Moving/Penske Truck

Speedbowl14

Ryan Preece and short tracks
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@dpkimmel2001 @Nitro Dude and anyone else with experience driving big trucks.

I'm renting a 16ft Penske box truck for my cross-country move I'm taking next week. It's a long haul...Connecticut to Indianapolis to see the speedway museum, then to Bismarck, ND, and finally to the destination of Salt Lake City Utah. Should be 2,800-3,000 miles over 8 days. Me and my buddy switching off. I've driven full-size pick-ups (quad cab, extra long bed)... this is a different beast but the overall length is only a couple feet more. They seem to have idiot-proofed these trucks so you'd have to be a total greenie to screw up....rearview cams, automatic transmission, governors, etc. So I'm pretty confident with driving it...after all, the hardest part will probably be getting it out of CT and navigating the ridges/valleys/cities of PA! Of course, any advice is helpful though!

A few things I'm looking for opinions on.

First, I'm not sure about the power on this thing. V8 gasoline. It will be fully, fully loaded. Any suggestions for getting up hills other than "hammer down" or is that all I can really do with an automatic? Is it smart to downshift on the decline?

Any idea what the governed speed is on these things? I've looked all over the internet and I hear anything from 55mph to 70mph. Related...say it is governed down to something low like 60mph...on the sections of 80mph speed limit highway, would you recommend travelling with flashers on or would that be more of a nuisance for other drivers than a safety feature?

I hear Penske trucks are notoriously easy to steal. My idea is tightly chaining/locking a cinderblock to one of the wheels each night. Overkill? Would you call this a form of theft deterrent or would it just attract more attention? Would it be smarter to chain one side of the rear wheels together? What I mean is...they're dual tires in the back, chain together of set of these dual wheels through the holes in the wheel its self?

Anything in particular I should know about respecting the other big trucks on the road? Beyond the obvious of don't draft, don't fake a pass, etc.

Last, I really don't want to drive this thing in the snow so I've built in extra time on our itinerary. But....it's looking like at least snow showers in PA on Monday. Looks very light. I have the four wheels in the back...think I'm OK for an inch of snow if we find some? Not gonna drive through more than that.

Very excited! Any help is appreciated! So glad not to be doing this in a U-haul, lol.
 

StandOnIt

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Going down the mountains is much more dangerous than going up because if you don't know what you are doing you will heat up your brakes and worse case they can catch fire.
What you want to do when going down a steep hill is called snub braking: https://www.thetruckersreport.com/t...ontrolled-stab-snub-threshold-braking.267163/

Something that will make going down hill easier is to not blast over the top of the hill in the first place. Many inexperienced drivers drive a larger vehicle like a car and they forget how much weight they have to deal with going down. Household goods are pretty light as far as loads go, so you shouldn't have problems with a little caution.

according to insurance data, rental trucks are the most dangerous vehicle on the road because of inexperienced drivers. Take your time and you will be fine.
 

Speedbowl14

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Going down the mountains is much more dangerous than going up because if you don't know what you are doing you will heat up your brakes and worse case they can catch fire.
What you want to do when going down a steep hill is called snub braking: https://www.thetruckersreport.com/t...ontrolled-stab-snub-threshold-braking.267163/

Something that will make going down hill easier is to not blast over the top of the hill in the first place. Many inexperienced drivers drive a larger vehicle like a car and they forget how much weight they have to deal with going down. Household goods are pretty light as far as loads go, so you shouldn't have problems with a little caution.

according to insurance data, rental trucks are the most dangerous vehicle on the road because of inexperienced drivers. Take your time and you will be fine.

That's very helpful! Most concerned about braking on a little known canyon road in Utah that leads to the ski area I'll be working at (dropping off lots of gear in my new locker). 4,000 feet elevation change in 10 miles. Truck will be totally empty then.

Just to be clear...in all likelihood I can downshift correct... probably a 3-2-L gear?
 

BobbyFord

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If it’s a new Ford truck it should have a tow/haul button on the shift selector that holds the gear longer on upshifts and also allows engine braking on decel by not allowing upshifts in closed throttle applications.
 

Speedbowl14

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If it’s a new Ford truck it should have a tow/haul button on the shift selector that holds the gear longer on upshifts and also allows engine braking on decel by not allowing upshifts in closed throttle applications.

Cool. I hear Penske keeps their fleet pretty current and the local rep is super kind and knows I'm going very far and through snow/ice so I'm hoping she gives me something nice. I'll probably send a few more questions Saturday AM once I have the truck and know what I've got.
 

StandOnIt

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That's very helpful! Most concerned about braking on a little known canyon road in Utah that leads to the ski area I'll be working at (dropping off lots of gear in my new locker). 4,000 feet elevation change in 10 miles. Truck will be totally empty then.

