Many of our projects will need to dump trucks to get the work done. Dump trucks are used to move aggregates from one point to another and use the hydraulic components to lift up the rear contents so it can fall to the ground.
These trucks are available in many configurations and sizes, so here we are presenting the dump truck equipment commonly used in the construction industry. Always remember to check your federal and state weight restrictions or frost prohibitions when selecting your dump truck.
If you’re like most onsite system contractors, you buy a dump truck for one reason — to make money. The best way to do that is to resist the temptation to buy more performance than you need, yet also avoid skimping on the features that enable your truck to work most productively in your applications.
Whether you plan to buy a new truck or search for the best-fit used model, here are some ideas to help you buy no more and no less truck than you need.
Whether you’re looking for new or used dump trucks for sale, there’s no shortage of options. Dump trucks are among the most versatile vehicles any operation could add to its fleet, so there is a thriving market in these vehicles to suit any need.
However, not all dump trucks for sale are created equal, and to get the most from your investment, you need to be certain the truck you’re buying matches your intended use of it. In our decades of experience selling dump trucks to operations both large and small, these are the most important factors to consider before buying.
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Things to look for when buying a used dump truck
Body, dump box and tires
Begin your inspection, walking slowly around the dump truck. Look for any cracks, rust, dents or major repairs on the truck body. Check the dump box and box liner for any signs of damage. When inspecting the dump box, note if the box is made of aluminium or steel. An aluminium box is more lightweight than a steel box and can help you reduce fuel costs over the long run. Stronger and more durable than aluminium, a steel dump box is the better choice if you will be hauling rubble or over-sized, rough, heavy material. As you continue your inspection of the body and dump box, stop and take a look at the tires, noting any uneven tread wear around the entire tire circumference, a sign of a possible alignment issue.
Frames, rails and axles
Next take a closer look at the truck frame rails, noting any sagging or bowing bends. A sagging bend could be a result of overloading, while an upward, bowing bend could be a result of an operator driving the truck with a loaded and upright box. As you inspect the frame rails, note any corrosion or other signs of wear. Also, make a note of the presence of any push axles (lift axles in front of the driving tandem) or tag axles (lift axles behind the driving tandem). Lift axles spread the weight across the multiple axles, which allows the dump truck to meet various state regulations. Steerable lift axles also help the operator navigate turns more easily, which can also be achieved with a short truck wheelbase.
Cab and Operation
Look at the truck’s cab and assess the overall condition of the interior. Check the odometer and make a note of the mileage. Startup the dump truck and check that all gauges, signals and lights are in working order. Note if the dump truck has a manual or automatic transmission. (If many operators with varying levels of driving experience will be using the dump truck, you may want to opt for an automatic transmission.) Begin driving the dump truck, checking for any play in the steering. Bring the dump truck to a stop and use the lifting control mechanism to raise the dump box, checking for the smooth operation of the lifting cylinder(s) and rod(s).
Whether you are looking for a vehicle service, a replacement part, or other vehicle maintenance, the service team at Ridgeback Service Bodies have all your needs covered.
Hydraulic lift cylinder(s) and components
Whether the dump truck you are interested in comes with a single ram, double ram or scissor dump box lifting mechanism, step out of the cab and thoroughly inspect the lifting cylinder(s) and rod(s) for any cracks, leaks, or dents. Check the pump and reservoir tank for any signs of leaking fluid. Step back into the cab and lower the dump box, again checking for smooth operation.
Dump truck engine compartment
If you don’t have a lot of heavy equipment experience, it’s best to have a qualified mechanic or knowledgeable operator inspect on your behalf.
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There are several different types of dump trucks. Among the most popular are:
- Standard dump trucks have a typical truck chassis with the dump bed directly attached and are emptied via a hydraulic lift at the bulkhead. These are your typical all-purpose dumpers and have good performance except on the softer ground.
- Transfer dump trucks have separate trailers for hauling materials and are specifically designed for easy transportation materials from place to place. In some states, the trailers may be daisy-chained for additional loads.
