Sadler Power Train

Sadler PowerTrain

Genuine parts supplier is genuinely committed to Eaton

“We do a lot of remanufacturing and rebuilding of transmissions here, and we gain a competitive advantage because we always use genuine Eaton components. We don’t use a copy of a copy of a copy. We use the same gears that would come with a new transmission as it rolls off the assembly line.”

Nate Sadler
Purchasing Manager, Sadler Power Train


The state of Iowa is occasionally referred to as “The Food Capital of the World.” Based on the business acumen of the leadership team at Sadler Power Train, it may someday soon be referred to as “The Truck Parts Capital of the World.”

The company, based in Cedar Rapids, has enjoyed steady growth since opening its doors for business in 1974, and today provides the trucking industry with parts and service support for hydraulics, clutches, transmissions, differentials, suspensions, brakes and more. Three branch locations have sprouted over the years in eastern Iowa, including Davenport, Dubuque, and Waterloo.

The company was founded by Roy and Myrna Sadler, and Roy continues to be a frequent and mindful visitor. He and Myrna’s sons, Tom and John, now oversee day-to-day operations. Grandsons Tommy, Nate and Adam are also adding their contributions to the family-run business.

Lots of companies, of course, are family-run. So what makes this one so special?

Nate explains, “I just wouldn’t feel right giving any customer a part that I didn’t believe was the best available. That way you always have peace of mind at the end of the day. That’s a nice thing to have.”


Competition for Sadler Power Train comes from as far away as Chicago, where a large parts supplier routinely sends trucks into Iowa in an effort to snatch some sales from the local fleets. Truck dealerships in Sadler’s neighborhoods also provide some competition, as does a well-known salvage company in Des Moines.

“But I don’t think, to the best of my knowledge, they use the same quality parts that we use,” says Nate. “Everything is a copy, which is fine with me. Everybody does things their own way.”

That said, Nate’s way is a whole lot different.


“We do a lot of remanufacturing and rebuilding of transmissions here,” says Nate, “and we gain a competitive advantage because we always use genuine Eaton components. We don’t use a copy of a copy of a copy. We use the same gears that would come with a new transmission as it rolls off the assembly line.”

All four of the Sadler locations stock and sell an array of genuine Eaton components, including differential gears, transmission gears, Weatherhead hoses and fittings, and clutches.

“That way we know everything is OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) form, function and fit,” adds Nate. “You don’t want to blow out a several thousand dollar transmission because you used a cheap washer or a ten-dollar aftermarket gear. Who knows how much the quality and the tolerances can deteriorate with a copycat gear?”

Conversely, he does know with certainty that his Eaton components will tolerate just about any commercial truck application. That’s because Eaton employs an intense and comprehensive testing regimen to ensure all parts deliver long-lasting, strength-of-character performance. Testing includes:

Gear Wear Test: Assures the wear rate will meet or exceed gear design guidelines due to a process, material or lubricant change. Gears are measured for wear after hours of testing at high torque inputs.

Full Load Gear Bending Test: Full rated torque test to validate the endurance against design guidelines. Comprehensively evaluates surface treatment effects. The gears are tested to failure and cycles are compared to design guidelines.

Geometry Measurement: Continually tests manufacturing capability with regards to spacing, crown, lead and profile.

Hardness Test: Tests to insure the proper material and heat treat were performed from a surface hardness viewpoint only. This is a very high level judgment on whether the manufacturing process uses the proper material and heat treat process.

Microstructure Test: Takes the surface hardness test to a finer level. This test analyzes the material grain structure and can tell with better confidence that the correct material was used in manufacturing and the capability of the heat treat process meets specifications.

Bearing Durability Test: Measures surface fatigue and material strength under full load conditions.

Accelerated Material Wear Test: Test the material's ability to live under higher than design life stresses. Running an equivalent 1,000,000 miles would literally take years.


“Our customers never complain and never say things like ‘hey that costs too much for that part or that costs too much for that transmission’,” says Nate. “I mean our customers understand that we are putting quality into everything we sell.”

Nate, who has been handling purchasing responsibilities for Sadler for some 17 years, notes that dealing with only genuine Eaton components has also contributed healthily to the company’s bottom line.

“We make a pretty comfortable profit margin with our Eaton lines,” he says. “The pricing is right where it needs to be.”

He’s also pretty comfortable with his Roadranger representative, John Krizak, parts solution manager for Eaton.

“I have known John for close to ten years now,” says Nate. “He’s a great guy, very knowledgeable, very friendly, and he truly cares about his products. It’s great when you have someone like that as a contact because it really feels like he wants our business to be successful.”

Sounds like John is just as genuine as the parts he and his partner, Nate, jointly sell.