By Jeff Barker, contributing writer
If anyone has figured out how to get the most out of their truck, Joe Umstead has made that happen.
Joe is an OOIDA life member from Alexandria, Va., and has been driving trucks for more than 33 years. He bought this 1991 Freightliner FLB cabover back in 1990. As a household goods mover, he wanted a truck that would make it easier for him to get around in residential areas. He also wanted to have a truck that was good on fuel and dependable.
Joe has made a few changes to his truck to reach the 7.4 miles-per-gallon average he enjoys. And at 71 years old, he is now in a position to be where he only works when he wants to – usually about six months out of a calendar year.
His truck currently has just over 1 million miles on it, with minimal work needed on the Detroit Series 60 12.7L engine with 400 horsepower.
Part of Joe’s maintenance program is pretty “old school” for a reason. He tried many new things that did not provide any real benefit to him, including the use of synthetic oil during a trial period. He has since gone back to using his Mobil Delvac 15W-40 non-synthetic oil and changes it every 15,000 miles. He is using synthetic lubricants in his 13-speed single-overdrive transmission and 3:42 rears on Freightliner air ride.
Joe claims he found a benefit in using Evans Waterless Coolant, allowing the engine to run at a higher temperature and not have a need for the engine fan to engage as often. This has also helped him find an increase in fuel mileage. Because the Evans coolant has a higher boiling point of 375 degrees, he was able to go with 212-degree thermostats and change the ECM setting to where his engine fan doesn’t automatically engage until the coolant temperature reaches 240 degrees. Because he is hauling lightweight loads as a household goods mover, he said the fan almost never needs to come on.
His truck’s drive axles and the trailer axles are also equipped with super single tires, which he says helps his fuel mileage improve. He also works hard to avoid unnecessary idling. LL