The real question here is what’s Buck doing in a 2018 Kenworth T680? I’ll answer that one, then move on.
Paper Transport has had me in a 2011 Freightliner from day one. If you’re keeping track, that was nearly a year ago. Following a loud bang from the passenger side of the engine bay, the old freight shaker gave up the ghost. I’d love to have it back, but it’s probably not going to happen.
I’m in a fleet called Midwest Out and Back. I generally run 2 round trips per week, each trip being around 1,100 miles. Oh, and it’s usually 4 to 4 1/2 day work week. Needless to say, I love this gig. The down side of this shorter week is we put the last miles on the older trucks.
As it happened, they put me in a new/old truck at the same time an OTR driver was getting a new 2018 Kenworth. But said OTR driver had little experience. Common sense says put the rookie in the old truck, and put old Buck in the new ride for 2 or 3 weeks. Oh, and 2 weeks became 5. Lucky me.
Now I’m on to a 2012 Volvo. We’ll talk about that some other time. For now, I’ll stick to the Kenworth.
2018 Kenworth T680 – Buck’s Review
One – Toggle switches. Although they aren’t the toggle switches of the golden days, they are toggle switches. You can even buy cool extenders for that retro look and feel.
Two – James Bond Switch Covers. Who doesn’t love that extra level of protection that causes you to think twice before hitting that switch. They may not control an ejection seat or cause an oil slick, but who really wants to disconnect their 5th wheel hitch while flying down the interstate?
Three – 1,800 Watt Inverter. I used this for 3 things; The microwave, the coffee maker and my lap-top computer. The inverter is installed in a side compartment, then wired to 110v outlets in the sleeper.
Four – Cobra 29 LX 40 CB Radio. Why not have the best? The Cobra 29 has always been an industry standard. Sell your old one at the truck stop. The 680 came with this one already installed.
Five – Illuminated Entry. Such a genius idea. Add a light to the bottom side of the door and connect it to the dome lights. When you open the door, the light shines on the outside steps. It makes life a little easier when you’re climbing in or out of the truck. Since the steps are aluminum, they reflect the light and make things even brighter.
Six – The Jake Brake Switch. The engine brake is controlled by a toggle switch. The switch is where it belongs, on the dashboard. No button on the steering wheel (Freightliner) or turn signal-like lever under the steering wheel. Just two toggle switches. One for low to high, and one for on and off. All you need now are a couple of chrome extenders and you’re super-trucking.
Seven – Dashboard and Gauges. I don’t know if all T680s are built like this, but PTI KWs have a pretty cool dash with all the gauges. It doesn’t look like a pickup dash or an imported family truxter. It looks like the dashboard of a big truck.
Eight – Killer Driver’s Seat. In my ever so humble 19 years of trucking, I’ve been in quite a few air ride seats. I’ve even been in a few with as much comfort and adjustability as this one. But this one has one advantage over any other. You can adjust it for your weight. Truck seats are made for 300 pound drivers. Lighter guys just get a rougher ride. I was able to dial this thing in to give my 190 pound body a smooth ride. It’s the feature I miss the most.
Nine – CB Antennas Mounted On The Mirror. Big truck antennas are mounted on the top horizontal mount of a west coast mirror. The T680 has no west coast mirrors so there’s only a lower support, but that’s better than nothing. That’s where the antenna goes.
Ten – Power Lock Switch In Sleeper. Have you ever crawled into the bunk, then tried to remember if you locked the doors? Now you don’t have to get dressed or risk showing the world your tidy whities just to double check. At the top right side of the panel is a power lock switch. Curiously, it only locks. To unlock, get your clothes on and step out of the sleeper.
Eleven – Side Doors In The Bunk. Seriously, I only use these when I’m moving gear at the beginning or end of my work week. These things are time savers. I don’t have to load everything in on the passenger seat, then move it all back. Open the side door and toss it up, or bring it down.
One caution, the doors aren’t connected to the power locks. There’s a lever inside the sleeper, and another in the lower side box. If you fail to lock the side box with your key, anyone who knows where to look can open the door and pull the lever to open the bunk. The people that mean to do you harm are quite aware of this. I’ve heard of drivers being drug out of their bunks by their feet, beaten, then robbed. Lock Your Doors.
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We found this list at Thrillist.com. We’ve added our thoughts and opinions, but the article is worth the read.Share This: