Discussion in 'ABF Freight System' started by canaryinthemine, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. canaryinthemine

    canaryinthemine Retirement....The Job I Was Born To Have!

    Actin'?......And me in this condition?...

    I'd ask for sympathy,.....but as my dispatcher says:
    "If you want sympathy, you can find it between "sh#t" and "syphilis" in the dictionary......"
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  2. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

    we had a truck break down on the side of the road Friday transmission issues seem to be common with our 10 year old Internationals that have the Meritor transmissions. However lately there was an influx of new equipment. We have our own shop with our own people at GFS, but sometimes they send it out to the dealer, they sent my 5 year old Volvo to the Volvo dealer to get fixed the last time it was in for maintenance.
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  3. canaryinthemine

    canaryinthemine Retirement....The Job I Was Born To Have!

    We predominantly have Sterlings , which are proving to be "throwaway" trucks.. there is absolutely no quality in the parts or design......

    We had two Sterlings where the plastic radiator overflow tanks sprang big leaks, the point of shutdown...No moving parts there,..just cheap materials...

    Rattling dashboards, unadjustable doors, knobs breaking off,....switch assemblies failing...these tractors have reached the end of their useful life,.....and have entered into a new phase as being rolling hazards to both the public and the employee.

    Out of our little fleet of seven, at any given time, at least one of our trucks are down for several days........Plus, we're expected to provide "spare" tractors to the 20 or so HVXP and road drivers who pass through our terminal each night....Our three vendors can't keep up.......

    We look at Estes, FedEx and even R & L driving around in two year old....or less......trucks.........and then we get in our seven, eight ....ten....or older.....900,000 mile trucks,.....cross our fingers, and hope we don't break down more than once a week....
    MikeJ likes this.
  4. ABFer

    ABFer Well-Known Member

    Before one can fully appreciate all of this they would need to drive one. Otherwise you would suspect my comrade of exaggerating the situation. On the bright side as we move on with our lives and into our second childhood and begin to reminisce we will have a little to recall as we enjoy our IC Lights. Maybe they would be so kind as to donate one to the Smithsonian Institute for future generations to appreciate.
    canaryinthemine likes this.
  5. vongrimmenstein

    vongrimmenstein Well-Known Member

    I liked the ride of the Sterling. But it was still junk. The Mack rode a little bit more ruff, but is built like a tank compared to the Sterling. von.
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  6. canaryinthemine

    canaryinthemine Retirement....The Job I Was Born To Have!

    Yeah, a WWI trench-crossing tank,.....not a modern Abrams tank,......or even a WWII Sherman .......
  7. ABFer

    ABFer Well-Known Member

    When you open the door on a Mack, any Mack the dome light still comes on (if nobody stole to bulb out of it).
  8. DCM_Doc

    DCM_Doc Well-Known Member

  9. DCM_Doc

    DCM_Doc Well-Known Member

    As you may know ABF bought the first Sterlings assembled in Canada in 1999 & the last ones assembled in 2009 when Freightliner that owned Sterling shut down the plant & decided to sunset the Sterling brand. One reason Freightiner gave was the long & frequent strikes at the plant plus they own Western Star which is also a lower priced tractor than Freightliner.
    As I remember Freightliner promised to supply captive parts for 10 years. If you look at ABF used equipment for sale you will see several for sale that had parts cannibalized. Many captive parts for Sterlings are as rare as hen's teeth. The company is writing these tractors off.
    Mack is an international brand so parts are mostly available for even older units like R-models. I think the company has managed to get the good out of the Sterlings. Even though the used Sterlings are being sold for a lower price than Macks I think the company was still able to make a profit due to the lower purchase price of the Sterlings. You won't have to drive Sterlings much longer. They are becoming an extinct species.
    Maybe a country boy mechanic can engineer an over flow tank out of a feed bucket. A redneck can usually keep equipment going with some baling wire & imagination.
    canaryinthemine likes this.
  10. canaryinthemine

    canaryinthemine Retirement....The Job I Was Born To Have!

    Hah! In 1996, I was issued a brand-new International city truck. As we are in W. Pa. and two of the five counties we cover are mountain counties,.......we ran those vastly underpowered tractors pretty hard.

    My International developed a severe blowby problem to the tune of about a gallon every two days. The vendor we had at the time came up with the hillbilly fix of adding an "extra-long" tube of rubber hose on the blowby that all the oil being sprayed out would come out behind the transmission. Great for me.....not so great for anyone following me.....

    As a former O/O I was a little horrified over this bit of barnyard engineering.......But I figured if it was O.K. with upper mgmt........who am I to question how they want to blow up their truck motors?

