When the first Technicians discovered fire many eons ago not one among them could have known the magnitude of this technological discovery. In the modern day, there is very little that we do on a day to day basis that is not attributable to the mastery of fire. Even the later, more advanced inventions of my people (Technicians); the wheel and the internal combustion engine could not have been married to create our modern day freight hauling warhorses without this, our most important and rudimentary discovery. No home could be lit, no computer could be utilized and no load could be hauled without it. Yes, this great epiphany of our ancestors has begat many great things. This great boon’s one draw-back has always been the fuel consumption it takes to make the fire burn. Be it a small campfire that quaintly toasts marshmallows (another feat of genius) or a 455hp DD15 barreling down the highway at 63 miles per hour, if you want more output, you need more fuel for the fire.
On average, a DD15 at idle is consuming .66 gallons of diesel fuel per hour to run the engine. Under the bunk on all but a scant few sleeper-cab company trucks, there resides a device that may be the most effective fuel saving creation in trucking as we know it. “What can it be Oracle of Knowledge and ruler of the free world?” you ask. The diesel fired auxiliary bunk heater is my omnipotent response. Our fleet utilizes both Espar and Webasto branded units that only use a scant .03 gallons per hour! In fact they only require .78 gallons to run an entire 24 hour day. They operate in the same fashion as an old oil furnace used in homes across America for many years. The heaters have built in electronic control modules that monitor the unit and optimize operation. The temperature at the outlet vent is around 180 degrees Fahrenheit on a mere 4 ounces of fuel per hour.
Operating instructions are relatively simple but do vary by truck manufacturer so consult your friendly neighborhood wrench-slingers with any questions. Depending on the condition of your batteries and a little thing we call “hotel load” these feats of genius can operate for up to 12 hours without depleting the starting batteries to the point of a cranking issue. However if your “hotel load” includes running your crock pot, coffee pot and/or Cappuccino machine, toaster oven and 42” plasma TV, this time will vary greatly and be significantly less. Hmm…takes more to do more, imagine that! Each unit, both truck and heater, has a low voltage disconnect (LVD) to prevent total battery discharge so the heater will simply turn itself off to ensure the truck will still start and take you on your merry way. As with any of my people’s great inventions, maintenance and preparedness goes a long way. It is always best to run your heater for 15 minutes each month, winter, spring, summer or fall, to keep the chamber clean, clear and ready to go when you need it. Unfortunately, impurities in diesel fuel, higher percentages of bio-diesel as well as fuel additives can cause the need for manual cleaning from time to time to keep these little gems operating effectively and efficiently.
‘Til next time, y’all come see us! The one, the Oracle, the TITO!