- Side-dump trucks use hydraulic rams that allow dumping to either side, allowing for quick emptying of large amounts of materials. However, maneuverability is more limited compared to other types.
It’s easy to assume “the more HP, the better”, but that’s not always the case. Generally speaking, higher-horsepower engines will be less fuel-efficient as well as being heavier. Therefore, the smart buy is the dump truck with enough power for your needs, but without adding so much additional power that it cuts into your profits.
Also, in many cases, torque is more important than horsepower, because torque is what gets the load moving in the first place. HP is generally most relevant for maintaining power when going up hills.
Manual vs. Automatic Transmission
Manuals give drivers more control in driving, as well as making it easier to downshift for extra power when going up hills. However, manuals can often use extra fuel as well as being significantly more wearying for a driver. Automatics are better for longer hauls, and manuals are better for shorter hauls on uneven terrain.
Simply put, the less the truck weighs while still accomplishing your goals, the better. This means understanding the weight and type of the materials to be hauled, then selecting the dump truck to do the job but, again, without unneeded power or weight that cuts into profits.
Types Of Dump Truck And Their Differences
What’s the right dump truck for the job? If you’re trying to sort through your dump truck options and make the right investment in the right dump truck, there are some important things you should know about what distinguishes different types of trucks. While a standard dump truck is suitable for a variety of applications, you certainly aren’t limited to this one option. For heavy-duty jobs or special jobs that require quick loading and unloading, other dump truck alternatives may be your best bet. Here are eight major types of dump trucks and their differences to help you find the perfect fit for the job:
A tried-and-true option, a standard dump truck has a mounted, moving bed and a front steering axle and a rear steering axle. Some standard dump trucks have two rear steering axles, which allows them to support more weight in their beds. Compared to some heavy-duty dump trucks, standard dump trucks have relatively small wheelbases, which makes them easier to maneuver, but it also limits how much can be loaded into their beds. If maneuverability is a chief concern, a standard dump truck may be the solution.
A transfer dump truck is essentially a standard dump truck with a separate trailer attached and a movable, detachable bed. This is a popular type of dump truck in construction, as it’s ideal for carrying asphalt, gravel, and wood chips in addition to carrying dirt.
Semi Trailer Bottom
Ideal for materials that need to be placed in vertical heaps, semi-trailer bottom dump trucks are three-axle vehicles with two-axle dump trailers attached to them. Many semi trailer bottom dump trucks have dump trailers that are shaped somewhat like clamshells, which makes manipulating and stacking heaps easier.
Double/Triple Trailer Bottom
These types of dump trucks have single-axle, semi-trailer dumpers attached to the main vehicle. They’re great for hauling groups of materials that need to stay together, but they are quite the challenge to maneuver in tight spots. And their overall payload is often lower than other dump truck options.
With a load-bearing axle that’s rated as high as 13,000 lbs., a super dump truck is a great choice for heavy-duty jobs. This kind of dump truck has a trailing axle in addition to its movable, load-bearing axle. To allow for increased gross weight, a super dump truck’s trailing axle is attached around 11 feet in back of its rear tandem.
A side dump truck, also sometimes called an “SDT,” has hydraulic rams that allow it to shift and tilt its dump bed on its side, pouring the material it carries to the ground from either the left of the right. It also has a three-axle vehicle body with a two-axle semi-trailer attached. Side dump trucks are a perfect fit for quick unloading and reloading.
Winter Service Vehicle
This is a type of dump truck, although many people may not consider it to be one. It’s a plough truck designed similarly to a dump truck, and it allows drivers to pile salt and other snow-combating minerals and then slowly deposit those materials as it drives. It usually has a front plough to help it kill two birds with one stone and plough snow.
Primarily used in quarries and mines, haul trucks have enormous payload capacities, up to 450 tons. Haul trucks usually have diesel-electric powertrains to give them the strength to haul the biggest of loads, but some of them have diesel engines paired with mechanical powertrains. Conventional steering and rigid frames are also key characteristics of haul trucks.
