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Posted: 1/22/2011 6:04:24 AM EST
Ok, so I remember growing up seeing them everywhere.

And, they still use them (prefer them?) in Europe.

But driving down the interstate last week, I realized I never see them anymore.

What happened? What was the advantage of them to start with, and then why did they stop making them?


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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:05:14 AM EST

Hmm, good question.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:06:49 AM EST
If I had to guess, I'd say it's because they're not aerodynamic enough to help control fuel costs, but then I'm no trucker.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:07:28 AM EST
I think it is because they have horrible aerodynamics compared to the modern tractors, but I could be wrong.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:09:12 AM EST
That is a big flippin wall they are pushing thru the air.

There are better options out there right now.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:09:21 AM EST
I thought at some point there was also some regulation for overall truck length that changed at some point which made the cab over pointless.

I could be wrong though.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:10:03 AM EST

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:11:42 AM EST
Cabover driver: The first one on the scene of the accident.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:11:43 AM EST
Try pushing a boat through the water backwards.

Now turn it around.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:11:52 AM EST
Been wondering about that my self. I've been told by the guy's who drove them that the ride wasn't very good.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:13:07 AM EST
Drivers became scarce and demanded better trucks.
Cabovers, Or, as I like to call em, pogo sticks on wheels suck with a mighty force.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:14:47 AM EST
1. Aerodynamics. New stuff beats them by a mile.
2. Turning radius. Trucks like Volvo have redesigned systems that give the conventionals, in some cases, smaller turning radius. My 770 had a smaller circle than my '04 F250 4 door long box.
3. Eurogirly countries like them because their roads are, literally, smaller.
3.5. Driving a COE is like driving a telephone pole. Everything that happens way down below you is exaggerated up there.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:15:16 AM EST
I think most of them are on the coastlines. Rarely do I see them here unless its a moving truck like atlas or mayflower.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:15:58 AM EST
having driving a "regular semi" I would have to say fuel mileage sucked, ride was terrible and sitting on top of the motor had to be very noisy and hot. that would make me crazy.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:18:49 AM EST
They ride like shit and the drivers have to climb up a lot higher to get into the cab. They were popular when the overall length laws were a lot more strict, especially on the east coast. The long hood trucks were used mostly on the west coast. Laws loosened up and conventional trucks became more popular. Peterbilt, Mack and Autocar still build COE non sleepers for refuse service and other short haul applications, but not highway trucks with sleepers. I work in the trucking industry, but I don't drive for a living.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:22:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By nightmare0331:
I thought at some point there was also some regulation for overall truck length that changed at some point which made the cab over pointless.

I could be wrong though.


California and some other states had a bridge law concerning over all length and the cab over gave you more room for paying cargo.

The downside now is many west coast truck stops were built with those tractors in mind so the parking lots are rather small. Anyone who has tried to park a Pete 379 exhd in the flying hook just south of Portland can vouch for that level of suck.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:24:01 AM EST
Mercedes makes a really cool cab over....but they so so because the roads are smaller in Europe.


Conventional trucks obviously have more room for engines. The Mercedes Actros is a V-8 turbo diesel.


Freightliner still builds a Cabover exclusively for the Export market...specifically Australia.






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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:26:01 AM EST
Jake it was the east coast? All the old guys always told me it was west coast. Either way, I wasn't around back then so I'm just going off stories.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:28:22 AM EST
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 6:32:52 AM EST
I drove an IHC and a Mack CO in the early-mid 80's.
Both were a POS.
Both lacked power.
Both rode like shit.
They were a pain in the ass to get in and out of.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 7:36:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By scootr29:
Mercedes makes a really cool cab over....but they so so because the roads are smaller in Europe.


Conventional trucks obviously have more room for engines. The Mercedes Actros is a V-8 turbo diesel.


Freightliner still builds a Cabover exclusively for the Export market...specifically Australia.


http://www.mitayani.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Mercedes-Benz-Actros-Liner-edition.jpg


http://www.westcotrucksales.com.au/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=108&g2_serialNumber=6

The truck on the bottom is an Argosy. Freightliner came out with this POS back in the late 1990's,as part of a program to bring out a 59' trailer,THANK GOD they didn't get approval!! I saw this monster on a test track near Honda's Ohio plant.(BTW,59' is basically the standard length of a railroad boxcar).