Just to be clear...in all likelihood I can downshift correct... probably a 3-2-L gear?
It's pretty flat coming across there, but you get into some pretty steep stuff around the Salt Lake area. Oh, another thing that might get you. The truck has a much longer wheelbase than a car, so sharp turns have to have some planning ahead. When turning a sharp right ,cheat over a bit to the left in your lane so when you turn your back wheels won't jump the curve. It is easy to forget to do that.
 

dpkimmel2001

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Personally, I haven't driven a lengthy straight truck that long before. If imagine that those rentals are governed at 65mph although I have had them pass me when I'm doing 70mph. Don't recall if it's been a Penske rig or not.

Don't worry to much about the 4 ways unless you're driving slow up those hills. The speed limits are pretty much 65-70 until you get west of Indiana/Missouri or the Illinois area. You'll then start to see it change to 75-80 depending on where you're at.

Hang out in the slow lane until you have a clear lane to pass. Don't impeed in the left lane. Pass when you're good to go. Momentum is key when under load. I'm guessing you'll have some throttle response until you hit the chip. Big rigs, or at least the ones I've driven, do not. If you've got one coming up behind you that clearly intends to pass, let him/her go on by and then make your move. The few moments that you have to wait on them to go by will be easily made up over they get back over in the right lane. We all have the same goal in mind. Works better if we work together.

Give yourself plenty of time. I always pad in extra time when I do my pre-trip planning. Less stressful. One thing that's constant is mph in relation to time. Wherever gps you plan to use will calculate the trip according to the posted speed limits. Go off of that time, adding in a little extra for construction. I70 east and west of Indianapolis is under construction. It can be slow going in that corridor. I80 through Ohio/Indiana is also under construction. Indiana being the worse of the two. Pad a little extra time for that. Ever single state has a department of transportation app for your phone that shows construction/weather road conditions. I use them religiously November-March.

I'm not a huge fan of the winter road conditions. Every year it takes some time driving in those hazardous conditions to get some sort of comfort level back. Probably a level you wouldn't reach on a single run across the country. I'm any event if you come to realize you're getting the wheel harder than usual, that level hasn't been reached. At that point it's better to pull off somewhere safe, take in lunch or dinner. Take time to relax. Cut out the stress and don't take unnecessary chances. Much more important to get there than get there fast.

Don't feel that you've got to keep up with the flow of traffic. A helluva lot less stressful to ride the slow lane doing the speed limit than to be competing for position. Let the idiots do that.

Use your signals. That is the only way anyone knows what you intend on doing. Always keep distance between you and that person in front of you. Doesn't matter if someone pulls between you and then. They won't be there long. They always pull out and go on their way. Always be looking for several seconds ahead of you so you have time to react. With added weight the stopping distance increases dramatically. Know what's around you on all sides. Leave yourself an out in case of trouble ahead of you. Don't tailgate. Don't let people's bad habits in driving piss you off. They'll be gone and out of your way soon enough.

Familiarize yourself with the controls of that truck before you head out. It may have a button that can be set for those long downhill descents. You may not have to use your brakes at all when going down those hills still maintaining your speed. I know I seldom have to,

Overall, plan your trip according to the posted speeds, padding in a little extra time. Drive the speed limit. Less stressful and you'll get yourself there on time every time. Be careful out there.

Oh, and whatever you're pushing in that truck, heavy on the bottom. Lower center of gravity is best. And make sure everything's secure. You don't want your load shifting going around a bend.
 

dpkimmel2001

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Also, the easiest way to find the app is to search for '511 pa', 511 and then the state abbreviation. They may not all necessarily include the 511 in their name but you will locate it using that number. It's too bad one app couldn't be used for the entire country but I guess that would make to much sense.
 

gnomesayin

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I drove a packed to the brim 26' moving truck from Portland, OR to Omaha, NE last January. I'd driven them locally before, but never long distance. That was quite an adventure. Beyond the usual challenges of making that kind of drive, especially during the winter over mountain passes, the damn thing was late in its life and it was doubtful whether it should have been in service at all by that point. It had a speed governor, as it didn't want to go above 65 MPH, which is dicey on stretches of I-80. However, I didn't find it necessary to use flashers for the most part.

I made it though, and it definitely has made subsequent trips back and forth in regular vehicles seem like a breeze. Based on my experience, I'd try to get a sense of whether it's well maintained and in good shape, and if not, ask for another truck.
 
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Speedbowl14

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Ouch Utah is getting really expensive.

Yeah it's certainly going up. But I live in Fairfield County, Connecticut...suburb of NYC an hour from Manhattan. One of the most expensive counties in the country, so this is a GREAT change of pace!
 

Speedbowl14

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@Speedbowl14 how have you faired so far?

Pretty well. The first hour was a bit nerve wracking. The truck is a pos which was very disappointing. The knob that controls the defrost came out so we had to borrow needle nose pliers from a friend in PA to work it. We keep getting abs/stability error codes. And it's HORRIBLY out of alignment.

But 3,000 miles later we're in Wyoming and one day away from our destination!
 
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