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Do monster trucks get bad rap?

Big trucks seem to be everywhere you look these days, but not everyone's a fan of such a mammoth mode of transportation.

CHARLES TWEED / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Big trucks seem to be everywhere you look these days, but not everyone's a fan of such a mammoth mode of transportation.

"Big trucks mean a small ..." — that’s a quote from a Sound Off submitter angry about the influx of what they call "monster trucks" in the city.

A Chevy Cavalier's bumper doesn't quite line up with that of a jacked-up pickup seen recently in The Town Centre Parkade.

Enlarge Image

A Chevy Cavalier's bumper doesn't quite line up with that of a jacked-up pickup seen recently in The Town Centre Parkade. (JAMES O'CONNOR/BRANDON SUN)

Looking around Brandon, it would appear big trucks are all the rage these days.

While some languish the gigantic gas guzzlers and their plumes of black smoke, others point to their altitudinous necessity.

"If the city people who complain about these trucks, my truck, spent a couple of days driving the roads I have to go work, they would have a very different opinion," said one truck owner who didn’t want to be identified because of what he calls a "bad rap."

The owner is a derrickhand working in the oil industry in southeastern Saskatchewan. He works away from Brandon for two weeks and his home for one week.

His "baby" is a Ford superduty diesel truck with a six-inch lift kit.

Swinging the door open, he needs a firm grip and has to leap in order to jump onto the black leather seats inside the colossal cab. There are no side steps, something that would work counterintuitively to the lift, which is designed to create more clearance.

Inserting his key in the ignition, he turns it to the on position, then stops. A shrill buzz fills the truck indicating the glow plugs are doing their job.

After about five seconds, the buzzing stops, but instead of starting the truck, he turns it off. A moment later, he turns it to the on position again. The buzzing starts again, this time stopping more quickly.

"I always cycle it twice when it’s cold to help heat the cylinders and protect the engine," he said before turning the key over.

With a loud growl, the truck starts right up.

Its loud, boisterous roar is consistent with the powerful diesel engine it employs, pegged at close to 400 horsepower.

After starting it up, he jumps out to let the truck warm up.

"I would never run my truck without warming it up, unless it was an emergency — even then I’m not sure," he said jokingly, adding he’s invested more than $60,000 in his desired mode of transportation.

Ten minutes later, he’s cruising around the Wheat City.

At a stop light, his truck casts a long shadow over the car beside him. The truck is up so high you can actually see drivers texting on their phones at red lights.

"Do I need a truck this big? I don’t need it in the city, but I’m only here one week of the month," he said. "It’s different when we’re on location. Sometimes I’m driving on a lease road built in a farmer’s field. When it rains, I can be driving in ruts three-feet deep.

"What people do not understand is that we need our trucks."

Manitoba Public Insurance spokesman Brian Smiley said there is a calculation to determine if a lift kit on a vehicle is illegal.

"Manitoba uses two vehicle measurements to determine if the truck is excessively raised," he said. "The wider and longer a truck is the higher it can be safely raised."

However, regardless of the extent of the lift, the truck’s front bumper cannot exceed 29 inches above the ground.

Smiley said truck owners should speak to a vehicle standards officer prior to modifying a vehicle and can refer to the Manitoba Vehicle Inspection Handbook as a guide.

The Brandon Sun measured five lifted trucks parked in the city recently, and all five met the required regulations.

» ctweed@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 28, 2013

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"Big trucks mean a small ..." — that’s a quote from a Sound Off submitter angry about the influx of what they call "monster trucks" in the city.

Looking around Brandon, it would appear big trucks are all the rage these days.

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"Big trucks mean a small ..." — that’s a quote from a Sound Off submitter angry about the influx of what they call "monster trucks" in the city.

Looking around Brandon, it would appear big trucks are all the rage these days.

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