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Volvo Truck Tech Engine OverhaulIf you aren’t getting the fuel economy you’re used to or your engine brake performance has dropped, you may be surprised to learn why. That’s because these are two of the eight signs your truck’s engine needs an overhaul. Engine overhauls are usually scheduled every seven to 10 years or 800,000 to 1 million miles, and offer a cost-effective way to breathe new life into an older engine. 

If your truck is running rough, using excessive amounts of fuel or not accelerating like you’d expect, it may be time for an engine overhaul. Here are eight specific signs to watch for:

  1. Blue or black exhaust – One or more cylinders may be burning oil, or your fuel is running too rich or lean
  2. White exhaust – Coolant may be burning in one or more cylinders
  3. Engine knocking – Combustion timing may be off in one or more cylinders, or oil contamination may have occurred
  4. Reduced acceleration/hard start – Possible loss of cylinder compression
  5. Increased oil consumption – The engine may be leaking or burning oil; either situation isn’t good
  6. Low fuel economy – Loss of cylinder compression or over-fueled cycles
  7. Low oil pressure – Oil may not be reaching all the components
  8. Poor engine brake performance – Possible loss of cylinder compression

We have a great selection of Genuine Volvo Engine Overhaul Kits Available to purchase online.  

Posted By Chad Remp

Cold weather can wreak havoc on vehicle equipment causing safety hazards. Winter weather effects on air lines are especially important because this can impair a vehicle’s brake system performance. Not only is this a safety concern, but damaged air lines can also put a driver at risk of a CSA violation.

Effects of Cold Temperatures on Air Lines and Gladhands

For safety, and per SAE regulations, air lines need to be able to stretch and recoil properly. When air lines can stretch to a proper working length, force on the coupled gladhands is avoided. When they recoil properly they remain off the deck plate.

If temperatures are too cold and drop below a coiled air line’s working temperature, the air lines can lose their ability to stretch, as well as recoil. If air lines lose their ability to stretch, force is applied to the gladhands and can separate or even completely pull away, causing a loss in air pressure to the brake system. Inflexibility in air lines can also cause kinking, which can block air to the brake system as well as permanently damage air lines. If air lines are over-extended in extreme cold, they can fail to recoil back to their original state and sag. This creates the potential for damage due to dragging on the deck plate. In very extreme cases, tubing can crack and/or even come apart at the fitting.

Phillips Industries Brake Air LinesAir lines are also susceptible to damage when gladhands freeze together. If an air coil does not have grips, a driver may place too much force on the lead when pushing down or pulling up when trying to uncouple the gladhands. This can create kinking and even possible chaffing on the tubing. Other methods of disconnecting frozen gladhands include hitting the gladhands with something hard, such as a wrench. If the gladhand is missed and the air lines are accidentally struck, this can also cause damage to the air lines as well.  Buy Brake Gladhands here.

Preventing Air Line Damage A solution would be to use air lines that are made specifically for severe weather conditions, which are able to remain flexible in extreme cold. Another protective measure would be to select air lines with grips or easily add gladhand extension grips to your existing assemblies. Extension grips provide better leverage to help prevent applying too much force when coupling and uncoupling.

Air line damage in the winter can be prevented with a couple of easy changes. This winter stay safe and CSA violation free by using air lines made to perform in severe cold and harsh weather conditions.

Buy Brake Air Line Hoses here.


  • Nylon air coils lose their ability to stretch in severe weather conditions that are below their working temperature. This can lead to too much force on the gladhands causing a separation between the gladhand or complete pull-away.
  • Extreme temperatures cause a loss of recoil memory, and if coils are extended too far, the airlines will sag and drag on the deck plate.
  • To prevent damage, use air lines designed specifically for severe weather conditions as well as grips to offer better leverage when coupling and uncoupling.

Tech Tip courtesy of Phillips Industries

Posted By

Road Choice Shock Absorber

Shock absorbers stroke an average of 1,750 times every mile they’re driven. That’s 21 million times over the course of 12,000 miles. Since you can’t change the oil in a shock, it will eventually wear out. And worn shocks, left unchecked, can create excessive vibrations that cause driver fatigue, premature tire wear, and damage to batteries and running lights. Safeguard your suspension by having your shocks inspected every 12 months and replaced every 150,000 miles.

