Dale Price finds that profitability comes from having the right truck for the right job
We see a great divergence in the earthmoving business, with prime movers hauling end-over tippers giving way to rigid truck and dog trailers, or quad dog and even six-axle tipping trailers. What we don’t commonly see is a great trend towards 8×4 or 10×4 rigid tippers.
Dale Price of DCP Haulage of Kellyville is a permanent subcontractor to Benedict Sand and Gravel, suppliers of quarried and recycled products, landscaping and civil construction materials.
With earlier experience in the transport industry gained from working in cement distribution, the concept of a 10×4 rigid concrete agitator was a well-proven way of delivering bulk concrete. Dale’s first entry into the rigid tipper sector was with a 6×4 Sterling, but before long he looked at how he could gain additional load volume without increasing costs by moving to the more expensive capital investment that occurs when towing tipping trailers.
After discussion with Lloyd Moran of Kenworth truck sales at Gilbert & Roach, Huntingwood, Dale worked through an ideal specification that would enable him to operate in the rigid tipper market with a twin-steer, 10×4 rigid tipper, fitted with a lifting lazy axle ahead of the bogie-drive tandem.
Dale’s choice was to go with Kenworth T359A, a design with a wide range of applications from 4×2, 6×4, 8×4 and 10×4 to suit prime mover or rigid truck configurations. In twin-steer application the front axles are by DANA with the rear tandem drive and lazy axle option also by DANA. The lazy ‘pusher” axle was fitted by Gilbert & Roach. The GCM for 10×4 application is 33 tonnes, and the rear suspension choice is the Kenworth Airglide 600.
Kenworth’s T359A has been engineered to include the full suite of safety features contained in the optional Electronic Brake Safety Systems (EBSS). This Bendix/Knorr-Bremse system provides full rollover mitigation systems, with Kenworth being the first North American truck maker to offer this important safety feature in the Australian market. In line with this focus on advanced safety systems the T359 is also optionally available with air-operated disc brakes.
The standard engine fitment in the T359A is the Cummins ISLe5. This is an 8.9-litre, six-cylinder, in-line mid-range engine that is turbocharged and charge air cooled, and uses SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) technology to comply with Euro 5/ADR80/03 emissions requirements. The engine may be rated from 280 to 400 hp (208-298 kW) and can be electronically uprated without hardware changes to suit specific applications.
This engine uses high-pressure, common-rail fuel injection with electronic injectors, and its heavy-duty design features targeted piston cooling, roller cam followers and steel top pistons for improved reliability/durability. Being an electronically controlled engine it provides the standard Cummins diagnostic features with data downloading, PTO control, maintenance monitoring and engine protection. The compression engine brake fitted to the ISLe5 produces a retardation effect of 250 hpx (186 Nm).
A performance uprating was applied by Cummins to the engine in Dale’s truck during the warranty period, increasing the power output from standard horsepower of 380 up to 400 hp (283-298 kW). At 400 hp (298 kW) the torque output is 1,255 lb-ft (1700 Nm) from 1300 to 1400 rpm with a clutch engagement of 575 lb-ft (780 Nm).
“I chose Borcat for the tipping body and found them very easy to work with when it came to providing the exact specifications I needed,” said Dale.
“The Borcat tipping body is obviously of greater length than that possible with a standard 6×4, a result of the extended wheelbase of 5900 mm and total frame length of 8895 mm.
“I wanted the bin mounted as far forward as possible to minimise wasted space on the chassis. This positions the bin within a very short distance from the back of the cab. As you will see, the exhaust is routed through under the truck rather than between the cab and the body. There were a few issues initially in routing the exhaust system to avoid the second steering axle and the lift axle, but that was subsequently easily accomplished.
“I had done some research and found that having the lazy axle in front of the drive is preferable as it enables the truck to turn better. The positioning of the weight over the axles is better and the truck doesn’t tend to sit back as some can do when the lazy axle is at the rear behind the tandem. It’s easier to come in and out of sites to tip with the lazy axle ahead of the drive tandem. If you reverse with a rear-mounted lazy axle mounted behind the tandem it can pick up the drive axles and cause wheel spin,” said Dale.
Dale has been operating the Kenworth T359A for two and a half years. This is Dale’s first experience with an AdBlue/DEF engine.
“I normally get two weeks out of a 70-litre AdBlue tank and I use 400 litres of fuel every two days. At 400 hp I am happy with the available power, it holds its own well.
“I stayed with a manual Eaton RTLO 14918B transmission. I find it better to be able to pick the gear you want for a hill. An Allison full automatic is probably better for short haul work in work like the concrete industry,” said Dale.
The body was built by Borcat, and as Borcat’s managing director, John Thompson, explained, this configuration is attracting increasing attention from members of the tipper industry.
“We have now supplied five units of this configuration to Benedict’s and have just supplied another to an independent operator. The dimensions of the bin are 6.4 m in length with a width of 2.5 m and a height of 1.5 m. That gives a total volume of 24 cubic metres,” said John.
“We fitted 5.0 mm rock sheets on the sides and a tailgate with an electric waterproof rollover cover supplied by Powertarp of Wetherill Park in Sydney. The hoist is by Edbro,” added John.
“Borcat has been good to work with. They designed all the back section for additional lights to suit our requirements as a one-off design. They have boxed in the rear section for lights and this contains a rear-vision camera. The interior of the body has reinforced sides and sheeting with an 8.0 mm floor to prevent damage that can occur from carrying rocks,” said Dale.
“I had the bin fitted as far forwards as possible in order to get the best volume, but also the best weight distribution over the front axle. We achieved this objective with a very narrow gap between the front of the body and the rear of the day cab,” added Dale.
“The 10×4 is only about one foot longer than a Kenworth eight-wheeler, and the turning circle is quite good on them. You get an extra four tonnes payload on the 10×4 over a standard eight-wheeler, and when you get paid by the tonne it makes sense.
“While a rigid truck and dog has a 32-tonne payload, that specific combination requires the extra investment in equipment plus the extra running costs, tyres, rego etc. If you are working in the same environment as rigid and dog trailer operators, by the time they load the truck and the dog you are already tipped off in the 10×4 unit and get away within a shorter timeframe before them.
“There are a few subbies now that are starting to get 10 x 4 units and this has resulted in a further four units joining the fleet. All are Kenworth and each of the four is pretty similar. One has a Cummins 315 engine with a ten-speed auto transmission; the others are all the same spec with the ISLe5 and 18-speed manual gearboxes.
“I would certainly look at the idea of putting on a second truck with a driver in the future.
“I prefer the layout of the T359A. Although it’s a short bonnet I like the driving position. About the only thing I would change in the spec would be to replace the KAB seat supplied by Kenworth with an ISRI unit. In a replacement truck I might also look at the larger 11-litre engine, but that might increase the tare weight and reduce the profitability of the higher load volume. I would have to look closely at that.
“In terms of unusual items on the truck it is very much a standard vehicle, except for the powered cargo cover above the load on the tipper body. I also have a fully-automated system that lowers the lazy axle as the weight comes on the tandem axles when loading. It also has a manual override.
“Kenworth fitted aftermarket diff breathers. We have drum brakes all round with automatic slack adjusters and I handle all the service requirements such as greasing and oil drains myself. Tyre wear is good with the second set of steer tyres just fitted at 250,000 km. The second set of drives has also just been fitted.
“The stainless trims and other additional marker lights were fabricated by Damian Grima and his father Charlie, who also has nine trucks of his own working in the Benedict’s fleet,” said Dale.