TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Team Elmer’s does a little bit of everything in Michigan: hauling asphalt, stone and aggregate, excavation, supplying concrete, cranes and rigging, heavy hauling, piers and piles, snow removal, site restoration and more.
In addition to its Traverse City headquarters, the contractor has 11 locations throughout the northern half of the Lower Peninsula, offering a variety of services in each spot. Naturally, it needs a truck fleet that’s equally versatile. So, it chose Western Star.
The changeover began four years ago when Grand Traverse Diesel Service, a Western Star dealer next door to Team Elmer’s headquarters, persuaded President Troy Broad to buy a single Western Star 4900 SB and test it against the make he was buying.
“We were looking for a 0.1 mile per gallon increase,” Broad said. The 4900 SB instead delivered a 0.6 mpg increase during a trial and that, coupled with improved reliability, was good enough for the company to switch to Western Star.
Western Star trucks are now half of Team Elmer’s 92-truck fleet and the share is growing as the company replaces eight to 10 trucks each year with Western Stars.
Broad said the company has been impressed by the powerful and efficient Detroit™ DD16® engine, which delivers up to 600 horsepower. That power is needed to pull Team Elmer’s “Michigan Specials,” extra-heavy combos with GVW of 164,000 lbs — the maximum the state allows without special permits and the highest in the nation.
Team Elmer’s also sometimes hauls oversize equipment loads with a GVW of up to 200,000 lbs with special use permits.
The company specs 4900 SBs with DD16 engines, 18-speed Eaton Fuller transmissions and 3:90 to 4:10 gear ratios. It also orders double-insulated cabs with top-of-the-line interiors.
Drivers who were at first reluctant to switch manufacturers have embraced the Western Star trucks, as have the fleet mechanics. “They’re absolutely easy to work on,” Broad said. “And our service intervals have gotten longer.”
While much of the travel is short mileage to construction sites, the Western Star 4900s also perform well on longer runs, Broad said.
“It’s a premier truck, on road and off road,” he said.
For more information, go to WesternStarTrucks.com.
Western Star Trucks Sales, Inc., headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C., produces tough custom trucks for highway and vocational applications. Western Star is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 5-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.