In this video, Lee rolls up the sleeves and gets under the truck to show you what to look for when buying a used junk removal truck and how to keep your trucks running right!

Hey guys, this is Lee with Junk Removal Authority, checking in with another great video for you right here. A lot of you guys in the junk removal industry is running these Isuzu trucks, and a lot of people that are going out on their own in first getting in the business, like Junk Doctors and like us here in Junk Removal Authority, went out and bought an old 1-800GotJunk truck, painted it, and converted it over to fit your needs. This particular truck is a 2006 Isuzu NPR HD. It has a 5.2-liter engine in it, it is the 4HK1 engine. If you’re going to go out and buy an Isuzu truck, ideally you want to get between the years 2005 to 2007 with the 4HK1 engine before they put on the diesel particulate filter, and EPA started requiring the DPF filter, and then later they added in the diesel exhaust system. Each of those trucks are okay, we have some that are brand new with def systems on, we have some with just the DPF system. They’re good trucks, however they’re a little bit more complex. There is a bit more things that can fail, and a bit more expensive to maintain. We’ll have to cover those trucks on a separate video. In the meantime, though, let’s cover this 4HK1, this 2006 Isuzu NPR HD.


Choosing The Right Trucks

The shots can be a little difficult to get. One of the issues that we have with these trucks because they operate in landfill environments, transfer environments, very dusty environments, is your AC condenser fan which is down here. It’s underneath the passenger side down here. This will become clogged with dirt. When that condenser becomes clogged, one it’s going to bring in very little air, so the AC is going to not blow very hard, if it all, two it could run the pressures way up in the air conditioning unit where it can actually cause the air conditioning system to fail. It could be pretty expensive. One of the problems with these trucks and the environments you operate in is you’re always working on air conditioning units. A lot of people choose that when it breaks, then they never fix it. We always try and keep going, but we always have a few trucks that they’re not working on, they’re kind of in rotation for repair.


We just raised up the bed on this Isuzu truck, on these 1-800-GOT-JUNK? trucks. Any time you have a bed up and you’re going to walk underneath, always prop it – there’s a prop right there. We have had an issue before on one of our trucks with one of the welds breaking on part of the support structure, and actually the entire bed fell. It was up at the landfill, and it fell down. It could have been catastrophic and fatal had somebody been underneath this thing working on it. It was just a matter of some rusted build up, and that particular truck was from up north. So always, if you’re going to work underneath these things, have that prop set.


Right now, we’re underneath the truck. This truck definitely needs a good power washing. We power wash our trucks once a week. We’re right here on a Saturday right now, and then get power wash on Sunday. That’s the reason they’re this dirty. This is the dump motor. This is the hydraulic reservoir for the hydraulic fluid. From time to time you will have an issue where sometimes, after these things have got some age on them, you might go to raise up this particular bed, and the bed might not raise. You hear the motor working, nothing is raising up. You come over here to the control, what you need to do, and I’m not going to do this because this propped, but if it is not raising, press sit down, hold it down for several seconds until you start to hear it bind up. Once it binds up, go up with it and it should raise. Sometimes you have to cycle back and forth in between these buttons, and it can take several minutes. If you’ve been working on it for about three minutes and it has yet to raise, give it about a five to ten-minute break if it all possible to let that motor pool down, otherwise you can actually overheat the motor. That from time to time will happen. A lot of times it’s got some air that’s gotten caught on the system. You have to work that air out.


The 1-800-GOT-JUNK? bed itself is a great bed. It’s very light. It’s about the lightest bed in the junk removal industry for the most part, but it’s still extremely durable. One of the weak points is the original tarp system. The original tarp arms are held up by some exposed spring. The springs break, the arms break, they bend too easily, they’re not very durable. This has been replaced with a roll right tarp system. As you can see, we just recently had this done because you can see where it was spray painted over where they had to do the welds to put that new system on. These aluminum arms or extremely durable. This system is now good to go. This is one of the improvements you’re probably going to need to make on your 1-800-GOT-JUNK? trucks once your tarp arms start giving you issues.


