Severe Service

Overdrive Staff | April 01, 2012

‘Lewis and Clark’ finish heavy haul

Kenworth T800s spec’d for super-heavy haul with 550-hp engines and 18-speed transmissions backed by a 4-speed auxiliary transported these massive coke drums on custom trailers. Each rig had another T800 pushing the 702,000-lb. load behind it during the slow-going moves.

Can you imagine a haul that requires four years of planning? That’s the time heavy haulers with Oregon-based Emmert International put into planning and executing a move earlier this year of two massive barrel-shaped coke drums for ConocoPhillips. After traveling from Lewiston, Idaho, 700 miles east to the company’s oil refinery in Billings, Mont., the drums are part of a $50 million upgrade of the refinery due to be completed this fall.

“The coke drum moves presented us with one of the most challenging routes ever faced by a heavy transport company,” company founder Terry Emmert says. 

Remarkable is the custom design work Emmert put into the two trailers, dubbed Lewis and Clark: 226-foot-long, 32-axle, 128-wheel trailers distributing top and bottom sections of each shipment evenly. The nicknames stemmed from the loads following part of the exploratory trail of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

The first shipment, which left in February 2011, encountered winter weather that delayed its arrival until April 2011. The second was delayed by high runoff from the Yellowstone River that flooded the U.S. 12 bridge. It finally made Billings on Aug. 4, marking the end of the historic haul.




Before and after the DPF

High-soot on/off-road applications can compound diesel particulate filter cleaning issues. Know when and where to clean to avoid problems.



If you’ve bought a new truck since 2007, you face a new maintenance interval: servicing the diesel particulate filter. Cleaning the filter element removes accumulated engine oil ash, particularly for heavy-to-severe-duty trucks in high-idle on/off-road applications. While ash in the DPF typically remains loose, a small amount of carbon may adhere tightly to the DPF’s ceramic walls, forming gooey or even hard deposits, especially if the engine is not operating properly.

There’s much more to DPF cleaning than a thorough vacuuming of ash because carbon deposits often harden on the ceramic surface (left). Make sure the process you use guarantees complete removal of both ash and adhered deposits.

Inadequate cleaning can compromise the filter’s life and warranty, while thorough cleaning may result in better fuel economy and more miles. But knowing when to clean alone is not enough. Know the cleaning procedure, the vendors you’re using and details for an effective plan.

When to clean

Ash doesn’t burn, so it has to be mechanically cleaned out of the DPF when it impedes exhaust flow, indicated by a backpressure light on the dash. Most experts, however, believe you shouldn’t wait for a warning light.

First determine the duty cycle, recommends Bob Giguere, product support manager at Inland Power Group of the WheelTime truck service network. “Under ideal conditions, in over-the-road service you can go 300,000 miles, but with a lot of idling, or local service, you’ll see shorter intervals,” he says. He recommends following manufacturers’ recommended intervals for DPFs operated under favorable conditions.

What’s favorable? Amount of oil consumed and engine hours are both primary factors, says Giguere. A major reason for clogging is ash from burned oil, and idling engines use more oil because the piston rings work less effectively. Idling also means poor combustion of fuel and more soot, potentially fouling the DPF.

On/off-road and heavy haul operators should realize their operations put the engine in high load conditions more often than engines that power highway vehicles. Any condition that helps maintain proper airflow into the engine or optimizes the injection system will help extend mileage and hours between cleanings by minimizing soot in the exhaust. Pay attention to these maintenance items to help optimize DPF cleaning intervals:

• Necessary adjustment of overheads.

• Replacement of air cleaners.

• Charge air cooler cleaning and testing, with maintenance of intake air hoses to minimize charge air leakage.

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