1556-(1).jpgI thought it was time to give a review of my 2017 Freightliner Cascadia AeroX “New Blue” along with its Detroit Integrated Powertrain Package. 

I would say uneventful, because other than a rash of windshield replacements at the beginning of New Blue’s life, the only out of the ordinary repair was a chaffed heater hose.  I say windshields as an out of ordinary repair, and a rash of bad luck involving it happened towards the beginning of my operation of this truck. The height of my windshield replacement woe was when I had an entire semi-truck tire tread get thrown into my windshield, which you read about in this blog called Gator Country.

Fuel mileage has always been a story with New Blue, and I am pleased to report to you the lifetime fuel mileage is 9.634. The fuel mileage was higher before the start of Project 70+/10 on 2/15/2018. The goal of Project 70+/10 is to achieve 10+ mpg averages while traveling the posted speed limit up to 70 mph where it is safe, legal, and appropriate. The fuel mileage for New Blue was 10.058 until the beginning of the project in 2018. The fuel mileage during this project has been 9.50, which gives a lifetime average of 9.634, for a total of 356,361 miles. What I have learned during this project has been that 10 mpg is attainable on a fairly regular basis at speeds up to 70 mph. At this point, I am still working on that last 5 mph which takes me to 75. Click here to view the article to Project 70+/10.

A question came up in regards to what kind of fuel efficiency New Blue could attain with heavier loads than normal along with mountainous terrain. To put the question of fuel mileage to rest, I scheduled two loads, which would be heavier than normal, along with the mountains of West Virginia. This route went from the Statesville, NC area to Detroit, MI. The round trip yielded 8.9 mpg and the second turn of this same trip yielded 9.1 mpg. You can read about this in more detail by clicking reading “The Rest of the Story” and “Answering the Question.”

As for the maintenance of my Cascadia, it has only been oil changes ever 75K, and greasing it every 25K. The recommended oil change interval is every 75,000 miles if you are averaging more than 7 mpg along with using FA-4 10/30 oil. This is a big saving, and I am pleased to share there has been no need for any makeup oil in between changes. Click here to learn more on this money-saving feature.

I always take my time to dial in the chassis of a new truck and once again, the effort was rewarded. My Michelin steering tire lasting 282,000 miles along with the Michelin X-One Line Energy D drive tires lasting 342,000. The drive tires could have lasted longer as they still had 8 32nds of tread left. The only reason the drive tires were replaced early was due to winter, and I had the time. Read my blog, “Dialed In,” which explains how to dial in a truck.

There is one thing my current Cascadia has, which I have never had the luxury of having, and that is the Driver Lounge option. I can tell you that having a table which quickly folds up into a bed has completely spoiled me. Converting the sleeper from a table and seating arrangement to a bed takes less than thirty seconds. Check this feature out here.

In closing, it is hard to believe I have covered over 350,000 miles in New Blue already. This truck is still as quiet and comfortable as the day it was delivered to me. I can honestly say this truck spoils me with comfort and efficiency beyond my expectations. We sure have come a long way since the beginning of my career in 1983. The future is bright indeed.

Oh, I almost forgot to talk about the disc brakes, Detroit DT12 automated transmission, DD-15 engine, Assurance collision mitigation system and Intelligent Powertrain Management.

Let's start with Disc Brakes, which have only recently become more widespread in their use. There is not much to report on other than, they stop without brake fade, due to their better ability to dissipate heat. There are no slack adjusters to grease or maintain along with excellent pad life. I am still on the original friction material at this point and it looks as though pad replacement should be over the 600,000-mile mark. I believe if disc brakes were adopted by the trucking industry sooner, the engine compression brake probably would have never been invented.

At this point I have driven DT12 automated manual transmissions for over 1,000,000 miles so it's easy to forget this is still a new technology, to many of my readers. This technology keeps getting better all the time and today, this is complemented by Intelligent PowerTrain Management [IPM]. IPM reads the road a mile ahead, via GPS, to make the most efficient gear selections. Click here to watch  how these two technologies tie together to extract the ultimate fuel mileage out of the Detroit DD15 engine.

Finally, let's talk about Detroit Assurance Collision Mitigation System [CMS]. The goal of a driver should always be to not run into anything. The Assurance CMS system is simply just another set of eyes in case you as a driver miss something. The key to making this system benefit a driver is to learn how to stay a step ahead of CMS so that it never engages. To give you a deeper look into life-saving technology, read “ Walk the Dog.”

Ok, I am done for now as it's time to get ready to hit the road again in New Blue.

You can read all of the specifications for this truck on the Team Run Smart Webpage.

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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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