Considering Fuel Pumps and Systems

The fuel system on the Isuzu trucks is really one of the weak points on the truck itself, on the diesel trucks especially. Also, the gasoline, but mainly we’re mainly talking about diesel. The fuel tank on these trucks is of lot of times the starting point for fuel system issues. Often, corrosion will build up inside that 30-gallon fuel tank, and that rust will then go through the fuel lines, and if the filter becomes clogged or it somehow manages to bypass the fuel filter, which the fuel filter on these trucks is right here – it’s a fuel filter and a water separator – if that bypasses that filter, gets into the engine itself, it can get to the injectors and that will cause the injectors to fail. It also can cause the fuel pump itself to fail, start coming apart, throwing off metal, and stuff like that. A lot of time on these trucks if you start losing a fuel injector, if the truck starts running rough, they pull the pressures on the fuel system, and it appears that you’ve lost an injector. Oftentimes, it has started in the fuel tank with rust, or debris, or some sort of foreign debris that has entered that tank. It’s bypassed the filter, it’s gotten in the injectors. If you lose one, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose the other three. If you want to replace that one and see what happens, then great, but you better figure out what caused it to fail in the first place. It’s oftentimes rust, or other debris from the fuel tank.


I mention the fuel pump briefly on these trucks. That can be a major issue in a very high expanse on these Isuzu systems. If the fuel pump comes apart, what it can actually do is; it could still work, but it will throw metal into the fuel lines and contaminate the injectors. Remember, the fuel pump is pass the filter. There’s nothing filtering it. If that pump begins to come apart, it’s going to throw metal straight into the fuel lines, and then into the injectors, then the injectors will fail. Each of the fuel injectors on these Isuzu trucks are about $400 each, so that in itself is pretty expensive, obviously. The other issue is as soon as metal enters the fuel lines, these metal lines themselves have to be replaced as well, because there’s metal inside of them. As soon as you change out that pump and you put fresh fuel into those lines, you will start chipping away at some of the old metal. You’ll lose another set of injectors.


We’ve mentioned this fuel filter several times because of all the debris that can come from a rusty tank or enter in through the fuel system. Isuzu recommends that you add another fuel filter. This truck has just recently been outfitted with that extra filter. This is it right here. The fuel is going to come to this fast, it then will flow through to this filter as well, so you’ve got twice the chance of catching any debris with this extra filter. Isuzu does highly recommend that you put an extra fuel filter on these trucks. On these fuel filters, they’ve got a drain at the very bottom. This also serves as a water separator. Water will build up in this filter. If any water gets in your fuel system, it can just be water that entered in through the filler neck, or oftentimes it’s just condensation that forms on the inside of the tanks. You will unscrew this – I’m not going to do this now, I don’t have a drip pan because this fuel is very corrosive on asphalt – but if you open that drain up, water will come out first. Wait until all the water is drained out, and then screw that back on and you’ll be good to go. The Isuzu trucks do have a sensor, that’s what this wire is right here, that will light up a light on the panel that will tell you if you have water in the system. That always needs to be just an emergency thing if all of a sudden somebody left the fuel cap off and filled it up with a bunch of water. You’re going to be draining this weekly to make sure no water gets past that filter in the fuel system, which can damage your truck.


One of the simplest preventive maintenance things you can do on these Isuzu trucks to protect the fuel system is to have your drivers fill the truck up completely full with diesel at the end of every day. This is stuff that a lot of pilots know and understand, because it’s been an issue in aviation before. When a fuel tank has space, air is allowed inside the tank. Overnight as the temperatures cool, condensation form on the inside of that thank. That moisture is what will start rusting the inside of these fuel tanks. Overnight, if you keep these things slam full of fuel, your chances of rust issues are extremely low. There are a lot less to keep these tanks full.


