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The MBE 900

usafk9

Veteran Expediter
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Bear with me, I am fighting a nasty cold, so what I am trying to ask may not be clear. Here's to hoping it is:

I have an '05 M2 106 with 4 squirrels.........an MBE 900 rated at 250 hp. As Leo has stated in previous posts, I should be thankful for any mileage past 400k on this engine. I'm asking if this is what you have experienced in driver trucks, or trucks you operated yourself. Here is why I ask: I am the 3rd owner of this truck. I know both of the previous owners, and they were both as meticulous about mechanical maintenance as I am. Although our truck is due for a valve lash adjustment, I see no other reasons why it would not go for another 2-300,000 miles. She shows no signs of any mechanical difficulties.

The reason for my post is this: I am looking to add another truck. A certain dealer has a glut of trucks that I may want, but many of them have Mercedes engines. I am leery of buying a CAT engine, as I am told that work on them is expensive, and, judging by the recent posts in this forum, something small can cause something big to happen, and it will hurt financially. I wish the MBE had a wet sleeve design. That is the real reason I was originally enticed by the CAT engine....the fact that an in-frame could be done on it. The costs of all the above scare me.

The 900.....

This engine enjoys relatively good fuel economy. When tuned right (and conditions are favorable), this engine has gotten the better part of 11 mpg. Longevity is a question.

Here's the real gist of my post: I am trying to write an accurate plan for future truck acquisition, and commensurate capital reserves for each truck. I called a W.W. Williams office this week, and was told that Mercedes does not sell long blocks; only complete engine assemblies. Price: $19k. That is the part ONLY. I am then told by said parts counter man that my engine's hp can be adjusted to 300hp with the swapping out of 'nozzles' (injector cones?). Last, he tells me that a large CAT dealer in Michigan has done rebuilds on these MBE engines, but they are not warrantable. That would seem to me to be the easiest route (and probably the cheapest).

I am looking for any input anyone has on this subject. Ideally, I would have a Cummins, but do not believe they were offered until 2008. I am not there yet, financially.

Let me have it, please.
 

davekc

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Fleet Owner
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Here would be my take. I would agree with Leo in that it is rare to see any of these MBE engines go past the 500k mark. Most in one form or another get problems that seem to be centered around blown turbos, EGR problems, and injector issues. There has been enough issues tht one dealer drop the whole line and went to Cummins. I don't believe the Mercedes 400HP or higher have had as many issues. That by itself would tell me something. As for Cat, they are expensive to repair so I would look for one with a warranty (or transferable if used, Approx $400) or go to a Cummins. We have a Cat engine that has a 750k warranty which isn't too bad. We primarily are running KW's with cummins in them for the rebuild factor. Jury is still out on whether I want to purchase the new EPA trucks any time soon. Way too many problems with them at this point.
There is my penny in the pond.
 

redytrk

Veteran Expediter
Charter Member
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My 2004 MBE900 260 HP has 540k on it with few problems. Worst of which was a blown head gasket at 510k.

Fuel MPG 11.3. 6 speed Manual.
 

LDB

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
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I generalize class 7 as 500k and class 8 as 1M mile trucks. Certainly there are exceptions to both generalizations. One that gets excellent maintenance and service as you mentioned has a good chance of lasting longer although some of the issues like the EGR seem to strike regardless. All else being equal my engine choices would be Cummins/MBE4000, Detroit/Cat, MBE900. Looking at a truck, I wouldn't absolutely reject one due to an MBE900 but I'd discount my offer enough to cover the higher cost of engine work compared to the same truck with a Cummins etc..
 

usafk9

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I appreciate the input thus far, and will toss this out again:

My wife and I stay out for months at a time. Class 8 tractors can be had for a song right now. Am I crazy for thinking someone can stretch a factory condo sleeper 2 feet to give us something comfortable to live in on the road? The million mile discussion is the reason for my questions. I am not looking for this for potential teams, but rather a truck for the boss and I.

The Class 7 trucks with 96" sleepers simply suck (or at least ones that I want to spend my money on). They would need modifications to meet our needs (we really want a goucho bed, and ample counter space- hate eating out, and the boss is an awesome cook). There are a bazillion Freightliners with the AA sleeper and absolutely ugly blue/gray interior. They are perfect for hiring teams, but we want our own type of comfort. We really enjoyed driving the 2007 Sterling with 96" Bentz/Express Cruiser setup our former owners had, but they were fraught with mechanical problems. There is a new M2112 at Stoops, but I can't see financing $105k, much less financing anything at all.

I have a mechanic at home who can stretch a frame and has suggested I find something with a Cummins, especially an N-14.
Having all of the mechanical strengths of a class 8, with all of our creature comforts is where I want us to be. Evan Rives (Evan's Add-ons) is apparently out of the business. I can't imagine that stretching a sleeper is rocket surgery, but believe it to be such a fine niche that no one likes to or wants to tackle it.

Time is on my side. I'm about 6 months away from being sufficiently capitalized to pull the next purchase off and have ample reserves. Unleash your comments, please. I need some confirmation on just how crazy I am.

Back to the initial topic, what did you do when you reached that 'threshold' with your MBE 900? Replace? Rebuild? Trade in?

Thanks again, and please keep your comments coming.
 

FJK1954

Expert Expediter
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I have an 2004 FL-112 with the MBE 900 with 765,000 miles on it. Only minor problems so far, a couple of injector line leaks,etc. nothing really engine wise. Still getting around 10mpg and oil analysis is great. i will probably go with this one again, especially if it goes over 1 million miles and i believe it will.....frank
 

davekc

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Fleet Owner
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I would run the truck you have until it blows up. I have no first hand knowledge of these engines other than what I read. If 19k is the correct replacement cost of an engine, I would just replace it with another truck. 19k will buy something.
Stretching a class 8 can be tricky. Most it seems buy a factory version which is what we did.
As for stretching factory sleepers, I believe this place is still business.
http://wherevisionsbecomereality.com/
 
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