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Rollin & VanPelt. A Big Victory.

I couldn’t sleep in Laramie last night. Laramie suffered initially from lawlessness. Its first mayor, M.C. Brown, resigned after three turbulent weeks in mid-1868, saying that the town was “ungovernable.” This was much due to threats he received from three half-brothers, early Old West gunman “Big” Steve Long, Con Moyer and Ace Moyer. Long was Laramie’s first marshal, and with his brothers owned the saloon Bucket of Blood. The three began harassing settlers, forcing them to sign over the deeds to their property to them. Any who refused were killed, usually goaded into a gunfight by Long. By October 1868, Long had killed 13 men. However, the first Albany County sheriff, rancher N. K. Boswell, organized a “Vigilance Committee”, and on October 28, 1868, Boswell led the committee into the Bucket of Blood, overwhelmed the three brothers, and lynched them at an unfinished cabin down the street. Through a series of other lynchings and other forms of intimidation, the vigilantes reduced the “unruly element” and established a semblance of law and order. So, it was either the spirit of pre-1868 western frontier making me restless or… there was too much light last night. Pictured below are two absolutely top notch rides: Rollin and Vanpelt parked just West of Laramie and screaming VICTORY! Because  when I don’t know about white one (Vanpelt) the dark one (Rollin) is a… company truck driven by company driver which is absolutely unthinkable fact in todays transportation world being dictated by Walmarts and Englands who want us to believe they only can afford the cheapest piece of shit trucks and (more importantly) are forced to hire unskilled drivers because there is no money in trucking. Last night that corporate bullshit line was brutally lynched.  There is enough money to treat your employee right. It can be done

 

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Bullhauler Manners

They blow a smoke out of stacks as a way of communication, like Ancient China soldiers stationed along the Great Wall would alert each other of impending enemy attack by signaling from tower to tower. In this way, they were able to transmit a message as far away as 470 miles in just a few hours. The North American Indians also communicated via smoke signal. Each tribe had its own signaling system and understanding. A signaler started a fire on an elevation typically using damp grass, which would cause a column of smoke to rise. Reputedly the location of the smoke along the incline conveyed a meaning. If it came from halfway up the hill, this would signify all was well, but from the top of the hill it would signify danger. In the first picture we can see such a dramatic situation – a  cow truck quickly approaching two company trucks – he scream “danger” trying to warn others using black smoke. Second picture – we see white smoke, it has the other meaning: “keep you line while I’m flying by”. Often we see important info concerning risk management when dealing with them displayed on the back of the trailer (third pic). Porch lights, unique feature seen only on top front of trailer -  informs us that we are dealing with the whole ranch including buildings and animals, not just another standard truckers house on wheels. Last thing – they blur easily due to speed, they are fastest vehicles on the interstate, second only to Producehaulers -  drivers who Bullhaulers learn their driving techniques from, no wonder they haul ass with having such a mentors

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Pure Americana

Here is definition of a term few Americans ever heard of. It’s because it is used abroad to study Coolnes of American Civilisation. I took it from wikipedia, so it sucks to read or feel:

Americana refers to artifacts, or a collection of artifacts, related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States.[1][2] Many kinds of material fall within the definition of Americana: paintings, prints and drawings; license plates or entire vehicles, household objects, tools and weapons; flags, plaques and statues, and so on. Patriotism and nostalgia play a defining role in the subject. The things involved need not be old, but need to have the appropriate associations. The term may be used to describe the theme of a museum or collection,[3][4] or of goods for sale.[5]

The term can be used to describe studies of American culture – especially studies based in other countries.[6] Americana music is contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound.[7] [8]

Now, same thing in plain truckers language:

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Don Hastings. “He was KOOL before KOOL was KOOL”