What you’ll notice on this fuel filter is this is an Isuzu brand fuel filter. The only fuel filter you should put on these trucks are Isuzu brand filters. They are more expensive. This is at least a $25 fuel filter. Don’t go with el cheapo systems on these Isuzu trucks. If you have to replace that fuel system, you’re at minimum $5,000. If you’re trying to replace the pump, your injectors, and the fuel lines, then you’re going to be in it for $5,000 plus. $5,000 if you get somebody doing the labor cheap, if you’re taking it to a dealer, that’s going to be a $7,000 or $8,000 fix. Do not jeopardize about $5,000 to $7,000 fuel system to save a few dollars on a fuel filter. That is bad business.


When you’re looking to purchase these Isuzu trucks, especially from up north, you always want to really inspect your fuel lines, and you need to have them clean. This is dirty. You need have these lines clean and inspect these fittings. If you see rust on those lines or those fittings, you’ll see them on bolts or clamps too, that will be a sure sign you might have some rust issues is if these clamps had rust on them. If you suspect they’re rust, and all of a sudden you notice all your hose clamps look like they’re brand new, suspect that the dealer knows some people look for that and has changed those out. Always look for rust. I’m not saying that rust is a reason not to purchase a truck, especially when you’re desperate. This truck was actually a desperate buy. We had five trucks at that point, and we had to get another truck. We were running for one or two weeks, we were missing out on income because we weren’t able to get to people very quickly. We needed that 6th vehicle. This popped up. We went out there saw it, it ran, it sounded good, so we purchased it, but we’ve had issues because a lot of these lines and when stuff has gone wrong, we’ve gone and fixed them, and we’ve had other problems occur because when we were loosening those lines, those brake fittings, they would break those lines and turn had to be replaced as well.


Check Truck Issues

One other issues with debris in the fuel system stems from it entering the fuel system through the fuel. What a lot of times will happen is your guys will leave the fuel cap off. Debris will enter in and the landfill get kicked out, or the cap itself, let’s say you’ve just been on the construction of landfill and it’s very muddy, mud will fall down into that tank, into that net. Your guys won’t wipe it clean. To help prevent that, run mud flaps. This truck doesn’t have it, but on some of our trucks, we have built a metal guard that come off the side to keep dirt and mud from flying up off the tires and hitting this filler neck. Always have this attached to where your drivers aren’t going to leave it, because I can promise you if it’s not attached they will, and periodically you need inspect to make sure that they’re putting the caps back on, because they often times forget.


One of the issues you’re going to have on these trucks, and you always will when you have inexperienced drivers, is they will take off with the parking brake engaged. On a lot of vehicles that use a parking brake that actually just runs to the rear tires, the worst thing that will happen is you will wear out the brake itself. What can occur on these trucks is it actually uses a driveline parking brake. This is the parking brake right here. It creates friction on the drive line running back to the drive shaft. If this is left engaged, that drive shaft spins extremely fast. It will quickly wear the linings out on this parking brake, and it will cause the brakes, the springs, and everything to fly, or to fall apart on that driveline and jam everything together. The truck literally won’t move. Instead of on the older system, a lot of times you’d wear the Lightning’s out. You keep on going and you just want to have a parking brake you can use. This can actually get extremely hot, very hot, and it can cause the truck to actually jam, and you’ll have to tow it back to the shop. It’s not going to ruin the truck, but it is going to cause you to have a tow bill to get towed to a repair facility. To fix this assembly, it’s over $400 to repair that. Make it very clear for your guys always to check and see that the parking brake light is turned off, or that can get extremely expensive. You also need to make it very clear that never when that truck with it moving should they use the parking brake as a brake. It’s really not an emergency brake where you can pull it like you could on a car. If you pull on this, it’s going to damage something. The only time they should truly use it while the trucks moving is if they’ve lost brakes, and that’s the only way to stop it. Other than that, the only time that thing is to be engaged is to be used as a parking brake.


