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Locally made solution to costly air leaks

A transport business operator, farmer and Mack enthusiast has come up with an innovative solution to costly air manifold issues.

Dallas Fabian, who owns and runs DJF Fabrications from his home base in Mangrove Mountain on NSW’s Central Coast, has developed an aluminium replacement air manifold for the firewall on Mack CH, CL, CX (Vision), Superliner LT, Titan or Trident models ranging from 1997 to 2007.

Designed to replace the plastic housing, which can wear much more quickly, these replacement air manifolds made for Mack trucks feature an aluminium housing with fully replaceable high quality brass air fittings. They are sold in a kit that also comes with three new low air pressure switches and a mounting gasket. 

Fabian says he has had a fascination with trucks since he was a little boy, and more specifically with Mack. “I’ve always loved Macks since I was a kid. When I was 11 years old, I found a B-model Mack at the Penrith Truck Show and fell in love with it. When I was 17, I had a chance to buy one and slowly did that one up over the years and it went from there,” he explained.

Along with his working fleet of Macks, Fabian also has a collection of lovingly restored vintage beauties too.

“I run the transport operation, the fabrication business and a farm with my father, which is a wholesale nursery, growing seedlings, so it keeps me quite busy between the businesses.”

Fabian now has 14 trucks – seven working tipper trucks, which are used to service his other business DJF Haulage and seven in his vintage Mack collection (including 1958, 1969, 1986, 1989 and 1998 models).

“All of my working trucks range between 1998 and 2014. On these older Macks, I’ve had this issue with the air manifold in the fire wall that brings air into the cab, as it leaks all the time. They’re a plastic housing with push-in fittings and are not good quality really. Lots of people have trouble with them and I’ve battled with it for years. Then I decided I’d make something different myself to improve the design,” Fabian explained. 

“Three years ago, I made an aluminium manifold and installed it into two of my trucks and I haven’t had any issues. The plastic ones were only lasting between three and 18 months – and they’re about $450 a part plus four or five hours to fit it. So I thought, there has to be a better way.” 

Fabian proceeded to produce prototypes for two of his trucks and they’ve been going fantastically well. “I haven’t touched them since – not one air leak. I had been telling people what I’d done and people were saying I should start making them, so I got the fabrication business going again, I had some more made up, and now I’ve just started making them commercially,” he explained. 

The replacement air manifold is constructed of aluminium and designed to minimise air leaks.

Once installed, he says you will never need to replace the manifold again. If in the unlikely event that one fitting should leak, you can easily replace that individual fitting, which can save hundreds of dollars in labour costs as well as downtime.

“Everyone who has bought them has been happy. I’ve had many people say the product has been a long time coming. It has Australian design registration and is fully approved as being Australian made, so has the logo on it too.

“We are now in the process, after a few requests, of producing them for Mack trucks that are 2008 onwards, so down the track the range will expand. I’ve also had a dealership for another brand approach me that wants me to make one of them too, so I will be looking to expand into other truck brands too.”

For more information, visit facebook.com/djffabrications or call 0417 428 821.

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