Nick Apostolovski’s 2012 Scania R 560 which formerly did the fish run between Melbourne and Sydney has notched 1,260,000km while still wearing its original brake pads with plenty of life remaining. Nick, with the help of his wife, Daniela, runs a diverse haulage business called NAD Transport.
“This has a lot to do with the retarder, which is one of the best features of Scanias,” says Nick. “Even though this truck is now doing Tarcutta changeovers at night and local work during the day I reckon it will still do 1.5 million km before it needs a brake reline.”
He does, however, concede that service brake life, particularly with local operation, largely depends on how much the driver uses the retarder rather than the brake pedal to wash off speed. It’s the only way for a truck to achieve 1,260,000km while still wearing its original brake pads.
“Once again it comes back to drivers wanting to strive for the best star rating,” says Nick. “To achieve a good braking score you have to use the retarder under all conditions and try to only used the footbrake when coming to a complete stop.
“So, if driven correctly these trucks have the potential to achieve 1.5 million km between brake relines, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. I reckon you couldn’t ask for more than that.”
Similarly, on the topic of fuel consumption Nick says he has been highly impressed with the average returns of the NTG trucks with their 500hp straight-six engines, and concedes the best could be yet to come after they fully bed in.
He says when the 2012 R 560 V8 was doing the fish run between Melbourne and Sydney it was using around 50 litres per return trip more than the new R 500s hauling close to the same weight.
“Depot to depot the R 560 was using between 750 and 770 litres while the new R 500s are consuming between 670 and 700 litres,” Nick says. “This means I’m saving at least 50 litres each trip which is a massive improvement.”
He is also more than happy with the miserly fuel usage of the G 500, saying it is achieving an average consumption of 2.0km/l hauling an often fully laden A-double with an overall length just under 30 metres around town.
“Around 80 per cent of the time it’s grossing between 60 and 68 tonnes going to and from the port,” says Nick. “That includes climbing the West Gate and Bolte bridges which are both fairly steep pulls.”
Interestingly, Nick says despite the extra length he finds the A-double easier to manoeuvre around town than a B-double.
“It is so much easier to drive than a B-double because it tracks better and cuts in less on turns, I wish I’d gone to the A-double sooner,” Nick says. “It turns in almost the same arc as a semi-trailer.”
Having said that, Nick concedes the A-double is a lot harder to reverse than a B-double due to its extra pivot point.
In summing up, Nick is full of praise for his latest Scania acquisitions, saying they have raised the bar significantly over his earlier V8 Scanias, providing similar performance with substantially better fuel efficiency.
“They are superbly comfortable and I particularly like the G 500 with its lower cab height which makes it easier to get in and out. With container work this is a big factor as you are in and out of the cab a lot every day.”