I say Old Boy… Dash it all! 😉
Viewing my truck from the outside is nice for scenery and admiring paint jobs. But I while I enjoy the scenery too, I can’t see much of the paint from the driver’s seat. As the presentation of the truck instrumentation is a key part of what I do see, I thought I’d share a few in-cab shots with some notes.
The dash of a truck has quite a few more switches and gauges than the average family car. But that doesn’t mean it should be intimidating. In game terms, a lot of them are irrelevant beyond giving a good representation of what the driver would see. One thing that I have learned is that all trucks have a different instrument layout and that can cause initial confusion. But then again, the same is true of cars and don’t get me started on older examples of light aircraft 🙄
It should be noted at this point that the gauges provided in a specific truck are often down to the specification laid down by the buyer at point of purchase. Some trucks will have everything including the kitchen sink and some will only have the bare necessities. This remains true on old-school style trucks like the Kenworth W900 or the Peterbilt 389. The buyer chooses what they want. But on fleet style trucks, there is usually a set instrumentation package that has little room for customisation. That said, truck dashboards have moved into the modern world and we’ll see that as we go along.
Let’s start with an older generation US truck. This is the Kenworth K100-e and it definitely falls into the U-Spec category 😎 This truck is a mod in American Truck Simulator has just about every gauge you could wish for as a discerning trucker. Take a look…
Speedo and rev-counter are displayed centrally as you would expect – they are the key tools for not overworking the engine and to avoid Bear-bites for speeding. On the left side of the dash are the engine gauges. These are usually there as standard and include Battery charge, Oil and Water Temperature. On this truck there is also a clock – nice to have when you’re on tightly timed deliveries but not always present!
As you would expect, there are a number of lights dotted about the centre of the panel. There are green lights to indicate when you’re indicating 😂 and to show when you have the Jake-Brake selected (that’s a retardation device to help you slow the truck). There are also red and orange warning lights. One reminds you that you have the parking brake on, and another tells you that there is insufficient air in the brake system.
On the right-hand side of the dash and we hit a mix of gauges that are not always there. There is always a fuel gauge – bottom of the first column. Where a fuel gauge is displayed seems to bounce around from one maker to the next and probably between individual trucks too! I like where this one is placed but I know of another truck where it hides behind the steering wheel 🙄 Above that are gauges telling you how much air you are using during a brake application and how full the air reservoir is. Moving to the next column, you have a transmission oil temperature gauge and temperature gauges for both the forward and rear truck axles. The bottom gauges of the third column tell the air available in the lines to the trailer. The top gauge of that column is a fuel flow gauge so you know how efficiently you’re driving. Not sure why, but on this US truck it’s calibrated in l/p100km. As the mod is by a guy who drove these I assume that was what was in his truck!
Additionally, there is a satnav on the left and a truck computer to the upper right – both personal additions and neither available when this truck was built.
In game, you rarely have to worry about most of those gauges – For example, you’ll only usually get an air alarm if you’re driving very badly, or you have an accident which causes serious damage to the truck like this one…
…I was just parking up when the ai driver just drove into me🙄 Lots of beeping from the air alarm and a red warning light on the dash when I restarted. It’s actually quite common to have an air alarm when first starting a vehicle of the bus or truck type anyway. I’ve often seen it in action on coaches we travel on at start-up – usually clears within a minute or so of the engine running.
So, that’s a mid-1980’s truck. Times have moved on – modern trucks are very much more digital although many until the very latest models retained analogue gauges for speed and revs while showing other information in digital displays. Renault even merged the speedo with the rev counter in a dash first introduced on the Magnum…
MAN introduced a fully digital display in the F90 series but then went back to analogue speed and revs in the TGA series. It was perhaps too early for the digital display in a real-world situation back then.
Moving to the present day and here’s the dash of my New Generation DAF XF…
…Apologies for the odd angle, but I wanted you to see all the bits on the steering wheel too. Everything about the display is digital. On the left is the truck speed both as a slider display and a figure. Alongside the digital speed figure is a green indicator that I have set the cruise control. Directly above is an indication of the engine temperature. Top dead centre is a clock and below that a symbol of the truck which, in the event of an issue will highlight the area where that issue is (As I haven’t had an issue yet, I can’t confirm that it works in Euro Truck Sim 😉). Below there is an indication that the truck is in gear and what gear it is currently using. On the left is the rev counter displayed as a slider and above that an odometer for the truck. Above that are figures for current and average fuel use. Left to right below the main display are an indication that I have the lights on and am using dipped beam, a repeat of the odo reading, the outside air temperature, percentage of fuel left in the tank and the AdBlue level. Not visible but on the right a green indicator appears if the retarder is engaged and a red indication that the parking brake is on. To the right-hand side of the console is a Satnav display.
Unlike my K100, the XF has those little extras like satnav and gear selection indication fitted as standard (although you need to be buying a higher spec model for the satnav). I can change the display to show other things too but normally the display shows what I need to know when there aren’t any other issues to deal with. Unlike the Kenworth where I would need to reach to the switches on the dashboard irl – and there are a few…
…The modern DAF has most things controlled from the buttons on the wheel. Finally, and it’s a huge difference. You can’t see the mirrors on my K100 – I have to turn my head to see what’s going on behind me. The DAF has, as an optional extra, camera mirrors and I cannot tell you how much of a difference these make to awareness of what’s going on around you!
How times have moved on – current trucks are becoming closer to my computer simulation every day, except for having a larger wheel! 😉 I hope this post was informative with the usual reminder that I’m just a gamer with a love of trucks, so I hope I have got everything right in my explanation of the gauges and their purposes 👍