This article originally appeared in
Big Rig Owner
December 1, 2014
By Bruce Mallinson
The rebuilding of OLD IRON…
Since the EGR engine came out in 2003, we have been telling owner-operators to buy 2002 and older trucks and refurbish them. Most people don’t because they are not mechanically inclined. Well, guess what? Nobody was born mechanically inclined, and we all had to learn how to turn a wrench. You are never too old to learn and you can save yourself thousands of dollars by doing some of your own repairs.
DuWayne Ehrke, a Wisconsin farm boy, born in 1962, drove his grandfather’s Dodge pick-up when he was four years old on the tobacco farm. His parents, who were both school teachers with Masters Degrees, purchased a tobacco, hog, and dairy farm so DuWayne has been working since those early years. He had to be in the barn to milk the cows at 5 a.m. and in school at 7 a.m. Needless to say, he had to learn how to turn a wrench: Farm equipment DOES break!
To get away from farming, DuWayne became a carpenter and built custom homes. When the housing market collapsed, he decided to become an owner-operator. He called me in the fall of 2011, and we discussed which truck he should purchase. My advice was a T-600 Kenworth with a 60-Series, DD4 Detroit. His haul was from Wisconsin to Texas, mostly on level terrain, so the 12.7 Detroit would be perfect for his haul.
He found a 1998 T-600 with a 12.7 Detroit with 240,000 miles on an out-of-chassis rebuild. The transmission is a Reman 10-speed, soon to be replaced with a Micro-Blued 18 speed, with 40,000 on it and the clutch. This truck was faded blue and had been beaten by the sun. When I first saw this truck, I was shocked at how badly it needed to be painted. DuWayne is a smart guy and he knew that he had to make the truck get good fuel mileage and then the fuel savings would pay for the paint. The cost of this million mile plus truck was $13,500, and was purchased on 3-8-12.
Many of the articles compiled here where written by Bruce Mallinson. Attribution to other contributors is given in the specific articles.