Thats what Cliff Whitley said about Don lately it was last, missing piece of puzzle in my long term research about KOOL. It started when my sweet wife told me once how they were leaving Minnesotta on their way (with her ex-boyfriend then) to New Jersey and they rolled over in the middle of snow storm and when cop arrived to the scene, he said “all right kids, I’m gonna take you home now” and he took them to his house, where his wife served them dinner and made them bed so they could stay warm. When I heard this story it got stuck in my mind because I had no clue about Northerners, being Sotherner myself. But I also left seeking luck in New York where obviously met my wife and since she wasn’t impressed with her partner driving skills – I stole her and some time after that we went to Far West, running away scared of East (nothing new, we did that before) – and ended up on some insanely incredibly beautiful beach on the most westward Hawaii Island called Kauai. Problem was, sun was setting down and it made me feel like I run this world and decided to make a statement by taking that Jeep 4×4 for a ride along the water and sunk it so badly we couldn’t dig it out for so long, the Pacific started coming up asking for it. We were exhausted digging like crazy and and about to give up when somehow (not sure how. No clue how) a guy taking a walk with his wife appeared and asked if we need some help, then let the air out of tires and pulled out like pro because thats who he was – he used to play in mud his whole life with construction equipment he owned. In Minnesotta. Thats where he was from. Then, few years later I have met Don Hastings on a trucking forum where despite wild criticism sparkled by some very sophisticated joke I was pulling on them all – he was the first guy to like my truck pictures. Now, the thing is Don is the man who took the best trucking picture I have ever seen. But it was before anyone even knew whats KOOL – yet they knew that in Minnesota. They got it going on. I’ll try to get his permission to post this picture. You will get it then.

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Charles Ogden

This truck comes back with two new shots. Bad, dark photos against the sun that are technically junk but this 359 looks so classy and shines so hard it don’t matter much. This is probably top 359 I’ve seen on I-80 lately. And mostly due to those super-thin stripes, well, less is more again. Illinois strikes hard! Marseilles, to be exact. Good to see IL plate on something different then white Volvo for a change…

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The Spooner

If Route 66 is “Mother Road” – this 1961 Peterbilt can be easily called “Mother Truck” because it’s so widely known and admired. The owner, Robert Spooner from Batesville, Arkansas is driving it since… the 60′s or so I have heard on LCM forum, there is also information, that it has new motor – 2007 Cummins N14 525 which is interesting upgrade for needle-nose hood and small radiator. Reportedly, has some serious pulling power according to witness who also talked to the owner. Pictures taken this morning in Wyoming, just by Elk Mountain, I have seen it few years back too and it didn’t changed one bit. But then, few years for REAL Peterbilt is like mere few weeks on modern trucks. Time is not equal for everyone, something obvious when you see things of this magnitude

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From North To South – No Need For Skirt Laws

I’ve been sitting home for so long CARB started sending me love letters asking me to wear skirts on my trailer. Not sure what is going on with those gals but they seemed to be clueless on how to really put them on sliding spread – but what do you expect from people who brought you aerodynamic laws in state with 55 mph speed limit and traffic so heavy there is serious concern… that rolling car tires picking up road grim and send it airborne creating more smog than their engines. Perhaps mudflaps need to be regulated soon. Anyway, I got loaded and before even left California got to see this impossibly clean Peterbilt from South Dakota – they don’t get much sun exposure up north – I think thats why tend to stay on conservative side of life. If you look at the extra lights and chrome – everything is so perfectly thought out and measured and calculated it looks like work of life. Looks so good, even Denton could learn a lesson or two. Then I went up north and met hot, Southern Ride – sunny Florida based Kenworth  and it wasn’t perfect – bad it was, full of bruises and crazy, unseen ideas instead. Like that cover for spare tire or trailer Texas bumper. Or “Spread-Um-Wide” motto supporting proper hmm, axle position.
These two, completely different in taste and style yet great trucks just give you some idea about how dedicated and knowledgeable their owners must be when it comes to trucks yet they didn’t feel the need for skirts despite the fact they travel at much higher speeds than mere 55 and pay the fuel bills too. Still, CARB knows better – those girls know garment.

