Everything but the Kitchen Sink Casserole

Country Truck & Auto is a family owned and operated business. An important part of our family traditions is food.  For this reason, we want to include recipes in our blogs so that you get to be a part of our family traditions. We will only post tried and true recipes from family’s cookbooks and collections.

Rhonda Whistance, one of the owners, grew up on a dairy farm. She contends that she did not inherit her family’s talents for cooking or baking. Her philosophy that “recipes are just a suggestion.” So, her family will tell you that if you liked one of her recipes one time, it probably will taste different the next time she makes it. Her favorite is “Everything but the Kitchen Sink Casserole.” It has been made by her family for many years and was originally created by Marjorie Dowdy, Rhonda’s mother.


Everything but the Kitchen Sink Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 lbs. ground beef cooked and crumbled.
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup of Picante sauce
  • 1-10 oz. can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1-4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1-12 oz. can refried beans.
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese
  • 5 to 8 flour tortillas

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, cook ground beef until brown and crumble it into small pieces.
  2. Turn off flame. Drain juices from cooked beef. Leave ground beef in pot.
  3. Add all the rest of the ingredients, except the tortillas and cheese.  Mix well. 
  4. In a 9x13 pan layer meat and sauce mixture with torn flour tortillas and cheese. 
  5. Finish with flour tortillas covered by cheese on top. 
  6. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly. 
  7. Enjoy!

Too Busy to Bake?

This dish can be frozen or refrigerated so you can prep it ahead of time and microwave it later!

  1. Complete steps 1 through 4. Step 1 is very important! Pre-cooking the ground beef prior to freezing/refrigeration helps prevent food-borne illness!
  2. Portion out an individual helping and microwave it until warmed through/bubbly. 

What is the difference between diesel and gasoline

The design of their engines differs. Unlike gasoline engines, diesel engines do not have spark plugs. Diesel engines are designed to have a more severe compression of the cylinder contents during the compression stroke. This results in much higher heating of the contents. In fact, the temperature becomes so high that the ignition of the fuel and air becomes spontaneous. Also, diesel engines have this highest thermal efficiency of any combustion engine, either internal (like in vehicles) or external (usually non-vehicular).

As a result, their fuel is also a little different. In the technical sense, the difference between gasoline and diesel fuel is the length of the carbon chains. Gasoline and diesel are both types of hydrocarbons (molecules made of hydrogen and carbon). However, diesel has longer carbon chains.

For those of us without chemistry degrees, this means that diesel is harder to ignite at ambient temperatures and needs more compression to ignite. Gasoline evaporates at ambient temperatures, but ignites most efficiently with a spark. It can also ignite under compression, as well. Mazda has plans to roll out an engine that utilizes compression, the Skyactiv-X, in 2019. Diesel was formulated to create more power for heavier vehicles, who rev less. Whereas, gasoline is formulated for lighter vehicles who rev more (go faster quicker).



Written by:

Beckie Bean

Digital Content Manager

December 11, 2017

Sources: Chemistry Stack Exchange, Car Buyer UK, Wired

All rights reserved. © 2017

To Idle or Not to Idle… That is the Question!

It is a common practice to let your engine idle to warm it up, especially on cold mornings. Did you know that some people also let their engine idle all day? Many people who work in oil fields and on farms use their trucks to tow equipment that they need for their work. So, they leave their trucks idling when not in use, because they think it increases the engine’s performance and towing capability. 

Whether you let your engine warm up for 10 minutes or idle it for 10 hours, you’re damaging it. Why? Because newer engines are made for motion, not to sit and idle. We have heard a lot of reasons why our customers continue with this practice even after their engines have failed due to excessive idling, so let’s address a few of them.

But my dad always said to warm up my engine!

