Is Diesel Tech School worth it?

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by coastietruckin', Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Cruisin thru

    Cruisin thru Bobtail Member

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    I guess Im different than most of these guys. Id agree if you want to stay a company driver but if you plan to owner op one day for bigger money then time is money and just the tows can be hundreds of dollars. Knowing some basics and more can get you out of a bind and back on road instead of sitting for days at a motel....I hate to depend on anyone so minimize my odds by carrying tools and extra belts, wires and testing equipment with me. I learned this early when driving dump trucks pulling excavators and loaders around. Youll save a lifetime of trouble by learning now if you have the time ;)
     
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  3. coastietruckin'

    coastietruckin' Light Load Member

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    Heck yeah, thanks crusinthru! Im leaning towards taking the class. I figure if nothing else, it might make me more marketable and the knowledge can come in handy out there.

    Who knows, it might be the difference one day of me being stranded on a desert road for hours, or doing the quick fix myself and rolling down to the next truck stop.
     
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  4. TripleSix

    TripleSix God of Roads

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    Are you a driver? If not, get the driving part over first. Simple is best.

    "But Six, wont it make me more marketable?"

    Sure, if you plan for a career in roadside repairs, but as a company driver, it may spook the desk jockeys. If you want to be more capable around trucks, you can learn without goi g to school. Buy a project pickup truck and build it up.

    "But what about if I want to be an owner op, Six?"

    You should have that pickup truck up and running by that time. You should be fairly capable under the hood and be able to save some money...

    ...BUT....

    ...Time is more important than money. If you're an owner op, you will want to do your little maintenance stuff during your down time. Like on a 34 restart. Grab your grease gun and grease the chassis. Or doing a really good inspection to make sure that the automatic slack adjusters are still working. Or if you are adventurous, putting new brake shoes and drums on. But roadside repairs while you should be moving? Takes too much time. You may have to pull an allniter after therepairs to get back on schedule. If you were wrenching all day, you dont want to have to drive all night.
     
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  5. Pedigreed Bulldog

    Pedigreed Bulldog Road Train Member

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    No such thing as "too much knowledge" when it comes to your chosen profession and how your equipment functions. Knowing HOW it works makes it much easier to figure out what might be wrong and how to piece it back together to get you where you need to go with what you've got on hand. Over the years, I've pulled some pretty spectacular "fixes" out of my bag of tricks to get the job done and get to a shop or back home. Of course, as the owner of the truck, I get to wrench on it to my heart's content or dig into my pocket to pay for somebody else to do the wrenching. When you drive somebody else's truck, they get to decide how much they want you doing. Most won't want you doing much more than light bulbs and glad hand seals. Others will give you the green light to do what you can to save them money IF you have the ability. It might be changing a diaphragm in a brake chamber, replacing a coolant hose, or bypassing the air dryer. I've changed a u-joint on the side of the road, swapped out a blown turbo, moved some tires around on a job site after cutting a steer, etc...basically anything that breaks presents a choice: Do it yourself, or pay someone else to do it. Where you are and what resources you have at your disposal play a big role in that decision, IF the truck owner allows you to turn a wrench on his truck.
     
  6. Cruisin thru

    Cruisin thru Bobtail Member

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    A good example. I had a friend whose truck wouldnt start after an overnight in a rest area. He was ready to call a truck to tow him into town to a shop. 25 miles from me so he decided to ask me what i thought. I went out and did some simple voltage tests with a multimeter and chased down a loose wire on the starter. a few minutes later he was off and running. happy man for sure.
     
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  7. Pedigreed Bulldog

    Pedigreed Bulldog Road Train Member

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    ...and at the very least, even if your boss WON'T let you wrench on the truck, knowing your way around it allows you to effectively relay to the company what is wrong so that the service truck shows up with what they need to fix the problem right...not wasting time diagnosing, then running back to their shop to get the parts, then returning to your truck to do the work. That wasted time is time lost that you could've been getting on down the road.
     
  8. akfisher

    akfisher Road Train Member

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    Great to know basics like filters and fluid changes. The Mega Carriers dont want you touching trucks anyway
     
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  9. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

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    First be a driver, it will take a lot of skill just to that for too many drivers.

    If you are inclined to learn, you don't have to go to a class, much of this stuff is basic.

    Why do you have time between getting your cdl and driving?
     
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  10. coastietruckin'

    coastietruckin' Light Load Member

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    I still have about a year left on my military enlistment. I put an app in to schneider to drive tankers part time about a week and a half ago. The recruiter called me back the next day and said everything looked real good, but then told me about having to do their 30 day tanker school in PA. I couldnt swing that, at least not yet. So, i figure if its not really practical for me to start part time in a rig, then doing a night class would be second best.

    The most knowledge i have on cars is basic stuff (oil, filters, etc). I'd probably be able to get a brake job done in 3x the amount of time it should take. And even then, I'd probably have to re-read the chilton manual over and over or try to find 6 different youtube videos showing me how. But, i figure with my GI Billl to use, a diesel tech class could impart some good beginner knowledge and just maybe get me out of a jam one day.

    I appreciate all the responses so far!
     
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  11. noluck

    noluck Road Train Member

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    It has saved my behind more than once. And countless dollars.
     
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