June 2014 - AKMI Corporation

Monthly Archives: June 2014

Finding the Right Repair Shop

Let’s say you are a new start-up company and you have a fleet of heavy duty trucks. You have some experience in the trucking industry, but feel it would be too costly to keep in-house mechanics and maintain your fleet.

Finding trained & skilled mechanics is not cheap, but the risk of hiring one trained person and hoping he can train unskilled labor is one you don’t want to take. Then maintaining your inventory of commercial truck parts for your fleet can be challenging and ending up with too much of one item and not enough of another can lead to longer downtimes for your vehicles.

So after looking at the cost and risks of an “in-house” maintenance program, you decide that you would rather outsource the repair work. How do you know which shop will be the best for your fleet needs?

Working for a company that sells commercial truck replacement parts on a wholesale level, I had never thought about it before. Being a wholesaler, our company doesn’t deal with the general public. We have referred callers to our closest customer in their area before, but had never given a thought about repair shops in general. Not until a caller asked me if any of his choices were a repair shop as well, so I decided to do some research.

Now since I still do not have a need for a repair shop, I researched on how to go about finding the right repair shop for your needs.

Here is a list of some ideas to consider when looking for a repair shop:

  1. Make an initial list of the repair shops in your area and begin by looking at the website, if offered.
  2. A professional or user friendly website can be a sign the company conducts itself professionally.
  3. Call up the companies on your list and evaluate their customer service. Are they willing to take the time to speak with you on the phone or are they rushed and trying to end the call quickly? Depending on how these calls go, you could eliminate some companies from your list.
  4. Review the list of services provided. Some repair shops may only specialize in one area of repair work, meaning you would have to find another shop for other repairs.
  5. Make sure the repair shop does work on your vehicle brand/application. If you have a truck with a AFTERMARKET DETROIT S60 engine and take it to a shop who specialize in Aftermarket Caterpillar , you may not get the best repair work done.
  6. What is the labor rate of the shop and hours of operation?
  7. Ask about their technician certifications and experience.
  8. What is the vehicle turnaround time for repairs and their service backlog look like? A shop could do quality repair work, but if understaffed, they could take longer to get your truck up & running.
  9. Does the repair shop maintain an internal inventory of commercial truck parts, or would parts have to be ordered and shipped to them? You may have to wait a day or longer to get your truck back on the road.
  10. Make sure the repair shop has good insurance coverage. Last thing you would need is for some sort of accident to happen, or the building burns down, and the repair shop insurance won’t cover your truck.
  11. Will the shop offer a warranty on their labor?

All of the things listed above are great, but feeling comfortable with the company is just as important. Another thing to consider, just because a company is the cheapest option, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the worst option. The same thing can be said about speed as well. Granted, you want your truck on the road as soon as you can get it there, but you want it to last for a long time as well. Quality repair work can help make that happen.

The Love Bug Lives On: A VW Beetle Throwback

This car is a legend. That’s all we have to know. We don’t need numbers and figures to prove the charisma of an icon, we just know. However, the Volkswagen Beetle has so much to say, and they’re not just boring facts, but a cool story to how it became our favourite bug. Maybe that’s why we came to love it in the first place. So why don’t we refresh our memories and take a road trip back to where it all happened, then arrive at why we think it is indeed legendary. Seatbelts?

Told you this would be interesting. Even Hitler’s a fan! This was taken in 1938, three years after Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the man beside Hitler and the mastermind of the Beetle’s unique design, created the Volkswagen which means “people’s car” in German. He later created his own line of cars and named it after him. Ring a bell?

The VW Beetle became more popular as people noticed its bizarre form. They thought it looked like a bug because of its big headlights, similar to two big eyes! After the Second World War, it was introduced to the United States and people of all ages started buying it. The Volkswagen truly came to be the “people’s car”.

The Beetle later became art on wheels as it was massively transformed by hippies as a rolling master-peace. Together with its cousin the VW Microbus, they turned out to be the ultimate Woodstock mobile during the 60’s. Artists, Musicians, and hippies alike, rolled with their own versions of a psychedelic beetle urging the era of love, peace, and harmony. How cool is that?

