July 2017 marked the beginning of my third year of being in business for myself. I imagine the transition from being a company driver to an owner-operator is a similar experience. As an employee, I only needed to know some aspects of the business and what I needed to know came easily because it was something I already had strong aptitude in. Now as a business owner-operator what I need to know has expanded exponentially and that can be a heavy burden to bear. I hate paperwork, I’d rather be fixing or building something. Participating in Kevin Rutherford’s annual CMC was one of the first experiences I had with the burdens owner-operators face. For better or worse being an owner-operator puts business front and center. There’s more risk but more reward and you only get paid if you produce. Staying in touch with the needs of the industry and how and why those needs change is something that pays back dividends. The Law of Supply and Demand. It applies to the trucking industry as much as anything else.
Lately I’ve noticed a trend in the DDEC world that I can’t ignore. As an ECM rebuilder, I keep an eye on what core buyers are willing to pay for a used ECM in unknown condition. A core buyer is someone who goes around to salvage yards and service shops and buys up what they believe is rebuildable salvage. They then resell it to core rebuilders in bulk. Right now, on average the value of a DDEC III is half the value of a DDEC IV. The value of DDEC IIIs is going down and the value of DDEC IVs is going up.
You’ll know from my previous articles that I’m a big fan of the DDEC III when used on 1993-97 Detroit’s but in 2017 I’ve seen a growing trend to replace good DDEC IIIs with DDEC IVs. Touching on my article from July I’ve even seen an ECM rebuilder take a more valuable DDEC IV core from a customer and return a DDEC III in its place unfortunately programmed for a GK60 with the wrong timing and fueling.
Detroit doesn’t support the DDEC III anymore but I do. The DDEC III can produce as much power as a DDEC IV if programmed correctly and DDEC IIIs have no battery to go bad and leak. DDEC IIIs are more difficult to rebuild but easier to repair than DDEC IVs. This is nothing new. We’re talking about 20 year old computers here! For years the value of DDEC IIIs and DDEC IVs were the same until the last 12 months.
So, my question is, “Why now?” You might think S60s in gliders but that’s been going on for nearly a decade. The only thing I can think of is E-log compliance. I might just have to buy myself one and see how well I can make it work with a DDEC III.
For you DDEC II owners out there. I have a few GU60 500hp 1650ftlbs DDEC II programs in the field and so far, everybody’s happy.
Written by Fernando DeMoura, Diesel Control Service LLC.