This month’s creation was ordered (not built) for Arlyn and Linda Workman of Morrison, IL. After driving the same truck for almost 27 years, a beautiful red and black 1986 Peterbilt 359 with an equally impressive 110” Double Eagle sleeper, they sold the truck. Leased to Long Haul Trucking, the company stopped sending non-CARB compliant trucks to California two years ago and, as you might guess, Arlyn and Linda’s 359 was on that black-balled list. Well, in addition to missing their friends out west, along with about 100 other reasons, they bought a new truck – a Seminole red 2020 Peterbilt 389 – so they could start running to California again.
Being the second owners of that 359, many changes were made over the years and, quite frankly, it was perfect. Some of the reasons they replaced it, after putting over 2.5 million miles on her, in addition to missing their west coast friends, was also because it was getting harder and harder to keep the old girl going and find parts. Also, not being able to go to California, they were not able to visit their polisher, Henry at Little Sister’s in Barstow, CA. Arlyn said he polished his truck twice over the years, and that was two times too many! There was a myriad of other reasons, but those were a few of the bigger ones.
Even though Arlyn knew he was making the right decision, he was still second guessing himself. Waking up in the middle night and stressing out, he told me that he often wondered how he would tell me that he wasn’t going to take the truck when it came in – but that didn’t happen. When he ordered the new truck, he made it very clear that he didn’t want to replicate his old truck, but he did want it to be similar. When the truck finally arrived, Arlyn was pretty psyched, and he showed up with a tape measure in hand and went to work. Planning to do most of the work himself, he wanted to make sure everything was done right before he took it home so there would be no hang-ups during the build.
When the Workman’s bought the 110” Double Eagle sleeper in 2008, they removed the original 63” bunk and put it in storage. Now that they were going to remove the big sleeper from the 359 and put it on their new 389, they re-installed the original 63” sleeper on the 359 and sold it to their friend Chris Gebhardt of Gebhardt Upholstery (he has trucks and does custom upholstery in Neoga, IL). Chris was also the one that stitched the interior of the new truck, as well. When he came to get the truck, he brought along his sewing machine, and then proceeded to get all the interior panels ready for the new 389 before he left.
After the new truck finally arrived at the dealership, fitted with a Cummins X15 hooked to an 18-speed, we didn’t do much. Aside from making sure it was ordered properly so that everything could be assembled easily and would look right, our guys hid the DEF tank and relocated the exhaust so everything would fit. Honestly, that’s all we did. The rest of the work was done by Arlyn and his friends, at their shop, over the following five weeks. Like many of the trucks I build and feature, a lot was done to this truck that many people would not notice. But Arlyn is super particular, and he knew exactly what he wanted!
I am now selling cab lowering kits. Most may not know this, but the cab of the 389 is about 1.25” higher than a 379 cab. It doesn’t sound like much, but that change makes a lot of other things look “different” – whether you realize it or not. I developed a bolt-on kit for Pete 389s that lowers the cab 1.5” without too much work. Arlyn bought one of these kits for his new 389 and then installed it himself. Another thing he did was straighten out the door sills. The new 389s have a sloped door sill, to allow a bit more visibility, but again, it messes up the clean “lines” the old 379s had. To correct this, Arlyn completely rebuilt both his doors using the skins of doors off a 2005 Pete 379, also removing the peep hole on the passenger side.
Removing the 110” Double Eagle off his old truck, this sleeper was then mounted on the new truck, which had been ordered without a sleeper at just the right wheelbase. To get the old sleeper to match the Seminole red factory paint on the new truck, Arlyn’s friend Barry Myers of Barry’s Body Shop worked his magic. Repainting the old sleeper and then doing one of the best polish jobs I’ve ever seen, he made that factory paint come alive and be smooth as glass – and match the sleeper perfectly.
Not wanting the truck to be “slammed” on the ground but instead ride at a nice stance, the height you see in the pictures is the actual ride height (it was not aired down for the pictures). After the new interior was installed, they added tasteful cab and sleeper drop panels with lights and a pair of extra toolboxes, mounted in the back, just in front of a pair of stainless half fenders on my hidden brackets. Many thanks go to everyone who helped including their son Todd, Grant Korthaus, Jason Decker, Bill Garrett, Beav Hunter, Steve Pearson of Roadsknz, Dynaflex, Chris Gebhardt and Carl Carstens at Rockwood.
This new truck deal was nothing Arlyn and Linda ever thought would happen, but what was funny is that before they were done with their new truck, there was another one for their son Todd sitting in the same shop at the same time. Arlyn said, “I didn’t ever think there would be one new truck in the shop but was really shocked to have two brand new trucks under the same roof at the same time!” They considered their first load out as a training session, which went from Minnesota to San Francisco (right downtown), south to L.A., then back east to Washington DC, before heading home to Illinois. It was a little weird, but everything went great.
On March 23rd, Arlyn and Linda will be celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. What an accomplishment! With three grown kids, the couple has six grandchildren with another on the way. Their oldest daughter Amanda and her husband Grant (who is a truck driver) have a son named Logan (7) and a daughter named Leah (3). Their other daughter Rachel and her husband Jason have three daughters – Elivia (9), Riley (4) and Lexie (1). They are also the ones expecting the next grandbaby. Their son Todd (who is also a truck driver) and his girlfriend Kenzie have a daughter named Kortlyn (2). Arlyn and Linda absolutely love being grandparents!
As two of the friendliest people I know, Arlyn and Linda do not know any strangers. If you are a nice person who likes cool trucks or are a friend of one of their friends, then you are automatically their friend, too. I have been friends with them for many years and was surprised when he reached out to me to order this new truck. Arlyn loves old trucks, but old trucks that are ran every day require a lot of extra work just to keep them up. Their friend and mechanic, Bill Garrett, knows this all too well, and none of them are getting any younger, so it just made sense to get a new one.
The Workman’s ran that old 359 just two months shy of 27 years, and it was a huge part of their lives. Trucking has provided them with so many friends they now consider to be family, and they hope everyone is understanding of what they did and why. They love old trucks and think they are cool, but the draw of seeing their family more was yet another factor that led them to buy the new truck. So far, they are loving the new ride and looking forward to many years of new stories to come, and are excited to be finally runnin’ west once again.