From two-seater convertibles to super-sized SUVs, the folks at the Jiffy Lube in Guelph, Ont., have seen it all when it comes to vehicles rolling into the shop for an oil change. But a tank?
“My career in the army ended many years ago and an acquaintance who recently retired heard I ran a Jiffy Lube shop. He contacted me about bringing his gun carrier in for a fluid change,” says Jiffy Lube manager Derek Wildfong. “He’s getting a little long in the tooth to be doing this in his backyard.”
The tank was transported to the shop on the back of a trailer, whereupon the owner simply drove the vehicle into one of the shop’s bays. As you might imagine, a heavily-armoured vehicle dropping by for a lube, oil and filter service was a head-turning sight to be sure. “Seriously, I have never seen traffic come to a screeching halt in front of the shop before – this was funny,” says Wildfong. “Surprisingly, none of the rubberneckers got into a collision. A few even followed him into the shop.”
Wildfong says he was concerned that his shop floor – which had recently been refinished – might not take the weight of such a hefty vehicle. But the floor proved sturdy enough – much to the delight of the tech in the pit.
As for the actual service, the oil filter change was bypassed since the tank is only driven about 50 km per year in special events and parades. Thus, only a straight fluid change was undertaken.
“The original spec was for a straight 30 weight for the engine oil,” notes Wildfong. “The owner did the research and concluded that the closest gear lube was 80w90 GL5. So that’s what we used for the differential and the manual tranny, along with 28 grease fittings, too – I had a lot of fun with those!”
Wildfong says the biggest challenge was all the bolts and plugs being in Imperial measurement. Fortunately, Wildfong has amassed a huge collection of “weird tools” to accommodate just about anything than rolls in – even military vehicles.
“For a Jiffy Lube shop, we get a lot of classics, from a Model T to a Mercury M100 and even a Chrysler Imperial,” says Wildfong. “But this one certainly takes the cake. I started in this business back in the early ’70s when I was just a kid, and now I’ve seen it all.”
Once the service was completed, the tank owner gave some customers a ride in the empty parking lot across the road from the Jiffy Lube and Wildfong says grown men were acting like “little kids in a candy store.” And everyone was asking the same parting question: when is the tank coming back for its next oil change service?