Line One
Oil, engines & owner-operators

RUTH JONES
Senior Editor

At the urging of a trucker they met on the 1999 Truckers Cruise, Norman and Rhonda took their "Bronze Midnight Metallic Mist" Peterbilt to the 1999 Mid-America Trucking Show and entered it into the Pride and Polish competition. The constant, meticulous care of their Pete paid off. Even though it was their first competition, the Pikes took home a first place trophy in their class. They entered three more shows in 1999 and took home a trophy from each. This year the Pikes plan to enter five shows.

OOIDA members Norman and Rhonda Pike of Denham Springs, LA, take meticulous care of their 1998 Peterbilt 379. They insist on a spotless truck, both inside and out, and that includes the engine.The 550 hp Caterpillar engine has 397,000 miles on it, but Norman says it runs like new. He chooses Shell Rotella T for his engine, and drains it every 13,000 miles. While he could go for longer intervals, Norman prefers to be cautious."Cat says I can go 15,000 miles, but I just feel that 13,000 is the best time to change the oil," says Norman. "I don't want a bunch of dirt getting into my motor or clogging up my filters. I make my living with this truck, and I'll spend a little more on oil changes in order to make sure I don't spend a whole lot more on big repair bills."Norman is just as conservative when it comes to oil analysis, choosing to have the oil checked every time he does a PM."I want to make sure there's no metals in the oil that might indicate a problem is developing," Norman tells Land Line. "This truck is a big investment - way too big to take any chances with."

The Pikes haul a chemical tanker in all 48 states and Canada. Their 550 hp Cat engine is paired with an Eaton 18-speed transmission and a 355 gear ratio. Norman estimates he's been trucking for 37 years, saying he started out hauling grain for a company in Shelbyville, IN. 

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