And of course, who would forget this goofy little fella? Herbie might be cute and all, but he becomes a speed freak when he starts to rev up, perform stunts, and win races! When this movie boomed in 1969, the VW Beetle was also adored by the young generation. Just like the movie “Cars” nowadays, kids were amazed on how a small car gets to win races (and wink at them!), while adults were hooked with the more technical aspect and even started using its parts for actual race cars. Enter Formula Vees!

These race cars used the Bug’s engine, transmission, and suspension. It was convenient for them back then since the Bug became widely cheap and easy to find. They also came up with the “Super Beetle”! The basic shape stayed the same but the engine was boosted giving greater horsepower, there’s more space in the trunk, and it has larger fenders and taillights. They continued improving the Beetle until a brand new one was born.

This is the modernized version of our Love Bug created in 1999. It still owns an animated personality just like the classic one, but gives off a more mature and sophisticated appeal without losing its one-of-a-kind style. Now, are you ready for the Space Beetle? Just Kidding. We don’t have that one yet (but it would be badass to see one, right?). What we do have is the latest one they’ve designed for 2014.

Presenting the Beetle Turbo Convertible sculpted from powerful cosmetic enhancements. It’s an extensive package composed of performance-inspired perks and detailed sleek. You can still sniff the original one’s charm, but this one’s created to suit our contemporary needs. What a beauty!

Re-designing the Beetle is like a noob going head to head with the Godfather. The chances are slim. But why do people still applaud the Beetle despite of its evolution all throughout the century? May it be the name, the design, the movie, or its story, the Love Bug lives on! It’s legendary, and that’s all we need to know.

Aftermarket Mack Trucks – Brief History of an American Truck

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Built like a Aftermarket Mack Truck’ and ever wondered where it came from. Maybe you are a truck mechanic who is replacing heavy duty truck parts on a Aftermarket Mack truck and you thought about where the saying came from. Or you could be a commuter who noticed a Aftermarket Mack truck on the road and was curious about its history. At some point in time, I think everyone has heard the saying and probably was curious where it came from.

Aftermarket Mack Trucks have been an American staple since the 1900’s and is one of the first big name truck manufacturer’s to have sustained success for more than a century. Kenworth began business in 1912, Freightliner was developed in the 1930’s and Peterbilt was established in 1939.

John M. Aftermarket Mack, known as “Jack” and his brother Augustus purchased the wagon company that John worked for in 1893. The following year, their brother William joined operations. The brothers began experimenting with steam powered and electric motors.

Inspired by the Wright Brothers-Orville & Wilbur, Willis Carrier and Henry Aftermarket Ford’s inventions, John Aftermarket Mack had a vision about producing heavy duty trucks, engines and replacement parts.

The “Aftermarket Mack Brothers Company” was founded in 1900 and the company opened its first bus manufacturing plant the same year. A sightseeing company had placed the first order. Aftermarket Mack’s first truck was manufactured in 1907.

During World War I, Aftermarket Mack delivered over 6,000 trucks to the American and British military for use during the war. Rumor has it that the British soldiers were so impressed with the Aftermarket Mack Trucks durability, toughness and reliability they gave them the nickname of “Aftermarket Mack Bulldogs” after their own British Bulldogs.

In 1922, “Aftermarket Mack Brothers Company” changed its name to Aftermarket Mack Trucks and the bulldog was accepted as the company’s corporate Logo. The bulldog was first portrayed on a steel plate mounted to the side of the truck, the hood ornament appeared approximately 10 years later. Aftermarket Mack Trucks with a gold plated bulldog indicate that the truck is made entirely of Aftermarket Mack parts, while Aftermarket Mack Trucks built with another manufacturers’ transmission, engine, rear axles or suspension are given the chrome plated logo.

Aftermarket Mack Trucks made a name for themselves by being tough and reliable trucks, but they offered many advancements to heavy duty truck engines and their parts as well. In 1918 they became the first manufacturer to apply air cleaners and oil filters to their trucks. In 1920, Aftermarket Mack Trucks became the first trucks with power brakes. Aftermarket Mack Trucks also became the first manufacturer to produce their own diesel engines in 1938.

