DAF helps Caltex fuel Queensland

Chris Doosey has been a contractor with Caltex for four years and takes enormous pride in what he does and the vehicle he operates. His normal duties for the giant petroleum company are the transport and delivery of petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and oils to a wide variety of locations ranging from retail outlets to quarry facilities.

When Chris first started in fuel delivery, he was operating a DAF CF85 8×4, a second-hand unit that served him well and was in immaculate condition, but with a focus on reliability a decision was made early last year to upgrade the five year old truck, maintaining dependable services as well as increasing payload capacity.

“The DAF 8×4 was an exceptionally good truck and with 800,000 kilometres on the clock still has plenty of life left in it, but I am committed to providing a service to Caltex based on reliability and performance and look at the service life of my vehicle based on five years of operation,” Chris says.

“I did my homework and considered the advantages of a 10×4 configuration with increased carrying capacity, more power and all the benefits that come with the latest model truck and decided to go ahead with the order for the new DAF CF 85 model. Maurie Brown at Brown & Hurley Darra looked at all aspects of my requirements and went to work to have the vehicle readied for my fuel transport requirements.”

The result is a truck that has not only met, but exceeded Chris’ expectations. The truck was fitted with a Holmwood Highgate tanker, Liquip pumping gear and all the necessary appointments for hazardous goods transport, and from day one, it realised a number of gains for both Chris and Caltex.

For starters, the truck has a low tare weight of below 13 tonnes, realising a payload of 19 tonnes – a gain of three tonnes which equates to approximately 4,000 litres per load over that possible from the 8×4 unit.

The DAF MX SCR engine is rated at 460hp (340kW) delivered between 1500 and 1900rpm compared to 430hp in the older truck, and with 2300Nm of torque on tap between 1000 and 1400rpm, Chris is impressed with overall performance on the road. The engine drives through a ZF AS Tronic automated 12-speed transmission and he reports road speed is maintained effortlessly on hills where the extra grunt delivers more usable power to the Meritor RT46-160 drive axles riding on Airglide 400 8 bag air suspension with shock absorbers.

“It has been interesting to compare on-road performance across various familiar routes travelled, for example on one section of highway where hills slowed the older truck, requiring downshifts, this unit powers over them in top gear resulting in time savings. The performance is really very good,” he says.

The Hendrickson lazy axle at the rear of the unit has had no effect on manoeuvrability. Some delivery points see trucks have to negotiate tight corners and restricted access is not uncommon during a day’s work cycle, but the DAF with its extended wheelbase takes all situations in its stride.

There is not a big number of 10×4 DAFs in service, but this vehicle suits its application perfectly. The chassis extension taking the wheelbase from 6900mm to 7100mm and fitment of the rear axle was carried out by Turner’s Engineering at Nerang in Queensland, working closely with Brown & Hurley to deliver a unit meeting exacting needs.

“It really does make the job easy with no restrictions,” Chris comments. “DAF has come a long way in just a few short years, quality has gone through the roof and this new truck is streets ahead of the old model I can tell you.

“The automated 12-speed overdrive transmission certainly reduces fatigue and is well matched to the engine. The low ratio is 12.23:1 and overdrive is .78:1 and final drive ratio is 3.91, which work very well across all operating terrain and road conditions. Ride and handling is exceptionally good with impeccable road manners,” he says.

“Comfort was always a feature of DAF, but this new truck is very much ahead of the older unit. It is quieter and ride is excellent, the seat and driving position is faultless as is handling over all tyres of roads including some of the access into off-road sites we encounter. The placement of all controls sees everything close at hand; in fact the dash is very well laid out in all respects and the driver information panel is simple to scan.

”Visibility is important in our line of work and there is no problem here. The mirrors offer a good view of what is happening around you, and overall I reckon you would be hard pressed to find a better view from behind the wheel,” he says.

Chris tells he covers approximately 110,000 kilometres each year and this truck too will have a service life of five years until replacement, in line with his on-going aim to keep operating modern and technologically advanced equipment with the highest possible level of reliability.

Image is important to Caltex and the truck is a mobile billboard for the company, a fact Chris is acutely aware of; so while speccing the truck he ensured presentation was of the highest calibre, from front to rear.

“There is nothing like a truck that looks good as well as performing well and a lot of attention to detail went into the build of the truck and all appointments,” Chris explains. “I really wanted to come up with the most attractive package possible and it did not disappoint, from the alloy rims through to the polished stainless steel used extensively around the unit.

“A lot of time and effort goes into keeping the truck as clean as possible, I take a lot of pride in it because it is not only a working vehicle but one that people notice on the road.”

Chris had his start in the trucking industry operating a car carrier and has worked in a number of applications giving him a broad range of experience he takes with him into fuel haulage. He says working for Caltex is extremely enjoyable and the DAF gives him everything he requires to carry out his duties in the most professional manner possible.

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