Pro Tips: Weekly Mailbag
Welcome to the first edition of the Custom Rigs Pro Tips Mailbag, in which we field questions from readers and track down professionals to answer them for you. We also pull a few submissions to use in the print edition of
Custom Rigs. So if you’ve got a tech question bugging you, email it to us or submit it in the CR Forum, and we’ll get it answered. If yours is used in the magazine, we’ll sign you up for a free year’s subscription.
What is the best method for painting a Peterbilt dash? Is there one paint that works better than others? – Reynolds McBride, Sioux Falls, S.D., via email
Bryan Martin, 4 State Trucks: The actual dash itself is best to dye rather than paint if it’s a soft dash. A lot of the dash material is a softer vinyl that flexes. Paint sets up too hard and will eventually crack and peel or flake off. We use a product made by SEMS called Color Coat. It is designed to dye vinyl and plastic. Color Coat comes in aerosol cans in almost any color you want. If you’re working with the wood grain dash panel, paint is best to be scuffed and shot with an automotive line of paint. It is thinner than heavy truck paint – like Imron – and will let you lay two colors down smoother.
Jeff Zimmerman, T/A Truck Painting: We recommend cleaning with a special prep to get rid of any silicone on the surface and then using a plastic primer before spraying anything on a dash. Here at our shop in Pewaukee, Wis., we use DuPont Plas-Stick 2320S cleaner, then run a Scotch Brite pad lightly over the surface, followed again with the plastic cleaner. Then we use an adhesion-promotion product, Plas-Stick 2330S followed by a top-coat of Corlar 934S Epoxy Primer. Then we hit it with Imron Elite SS single-stage.
I read a report recently that said the particles emitted by diesel stacks raise the risk of heart attacks, among other health problems. Since I have history of heart disease and some allergies, is there anything I can do to improve the air quality inside the cab?—Joe Greeves, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., via email
CR: Maybe that’s why particle traps are being retrofitted to some public transport vehicles – as a way to minimize the effects of pollution. Since we probably won’t see those traps on all stacks anytime soon, another option to consider is a new product from Philips called the GoPure Automotive Clean Air System. It’s claimed to quickly remove dust, pollen, harmful gasses, bacteria and viruses from the air inside a vehicle by using a three-stage filtering process that Phillips says can handle up to 99 percent of fine particles. The first stage is coarse pre-filter that captures hair and large airborne particles. The next stage is a HEPA filter that captures fine particulates, such as dust and pollen and airborne bacteria. The final stage consists of three HESA filters that Philips says will reduce bad odors, such as cigarette smoke. The GoPure circulates air through its filtration system with a two-speed fan, and colored LEDs indicate air quality. Philips claims that the GoPure can clean the air inside a vehicle in about 10 minutes when set to its high-speed mode. We don’t know if it can capture ultra-small diesel particulates, since they measure less than a millionth of a meter wide, but this product might help with your allergies. It’s roughly the size of a medium phone book and can be mounted anywhere in the cab. It draws power from a 12-volt plug and has an automatic shutoff.
I have a 2007 386 Pete with 600,000 miles on it. When I bought the truck it had 251,000 miles and was pulling to the right. I had the front end aligned (a new shim was put in on the right) and a new set of Bridgestones installed all way around. It was fine for about 25,000 miles and started pulling to the right again. I ignored the pull, and at 105,000 the steer tires’ rubber started separating. Another front end alignment (another shim) and new steer tires. The same problem started again after about 25,000 more miles. This time I had a three-axle alignment done and, yes, you got it, I had to have a shim put in the right side again. The front axle was out of alignment 0.003 inches. Now the same pull problem is back again. It’s driving me nuts. I’ve been driving for 33 years have logged over 3.5 million miles. I see myself as one of the best drivers out there. The loads I haul are in Florida and South Georgia, and the weight is around 40,000 to 60,000. I have had new shocks installed and keep the tire presser up to specks. So what’s wrong with it? Can you please help? – David Selby, Stone Mountain, Ga., via email
Michael Raines, S&J Truck Sales: Dave, what kind of shape are your front spring pins in? A little wear on them can translate into the front axle moving front to back, even if it’s showing up only on one side. Also, has anyone shimmed between the spring and the axle (as in the center bolt of the spring not being seated enough in the axle, causing it to slide)? The tires could be related, or they could be a problem by themselves. If it was shocks or air pressure, you would have felt it in the wheel or seen wear damage (scuffing) if something was so far out of whack that it’s ripping the tire.