Warming up your vehicle before driving is a leftover practice from a time when carbureted engines dominated the roads. Carburetors mix gasoline and air to make vaporized fuel to run an engine. However, they did not have sensors that tweak the amount of gasoline that is injected into the engine. So, you had to let older cars warm up before driving or they would stall out. But it's been about 30 years since carbureted engines were common in cars. Carbureted engines were phased out in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. So, unless you’re still driving your dad’s treasured vintage truck, you need to let go of this outdated practice.

But that doesn’t apply to my vehicle!

While a lot of the mechanics on diesel and gasoline engines differ, this is true for both diesel and gasoline engines. Until your engine has warmed up to its optimal temperature, you should drive your vehicle gently, not let it idle. Fuel injection systems on both engine types also adjust the air/fuel mixture based on engine temperature to compensate for lower temperatures. In the past, gelling of diesel fuel used to be a problem, leading diesel owners especially to adopt this practice in droves. However, fuel refiners have worked to resolve this issue by creating winter blends that better withstand colder temperatures. 

But, but, you’re just plain wrong!

Change is hard, but let’s examine what unnecessary idling does to your engine. Idling causes twice the wear and tear on internal parts compared to driving at regular highway speeds. This increases maintenance costs and shortens the life of the engine. Idling strips lubricating oil away from the engine's cylinders and pistons.

"[That's] because you're actually putting extra fuel into the combustion chamber to make it burn and some of it can get onto the cylinder walls," Stephen Ciatti, a mechanical engineer who specializes in combustion engines at the Argonne National Laboratory, told Business Insider. "[Fuel] is an outstanding solvent and it can actually wash oil off the walls if you run it in those cold idle conditions for an extended period of time." - Popular Mechanics

Even though warm air generated by the radiator will flow into the cabin after a few minutes, idling does surprisingly little to warm the actual engine. Driving your car is the fastest way to warm the engine up to 40 degrees. Once at that temperature, the fuel injection system switches back to a normal air/fuel ratio.

But, but, BUT!

Still don’t believe it? Check your owner's manual to find out the guidelines on idling for your vehicle.


Written by:

Beckie Bean

Digital Content Manager

December 3, 2017

Sources: AutoTrader, Popular Mechanics, IN.gov

All rights reserved. © 2017

Community Contribution Challenge - Holiday Edition

One of our core values is Community. As a part of living this value, we are actively involved in the community. Whether it is public service campaigns promoting safety or giving scholarships to local Community College students, we always strive to find new ways to help our neighbors. This holiday season, we have decided to try something new! We are asking you who you think deserves a helping hand this holiday season. 

You can suggest a charity, special project, or individual/family who you think needs a little extra help. The amount of the gift will be dependent on the suggestion and our ability to help. If your suggestion is chosen, you will also receive a $25 gas card.   

Please email your suggestions to us at CTCares@CountryTruck.net. Please submit your suggestions by midnight on December 15th, 2017.


When and Why Do You Need to Change Your Air Filter

When Does Your Air Filter Need to be Changed?

Let’s start by addressing how you know when it’s time to change your air filter. The thresholds vary dramatically from about every 15,000-45,000 miles. Consult your owner’s manual or ask an Automotive Technician when you should change it on your vehicle.

If you are mechanically inclined, you may be able to tell by looking at it. You should look for black areas on the section through which outside air enters (usually corrugated or looks like a folded fan). If you can't tell by looking, but it's been more than 3 years or 30,000 miles, you should get a new one. If you live in an area that has a lot of air pollution or drive on dirt road regularly, you will need to change your air filter more often.

Why does it need to be changed?

1. Fuel Economy & Engine Performance:

Optimum air flow is vital to engine performance. Clogged air filters restrict the air flow to the engine, literally choking it. This causes an incorrect air-fuel mixture. This incorrect mixture can cause spark plug ignition problems in gasoline engines. In diesel engines, where there are no spark plugs to help along the power stroke in an engine, clogged air filters cause serious driveability issues. These issues can result in a rough idle or decreased acceleration power, which affects fuel mileage. While there is conflicting information on its specific impact on fuel economy, it is well documented that a clogged air filter can hurt acceleration by 6% to 11%. You could be experiencing issues with clogged air filters if you notice that your vehicle does not accelerate as well as it used to or sounds different when it idles.

