Owner Operator At A Crossroad: Bring Current Truck Up To Good Condition vs. Picking Between Cascadia, Western Star, or Other

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Over the past few months, three to be exact since initially breaking down at the beginning of April, I have started swaying in my opinion as to the future regarding my truck.

Initially, my plan was to run this truck til the engine went, rebuild once, then trade to a new truck before needing another engine (or before repair costs because too large to keep current truck).

Since then, I began leaning toward putting back money to get a new truck a little sooner, and actually testing the waters with a brand new emissions truck.

Now, given the recent nightmare of problems this truck has had, I am starting to consider the option of getting out even earlier in favor of a new truck vs. hanging on to this one as long as possible.

Keeping this truck, for obvious reasons, has become a much higher risk factor. I am at a point to where I am thinking that even going upside down on a new loan might be a more cost effective approach than trying to hang on to this truck.

I have no intention of getting out of this truck in favor of another used truck. There are pros and cons to this approach, and I am ultimately just not interested in adopting somebody else's problems. The devil you know vs. the devil you don't know would force me to keep this truck in this scenario.

  • Given the information I have posted about the truck lately, would you be looking for an exit strategy, or looking to fight through it and keep it?
Assuming you chose to go the new route, I have been looking into possible options, even considering options that I never thought I would consider.
  • New Cascadia
  • Western Star 5700XE
  • Peterbilt
  • Maybe even Volvo, Maybe.....
With the first two options, I am seeing less risk given the Detroit powertrain. Every option I could get in the Cascadia, I can get in the Western Star. I belive a slight advantage still goes to the Cascadia in terms of aerodynamics, with probably a slight edge going to the WS in terms of a quality truck build.

With the Peterbilt (looking most likely at the 579), I would be entering the world of Cummins with an X15 as I am not interested in a PACCAR motor.

Volvo, kind of throwing that out there because of all the technology and I don't want to just close the door on that option.

  • Assuming you went the new truck route, which would you more strongly consider? Why?
And yes, if I buy a brand new truck, I am most definitely going the autoshift route.

Lets see what kind of quality truck purchase discussion we can have here. I don't see myself buying in the very near future, but another breakdown or so, and I just might leave this truck at the closest dealer and driving something new off the lot, regardless of make or model, LOL.
 

r3gulator3

Friendly Neighborhood Former Technician
Supporter
Ok Mike Mike , few things I would like you to keep in mind.

1 Detroit has the largest framework of support in the US. As all Daimler and Detroit dealers work on them and carry some parts.

2 Stay the Hell away from the PACCAR Motor. You’d be better off with a Maxxforce than that boat anchor.

3volvos interior rattles apart. Their dealer network sucks.

4 Western Star has the most solid built cab on the list. But still has the Achilles heel of Daimler wiring.

5 If you go Pete get a Cummins or if doing another glider go with a 60 series.

6. Remember you can fix a whole lot of the truck you have multiple times, for the cost of what your going to spend on a new truck. Even if you go with Detroit parts on the engine a full inframe will only set you back 22k not 160k
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Ok Mike Mike , few things I would like you to keep in mind.

1 Detroit has the largest framework of support in the US. As all Daimler and Detroit dealers work on them and carry some parts.

2 Stay the Hell away from the PACCAR Motor. You’d be better off with a Maxxforce than that boat anchor.

3volvos interior rattles apart. Their dealer network sucks.

4 Western Star has the most solid built cab on the list. But still has the Achilles heel of Daimler wiring.

5 If you go Pete get a Cummins or if doing another glider go with a 60 series.

6. Remember you can fix a whole lot of the truck you have multiple times, for the cost of what your going to spend on a new truck. Even if you go with Detroit parts on the engine a full inframe will only set you back 22k not 160k
All very good points, which is why I am most heavily leaning towards the Cascadia or Western Star if I went the new truck route.