Shock absorbers are essential to your truck’s performance. Not only do they keep your tires connected to the road, but their vibration control protects other suspension components from premature wear, giving you a smoother ride. And worn shocks affect your stability, steering and ability to stop.


Here are six signs to watch for when evaluating your shock absorbers:

  • Breaks – Breaks can occur at the mounts, on the bushings or on the shock itself. They can be caused by incorrect shock application; incorrect ride height; sudden, jarring movements; overtightening of bushings or improper installation.
  • Cupping – Tire cupping, or uneven wear, is caused by the cyclic loading and unloading of the tire, either because it’s bouncing or because something is wobbling in the suspension. Typically, cupping caused by worn shocks leaves a repeating pattern on the tires. Once tires start to cup, they’ll continue to wear unevenly. So you’ll need to replace both the worn shocks and the damaged tires.
  • Leaks – While oil misting on the outside of a shock is normal, a leaking shock is a failure circumstance. Leaking shocks will show clear signs of oil seeping in streams from the upper seal down the shock body and may drip oil from the shock. They are caused by high temperature and pressure, or side loads that wear the seals on one side, causing them to leak.
  • Rattling – The sound of metal components rattling inside of a shock can indicate internal failure, even if no external damage or leaks are visible.
  • Sway – If your truck sways or leans on turns, or when you’re changing lanes, your shocks may be wearing out. This often happens as a course of normal operation.
  •  Vibration – If your truck has a soft, undulating ride or you feel excess vibration in the steering wheel, this can indicate a problem with your shocks. Bottoming and/or topping out frequently can damage a shock’s internal components, limiting their effectiveness.

Be sure to have your shocks professionally inspected every 12 months to ensure premium performance. And when it’s time for a replacement, contact for heavy-duty truck shock absorbers.  

Thank you to Road Choice Truck parts for this information.  You can purchase Road Choice Shock Absorbers here at  

Posted By

Air Suspension Maintenance Schedule

If you take care of a truck's air suspension system, it will take care of you. But maintaining a vehicle’s suspension system requires more than just checking its shock absorbers. To help you protect your ride and load, we’ve put together a chart that details recommended inspection and maintenance schedules for major suspension system components.

  Daily / At Installation 15,000 Miles 50,000 Miles 100,000 to 150,000 Miles ANNUALLY
Shock Absorbers   Visually inspect and replace if broken or leaking. Tighten loose mounting hardware Perform a heat test within a few minutes of operating the vehicle to check for internal failure. Internal failure cannot be detected visually. Replace at 100,000 miles (vocational) or 150,000 miles (on highway), or according to manufacturer’s guidelines. Have shocks professionally inspected to ensure premium performance.  
Fasteners and U-bolts Retorque once after first 1,000 to 3,000 loaded miles. Inspect for signs of wear deformity; replace if found. Check fastener and u-bolt torque, and adjust as necessary   Have fasteners professionally inspected for loose, damaged or cracked components.  
Bushings – Rubber Retorque once after first 1,000 to 3,000 loaded miles.       Inspect for signs of wear deformity or fatigue in transverse rod; replace if found.
Bushings – Metal Retorque once after first 1,000 to 3,000 loaded miles. Lubricate non-sealed bushings every 10,000 to 20,000 miles.     Inspect for signs of wear deformity or fatigue in transverse rod; replace if found.
Air System Suspension Drain air tank using the moisture ejector valve.   Visually inspect air springs for cracks, gouges, bulges, chafing and similar signs of wear. or 60 months or 60 months
Taper Leaf Suspension Inspect and note any sagging or slumping. Check and retorque u-bolts after 3,000 miles, and every three months afterward. Inspect leaf springs and u-bolts for signs of damage and wear. Retorque u-bolts   Check the following, inspect for wear and replace if damage is found: • Torque settings • Suspension bushings • Leaf springs • U-bolts • Axle alignment

Sources: American Transportation Associations Trucking Technology & Maintenance Council; Public Works magazine; Heavy Duty Truck Systems, Sixth Edition

Posted By

Wiper Blade Maintenance

Nov 7, 2017 2:05:14 PM

Volvo Truck Wiper Blade

It's easy to forget about maintenance for your wiper blades until it's too late.  Don't let a bad wiper blade risk your safety from poor visibility in a rainstorm or snow storm.  

Inspecting your Wiper Blade:

When fueling your truck, take a wet/moist paper towel and wipe down the rubber element on your wiper blade, after the winshield has been cleaned.  This will remove and loose dirt and grime that can lead to streaking, smearing and hazing of your windshield.

