Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Running Fast or Slow

I have been doing this job in this career for about 15 years now and I have driven almost every make of truck. In saying this, I also say that the maintenance costs go up when you drive over 60 mph. There are statistics that back this up, but my first hand experience is what I am here to post about. I had a 1997 FLD 120 with a very bad problem. The truck had around 1 million miles on it when I decided to have the suspension springs replaced on the whole truck. OOPS!! WHOOPS!!

What a mistake I made as it turned out. The team that installed the springs was supposedly the most experienced team in the state and they managed to install the axle seats backwards on my front drive axle. This in addition to the fact that the truck had too many shims in between the carrier bearing and the bottom bracket of the truck. This caused the drive shaft to go down as it came out of the back of the transmission and up into the front differential. The angle of the drive shaft was very out of whack. I drove the truck for 300,000 miles this way and never drove faster than 60 mph.

The truck lasted two years with this faulty configuration until I had a load that needed to be expedited and so I ran 70 mph. in as many states as I could legally do so and that is when the transmission shaft failed forcing me on the side of the highway. So I successfully ran 2 years and 300,000 miles with a very poorly aligned drive shaft because I kept the rpm's low and the speed under 60 mph. I am not proud of the poor configuration that the drive line was in, but I had "experts" look at it with decades of experience and impeccable references from many people that I trusted. They turned out to be wrong in the end, but I learned a valuable lesson about how to to run a truck.

Slow down and save yourself a bundle on maintenance, fuel, and out of trouble with the law.

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