Tag Archives: interior

Keep on Truckin’ & Showin’

By Larry Pruitt

We haven’t shown very much in the last couple of years.  Bustin’ Out! is now over ten years old.  Our priorities have changed somewhat as we have been off racing with the grandkids.  Along with that, the truck is starting to show its miles and as much as you try to keep up with making a good showing wear and tear has taken its toll.

We are making plans to do quite of bit of work and make some (we think) pretty cool changes to make it new and improved.  Work has already started on some new and different stainless and we are going to tweak the paint a bit along with updating and changing the lighting package.  We are planning to start showing again next year.

This truck showing bug gets in your crawl and it’s hard to shake it off.  As far as addictions are concerned, we think this is a pretty good one to have.  You go down the highway everyday and you catch yourself looking at trucks that go past and you say to yourself, “I like what they did with the lights there or the way they used a different piece of chrome here and there.”  You’re always thinking of ways to incorporate something new into your ride and making it your own design so it doesn’t appear that you just stole the idea from somebody.  It does become challenging to add any kind custom work to your truck.  Every time you think you’ve run out of ways to customize an aspect of your truck, somebody somewhere in this great country of ours will come up with something completely new that we have never seen before, and within a couple years there will be variations that builders will make to that new innovative idea.  So, it’s an ever-evolving phenomenon that seems to always take it to a higher level of cool.

I must caution you with new and innovative cutting-edge ideas also comes the practical dilemma.  As I have said before, you have to make sure the changes to your truck is conducive to the application of your business.  For example, don’t install a big rear drop bumper with twenty LED lights on a dump truck.  You will most definitely have the coolest truck in town, that is, until you unload it for the first time.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the working trucks.  The trucks that you see on the highway when it’s pouring down rain and you’ll also see them sitting in traffic in the middle of an ice storm.  I have to take my hat off to those men and women.  They’re the same people that you’ll be competing with at the truck show next summer.

2017 Walcott Truckers Jamboree Supertrucks Beauty Contest: Trucker’s Choice Winner, 1st Place Polish & Detail, 1st Place Working Truck Combo 2012-17, 2nd Place Custom Graphics, 3rd Place Lights at Night Road Legal, 3rd Place Interior OEM Sleeper. Brian Dreher of Campbellsport, WI. 2016 Peterbilt 389 & 2016 Great Dane, $$$.

At times there seems to be a growing disparage between “show only” and “working trucks” and I’d like to commend the truck show promoters on their ability to keep them separated at all of the big shows.  If you let the two together it only serves to make the competitions less fun and as I believe, unfair for both groups.  As far as I’m concerned, those two groups are opposite ends of the spectrum.  I have seen so called “working trucks” show up to a show on a trailer.  One thing that a truck show competitor loves to hear is when someone walks up to them at a show and says, “You don’t use this truck for work do you?” and you see the pride in their face and hear it in their voice when they tell them, “Oh no, this truck runs five or six hundred miles a day.”

2017 Kenly 95 Gear’d Up Truck Show: Best Interior Winner, 2nd Place Tractor Trailer Combo, Honorable Mention in Lights & Uniqueness. Mike Harlow, 2016 Peterbilt 389 Carhauler.

I would also like, at this time, to thank the great folks at the Iowa 80 Group for giving me this platform.  I have enjoyed this opportunity to be able to share some of our experiences and kind of reminisce about our travels as truck show competitors.  I would like to give a big THANK YOU to all the folks who have taken the time out of their day or evening to read my ramblings.  Some have told me how much they have enjoyed my story and I must say I was really touched by those nice comments.

So long for now, you never know we may come back with another group of stories, we’ll see! Until then, keep on truckin’ and showin’.


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


 

Show Trucks: The Planning Process

By Larry Pruitt

When you make the decision to start showing your truck, the first thing to look at is the segment of trucking you’re involved in. You might be involved in dry van work and all you do is drop and hook and never leave the paved road. There are other segments like grain hauling when you load on farms and elevators and the dust gets to be an inch thick. Dust is not so bad by itself but when it rains you can have a real mess. Take a look at other decked out trucks in your segment and use your own experience to determine which accessories work for you and what will not.

I found myself having to change the decking on top of my frame behind the fifth wheel so I could detach the gooseneck on our lowboy trailer. We decided to use a rhino lining on top because the stainless would get scratched. Eventually we decided to put rhino lining all of the decking to make it balance out. When you decide how to accessorize your truck, you have to take into account the segment you are working in. You can’t put mud flaps that run an inch off the pavement and be hauling grain off of a farm road.

