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Evaluating used heavy trucks: Part 3

This time we look at a higher-priced option with a 2015 model

With a retail price of $64,975, this 2015 Cascadia represents the higher-end of the used truck market and is spec’d out to pull B trains.

In the previous two instalments of this series that takes a look at what your dollar buys you in the used heavy truck market, particularly with highway tractors, we’ve looked at two segments of the market. We started off by talking about what’s out there in the low and mid-point price range of the used marketplace. This time, we’re moving up to the higher end, with a look at another sample truck, this time with a sticker price of about $65,000.

As we mentioned before, we turned to the staff at Freightliner Manitoba in Winnipeg for their professional opinions. The 2015 Freightliner Cascadia we’re looking at this time is one of three examples from their used truck lot the staff singled out for us to look at, because they provide useful examples that represent what each price range has to offer.

The specs: 2015 CA125 Cascadia

Engine: DD15 (Demand Detroit, 15 litre) Horsepower: 505 HP
Torque: 1650 pound-feet
Axle ratio: 3.55
Axle ratings: 12/40000
Transmission: RTLO-16913A trans Mileage: 734,000 kilometres
Price: $64,975


– Existing warranty
– High reliability due to low kilometres, can expect many more with little maintenance
– Fleet maintained with complete service history available
– Clean interior
– Capable of pulling super B trailer combinations


– Higher price
– Manual transmission

With 734,000 kilometres on the odometer, this truck was a fleet trade in from a company that pulls Super B grain trailers, so it was originally spec’d out for exactly the kind of work a farmer would want to put it to. And although that mileage reading in a car or light truck would likely scare away any potential buyer, this truck fits into the relatively low mileage group with some factory warranty still remaining.

“Typically, what people look for is reliability in new trucks” says Brad Van Wyk, account manager at Freightliner Manitoba. “So the major difference in the price point here is there is some warranty left on this unit, because it only has 734,000 kilometres. The warranty will transfer from the previous owner, which will cover all the components of the (exhaust) after treatment system and engine. It will cover parts and labour entirely on this particular unit up to 805,000 kilometres.”

Brad Van Wyk is an account manager at Freightliner Manitoba. photo: Greg Berg

This truck came from one of the dealership’s own fleet customers and was originally sold new by the staff, and most of the maintenance on it was done at the dealership for the owner. With that kind of history, and knowing the original owner company well, the sales staff could vouch for its maintenance history, putting a lot of faith in its reliability.

“This truck came from a well-maintained fleet,” says Van Wyk. “When someone is looking at this truck, we could pull up the full history of all the repairs in its entire life and see when everything was done. This one has more reliability, which explains the higher price point. That goes along with the remaining warranty, the lower kilometres and being a newer truck.”

But comparatively speaking, the $64,975 price tag would even limit the options when buying a new pickup truck, so there is clearly value in a heavy truck like this that sells with some factory warranty remaining.

“This truck comes with the DD15 (Demand Detroit) engine, with 1,650 pound-feet of torque,” adds Van Wyk, “which is ideal for hauling Super Bs. That’s what it did in its previous life, so we know it can handle all that weight, or it can pull bales out of a field.”

Having the right driveline component combination is what gives this truck the ability to pull the heavier weight of trailer trains.

“A couple of major things people look for are horsepower, torque and axle ratio,” he continues. “If the axle ratio is too low, you’re going to be going through clutches and differentials more often. The minimum I recommend (for pulling Super Bs) is 505 horsepower. We have guys who run all the way up to 600. You could run an automatic or manual transmission. A 13 speed would be ok. With a standard transmission, you wouldn’t want to go below 3.55 axle ratio. With an automatic, depending on the year you wouldn’t want to go below 3.42.”

With the low-rise sleeper bunk, it will be more fuel efficient on the highway than a model with a high-rise bunk that also serves as a windbreak for taller box van trailers. Grain trailers are lower and don’t require that much aerodynamic design. And the lower height will allow it to drive through doorways that aren’t as tall.

There are a number of large displacement diesel engines powering Class 8 trucks today, as there has always been, but staff at Manitoba Freightliner say the Demand Detroit with its matched transmission options are by far the most popular with their customers, and they represent the powerplant specified in the bulk of their new truck orders. They claim it also adds to the resale value of the truck, because of its popularity.

“Detroit engines are our most demanded engine in the Freightliners,” confirms Van Wyk. “It’s the one we sell the most across North America. We find it and their after-treatment system the most reliable. It’s all built by Detroit in the same factory. They’re all dyno tested before they leave the factory.”

In the next segment, we’ll go whole hog, road test a brand-new Freightliner Cascadia and discuss whether or not it’s an option some producers might want to consider.

We looked at these three truck tractors, which represent low-, medium- and 
higher-end examples of what’s available in the used truck market. photo: Greg Berg

About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.



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