Just One Unforgettable Truck
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General Motors

In 1968, I got a transferred from Victoria to Prince George with Imperial Oil and at the time, they were running truck and pup trailer tankers. They had a 1965 Kenworth and 1963 G.M.C B7000. The one I got was, probably some engineers wet dream.

It was the product of General Motors and it appeared when they started at the front, working back, they got half way down the hood and said, "Oh, this is going to be to long," and stopped. Then they put the engine in and finding that it did not have enough power, they put in two of them.

When they went to put the cab on, they found out they wouldn't have enough room for the engines so they set the cab up higher, over the engines. Then they put the transmission in, a five speed and the differentials. "My goodness,” some one must have explained, "We don’t have enough gears to make this thing move!” Now this is where the masterstroke of engineering came in, they put in three speeds Eaton differentials.

Now if you stand back and look at this truck, this is what you have. A short conventional hood with a conventional cab set up high. Two 466 cubic inch V6 gas engines, mounted back to back, each with their own carburetor, distributor and coil, mounted under the cab. When you wanted to work on the engine or should I say, engines, you had to pull the floorboard out. You could only get at the fan; oil dipstick and water pump from under the hood.

One week, I was hauling north, leaving Prince George at four in the morning. When I started to climb the Nechako River hill, one engines stopped firing. I turned around at the north scales, went back and waited for the shop to open up at eight.

This happened four days in a row, the mechanic would change the ignition coil on the back engine and the way I would go again. We were only working four ten hour days so I don’t really know what caused it, but I got a lot of over time that week.

The thing about this truck was that even with 120 gallons of gas on board you had to fuel up out of the tanker to get home from McLeod Lake, 83 miles north; it used to get 1.5 miles per gallon.

The truck had one real bad habit, the differential were shifted by a little switch on the gear shift knob, this electrically powered two solenoids, one on each of the differentials, that allowed air to shift the differential. Electric over air. Now you might think this just might complicate thing, you would be right.

In the winter, spring or when every things got wet. You might be driving down the road when for no reason, one or the other differential would shift or you might try to shift it and nothing happens. It was always interesting to drive and in the winter a little scary. The following year, 1969, we got a new Kenworth to replace the old 1963 G.M.C., B7000 and believe me I could not have been happier. My life expectancy increased dramatically.