During the planning phase, keep in mind what end result you are trying to accomplish. You want to make the truck look balanced; for example, don’t put a ton of lights on the front end and nothing toward the rear. Take some extra time to plan the lighting. Try to keep the lights the same type throughout the project. We went with clear lens on Bustin’ Out! just to be different and try to set it apart from the others. Using the same type, lens color, and size of lights is good because it allows you to keep a stock of lights for replacements also. If you use a different style of light it may not be readily available at the local truck stop on the road.

Chrome and stainless accents give this show truck a classic, old school look.

The next part of the project to look at is, shiny or painted? I’ve seen a lot of trucks that had almost everything on it painted, such as mirrors, tanks, even the front bumper. I’ve seen trucks with just the body painted and everything else chrome, aluminum, and stainless steel. The painted route is easier to get ready for a show; sand it down, repaint and you are done. I’m too much of an old school guy I guess, I like the balance of paint and chrome. The bad thing about the shiny route is there is a lot of polishing and rubbing. We have had our share of black and purple hands at different shows but we feel that it’s worth it.

Painted accents give this show truck an edgy, modern look.

The last part of this process, as far as we are concerned, is the CLEANING. You may think that cleaning shouldn’t be in the planning process, but it is part of the process and a part of the maintenance of a show truck. Probably the most overlooked part as well. It’s very important to clean the parts everybody can see and even the parts they can’t see. Pressure wash the underside on a regular basis as well as the engine compartment. The frame takes the most abuse and is cleaned the least. For a small price, you can get your frame sanded, painted, and clear coated. It makes a big difference when the judges show up and is money well spent. I can’t stress enough the importance of staying on top of the washing of your ride. If you get lax on keeping it clean it will just be more of a chore to get it to level you want to maintain. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, make sure you get ALL of the WATERSPOTS!

The interior of the truck is just as important as the exterior. This doesn’t take a lot of time or effort after you get it real clean. Every couple of days run a duster over the dash and over the shelves in the sleeper. Keep the carpet clean, or if you have a rubber mat, take a wet rag to it when you dust the dash. Everybody knows that a clean truck runs and drives better when it’s clean.

Building a show truck can be done slowly and methodically. Set a budget amount each month on how much you want to spend. Slowly get the truck where you want within your means. Moving at a slow pace gives you an opportunity to change your plan as you go along. Next time, we will discuss getting ready for the judges at your first competitive show.


Larry Pruitt is an owner-operator with over 20 years of experience and has been involved in trucking for close to 40 years. He is a firefighter in North St. Louis County Missouri and resides with his wife, Jeanette, in Saint Clair, MO.


 

Pride in Your Ride

Personalize a New-To-You Rig

By John L. Hruska

Through the years, I have bought many new and used trucks. I always seem to want to personalize these trucks to fit not only our company, but the driver too. All it takes to show pride in your ride is some good looking chrome and creature comforts.

When I buy a used truck, sometimes the truck is in good overall condition, but maybe the interior is worn some along with the outside parts. Here are some ideas on how I look at refurbishing a used truck that’s in good working order but might need some TLC.

Let’s start with the interior. First, give it a really good deep cleaning, then assess what’s needed. The carpet or rubber flooring is typically worn, so I will pull out both seats and replace it with new pieces. If the seats are worn too, this is a good time to replace them as well because it’ll save you some labor later. New rug or floor mat and seats make a huge difference for the driver of the truck; more comfort, less road noise, and definitely a better look inside.

The next thing is something with the dash. I like to give the dash a little “bling” with some chrome or color that match the trucks color. You can get toggle switch covers, dash layovers, parking brake knobs, or even a gearshift knob handle with a chrome extension. If you do all (or even some) of these things, you start to get a cool look that all comes together with some color and chrome.

Next, get some air fresheners color matched to your interior in a scent that you like, and your interior starts feeling more like home and less like the generic used truck you just got off the lot. These small changes give your driver a good start to a pretty cool interior that you can be proud of. It’ll make the driver more productive and certainly helps him or her to feel more comfortable going down the highway.

2014 Kenworth W900L

Now for the exterior. After another really good deep cleaning, assess the outside and determine what you’d like. I typically will have a truck detailed or repainted and then I decide what’s going to make the truck pop and be a little different. First, I always trim all the wheels and all lug nuts with chrome covers and axle covers. Iowa 80 has great selection of these to choose from whatever is your preference or style.

