Letter From T.H. Re: J.M.’s Letter on G.O.O.D. Vehicle Alternatives (Posted 16 August)

I would like to share a little info on box trucks and fuel storage. I have been self employed in the delivery business for 8 years and 5 years as an inspector on crude oil ships.

First you only need a Class D Drivers license for any truck under 26,000 GVW. These trucks generally weigh 10,000-to-11,000 lbs. So if needed 15,000 lbs of supplies could be stored in one of these trucks.

I have owned or been exposed to just about every make of box-bodied truck available. The most reliable trucks IMO are the imports: UD/Nissan Fuso/Mits and Isuzu. I have over 900,000 miles of experience with these brands, combined. The only issue I have had with these trucks seem to be fragile interiors. With 4-to-5 different drivers in a trucks life, they can get rough. The Internationals can be had with several different drive train combos: Cat, Cummings, Allison transmissions, etc. In my experience the problems with these trucks are almost always electrical and can/have rendered trucks useless.

In regard to loading these trucks always load the heaviest items to the nose/front of the truck. Loading heavy to the rear can cause higher fuel consumption due to the front raising and the back squatting = high wind resistance and instability. If you leave these trucks sitting for a long period of time in highly humid or salty air conditions YOU WILL have issues with your clutch, alternator and starter. All of these items will corrode the vehicle will become useless.

Water cut paste [also called Water Finding Paste] is used to detect or measure amounts of sediments and water at the bottom of your fuel tanks. To use: smear paste on a BRASS sounding rod lower into your tank when it hits bottom let it sit for 20 seconds and pull up and read. Two types of paste are needed–one for diesel and one for gas. I STRONGLY URGE YOU to use caution when water cut measuring your gasoline. ALWAYS ground yourself and use a non-sparking (brass) sounding rod. Use only cotton string for your sounding rod 1/8 inch diameter is fine. Also, use a MHSA approved flash light when doing inspections at night. Liquid gasoline is not 1/10th as explosive as its vapors. Static electricity is a killer!

Sincerely, – T.H.