Vibrations can break anything. Case in point, the carrier bearing bracket on Steve Kron’s 10-mpg DD4 Detroit-powered truck. His rear driveshaft was out of alignment and was causing a vibration. As you can see in the picture, the U-shaped bracket that holds the carrier bearing broke. Luckily, he was going slow, otherwise a catastrophic accident would have happened. He was one mile from a truck stop, so he took a 2” ratchet strap and criss-crossed it from each side of the frame under the drive shaft to support the shaft to drive the one mile (Photo #1). He had to drive very slowly, but he made it the truck stop without having to call a tow truck. The next day he had the driveshaft rebuilt and was on his way, only missing one day of work.
Back in 1992, we discovered that polishing turbo compressor wheels makes them stronger. We made this discovery while building a Big Cam Cummins engine for Ken Howard from England for a truck he was going to road race in Europe. The polishing process changes the molecular properties of the aluminum wheel and makes it more durable. Ken wanted 1,000 horsepower, and we built his engine to produce 1,200 hp. That resulted in two problems: 1) the cabovers they race in Europe are single axles and the tires would spin and go up in smoke even on the straightaways; and 2) the compressor wheel in the turbo would explode at high RPMs. After the 3rd turbo, we discovered a company that could polish the wheel and then we no longer had turbo failures. To this day, we still get some compressor wheels polished if they are not billet wheels (Photo #2 shows a stock wheel and a polished wheel). The cost to have a compressor wheel polished is $175, but this process is not necessary if your turbo has a billet wheel or is producing 40 psi of boost or less. However, if you are seeing blown compressor wheels, this may be an option to consider.
This is a difficult time financially for many owner operators and small fleets. Many are having to figure out where they can cut costs and/or bring in extra revenue. One place where you never want to cut corners is maintaining your truck. We recently talked to Artie Chase, the fleet manager for SST Oil, on what they are doing to keep their trucks running reliably. SST Oil is a company located in Northern California that stores and transports gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and Diesel Exhaust Fluid. They have 19 trucks in their fleet. Because they’re in California, all their rigs must have engines with the newer emissions systems (Photo #3 shows Artie with one of their trucks).
A few years ago, Artie got fed up dealing with emissions system problems. He would routinely have to go on service calls to do manual regens on their trucks. These service calls took up much of his time. Once you include shop time to clean and repair various parts of the emissions system, it was costing the company an awful lot of time and money to keep their trucks rolling. Thankfully, Artie heard about our fuel borne catalyst and decided to give it a try.
Artie says the best way he can describe our fuel borne catalyst product is, “It works.” He doesn’t worry about spending the money on a five-gallon pail because it’s far less expensive than one trip to the shop. He also said the catalyst has changed his mind about emissions systems in general, and he now believes that it is totally possible to have a newer truck that runs like a pre-emissions truck without any modifications. Since using the catalyst, Artie estimates that shop time for the fleet is down by 70%, he no longer needs to go on service calls for the trucks, and he’s never had one of his trucks fail an opacity test. In addition, the exhaust coming out the stacks is visibly cleaner.
On a final note this month, for those of you who are customers of our service shop in Saxonburg, PA, we’ve been having a lot of “no shows” on the schedule lately. If you are delayed, please give us a call so we can start working on other projects and keep the schedule moving forward. Thanks for your understanding and ongoing support! To learn more about all of our available parts and services, call us at (724) 360-4080 or visit www.pittsburghpower.com today.