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VGT Turbo Lifespan

It was my second turbo, factory one snapped the shaft at 387k miles and it wasn’t violent – 2 hours later (before it even had a chance to cool down) I was back to the road with reman from Cummins. That updated VGT lasted exactly 50% longer, which is kinda nice increase  but… not really. Problem is, they don’ t explode nearly as often as old, non-variable  turbos were and keep spinning beyond it’s own lifespan despite being out of whack and robbing you from fuel for who knows how long.
I was dealing with elevated by 100-200 F EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperatures) for at least half a year. At first I was blaming hot summer air (nonsense but thats when it started anyway) then I was suspecting my still original mufflers possibly being stuffed with soot buildup (they were, just a bit though and replacing them didn’t help). Then over time my pyrometer started creeping up to 900 F and when it started hitting 1000 F I went to talk to Ray Righetti, North-California Cummins guru to talk about it. He asked me how many miles on the turbo I got – 583k I said. He made a sound like something stabbed him in the back and said “come, I need to show you something” And being good friend of mine he took me to his engine room where they X-Ray blocks for whole Bay Area and pointed to two open  ISX turbos: „they wore out those nozzles and can’t be properly positioned by ECM anymore. With the miles you have put it’s not even worth diagnosing, you need new turbo, there is nothing that could have more bad influence on ISX EGT than worn turbo
Then doing oil change at Speedco I have met a produce hauler from TN who at 810k miles still had his original turbo (no kidding, I checked the part number) and not complaining  – he actually loved his 530 ISX for being almost troublefree. I hate replacing things that still work but then… I got under lighter load and still was hittin 1000 F on pyro and seing some inconsistences on Insite (like occasional 56,000 rpm pulling hills) – I decided I’m fed up with this.
Below are pictures of that turbocharger – Ray was absolutely right about the nozzles being worn and sticky plus the shroud late was loose from its housing (could be the latest development) and the sliding nozzles base was cracked from high temperatures probably or maybe how it all started – from that crack. All this mess must have been causing not only higher drive pressure but boost problems aswell since it didn’t really close nor fully open but max boost reamained almost unaffected. Its actually quite interesting it didn’t blow being the sad junk it was for months and the only gauge to reflect that was pyrometer because Insite software was showing Turbocharger Control Valve being actuated – problem is there was no feedback from turbo on actual position until 2007+ motors (with electric turbo actuation and DPFs) so ECM didn’t even know how far off turbo was from where it wanted to be.
Another culprit of dying variable geometry turbo is weak jake-brake performance. It was working but you’ll be seeking higher rpms, up to 2000 instead of usual 1700 and then, over time you still have to use air brakes to compensate for its under-performance. Which is obvious sign of turbo not being able to close fully – I used to be able to run coast-to-coast fully loaded without touching brake pedal (I’m still on original brake shoes on drives). Thing is… weaker jake started… 200k miles ago. It wasn’t nearly that bad as lately and fairly OK for long time – but it means that wonderful piece of modern diesel technology started walking out of specs at around… 400k miles. In other words you need 2 of them for the miles of non-variable turbo which used to be also 3 times cheaper.
Now, here is another kicker – I have lost probably around 7% of fuel mileage last year and that means I paid for that turbo 3 times compared to what it could’ve cost me if I knew what I know now year ago: placing moving parts in stream of diesel exhaust is poor engineering  idea and works for everyone but the truck owner

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The Gambler

One of the songs that made me run hard over last ten years was something like this: On a cold winter evening on eastbound thru Wyoming I met up with The Gambler, we were both too tired to sleep. I said “Son, I’ve made my life out reading people’s gauges and knowing what they miss in their lives by the way they held their signs. So, If you don’t mind me sayin’ – I can see you are out of grease. When you start playing your own life – you gotta play it right. You gotta know how to hold them, know when to fix them, Know when to walk away and know where to run. You never count your money when you’re sitting at the steering wheel. There’ll be time enough for countin’ when when you buy the house.  ‘Cause ev’ry job is a winning and every quit is loosing and the best thing you can hope for is loving wife”. So, when I finished speakin’ he fired up the CAT and disappeared in the dark – it takes quite few miles to build strong family – one million and a half to buy that house. Seen him couple more times, then heard he sold that truck to a wrestler, hope he found his luck. I miss seeing that monster, it was big enough to match that song.The Gambler - 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy

The Gambler - 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy

The Gambler – 2007 Peterbilt 379 Legacy

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The American Way

I know last two posts were hard on you my friends and some might be wondering WTF all those East-European truckers and Swedish trucks are doing here on BRS. Easy. Thats was just a intro to talk about how its being done right way – you don’t buy new truck to get into haulling freight anymore.  You need 1984 Pete 359 and if it happen to be short hood – you slam the cab  to make it look right. Tiny, short sleeper will expose enough of frame to put your name – then flip the doors, figure unique color scheme and you are on your way. Everyone will look at you, so you gotta know when to wave – thats how you build your business American Way. It might take more than few days but you’ll be OK  – just keep on trucking.

UPDATE: I have had pleasure talking to Steve Mitchell, here is what he said about this awesome build:  “I’m 26…..built the whole truck by myself with help from my dad and 15 year old neighbor kid….Cabs 84 & part of the frame…..cabs chopped 4 inches with suicide doors and one piece windows….converted to 73 pete dash… hoods from 73… sleepers from 79… custom unibilted the cab and sleeper and put them on air ride. Converted to single turbo c15 out of a 2000 Pete and converted to single drive with pusher axle mounted on a Canadian spread….truck has an aluminum frame also”

slammed Peterbilt 359 from 1984

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