It’s off to Pape Kenworth in Fresno, California with these T680’s as the tour continues… If you missed these trucks the first time, stay tuned for the complete schedule of round 2!
With much trepidation, I knew this day would come, and it has. The Inland Kenworth event is the last stop for me, and for the first round of the T680 tour. While these two T680’s will continue to travel the United States and Canada well into the fall months, I will return to my home in Seattle and the morning routine of a cup of coffee and Microsoft outlook. Inland Kenworth took me out with a bang, hosting one of the best events we’ve had yet.
A winter wonderland it was, and people gathered far and wide to withhold the awe inspiring Kenworth T680 trucks, visit one of the premiere Kenworth dealerships in the southwest, and enjoy a welcome reprieve from the Arizona heat. It was a busy day for all, and General Manager Don Blake was working non-stop to make sure everything was ready to go once 11:00am rolled around. He did an awesome job making sure the tents, overhead misting systems, snow slide and snow cone truck were set up to keep people sheltered and comfortable during the 115 degree heat.
Much to our relief, the trailer air conditioning systems and generator ran without a hiccup during the event, and it’s no surprise the trailer endured some of the largest crowds of the tour. I spent some time with the Swift crew, discussing the aerodynamic merits of the T680, and why there isn’t a driver around that couldn’t get comfortable in the ergonomic wonderland that is the T680 cockpit.
Not old enough to drive? Bet you could still find a comfortable driving position! Headphones demonstrate the 40% noise reduction experienced inside the T680.
While the dual air conditioners from on the tour trailer kept curious onlookers cool while they explored the T680 features, it’s the HVAC system in the T680 that takes care of its occupants while on the road. The T680 features a unique HVAC unit that features automatic temperature control, similar to modern automobiles. This unit, located inside the vehicle cabin is a blend air type system. Blend air systems are paramount to the effectiveness of an automatic temperature controlled HVAC system due to their ability to quickly adjust air temperatures flowing into the cabin. Blend air systems adjust temperatures by modulating the amount of air flowing through the heater core, as opposed to a stacked core, which has constant air flow but adjusts the coolant flow through the heater core. It’s a quick reacting system that is able to keep up with an open window, or as is the case with these shows, a sudden influx of a few more bodies. Set the temperature in this truck, and the T680 takes care of the rest.
In the 3500 miles driving these trucks in the past 2 months, I’ve been impressed with the system’s ability to maintain cabin temperatures to my preferred setting. From upstate New York, to Dallas, Texas with the windows down, they’re always one step ahead of mother nature.
Another cool feature of the T680 HVAC system is the maximum defrost button. Should you find the windows suddenly fogging up, this well labeled button engages maximum defrost to clear with windshield and side windows. Hit it again, and the system immediately returns the cabin temperature to your preset desired temperature.
By locating the unit inside the cab, we are able to isolate the unit from vibration and heat present under the hood, making the system more reliable. This by no means prevents it from being serviceable, as both internal and external air filters and condenser are accessible and replaceable without needing to remove the dashboard. The internal air filter and condenser are easily accessible through the glovebox service panel. Removing this panel is an easy task, achievable by removing only a few bolts that are easily visible behind the glove box door. Should the unlikely failure of the air conditioning condenser occur, there is a drain to the outside of the truck, preventing refrigerant from leaking into the cabin. In addition, the unit features a control unit that monitors the system performance, shutting it down should a problem occur. From the new battery access panel located on the forward fairings, the optimized modular firewall, and the cabin HVAC system, this truck was designed with serviceability and reliability in mind.
This is the only thing I’ve found that cools faster than the T680.
Undoubtedly, everyone who attended had a great time checking out these trucks. If ever there was an environment that asked everything and more from your equipment, Phoenix in July is it. What a way to prove the mettle of T680, to myself and to all those involved in this tour. One trip around the United States and eastern Canada, and I’m a firm believer in the quality, reliability, comfort and performance of this truck. With 15 stops throughout North America in only 8 weeks, we never missed a show, needed a tow, or flaked on a hotel reservation. We arrived in style, mile after mile. Thank you Inland Kenworth, for being great hosts and for taking me out with a bang!