The thing I am thinking about with this truck is not so much the repair costs, but the future downtime. I'm at 320K now, so on top of the engine concerns I fear, other things will start going wrong. The downtime is, by far, the most costly concern.

For example: In the first quarter of the year, after all expenses, I profited $30K. That is factoring in per diem and everything. 2nd quarter, even with invoices paying out for the first 30 days of that quarter from previous work, I profited $10k. 3rd Quarter, I already have about $5k in repair costs, and zero money coming in for at least 30 days, so yet another big disappointment staring me in the face for quarter 3.

A new truck can have issues in the beginning, that is something else I have to consider.

That said, I am likely down around 1/3 of the cost of a new truck just with 2nd quarter and projected 3rd quarter profit losses, as compared to the 1st quarter. Most of that is because of downtime, which is a killer in this industry when you are a single truck owner.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Another factor: My engine is a 2009 block, it was a Natural Gas motor originally. Fitzgerald didn't tell me this until I had my ECM issue not long into owning the truck. They program all of their trucks to the same engine code, which is fine for them, but I have no idea what the parts look like inside this motor. My best bet, if an engine rebuild is required, would likely be buying a Detroit Reman, and probably having to buy it through Fitzgerald just to avoid fighting about a core charge.
 

GAnthony

Sudanese, pie eating, Canadian truck driver
Supporter
might be cheaper in the long run to drop in a new (or reman) engine, maybe upgrade the transmission as well. the cost of new, taxes, etc, and you got one now you know, and is most likely paid for.?

then run the "older" one (with the new engine) till it needs a rebuild.

i don't know what other problems you have had, since the first time you started a diary on the engine a few months ago.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
might be cheaper in the long run to drop in a new (or reman) engine, maybe upgrade the transmission as well. the cost of new, taxes, etc, and you got one now you know, and is most likely paid for.?

then run the "older" one (with the new engine) till it needs a rebuild.

i don't know what other problems you have had, since the first time you started a diary on the engine a few months ago.
In a nutshell, since the beginning of April, I have ran less than three weeks.
 

GAnthony

Sudanese, pie eating, Canadian truck driver
Supporter
In a nutshell, since the beginning of April, I have ran less than three weeks.
ok...i was gone for a while...

but again, like the other guy said, a new motor (or reman) with full warranty, dropped in, will be far less till THAT engine needs to be rebuilt. like, why put yourself into a hole, as long as the rest of the truck is still good?

but for me, i like the W/S's.....
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
ok...i was gone for a while...

but again, like the other guy said, a new motor (or reman) with full warranty, dropped in, will be far less till THAT engine needs to be rebuilt. like, why put yourself into a hole, as long as the rest of the truck is still good?

but for me, i like the W/S's.....
At this point, it is just a gamble.

If all is well for a while, I can quickly build up my maintenance account into a safe level. If this thing craters on me in the really near future, I am suddenly trying to absorb the engine cost, and the cost of the downtime. The past three months have sunk me pretty low. I absorbed it, but I obviously took a pretty significant hit.
 

Ontario Outlaw

Hozer Witta Hood
Supporter
Paying cash for a pre-emissions truck isn’t an option?

I don’t see a ROI from a new truck purchase. Other than it should earn you money with next to no initial repair costs for the first while. Which should be minimal until the warranty runs out. Maintenance is maintenance that’s a moot point

I believe the Cascadia, in the dry van world of freight, is the number one truck as far as cost of ownership. I would stay away from any Paccar motor, Volvo is a hard no, and I’ve heard of quality complaints on WS bodies.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Paying cash for a pre-emissions truck isn’t an option?
No, not for me. I have a pre emissions now, and if it comes to the point I feel like I need to get out from under it, I will be going the new truck option which will allow me to start running California again. Loads to California, from my area are great. I don't want to restrict myself from running west again. And even though I can run west to anywhere other than California, not having the option to go on into California presents a pretty big risk if I get too far out that way in terms of horrible rates.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
I think you need to go to Fargo and get your truck looked at by a competent shop and tech. I've shared that with you.