Isuzu diesel trucks feature an exhaust brake where if you let all the way off the accelerator, it activates this exhaust brake, which is right here. This opens up a valve that actually restricts the exhaust and causes the exhaust in the engine to do a lot of braking. It increases the brake life tremendously by using that exhaust brake. From time to time, this exhaust brake can fail. One, it might not work when you go to let off, it just might not engage, or the valve can stick and it will actually restrict the exhaust. The computer recognizes an issue, it will throw it in safe mode, you won’t have any acceleration at all. So, one of the issues to look at if your truck goes in safe mode, or if it sounds like it’s running good when it’s idling, but it has no power, no acceleration at all, often times your exhaust brake valve has stuck. That should be one of the first places you look at when you have issues where the truck doesn’t have power and goes into safe mode. Another issue that might throw a truck into safe mode – this should be the first thing you check when your truck ever goes into safe mode – and what that your service engine light will turn on, and that’ll mean the truck is likely entered into safe mode and will have very reduced power like five miles per hour as is often as quick as you can go. Often times to correct that safe mode issue, you can turn the truck off, turn it back on crank, oftentimes you’ll have power again. Now, if it’s a recurring issue of whatever the problem is wasn’t a random occurrence, then it’s going to kick it back into safe mode again. You’ve got to be very careful if the truck keeps kicking back into safe mode. You might want to get it towed back, because you could actually have a problem that’s going to cause major damage to your engine. However, from time to time you’ll get a random occurrence thrown into safe mode. Try and drive again. If you drive after in it and it does great, there’s nothing to worry about. However, one of the issues you might want to look at first if the truck kicks into safe mode is, again, going to come back to this fuel filter. If this fuel filter has water in it, or debris, it reaches the engine, then that means the engine is going to recognize something is wrong, that’s going to kick it into safe mode. If you have repeated issues on safe mode, before you take it to the dealer or repair facility, change out this fuel filter. See if that solves your issue.


The rear differential on these vehicles is pretty robust. The hogshead is back in here. This rear differential, if you have issues with the rear and these Isuzu trucks, it’s often driver related. I will almost guarantee that if you’ve had a problem where this rear end has gone out, your truck has been on two wheels at some point. This truck right here has had a rear end. It has been on two wheels. Our mechanic saw it on two wheels on a turn. Luckily, it didn’t flip over. The rear end within about the next 100 to 200 miles went out. It’s a fairly expensive fix. We put a junkyard rear end in it. They’re so durable. Again, about the only time you’re ever going to have rear end problems, as long as for some reason they haven’t gone the leaking, and its lost fluid, or you have an axle that might be leaking and its lost fluid, the fluid levels up, the only time you’re going to have rear end issues for the most part is if the truck has been up on two wheels.


One of the common issues that occur on these Isuzu trucks is you going to press the brake pedal, and it goes all the way to the floor. This particular truck actually has this issue right now, so we know this needs to get fixed. This worked out great to do this video on. You press, it goes all the way to the floor pretty easily with very little resistance. The most common cause for that is going to be back here at your rear brakes. What has happened is these rear brakes are supposed to auto adjust, so when the shoes begin to just normal wear, driving down the road from using normal breaks, the brakes are supposed to adjust so the shoes continue to expand out to stay in contact, or to stay near that drum. Oftentimes, what will happen is they won’t adjust, so your shoes are wearing. They’re getting farther away from the drum. What you have to do is there is an adjustment screw. There’s no way that the camera angle is going to catch this, but there is an adjustment screw on these brakes. You turn that screw, that will adjust the brakes in, and you’ll be good to go just so long as your brakes themselves have not worn out yet. From a driving standpoint, it is a safety issue, you need to get it adjusted. You really just need to let your drivers know that if the pedal begins to get go down, or get soft, just pump. If they go to pump that brake, that will work that shoe in contact with a drum, and they’ll have full brakes. Many of your drivers are not going to think that quickly. This seems to be something that you constantly talk to them about should that happen during your daily, or weekly meetings.


