Turns out there can be a little-known fringe benefit to talking business with the provider of the oil you’ve used in that million-mile engine since you bought it new. (Fringe benefit to brand loyalty, too, I suppose.) That’s what Forrest, Ill.-based small fleet owner-operator Dave Marti found out when a visit with Growmark, supplier to him of both the oil (Suprex Gold ESP) and fuel (Dieselex Gold) that goes in his engines and tanks.
When Growmark learned Marti’s own “High Maintenance” flagship rig, a 2007 legacy edition Pete 379 powered by a Caterpillar C15, had hit a million miles in 2017 with nary an overhaul, Marti soon found himself in the midst of a teardown and video shoot, the results of which are above, with the video going live from Growmark in March of 2018.
Marti filled me in on it at the Guilty by Association Truck Show back in September. There’s something to be said for consistent servicing of the truck, to which Marti most attributes the longevity of the C15. Growmark brought in the film crew, their fuel suppliers in Virginia and more and worked on the rig and video for two days’ time. “The engine was spotless inside” when it was opened up, Marti says. “They told me that some motors they look at at 400,000-500,000-mile intervals — this was cleaner than that.” There was wear where you would expect it, certainly, he says, but Marti’s use of routine oil analysis to help determine when to change, and getting that done when it makes the most sense, driving easy, and more, clearly had helped the longevity.
And that little-known fringe benefit I mentioned up top — techs performed an overhaul on the C15 in the course of the filming, all on the dime of a party other than Marti. “Hindsight to this story, though,” he says, is “we probably could have gone a long way further without opening it up,” and without engine issues.
I made mention of the relative few 1.5-million-mile-plus, no-overhaul stories I’ve heard. Maintenance best practices, routinely performed, “start adding up,” Marti said. “Watch your costs — that’s what it’s all about, less cost,” less wasted oil and equipment performing as it should.
Also at GBATS, I had the opportunity to take a look at the newest addition to Marti’s five-truck fuel-hauling fleet, this 2018 Peterbilt 389 glider powered by an earlier model Caterpillar C13 engine, chosen in part to save weight in the liquid-bulk tank operation. Problem was, the shorter block of the C13 presented a challenge to Marti and company, who’d made the decision to mate the C13/13-speed power- and drivetrain to the glider largely themselves. Find views of and more from Marti on just how he accounted for the shorter dimensions of the C13, compared to what the glider was naturally set up for, in the brief video below.