Over and out,
What could be cooler than two brand new Kenworth T680’s in the Arizona heat?
Two Kenworth T680’s in the Arizona heat next to a snow slide, of course! Come on down to Inland Kenworth, we’re working hard to keep you cool while you check out this T680 Winter Wonderland.
The clock is ticking, get here before it melts!
Welcome to Phoenix and the Inland Kenworth Group!
I’d like to say that it’s been a long road since Dallas, but it really hasn’t been. We had an uneventful trip from the Lone Star State to the Grand Canyon State, with the T680’s performing as expected. We were able to travel some 620 miles in the first trip, making the second day of travel a breeze. That’s right, were in Arizona in late June, and it feels like it! Luckily, the Inland Kenworth group was ready to go the minute we arrived with evaporative cooling fans, misting systems and coolers full of water. It’s a moderate 115 degrees Fahrenheit here in Phoenix, but honestly, it’s a dry heat….
Don Blake and the Inland crew were ready to go, with a “Winter Wonderland” theme for tomorrow’s event. They brought in a plethora of cooling fans, tents, Gatorade, inflatable Penguins, and even a snow slide. We are guaranteed to have a big event tomorrow to showcase our T680 trucks, and I haven’t even mentioned the inflatable Penguins yet.
Looking down the eye of the storm, this snow slide will be completely covered by tomorrow afternoon. Bring your swim trunks, tomorrow will be just as hot as today….
Unfortunately our trailer wasn’t up to the task of cooling itself to the typical 75 degree temperature inside during the midday setup process. The air conditioning systems decided to give up the ghost at about 3:00pm yesterday afternoon, prompting a visit from the local HVAC service technician.
Once the air conditioning system was read, the generator decided it was also hotter than it would have liked. Just about everything that we could have imagined could go wrong did, it got worse. Functioning air conditioning units caused generator coolant temperatures to approach 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Shutting off one of the two units couldn’t prevent the coolant temperatures from reaching 212 degrees, prompting an immediate shutdown. Adding fans and increasing airflow to the radiator showed significant improvement, so we look forward to providing customers with a cool environment tomorrow for the event, and boy to we have an event for you.
Come by and see us tomorrow at Inland Kenworth at 1021 North 59th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona. The Inland group is known for their over the top events, and this is no different. Combined with the upcoming fourth of July holiday, it’s sure to be a celebration. The entire dealership is decorated, and everyone is looking forward to your arrival.
See you tomorrow,
MHC Kenworth of Dallas Sales Gurus: Darcy Saner and Nick Vermet. Posing for a quick photo during a last minute walkaround before the event.
If there is one thing that I’ve learned during my stint out here on the road, it’s that surprises are always expected, sometimes prepared for and never completely avoided. But then again, you’re probably assuming I’m talking about unwelcome surprises. It’s true, they are inevitable. Whether it’s a road raged driver, a last minute broken display piece, a longer night than expected, a drowned blackberry or a two day old dashboard banana for dinner, trucking and showing off is a Super-Neodymium-Surprise-Magnet.
As I sit here writing this wrap-up of the Dallas Kenworth event, I find myself reflecting upon my experiences out on the road, the dealer lots, and in the spotlight with customers, thinking about all of the good surprises I’ve had. Dallas has been no different than any other stop we’ve made. The grounds were impressive, the people sharp and welcoming and the trucks cleaner than a surgeon’s scalpel. What Dallas reminded me of, was that this isn’t just a sleek, beautiful piece of machinery with class leading comfort, a swiveling passenger’s seat, heated and cooled seats, double bunks and luxury car like panel gaps. It’s a tool, and to some, that’s all it is. They don’t care if it has a square emblem or a round one, two exhaust stacks or one, four cupholders or none. If it gets the job done with drop dead reliability and efficient operation, it’s a winner. In Texas, like when you’re out on tour, that’s what it’s all about: give me the toughest, fastest, hardest working piece of equipment you can find. Where I’m going, it’s hot, dirty and bumpy and it probably needs to go a long way to get there.