I spent my early years driving cabovers,they rode like hell. Even bringing out flatfloors didn't help much.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 7:42:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By skeeterh:
Drivers became scarce and demanded better trucks.
Cabovers, Or, as I like to call em, pogo sticks skillet faced motherfuckers on wheels suck with a mighty force.



Lemme help you with that.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 7:43:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By crazyquik:
Ok, so I remember growing up seeing them everywhere.

And, they still use them (prefer them?) in Europe.

But driving down the interstate last week, I realized I never see them anymore.

What happened? What was the advantage of them to start with, and then why did they stop making them?

http://www.grainfarmer.com/imageJMJ.JPG


Come to Iraq. We have all of them. They're covered in armor plates. And when they have no trailer and step on the breaks really hard they face plant into the roadway. Its epic.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 7:51:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By swoop411:
I think it is because they have horrible aerodynamics compared to the modern tractors, but I could be wrong.


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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 7:53:05 AM EST

You still see some out West in states that allow the 57' trailers - the cab-overs keep the overall consist length equal to a conventional tractor with a standard 53' trailer.


From what I heard from drivers, the cabovers could cause a driver to become hypnotized since there is no point of reference (e.g. engine hood sticking out) to alleviate the eyestrain.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 7:56:13 AM EST
We are still using one. It's a '73 IH 4070. Hard to mount, hard to work on, controls have crazy linkage, absolute POS. It is the backup to haul beets with when one of the others go down. Takes some teaching for anyone I don't care how good, to operate.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 7:58:11 AM EST
I've been meaning to do a post like this for a couple of years now, but keep forgetting.

I had assumed it was mostly an aero issue- it hadn't occurred to me that they would be deathtraps.


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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:00:02 AM EST
Aerodynamics, fuel economy, rough ride.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:02:25 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/22/2011 8:03:21 AM EST by ArmyInfantryVet]

Originally Posted By geegee:
If I had to guess, I'd say it's because they're not aerodynamic enough to help control fuel costs, but then I'm no trucker.

That is my guess as well

But also probably has to do with saftey, there isn't much steel up front protecting you in case of an accident.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:03:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By Staggunner:
We are still using one. It's a '73 IH 4070. Hard to mount, hard to work on, controls have crazy linkage, absolute POS. It is the backup to haul beets with when one of the others go down. Takes some teaching for anyone I don't care how good, to operate.

Actually,a cabover is great for a new driver....no hood/fenders/bumpers to destroy.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:10:48 AM EST
Originally Posted By JakeMetzger:
They ride like shit and the drivers have to climb up a lot higher to get into the cab. They were popular when the overall length laws were a lot more strict, especially on the east coast. The long hood trucks were used mostly on the west coast. Laws loosened up and conventional trucks became more popular. Peterbilt, Mack and Autocar still build COE non sleepers for refuse service and other short haul applications, but not highway trucks with sleepers. I work in the trucking industry, but I don't drive for a living.


Look at the bright side though, your the first one to the accident, another problem with them is even though they keep overall length down, its to easy to over load the front axle.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:20:48 AM EST
Originally Posted By mstennes:
Originally Posted By JakeMetzger:
They ride like shit and the drivers have to climb up a lot higher to get into the cab. They were popular when the overall length laws were a lot more strict, especially on the east coast. The long hood trucks were used mostly on the west coast. Laws loosened up and conventional trucks became more popular. Peterbilt, Mack and Autocar still build COE non sleepers for refuse service and other short haul applications, but not highway trucks with sleepers. I work in the trucking industry, but I don't drive for a living.


Look at the bright side though, your the first one to the accident, another problem with them is even though they keep overall length down, its to easy to over load the front axle.

Set-backs can take up to 14k lbs.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:22:30 AM EST
Cause the terminator used one and now it's off limits

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:23:37 AM EST
Still see quite a few of em around here doing day hauls.

Most look to be early 70s to 80s vintage, clapped out, with Mexican plates on em. Yay NAFTA!
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:25:48 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/22/2011 8:28:00 AM EST by mstennes]
Originally Posted By MattyMattel:
Originally Posted By mstennes:
Originally Posted By JakeMetzger:
They ride like shit and the drivers have to climb up a lot higher to get into the cab. They were popular when the overall length laws were a lot more strict, especially on the east coast. The long hood trucks were used mostly on the west coast. Laws loosened up and conventional trucks became more popular. Peterbilt, Mack and Autocar still build COE non sleepers for refuse service and other short haul applications, but not highway trucks with sleepers. I work in the trucking industry, but I don't drive for a living.