 

2. Prolongs Engine Life:


Changing your air filter regularly will protect the engine and vital internal engine parts from excess wear and damage. It is designed to trap damaging dirt and debris to prevent damage to internal engine parts (pistons, cylinders, etc.). If even a tiny particle of dust gets into the internal components of the engine, it can result in potentially expensive engine repairs.

3. Inexpensive Maintenance:

An air filter is one of the least expensive maintenance components to replace and can be done along with your regular oil change.

4. Reduced Emissions:

The reduced air flow doesn’t just impact the engine it also affects the emission control systems. It can increase engine deposits caused by having too rich of a fuel mixture. Increased air flow to the engine allows it to operate properly, thereby reducing emissions.


 


Written by:

Beckie Bean

Digital Content Manager

November 6, 2017

Sources: US Dept. of Energy, Cars.com, CarsDirect

All rights reserved. © 2017

If You Have a 6.7-Liter Diesel Engine, Read This!

If you drive a pickup truck with a 6.7-liter diesel engine, you understand its advantages. However, recent news items and customer repairs in our service center have shown us that there are some special care items to keep an eye on.

RAM Recall:

This recall was limited to pickup trucks with a 6.7-liter engine. The recall impacts RAM trucks from model years 2013 to 2017. The effected models are 2500 and 3500 pickups; as well as, 3500, 4500, and 5500 chassis cabs. However, the water pumps are no longer used, according to the statement.

The recall was initiated based on customer complaints that the water pumps in these engines were overheating and causing engine compartment fires. The fire’s scope could be anything from an odor of something burning to an open flame. There were a number of incidents that were reported, some of which reported damage. However, in all reports, the damage did not extend beyond the water pump, according to the statement. This only occurs in certain conditions, but the statement from Fiat Chrysler (the company that manufactures RAM trucks) did not elaborate on what those conditions were.

The parts that are needed to fix the water pump issue are not available in the quantity needed. Nearly 450,000 RAM trucks have been recalled. Once parts are available, RAM will send out notices to the effected customers. If the water-pump is not functioning as it should, it may activate a warning light. If you spot a warning light, you are advised to bring your vehicle into be serviced as soon as possible. 

If you smell burning, pull over (if driving), turn off your vehicle immediately and have it towed to be serviced. If you can see flames coming from your engine, get everyone out of the vehicle and to a safe distance. THEN CALL 911! WE DO NOT ADVISE ATTEMPTING TO PUT OUT A VEHICLE FIRE WITHOUT PROPER TRAINING!


Over Fueling:

What is over fueling? You may think that it’s when you add extra fuel after the pump stops when you’re filling up your tank. Though this can also lead to engine damage, lost fuel economy, and added air pollution, it’s not the issue that we noticed occurring in 6.7-liter engines. Over fueling is when the fuel pump is pumping too much diesel into the engine cylinders. The diesel in the cylinder is not burned efficiently, because the fuel to air mixture is not at the appropriate proportion. Though this occurrence is rare, it can cause cylinder heads to crack or cause damage to the pistons. See the pictures below for examples of an extreme case of over fueling damage.


There are a lot of causes of over fueling; such as, a faulty air meter, a defective fuel injector, an air leak, or other components in the engine malfunctioning and creating a domino effect. Over fueling can also be caused when the injection timing is set incorrectly and the fuel injection happens too late in the piston pressure stroke. If you notice that the truck feels like it’s hesitating, not accelerating like it used to, or you don’t have the same level of power, the engine could be over fuelingYou may also notice an excessive amount of black smoke coming from the exhaust. You may not be able to tell a difference if you have altered or removed your emissions system, because your exhaust will already contain large amounts of black smoke. (Note: This may be illegal. Please consult local laws/ordinances before altering your emissions system.) 

