An oil leak on the rear of a Series 60 Detroit is not an easy or economical repair. The leak is generally between the engine block and the flywheel housing and does NOT have a gasket – it uses a Detroit silicone sealant, similar to what is used on differential housings. To perform this repair the driveshaft must be removed, then the transmission, clutch, flywheel, rear main seal, the oil must be drained, and then the oil pan removed. Once all of that is done, the rear of the engine needs to be raised enough to clear the “V-type” engine mounts and then the flywheel housing must be removed. Now, the flywheel housing and oil pan must be cleaned, resealed, and then everything gets reassembled. Needless to say, it is a pretty big job!
The best time to perform this oil leak repair is when installing a new clutch or transmission. Here are some things to think about when all of these parts are removed from the truck. Labor today is very expensive – most shops are $100 per hour – we are $96 – and I know this sounds like a lot of money, but one must consider the mechanic’s wages, insurance, retirement, workmen’s compensation, mortgage payments on the shop, electric, natural gas, property taxes, tools and equipment, and the clerical staff. All of these items must come out of the hourly charge, so keep that in mind when you are removing the driveshaft and transmission. While everything is taken apart, why not get some (or all) of those items repaired?
The average cost of rebuilding a driveshaft, which includes, straightening, balancing, a new carrier bearing and new universal joints, is around $1,200. To rebuild a transmission with new bearings, seals, and gaskets, and replace the parts that are worn out, is about $3,200. A new Lipe clutch is $726, plus $35 for the clutch brake and $16 for the pilot bearing. The total labor for the task of resealing the flywheel housing is about $1,800 and, most of the time, the engine has over 800,000 miles on it, so we know that the driveshaft should be rebuilt (they last for about 500,000 miles but will last a little longer if the driver is gentle on the truck), and the transmission could probably use some attention, too. So, if you’re going to spend $1,800 for labor to repair an oil leak, and the truck is already going to be down for two days, why not repair the other items that are sitting on the floor? I know money is always an issue, but these rear leaks usually start out slow and then get worse, so you have a little time to prepare. Save your money to do this repair and only spend the labor dollars once.
With money and repairs in mind, you should have a maintenance account. Most people do not have one of these, but if you set aside ten cents per mile for truck repairs, you will always have the money to make the necessary repairs and it will not be a burden on you and your family. Some companies that you are leased to will even do this for you. Over the past 38 years working with owner operators I can tell you, the ones that have a maintenance account never feel the pressure of paying for repairs, and they have the money to do them right. If you don’t have one – now is the time to start!
Many wise owner operators and small fleet owners who have trucks equipped with Series 60 Detroit engines keep an extra DDEC-III or IV sitting around for emergencies and diagnostic purposes. So, if you ever get the chance to buy one of these used motors, it is a good idea. But, before you buy, here are some things to consider, because among the aluminum boxes that have “DETROIT DIESEL” embossed into their faces, there are many differences. The cases are the only thing that 80% of DDEC-IIIs and DDEC-IVs have in common. Just because it says DDEC-IV on the sticker doesn’t mean it’s the right ECM for your engine serial number – let alone your truck.
Here are some quick facts. There are at least three different hardware variants on the DDEC-III and at least seven variants on the DDEC-IV (that we know of). There are at least nine different software versions for the DDEC-III and over thirty different software versions for the DDEC-IV. Plus, there are hundreds of fueling map variations, tens of thousands of engine parameters, sensor calibrations and customer variations and specifications. So, if you buy a used Series 60 DDEC-III or DDEC-IV engine, please send it to us with your original ECM so we can tell you if it is compatible or not, and explain all your options.
If you would like the comradery of 22 other owner operators for three days of snowmobiling and great companionship, then join us for the 10th annual Owner-Operator Snowmobile Conference on February 27th until March 1st at the Medicine Bow Lodge in Saratoga, WY. We will arrive on Thursday the 26th. Snowmobile rentals are available, and the closest airport is in Laramie, WY about 55 miles to the east. The Medicine Bow Lodge is a Dude Ranch and will provide us with breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you desire, you will have to bring your own alcohol for the evening (no drinking during the day – you will need all of your senses to ride with us on the Snowy Range with mountain peaks reaching 10,847 feet). The trails are beautiful and the mountain climbing is awesome, so don’t miss this amazing opportunity.
Check out the “Widow Maker in the Snowy Range” on YouTube and you’ll see some of the more extreme hills we will be “playing” on. But please know, you don’t need to be a daredevil to join us. Directions to the lodge can be found on their website (www.medbowlodge.com). For reservations, please call (800) 409-5439. We hope to see you there for some fun! For more details about the conference or other questions, I can be reached at Pittsburgh Power in Saxonburg, PA at (724) 360-4080 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.