Look at the bright side though, your the first one to the accident, another problem with them is even though they keep overall length down, its to easy to over load the front axle.

Set-backs can take up to 14k lbs.


We have a heavy haul business, legally 12000 lbs is it on 11.00 tires, 14,200 lbs on 12.00 tires, but depending on the front axle ratings and tire size you can get more, my point is the standard truck is a 12000 lbs axle with 11.00 tires, with the shorter wheel base of the COE, and extra weight over the front axle of the cab, they can and very easly exceed the front axles legal DOT weight.

ETA, We Run T800's, and a couple 379's with a range of front axle setups, and I know for a fact how easy it is on them when sliding the 5th, to much forward loaded trailer weight, etc.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:27:32 AM EST
Because they suck.

They are more dangerous to get in and out of. Yea, it’s no problem for an athletic twenty year old in good weather. But an overweight, arthritic, sixty year old driver can have problems, especially during snow and rain storms.

They are far more dangerous to drive. You literally have zero protection.

To work on the engine you have to jack the entire cab up at an angle. Remember that the driver lives in there and that means all his stuff gets messed up.

And worst of all, you are sitting right beside the engine. In a conventional truck you can just turn in your seat and stand up to get back into the sleeper. In a cabover you have to climb up on the “doghouse” and crawl back to the sleeper. This is a total pain in the ass, and the knees. To keep your truck clean you have to take your shoes off before you do this. And that means you have to put them on again before you get out. So forget about grabbing something out of the sleeper right fast when you are stopped.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:27:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By NimmerMehr:
Not sexy after Transformers.


Gen 1 Optimus Prime made cab-over sexy

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:38:53 AM EST
The answer has been given above, but I will affirm it. The answer is that the laws regulating the overall length of tractor/trailer combinations were changed, permitting conventional (long nose) cabs to be run in the East. The West had different laws and had many long wheelbase conventional cabs. Ironically, in the 1970s I saw a number of long wheelbase cab overs in the West. I never understood that. We would have run conventional cabs in the East if it were not illegal.

My family owns and has owned trucks since the early 1960s. I drove cab overs in the 70s.

In those days you had to have an extremely short wheelbase tractor to pull even a 42' trailer. 45' trailers were the maximum. IIRC, the maximum overall length for tractor and trailer used to be 55'. Now 53' trailers are common.

I hated cab overs. We always joked - truthfully - that the first thing to arrive at an accident scene was your feet. To work on the tractor, mechanics had to tilt the cab forward to get to the engine, causing all of the driver's belongings to shift forward and fall on the floor.

The ride on cab overs was horrendous. A short wheelbase tends to create a choppy, back-slapping ride. But, suspensions then were also primitive and I never had an air ride cab. Today many tractors feature air ride suspensions, air ride cabs, and air ride seats. My brother tells me that their newest truck is more comfortable than his car.

The short wheelbase of cab overs necessitated short sleepers about 30" wide. You had to climb into the sleeping area behind the seats and lie down to change clothes. Once conventional cabs were widely legal to run, 60" walk-in, stand-up sleepers were introduced. Then 72" sleepers and even longer came along.

Cab overs were noisy with the engine next to the driver. To conclude on a positive note, because they were short wheelbase, cab overs did tend to have a shorter turning radius than conventionals, making them a little easier to drive in the cities.


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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 8:48:11 AM EST
Originally Posted By Waldo:

I remember when they were common. I also remember seeing them smashed on the highways. I'm guessing the drivers didn't fare too well.


This is what I had heard - insurance companies like the conventional cabs for the extra cushion to protect the driver.. Also less workmen comp claims when someone falls out of the truck... In the trucking world the insurance company really controls what you can and can't do..

For city deliveries some ppl still use them though because of the shorter wheel base for makign tight turns

brian

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 9:57:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By Thuban:
Because they suck.

They are more dangerous to get in and out of. Yea, it’s no problem for an athletic twenty year old in good weather. But an overweight, arthritic, sixty year old driver can have problems, especially during snow and rain storms.

They are far more dangerous to drive. You literally have zero protection.

To work on the engine you have to jack the entire cab up at an angle. Remember that the driver lives in there and that means all his stuff gets messed up.