    Anyway ...., the blowby got substantially worse, we removed the stack, and the right side step,....ramped it up on a platform on our property, and loaded it into a trailer.......(I have a picture).......and sent it to an unnamed breakbulk for repair......reason for it being unnamed will be apparent.

    The breakbulk shop .......after three weeks.......sent it back to us..,.....,...(standby for a gasp of disbelief).…......with about two foot of the blowby hose cut off so the shop could attach a plastic oil bottle with the hole cut larger to insert the blowby tube...,.......plastic bottle held on with zip ties........and the "instructions" were that as the bottle got full,......cut the zip ties, dump the oil back in the motor, re-insert the blowby tube in the bottle and zip tie it back to the frame.......They didn't even take off the valve covers, let alone the heads!

    How's that for hillbilly ingenuity?
  11. ABFer

    ABFer Well-Known Member

    That's definitely hillbilly ingenuity and engineering. If a yankee had done it he'd have rigged that hose right up to the fill neck and avoided that clumsy bottle rig. So...they must have sent it to 004 instead of 042
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  12. DCM_Doc

    DCM_Doc Well-Known Member

    It didn't come to 004. Those city Internationals had DT466 engines & were usually good for 200K miles before the liner seals started leaking coolant in the oil. The "Works Kit" overhaul kit was not expensive to repair the engines. What usually happened to shorten the life of those little city rigs was they were often used on weekends to pull doubles between terminals. The small Internationals were built to pull one trailer not two loaded trailers. Many transmissions & differentials were replaced because of the overloading. In fact one man was kept busy rebuilding the transmissions. The overloading was one reason the company started putting 3 year old road tractors in the city where they could do double duty. When the numbers were crunched the older road tractors didn't use much more fuel than the smaller tractors. The company still buys a few smaller tractors for the city but not like in the past.
  13. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

    Gordon Food Service went through there Sterling phase as well, company had Ford's for 30 years and then one day Ford was done making trucks and they decided to go with the abomination known as Sterling that came next. Well they did have some White GMC's and First Generation Volvo's, but the Fords and Sterlings were the main truck of the late 1990s and early 2000s, however around 2000s they started integrating the fleet a little bit buying second generation Volvo's and while that was going on though the Volvo's were out performing the Sterlings and the company started buying more second generation Volvo's and the Sterlings were not well recieved by the drivers or the shop.

    GFS has since gotten rid of all the Sterlings to my knowledge, well there might be a few up in Michigan still running around someone where, but I know the fleet shop in Springfield, Ohio somehow the manager said he was fed up with the Sterling's and somehow got rid of all of them, I don't know how, but he got rid of them.

    I know our company had the Sterlings like I said late 1990s and gosh I think there all gone now, the Internationals are next, but they are slow to get rid of them, they had a falling out with Volvo around 2007 and went and bought some International's had problems galore with the Internationals and cancelled there PO with International, but there are still a few around most are spares, but there pretty roughed up, and this is the year there all 10 years old and due to be replaced, but for some reason they have been slow to get rid of the Internationals.

    I can't say GFS is cheap with equipment and they have not been afraid to buy new equipment they bought 14 new trucks for our division this year and I wouldn't be surprised if they bought more next year, I think they had no choice though company has a lot of 10 year old Volvo's that are probably ready to be phased out in a year or two.

    I don't know how they figure there equipment budget and what there going to spend, but our company profit sharing was fairly good this year, so they must have it all figured out. I know though at our yard we have some older trucks, however some of our transit units there not running as long as they used to they used to keep those trucks on the road 4-5 years before down grading them to city and now it's like 12-24 months and there switching them out, of course they said the 2015 Volvo's had tons of problems and recalls and the company was having problems with the Volvo's and I think some of the 2015's were being to problematic I know we had one at our yard 2015 Volvo VNM air leak computer control problem had to be sent to an outside shop which performed some kind of mal-practice and then it had to be sent to the dealer and fixed again and the company just gave up on it and replaced it with a new truck.