If you notice that your engine is not operating normally, an excessive amount of black smoke in your exhaust, or a warning light illuminated, have your truck serviced as soon as possible.

 


Written by:

Beckie Bean

Digital Content Manager

September 30, 2017

Sources: Fortune, USA Today, 4x4 Community

All rights reserved. © 2017

Congrats to this Year’s Scholarship Recipients!

Each year Country Truck & Auto awards 5 scholarships to high school seniors. There are four $500 awards and one $1,000 award. What makes our program unique is that the awards are given to students who plan on attending a Vocational/Trade School or Community/Junior College. There are fewer scholarship options available for these students and often, they are in more financial need. Many top high school students opt for two-year programs, because the cost of attending a 4-year school is too much for them and their families to afford.

To be eligible, students must be high school seniors and/or be edible to graduate at the end of the current school year. They may attend any public, private, parochial high school; be home schooled; or be attending an accredited high school online. They must also be enrolled in their first year of post-secondary education at an accredited community/junior college or vocational/trade school.

Students are chosen based on their community involvement, work experience, and a letter of recommendation. They must also have a minimum GPA of 2.0. For more information about the scholarship program, contact Rhonda Whistance via email at RhondaW@CountryTruck.net or by phone at (303)857-1281.


 


2017 County Truck & Auto Scholarship Recipients

$1,000 Recipient:

Shawn Chacon – Valley High School

Shawn is enrolled in the Associates of Applied Sciences Automotive Program at AIMS Community College. He has a strong passion for automotive technology and plans to make it his career. He hopes that by learning how to repair automobiles, he will be able to finally provide his family with a reliable vehicle. His hope is to be able to ensure that automotive repair is accessible to everyone who needs it, regardless of income. He has a cumulative GPA of 3.645 and plays for the Valley High School Baseball Team. He works summers for Weld County School District RE-1 in the Buildings and Grounds Department. In his spare time, he is also involved in CSU Talent Search and is the Manager of the Softball Team.

 

$500 Recipients:

Bailee Hatch – Platte Valley High School

Bailee is enrolled at Garden City Community College, with plans to transfer to Kansas State University. She is studying Pre-Veterinarian Medicine and has already attended classes at AIMS Community College and the University of Northern Colorado while still in high school. Her cumulative GPA is 3.77 and she is heavily involved in the community and extra-curricular activities, including 4-H, National Honor Society, and Spanish Club.  

Neal Ditson – Platte Valley High School

Neal is enrolled at WyoTech, where he plans on completing their Diesel Technician and Advanced Diesel Technologies Programs. While at Platte Valley High School, he has played both football and wrestling. He maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.75. He is also involved with his local FFA chapter and Lyons Club. He has worked at Hunter Ridge Dairy and the Northern Priming & Pre-Station while attending school.

Kellie Buchholz – Weld Central High School

Kellie is enrolled at AIMS Community College, with plans to transfer to the University of Northern Colorado. She wants to study Special Education and still finish in 4 years, graduating by 2021. She has a cumulative GPA of 3.5. While at Weld Central High School, she has participated in cheerleading for all four years and was selected to be Senior Cheer Captain this year.

Cesar Mercado – Valley High School

Cesar is enrolled in the Associates of Applied Sciences Automotive Program at AIMS Community College. He is passionate about helping his community. He wants to open his own automotive business when he finishes his program. He plays for the Valley High School Baseball Team. He works at McDonalds and for Weld Count School District RE-1 during the summers. He is also interested in construction and drafting.

What is DEF and Why is it Important?

What is DEF?

You may have noticed that there is an extra fill spout next to your diesel fuel cap or a new warning light on your dashboard. That is for your DEF fluid (diesel exhaust fluid). DEF fluid is a mixture of 32.5% formaldehyde-free low biuret urea (ammonia) and 67.5% deionized water.


Why is it Important?

