Common Kenworth T800 Problems & Tips To Avoid Them

It's easy to ignore other possibilities, given the recent marketing of the much awaited Kenworth W990 and the ongoing need for W900s. However, we thought we'd take the time to shed some fresh light on one of our favorite top-sellers, the Kenworth T800, to aid you when you’re in the market for a new truck.

Drivers in the heavy-haul and shipping industries have relied on the T800 as the workhorse for over 30 years. When on work sites or more cramped environments, Kenworth T800 trucks rate well for mobility thanks to their set-back front axles and narrow wheel cut. Nothing is too difficult for these vehicles to handle.

The Kenworth T800 is also quite customizable. They may be configured with a choice of engines, horsepower levels, and radiator sizes.

Users also like the Kenworth T800 simply because they can be customized for user comfort. T800s may be converted as line-haul tractors with minor to big sleepers and conventional day cabs. The trucks also have a slanted hood for optimal vision and aerodynamics, giving you the best of both worlds: a durable work truck with maximum comfort and power. 

To ensure your Kenworth T800 lasts for years and gives you as few problems as possible, here are some of the most common problems with this model of truck and how to avoid them. 

Paying Attention To Your Truck’s Brakes

The brake system is perhaps the Kenworth T800 truck component that most need maintenance. Modern Kenworth T800 trucks' braking systems are more prone to fluid or air leaks since heavier cargoes put much more strain on the brakes. Different brake components may wear out or stop working more quickly due to corrosion and contamination from dirt or moisture. These might ultimately result in a braking system failure if improperly handled.

A failing brake is one of the last things a Kenworth T800 truck drivers want to be concerned about while driving, therefore routine maintenance and inspection are essential. Even though a lot of the brake components are designed to wear out over time, with the right maintenance and driving habits, they may last much longer.

Keep On Top Of Your Tires

Tire-related issues account for more than half of roadside breakdowns. The tires are often under-inflated in these situations, which causes the tire to bend and heat up. Excessive heat causes the rubber in the tire to deteriorate and finally burst. Uneven wear of the tire tread brought on by a worn-out or misaligned suspension may also result in a rough ride and a greater risk of flats.

The road itself may harm tires, affecting tire pressure and the rate of tread degradation. For instance, if you hit a pothole or other obstruction at 60 MPH, the tire will bear the whole force of the crash. If the force is strong enough, the tire's sidewall will compress against the wheel flange. This "pinch shock" action may result in the formation of an internal tire fracture or possibly the tearing of a portion of the tire.

The tires will ultimately need to be replaced as the treads deteriorate, much like the brakes. However, you can get the most mileage out of each one by keeping the correct wheel alignment, checking and changing tire pressure as necessary, and driving cautiously to avoid potholes and other road hazards. This should call for new tires since a visible bulge on the side of the tires often indicates it.

Engine Problems and Causes

Kenworth T800 truck engines are efficient and long-lasting, but that doesn't mean they are impervious to failure. Particularly frequent problems include overheating, which may occur for various reasons, from a leak in the coolant line to a burst gasket. Another typical reason for diesel engine issues is oil oxidation, particularly if the Kenworth T800 is left idle for a long time. Other frequent causes of engine failure include worn or damaged fuel injectors, fuel pumps, the EGR valve, and the diesel fuel itself.

The importance of keeping the engine serviced increases with the mileage of your Kenworth T800 truck. To avoid long-term problems, analyzing probable causes of overheating and malfunctions with a maintenance expert is essential.

Problems With The Starter

Starter issues are often linked with the chilly winter months, although they may happen at any time of the year. A damaged battery or a loose or corroded battery connection is often to blame for the issue; both may need to be replaced to solve the issue. But sometimes, the cause lies with the starting components, such as worn brushes, defective armatures, coil windings that draw too much current, or magnets that grind against other components and generate internal friction. As a result, the engine may start slowly, loudly, or not at all. A starter that is about to fail could also briefly engage before slipping.

No matter the weather, the starting mechanism should be consistently and regularly checked to avoid significant ignition issues in the future. When starting the engine after a prolonged period of inactivity, the operator should always watch for obvious indicators of starter failure. Radios and other non-essential devices should also be switched off during the motor start phase to reduce the load on the starter and battery.

Replace The Wheel Bearings As Needed

Wheel bearings are designed to move the wheels with the least friction possible, yet these bearings are also exposed to the same forces. As a result, the bearings will ultimately degrade, often indicated by a roaring sound coming from the wheel well. Excessive wheel play or sudden jerking motions are other signs of the brakes failing.

When a wheel bearing begins to malfunction, the wheel won't be able to revolve freely, which puts more strain on the hub, CV joint, axle, and other drivetrain components. The wheel may completely lock up if the bearing sustains significant damage or suffers from significant wear. To avoid serious traffic accidents, quickly identifying worn or broken wheel bearings and replacing them is crucial.

Keeping Your Kenworth T800 Moving

Overall, comprehensive and frequent maintenance is the best approach to avoid any issues with the Kenworth T800 or, at the very least, stop them from worsening. Best practices and proper procedures should be followed according to manufacturer and professional recommendations, including frequent tune-ups from qualified mechanics and performing truck inspections before and after each trip. When performing repairs outside a shop environment, use only top-notch replacement parts with your Kenworth T800 to guarantee longevity and dependable operation.

Need to schedule a service?
Call us today!

Service Request

More Articles

Truck Coolant System

Coolant and Climate: Adapting Your Coolant System for Extreme Weather

Extreme weather conditions necessitate careful maintenance of a truck's coolant system to safeguard engine performance, making adjustments crucial for handling both heat and cold.
Read more
Upgrading Your Heavy-Duty Coolant System

Upgrading Your Heavy-Duty Coolant System for Extreme Performance

Heavy-duty vehicles need a robust coolant system upgrade to maintain proper engine temperature and ensure peak performance in demanding conditions.
Read more