How to Choose the Best Dump Truck
Decide Which Type of Dump Truck is Ideal for You
There are a variety of dump trucks on the market that are useful for different jobs. Here at DePaula Chevy, we carry conversion dump trucks that have been built using a Chevy Silverado truck chassis with a dump bed attached. These trucks are perfect for smaller, less rigorous jobs that require the elimination of waste and other materials.
For those who have larger jobs with lots of waste to be trucked away, you might want to consider a transfer dump truck. These are configured using a standard truck hauling a separate trailer filled with sand, gravel or other substances.
Another dump truck variation is the side dump truck. These sturdy trucks are built with a container that permits dumping to either side offering more flexibility. These trucks can carry heavy loads with greater capacity, greater mobility, and are able to unload precisely and quickly at the job site. They can be usually seen on highway and road projects, landscaping, and snow removal.
Before choosing a dump truck, think about some other important requirements. Safety is one of the foremost features, and you’ll want to ensure that your new dump truck meets all federal and state requirements. Think of the type of payload your dump truck will be carrying. If you carry large rocks or heavy material, you’ll want to purchase a dump truck made with a steel dump body. If you usually carry sand or other lightweight materials, an aluminium body will be adequate and will save fuel costs.
Tires and wheels are another important consideration. Aluminium wheels save weight, clean easily, and can increase your payload while sprucing up your company’s image. Choose tires that have good tread design and ones that are popular in your area. If you need to replace them, these tires won’t be hard to find.
Another key feature needs to be the maneuverability of your dump truck. Standard trucks usually have a tight turning radius. They also can move in reverse easier than those with multiple trailers. There is a choice of two locations for the front axle—axle forward or axle back. Axle forward design provides about 40 to 45 degrees of wheel cut; whereas, the axle-back design is positioned 52 inches behind the bumper providing about 50 degrees of wheel cut, providing a tighter turning radius and easier maneuvering in tight quarters.
Choose Your Model
Most business owners buy a dump truck for one reason, and that’s to make money. You’ll want to make a rational decision and not buy more truck than you need, but also not skimp on necessary features. Once you have decided on the type of dump truck you need, choose a model from our extensive inventory. Our line-up is perfect for anyone in the construction, landscaping, tree removal, or other fields where you need to haul material from one location to the next. Our Chevrolet work trucks already have dump bodies installed from well-known brands like Air-Flo, Reading, and Rugby. We even have the capability to install a dump body on a work-ready truck even if we don’t have it in stock.
Our long-lasting workhorse trucks are the Silverado (1500, 2500, 3500), and the Low Cab Forward (LFC) truck. Since the Silverado has a reputation as the longest-lasting pickup truck on the road, it’s perfect as a work-ready truck with a dump body. The Silverado Heavy-Duty 2500 and 3500 models are particularly adept at becoming dump trucks as they can handle larger payloads.
The Low Cab Forward (LCF) truck also makes a great dump truck. Its sheer mass means that it’s able to carry heavy payloads. It also provides more room for longer materials, especially those carried by plumbers or construction workers who need to maneuver their trucks into tight urban areas. The Low Cab Forward design also allows you easy access to the engine compartment and will make it easier to do maintenance or repairs.
Determine how much carrying capacity you might need for your dump truck. Carrying capacity is the weight and volume incorporated into the final payload. If you are carrying too heavy a load, your truck might be restricted from certain roads or highways due to its weight.
Map out where your dump truck will be travelling. Certain roads and bridges will restrict specialized hauling vehicles like dump trucks. You’ll also need to determine how much weight your typical payload will be. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) determines the size of your payloads. The GVWR will also have a direct bearing on keeping your vehicle within legal weight limits. Its number will decide the load capacities of the axles to remain within your legal limit.
Purchasing a new dump truck can be an exciting time for you and your business. If you take the time to discuss your purchase with our sales staff at DePaula Chevy, we’ll be able to ensure that you choose the correct dump truck for you and your business.
The configuration of all of these alternatives and the previous ones discussed will change from country to country, depending on regulations and restrictions. There are many other types of dump trucks, but these four are the ones preferred by professional drivers and construction pros.