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Oil, engines & owner-operators
Steel hauler keeps engine reliable with attention to details

OOIDA member Dale E. Danberry hauls steel out of South Carolina into Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. Those heavy loads of steel could wreak havoc on a truck’s engine if it isn’t maintained properly, says Danberry.

His 2000 Western Star 4964EX Constellation gets its power from a 475 Cat engine with a 13-speed Eaton-Fuller 19/355 variance. He pulls a Transcraft TL2000 flatbed and hauls steel for the Tennessee Steel Haulers, whose name is painted in shadow lettering on the truck.

Danberry keeps the engine running smoothly with Mobil Delvac as recommended by Cat. Because of the heavy loads the truck hauls, Danberry drains the oil every 12,000 miles and performs other preventive maintenance every two weeks. He trusts the maintenance work to the Western Star dealerships, Cat shops and Speedco to catch potential problems before they happen out on the road. By catching oil leaks early and spotting potential problems, like a bad u-joint, Danberry avoids towing and service call expenses.

“Preventive maintenance is why I’ve never had a big time problem,” Danberry said. “Like being stuck on the side of the road with breakdowns.”

His attention to detail saves him a lot of headaches in the long run. Danberry rotates his tires every 75,000 miles and makes it a point to check his tires weekly to maintain 100 pounds of air pressure.

Because of the dust in steel plant areas, Danberry changes his truck’s air filters every 45,000-50,000 miles. He also spends his downtime cleaning and polishing his truck, including its tanks and wheels, to keep his truck looking its best.

“I spend so many more hours in the truck than I do at home,” Danberry said. “So I like to keep it clean inside and out.”

All the time, money and elbow grease spent maintaining his truck pays off for Danberry. Even with the super heavy loads, he averages 5.8 miles per gallon.

It also helps to have a good bookkeeper. His wife Mary Jo keeps up the accounting work back at their home in Charleston, SC.