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Detroit Diesel’s reman’d engines get second lease on life

TOOELE, Utah - Squandering energy and resources isn't something the trucking industry can afford to do. It's not something anyone can afford to do anymore, which is why manufacturers and fleet manager...

TOOELE, Utah – Squandering energy and resources isn’t something the trucking industry can afford to do. It’s not something anyone can afford to do anymore, which is why manufacturers and fleet managers alike are constantly in search of new ways to operate their businesses at the highest possible efficiency.

Enter Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing Corporation.

Nestled in a hot, dry valley in Tooele, Utah is the company’s 344,000 sq. ft. plant dedicated to remanufacturing old engines into brand new ones, complete with the latest equipment standards.

The “West” location in Tooele is just one of Detroit Diesel’s five different remanufacturing plant locations, with the other four found in Cambridge, Ohio (East); Emporia, Kansas (Central); Kentwood, Michigan (North) and Toluca, Mexico (Mexicana). Though it may seem new to some, Detroit Diesel has actually been in the remanufacturing business since 1988.

“Remanufacturing is a core business of Detroit Diesel Corporation. Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing-West will support the company’s continued focus on delivering high-quality remanufactured engines and engine products for both the automotive on-highway and off-highway commercial truck markets,” said newly appointed vice-president and general manager of the Tooele plant, David Atherton.

Though the industry has quietly tripled its revenues since 1997 into a $19.8 billion powerhouse, there is still a lot of confusion about the difference between a remanufactured engine and a rebuilt one.

Jim Morrow, president of Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing Corporation, is quick to clarify:

“Our Reliabilt Series 60, MBE 900 and MBE 4000 engines are totally remanufactured, returning them to the latest blueprint specifications and tested to original equipment standards,” he said. “The typical rebuilt engine is only repaired to the level of failure. That means any components beyond this level are left intact. And testing procedures often vary among individual rebuilders.”

Though products and services vary from plant to plant, the Tooele location specializes in series 50/60 engines, MBE900 engines, Alliance MB transmissions, axles, mechanical injectors, turbochargers and Freightliner core consolidation.

The plant usually receives its engine candidates to be remanufactured at about the million-mile mark. It then goes through a two-week process of being disassembled, shotblasted and flamesprayed among other things, and at each step of the process, each part is tested and re-tested for re-usability. If at any point a part is found to be cracked, broken or in any way unusable, a new part it used in its place.

So, according to Morrow, quality is never an issue.

“All components of our Reliabilt engines are remanufactured to meet original specifications, or they are replaced with only genuine DDC components,” he said.

The engine’s performance is also upgraded to meet current specifications, so when the engine completes the process, it not only looks new – it is new.

“When you replace your current engine with a Reliabilt engine, you’re getting today’s Detroit Diesel technology – because we incorporate the latest engineering advancements,” Morrow said.

He also said that though a rebuilt engine may seem like a less expensive route in the short run, it the long run they will require more downtime.

Morrow explained that because a rebuilt engine is typically only repaired on level of failure, a remanufactured one has an edge because it’s designed and tested at original specifications. Since not just some, but all engine parts are repaired or replaced, this will means less time in the shop down the road, according to Morrow.

“With our Reliabilt products, customers enjoy the original equipment quality and peace-of-mind they’ve come to expect from Detroit Diesel Corporation,” he said.

Other benefits include better warranties and the whopping four trillion BTUs of energy that industry experts say are saved through the remanufacturing process. Keeping that in mind in light of mounting fuel prices, those numbers will mean savings for both the company – and the planet.

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