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July 6, 2011

In the Ditch

Getting the whole thing in the ditch on a test drive is really embarrassing!

It was the first ride ‘n drive of the Navistar International MaxxForce engines for 2010 and I got off-route for the sake of a good picture. With the photo in the bag, we set off – chief engineer Aaron Peterson and myself – to regain the route by dint of some country-road reroute. Said reroute involved a back-over-the-shoulder right turn with a “Stop” sign right on the apex. Of course.

No problem, quoth I, viewing the tight turn, as the International ProStar turns very well for a North American tractor. But the 48-foot flatbed, with the wide-spread tandem and no dump valves turns much less easily. So I steal a bit of the grass verge in the turn, then the trailer is fast approaching the stop sign, so I steal some more, then a little more, then, still with the inside wheels on the grey bit, the drive tandem takes off down the grass slope into the field (it had been raining small domestic animals for days). And that’s when the trouble started.
The tractor could not drag itself back up the slippery slope. It kept feeling like it would, so I kept my foot in it. Until the trailer made it into the dirt. Then 25 tonnes of concrete made its presence felt and the rig was going nowhere under its own power.

So we abandoned ship and left it for the tow truck. Fortunately, another ProStar was close enough behind that we were able to whistle it up and it arrived shortly, but turned left at the junction instead of right. I jumped in behind the wheel to scoot back in time for lunch. For some reason, the rest of the riding party sat in the sleeper. Maybe as far as they could get from the next potential accident ...

Since Navistar is the only manufacturer pursuing advanced EGR for the EPA2010 emissions limits, I quipped that I would be banking my check from Detroit Diesel the next morning. However, while that raised a good laugh, it really didn’t cover the embarrassment of putting the rig in the ditch.

In retrospect, stopping, looking and backing up 100 yards to take a much wider swing at the corner may have been the wiser course. Or maybe any one of a dozen different alternatives. But then, you wouldn’t have this picture to laugh about, eh?

1 comment:

  1. I think now you would have learned that a small mistake can lead to hard situation. To drive this is not everyones cup of tea, so one need to be quite careful.

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