And that’s just what we did.
After driving 4,000 miles around three quarters of the entire United States, we arrived in Dallas without a single schedule hitch or service shop visit. If you’ve driven from Alabama to Texas through Louisiana and Mississippi you’d understand how hot and bumpy life is down here. “On-duty Airborne” is a section in your driver logbook.
I had some very interesting conversations at the MHC Kenworth event, many of which were with some die-hard fans. One of them was not. I will leave his name out of this article, because in a very short time, he may not want to explain why he once stated that the emblem on the hood of his trucks didn’t make a difference to him. Let’s call him surprised John. Surprised John wasn’t apparently invited to this event, instead he walked in off the street when he saw the trucks and trailers displayed in the MHC parking lot. Little did I know, John owns 400 trucks. Many of his teams run 30,000 miles a month, with combined vehicle weights of approximately 50,000 pounds. Little did John know, I had something of interest to him. John and I spent some time comparing combined vehicle weights, mileage and average speeds, and we realized we had more in common than we thought. Our trucks run a very similar duty cycle. In John’s bible, mileage is the first and only verse. Upon hearing my calculated mileage reports from the first few legs of the tour, he wanted a truck as fast as he could get his hands on it. When you’re driving 400 trucks 30,000 miles a month, just a few tenths of a mile more in fuel economy will buy you another truck in no time. When the MHC Dallas crew was done, he had a month long no strings attached demo truck and a chance to prove himself wrong. We’ll be in touch, John.
"Over 40 mph, aerodynamics play a part. Even for ovewidth loads."
When I think about this truck, I get caught up in the details; the comfortable chairs, the versatile interior, the 4 cupholders in the forward cabin and the Bluetooth stereo. When you walk someone through the tour trailer, it’s easy to show them all the features of this truck. What’s more difficult, but what the MHC Dallas folk seriously “get”, is that the T680 will prove itself worthy in any application. We had more people come through this tour trailer than I have seen in a while, and the MHC Kenworth sales crew was always one step ahead. One pass through this trailer and you’ll know what the T680 is made of, and boy did we pass through the trailer.
I think the heat had something to do with it, but then again I’m not from around these parts. The trailer is a fun, self-guided Exploratorium for some, or if you catch me twiddling my thumbs, an hour long top to bottom feature extravaganza for others. Dallas was no exception.
I was glad to have eaten lunch early, because I didn’t escape for long. MHC Kenworth brought in some awesome barbequed burgers, beans and coleslaw. I don’t know what they put on the buns (I’m guessing a lot of oil, butter and herbs), but these things were amazing. As much as I like pulled pork sandwiches, these were a very nice reprieve.
Beating the crowds, an early lunch.
Dallas is a wrap and I’m off to Phoenix, Arizona for my final tour stop with these trucks at Inland Kenworth. I can’t believe this tour is almost over for me. I’ve met so many great people from all walks of life, and I just added another 50 Texans to that list. They were exceptional hosts, friends and students. I’m happy to have brought something to their table as well.
When all was said and done, we packed up. Three guys, 3.5 hours, 95 degrees, 50% humidity, a bag of sea salt and vinegar potato chips, a cooler full of ice water and my submerged blackberry, and this:
I love my job.
Welcome to Dallas!!!
Where is the drinking fountain?
We met up with the MHC Kenworth’s Dallas group Wednesday evening, and immediately began setting up for today’s event. Work between the hours of 8:00am and 6:00pm was slow, otherwise we’d overheat. T680 sleeper siestas with the air conditioning running full tilt worked wonders on cooling us down during the awning and trailer work. I prayed for some hometown Seattle clouds and drizzle, but nobody heard.