Inspecte your Wiper Blade:

  • Cracked rubber: Look for splits and slashes on the rubber.
  • Contaminated rubber: Result of road grime and chemicals adhering to the rubber element, causing a hazy film on the windshield.
  • Torn rubber: Rubber element has pulled away from its supporting structure, causing "slapping" noise to occur.
  • Park set rubber: The rubber element has lost its flexibility and no longer "flips" over when it begins the downstroke.
  • Abraded rubber: Worn, ragged edges on the element.
  • Damaged superstructure: Metal or plastic elements of the wiper arm, blade or refill is either bent or cracked.

Icy and Snowy Conditions

Do not use windshield wipers as ice scrapers. Use an ice scraper as much as possible when de-icing vehicles and allow the vehicle plenty of time to warm up with the defroster on "HIGH" to loosen as much ice and snow as possible. We sell winter wiper blades which are covered by a rubber boot to keep linkages free of ice and corrosives. Winter blades should never be used to de-ice the windshield.

What are some performance problems that may occur, indicating that my wiper blades may need replaced?

  • Smearing or streaking: Sections of windshield are missed as the blade passes over it.
  • Chattering: Blade moves irregularly across the windshield surface, making a chattering noise as it "hobbles" across the glass.
  • Hazing: Oil-like film spreads across the windshield, causing glare, usually a result of road grime contamination to the rubber.
  • Beading: Appears as a collection of water droplets on the windshield after the blade passes over.
  • Windlift: Blade "lifts" off the windshield and loses full or partial contact with the glass, usually happening at highway speeds.

If you need wiper blades, you can Buy Wiper Blades from

Posted By

Check out this video from Dayco on how to check the belts and tensioners for wear on your Volvo engine.



Shop online for belts and belt tensioners for your Volvo Engine

Posted By

Glandhand Maintenance

Oct 28, 2017 6:57:14 AM

Gladhand Maintenance TIPS

GladhandsGladhands are a critical part of the air brake system but often neglected.  Every time we drop and connect a trailer we are allowing possible contamination of the air brake system to moisture and debris.  So let's be careful to ensure our brakes can work properly by keeping our gladhands working properly.  

  • Watch for loss of tension when coupling and uncoupling gladhands. This is a sure sign they need to be replaced.  Often the complete gladhand may not need replacing, but you can replace the gladhand air seal.  These are a low-cost part that we recommend keeping in your truck in the event a seal is damaged.  They are easy to replace.  
  • Store gladhands in their stowage when dropping a trailer. This will keep air lines sealed, keeping moisture and debris out.
  • Gladhands should be replaced at the first substantial signs of damage/corrosion or when air lines are replaced.
  • Gladhand seals should be inspected regularly and replaced at least once a year based on usage.

Need to buy gladhand parts for your truck/trailer.  Buy truck and trailer Gladhand parts here.  


Most standard gladhand bodies are made from aluminum. In highly corrosive environments the followings should be noted:

  • Use anodized gladhands for added protection against corrosion.
  • Powder coating will chip away over time leaving the area exposed and vulnerable to corrosion-causing contaminants.
  • Corrosion is easily visible on the outside, but it can also build up on the interior cavity of the gladhand. If corrosion buildup begins to chip away, it will enter the air lines causing damage to the system.

Detent Plate & Rivets

The detent plate and connector plate work together to lock the gladhands together. After many cycles of coupling/uncoupling, the metal starts to shave off and create grooves in the detent plate. Corroded rivets on the detent plate will cause the plate to loosen, eventually breaking off making coupling impossible. To avoid damage:

  • Replace the gladhand when the detent plate shows signs of heavy wear or the plate is loose.
  • Replace the gladhand if there are substantial signs of corrosion on the rivets and detent plate.
  • Stainless steel offers the best corrosion protection.

Connector Plate

The connector plate works in conjunction with the detent plate to lock the gladhands together when coupled. The small dimple on the plate falls into place with the detent plate on the other gladhand to maintain a secure union. Over time this dimple wears down and the gladhand starts to lose the ability to seal properly when coupled. To maintain a proper seal:

  • Replace the gladhand when the dimple wears down.
  • Replace the gladhand if the connector plate is loose.
  • Use gladhands with stainless steel or powder coated stainless steel connector plates for anti-corrosion protection.

