Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A day at the truck repair shop

Today I took the '99 Intl 4900 feed truck to Des Moines to have some work done on it. It has been having a problem of overheating when unloading feed, even when it's 20 degrees F or colder out. I thought I'd have it PM'ed as well (periodic maintenance) at the same time.

So, I got to O'Halloran's around 10 AM and went to the service desk. I told the fellow what I needed done with it, but I didn't get a strong vibe this guy. I think he was more into trying to sell me on certain "programs" than actually fixing my problem. He suggested a coolant flush, whereupon I told him that the coolant has probably been flushed out in the last 3 weeks due to the overheating I'd been having. We settled on the basic medium duty PM program, plus check into the overheating issue.

So, off I went next door to the Bosselmann's truck stop. I wandered around the chrome/parts area for a while, then found some free reading material and settled down for a 1/2 hour. OK, 'nuff of that. Back to the Intl dealer to check out the new and used trucks. The new ProStars are pretty nice rigs. A used truck dealer came out to greet me, but I told him I was there for service, hopefully not to spend $100K on a new truck.

Went to BK across the street for lunch and watched the trucks roll in and out of Bosselmann's for about a 1/2 hour. It was kinda interesting...

Went back to O'Hallorans and asked when the truck would get in, because I wouldn't mind taking it somewhere to get it washed. Upon realizing that I was hanging around and didn't have anything better to do, the service manager (the guy who knew what the heck was going on) got the truck in immediately. Cool. I retired to the drivers lounge for some TV.

Maury Povich. Jerry Springer. COPS. The Steve "guy-from-Springer's-show" Show. My mind was starting to rot. For some reason they were fixated on pedophiles, underage sex, and lesbians dressed in animal costumes fighting each other today...

Not all that time was wasted, however; I talked to a couple of real truck drivers as well, and learned a few things about container hauling. And, I did get a call from a potential new customer that sounded promising.

So, around 4 PM, they finally had the truck done. They did a recall fix on the ABS brakes that took longer than expected, but now the "Trac Control" like stays on. It shouldn't. The clearance lights aren't working now, either - they noted it on the worksheet, but funny, they were working a few days ago...!

The water temp issue was due to a faulty fan drive thingy. Apparantly it was made out of gold, as it cost about 1/2 the going price of an ounce. I thought Case IH and John Deere had the corner on high priced parts, but I guessed wrong.

I finally get back home around 7 PM after A) trying to track down a water pump for my Toyota forklift (apparantly this lift had two different engine options and three different water pumps for each engine, and the dealer had NONE of them in stock) and B) spending $10 in quarters washing the feed truck. It probably weighs 100 lbs less now.

Let's say this: Truck service shops are quite different than auto repair shops, especially higher end ones like Jordan Motors. When I had a VW Jetta TDI and had it PM'ed at Jordan, I felt like I was, well, at Jordan Creek before it even existed. At this place, I don't think they focused so much on customer service. But, they are probably used to dealing with larger companies with fleets rather than individual owners.

If I need to send a rig up there again, I'm going to have a ride available and we'll go tool around DM in the meantime, and request that the service work get done that day. There's only so much entertainment to be found at a truck stop.


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5:28 AM, February 20, 2008  

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