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American Trucker Magazine
john ward

Spotlight on an American Trucker: John Ward

“I’ve been driving for 30 years. I started hauling sugar beets for the local farmers in the ‘Thumb’ of Michigan, and I’ve been hauling heavy equipment for Hydaker-Wheatlake the last 20 years.” --John Ward, Owner, Hydaker-Wheatlake, Reed City, MI

Make and model(s) of trucks and/or trailers you use in your business.
2019 Kenworth T800B, pulling a 50-ton Plus Trail King lowboy.

Type of freight you haul?
I haul oversized and heavy equipment such as excavators, flex tracks, and aerial equipment.

What engine and transmission?
The KW has an X15 Cummins mated to an Eaton Fuller 18-speed.

Why that configuration?
I chose it because of the demands of the heavy haul application and driver control of the 18-speed manual. The X15 was chosen because of the service availability and service support in the region we run.

What are the benefits of your truck?
The ride and comfort are my favorite features of the KW. The 38-in. sleeper is nice for the occasional overnight and also is a great place to store winter gear. The 565-hp. Cummins X15 mated to an Eaton 18-speed performs great for the loads I’m hauling.

What are three challenges you face with the type of freight you haul?

Traffic, blind spots, and weight restrictions. Defensive driving is the best way I handle traffic. I keep proper distance from vehicles to minimize blind spots, always check my permits, and stay on top of the weight and size of what I’m hauling.

What are three challenges you face with maintenance/repairs?
There are only two: finding time to schedule and finding qualified repair facilities on the road. The best way to resolve these headaches is to follow the preventive maintenance guidelines and schedule service in advance when able.

What do you do regarding maintenance and repairs to minimize downtime?
I fix small problems before they become ‘truck down’ situations.

What are your mileage/time intervals on preventive maintenance?
I change the oil every 10,000 miles and follow the OEM’s recommended maintenance schedule.

How do you ensure good tire mileage? Which brand do you prefer?
I check tire pressure and rotate as needed. I prefer Goodyear.

What is the biggest challenge you face driving a truck?
Driving safely with the rise of distracted driving.

If you could change one regulation to trucking, what would it be?
Hours of operation. I feel I’m capable of driving more hours than legally allowed.

What do you enjoy about trucking and hauling the freight you do?
Freedom of the road. I like the heavy haul/oversized trucking because of the different types of loads and the variety of the lanes I run.

TAGS: News Business
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