Heavy tanker driving tips

All CFA drivers are being encouraged to watch a new video that highlights three top tips for driving the organisation's new Iveco heavy tankers.


Axedale Heavy Tanker

Since 2012, CFA has introduced approximately 90 Iveco heavy tankers into service across the state. These trucks have significantly improved CFA operational capability compared to earlier builds of this type of tanker. However, with improved capability comes some different operating systems to those used in the past.

To further help members operate these Iveco heavy tankers CFA, with the support of Axedale Fire Brigade, would like to share the following video highlighting three driving tips.

Although this information is contained in the truck's training package, experience has shown that more emphasis is needed to remember these aspects.

Tip 1: park brake start

As these vehicles are fitted with automated manual transmissions, when the vehicle slows down and comes to a stop (ie a red light), the clutch will disengage. In all instances when the vehicle comes to rest, the park brake needs to be applied whether the vehicle is on an incline, descent or on flat ground. To do a park brake start in either ‘auto’ drive or ‘semi’ drive mode, build your engine revs to approximately 700rpm, to a point where you can feel the clutch engaging and the vehicle wanting to accelerate. At this point, you release the park brake, maintain throttle and drive off in a controlled manner.

 Tip 2: exhaust brake

The vehicle has an exhaust brake. The exhaust brake is activated by two settings on the right hand steering wheel stalk. The exhaust brake is either on or off. The level of retardation is the same in both settings. In setting 1, the exhaust brake will only come on when the service brakes are applied. You will notice the orange indicator light on the instrument cluster will activate when the brakes are applied, indicating the exhaust brake is active. 

In setting 2, the exhaust brake will automatically come on when you take your foot off the accelerator. You will know when you are in setting 2 as the orange indicator light will be flashing on the instrument cluster. The light is a reminder to the driver that the exhaust brake will activate when you release the accelerator. 

Only activate setting 2 when no accelerator is applied. If you are still pushing down on the accelerator when activating the exhaust setting to position 2, the vehicle will activate the exhaust brake and override the accelerator as a safety precaution. In this instance, return the exhaust brake to setting 1 or setting 0, take your foot off the accelerator and then re-position the exhaust brake setting to position 2.  

When driving off-road, the exhaust brake must be set to setting 2 and the transmission set to ‘semi’ drive mode. This is to ensure that when descending, maximum vehicle control is maintained because the driver has selected the appropriate gear for the conditions and that the exhaust brake is helping with deceleration to maintain vehicle speed, especially if descending steep and/or long slopes.   

 Tip 3: downhill starts off-road

When driving off-road, driving tips 1 and 2 need to be implemented. However, if descending a technical off-road slope and the vehicle is in low range, 1st gear (semi mode) and with the exhaust brake in setting 2, if you have to slow the vehicle to manoeuvre an obstacle, at which point the vehicle has come to rest, or at a very slow speed, the vehicle will disengage the clutch to ensure the engine doesn’t stall (always think, it’s a ‘smart’ manual transmission). 

If you’ve passed the obstacle and you simply take your foot off the service brake, the vehicle speed will rapidly increase. The transmission will need to match vehicle speed and engine speed to ensure a gear selection can be made. During this period, the vehicle's clutch is still disengaged and to keep the vehicle speed controlled, the driver will have to react by re-applying the service brakes. To eliminate this situation, as detailed in driving tip 1, if you’ve slowed the vehicle to a point where the clutch has been disengaged, do a park brake start and drive off the obstacle in a controlled manner to ensure the clutch is engaged.

Author: CFA News & Media