As promised yesterday, Tachoblog brings you some more on the Volvo FH16-660 that we drove this week.  In case you’ve been asleep, here’s a reminder of what it looks like.

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Want to hear more – and see another shot or two?  Well click below and Tachoblog will oblige…

Ok, so this is a black and white shot, but the Volvo looks great doesn’t it!

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Anyway, as the model number explains, this is a Volvo FH16 with the D16 660Bhp engine that produces 3100 Nm of torque.  The chassis is an 8×4 and the truck’s been rated for up to a very heavy 200 tonnes.

Whilst the standard Volvo I-Shift is, of course, very good, it’s not man enough to deliver continuous power and start on an eight percent uphill grade while pulling that kind of weight.  So Mikael Wallner took his brand new tractor unit to Allison Transmission in Bollebygd, Sweden and asked them to sort it out for him before he started to use the truck to handle strenuous duty applications such as the transportation of windmill power station components.

Did they do a good job, well that’s what Tachoblog was there to find out…

Now at this point Tachoblog feels we should let you into a bit of a secret.  Don’t tell anyone, but we don’t have a licence to drive anything bigger than a 7.5t!  In fact, the largest thing Tachoblog’s ever driven before (off road of course) is a 9t Scania Fire Engine – coincidentally that was thanks to Allison too, but we digress.

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As you can see from the picture below, the ‘road’ was basically a muddy track and the bit they were going to let Tachoblog drive on was an 18% slope with an (albeit wide) hairpin halfway up.  Oh, did we say that the gross weight of the truck, trailer and load was 105 tons?

If we were a little nervous about the whole escapade, we tried not to let it show as we climbed into the cab for Mikael Wallner – yes, the owner! – to drive us down the hill.  Mikael was certainly a lot more experienced (who wouldn’t be) than Tachoblog and unsurprisingly he looked completely relaxed as he drove one handed down the muddy road.

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After turning the beast round on some tarmac and stopping midway up a 20% slope (this one was a proper road), Mikael demonstrated a perfect hill start – no rolling back, no drama, no fuss, nothing!

Then it was time for Tachoblog to get into the driving seat…

And, do you know what, it was easy.  Ok, allowing for the length of the steer trailer took some thinking about (and some ‘a bit more left’ from Mikael), but the power of the truck and the ability of the Allison gearbox made the actual driving no harder than that of an automatic car.  In fact it was only when Tachoblog put the brakes on at the end of our go, that we felt the massive load behind us at all!

Three days later and we’re still amazed just how simple it was.  If you can think of a better advertisement for just how good the Allison gearbox is then let us know, because we can’t.