Stuntman Turned Owner Op & More
As we travel through life in this trucking industry, we have the opportunity to meet many very interesting people. The weekend of October 4-6, Pittsburgh Power had a booth at the “Made In America” trade show in Indianapolis, IN. Unfortunately, the show was low in attendance, but Pete, Debbie, Jane and I enjoyed spending time with our Max Mileage dealers Mike and Beth Thompson of Indianapolis.
Many of you may recall, about three years ago, we built a DD4 Detroit engine in the convention center at the CMC, sponsored by Kevin and Leesa Rutherford, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Mike Thompson, a United Airlines pilot, purchased the engine and we installed it into a Freightliner FLD 120. Currently, there are 330,000 miles on this engine. The horsepower is set at 581, but Mike has the ability to take the horsepower to 725 at the turn of a dial.
During those three days we recently spent together, we learned that Mike was born in Nebraska and was taught to fly airplanes by a crop duster at age 14. At the age of 18 he owned his own double wing bi-plane and was performing stunts while flying. Mike told us how he would fly his plane at 200 miles per hour and then climb straight up into the sky until the plane would stall, then start to spin around the prop and fall backwards towards the ground. He explained how he kept track of where he was while the plane was falling backwards, what he did with the controls and, when the speed picked up, how he brought the plane back to flying. It was all very interesting!
I was fascinated with Mike’s flying stories, and if you see him having lunch or dinner at a truck stop, introduce yourself to him and enjoy the conversation. Ask him about flying his plane six feet off the ground between he and his neighbor’s home. He knows how to fly and make money with a truck, so you will have made a great new friend.
As for Mike’s wife, Beth, the one thing I can tell you about her is that she will not allow Mike to cut the grass. When I asked why, she said she likes the lines nice and straight. Here’s what Mike had to say about becoming a distributor for our Max Mileage product: “My wife Beth and I became a distributor of the Max Mileage about a month ago. I started using it in my 1996 FLD 120 Freightliner at that time. I cannot believe how smooth the engine has gotten. Also, the fuel dilution of 3.8% has gone to less than 1% with 300,000 miles on the engine.”
Not all fuel stops are selling you perfect honey-colored diesel fuel. Unfortunately, older underground tanks are susceptible to dirt, water, microorganisms and other contaminants. Our customer, Aaron Lyman (who drives a 2009 Pete 387 with a Cummins ISX), stopped by the shop because he had coolant in his fuel. We fixed the problem and then drained and cleaned the tanks and sent him on his way.
Unfortunately, Aaron was back a few weeks later with a clogged fuel filter and his truck was running rough. We pulled the fuel out of the tanks again to find this disgusting looking liquid that contained water, sediment and fouled diesel fuel. As it turns out, he always fills up at the same fuel stop and had a history of having to replace fuel filters. We suggested switching to a different fuel stop and voila, the new fuel was clear and pure. He was lucky that no serious damage was caused, but we think it is something every owner operator should look out for.
Some of the symptoms of bad fuel are excessive black exhaust smoke, loss of power and RPM, corroded and pitted fuel injectors, fuel pumps and fuel lines. Some things to check for are sludge on your fuel filter, dark or hazy fuel, floating debris in the tanks, and sludge buildup or foul odor from the tanks. Caterpillar recommends not using diesel that’s been sitting for over one year (six months for biodiesel).
If your fuel is unquestionably of bad quality, it’s better to just drain it and start fresh. If you only have a minor problem with water or bio-film, we have some simple solutions. For water, we have a product called Hydroclean from Diesel Force that actually converts water into combustible hydrocarbons. Our Max Mileage fuel borne catalyst will kill any micro-organisms in addition to the other benefits. It’s important to note that the dead micro-organisms will turn into sludge that will clog your fuel filter, so you may want to change your fuel filter after the treatment, as well.
We have some Max Mileage updates. We’re now selling a more affordable half gallon at $130 for those who want to try it in their car or motorcycle. We’re also selling a 35-milliliter syringe with a case, making it easier to measure for your car or motorcycle. Check out the Max Mileage page on our website (www.pittsburghpower.com) for an updated dealer map. We’re adding new dealers almost every week, all over the U.S. and Canada, so go check it out now!