"We went in and inspected one of their units and the fleet manager said, 'This is just an anomaly; this isn't right--we're only doing 18,000-mile drains,'" he says. "He brought in three more units--one of them only had 94,000 miles on it, and what they found was a little disconcerting when you're looking at an engine that doesn't have 100,000 miles on it--scuffing, moderate-to-heavy carbon and soot build-up, drag lines, weak, uneven cross-hatching throughout the cylinder.
"It doesn't matter if they went to our product or not," Priborsky says. "They could see the product they were using at 18,000-mile drain intervals--which is short--was not going to be in the best interest of their fleet for the long term. Of course, now everybody is trying to hold onto their fleet equipment for a little bit longer. With the way the economy is, getting an extra year out of your truck is huge."
For fleets that are eligible to give VideoCheck™ a try, Priborsky says it can definitely save time in the shop and possibly improve some maintenance practices.
"This is a very new way to look at and inspect your internal engine components," he says. "It's non-invasive--you're just removing a fuel injector. It allows you to determine the current condition, detect any damage that may occur. In the past, you had to remove the cylinder head. Now you don't, and the cost savings is exponential. If you've ever gone into a radiator that's just been running nothing but standard green coolant, and you see the calcium building-up and see the green goo drop out of the bottom of the radiator. That's a case for change right there."
Whether checking for a problem, verifying proper procedures were followed or even satisfying a prospective buyer, VideoCheck™ can be a very helpful tool for fleet professionals.
"If you're looking to sell off a couple units, you could do a couple of inspections and say, 'This is representative of the way our fleet is maintained,'" Priborsky says.
For more information or to schedule a demonstration of VideoCheck™, contact your local Shell account manager, call 1-800-64-LUBES or visit www.shell-lubricants.com
Additional shop options:
Heavy-duty truck technicians have used borescopes for years, and while they don't provide nearly the same degree of examination as a VideoCheck™ inspection, they provide fleets with some options to look inside hard-to-access components without taking up precious time tearing them apart and putting them back together.
The Lenox Instrument Company, Inc. has four borescope products, with prices starting under $1,000. Lenox's Bill Lang says borescopes are becoming more popular for fleet professionals.
"Labor costs are driving it and more people are aware there's other options than taking (the engine) apart," he says. "You can look at the cylinder wall, you can look at the condition of the valve; see if you had scoring of the cylinder wall, because your piston rings are in need of some attention. If you had leaky valves, you would be able to see the valve seals leaking."
Ridge Tool Company product manager--visual inspection Brian Harvanec says borescope technology is getting better and more affordable. Still, they are not cheap, and he says Ridge Tool Company's RIDGID® microEXPLORER™ digital inspection camera is a less expensive option for fleets.
The microEXPLORER™ is a portable, handheld video inspection system that lets technicians perform and record detailed visual inspections of hard-to-reach areas. Harvanec says the company's top-of-the-line product with image and video capture capability is under $1,000. Technicians can take still and video images and record their voices over the top of inspections for future reference.
"It's perfect for looking inside of cylinders, pistons, valves, and other internal engine components, but also great for general applications like looking at frames, behind body panels and behind dashboards," he says.
Technical Editor Dave Cappert answers your questions about borescopes and more.