Last week I loaded cucumbers coming out of Freemont, OH to bring back to Mount Olive Pickle Company, here in Mt. Olive, NC (My home town). I don’t like hauling cucumbers, generally speaking (or typing), for a number of reasons. First and foremost as it is the dummy, rookie style of hauling produce. It would take 100 pages of a book to explain that last phrase, but rest assured I just don’t like hauling cukes.
When you leave Fremont, OH you have to run the Ohio Turnpike from Fremont over to Clevland, OH and then take I-77 all the way down to Mt. Airy, NC (Click here for a Google map of the route). From Clevland you start working those slow rolling hills all the way down to the West Virginia state line. Then go from lazy hills to a couple good and short pulls. Nothing any truck hauling 80,000 lbs of gross weight shouldn’t be able to handle. But, my truck was just huffing and puffing. It had been huffing and puffing for last 200,000 miles, but I just figured it was loosing power to age. Now it is just getting worse and worse by the day. This afternoon, the truck tripped 1,300,0012 miles at the shop where I turned the motor off in the garage. To put that into perspective, the Moon is 238,857 miles from the earth, on average. That is equal to 5.4426 trips from the Earth to the Moon in a Peterbilt. I wish I could say I drov’em all, but I bought the truck with about 700,000 miles and change; However, I think I can proudly note I have somewhere about the same mileage on myself in a couple different trucks. I honestly figured the motor would have blown somewhere around 1,000,000 and I was perfectly content with that mileage figure. It still hasn’t blown yet and all I have done is put two injectors, an oil cooler (you can see that right below the turbo) and an entire new A/C system.
Once you hit West Virginia it is hilly, hilly! As you might expect, but the serious hills are South of Charleston on the WV Turnpike – there are at least four good pulls that slow the biggest trucks on the road. When I hit the first big pull not far from the first toll booth the truck ran hot almost immediatly and I just pampered the truck to the top and let it run just as fast as it wanted to down the hill to cool it off. With the second hill I wasn’t that lucky: the engine over heat came on (OK, I have enough experience to manage the truck with that indicator on) and then finally the “Check Engine” light came on (this is dangerous and potentially very expensive). I kept my eye on the light and the water temp gauge and continued to run AT 10 MPH!) I made it up the second hill and then there was the big hill just North of Beckly – I had to pull over twice! Just think: The same route Northbound is much more of a climb. I never was scarred that I had over heated the truck. I never was afraid I was about to have to throw down $10,000 for an inframe (over haul).
I just figured I had a radiator problem. A lot of older trucks have bugs in the radiator that will never be able to be blown out and the coils are bent beyond repair, not to mention all of the crap on the inside of the tank! I just figured it was time! So, I ordered one: Almost $1,000 with S&H. Then, my mechanic said, Let me take a look at the ‘charge air cooler'” OMG, it is full of OIL! The TURBO is blowing OIL!
One wrongly Ordered Radiator: $1,000
Three Days of Down Time: $8,000