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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When it comes to automobiles, the most trivial of things have interested me and caught my attention. Yes, I was the kid in elementary school who visited the bus barn twice and had my mom call heavy equipment manufactures to send us brochures on their equipment for me to read so you at least have some backstory on why I bring up an unusual topic. :D



Today I asked the mailman (super friendly guy, BTW) who comes into the office everyday on average how many miles the 1980's Grumman Long Life Vehicles (or LLV) have on them. You know the type, as pictured above... the ones that were built with the Chevy S10 running gear and have the aluminum bodies. These trucks were originally only intended for a lifespan of something like 24 years but the USPS have extended that figure a couple of different times.

He said that his LLV has about 130k miles on it. I was actually very surprised at that number as I thought he was going to say some sky-high figure. We got talking about mail trucks a little bit and he provided me with some interesting insight. Each of these 1980s-early 90s built mail trucks have gone through 2-3 engines already. Most do not have their original "Iron Duke" 4 cylinder engine anymore. He said most of these trucks are pretty beat down and that they are noisy inside. The fuel tanks are only around 8-9 gallons and they get very bad fuel economy. He expressed how often that he has to fill his up which is daily... he's always filling it up he said. I got the inclination that he's had to fill up twice before in one day by the way described it. His has broken down a few times before on the job. When that happens they send a new truck out and they transfer the mail into the different rig. No air conditioning inside. Instead of using the heater on cold days he chooses to bundle up. The front wheels sit further inward than the rear which can make them feel tippy at times.

http://postalmuseum.si.edu/exhibits/images/2c3a_6_FFV.jpg

I'll have to ask him about the newer and less common Ford Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) mail trucks that have the Ford Ranger running gear.

In any case, I've read the U.S. Postal service will eventually be replacing their LLVs with a new steed. They've taken a lot of input from the drivers who would like to see improvements such as better operating doors and a different style mail tray. There is a long spec sheet the providing manufacture has to meet along with a set budget. I believe they're currently (or in the process of) testing vehicles from different manufactures who would like to be the new producer of USPS mail trucks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_LLV
 

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interesting info...our local post office has at least two of these guys and most of the routes are all country driving...I don't think they do good in the snow as I see they are chained up in the winter and if we get some heavy snow I don't get mail that day , I live on a very steep hill which most vehicles can't make until the plows come around
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good point! Poor snow drivablitily is another complaint about them. They are very low to ground and most of all, the front wheels sit inward which doesn't help either. Apparently they can also feel tippy at times too because of the narrow track width of the front end of the LLVs.

I've heard there are some 4x4 FFVs out there though.
 

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The local USPS department has about 20 or 30 of these, and they all burn a ton of oil coming up my hill. :sidelaugh

Thanks for sharing the info Austen! I actually have wondered what they were based on before.

I'm also glad to hear that I wasn't the only kid obsessed with glossy brochures that had cutaways of engines and hydraulic systems in them. :p
 

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I remember working on the old Iron Duke engines at Chevy dealer. Think we had these in once in a while!
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for not laughing and sharing the curiosity!


The local USPS department has about 20 or 30 of these, and they all burn a ton of oil coming up my hill.
I'll bet! They also a have distinctive exhaust note. I always recognize the sound and know when my mail is about to arrive.

Some drivers, well a lot of them actually, seem to floor them every time they touch the gas and go from mail box to mail box.

Thanks for sharing the info Austen! I actually have wondered what they were based on before.
Haha, glad you can appreciate it. Next time you're near one look inside and you'll see the Chevy steering wheel and gauge cluster. Another oddity is that I'm 99.9% sure they also use a Dodge/Chrysler key. I remember noticing this when we were out to get the mail once when I was really young and then having an argument with my dad about it later on. He was like "well it must be made by Chrysler then if you saw a Dodge key" and I was like "no! It had a Chevy S-10 steering wheel, gauge cluster, and sounded like a GM motor"... lol.

I'm also glad to hear that I wasn't the only kid obsessed with glossy brochures that had cutaways of engines and hydraulic systems in them.
Oh man! They were the next best thing to being able to drive. Those and keys. I needed keys to this stuff so that I could pretend like I was driving them or operating the equipment. I always bugged my mom to ask them for old/spare keys to include when they sent the brochures. When they learned that I was that interested, often times they'd invite me out to their dealership or manufacturing facility to have a little tour. Thing is, I still have most of all those old brochures too. My family thinks it's crazy I still hold on to that "garbage" under my bed but I still think they're pretty cool. I'm not throwing away a brochure for a CAT 994 wheel loader or a Peterbilt offroad logging truck! No way!!!


I remember working on the old Iron Duke engines at Chevy dealer. Think we had these in once in a while!
Oh yeah!

I'll bet that the USPS had to work out some logistics with GM to continue offering drivetrain parts for these trucks. I'll bet some of the parts would've become obsolete but USPS had to work out a deal with GM to continue offering them in order to keep these trucks on the road.
 

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This report is just over a year old so the process must be well in motion by now, considering the estimated date of 2018.

 

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Since this site has a lot of "motorcycle" fans, and it has a unique use of a Mail Truck in it, I figured it might be worth a look see for some.

 

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How about the Jeep version

These Grumman trucks look good for a long time because of the Aluminum body and I have not worked on these. The narrow stance and the body sitting out some I thought some of that was to clear the curbs when the mail box is out at the street. I know rual does not have the curb. But large base of a mail box, snow banks..
But how about the older Postal Jeep made by A M General, I think they were the DJ Jeep. I worked on many of them. Our shop had a contract with the P.O. We did mostly mechanical. Tons of exhaust and other repairs. I remember we also did a few cutting out the floors because they were so rotted. Then they went back to the postal body shop.. That was a long time ago 80's. I also saw a lot of these Jeeps used later by private people. I wonder if they do not sell the Grumman to the public??

Austen, You are not alone on collecting paper work on items that interest you as a kid. I also have quite a few items that I like as a kid. Now with the internet you can look it up and some body still has the machine.!! I still do that, I go to the new car, motorcycle, snowmobile shows and collect the brochures.

Now what about plastic model building as a kid?? I do have some of mine. But I wish I keep a few more of them. A few of us guys had a dirt track and pushed them around and crashed them. I blew a few up with firecrackers. Burned them up with gas. Taped rocket motors on them and launched them never to be found again!! Some body need to start a thread on Models. :howdy: :cool
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good stuff, guys! Thanks for posting the content! Interesting stuff!

Man, they sure spend a lot in fuel every year.

The narrow stance and the body sitting out some I thought some of that was to clear the curbs when the mail box is out at the street.
I thought that too!
 
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