There is a tendency, however, to focus too much on the refueling aspect. "Many times, contractors will operate a fuel and lube truck combination utilizing 1,000 gal. of diesel," Seidenberger says. "The demand put on the truck for fueling distracts from the lubrication and oil changes that need to be performed, resulting in equipment going too long without an oil change, or improper greasing intervals. This may be a good opportunity to separate oil change and fueling functions by purchasing lube skids for oil changes and having dedicated fuel trucks or tankers."
Mobile lube equipment can be configured to carry oil products, grease, fuel, antifreeze and sometimes water. Many contractors also opt for systems to recover used oil and antifreeze, as well as used filters.
Check with your lube equipment supplier to see if they offer a program for determining how much of those fluids you're actually using and how much capacity you will ultimately need.
"That relates directly to a recommendation on size of lube equipment," says Worman. "Then you balance that with your preventive maintenance schedule. There really isn't any set standard. It"s about understanding the application and the equipment you're servicing."
It also relates to how often you anticipate being back in the shop, or how close you are to your fluids provider. "If you're in the shop every day, you can get by with smaller equipment," says Worman. "If you're back every three days, you will need something larger."
"The bigger the tanks, the cheaper per gallon your cost will be for fluids," adds Hayes, since you can buy in volume. However, you need to pay attention to weight. "Consult with the manufacturer to ensure you don't overload your truck, which can shorten vehicle life and lead to fines [due to overloading]."
Keeping a lube truck below 26,000-lb. GVW is a desirable goal to avoid CDL requirements. "Larger trucks are available if you need that much capacity," says Hayes. "But if you don't, you don't have to have a dedicated CDL driver."
With a lube skid mounted in the bed of a mechanics truck, take into account the weight of the truck body, crane, air compressor and all tools and parts. "You have to be careful with the amount of payload you have left so you can even carry the lube skid," says Worman. "You have to look at the entire package and how it integrates together to maintain legality and still do your job."
In an effort to keep the payload low, IMT offers polyethylene tanks. "A 50-gal. poly tank will weigh 80% less than a 50-gal. steel tank," says Worman.
Various options and features are available to customize mobile lube equipment to your application.
For example, in colder climates, you can add heat to enclosed units to maintain the viscosity of oils when temperatures plummet. Tank heaters can be added to further maintain a more favorable environment.
Filter crushers can be advantageous in situations where storage space is at a premium. Additional supply tank filters can further minimize contamination. Generators can be added to run 110-volt lights. And pressure washer systems can assist with cleaning and maintaining the equipment being serviced.
There are also a number of filling systems available, depending on the manufacturer.
IMT offers a quick-fill system designed to minimize the introduction of contaminants and provide the ability to fill the lube truck tank from a bulk supply area without opening the tank.
Sage Oil Vac skids, trailers and trucks feature pumpless used oil recovery and fresh fluid delivery, so you can vacuum fresh fluid from drums or totes without a drum pump or other pumping system. "If the jobsite is remote, this will come in handy since the contractor may not have good means for pumping oil from 55-gal. drums or totes," says Seidenberger.
Other options can enhance operator productivity. Sage Oil Vac offers outside storage capacity and outside work lights, and IMT offers compartments down the side of the truck for accessing filters, parts, etc. "When the operator has to climb in and out of the tank deck, that takes away from the productivity at the jobsite," says Worman. "If the operator keeps his feet on the ground, he's being productive and can get the job done faster. Outside storage is a key feature for our equipment."
Also take a look at the pumping system. Many units come with some type of air supply that can be used to clean the radiator and pump fluids.