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2014 Peterbilt 389 - Icon Of The Highway

Brad Jansen’s Peterbilt Rules The Road

Bob Carpenter
Sep 12, 2014
Photographers: Bob Carpenter
The 2014 Peterbilt 389 is owned by Gravel 'N Grit; the GNG team likes to call it the Hillbilly Hot Rod. Brad Jansen takes his trucking job seriously. He believes a nice, clean, custom truck is a reflection of how he does business. A nice business relationship with Cal Fire leads to many fi re truck relocation jobs for Brad. The old GMC fire truck was used in the Forest Service. If you look closely, you can see the truck sits low thanks to airbags and deflate valves.
Brad Jansen can't even remember when he wasn't interested in trucks. He tagged along with his dad in big rigs when he was a little kid. So any question about how long he’s been involved with trucks is answered, “All my life.” He's passionate about the subject, and there was never any doubt that driving trucks was going to be his profession as soon as he could get his license.
He's worked his way through the business via his mom and dad’s company, Gravel 'N Grit, which is based out of Ramona, California, and has been involved with quite a few trucks -- most recently an 2000 Peterbilt with a day cab. But when the Gravel 'N Grit crew decided to step up to the latest 2014 Peterbilt model 389 (Peterbilt calls it the Icon of the Highway), they weren't just going to add a few pieces of chrome and call it a day. Nope, that’s not their style. Brad is a bit of a perfectionist, as you might guess, and he believes having an awesome truck and keeping it in spotless shape reflects on the quality of the company’s work. His wife, Lisa, agrees.
Photo 2/12   |   The fuel tank is cleverly concealing a DEF tank. The other side’s fuel tank conceals the hydraulic tank. This kind of attention to detail really cleans the truck up.
Brad called Clint Moore, a salesman in Kansas City (no one in California wants to order the truck the way you want it), and custom-ordered this rig (no Huck bolts, tanks where they wanted them, and so on). When Brad arrived to pick up his Peterbilt, he discovered there were several extras he wanted that weren't taken care of, so he and his two boys, Dallas and Colton, helped him. They spent a full week (50 hours) working on the truck. When it was “good enough” to bring home, Brad ran it through the 18 gears and headed west. But it wasn't really done. In fact, it might never really be “done,” as Brad and his sons can't stop tinkering with it. Dallas and Colton Jansen are just as involved in the trucking business (and the customization of commercial trucks) as their dad and are trusted to do the work right and safe.
One of the nicest customizations was the addition of the Sears Atlas leather seats -- but it's not just the seats, it’s how they were installed. Brad had them mounted 6 inches lower and 4 inches to the rear compared to normal. It really gives the truck a lowrider feel. When you add in the giant custom shifter that was handbuilt by Brad, the combination is pretty sweet.
The truck has a drop visor and drop cab panels from Clint Moore, but Brad continued on and boxed all the rest of the truck. “My boys and I built from scratch deck plates and lightbars for the front and rear,” Brad told us. One of the most interesting features is that Brad split both of the big fuel tanks. On one side, the tank now carries fuel and hydraulic fluid, while the other side carries fuel and a hidden DEF tank. This kind of attention to detail is what makes the truck look so slick.
"It’s a labor of love when you’re driving an Icon of the Highway!"
Most don't even realize all the little tricks this truck has -- like the air lines, for example, which are all plumbed out the back of the truck…or the air cleaner lids that were cut down. A bevy of Rigid Industries LED lights are mounted all around the truck. Some are obvious and others are a bit more clandestine.
The truck rides on factory Peterbilt air ride all the way around. Deflate valves drop the front 4 inches. The rear is really low with air leafs and deflate valves. It can go down 3 inches and up 6 inches. Brad pulls a 48-foot-long 1998 Landoll trailer with the truck. You’ll find all kinds of things on that trailer. Brad has good contacts with Cal Fire and other government agencies that call him when they need something big and heavy moved around.
The Cummins ISX15 engine has 550 cubic inches that put out a little more than 2,000 lb-ft of torque. It has 8-inch exhaust pipes with Pickett elbows. They are 13 feet tall. The Fuller transmission is a manual, so you can bet the driver gets a workout running through the gears.
Brad and his sons have taken this truck into some pretty tight squeezes, and they've carried some pretty interesting loads. One thing is for sure -- they aren't afraid to work the truck hard. But when the trucking day is done, they treat it with loving affection and polish, polish, polish. It’s a labor of love when you’re driving an Icon of the Highway!
Photo 9/12   |   This is a working truck. It doesn't get babied, but it sure gets pampered after the work is done.

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