One of the things that you might notice from time to time is these lights up here. You’ll think you’re losing these bulbs all the time. These little, miniature lights, these little mini bulbs all the time are not making good connection. You hop up on your bumper, give it a few little taps, oftentimes the lights will turn on. You see all of ours are working right now, but oftentimes many of our trucks are having problems.


What you’ll notice on this panel – I’ve got it turned off right now – if you turn the key on, or if your guys are driving, and this speedometer is not working, or these lights are not coming on, immediately stop driving the truck, or at least if you’re close to home, keep it in about 25 to 30 miles an hour in there, and limp it back to the shop. Many people don’t realize in this vehicle, if that occurs, it will no longer shift into overdrive. The transmission will just be running wide open, you’ll burn up the transmission. This oftentimes is caused by one fuse. We had one fuse go out, a little $2 fuse or less, caused us to lose a $5,000 transmission. Let your guys know that if this speedometer is not working, that’s going to be the main thing that goes out. If the speedometer is not working, do not drive the vehicle. Immediately come to a stop. As I mentioned a second ago, limp it home at 25 to 30 miles per hour. it’s not even worth doing that. Find the safest place to pull over to a stop, tow it back to your shop, and get it fixed, or get a fuse, try and fix that fuse. You might be able to replace the fuse back to working, however if it pops out again, you either want to take it to a shop, or in a safe area, you can try diagnose the issue. The particular problem on this was that the tail light wire had gotten snagged. It grounded to the frame, it blew the fuse, and caused us to lose a transmission.


These Isuzu trucks are extremely durable trucks. They do have their own issues, some of which with some good preventive maintenance that we’ve covered throughout this video, will help prevent some of those problems. Your engine is normally good for 300,000 miles plus. You’re going to get great longevity. We have one truck that probably has 340,000 on it now. The transmission is normally good for about 250,000 miles, and then you’re going to have some other issues that start arising: water pump problems, and just random failures that start coming up around 150,000 to 200,000 miles. Overall though, we always keep fixing these trucks, we keep running these trucks. Will we replace them? Yeah, we’ll probably start replacing some soon. We’ve been in growth mode where we’ve been adding trucks in such a rapid rate. It’s been impossible to replace one because we needed another truck to keep up with business. As our business starts to stabilize, we will begin to replace some vehicles. For the most part, these are great trucks and highly recommend.


That’s a wrap on what was hopefully another very helpful video. I know this information wasn’t available to me when we got in business. We had to learn this stuff the hard way. Every issue I just covered; that wasn’t from reading about it online. That is stuff that’s personal, that is issues we, ourselves, have had that’s led to a lot of expense, and downtimes, and missed opportunities from these trucks being down. Everything has been learned the hard way. With the Junk Removal Authority business package, you do not have to learn things the hard way. On day one you will know what took us anywhere from four to six years to learn. You’ll know on the very first day of operation. You’ve got one year of unlimited consulting included in that as well. Website setups, AdWords management, SEO, all that kind of stuff is included in the business package. For those of you already in the business, the Junk Removal Authority pay per job income generation platform might be one of the best things we can offer you. One of the best things that’s ever happened to independent junk removal companies. This pay per job program, especially if you’re not on AdWords, if you haven’t been running AdWords long, if you’re new to it, if you tried it and it didn’t work, we’re going to run out our proven AdWords campaign for you. We’re going to run search engine optimization. It will be hosted only proven and respected site that Google respects. It will have your own logo on it, your business name. Our call center is going to answer it for you. You’re going to have to take these calls. Unlike HomeAdvisor that’s constantly causing you to have to track down these leads, we’re going to do it for you. Check out the pay per job program. Those of you looking to get in business, look into the full business package. We’re here for you always. Give us a call at 919-617-1975.