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​Dutch Valley Food Distributors Sees MPG Gains And Reduced Maintenance Costs With Bully Dog

By Steve Pollock

July, 2017

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MYERSTOWN, PA… The roots of Dutch Valley Food Distributors began over 100 years ago by Elam Burkholder, an East Earl Pennsylvania farmer who opened a retail store and butcher shop on his farm’s property. Elam’s son Clarence M. Burkholder, an entrepreneur, began selling bulk sugar to his customers during canning season. In the 1960’s Clarence M. Burkholder’s son, Clarence S. Burkholder helped open a retail store called Dutch Way Farm Market in Myerstown, PA. 

Clarence quickly realized that there was a market for bulk foods and in 1978 established Dutch Valley Food Distributors. Dutch Valley began distributing product in PA and eventually to other states. In 1986 Clarence purchased 10 acres of land along Rt. 501 in Myerstown and built a facility that included a 2,500 square foot office and 30,000 square foot warehouse, housing approximately 1,000 different food products.

In 1988 Clarence sold the business to his brother Mel. Mel was the majority owner until 2012 when he sold the business to his three sons, Matt, Lane and Corby. Matt became CEO of the business. Dutch Valley Food Distributors has kept on growing, now employing over 300 people, with a 185,000 square foot warehouse, holding over 6,500 separate food items. The Dutch Valley Fleet has also grown to 70 tractors and about 80 trailers, all kept perfectly clean and very well maintained.

Dutch Valley Food Distributors has a very low driver turnover. Many drivers have worked at the company for over 20 years with several 1 Million Plus Safe Drivers and three 2 Million Milers drivers. Fleet Garage Manager Dave Clark said, “Dutch Valley supports its employees and the community. . Each employee is also allotted $500 from the company to donate to the charity of their choice, donated in their own name by Dutch Valley Food Distributors.”

Today Dutch Valley Food Distributors operates their own maintenance shop and wash bay to service their late model Kenworth T680s. Most of the trucks are powered by ISX 15 litre Cummins engines. Fleet Garage Manager Dave Clark and Shop Supervisor James Kroh keep meticulous records on each tractor’s maintenance and fuel economy. After reading an article in Movin’ Out about another fleet’s success using Bully Dog Tuners to enhance performance and fuel economy, Dave and James gave Kevin Campbell, The Fuel Mileage Doctor a call.

After an initial consultation with Kevin, Dave and James outfitted a couple of their trucks with Bully Dog Tuners as a test. Using the fuel economy tune, fuel economy results were immediate. On the low end, an increase of .2 mpg was achieved, however most units saw gains of .5 to over 1 mpg. Dutch Valley drivers were coming to Dave and James with a big smile on their face as they reported their fuel economy. Saving fuel puts money in everyone’s pocket as Dutch Valley has a profit sharing program for all of their employees.

As Dave and James added additional Bully Dog units to the fleet and the miles grew for the test group, they also had some other pleasant surprises in their maintenance data. James Kroh explained, “Bully Dog has been a big benefit for us, the tune provides a cleaner, more efficient fuel burn. Along with increased fuel economy, we have seen less carbon packing in our turbos, which has substantially extended their service life. Other benefits of reducing carbon emissions has been a reduction of carbon packing in the piston rings and liners, also extending their service life. Our EGR valves are also lasting longer and regen frequencies have been reduced. We usually clean our DPF filters at 200,000 to 300,000 miles but we have one truck equipped with a Bully Dog unit that is currently at 400,000 miles without needing the DPF filter cleaned yet.”

Now heading into their 3rd year of using and testing Bully Dog tuners, Dutch Valley currently has 15 trucks equipped with Bully Dog units and is adding additional Bully dog units each month to the fleet. Eventually the company plans to have all of their trucks Bully Dog equipped. Dave Clark stated, “We started with our 2010 engines and are working our way up through the fleet. Using the economy tune, we have gained 50-70 horsepower and 1 mpg with most drivers averaging around 6.5 mpg and a couple seeing increases up to 7.5-8 mpg. Even our Series 60 Detroit increased by .5 mpg. Our records also show that the tuned trucks are extending fuel pump and injector life as well. Our drivers love the fact that they oftentimes eliminate having to grab another gear when going uphill while pulling a load.”

The ability to monitor fuel economy and maintenance so closely at Dutch Valley Foods is due to the great relationships the company enjoys between management, drivers and mechanics. Dave and James also work closely with their Cummins representative as well. James points out, “In order for the Bully Dog Tune to work effectively, the carbon deposits must be cleaned out of the engine and turbo first for the tune to perform properly. Good maintenance will keep your Cummins engine running like it should.”

Bully Dog’s Kevin Campbell reiterates, “The key to new trucks is to do ongoing comprehensive preventative maintenance on the emissions system, otherwise you will be heading for expensive problems later on.”

As with all trucking operations, the application, area of operation and individual driver combine to have an impact on the results of a performance tune. Bully Dog offers an economy tune, power and economy tune as well as a power performance tune. Bully Dog Tunes are EPA compliant with Cummins and Detroit and are pending compliance with PACCAR. Bully dog has 2 models available – their ECM Tuner, which is engine specific and the GT model, which is compatible with 4 engines: CAT, Cummins, Detroit and PACCAR. The GT also includes a driving coach, which helps drivers to keep their engine operating in the optimum RPM range for best fuel economy and performance.

To obtain a prescription for better performance, fuel economy and maintenance for your diesel engine, call the Fuel Mileage Doctor, Kevin Campbell at 717-320-2259. You can also email him at Kevin@fuelmileagedr.com or log onto www.fuelmileagedr.com The Fuel Mileage Doctor will be attending the Carlisle All Truck Nationals on August 4-6 at the Carlisle Fairgrounds, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Look for him in the vendor midway.

Captions:

L-R: Kevin Campbell, the Fuel Mileage Dr. with his partner Becky Boone and Dutch Valley Transportation’s James Kroh and Dave Clark.