    Our shop though, while it's our own a lot of the mechanics do not have a lot of experience and there straight out of diesel school and there trying to fumble there way through and there fighting a big learning curve and it's been difficult the shop tries hard, but between the trucks and then an entire fleet of refer trailers that needs maintenance too plus we have converter dollies just like you guys do, it's a lot for them to handle and I don't know who's incharge of the trailers, but I'm surprised our refer units work as good as they do, I've had very little trouble out of our refer trailers, I know they have a corner of the warehouse that's all trailers with broken refers and Thermo King I think comes out and works on some of the stuff, because it's just to much. You take some poor kid who's struggling to just do regular PM's and then tell him here go fix this refer trailer, he or she is going to struggle.
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  14. ABFer

    ABFer Well-Known Member

    The Fords somehow morphed into Sterlings but I am not sure how it went down but that would explain why the companies ran the Sterlings. ABF had Fords and Macks for the most part early in my career. I do not know what the percentages of each was though. I could only guess why they started trying out Volvos but my guess could be right on the money too.
    MikeJ likes this.
  15. DCM_Doc

    DCM_Doc Well-Known Member

    Ford sold their heavy truck division to Freightliner. Ford was developing a lighter tractor to replace the Louisville line & had built the tractor that was to become the Sterling for two years when the Freightliner transaction was inked. Ford turned the Louisville truck plant into an assembly line for larger SUV's because they were more profitable at the time. Freightliner started building the Sterling at the Canadian plant in 1999. ABF bought their first Sterlings that year.
    The Sterling was lighter than the Louisville tractor it replaced & that means less fuel consumed and/or more freight on trailers. ABF bought cabover Ford WT's for several years. The Louisville conventional line came out in 1970. ABF bought some that year & continued buying them for years. Ford was very good to work with & listened to new ideas on how to improve their trucks. Somewhere in the 80's ABF made the largest Ford order. There was a total of 900+ Ford tractors bought that year. A few hundred were city L-800's. ABF was a very good customer of Ford heavy trucks.
    ABF bought R- Model Macks in 1988 & bought CH Macks in 1994. Mack out bid other manufacturers those years. The strategy Mack used in the low bids was to put more of their trucks on the road. The thinking was that the best advertisement is to have more trucks on the road especially a company like ABF that had a reputation of the lowest cost per mile of their competitors.
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  16. 00mustang

    00mustang ON THE ROAD IN THE WAY @61.97

    When i started with CFCC in 83 all the line haul was the "looney tune 9000' The teams ran the 2 story ford cab overs and we had a mixed breed for the city some GMC Bridgaders a few White Road Commodes day cab cab overs and a good old B-67 with a air lift 5th wheel for a yard horse. Then we switched over the I H and Freightliners. Teams ran the freightliners had some single axles of these also, When we started the triples mangement out of Cherryville NC had to come to Toledo to see the trucks,it was the only time they had bought trucks that didn't go thru the home shop. The company I'm with now still has a bunch of the Sterlings just the other day saw one getting a recon motor stuffed in it I think it was an '08 but we still refurb our old I H but carhaul is a different breed any way. "nuff said stay safe winter is here Oh I Almost forgot The B model also had air power steering so you youngsters will how that works so well in the winter
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  17. canaryinthemine

    canaryinthemine Retirement....The Job I Was Born To Have!

    You must be with Cassens. I'm an old car hauler myself,......'79 to '82 with M & G Convoy..........

    Now there was good maintenance. Any Ryder shop in the country.......Anything you wanted,......within reason, of course......

    Since each trailer had their own "personality" as it were,.......and it was all about how many different combinations of vehicles you could load,..........any sort of modification on a trailer,......cut pockets here,..put cylinders and a ramp bar there, just whipped into a Ryder shop, explained what you wanted,...and went to the motel.......

    I did that at Janesville, the shop to add a ramp bar, I could load seven huge Cadillacs on an old Delavan....(modified for nine VW's...)....I think I was grossing just a little under 73,280 when I came swaying out of that plant....,...That ol' screaming 238 Detroit practically had a hernia.......but luckily it was all downhill from Janesville Wisc. to Pittsburgh......
  18. Canadian Flyer

    Canadian Flyer Self-Employed

    The noise that made must've been biblical!
  19. ABFer

    ABFer Well-Known Member

    Aaaaa, I sure do enjoy yous old timers' stories of old but I am glad that I didn't have to experience them first hand. I don't think that I have the stomach to haul cars, but that's good for you or I'd come cut your rates! Way back when I was young (like ten years ago) I watched a Nu-Car driver loading or unloading cars for a couple of minutes. He was at the back end of the trailer and the car wasn't 100% centered (I guess it was close enough). That ramp was all twisted up like an 8 track ribbon in the wind on the side of the road. Of course he couldn't see it from his vantage point but that was all I needed to see to say, "You can count me out of that". And that was before I had talks with guys about loading vehicles in the rain...oh the things you don't even think about if you don't have to do it yourself.
  20. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

    I'm running late had a strange route sequence today any how I'm late and now broke down starter motor just took a dump.At least it's 10:00am and schools already started and there's no school buses in the way.
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