Most of us like to save the best for last. While that makes sense with dessert and movie climaxes, it doesn’t apply to trucks, says veteran Perth owner-operator, Neville Willett, of Adept Holdings.
Neville has racked up more than 42 years behind the wheel, driving a wide range of American, European and Japanese models, from large prime movers to small rigids. He thought he had experienced the best rigs on the road until he bought a DAF LF55 short-haul vehicle – through PACCAR’s Perth dealer, CJD Equipment – in February this year.
“I have driven a lot of trucks over a lot of years, and I can say that DAF is, without doubt, the best truck I have driven,” Neville said. “It has everything – excellent performance, unbeatable fuel economy and it can handle all driving conditions. It’s an absolute pleasure to drive – I’m only sorry I didn’t discover that sooner,” he said.
“DAF offers the best features of the best trucks I’ve used,” Neville said. “It has the highest levels of comfort and safety, better than any other European brand. It also delivers more power, and lower fuel consumption and operating costs than Japanese trucks,” he added.
Neville has been a full-time contractor for a large supermarket chain for the past two years. His DAF LF55 rigid, fitted with a 14-pallet Thermo King refrigerated body, services a number of stores in the Perth metropolitan area, carrying an assortment of frozen, chilled and fresh foods, as well as general merchandise.
His DAF is configured with an air-lift pusher axle which is ideal for the short-haul application. It enables operators to be more flexible by making it more cost effective and efficient to carry various payloads. The pusher axle is positioned in front of the driven, rear axle; as opposed to the conventional, trailing ‘lazy’ axle which is positioned behind the rear axle.
DAF’s system is controlled by an onboard computer which monitors weights across all axles. The forward rear pusher axle automatically lifts off the ground whenever the truck is carrying light or empty loads, which reduces fuel consumption, and tyre and brake wear. Employing the pusher axle provides a truck carrying heavier loads with a greater distribution of weight over more wheels, while also providing better traction and handling.
The FAP LF55 pusher lift axle 6×2 truck is powered by a DAF GR 6.7-litre turbo-intercooled engine, generating 280 hp (210 kW) at 2100-2500 rpm and up to 750 ft/lb (1020 Nm) of torque at 1200-1800 rpm. The fuel-efficient engine incorporates SCR technology which complies with ADR 80/03 and Euro 5 emission requirements.
The vehicle features a six-speed AS Tronic ZF 6 AS 1000-6.75/0.78 automated transmission for driver ease, a 70-litre AdBlue tank, and a DAF SR 1132 rear axle and Weweler pushup lift axle with a combined maximum load of 20 tonnes. In addition, the truck is fitted with ABS, cruise control and a sleeper cab.
Neville said his reason for buying a DAF was simple.
“I wanted to finish my trucking life with a vehicle that’s really comfortable. I have been driving trucks for all of my adult life, and I have worked long, hard hours in many unforgiving trucks. I wanted a change, and DAF gave me that and a lot more.
DAF trucks are well engineered workhorses that have all of the driver-friendly features an operator needs. “European
trucks are renowned for offering the best driver comfort – I know, I have driven a number over the years. But, after getting behind the wheel of the DAF, it has taken driver comfort to a new level. It’s better than all the other trucks I have operated,” Neville explained.
“At the end of a shift, I am in far better shape with the DAF than I have been with any of the other trucks. I still feel fresh – and that makes doing the job day after day, year after year, much easier and safer,” he said.
Neville says that while DAF betters European trucks with greater driver comfort, it also fares well with Japanese models in delivering more power and economy.
“The LF55 is more cost effective than the Japanese trucks I have used. In fact, compared to the last truck I had, the DAF is saving me more than 10 percent on running costs with lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs.
“DAF ticks all of the boxes, including the dealer service. CJD Equipment gave me great advice on the right truck for my needs and they have backed that with excellent support ever since,” Neville added.
DAF Trucks Australia, a division of PACCAR Australia, distributes a complete range of medium and heavy-duty trucks throughout Australia. PACCAR Inc, a Six Sigma company, is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.