Used Truck of the Month: Volvo NL

By: Steve Skinner, Photography by: Steve Skinner

IMG 0264 ‘Runaway Babe II’ picked up the Best Volvo award at this year’s Penrith Working Truck Show. IMG 0264
IMG 0275 Arnold Mohan says the 12-litre engine is reliable and good on fuel. IMG 0275
IMG 0286 Arnold Mohan, right, with his mate Les Nicholas who’s owned three bonneted Volvos; and his son Hayden (left) at the Penrith Working Truck Show. IMG 0286
IMG 0329 You don’t see many synchro Volvo transmissions these days. IMG 0329

This 1992 NL Volvo is still going strong after more than 3 million kilometres.


Just as well Arnold Mohan is a diesel mechanic by trade. It means the owner-driver is able to maintain his four trucks himself, saving a small fortune and keeping his operation viable in a tough trucking environment.

Take the pride of his small Ashmo Freightlines fleet, a bonneted Volvo of the type you don’t often see running around in Australia — compared with the US anyway.

Arnold does a fortnightly grease and check-over, plus every 40,000km he changes the oil and filters on the 1992 NL. That saves him an estimated $130 an hour in labour costs compared with sending it off to a workshop.

That’s pretty good when Arnold calculates the hourly income for owner-drivers is only about $70.

After more than 3 million kilometres of regular expert maintenance, the original Volvo engine has had remarkably little done on it.

"I put a piston and liner kit in, reconditioned the head and threw it back on," says Arnold matter-of-factly of some work a while back.

"I haven’t touched the diffs," he adds.

"I can’t fault the truck."

Meanwhile the 12-speed manual Volvo gearbox has only had a couple of synchromesh components replaced.

Arnold estimates fuel economy at about 2.4km to the litre on the highway.

"Mate, I think it does better than the new trucks, honestly," he says.

Based at Tahmoor just south of Sydney, the trucking veteran has been the proud owner of the NL for nearly 20 years, having bought it second-hand.

The eye-catching European won ‘Best Volvo’ at this year’s Penrith Working Truck Show.

While Arnold’s NL is B-double rated, the 12-litre engine only puts out a little over 400hp (294kW), so it does all single trailer work.

By night it delivers NSW express parcel freight for a couple of big companies, and by day it’s local work.

So it runs nearly 24 hours a day with two drivers, who obviously look after it well.

Arnold says it’s a good truck to drive.

"It holds the road well and it’s comfortable. Volvos are always comfortable," he says.

Arnold’s Volvo connection goes back a long way, to the days when he worked at Volvo workshops in Sydney after migrating from Fiji more than 35 years ago.

You can read the full story in the October edition of Owner//Driver.

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