Prime mover impresses on fuel run

Euro 6 DAF CF450 with lowered aero foil.

A new DAF CF450 has left a Queensland owner-operator with little to no doubt as to the advantages it brings his business.

Bruce Andersen, who delivers fuel from Brisbane to Hervey Bay, where he is based, up to six days a week, is a firm advocate of the product having had ample time to evaluate its performance.

Evaluation has taken place on the 600km round trip he runs, fully loaded one way through both hilly and flat terrain and on roads, following unseasonal rains, of varying condition.

In some instances, Anderson is better off by as much as 50 litres per day when compared to some of his peers who are consuming 240 litres per day.

Andersen’s Euro 6 DAF CF450 FTT is consistently sitting around the 195-litre mark per trip.

It’s no small thing given the cost of diesel at present.

In fuel costs alone it represents a savings of $1620 per month ($20K a year).

“It’s quite a surprise as DAFs weren’t even on my radar to buy when I was looking for a truck,” said Andersen.

The search for a new truck came at the height of supply upheavals for many OEMs including Kenworth, who he first approached when wait times for a build slot were 18 months.

The fuel haul spec 6×4 bogie drive DAF CF450 vehicle was delivered through Matt King at Brown and Hurley Caboolture.

It features a Traxon 12-speed automated transmission paired with an MX11 engine.

The DAF is currently delivering 3.1 km to the litre (average fuel burn).

On the return leg Andersen always runs full.

The terrain especially between Maryborough and Gympie and sections near Cooroy are challenging with steeper grades and requires frequent speed changes in the locations where he encounters road works.

A proposed Gympie bypass can’t come soon enough.

“We’re on and off the gas a lot because of the speed changes that are enforced,” said Andersen.

“The roads that we drive on right now, particularly between Hervey Bay and Gympie are just atrocious.

“They’re really busted up bad from the rains that we’ve had in the last couple of years. The truck is very good in handling those conditions.

“I’m really surprised how comfortable the truck is to drive.”

Andersen’s DAF CF450 is rated to 60 tonnes. Loading to approximately 43 tonnes weight is distributed to 6.5t on the steer axle, 16.5t on the drive and 20t on the triaxle.

Because the tare weight of the vehicle was so much lighter, he determined, after reading the legislation, that he could increase the weight on the steer by a further 500kg.

He moved the JOST turntable an extra 250mm forward from the original 100mm to facilitate this. It now sits 350mm forward of the centreline and according to Andersen handles, despite the extra half tonne on the steer, very well.

New DAF CF450.
Fuel spec Euro 6 DAF CF450 FTT.

“I shifted the turntable numerous times to get the load spread right and once I got it into its final position, and we got the axle loadings right that’s when I knew it was going to work out,” said Andersen.

“I’m actually getting slightly more litres on board than some of the guys on mass management,” he said.

Andersen also dropped the cab mounted aero foil down to keep it in a symmetric line with the trailer.

It was originally too high in his estimation, so he modified the brackets to make it fit the way he envisioned it.

“When I got home on the weekend, I took the struts out and rested it down on some rags on the roof and it looked much better,” he said.

“It’s the perfect height for the barrel of the tanker and so I modified the brackets and cut them off so they would fit and in the first few weeks it was even better on fuel,” said Andersen.

Fifteen litres to the better every day according to Andersen.

“Even when I get back after a trip on a full ride and I’ve gone through the hilly section it still hasn’t moved off 3.1 to the litre,” he says.

“It’s made a huge advantage on the fuel consumption.”

Before all of this had taken place Andersen, while up in north-western Queensland was talking to a Kenworth tanker operator he respected.

He mentioned he was planning on purchasing a DAF. To his surprise, the Kenworth diehard told him he knew of a few guys who had stepped out of Kenworths into DAFS who had been immediately impressed by their driveability and comfort.

It helped validate his decision to return to truck driving after an eight-year hiatus working as a territory sales manager travelling around the state.

Driving a truck, where he might only be away for one night now, allows him to spend more time at home where one of his children has not been well.

Previously to this latest stint he had driven a Volvo, an IVECO and before that an International.

“When I was getting my MC licence many years’ back, I distinctly remember a guy saying with transport everyone’s on the same sort of pay pretty much per kilometre,” he recalls.

“The only extra money you’re going to get out of transport is in the planning on how you can save it. That always stuck with me.”

Andersen also sings the praises of Salesman Matt King from award-winning dealership, Brown and Hurley Caboolture.

“He’s been unbelievable,” he said.

“Any follow up queries I have needed to make about the truck he helps me to understand all the nuances of the vehicle,” said Andersen.

“I’ve probably just about worn him out throwing all my numbers and sums I’ve crunched at him with regard to tare weights because I didn’t want to go onto mass management,” he said.

“The aftersales support has been second to none.”

Andersen even pocket-dialled King on a weekend and he returned the call shortly after.

“That’s how committed to the brand he is — he’s very obliging.”

“Having come from sales myself the relationship to the customer is paramount. He embodies that.”

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