Students land a big rig to hone skills on

EVERETT — Students at the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center have a new toy worth $120,000.

The school has a 2009 semi truck to use for its diesel power technology class. The truck, donated by Daimler Trucks North America, is intended to help students learn maintenance and repair skills on a vehicle used by the trucking industry.

For Austin Reagan, 18, the Class 8 truck is gorgeous.

“It has new technology we haven’t been able to train,” said Reagan, a Marysville Getchell senior. “It will prepare us for the future.”

In only its first week at the school, the truck was the subject of a hands-on lesson in finding and solving a potentially serious mechanical problem.

Students inspected the brake system to make sure the truck met federal standards. It didn’t. The students went looking for the reason.

The diagnosis: The truck may have a malfunctioning check valve. The students are waiting for additional information to be sure.

“It’s kind of odd finding a fault like that,” Sultan High School senior Ben Clair, 18, said. “It’s kind of a big deal. These brakes will fail eventually.”

The truck is filling the exact purpose instructor Brent Delfel hoped.

The students now have a vehicle they can practice on before getting a job repairing big rigs.

“This is the standard,” Delfel said. “The student will see this vehicle on a typical shop for many years.”

Before, the class worked on a 1988-vintage semi, which doesn’t have up-to-date technology. That truck is to be sold for scrap.

Delfel had to improvise lessons by showing parts of a diesel engine on a table. He also used other engines from other vehicles.

With the new truck, students can learn about the onboard computer network, electrical and filtering systems that are standard on the latest trucks.

Lake Stevens senior Hunter Gracey, 18, believes the truck will help future classes.

“They will know how locate all the pieces and parts on a real-world truck,” Gracey said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422;

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