Does an OTR Owner/Operator really have time to work on their own truck

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by esj7319, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. tommymonza

    tommymonza Road Train Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    S.W. Florida
    B4461CD8-8AB1-40C0-876A-32FA2EA8B304.jpeg I was making my living in the commercial parasailing business for many years in saltwater until I sold out few years back.

    Multiple boats and trailers to maintain along with problematic hydraulic systems for the towline winches.

    Been wrenching all my life,54 now. Hate doing it when it is a time crunch deal on a pain in the neck part to get at.

    That was everyday wrenching on the parasail boats, and the saltwater corrosion just added to the misery.

    So here I am now, just started driving 11 months ago hauling milk in tankers driving a 3 year old Western Star 3900sb glider.

    Love the job. Love my company I work for. Love my truck and our trailers.

    But growing up with an entrepreneurial father keeps me from ever being satisfied working for someone else.

    So about 6 months ago I fell upon what I felt was a good truck after looking at many along my travels I Was not looking to buy immediately but knew I would kick myself if I didn’t buy it

    Clean one owner small trucking company maintained 97 International. N-14 13 speed with a million 175 on it.

    Heads just done and last oil analysis from owner came back exceptional condition for the age and mileage.

    Drove it 250 miles home.

    What I will do to it before it goes on the road.

    All new brake drums,shoes,cans,hoses airlines.

    4 new airbags and lines

    Front end feels tight but it will be thoroughly inspected along with wheel bearings and seals.

    10 new tires and balance rings with Alinement

    Dropping the tranny and new clutch, flywheel resurface, clutch brake new input shaft and bearing.

    New tranny and motor mounts.

    Rebuild tower and open cover and flush and inspect tranny.

    Replace the problematic injector harness under the cover.

    Pull the axles and inspect the bearings and reassemble with new axle and pinion seals.

    New radiator and heater hoses. New belts.

    New 5th wheel.

    New seats and do some remodeling on the sleeper.

    Paid 15 for the truck and probably going to have another 15 and 100 hours labor into it with out doing the sleeper remodeling.

    I will have another 5 on the table for other possibilities ie. batteries, radiator, blown rear end

    But I am confident I will have a good reliable truck after that.

    If the motor acts up it will be pulled and done with no expense spared to make it right.

    I just can’t stand looking at stuff and knowing it could fail tomorrow.

    Not a gambler. Never will be. I flew 10s of thousands of people in the past and the worst injury I had was a stubbed toe once.

    My competition 4 miles down the road killed a mother and daughter. Improper maintained and replacement of equipment was cause.
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  3. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    I do most repairs myself, if possible. Truck, house, whatever. Mainly so I know it’s done right.The main reason to gain knowledge would be to fix the Truck, and avoid a service call or towing bill. Knock on wood in 23 yrs only been towed once, Blown engine. Otherwise I’ve managed to limp to a shop or repair on site quite a few things myself avoiding costly downtime or repair bills.Including A/C turbos, injectors , wheel bearings and seals, water pumps clutch fans ,mostly easy parts changing. As far as having time to run and do repairs, that’s a cost vs savings question, sometimes better to just pay the bill and get down the road.Now it’s slow, I’ve been taking 2-4 days in warm weather doing some minor stuff till I find a decent rate. Either way I consider the labor saved as pay for myself. It’s easy to spend too much on repairs.Seems to be a lot more unnecessary repairs these days.All I hear is “ The Shop did this and that $2000 later problem remains. A good Diesel school or just learning from others, via Utube wether you do the work or pay someone. Will save you money
  4. olddog_newtricks

    olddog_newtricks Medium Load Member

    Jun 3, 2018
    If you are going g to be an O/O it's not a matter of having time. You will work on your truck yourself or go broke in a hurry.
    86scotty and Rideandrepair Thank this.
  5. S M D

    S M D Road Train Member

    Mar 15, 2012
    sacramento ca
    I work on my own trucks. And anybody who thinks they’re going to be working on the truck 24/7 are buying the wrong truck I guess?
    I find the time to do whatever I need to do before the truck hits the road. And half of those times the truck doesn’t anything more than oil change and grease. ( if that) Not like every trip you’re doing a rebuild where your hands are full. Full time.
    Tire changes, air filters, brakes, brake adjustments, oil changes, all that is easy work. And well keeping cost down and owning/ managing a company you sign up for the sacrifice of sleep and free time to bbq or beat your spouse
    adayrider and Tug Toy Thank this.
  6. adayrider

    adayrider Road Train Member

    May 7, 2018

    Let me see, give the shop $10,000 ($5000 for parts $5000 for labor) so I don't have to give the government $1000
    Or buy the parts for $5000 put then on myself, give government $1000 and put $4000 in my pocket.

    The famous deduction or better known as a "wright off"
    People just have no idea how it works i guess.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  7. RustyBolt

    RustyBolt Road Train Member

    Feb 21, 2015
    Bement, IL
    If you're capable and want to mess with it, go for it. No need to try to belittle others for running their business the way they want to.
    esj7319 and chimbotano Thank this.
  8. adayrider

    adayrider Road Train Member

    May 7, 2018
    I didn't beliittle no one. Has nothing to do with being capable.
    It is just facts. Spending $1000 to save $200 tax bill is not wise. It's not business smart. That's a fact. You didn't save anything, you spent money and saved nothing.
    I doesn't matter to me if you work on your truck or not. Whatever makes you happy is good with me.
    Someone reads what you wrote will go out and spend $3000 on a drop visor or something like and thinks he is beating the tax man is wrong.
    If you don't want to pay the tax man, don't work.
    esj7319 and Rideandrepair Thank this.
  9. heavyhaulerss

    heavyhaulerss Road Train Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    When I bought my first truck, I did all I could, outside, on the ground, sometimes inside. After 19 years in that truck and at 53 years old now with my new 97' truck I don't do as much, in great financial shape so I give myself time with family, and support my local shop with work.
    But mostly it was important to get to know my truck, and to crawl under it at every service, oil change, grease, e.t.c. in 20 years, I've had a shop fo a oil change 4 times. The #1 reason is while crawling under,over, and around my truck,trailer, engine, I can see problems or potential problems that mechanics don't look for or don't care.
    I still do my full service outside in my driveway. I don't fix a lot on my truck, but I want to be able to if needed.
    esj7319, Tug Toy, tommymonza and 3 others Thank this.
  10. 86scotty

    86scotty Road Train Member

    Aug 27, 2017
    Diesel school and your eventual goal is to be an O/O? No way. If you're halfway handy and have an internet connection you can keep your truck running.

    Some stuff you won't be able to do but most of it you'll want to try. Why? Because what most of these guys haven't said that has always been MY reality is that when I drop off my truck for service they don't get to it for 3 days. If I need the time off great but you rarely get that lucky.

    They usually break when you need them or far from home. Just put together a good tool kit, get to know your truck for a few months and you'll be able to do most of the easy stuff yourself, no formal training needed.
    esj7319 and tommymonza Thank this.
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