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Engine overhaul: Good maintenance, high-quality components support engine life


While following manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures will ensure the longest possible life of a fleet’s engines, eventually there may come a time when an overhaul is necessary. Particularly, as fleets strive to maximize uptime and equipment life, reman engines—which are rebuilt from the bottom up according to very stringent guidelines—are becoming more popular. Working with truck OEMs and engine makers—many of which offer engine overhaul programs geared toward their fleet customers—can help make this process as cost-efficient and with as little downtime as possible.

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Engine maintenance

Regarding maintenance, the experts at Kenworth advise fleets read and refer to operator’s manuals for the correct information on maintenance schedules and guidelines.Sena Adekpuitor, advertising and promotions manager for Cummins New and ReCon Parts, agrees: “Truck owners should be diligent about following recommended maintenance procedures as outlined in their engine owner’s manual. This is key to ensuring the long life of their engine.”Adekpuitor adds, “When it comes time for an overhaul, customers will reduce downtime and extend the life of their engine by using Cummins overhaul programs. By using genuine Cummins parts, which have been manufactured or remanufactured in factory settings and meet Cummins stringent performance specifications, customers can ensure they will receive the reliability and durability expected from genuine Cummins products.”

Todd Biggs, director of aftermarket parts and service marketing for Daimler Trucks North America, says that because many fleets are sophisticated, they often handle their own maintenance.


“We encourage them to work with their local Detroit service provider to make sure they have the right tools and latest technology,” he says. “We also recommend adhering to routine maintenance intervals, and using Detroit genuine components so there are no issues with performance.”

Biggs cautions, “There are a lot of knock-off products in the market that often don’t perform to specifications, which can compromise power and fuel economy. For example, turbochargers are a high failure item when not installed and maintained properly. Without the right air filter, debris can clog the narrow passages and tear the turbocharger apart, resulting in vehicle downtime and lost revenues.”

Roy Horton, Mack powertrain marketing manager, also recommends that in addition to following recommended maintenance intervals and service procedures, high quality components are key.

“When you are dealing with Mack, you have direct access to the latest updates and product revisions—not so with knock off-parts that may be several years out of date as far as product improvements go,” he says.

Rick Wood, director of customer service for Peterbilt Motors Co., adds, “While oil analysis is not a new practice, it certainly remains an important one. Fleets and owner-operators that perform regular oil sampling will often spot any potential issues before they manifest into larger problems. It’s a great and very effective way of monitoring engine health.


“Peterbilt also recommends using genuine OEM replacement parts to help ensure top quality and long life,” he adds. “For instance, when replacing filters or other wear items with PACCAR Engines, we recommend sourcing the new parts through PACCAR Parts. PACCAR MX Engines are rated B10, which means that at least 90% of PACCAR MX Engines in operation are expected to run one million or more miles without needing an overhaul or major repair.”

Karl Mowat, engine marketing manager for PACCAR Parts, says, “When truck operators need engine overhaul work, Peterbilt has the parts in stock as well as certified technicians to service components, do in-frame repairs or install short and long blocks. Peterbilt dealers can service Peterbilt trucks as well as all makes and models through the PACCAR Parts all-makes engine program.”

John Moore, Volvo Trucks powertrain product manager, offers several tips to maximize reman engine life:

• Perform service at recommended intervals; don’t rely solely on fault codes to indicate when service should be performed.
• Using contaminated DEF fluid can be detrimental to an engine’s performance. Consider using jugs rather than bulk DEF to ensure the cleanliness of the DEF being added.
• Volvo Genuine lubricants and filters must be used at the time of performing an overhaul to receive the additional warranty.
• By allowing a Volvo dealer to perform the labor on an overhaul, a fleet can reduce its liability.
• As always, proper driver training is essential to maximizing the life of today’s complex engines.


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