Recently cab heaters were a topic on the Team Run Smart site. In the article, there was mention of the ParkSmart HVAC system. I’ve been using the system for approximately four years now.

For those of you who are not familiar with the system, Freightliner Trucks offers its built-in ParkSmart HVAC system on the Cascadia. The new ParkSmart HVAC System offers an integrated auxiliary HVAC system for the sleeper that contains an electrically driven AC compressor and a diesel fired coolant heater. Replacing the traditional auxiliary HVAC system for the sleeper, this innovative and seamless design will function whether the truck engine is on or off. Utilizing power from the alternator, or from a second bank of batteries, the system keeps the sleeper compartment cool or warm. No additional internal ducting or external condensers are required. This system fits in the same location as the traditional auxiliary sleeper HVAC system, underneath the left hand cabinets. No auxiliary APU is required since the system provides 8 to10 hours of performance in engine off mode.

I’ve been pleased with the ParkSmart HVAC system although it does have its limitations. If you’re taking an extended 34 hour restart, you’ll run out of battery power unless you’re plugged into shore power. The same applies if you’re cooking or using excessive amounts of power. In the end, ParkSmart is not an auxiliary power unit (APU). As sure power locations become more common, the limited range and capacity of the system will no longer be an issue. When the temperature is extremely hot outside, there’s only enough capacity to keep the sleeper cool.

The up side of the system is its quietness and no additional engines to maintain as in an APU. I generally use the system for overnights and have found that it will keep the entire cab cool when the sun sets in the evening. During the winter months, the diesel fired coolant heater provides exceptional warmth along with the bonus of a warm engine as soon as you turn the key. The result means there is no need for warming the engine during cold weather. There’s only one thing I’ve added to the system (on my own) which is a cheap voltage gauge which I plug into my sleeper auxiliary power outlet. This gauge allows me to monitor the battery voltage for maximum efficiency of the unit. Another benefit to the ParkSmart HVAC system is that you can use it indoors should you be parked inside a warehouse facility.If you already use or plan to have this feature in the future, you want to make sure to read the owners manual carefully in order to attain the maximum benefit from the ParkSmart system.

Below is a picture of the ParkSmart AC unit on the back of the cab.

Comments (11)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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Always on the spot, Henry!

December 01, 2016 16:05:53 PM

Greetings here is some information about a much better battery system for your trucking needs 2.5 times the usable energy Lithium Manganese Iron Phosphate (3,000 to 10,000 Duty cycles @ 80% DoD) – to learn more and discover Lithium battery systems go to:
David @ USIBS

September 05, 2016 11:35:41 AM

Greetings here is some information about a much better battery system for your trucking needs 2.5 times the usable energy Lithium Manganese Iron Phosphate (3,000 to 10,000 Duty cycles @ 80% DoD) – to learn more and discover Lithium battery systems go to:
David @ USIBS

September 05, 2016 11:34:52 AM

ParkSmart is very impressive... when it works. It's ideally suited to team operations and those who run 300 miles or more per day. However, it cannot handle running more than 12 hours in extreme summer heat or 34 hours in the winter after a full charge. I recommend that if you run in such conditions combine optimized idle or solar cell charging with Park Smart to extend battery life.

In those kinds of operations (including the one I drive for), it's better to have a full APU (ComfortPro or TriPac) instead.

June 20, 2016 18:11:23 PM

I have a Tri Pac unit and the Wabsco heater and I am very happy with them both. I do a lot of trade show work and sometimes I sit for 36 - 48 hrs in Vegas and I don't think a unit like you have would work out. My Tri Pac keeps my batteries charged and the whole cab cool.

June 18, 2016 15:38:30 PM

Hi Henry Albert or anyone with some information on the park smart system. I do not know how to get 120 volts outlet to work and how to get heat without having engine running. Please advise.

November 17, 2014 16:54:01 PM

Thanks Henry. We will be eliminating our APU because it is extremely unreliable.
Did not know about the Park Smart, which sounds like the answer to our A/C needs.
Thanks again!

July 29, 2014 18:20:02 PM

Allan McCullough
Wabasto cab heater will run for several days if you have extra batteries because you are not using that energy to circulate the coolant to the engine. Get a Wabasto coolant heater and set it to come on two hours before you get up and engine will be warm without circulating coolant all night. I also have a battery operated ac that will keep my sleeper cool 8hrs or more on 3 dedicated gel batteries.
Congrats on the great fuel mileage Henry.

January 10, 2013 0:21:13 AM

Will this work on a cabover?Hodyon(?) says theirs won't due to some sort of oil in the condensor.I'm lookin for an apu or something....

January 09, 2013 18:26:22 PM

This system sounds great for my general operational parameters. Given that I get to do my 34-hour weekend restarts at home, the extended run issue should not be a problem. The APU I always run is a bit on the noisy side, especially when the blower kicks on and off to maintain cabin temperature. Not to mention, depending on which way the wind is blowing, you can sometimes get exhaust fumes since the APU dumps out below the truck. Seeing as how I may be incorporating 2-3 overnights a week into my regular schedule soon here in California and Nevada due to seasonal variability, it would be interesting to see how this system would operate in the western deserts' fluctuating temperatures. Thank you for providing us with this informative article on this great new system.

January 04, 2013 19:13:23 PM

These are impressive units. My last freightliner also had an optimized idle system on it which was very handy in extreme temperatures as well.

January 04, 2013 19:08:45 PM