Is it anymore difficult to drive a crude oil tanker truck vs. driving dry van?

Discussion in 'New Truck Driver Questions' started by NewB, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. NewB

    NewB Well-Known Member

    Needless to say I will be a newly licensed driver in the near future. Just wondered whether it is much different to operate that type of tanker vs a dry van. I was contemplating starting with a crude oil tanker since I'm finding that some of these tanker companies are hiring newly licensed drivers to train. These are found in the current oil boom towns such as Williston ND and Pearal, TX. :wonder:

    ABF_FREIGHTHAULER Well-Known Member

    I've never driven a tanker but I'd have to say yes, it will be more difficult. If only because of the liquid in the tanks moving back and forth. Now that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. If a company is willing to train you go for it. The pay will probably be close to double what you'd make just going with a run of the mill dry van carrier. From what I've heard, those oil field jobs are very good paying.
  3. NewB

    NewB Well-Known Member

    Yes, some of them are paying up to $100,000 per year in these oil BOOM towns with much overtime of course. They start at anywhere between $18.-$25. per hour DOE...60-70 hours per week.
  4. diehard

    diehard redneck

    there aint nothin to a tanker. i wouldnt want anything else. with a little experience you dont even think about it anymore.
  5. NewB

    NewB Well-Known Member

    How long have you been with tankers?
    I've heard they have a higher center of gravity than a dry van so you must be more careful on the exit ramps etc..
    Is that true?
  6. Racer X 69

    Racer X 69 Member

    If you are pulling a smooth bore tanker, the contents will move quite a bit when starting and stopping. Drivers that I have known that drive tankers describe it like this: Stopping is like getting rear~ended, repeatedly. Starting is like getting let go then dragged backwards then let go, then getting dragged backwards, etc.

    But if you are not concerned about relocating, and can handle the cold weather, the North Dakota oil and gas fields is the place to be. Sort of like the Gold Rush, all over again.

    But you will find it hard to get a place to live up there, and when you do, it will be expensive.

    Good luck!
  7. Racer X 69

    Racer X 69 Member

    All big trucks require care and caution when cornering. I have seen every type of truck and trailer laid over or upside down, and not just on the exit ramps.

    They aren't sports cars.
  8. diehard

    diehard redneck

    about 19 years. yes, the center of gravity is different and you should take ramps and sharp turns with caution. but its not as bad as it seems. there is some slosh from not being able to load a full load. gross weight and axle weight makes you run some half full compartments. my tanker is not smooth bore and it handles very well. the smooth bore, in my opinion, are a *****.

  9. NewB

    NewB Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys!

    I here that the southwest Texas region is also a oil boom area.(Eagle Ford shale play).

    Aprox. what percentage of newer tanker trucks are smoothbore??
  10. diehard

    diehard redneck

    i dont know the answer to that one.

  11. trucker101

    trucker101 Well-Known Member

    I'm not diehard but if you don't mind I'd like to jump in here.

    Smooth-bore, new/old does not matter, it's what type is required that is used and purchased. I've been pulling tanks for about 15 of my 22 years driving. I have hauled acids, caustics, explosives, fertilizer, ink, syrup, oil, gas & diesel and more that I've probably forgotten about. Now of those things I have listed you'll never guess what was the most difficult to move down the road?

    Yup syrup. It is thick like molasses & had to be heated so it could be pumped on. If you were real good and SMOOTH on your shifts you could get MAYBE 3 shifts done before your eating a steering wheel, then banging your head on the back window! Then another 2 or 3 shifts before the routine starts again, and that's to get moving. Ohhh OOOO the light turned red now you GOT TO STOP!!! So now that your stopped, you look in your mirror & see the stop line behind you, about the middle of your trailer!
    Well at least you never hit anybody! So now as your sitting waiting for a green light, everybody around you is looking at you like you can't drive, not because you almost blew the light, but because even though your foots still on the brakes hard your truck is rocking forward & backward 2 to 3 feet every few seconds as the stuff in your tank rolls forward & BANG!!!! It feels like it's going to bust through the nose of the trailer then......​

    the stuff rolled to the back & tried to take out the back wall.

    Lights green, now the stuff is rolling [SUP](not stopped like before)[/SUP] and your going to try and get going again. Just when you get your 2 set of shifts in some 4 wheeler cuts in front of you and then slows down... GRRRRRRR!

    I think you got the idea of it now. It all depends on what your hauling. If you see the trailers in the photo, I've pulled this type as a smooth bore & baffled & as a compartment type, it all depends on what your hauling. My 1st CDL type of driving job was pulling what you see in the picture, in the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta.

    So yes you can do it, but know your limits and like Elmer Fudd used to say;

    "Be verrry verrry careful"


    Uploaded with

  12. NewB

    NewB Well-Known Member

    Trucker 101,

    When transporting crude oil, what type of tanker the companies use?

    Smooth bore? baffled? or?

  13. trucker101

    trucker101 Well-Known Member

    I can't say for all companies, but the one's I know of use smooth bore. But remember I'm in Canada, things might be different where you are.
  14. NewB

    NewB Well-Known Member

    ok thanks.
    With all the problems that can come up in driving a smooth bore, it seems that mostof the time, a driver would have to drive somewhat slower than in a dry van.
    Is that a correct assumption?
  15. Duck

    Duck Quack Supporter

    Speed isn't going to matter. It's the acceleration. Any time you make changes to your overall trajectory. Anything. Braking, accelerating, curves/corners, etc. you'll have all that mass moving around in the tank.

    Take a 2 liter soda bottle, fill it half way with a dark, visible liquid (drink half a bottle of Pepsi and peel off the label) and figure out a way to get it to stay put on the dash in your car or pickup, laid on it's side facing fore/aft like a tank trailer, and drive around and pay attention to what the liquid in the bottle is doing.

    Then try to imagine what a truck would handle like if it's carrying twice it's weight in liquid in a container the same relative shape as that bottle.

    I'd do that and make an educational YouTube video but I'm too lazy.
  16. NewB

    NewB Well-Known Member

    Rubber Duck,

    LOL great illustration, I like it! From what everyone is saying in their comments, it sounds like the person driving the 'smooth bore' is worth every penny of their hourly pay.(Oil Patch)!

    >>> If someone is hauling 'crude oil' does it always mean that he/she is driving a 'smooth bore' or could it mean a baffled type of tanker in the USA ? <<<
  17. Duck

    Duck Quack Supporter

    I don't know. It might be just whatever type of tank a particular company wants to use, or there might be an industry standard.

    The only thing about tankers always being smooth-bore are the ones that haul milk. FDA requires food grade tankers be cleaned all the time, and I guess the baffles make it hard to clean, so they haul milk in smooth bore tanks that are easier to clean. I don't know about any other type of liquids.

    I imagine that the tankers that deliver gasoline to gas stations would be compartmentalized so they can carry different grades of gas, but I might be wrong. I've always suspected that they're all the same, just different prices.
  18. trucker101

    trucker101 Well-Known Member

    This is what I do now in with the trailers in my sig pic & yep all compartments of different products sometimes for different places.

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