DEF is not a fuel additive, because it does not and should not come into contact with your fuel directly. If you accidentally add DEF fluid to your fuel, you could ruin your fuel system! The DEF fluid is an integral part of a selective catalytic reduction system.  It is designed to be added to your truck’s exhaust as a catalyst which initiates a chemical reaction that breaks down the oxides of nitrogen into water and nitrogen. In order to meet the more stringent emissions requirements set by the EPA in 2010, many truck manufacturers have moved to selective catalytic reduction systems.


Don’t Ignore your DEF Fluid!

It may be tempting to ignore adding your DEF fluid because it is unfamiliar or annoying. However, that is not a good idea! Some truck manufacturers have made it so that your truck won’t run if you fully run out of DEF fluid.


When do I Need it?

Most of the time, you will only need to add it a few times per year. Typical DEF consumption is 1.6% to 2% of diesel fuel consumption. Basically, for every 100 gallons of diesel fuel you use, you will need to add 1.6-2 gallons of DEF fluid.


Your truck will warn you when you are getting low. Your in-dash display will either show a written warning like “DEF Low” or look for a warning light that looks like one of these:


How do I add it?

Adding DEF fluid is easier than you might think! It is available at most truck stops and auto parts stores. You don’t need any special equipment or protective gear, because DEF is nontoxic to handle (just don’t drink it!). The most commonly available DEF fluid is sold under the brand name AdBlue, but there are many other brands entering the market.

While the owner’s manual will be your best resource on how to add DEF fluid, generally you will find the fill spout next to your diesel fuel spout or under the hood of your truck. In some cars, the DEF fill spout is actually in the trunk, where you would expect your spare tire to be! Look for a small fill spout with a blue cap! It will usually be labeled with DEF and/or AdBlue, but not always. Most vehicle manufacturers require that you add at least 2 gallons of DEF fluid when it is time to refill, but each vehicle is a little different on this.

Still need help with your DEF fluid, call our experienced technicians at the Country Truck Service Center! 

(303)990-7050

 

Written by:

Beckie Bean

Digital Content Coordinator at Country Truck & Auto

September 22, 2016

Sources: TruckTrend.com, DieselForum.org, and DiscoverDEF.com

All rights reserved. © 2016

Your DEF Questions Answered.

Your DEF Questions Answered.

After last week’s inaugural installment of the ABCs of Diesel, some of you had more questions about DEF (diesel exhaust fluid).


How do I store it?

“Think of DEF like you would a gallon of milk. You wouldn’t throw a gallon of milk in the bed of your truck, leave it there for months, and then drink it. Like milk, DEF is mostly water, so it requires a little extra care.” – David Robinson, Service Manager at Country Truck & Auto

DEF should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight. The optimum storage temperature is up to 77 °F; however, temporary exposure to extreme temperatures has little to no impact on the quality of DEF. The shelf life of DEF is dependent on the storage temperature. DEF will degrade over time depending on temperature and exposure to sun light. If stored in perfect conditions, it can last up to 2 years. In the real world, you can expect that its shelf life to be about one year from the manufacturer’s date on its label.

For small amounts of DEF, David Robison goes on to say that it “has been our experience that once you open a container of DEF you either need to use all of it or throw it out. Shelf life of the DEF, once the container is opened, seems to diminish much more quickly. The cost of a new container of DEF is very small in comparison to the cost of repairs if poor quality/contaminated fluid is used.”

Because DEF is comprised of 67.5% water, freezing and evaporation could occur. DEF will freeze in temperatures of 12°F or lower. Keep in mind, when frozen, DEF will expand. As far as evaporation is concerned, this is less common. Cummins field tested vehicles across the US in high temperature locations and found that significant amounts of evaporation that would impede engine performance or operation did not occur. To be on the safe side, keep the cap of the DEF tank and storage containers securely closed.

In the off chance that your DEF concentration is not correct, your SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system will recognize the issue. Your DEF warning light will turn on and your vehicle will require service, because the DEF tank will need to be drained.