Next is the mud flaps. New, matching flaps always look better and also shows the DOT that you care about what you’re doing. Make sure they’re nice and neat, not upside down and different lengths with scattered holes in them. Now you’re starting to pull the outside together. Maybe add some chrome flap weights, to bring out your new flaps with style.

I like to add some extra lights as well, but be careful – too much and the truck is junked up, not enough then it looks like a fleet truck. Try to find the balance of lights that you like, then use them in an equal series on each side and keep them symmetrical on front and back. Sometimes it helps to look at some other trucks and find what you like. I even take photos of trucks that I like so I can keep the ideas to do a truck later. LED lights are always a better alternative that incandescent lights, they have a longer life and usually a better warranty.

Next, add some more shine with a drop visor, if that’s your thing, or maybe some stainless half fenders. I always fill in behind the sleeper with at least one frame mounted aluminum step box. It is a great tool, very durable, and you’ll always have room for an extra gallon of oil or antifreeze. And I don’t have to worry about the drivers putting those items in the sleeper compartments to make a mess.

2014 Kenworth W900L

Ok, now you have a great start in making your newly purchased truck your own. Keep thinking of new ideas to keep your truck looking good and use accessories to set yourself apart from the crowd. Don’t forget! – The folks at Iowa 80 will always be there for you with phone support to help you find all those parts and accessories that you need to bring some pride and style to your truck.

Keep pride in your ride!!


hruska_149x149John’s father started in the trucking business in 1947, John then joined the business in 1981. He owns and operates Hruska Trucking and Diesel Transport along with his business partner and brother-in-law, Clark D Hofecker, in Windber, PA.


 

Best Tips for Personalizing Your Cab Interior

Personalizing Your Cab | Trucker TipsBy Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Most drivers spend more time in their trucks than they do at their house, so it’s very important that every time you open that door it welcomes YOU home. This is your personal space, your office, your headquarters for operations. It is a reflection of your taste, the pride you have in your job, your industry and the things you like. It can make you a happier driver when you crawl into the cab.

Trucking is a lifestyle, not just a job and the view that comes with it is often times better than corporate America’s CEOs get to enjoy. Although our view is outstanding, space is limited, so it is to a drivers benefit to maximize space wherever possible, creativity here can be your best friend. Lots of things can, and should, do double duty, keeping the things you use most often at your fingertips. One of the first and most important things about the cab interior is the scent, ALWAYS keep it smelling fresh, choose something you like and keep it well supplied!

Over the seat organizers can hold everything from pens, scissors, maps, CAT scale and truck stop directories, stapler, calculator, back scratcher, notebook, miscellaneous bookkeeping supplies, dash duster, etc. They also keep things neatly stowed in colorful organization. It is also helpful to have a good LED flashlight on a strap so that you can hang it from a hook or elsewhere for ease of use in the dark when you need to grab it in a hurry for inside or outside use.

We all have our favorite colors, the ones we use to brighten up the interior and maybe co-ordinate with the exterior of our trucks. We use them to complement other colors and generally just personalize our space. One of the quickest, easiest ways to start is to get some rugs. Bathroom rugs work really well, the ones with the rubber backing as they don’t slip and slide all over on any type of flooring your truck may have and as a bonus, they keep your feet warm! The contour rugs, those made to fit around the base of a toilet fit perfectly around the base of most air ride seats. They also fit nicely around the boot of a transmission. If you have 2 full sets of these you can have a spare for spills or wet and salty, muddy conditions. They also keep your floors (whatever surface you have) clean and easier to maintain. There are many styles of floor mats also readily available, in case you don’t want or like the idea of rugs.

Best Tips for Personalizing Your Cab Interior- Most drivers spend more time in their trucks than they do at their house, so it’s very important that every time you open that door it welcomes YOU home. This is your personal space, your office, your headquarters for operations.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer Trailer – Pure Attitude – 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Speaking of floors, there are many different surfaces you can install in your truck if you own it, from carpet to laminate, wood to tile. These are available in a plethora of colors and styles as well, to meet your needs and taste. Some of them are quite durable as well and can be kept clean very easily. Getting a ‘blow gun’ and having it installed beneath the driver’s seat is a great, time saving tip that works really well, much better, in fact, than a whisk broom or vacuum, as it reaches spaces the others can’t. Usually, even if you drive a company truck, when you buy one of these the company will allow their own shop to install it for you since it is such a handy tool, as long as you are willing to leave it in the truck when you switch out.