Mike Says: “Setting up the awning and trailer exterior out here takes the wind out of my sails…”
Our event in Phoenix next week scares me, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Yesterday’s work is done, and we are ready to cool off visitors in the trucks, trailer and tent. We are currently open for business, and will be showing the trucks until 2:00pm this afternoon. This facility is perfectly set up for this event, and there are trucks everywhere. It’s a busy street down here on Irving Boulevard, so we expect plenty of traffic.
Come all T680 patrons, and learn why the T680 is bigger than Texas at MHC Kenworth on 4040 Irving Boulevard. In case you didn’t know, MHC stands for More Happy Customers as much as it stands for Murhpy-Hoffman Company.
If you managed to make it out to the Truckworx Kenworth facility last Tuesday, you saw what a great show it was. We had a full house and the theme was all T680. We drove our 76” sleeper truck right into the bay, and surrounded it with lunch tables. Like the Buffalo event, there were prizes and gift bags for everyone in attendance. Where else can you go to see a great new product, and have a chance to win a 42” flat screen television?
Are you feeling lucky?
Although the event was on Tuesday, there was so much business going on throughout the dealership, I had people coming up to the trucks the minute we arrived through the minute we left for Dallas. On the day of the event, we actually had to add more tables for the lunch crowd. We must have had at least 250 people at this event, and at one point I think the tour trailer reached its maximum occupancy limit. I definitely reached my aerobic threshold walking customers through the trailer, swiveling the passenger seat on the sleeper display and explaining the functionality of the air assisted hydraulic clutch.
"We specifically designed this clutch to require just 33 pounds of pressure to operate. Our goal; to make sure that anyone feels comfortable for the long haul. Everything from the pedal pressure to the amount of travel is specifically tailored to our specifications."
"The entire cab is assembled using robots. Almost the entire cab is held in place by fixtures before a single henrob fastener is installed. By doing so, we ensure that the cab is assembled according to the geometry of the panels, and not the location or precision of the fastener holes. The resulting cab is extremely repeatable for optimale panel and door fit, every time."
At Kenworth, heritage means everything. While exploring the dealership grounds, I noticed more W900’s on site these past two days than I’ve seen in a long time. The same quality, style and dependability that built the Kenworth name goes into every product they make, and that’s especially evident when lovers of the W900 get excited about the T680. There’s something to be said for having the same customer who loves the look and feel of a classic W900, look at the T680 with envy.
When two completely different styles appeal to the same customer, you know you’ve accomplished something. Whereas the W900 exudes power in brute force, the T680’s low, menacing shape appears able to cut through the harshest headwinds with ease. Both appeal to drivers concerned about looks, and the T680 sits low in the front, with bulging haunches. If the W900 is a freight train, the T680 is a Boeing 787. Whether it’s a plane, train or automobile, the Birmingham crew did a great job enlightening our customers to the newest edition to the Kenworth family.
Like clothing, one size does NOT fit all. A truck for every customer, and every application.
If you weren’t crawling through the trucks, you were enjoying lunch with the Worktrux group. They brought in Dreamland Barbeque for some pulled pork sandwiches and ribs. The Dreamland crew hauled in their enormous barbeque trailer to cook some serious ribs. Add in some sweet tea, and you aren’t going anywhere until you work it off with a walk through the show.
Unfortunately, this is the only thing we couldn’t find room for in the T680.
Thank you Kenworth of Alabama, for a great time and a spectacular show for our trucks. This has been my first trip to the south, and they definitely proved they know how to do business down here. I can see why they continue to thrive, even when the economy struggles to gain traction. It’s times like this that every load counts, and this is the place go when it comes to getting, and keeping trucks on the road.
So long Alabama, it’s time for Texas.
If you thought John Peterson’s hole in one at the 2012 U.S. Open was cool, wait until you see the new Kenworth T680 at Truckworx in Birmingham, AL.
Are you in this picture???