Should I be concerned about handling DEF?

DEF is a stable, nontoxic, nonpolluting, non-hazardous, and nonflammable solution. According to Cummins, DEF poses no serious risk to humans, animals, equipment, or the environment when handled properly.


What should I do if I spill DEF?

If DEF is spilled on your vehicle, rinse it with water. If you spill in your driveway, garage or shop, use sand to contain/absorb the spill and then shovel the mixture into a suitable container for disposal. Try not to pour DEF into a drain, because it is corrosive to copper and PVC plastic, which is what your pipes are made of. If spilled into a drain, flush thoroughly with water. For significant quantities (think several gallons or more), contact local authorities for proper disposal procedures.


Can I make DEF myself?

NO! The 32.5% urea (ammonia) concentration is critical. Unless you have an advanced degree in chemistry, buy it at your local auto parts store or truck stop. Your SCR system can tell the difference between your home-brewed concoction and the real deal. It will trigger the DEF warning light and your vehicle will likely need to be serviced.


Winter is coming and I am worried that my DEF will freeze in my truck, can I add an anti-gelling or freeze point improver to the DEF to prevent that?

No. Again, maintaining the proper urea concentration is a factor. Additives are not recommended for use in DEF and can potentially cause your truck to have performance or functionality issues.

 

Still need help with your DEF fluid, call our experienced technicians at the County Truck Service Center!

(303)990-7050

 

Written by:

Beckie Bean

Digital Content Coordinator at Country Truck & Auto

September 29, 2016

Source: Cummins

All rights reserved. © 2016

Does Engine Size Really Matter?

YES! Both the size of the engine’s cylinders and the total number of cylinders does have an impact on how much power the engine can generate. Generally larger engines can accelerate faster and tow heavier loads.

Size/Displacement:

Generally, an engine’s size is given in terms of displacement, which is the volume of the fuel/air mixture that the pistons can move at once. Another way to think of displacement is that it is the total volume of the combustion chambers of each cylinder added together.  It is usually quoted in liters (one gallon = approximately 3.8 liters). A combustion chamber is the space inside the cylinder, where the piston is housed and the engine generates its power.

Number of Cylinders:

Sometimes, especially regarding gasoline engines, you will hear the engine sized quoted as V6, V8, etc. This refers to the number and configuration of the cylinders in the engine. The cylinder is the power unit of the engine. Automotive engines rarely have just one cylinder.  In terms of generating raw power, the more cylinders the better. It is akin to working alone vs. in a team to lift something heavy: the larger the team, the easier it is to get the job done.


Budget Considerations:

When buying a truck, it is tempting to get the biggest and best one that you can afford. After all, big trucks are impressive. However, larger engines do consume more fuel. When buying a truck, you should also consider how maintaining it will fit into your daily life. If you are on a strict budget, you might want to consider how much power you need. A slightly smaller engine can still get the job done in a lot of cases. If you still need substantial engine power, but only occasionally, you can look at engines with a turbocharger. A turbocharger adds that extra boost when you need it, but when you drive gently it uses far less fuel.

Or if you absolutely have to have the biggest truck that money can buy, you can also monitor your driving style and do some regular maintenance to maximize fuel efficiency – and save money. For example, accelerate gently from stops when you’re not towing. Also, brake more gently: late braking uses up more fuel and is less safe when attempting to avoid collisions (which are also expensive to repair). Drive with your car in the highest gear possible, to minimize revving. Be sure to check your tire pressure regularly. Keeping them at the proper pressure will help with the overall safety of your truck by ensuring that you have the right amount of traction to properly control your truck, but the added traction control helps improve fuel economy, as well.

 

Written by:

Beckie Bean

Digital Content Coordinator at Country Truck & Auto

October 25, 2016

Sources: Vroom GirlsCar Throttle, Car Buyer UKEcoDiesel Systems

All rights reserved. © 2016