Filter Supplies’ history with Fleetguard Filters goes back over 40 years.
One of my earliest memories of being in the Filter Supplies business as a kid was holding in my hand one of the very early Fleetguard spin-on coolant filters. The solid DCA coolant in those filters was a vivid green colour. As it was the early ‘80s the elements weren’t as well put together as they are now. Invariably, in transit from the ‘US of A’ a little of the solid coolant would leak out and crystallise in the packaging. It was pretty wondrous to a 6-year-old kid – filters with stuff in them.
Fast forward a few years and we were in a smallish town (of about 25,000 people) called Cookeville in Tennessee. Home to one of the largest Fleetguard spin-on filter factories in America. This was part of a much larger tour of the US visiting Baldwin Filters in Kearney Nebraska and Air Refiner Filters in Oklahoma City. It was quite a journey. The Cookeville plant at that time was quite new, and as such had the very best in 1980s’ technology. It was a spin-on plant too. Spin-on plants are the best…the smell of the machine oil..the 300-tonne presses stamping out the big spin-on cans and shaking the floor…the paint booth that turns the raw can into the flawlessly painted end products that everyone is used to seeing. I’ve toured more filter factories around the world than I can count. We at Filter Supplies like to see how our products are made. And, invariably, it’s the things that we get told as an aside that are the real gems, as well as the people that we meet from the companies along the way.
Fleetguard holds a very special position in the pantheon of filter manufacturers. It is the only company that is both an OE filter manufacturer and an aftermarket manufacturer. As the filter division of the massive Cummins Engine Company, it is tasked with creating ever more complicated and efficient filters and filtration systems for the Cummins suite of engines. Over the years Fleetguard has been at the leading edge of filtration technology, often bringing completely new concepts to the market. Often these fell in the ‘marketing gimmick’ section of the ledger rather than earth-shaking change. Really they don’t need to do that much to sell their products. They make a nice filter, that for all intents and purposes is the equal of the other major filter manufacturers. As with every other major manufacturer, I’ve seen Fleetguard come off a Baldwin line and a Sakura line. It’s just the way manufacturing works these days.
Unfortunately for Fleetguard as a company, it’s one of the most re-sold and parallel imported brands. Local sales policy says that anyone that sells a certain brand of a truck or a certain line of agricultural machinery can distribute Fleetguard. This causes some problems in the marketplace for Fleetguard. Companies that specialise in nothing in particular, or are seeking only a quick buck, get access to Fleetguard. More often than not this results in a price war and a corresponding reduction of the back of house service and knowledge base that a client should expect as a given when purchasing their filters. I can’t think of one specialist filter supplier in WA that has full line distributor access to Fleetguard filters. That gives you some idea of the skill set and filter specific product knowledge that exists within the suppliers of Fleetguard.
We are able to supply Fleetguard at competitive prices, but we are a reseller rather than a distributor. Honestly though, unless you have a Cummins engine under warranty, I don’t know why you would specify only Fleetguard filters for any technical reason.