And worst of all, you are sitting right beside the engine. In a conventional truck you can just turn in your seat and stand up to get back into the sleeper. In a cabover you have to climb up on the “doghouse” and crawl back to the sleeper. This is a total pain in the ass, and the knees. To keep your truck clean you have to take your shoes off before you do this. And that means you have to put them on again before you get out. So forget about grabbing something out of the sleeper right fast when you are stopped.

They did come out with flat-floors....problem was the engines were in the sub-400hp,and would easily overheat if turned up.(unlike regular doghouse COEs).

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 10:15:22 AM EST
Originally Posted By NeoSaffiru:
Come to Iraq. We have all of them. They're covered in armor plates. And when they have no trailer and step on the breaks really hard they face plant into the roadway. Its epic.


If there's video of one that has already happened I'd kind of like to see that.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 10:16:31 AM EST
Originally Posted By scootr29:

Freightliner still builds a Cabover exclusively for the Export market...specifically Australia.



Kenworth does, too. I think it's called a K104.


Originally Posted By slodsm:
Jake it was the east coast? All the old guys always told me it was west coast. Either way, I wasn't around back then so I'm just going off stories.


Yep, west coast tolerated the longer "conventionals" where the east coast would bust balls about over all length. The old Peterbilt in "Duel" is a typical "west coast" rig from that time period.


About the weight rating on the steer axles, you can run up to 20k on the steer legally pretty much anywhere in the 48 states as long as your tires (and the truck, obviously) are rated for it. It doesn't matter what the tire size is, just the weight rating.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 10:21:58 AM EST
Hot in the summer.
Cold in the winter.
Icy steps make for serious falls.
Ride like a bronco bull.
Every now and then the cab hydraulics would fail and smash a mechanic or driver onto the engine.
No driver protection in a front end accident.
Over the years I have driven IHC 4070, Freightliner, and the worst of the worst, a GMC ASTROCAB.
Don't miss any of them.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 10:22:51 AM EST
I drove an Argosy once.....to the dealer. Thought the interior panels were gonna come flying apart.(you who know Freightliners...know what I'm talking about!).

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 10:30:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By Russm:
Cause the terminator used one and now it's off limits


I thought "BJ and the Bear" is what killed them.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 10:30:35 AM EST
good question OP, one of those "I've thought that before but forget to post it" type deals.

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 10:42:39 AM EST
i first learned to drive a semi when i was 15.

it was a cab over. i thought it sucked. really bouncy inside the cab. working on it was worse- lifting the cab up, and having to work under a cab that in my mind could fall on you at any time... i didnt dig that.

the only thing i liked about it, was you knew exactly where that bumper was, and how close you could get to objects / other vehicles.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 10:48:31 AM EST
Originally Posted By JakeMetzger:

About the weight rating on the steer axles, you can run up to 20k on the steer legally pretty much anywhere in the 48 states as long as your tires (and the truck, obviously) are rated for it. It doesn't matter what the tire size is, just the weight rating.



This is partially correct. The limit for a steering axle is 20k. But, the last I knew, the load could not exceed 600 pounds per inch width of tire. This is one of the reasons for the "flotation tires" seen on concrete mixers and dump trucks. The width is needed to legally distribute the load on the road and axle 20,000 pounds.

So, not only must the load not exceed 600 pounds per inch width of tire, but each tire must be rated for 10,000 pounds.


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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 11:52:43 AM EST
Originally Posted By DontShootMyDog:
I've been meaning to do a post like this for a couple of years now, but keep forgetting.

I had assumed it was mostly an aero issue- it hadn't occurred to me that they would be deathtraps.



About 15 years ago there was a suicide attempt in my area-a man drove head on into a COE semi. Cab hinged up as if the engine was going to be worked on, driver's wife ended up on the street, DRT. Driver hit the steering wheel and crushed his ribcage, don't remember if he survived or not. If they'd been in a conventional they both would have had MUCH less severe injuries. IIRC the suidide attempt survived.
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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 11:56:32 AM EST

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Link Posted: 1/22/2011 11:57:06 AM EST
Originally Posted By Seansworth:
Originally Posted By NeoSaffiru:
Come to Iraq. We have all of them. They're covered in armor plates. And when they have no trailer and step on the breaks really hard they face plant into the roadway. Its epic.


If there's video of one that has already happened I'd kind of like to see that.


There's an armored cab-over on Knight Rider
"The hawk does not fear you, boy, and the hawk never will. The hawk is God's gunslinger." -Stephen King
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