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It’s a Dark Art for Some and for Others it’s Second Nature

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Here we see John from Road Train Adventures demonstrating the techniques needed to drive an Eaton 18 speed Road Ranger, it’s a dark art for some and for others it’s second nature. You can simply sit back and watch a skill which is almost an art form.

In this video, John takes us through the way that he drives his Road Ranger, with a road train behind, up over a rise and down the other side. He doesn’t explain it too deeply because so many of the little taps and techniques he uses will have developed over the years.

The fact of the matter is, it does take a lot of time for a a driver to develop these techniques to the point where it goes smoothly is this. The other aspect to note is just how gently a good operator handles the stick, just pushing it into gear by feel.



This video, however, takes us through some of the real basics of using an 18 speed and achieving something akin to what Eaton would probably call properly changing gear. In this, the driver is double tapping, the clutch with his foot at every change, using the technique which is probably the easiest at the beginning of your 18 speed journey, but once you get the hang of it, using the clutch is not necessarily the quickest way to get through the gears.


This third video simply shows us a driver who knows what he’s doing, and he’s developed his own techniques, going up and down through the box with little fuss, this is the kind of smooth driving you can get out of what is, or what can prove to be, quite a complicated gearbox for those unfamiliar with it.

In my experience, it is simply a matter of time, and getting the kilometres under your belt with the Road Ranger. Sometimes you will play a few tunes on the gearbox, when you miss a gear or get your timing, slightly wrong, but eventually it will come. 

This is one of those skills which can be trained, but only up to a certain point, and the good drivers develop a finesse in their handling of the transmission, which takes it from just a gearbox to an excellent gearbox and one which so many truck drivers in the Australian trucking industry absolutely love.

They are also fearful of losing it, as the industry drifts away from manuals and towards automated manual transmissions. This is probably going to happen anyway, as the skill levels reduce, as the current driver population ages.


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