over 70. Drive at the speed you are comfortable with but realize that the faster you drive, the longer it takes to stop or make adjustments for traffic. Also, the faster you drive, the more likely your wreck will be featured on the evening news!! R-E-L-A-X, take it easy and you'll be fine! One more thing, STAY ON THE INTERSTATES, and don't use commercial truck stop fuel islands. Use the fuel islands for the non-commercial drivers. They are set up for large RV's so you won't have any trouble getting in and out.

Have fun on your big adventure!! Let us know if you have more questions and let us know how you did when you get there!!

Tracey

P.S.: Yes, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!!
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:27 PM
 
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Anyone experience driving a 26 foot penske with a car carrier in the northern states during winter (ie: possible snow, ice, etc.). Just curious if you think a 22 foot penske (heavily loaded) or a 26 foot penske (lightly loaded) would handle better with a car carrier (not a dolly)?
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Rural Central Texas
3,646 posts, read 9,966,967 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hymnsinger View Post
Do NOT let your fuel drop to less than 1/2 tank looking for cheaper fuel! First reason is that the Penski diesel trucks have an audible alarm when the fuel level drops to 1/4 tank. You can NOT turn it off or make it stop and it WILL drive you absolutely mad! Reason for this is that if a diesel engine runs out of fuel it will likely result in a "vapor lock" condition, disabling the truck and costing Penski about $1000 in lost revenue and cost to fix it. Actually, Penski is more likely to dump the engine and put in a new one. Also, when you're looking for a suitable fuel stop, there may not be one for hundreds of miles. I ran my truck nearly to empty in rural Arkansas before I found a single standalone diesel pump that I could use. VERY scary!
I find it hard to believe that Penske would rather spend $25,000+ to swap an engine just to avoid the labor of someone opening the fuel injectors to bleed the air our. It might run close to $1000 including lost rental time to fix, but probably much less.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:39 PM
 
Location: South Texas
4,250 posts, read 3,634,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shannonlenox View Post
Anyone experience driving a 26 foot penske with a car carrier in the northern states during winter (ie: possible snow, ice, etc.). Just curious if you think a 22 foot penske (heavily loaded) or a 26 foot penske (lightly loaded) would handle better with a car carrier (not a dolly)?

In slippery conditions, you want the heavier-loaded unit. More weight on the tires = better traction, all other factors equal.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:46 PM
 
Location: South Texas
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Originally Posted by splashback View Post
I will be moving half way across the country driving a 26' truck and towing my car.
How hard is it to negotiate gas stations driving a rig that size (it is a diesel)
Can I fill up where the big rigs fill up? Or do I have to stay where the cars fill up.

I used to drive a 50' truck / tanker trailer rig that delivered gasoline and diesel to those stations.

You can fill up at any gas station. The awning should be 12'6" or higher.

You can definitely get a Penske truck with a car carrier in and out, but backing up with a small trailer behind a big truck is a real PITA (that trailer will start to turn as soon as you start backward, and it will turn quickly). So don't put yourself in a position where you have to back up. The pumps that have gas and diesel are usually on the outside, anyway.

Also, it's easier to see on your left side (we truck drivers call the right side "the blind side"), so avoid right turns as much as possible.

Drive safe!
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:51 PM
 
Location: South Texas
4,250 posts, read 3,634,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnrex62 View Post
I find it hard to believe that Penske would rather spend $25,000+ to swap an engine just to avoid the labor of someone opening the fuel injectors to bleed the air our. It might run close to $1000 including lost rental time to fix, but probably much less.
Very true. A diesel fuel system can be bled for a lot less than the cost of an engine swap. all one has to do is fill the fuel filter with fuel, and crank the engine. This may have to be repeated a few times, if there is air downstream from the fuel filter.
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Old 12-06-2013, 02:46 PM
 
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That diesel engine running out of fuel and destroying a motor problem was fixed a long time ago. Is it good to do, no. It isn't good to do it in gas car either. The newer motors will auto bleed out the air and away you go. If it happens, The trick is to turn the key off and on (don't try to start) about 10 times. I don't like running it low or out just because you suck up the junk at the bottom of the tank. 30,000 psi and those injectors have small holes so a little piece of dirt can clog them.

FWIW, every time I change the fuel FILTERS (there are two) in my diesel truck it is a little like running out of fuel. I have to cycle the key 10 times and then start it. It stumbles for a few seconds at first and then its smooth sailing again. Also, the NEW diesels you need to use DEF or Diesel Exhaust Fluid - depending on how long your drive is, you may or may not have to add this. Most trucks are designed to go the length of an oil change in between DEF fills. I keep my personal truck topped off as much as possible as I had the first Model Year truck that needed DEF and it was hard to find back then. So old habits die hard.

Personally, I like filling up in the truck pull thrus, but you typically cannot use pay at the pump. Everything else is spot on, diesel is always on the outside pumps - some stations have diesel on all pumps, but not most. Also, the car area diesel is pumped at a rate a diesel car can handle and on the truck side you get a faster flow rate. Handy if you have a large truck and need 50-100 gal. (or more). They pump at 20 gal per minute rather than 2-5 gal. per minute.
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