What’s worse than being stuck somewhere and not being able to find toilet paper?... Being stuck somewhere and not being able to find a part for your truck. I used to think a Ford dealer not having a starter for a 7.3 Powerstroke would be about as likely as Walmart not having tomato soup. If nothing else Coronavirus has shown us that we shouldn’t assume we’re always going to have access to parts and supplies when we need them.
Over the last few years I’ve grown less dependent on my local parts dealers to keep my vehicles going. I’ve got two trucks and two cars that have around 600,000 miles split between the four of them. Three of those vehicles are over 20 years old and the way I keep things going is by ordering parts before I need them and keeping spare parts around. I like to replace water, fuel, oil, and hydraulic pumps before I need to. If the part I’m replacing still looks good then I’ve gained a spare, if it doesn’t then I buy another. Same goes for bearings, brakes, belts and alternators. Once I stopped assuming local parts stores had the parts I needed in stock the amount of downtime my vehicles experienced went way down. One of my local parts stores was getting rid of all their Brembo brake pads for S10 Blazers. They were going for pennies on the dollar. I bought every pad they had. I never had to buy another brake pad for my Blazer again. Did the same thing with a huge case of windshield wiper blades. I don’t have a problem with running the same 20” wiper blades on my cars as I do on my trucks but when it comes to parts related to fueling I don’t cut corners. I did some work for a fleet that uses the same injector all their PK60, BK60, and GK60 powered trucks because their local dealer only stocks the 7466 injector. The PK, BK, and GK engines all have different piston-rod assemblies anddifferent camshafts. Regardless of what I do to a DDEC ECM there isn’t any way I can make all those engines run exactly the same. The peak power, torque, and fuel mileage of the BK and GK engines will be all over the place.
I know owner operators that carry a spare ECM in their truck. Carrying a spare DDEC isn’t a bad idea, not because these ECMs are unreliable but because there are many ways an ECM can be damaged then fail suddenly and without warning. Mileage doesn’t wear ECMs out like it does with mechanical injection pumps and injectors. A well maintained ECM can last a really long time. I’ve rebuilt twenty seven year old DDEC III ECMs that fired right up and ran when I checked them in. I’ve found DDEC IVs with over 2 million miles of engine data saved in them. Having one healthy and properly set up spare ECM is enough. If you need more than one spare, you’re doing something wrong. Before you buy a spare DDEC make sure you know which one you need. If you’re powering a glider, need to be elogs compatible, or have an engine build date that’s January 1998 or newer thenyou’ll want a 23519307 DDEC IV. Otherwise if your engine’s build date is between December 1993 and November 1997 you can run a 23513553 DDEC III, a 23518645 DDEC III, a 23518743 DDEC III or a DDEC IV as long as the right program is used.
Fernando DeMoura, Diesel Control Service Phone 412-327-9400 Website: www.dieselcontrolservice.com