American Powertrain Parting Shift: Pulling Twin Sticks In A V8 Powered 1980 Kenworth

American Powertrain Parting Shift: Pulling Twin Sticks In A V8 Powered 1980 Kenworth

The automatic transmission has started making inroads in the trucking industry and there’s likely two fold reasoning for that. The first is that the technology has gotten better and the second is that the in coming crop of drivers have gotten worse. When you watch the driver in this truck work the 9-speed primary transmission and 4-speed auxiliary like it is butter you’ll understand what we mean. We hate to be the “these damned kids” type of guys but the reality is that “these damned kids” have never been exposed to a stick shift in their lives and the equipment cost of them tearing trucks to pieces is such that automatics where they can select a gear and then steer the thing down the road is the cheaper way to go. Sad but true.

Anyway, after that rant we are going to send your attention below to see this driver expertly work the pairing of transmissions in a V8 powered 1980 Kenworth. We’re not sure if that is a Caterpillar V8 or a Cummins V8 but either way, there’s monster amounts of diesel torque working this rig down the road.

This thing would appear to have 36-possible gearing combinations with the 9-speed and the 4-speed but the real number is larger than that because as you can see, the thing has two speed axles in it as evidenced by the button attached to the stick of the primary transmission. Knowing this the number effectively doubles, right? Low and high range on 36 speeds is 72! We’re guessing that either the aux box or the two speed axles don’t get used that much.

This right here is some classic truck driving. A skill that is diminishing slowly, one day at a time.

Press play below to see some smooth shifting in the cab of a 1980 Kenworth –

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7 thoughts on “American Powertrain Parting Shift: Pulling Twin Sticks In A V8 Powered 1980 Kenworth

  1. Scott

    The selector is for the top and bottom ranges of the transmission. The down position lets you select the first five gears (LOW, 1,2 , 3 and 4) of the transmission. The up position lets you shift from 5th thru 8th. I’m guessing the driver in the video is using 2nd and 3rd on the auxiliary trans to split the gears of the main transmission and is using 4th gear on the auxiliary as an “overdrive”.

  2. M. Arnold

    It\’s a 3408 Caterpillar…the driver is Chris Kikelhan the owner of Sundance Transportation and probably of more interest to Bangshift readers, was a competitor in the Bandits BIg RIg Series in 2017.

  3. Eric

    Also very cool that he doesn’t use the clutch for shifting, except when moving both levers. I was first introduced to this years ago by a friend who drives dump trucks. Speed matching during gear changes is a talent that is going away too.

  4. J. Stephens

    That technique is called \”floating\”, and it is a fine art that is disappearing quickly. Watching a truck driver who can row through gears like nothing is mesmerizing to watch. It\’s even more fun to do it yourself!

  5. peter shirk

    May be worth noting that these transmissions are rarely if ever synchronized. Meaning matching engine speed and road speed to the gear you\’re getting a must.

  6. Tim

    Left stick is a typical nine speed transmission that is overdrive pattern. That being fourth and fifth gears being reversed. Auxiliary transmission looks to be four speed in overdrive pattern. Earlier Peterbilt trucks came from the factory with five by four or six by four. Six by four being the most popular. Five by four transmission could be shifted by just about anyone. Didn\’t matter which stick you shifted first as they were progressive. Six by four was a different story. Had several Pete\’s with six by four and really liked them. In this day and time I doubt you could find anyone under the age of 60 that could shift any of these old trucks. Trucking is a sad situation now. These young kids don\’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. Only gonna get worse.

    1. Glenn

      I grew up with quadruplexes and triplexes my best truck ever had a silver 92 Detroit when an RTO 12 5:15 with split rears and then I had other trucks that were 5 by 4 6 by fours and I used to build my own crannies I now take care of a small Fleet of trucks down here in Florida and I can\’t find anybody that doesn\’t know how to drive anything these guys are horrible they\’re blowing Engines & Transmissions up faster than I can fix them I think I\’m an old dinosaur but looking at these young kids anymore I guess I\’ll still dinosaurs are going to have to roam the Earth again

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