Gladhand Seals

Gladhand SealGladhand seals enable the coupled gladhands to seal tightly. However, seals eventually wear out over time due to the turning action of coupling/uncoupling. To prevent damaged and worn out gladhand seals:

  • Gladhand seals should be inspected regularly and replaced at least once a year based on usage.
  • Polyurethane seals last longer than standard materials because they hold up better against the elements.
  • Using filter screens in conjunction with gladhand seals helps to keep debris out of the air lines.
  • Gladhand seals with flaps help seal the gladhand shut when it is disconnected, keeping moisture and debris out of the air brake system. Always replace these seals when flaps are torn or damaged, and ALWAYS use a coned filter screen with this type of gladhand seal.
  • Always carry extra gladhand seals to replace leaking and/or damaged seals.

Overall Gladhand Care

  • Watch for loss of tension when coupling and uncoupling gladhands. This is a sure sign they need to be replaced.
  • Store gladhands in their stowage when dropping a trailer. This will keep the air lines sealed, keeping moisture and debris out.

Thank you to Phillips Industries for these great tech tips for gladhand maintenance.  

Posted By

Stemco Wheel BearingsTractors and trailers exposed to water submersion require special consideration to be given to the work procedures used in salvage and/or rebuild of the units. STEMCO does not recommend putting any unit into service that has not had a complete wheel end inspection and/or repair as described below. If wheel ends are not properly repaired, wheel end performance may degrade, up to and including possible catastrophic wheel end failure.


CAUTION While handling units which have been submerged in flood water, caution should be taken to protect technicians and the environment. With these units exposed to flood waters of unknown chemical composition, STEMCO recommends:

  • Technicians wear personal protective equipment (i.e. face, hand, protective body equipment, etc.) while exposed to contaminated wheel ends.
  • Consultation with local EPA officials regarding proper handling and disposal procedures for the contents of contaminated wheel ends. All hazardous waste from affected wheel ends should be disposed of per EPA requirements.

1. Identify Wheel End Type and Conditions

  • Is the wheel end equipped with Sentinel hub cap technology? Refer to #3 or #4 below.
  • Is the wheel end lubricated with oil or grease?
  • Does the wheel end contain a pre-adjusted bearing package? Some pre-adjusted wheel ends have limited rebuild capabilities. If you have this type of wheel end, contact the pre-adjusted wheel end manufacturer for rebuild instructions.  

    NOTE: Water, especially salt water, is corrosive to wheel ends and may degrade lubricant and metal components

2. General Steps

  • Inspect all wheel ends, not just a random sampling.
  • Clean the exterior of wheel end, washing off potential chemical or other contamination in a location with approved drainage and run-off collection capabilities.
  • In all cases where the lubricant is drained or removed from a wheel end, properly dispose of that lubricant. Disposal may differ depending on level and type of chemical contamination in the lubricant.

3. Sentinel Type Hub Cap
STEMCO offers hub caps with Sentinel technology (Sentinel hub cap and ESP plugs). These products provide water resistance to the internal hub cavity via a filter membrane. It is identifiable by the word "Sentinel" written on the non-removable red plastic cap or "ESP" on the blue removable plug. Wheel-ends equipped with Sentinel technology are likely to have little, if any, contamination inside. However, under these extreme conditions, all wheel ends should be inspected using the following procedure.

  • Remove the hub cap.
  • Oil Lubrication - Drain the wheel end lubricant into an approved receptacle.
    • Inspect lubricant for water contamination, dispose of lubricant properly.
    • If no lubricant contamination is found, install the hub cap with a new gasket and refill to the proper level. (Refer to TMC RP 631B)
  • Grease Lubrication - Follow the recommended annual inspection procedure for grease wheel ends (Refer to TMC RP 631B). This involves removing the outer bearing and inspecting the hub cavity for proper lubricant level and condition.
    • If no contaminants are present assure proper grease level and reassemble. (ref: TMC RP 631B)
    • If the lubricant is determined to be contaminated, follow the complete disassembly practice listed in #4.

4. Non Sentinel Type Hub Caps
Other hub caps may not provide the same level of water resistance and, when submerged, it is likely that contamination will enter the wheel end. NOTE: Tire inflation systems hub caps in many instances look like the Sentinel system. These do not contain Sentinel technology. Treat these as you would a non Sentinel hub cap as described below.

