Small fleet owner Larry Limp's Indiana legacy in LNL Trucking, good humor in e-logs reckoning

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"As I get older, I like electronic logbooks a lot better than I would have in my 20s. Now that I'm 63, I like that 10 hours off. My work ethic really started to wane when I found out that feed mills are open at noon. You didn't have to be there at 7 o'clock in the morning. You can get there at noon and still unload." --LNL Trucking small fleet owner and Overdrive 2023 Small Fleet Champ Larry Limp, cracking wise about one among the many big changes in trucking he's seen over his four-plus decades in the business.

Good humor? Yessir, LNL Trucking small fleet owner Larry Limp’s got plenty of that. Overdrive’s 2023 Small Fleet Champ in the 11-30-truck division, LNL’s built a solid direct customer business specializing mostly in animal fats pulled in 6,800- and 7,000-gallon stainless tanks to supply businesses in various production chains -- gear lubes, cutting oils, you name it. Based on Bedford, Indiana, Larry Limp’s sense of humor’s probably served him well in decidedly less-humorous endeavors than contemplating his own psychology and the shift to electronic logs in 2017, that’s sure.

Larry LimpLarry Limp with his personal truck, with which he still hauls to the tune of around 70,000 miles annually, a 2000 Peterbilt 379.

He’s served as Chairman of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, participates annually in the IMTA’s trips to Washington to visit with reps and Senators, and generally keeps his nose to the grindstone building business -- "hanging on" to business might be the better phrase in the current environment -- with a strong do-it-yourself ethic borne of 40-some years trucking. Almost all of that has been as an owner-operator and, now, small fleet owner.

Ahead of the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville last week, I ventured about an hour and a half’s drive north and west of the Kentucky town to Bedford, Indiana, to LNL's shop and world headquarters.

LNL Trucking world headquartersLNL's shingle out front on the shop/office building

LNL world headquarters wide viewThe expansive shop, with three drive-in bays, plenty space inside for parts storage and a modular office, and room for at least two more pull-in bays, sits on a beautiful parcel of land on U.S. 50 east of the center of town.

LNL's past headquarters and one among its stainless tanksOne of LNL's stainless, smooth-bore/rear-unload tankers is pictured here at the edge of the yard around company headquarters. The building in the background and to the left of the tanker is LNL's previous headquarters adjacent to the current headquarters property. LNL had outgrown that prior shop by 2020, when small fleet owner Limp moved into the current building, formerly a manufacturing facility for a company that built steel skeletons for modular buildings.

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Howes logoOverdrive Radio's sponsor is Howes, longtime provider of fuel treatments like its Howes Diesel Treat anti-gel and Lifeline rescue treatment to get you through the coldest temps, likewise its all-weather Diesel Defender, among other products.Limp, who still pulls in one of the rigs in the fleet of mostly Peterbilt 579s himself, was headed back from St. Louis after a delivery Tuesday morning last week, was driving the longest-serving Pete in the fleet. It’s not a 579, but rather a 2000 Peterbilt 379 Limp’s partial to for a variety of reasons. Chief among them: it's "trouble free" when it comes to persnickety aftertreatment-related maintenance/repair issues that have given so many owners fits in recent years. The 379's powered by its original 1999-built, pre-EGR Caterpillar engine.

Larry Limp's personal Peterbilt 379Here's the 2000 379 hooked to its 6,800-gallon Tremcar tanker. Yes, that's a reefer parked next to it, one of two that LNL is leasing with Premier Leasing to take advantage of freight opportunities to the side of the company's direct customers in animal-fat processors.Limp had picked up Monday evening, hauled out to St. Louis the same night to stage for morning unload. He was back in Bedford by the time I got to town, and we sat down to talk through the history of the 2000 Peterbilt 379 -- ELD-exempt, it turned out, with the 1999-built motor, though he’s running an e-log in it as in the rest of the 12 trucks in fleet. Also in the podcast: His history trucking, marking time by major engine work, by truck model years and big moves, and more besides. Take a listen: 

Keep tuned for more from Limp in future podcasts, and read more about his business via this link. Part of what you can expect? See below: 

2014 Peterbilt 579 prepped for overhaulLNL and crew -- including maintenance head Wes Johnson -- were prepping one of the company's 2014 Peterbilt 579s for an out-of-frame overhaul, the first they've done on a Cummins ISX, Limp noted. There will certainly be more of those in their future, and the opportunity to learn is key for him. It’s something of a motto, in fact. “I can’t” is not in his vocabulary, he said, when it comes to obstacles. For trucking success, “adapt and overcome” are certainly words to live by.

Custom-built gantry crane in LNL shopAdaptation in the case of the upcoming overhaul included building the tools to do the job, without having to rely as in past on a heavy-duty wrecker service to remove the engine. Larry Limp and crew built this gantry crane to hoist the engine out of the frame with Limp's brother, Joe, a master fabricator. How'd they do it? More on that later.

[Related: LNL Trucking minds the pennies, stacks up dollars in profit: Owner Larry Limp's strong foundation]