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2nd December 1993
Page 34
Page 34, 2nd December 1993 — DRIVERS' VERDICTS
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Keywords : Bunk Moreland

We talked to a number of operators who have recently bought the Cummins-engined EC 10 and Perkins-powered EC12 and asked their drivers what they thought of the latest offering to emerge from the Sandbach truck maker.

Gwyn Jones drives an EC12 for Cawley Brothers of North Wales. He covers about 180,000km a year and spends three to four nights out in the vehicle each week. Cawley Brothers took delivery of the tractive unit back in the spring but before that Jones drove an ERF E-Series artic.

"It's very comfortable with the suspension seat. The chassis is on steel springs but you couldn't tell the difference from air," he says. "The extra step makes it easy to get in and out and visibility, is better than on the E-Series, especially to the sides. The doors stay a lot cleaner and the spray doesn't get up on to the mirrors. The bunk is nice and warm with the night heater and the mattress is thick enough".

Keith Leicester drives for Telford Extrusions and covers over 150,000km a year. Before he changed over to the ERF EC in August he drove Leyland Daf 95 Series tractive units. "I usually sleep out four nights a week," he says. "The bunk is very firm and I would like it to be an inch thicker. I'm Sit oin tall so it's an ideal length for me but someone a bit bigger might need more room. The night heater is noisy. If I wake up cold in the middle of the night and turn it on it keeps me awake. "Because of my height I find it a bit of a stretch to reach the first step and the handle

might be better on the other side of the door opening," he adds. "I find I use the door to pull myself up. There is plenty of space under the bunk to stow your gear; I use the shelf over the top of the screen to keep my paperwork. My maps and tacho discs stay jput but the clipboard bounces out on occasions. You need a clipboard because there aren't any suitable flat surfaces to write on. I've got air suspension on mine so the ride is fine and it doesn't roll too much. My biggest complaint isthe mirrors. They create a blind spot and at 'unctions I have to lean forward to look round them".

William Low & Company's distribution depot at Livingston, Scotland is home for a 30-strong all-ERF fleet including five new EC10-325s. All the rigs run on controlled-temperature work at 38 tonnes. CM spoke to two Low drivers, Alex Pearson and Alistair Proudfoot. Both rate the EC: "It's pretty good", says Proudfoot, "there's certainly more room for the seat; the dash is better styled too. The Twin Splitter box is the same as my old E-Series but the shorter stick makes it better. Interior noise is prob ably the same as the old model, but the E-Series was pretty quiet anyway. The ride is certainly a lot better; the actual handling is a bit softer and it's more comfortable than the old E-Series.

"The brakes don't snatch like the old truck," he adds. "They feather easily, the steering is better too, although it feels a bit heavier. They must have done something to the engine—low down it's got a bit more poke." Pearson has been driving artics for 20 years, seven with Low: "The new model is really good," he says. "It's comfortable, a more different kind of classy vehicle. The only thing I don't like is the bed. It's just that bit too high up. We only use the bunk during the day and don't need the stowage boxes underneath so it could go down by about six inches. The trim's just a bit too light. I had the first EC in Scotland and I've had to clean mine twice, the least wee thing gets it dirty.

They've done a good job on the seat,you can adjust it like a Scania. The Cummins 325 is a bit underpowered. It's clot better than the engine in the E Series—it's got more torque—but could do with a wee bit more."

Keith Leicester: Changed from 95 Series. Bunk is firm but the night heater is too noisy. There's plenty of space for stowing gear.

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