Have you ever heard of the movie The Last of the Mohicans? It was a movie about a powerful tribe of Native American warriors who resisted European colonization to the bitter end. Well, we have one of the last big warriors from Caterpillar – a NEW C-16 Caterpillar engine with 600 hp – that just may be the last of its kind.
This 15.8 liter 2002 7CZ Cat is not a remanufactured engine – it is brand new – and still in the crate it was placed in almost ten years ago. This engine would be perfect to power a new Peterbilt glider kit for a heavy haul application or anyone that is power hungry and loves big cubic inches. And here’s the best part – the price for this engine is only $34,500 and no core engine is needed. Consider this: it takes $34,000 for the parts and labor to build one of our Signature 6NZ Cat engines, and that does not take into account the cost of the core, which can be anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 more. So, by purchasing this new 600-horse Cat C-16, you will save six to eight thousand dollars off the cost of a Signature 6NZ engine – and, you get a brand new engine, right out of the crate!
Speaking of glider kits, demand for these trucks is higher than ever. There is currently a four month wait for the delivery of a 2012 spec Peterbilt glider kit from Peterbilt. If you are going to want or need a Peterbilt glider, plan at least six months in advance – if you procrastinate too much, you’ll be waiting until next year. Guys calling us today that need a truck next month are out of luck and are now faced with buying a new emissions truck or buying something used and having us upgrade it to glider-like specifications. Another thing to plan for is the cost. Some of my clients are shocked at the total cost of building one of these custom high-performance trucks. The dream of having the ultimate rig, that will outperform a stock factory truck by 1 to 2 mpg, is an expensive one. The cost of the glider kit can range anywhere from $80,000 to $120,000 and this is only about half the cost of a completed truck.
It’s almost hard to believe that a “kit” would need so many extra parts to be complete. For example, you still need the bell housing, the flywheel, the pilot bearing, the fan hub, the alternator, starter, front engine mount and bolts, rear engine mounts and bolts, solenoid switches and block heater. You also need an alternator pulley, three or four batteries, battery cables and ends, coolant pipes, air piping, all the clamps and hoses, the fan blade, the valves, lots of loom and clamps and an engine wiring harness. But that’s not all! You’ll also need a FASS fuel system, an OPS-1 bypass oil filter, one of our Pittsburgh Power computers, a complete 5-inch exhaust system including mufflers, clamps, elbows and 7-inch chrome stacks, the Horton fan switch, antifreeze, R134-A refrigerant, engine oil and filters, a transmission and Lipe clutch, clutch kit shafts and yoke, clutch linkage, heat exchangers and hoses, the driveshaft, shifter, shifter knob, clutch brake, engine sensors and, of course, let’s not forget the engine. Let me tell you, all those parts add up!
Then, we have to put everything together. We also have to make our own OEM side wiring harness and program the computers to make the engine talk to the instrument panel and the computer in the truck. It’s not just “plug and play” – it takes a lot of work before the key can be turned. Now, to put all of those parts we mentioned earlier on this truck, it takes our team about 200 hours of labor or more. We had to assemble a team of technicians with a very diverse skill-set to accomplish this feat. So, please don’t think that all you do to finish a glider kit is install an engine and transmission. As you can see, there is a little more to it then that.
The 2011 Owner-Operator Snowmobile Conference is over and we all had a wonderful time out in Stanley, Idaho. Michael Gulley from Gully Transportation out of Quincy, Illinois was one of our key speakers. Michael is an encyclopedia on Freightliner trucks. His father started Gully Transportation, and at the age of 83, he still works every day. Michael told us about the history of Freightliner and how Peterbilt and Freightliner were once connected, but the main part of Michael’s talk was about building Freightliner FLD glider kits and refurbishing his older Freightliners that are powered by N-14 Cummins engines (which he truly loves).
Michael also told us about his company’s experience with the new DD15 EGR-DPF-SCR-powered Freightliners. “The breakdowns on the new Freightliners are driving us crazy. None of my drivers want to drive these new trucks.” Gully Transportation isn’t going to replace its fleet with new DD15-powered freightliners anytime soon. They plan on keeping their existing fleet and rebuilding them to be the principal power of Gully Transportation.
There were four other people at the conference from Gully Transportation – Michael, Brandon, Andrew and Marty – none of which had ever ridden a snowmobile. The first day was quite the learning experience, but by the second day, most of these guys were climbing the hills with the rest of us, and Marty was even seen taking a few jumps. I was following Marty as he was cranking along at about 55 mph when the trail made a quick 90-degree bend. Well, needless to say, a snowmobile will NOT make a 90-degree turn on a packed trail. Marty made about a 45-degree turn and then over the bank he went, airborne, and then got separated from his sled. When he landed, his legs were buried in the snow and we had to dig him out. If you missed the conference this year, please try to join us next year – we will be in Togwotee Pass, Wyoming. Stay tuned!
On a final note, if any of you are in the market for a beautiful (and collectible) motorcycle, take a look in the classifieds this month (page 70) where you will find my personal 2003 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic 100th anniversary bike for sale. She’s a beauty! If you have any comments or questions, please contact me through Pittsburgh Power in Saxonburg, PA at (724) 360-4080 or e-mail me at email@example.com. We’ll see you in Louisville!