If anything, step into a step 3 Detroit factory reman. You'd be miles ahead I believe.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
If you are set on a new emissions, only thing I'd consider is a new, personally specd truck and expect to take delivery in 6-9 months.
 

Ontario Outlaw

Hozer Witta Hood
Supporter
No, not for me. I have a pre emissions now, and if it comes to the point I feel like I need to get out from under it, I will be going the new truck option which will allow me to start running California again. Loads to California, from my area are great. I don't want to restrict myself from running west again. And even though I can run west to anywhere other than California, not having the option to go on into California presents a pretty big risk if I get too far out that way in terms of horrible rates.
Gotcha

There’s a local trucking company that buys gliders for reliability. They had a new one getting PDI’d, I was impressed with the motor install. Silicone heater hoses aren’t cheap. It looked very well put together. That’s a shame the internals might be garbage. Everyone says a Detroit 60 is the best moneymaker, and is reliable as all get out
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
If you are set on a new emissions, only thing I'd consider is a new, personally specd truck and expect to take delivery in 6-9 months.
I'm definitely not set on that at this point, just putting a lot of thought into what direction I am going to need to go. Spec'ing it to my likes would be a must unless I found myself in a bind.
 
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ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
I haven't been displeased with my '09 DD15. I lost an injector years ago when it was still under warranty... took it to the Detroit shop south of Wilkes Barre PA. The DD15s were still a pretty new engine back then, yet instead of just throwing parts at it, the shops were getting the the engineering folks involved. The problem was fixed the first time, and I didn't have injector issues again until I was over 800k miles.

Some years later, out of warranty, I ended up with an EGR problem. Oh ****! People were still having nightmares over emissions at the time. I was going to try to get back to the shop I regularly use in Springfield MO, but the problem precluded the MCM from initiating rolling DPF regens. Took it to the Freightliner shop in Salt Lake. Now I'm sweating bullets on this one... expecting a computer junkie to throw parts at it. I got the truck back, and the repair report was interesting to say the least. In the intervening years the engineering support group had developed an analytic troubleshooting approach on the engine. What I saw was the same sort of approach we used in maintaining Air Force fighters. They traced the problem to wiring and cracked/corroded pins on the MCM. The problem has never recurred.

The reason I bring this up is that I'm very much impressed by the level of support provided by Freightliner and Detroit on these trucks. I'm also impressed by the way they stood behind their product on warranty issues.

The first DD15s hit the market 10 years ago. At this point I'd say it's a relatively mature powerplant.
 

r3gulator3

Friendly Neighborhood Former Technician
Supporter
Another factor: My engine is a 2009 block, it was a Natural Gas motor originally. Fitzgerald didn't tell me this until I had my ECM issue not long into owning the truck. They program all of their trucks to the same engine code, which is fine for them, but I have no idea what the parts look like inside this motor. My best bet, if an engine rebuild is required, would likely be buying a Detroit Reman, and probably having to buy it through Fitzgerald just to avoid fighting about a core charge.
A block is a block. As long as you don’t put a window in your block it’s an acceptable core. The difference between what you have now and a CNG engine is the head, the fuel/ignition system and the pistons. When fitz rebuilt it to diesel they should of put in jug kits and a reman head. Just saying my brother has a truck with 1.6 mil on it and hasn’t hit oversized liners yet. I get down time adds up as well. It’s a big decision to make, but, what happens when your 1box is gummed up and your truck sits for 4-6 weeks because emissions parts are always on world wide back order. Then your out down time and truck payment. Just food for thought kind of playing devils advocate here.

If I had to pick between a Cascadia and a 5700 I would go 5700 every time. I got to drive one when I worked at Wick’s when they released the first production units for sale. Rides good. Door sounds like a door closing and they look good.
 

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