Buckley, WA – When it comes to logging in the Pacific Northwest, nothing is easy. Days are long, weather unpredictable and the terrain … unforgiving. It was into this environment that the innovative thinkers at Wyss Logging decided to put a Kenworth T880 with an Allison Automatic to the test.
Working with Rick Barry of Papé Kenworth Northwest, Jeff Wyss, Andy Bishop and the Wyss team specified an Allison-equipped Kenworth for operation in the timber country around Buckley, Washington. According to Barry, the test was crucial based on the industry’s long-standing relationship with 18-speed manuals. “I knew the only way to sell this truck with an Allison was to get it into their hands and up into the mountains. Jeff and his team ran the truck for a week before ordering five more trucks equipped with Allisons.”
The challenges for log trucks are many. Steep, narrow roads that can be pockmarked and muddy, cut sites that demand precise maneuverability and an intrinsically smooth delivery of power to the drivetrain, especially on the downhills. Reliability goes without saying.
As Scott Brons, a driver for Wyss Logging notes, what the Allison lacked in logging pedigree it more than made up for in performance. “The Allison transmission is awesome. Works better here than a manual. Going out loaded, downhill, that’s a challenge, but the transmission really helps hold you back, providing reliable control.”
Scott has been driving a log truck for more than 30 years and knows the demands the job puts on a fleet and a body. Trips from the mountain to the mill can lead to 14-hour days, and the roads can range from muddy one-lane tracks to six-lane interstates. The Allison Rugged Duty Series™ transmission is at home in any setting, while drivers benefit from the ability to concentrate on the task at hand, not finding the right gear.
“The driver pool where you get qualified drivers is dwindling,” states Andy Bishop, Shop Supervisor, Wyss Logging Inc. “A truck with an Allison transmission simplifies things. In the past, you’ve always had a jig rattling, you’ve always had to shift and think about what RPMs you’re at, what gear you’re in, the next hill coming up.” It’s just one of the reasons Wyss is committed to additional Allisons as the fleet rotates.
People who live the life understand logging is never going to be easy. It takes a special breed. Folks who are not afraid of hard work or getting dirt under their nails. An Allison Automatic allows those behind the wheel to get more done. And at the end of the day, isn’t that everyone’s goal?
According to Barry, “Ask any one of the drivers if they would give it up and go back to a manual, they’ll just look at you and grin and take their keys and walk away.”