I even saved you the best seat in the house!
We are set up and ready to go in Birmingham, Alabama at the beautiful Truckworx Kenworth facility. The folks at Truckworx Kenworth have been enjoying a very busy 2012, and I can see why. Their full service facility in Birmingham is second to none. We have an entire building dedicated to this event, with our gorgeous T680’s sitting center stage. This is going to be a grand event.
Holy service bay Batman!
The setup crew at Truckworx Kenworth of Birmingham was ready to go this morning, making sure the floors were polished to match our trucks, and the tables ready for hungry customers. If you have the chance to visit this facility, you won’t be disappointed. This all-encompassing dealership includes sales, 24/7 service center, driver’s lounge, overnight sleeping accommodations and ample customer parking. One look at this place, and you know they mean business.
The brawn behind the operation!
Big thanks to Mike and Scott for going the extra mile today making our T680’s look better than ever. They were up first thing this morning, going through these trucks with a fine toothed comb. This tour wouldn’t be possible without their dedication and experience.
If your look closely, you can see Mike and Scott, hard at work.
Come by and see us from 11:00am to 1:00pm and see for yourself why this is the best dealership around.
Truckworx Kenworth of Birmingham
2220 Finley Boulevard
Birmingham, Alabama 35234
Add the Mableton, Georgia MHC event to the long list of successful tours. We’re getting pretty good at this, but MHC Atlanta made it look easy. In case you haven’t seen this store, it’s pretty much made for events like this. The large indoor showroom was a perfect setting for the trucks, lunch barbeque and socializing. What makes these events great, are the relationships that our dealers have with our customers, and the environment that it creates. As an outsider, it was easy to see the business friendships that have been created through years of service and representation, and Atlanta is strong in this respect. The turnout we had was great, but it was the conversations I had with customers that reflected the quality of this group. Danny Crane of Crane Transport and the Fouts brothers come to mind.
Wish I could fit one of these in my dining room.
RaceTrac took delivery of a very early T680 day cab for tanker application, and have been very pleased thus far. Matt Odom from RaceTrac stopped by to say hello and talk to us about their experiences so far with the truck. Matt is another great example of the strong ties between MHC Atlanta and it’s customers. The truck has been performing well, with strong fuel economy from the MX engine after just 35,000 miles. The performance is there, but what’s really impressive is the popularity amongst drivers. The 10 speed manual on their T680 is a big plus, and they love the way it drives. The air assisted hydraulic clutch mated to the 30% reduced throw shifter is easy and rewarding to drive and Matt says his drivers are constantly fighting over the keys. Matt, you’ve opened Pandora’s box, and the easiest thing to do would be to buy more T680’s
John Yehl (Kenworth Sales Manager, Todd Rice (MHC Atlanta VP) and Matt Odom (RaceTrac).
I spent a lot of time inside the sleeper with soon to be customers, talking about the swiveling passenger’s seat and versatile living environment. Every stop we make, that seat gets a workout. These features instantly speak volumes to customers, and it didn’t take long for two attendees that this would be the replacement for their W900L studio sleeper trucks.
Speaking of W900L’s, I spoke with Ricky Cole of Taylor Transport Inc. out of Cartersville, Georgia. Ricky brought out their beautiful 2007 W900L to the show. The W900L is such a beautiful truck, and I was unfortunately unable to get a photo opportunity with it next to the T680’s. Great designs never go out of style.
Ricky Cole in good company.
MHC Atlanta brought out some top shelf barbeque for the event. I’ve eaten barbeque at just about every event so far, and it just doesn’t get old. My metabolism is much stronger than my self control, and I like to have my overindulgence with friends.
"Come on John, just a little more."
Dining with the best of them.
Great work MHC Atlanta, I enjoyed our stay and I think the attendees did as well. I look forward to MHC Dallas to see what else the Murphy-Hoffman folks can cook up in Dallas next week. Job well done!
Thumbs up to Eve. Thank you for being such a loyal follower!