The seats in your truck are yet another area that can be customized, either the seats themselves, if you are an owner operator, or with seat covers you can purchase in many styles and fabrics for company drivers. Even owner operators who like the seats in their trucks can change it up inside the cab by simply buying a set of seat covers in a fun and comfortable fabric. We’ve been told that sheepskin covers are highly recommended for comfort in both winter and summer. You don’t have to break the bank to be cool or comfortable.

Keeping a place specifically for your glasses is a good idea as well, having one spot to hang them, always, will help keep them from getting broken. Same can be said for your headset and cellphone charger, those removable hooks are a fantastic option for those items. You can mount them to the surface inside your cab somewhere and hang these things in the same place every time. This way, you will instinctively know exactly where it is when you need it and reach for it in just the right spot. I have always been the night driver and I found this part of setting up our truck especially important.

Using brightly colored towels or throw pillows inside the cab area will complete the setting, bringing your own personality to the space. These can have a team or color or branch of military service, whatever is important to you. Doing this personalizes an otherwise impersonal space and makes it your own, turns that truck into your home!

Stay safe out there and Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

5 Top Ways to Dress Up Your Dash

5 Ways to Dress Up Your Dash | Trucker Tips
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

We all have an office with a view and that view is constantly changing. The scenery below that view can be changed by dressing it up a bit. There are many things you can do to customize your dash, beginning with switching out the stock yellow and red brake knobs with anything from carved wood to engraved colored to molded plastic ones that have your branch of military emblazoned on them.

There are many choices, many price ranges and many options for company drivers as well as owner operators, small changes that can be made without damaging the truck so that when you get a new truck, provided you keep the original parts, you can put it back in the same condition you received it in and take your pieces with you into the next truck.

5 Top Ways to Dress Up Your Dash- We all have an office with a view and that view is constantly changing. The scenery below that view can be changed by dressing it up a bit. There are many things you can do to customize your dash, beginning with switching out the stock yellow and red brake knobs with anything from carved wood to engraved colored to molded plastic ones that have your branch of military emblazoned on them.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer trailer – Pure Attitude, 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

1.  There are a huge variety of bezels (rings of different shapes and sizes formed and molded to fit around existing pieces) to choose from, for everything, from the gauges to the turn signals. They come in chromed out plastic or metal, flat or visored, shiny or colored. There are also name plates available, colored and engraved in different fonts that fit inside the bezels and cover a small portion of the gauge, if you so desire, that dress it up and identify them giving the entire space added personality.

2.  You can add switch extensions to all those toggles along the dash, ones that even have jeweled ends on them if that suits your taste, or just an anodized finish if you prefer, the choices are, once again, almost endless. If you have a newer model truck, one that doesn’t have those types of switches, but has rocker switches instead, there are a number of options for those as well. There are covers designed specifically for the switches on each particular model truck, you just need to ask.

3.  There are a variety of custom wood, stainless and plastic pieces available for the glove box and other areas of your dash that you can get and install without doing ANY damage to the truck, so all of you company drivers CAN do some customization without putting your job in jeopardy. It’s entirely possible for any driver to make that dash shine, and on any budget!

4.  You can also purchase, and have installed, beautiful steering wheels that are available in many different materials. They come in wood, aluminum, plastic, and again, there are many options, limited only by imagination, style and budget. You can buy a steering wheel cover and install it on any steering wheel, possibly with a few modifications. But a steering wheel change is also not a permanent change, so it can be done to a company truck, with permission, of course, and then returned to stock condition before you leave that truck. The covers are a great option for all you drivers who are unable to change the wheel itself, they too come in all kinds of fabrics, materials, colors, prints, even furry finishes if that’s what you enjoy.

The possibilities are truly endless for customizing your dash, it all is up to you. It makes no difference if you own the truck or drive it for someone else, it is your office, the place you spend most of your waking hours on any given day so it only makes sense that you would want to personalize it a bit, put your own stamp on it.

5.  If you own your truck you can actually paint the dash pieces that are black or wood-look from the factory to match the exterior of your ride. If you don’t own it a good option for you would be to install a removable shelf paper to the surface, much like you would apply wallpaper to walls in a house. This has a sticky back, but not a permanent application so that it will peel off easily when you get ready to switch trucks. You need to always keep that in mind when you are driving someone else’s equipment.

Remember, when you are dressing up your truck, whether you own it or someone else does, do not damage it when doing the customizing, it isn’t necessary. If you are replacing parts either keep the original ones so you can put them back before trading or expect, up front, to let your investment in the new parts go with the truck. If you are a company driver, make sure to respect the truck you are assigned, don’t make any changes that involve cutting, drilling or gluing things that cannot be easily removed without damaging the vehicle.