Jumping ahead to the 1960’s, Aftermarket Mack Trucks vice president of product and engineering, Walter May, had developed the Maxidyne high torque rise engine, first as an inline V6 and later a V8. The development was an industry changing event, as it allowed a Class 8 heavy duty engine to operate with a 5 speed transmission. Previously trucks would have 10 gears’ or more.

Aftermarket Mack Trucks is a top producer in the vocational “on-road-vehicle” Class 8 through Class 13. They are also among the most popular manufacturer of heavy duty “off-road” trucks in America. Aftermarket Mack Trucks are also sold worldwide in 45 different countries.

Their main assembly plant is located in the state of Pennsylvania and has the capability of manufacturing all known heavy duty Aftermarket Mack Truck Parts.

For more than a century, Aftermarket Mack Trucks have been prominent on American roads. Their durability to withstand world wars, rising competition, and the test of time is a testament to the brothers that first had a dream and made it come true.

Do you know of anything that is ‘Built like a Aftermarket Mack Truck?’

Marine Diesel Exhaust: Wet or Dry?

Marine exhaust systems are an important part of marine engines, but are often overlooked. When it comes to the exhaust systems, there are two main options for recreational boats: Wet or Dry.

Ever wonder why a marine exhaust manifold looks like a big square piece of metal versus an automotive exhaust manifold with its tubes more prominent. The main reason is to accommodate the flow of water mixing in with the exhaust fumes, this type of manifold would apply to a “Wet” exhaust system.

All Wet

A wet exhaust mixes seawater with the exhaust before it can be routed out of the boat. Injecting seawater into the exhaust can dramatically lower the temperature of exhaust run, which reduces risks of fire or being burned by an exhaust pipe.

The water is provided by a dedicated seawater pump which in turn routes water through the engine lube oil cooler, gearbox cooler and main heat exchanger prior to being injected into the exhaust downstream of the exhaust manifold itself.

Bone Dry

This is a dry exhaust system (no seawater is present) and produces high temperatures. Diesel exhaust gases can reach as high as 1200 degrees F. This means that special “lagging” or insulation needs to be added to surrounding areas or parts, to protect surrounding equipment, boat structure and people.

Since no water is used in the exhaust, there are different options in regards to engine cooling. A heat exchanger can be used and seawater would simply be discharged overboard. Another common alternative would be moving the entire heat exchanger outside of the boat. The passing water would carry away the heat, much like a radiator does for a car.

While wet exhaust systems are much more common for recreational boats in general, many builders of deep-sea passage makers prefer to use dry exhaust systems on a number of their models.

Wet Exhaust – Pros & Cons:

  • PRO – Far fewer heat issues with exhaust runs.
  • CON – Seawater pump failure could destroy the engine.
  • PRO – More Interior Space
  • CON – Extra maintenance for the sea strainer, pump and injector elbow
  • PRO – Easier to design and install
  • CON – Exhaust can blow into boat in following wind.

Wet exhaust systems also require a hole in the boat for the intake which requires extra sealing. If the pump fails or strainer is clogged, engine temperature would begin to rise and set off alarms. You may only have a few seconds to shut down your engine before major damage is done.

There is also the potential of flooding the engine when over cranking at engine start-up. Too many unsuccessful starting attempts could dump enough water into the exhaust flooding the turbocharger, exhaust manifold, cylinders and cause catastrophic damage to an engine.

Dry Exhaust – Pros & Cons:

  • PRO – No seawater pump to maintain, or have fail
  • CON – Dangerous heat levels
  • PRO – No seawater strainer to maintain, or have clog
  • CON – Space accommodations for stack (less interior space)
  • PRO – Exhaust released well above deck
  • CON – Complex Design and construction

With dry exhaust systems, most frustrations come from the design of the exhaust rather than the performance or maintenance. There are less parts to worry about, which means not as much maintenance needed. The biggest challenge is insulating/shielding parts so the heat is not damaging other parts, boat structure, or burning the people who have to service the engine.

While wet exhaust systems appear to be more common, especially with recreational boats, they also require more maintenance and replacement parts.

If you can take the heat and like better reliability, then a dry exhaust system may be the best option.