  • Remove the hub cap.
  • Drain wheel end lubricant (OIL or GREASE) into an approved receptacle. Dispose of properly.
  • Disassemble the wheel end.
  • Inspect the bearings and races for any signs of rust or discoloration. If there is any sign of rust or pitting, both the BEARING AND THE CUP HAVE TO BE REPLACED.  Shop here for replacement wheel bearings.

    NOTE: On aluminum hubs, a special procedure is used to install bearing cups. Refer to the hub manufacturer for their recommended procedure.

  • Inspect the axle and hub for any signs of rust or discoloration. If rust is present, clean the surface with emery cloth to remove rust.  

    NOTE: This is especially important on the axle bearing journals and seal shoulder and in the hub bearing and seal bores.

  • Clean all components to be reused in solvent and properly dry these parts.

    NOTE: Never use compressed air to spin the bearing as this can cause injury to the technician and/or damage to the bearing.

  • Lubricate bearing rollers and axle with the same type lubricant (OIL or GREASE) to be used in the hub.
  • Reassemble the wheel end using proper assembly procedures.
    • Refer to TMC's RP 618B for bearing adjustment. NOTE: Verify that wheel end bearing adjustment is 0.001" to 0.005" end play using a dial indicator.
    • Refer to TMC's RP 631B for lubricant fill procedures.
    • Installation instructions reference material is available at Or call STEMCO at 1-800-527-8492. Ask for technical support.

**Tech Tip Provided by STEMCO.  

Posted By

Diagnosing Starter Cranking Problems

Jul 21, 2017 11:15:49 AM

Are cranking problems frustrating your fleet?

While cranking problems can be frustrating, identifying and correcting the root cause doesn’t have to be. The first step is to identify the symptoms. In a cranking system, you can divide your symptoms into one of three possible troubleshooting categories:

  • Slow Crank: The starter will crank, however, the engine RPM is slow to start the vehicle."REMY_STARTER_VOLVO_INPOST
  • Click No-Crank: The solenoid clicks but the starter doesn’t crank.
  • No-Click No-Crank: The solenoid doesn’t click, and the starter doesn’t crank.

Once you have identified the problem you’re dealing with, then you can start to remedy it. For all issues, the initial troubleshooting is the same – you start with the batteries.

STEP 1 – Begin at the batteries: Charge the batteries and perform a battery load test on the battery bank. If the load test fails, then individually test each battery and replace any faulty ones.

STEP 2 – Perform a voltage drop test: Once batteries pass muster, then perform a voltage drop test on the starter main cables. The starter voltage drop should be less than 0.5V drop total on cranking circuit. This is an important step and is often the cause of a slow cranking complaint. Yet, voltage drop also is a leading cause of click or no-click complaints because almost every vehicle manufacturer uses the heavy positive post, located on the starter solenoid, as a place to pick up the current used to supply the control circuit.

STEP 3 – Identify the specific issue: Until now, the diagnostic path has remained the same regardless of the complaint. Now is where you address the specific issue.

  • Slow Cranking: For the starter to crank, the control circuit would have to be working. So, if battery and cable checks are within specification and the vehicle still cranks slowly, then it’s a slow cranking problem, and it’s time to replace the starter.
  • Click No-Crank: Check the control circuit. If the starter does not contain an Integrated Magnetic Switch (IMS), then a voltage drop test will need to be performed on the vehicle control circuit. If the starter has an IMS switch function, the technician will have to verify that the vehicle’s control circuit is providing voltage to the starter IMS.
  • No-Click No-Crank: When this occurs, power is not being sent to the solenoid, making it very unlikely that the issue is related to the starter motor.

If all systems have been checked, and the starter is found to be the cause, the ring gear should also be inspected for damage that could cause future starter damage.

View Remy’s step-by-step video on “Diagnosing Starter Cranking Problems.”

If you need to replace your starter, check out our selection of Delco Remy Heavy-Duty Truck Starters

Posted By


Broken lights are among the most visible of all Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) violations and can result in a loss of up to six severity points in CSA for each violation.

Watch the above video on what enforcement officers look for during an inspection, the consequences of non-compliance and how you can prevent lighting-related CSA violations.

If you need lights for your truck, check out our selection of truck lights from Truck-Lite and Grote

We also recommend these CSA Lighting Kits from Grote and TrucK-Lite

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Wheeling Truck Center
23rd & Market St., PO Box 6808
Wheeling, WV 26003 USA

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