Stay safe out there & Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.


 

The Bunk

Making the Most of Your Home Away From Home

By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm

Sleepers today come in all shapes and sizes, lots of companies are taking driver comfort into account when they order trucks. There are many choices when it comes to the bunk itself, you may have one equipped with anything from a classic flat top, to a company stand up, to a full on custom show stopper. Whatever the size, it’s all about making the most of the space that you have.

The number one job of your bunk is to be a comfortable place for you to get good rest during your 10 off, but they can also be used as a kitchen, dining room, office and living room. For this post we are going to focus on the sleeping aspect, but we will be addressing other uses in future posts.

Mattresses are available these days in many venues, and in various configurations from foam to spring to combinations. A good mattress is a sound investment whether you own the truck or not because your sleep is an invaluable commodity, it’s actually priceless, in my book. You can buy them at truck stops where they are either kept in stock (at the largest truck stops) or ordered for you, custom sized for your particular truck. If you cannot get a new mattress a good alternative is to get yourself a thick memory foam topper, these can really make a difference in how well you sleep, especially if you run team and your rest must be taken while traveling down the road.

Most standard bunks will take a twin size sheet or an extra long twin, but if you are lucky enough to have a thicker or wider bed, you may need to get full sheets and tuck under the extra fabric. You also can get sheets, custom sized at truck stops, specifically made for sleeper mattresses. You can go with plain white or get a wild print, get a coordinated blanket and comforter, add a couple of pillows and you have a beautiful, welcoming, inviting bed. Cotton sheets are a good choice in the summer, but during the colder months flannel sheets or the new fleece ones are a better choice. There are also heated blankets and bunk warmers that plug into your 12 volt outlets you can pre set to your desired temperature, let them warm up, then snuggle in!

The whole idea of creating a home like atmosphere is meant to bring a tranquility and peacefulness to your environment so that when you park for the night, or you switch out with your co-driver, you can shut out the world and relax your body and your mind so that you are able to get the sleep you need in order to start anew the next day. Another way to achieve this ‘homeyness’ is to add a rug, match the rugs you use in the cab only in a bigger size. The floor of the bunk can be very cold, even if there is carpet from the factory. Adding rugs will help your feet stay warmer as well as help keep the floor cleaner, catching things you may drop or spill. You can easily pick up a rug and throw it in the wash, or shake it out whenever need be, much easier than vacuuming two or three times a day!

Making the Most of Your Home Away From Home- Sleepers today come in all shapes and sizes, lots of companies are taking driver comfort into account when they order trucks. There are many choices when it comes to the bunk itself, you may have one equipped with anything from a classic flat top, to a company stand up, to a full on custom show stopper. Whatever the size, it’s all about making the most of the space that you have.
Shawn Swanson, Prophetstown, IL – 2002 Kenworth & 2010 Reitnouer trailer – Pure Attitude – 2016 Walcott Truckers Jamboree

Keeping a small wastebasket around is necessary and doesn’t take long to fill, so every time you fuel or make a rest stop get into the habit of taking out the garbage at that time, doing so helps keep the bunk clean and fresh and makes it stay a place you want to sleep. As with the cab interior, it’s very important that you choose a fragrance system you like, then make sure you keep it supplied. You want to be sure your bunk ALWAYS smells fresh and clean and inviting, like a place you want to spend time.

There are so many closet organizing solutions available these days that no matter your truck, you will be able to find something that works for you. A little bit of trial and error at first when you get in a new truck, whether to fold or hang up shirts and pants depends on your available storage area, the configuration of cubbies and closets, but with such an assortment of plastic and canvas containers and drawers you should be able to find things that will fit in the spaces you have to work with. Getting things put away and knowing where they are when it’s time to get them together when you need them can be a real time saver.

Use removable products (so you can leave the truck in good condition when it’s time to switch trucks) that are designed to attach securely, without damage to the surface you’re attaching to, to hang family photos and mementos so that you can feel close to those you love. Decorate the inside of the bunk to mimic your home as closely as you can without doing any damage, in order to feel connected to them no matter how far from home you may be.

If you are really creative, you can make your little bedroom as picture perfect as some of the ones in a magazine, then crawl into bed and get some good sleep so you will be ready to go out there and take on the day! (or night, depending on when it’s your turn to drive!)

Stay safe out there, and Keep It Shiny!


hogeland_grimm_149x149 Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.