Oil, engines & owner-operators
Delaney goes for extended drains

Senior Editor

Robert Delaney of Lake Placid, FL, has been an owner-operator for most of his 30-year driving career. During that time he has owned as many as three trucks at one time, and learned early on the value of preventive maintenance and watching every penny.

Robert's 1998 Freightliner Century Class is equipped with a Detroit Series 60 engine with 430/470 hp paired with a Meritor 9-speed transmission. Mobil Delvac is his oil of choice and he does PMs every 25,000 miles. Oil analysis with every drain is a must, both with Bob for his own peace of mind and for Detroit, who requires it with extended drain intervals.

"I was a little nervous about going to 25,000 mile intervals," said Bob. "But Detroit backs it, and it does save money in the long run. The engine has 301,000 miles on it, and so far indications are this is a safe, money saving routine."

Bob leases his truck to Heartland Express pulling a dry van in the southeast, primarily Florida and Georgia. He manages to get home about once a week.

Stepping away from conservative oil drain intervals is just one aspect of Bob's slightly different approach to life on the road. He's done a few other things a little out of the ordinary with this truck.

First he removed the bottom bunk and installed a comfortable sofa to sleep on. "It gave me a lot more room to move around, more comfort for me and Lady (a three year-old shepherd/black lab mix), and a more homey atmosphere."

Bob also carries an Aptiva PC and has installed a television reception card to enable him to get TV programming on his computer monitor and save space by not having a TV. The system has four sources for entertainment; DIRECTV, PNV, a VCR, and a regular antenna on the roof of his cab. Sound for the system is enhanced by his Bose Wave stereo.

In addition to the entertainment value of his PC, Bob keeps his truck records (including maintenance and oil drain intervals) on the computer using the Excel program. Bob has also developed his own software for doing taxes.

Bob's most recent project involved the installation of oak cabinets along the rear wall of his sleeper. "It was a Home Depot do-it-yourself project," says Bob. "The cabinets look good while giving me a whole lot more storage."

Bob has been a member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) for six years and is also a member of the National Association of Show Trucks (NAST).