With congestion worsening and a five-fold increase in traffic lights, “I will never go back to a manual,” says ‘Wayne with the Crane’ owner
SYDNEY, Australia – A longtime Sydney truck operator has switched to an Allison-equipped Hino FM to reduce fatigue and gain efficiencies as he transports tiles and building supplies on the increasingly crowded roads of the metro area.
Wayne Kirchner’s business, ‘Wayne with the Crane,’ has used trucks with manual transmissions for more than 30 years. But that changed in 2017, when the task of negotiating congested traffic became intolerable.
“Even in the past 10 years, the number of traffic lights on my daily route has increased five-fold, which means more stop-start driving. An automatic truck just makes it easier and simpler and reduces fatigue over a long day,” said Kirchner, who is among the latest convert to Allison fully automatic transmissions.
“The other factor that I took into consideration was the reduction in maintenance requirements with an automatic. My research told me it would be years before you’d have to touch the automatic and I’ll never have to replace another clutch,” he added.
As an owner-operator, controlling costs is an important part of Kirchner’s business. “So knowing that I can rely on the transmission and not have to budget for expensive clutch replacements is a real plus.”
Kirchner’s Hino is an FM rigid model with an XXL chassis fitted with an integrated crane unit and powered by Hino’s 7.6 litre in-line turbo direct injection 6-cylinder diesel rated at 320 hp. It’s ideally matched to an Allison 3200 Series 6-speed fully automatic transmission.
Once drivers are behind the wheel of an Allison fully automatic-equipped vehicle, they are more alert and in-tune with the vehicle—leading to increased driver retention and better safety records. Safety was another aspect that lured Kirchner to the Allison, citing the better control when maneuvering on building sites and in loading yards.
“The automatic is safer because there is no roll-back. There is a positive engagement and the take-up is instant so moving the truck around confined spaces is much more confidence-inspiring and easy,” Kirchner added.
“The other drivers who I work with are quite envious and are saying they will switch to automatics after seeing how easy my truck is to drive. I will never go back to a manual,” Kirchner said.
In fact, Kirchner said he gets out of the Hino at the end of an eight-hour day feeling much fresher and less fatigued than he did when he was driving a manual truck.
“It is much easier because you just have to concentrate on guiding the truck around safely. You don’t have to change gears and your left side doesn’t get tired using the clutch all the time,” he added.
“It’s safe to say the new Allison automatic Hino is saving me time, money and energy.”