The 2011 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY is now behind us. And what a show it was! I want to thank all of you who took the time to come by our booth, visit with us, and share your experiences of how our parts have helped your fuel mileage and performance. It is hard to believe our country is still in a recession after seeing such a large attendance at the show. It just goes to show how many of you out there have kept a positive attitude and are still committed to the industry – and to your own success. You tenacious owner operators are the ones that seek us out at the shows, and you are always a pleasure to speak to and work with.
Carl Kellner of Buffalo, NY was in our booth all three days and we had several interesting conversations. Carl owns a 379 Peterbilt powered by a 6NZ Caterpillar engine and is averaging 7.5 mpg using several of our parts. That’s right – 7.5 mpg out of a Cat. Carl is a disciplined driver who keeps it at 56 mph, so you probably wouldn’t guess that a guy who drives this slowly would also install Screamin’ Eagle parts on his Harley-Davidson and own a custom, high performance Jeep Rubicon, but he does. But Carl knows that even at speeds of 56 miles per hour or less, the benefits of his high performance engine are still there. Our next challenge with his truck is to obtain over 8 mpg.
How will we get 8 mpg out of Carl’s Cat? We are planning to install a Pittsburgh Power performance computer, a ported and Jet Hot coated exhaust manifold, and our HP Cat turbo to Carl’s engine. Then, he is going to install 2:64 Eaton rear gears and begin running his 18-speed transmission in 16th gear (which is direct drive). He will be at our shop on May 12th to pick up the parts, and then I’ll keep you informed as to the outcome of his fuel mileage improvement.
While at the show in Louisville, Carl went over to the Eaton Driveline booth and spoke with the head engineer who told him that he would gain at least 3% more fuel mileage with the 2:64 gears and running in direct. He was also told that he would NOT need a transmission cooler if he drove in direct gear. You see, like we have been saying for years, when you run in direct gear, you create less heat, put more horsepower to the rear wheels, get better fuel mileage, and generate better pulling power in the mountains, which is just the opposite of what most of you out there probably think.
Recently in our shop, we had the privilege of working on a very unique and special truck. This truck was the personal truck of a fleet owner named Andy. Andy runs a fleet of 120 trucks while driving one himself, but his rig is no ordinary fleet truck. Andy’s cool truck is a 1957 Peterbilt powered by a 2004 MBN Caterpillar engine. Fernando did his magic to the Bridge, and now Andy’s old Pete can run free, obtain better fuel mileage, and tap into an additional 150 horsepower that it didn’t have before. The “Bridge” has been lifted off the Cat’s back! Now, this engine runs the way it was originally designed to run.
Andy’s 1957 Peterbilt (see photo) is also equipped with a fully-functional Eaton automatic transmission, electronic cruise control, power steering, a Jake brake, air conditioning and GPS. All these features are cleanly installed into this classic truck, just as if it had been done at the factory over 50 years ago (if these things had existed back then). The newer Cat was installed to work with the AutoShift transmission and, along with the rear suspension and rear-ends out of a 1999 Pete, complete this truck’s modernized power train. Andy used the front suspension of a 1984 Pete to get the power steering, the sleeper is from the 1970’s, and the doors are from a 1970’s cabover, so he can still get genuine Peterbilt parts for his doors. The interior was fully restored, and new floor panels were installed in the cab. The hood was stretched 14” to accommodate a custom charge air cooler and a large radiator for the big Cat hidden underneath. The wheelbase was stretched to 310” to help give this flat top a look that sets it apart from other trucks of its generation.
There is no doubt that it took countless hours and plenty of blood, sweat and tears (along with $250,000) to complete Andy’s dream truck. But, to Andy, trucking is truly a labor of love – and it shows in the pride he has in his unique ride. If you have any performance-related comments or questions, I can be reached at Pittsburgh Power in Saxonburg, PA by calling (724) 360-4080 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.