Most people passing dump trucks on the road might not give them a second thought as they drive by. For those who sit behind the wheel of these trucks though, there is a keen understanding of the value they bring to a company.
Like the expert staff at Camco Wheel & Axle, they are also aware of the need to have the right truck and upfitting parts for the jobs they tackle. Specifying the right dump truck body can be a tedious task but making the right choices will help maximize how productive your truck is and how long it holds under work conditions.
Consider the following when it comes to spec’ing a dump truck body.
Picking the Right Metal
It doesn’t hurt to have a nice paint job and quality advertising on your truck. But a good-looking exterior is not what really matters with day-to-day tasks, it’s what’s underneath it all – the metals in the body – that determines quality.
There are two main options for dump truck owners to choose from: aluminum and steel. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Steel is ideal for hauling loads involving more abrasive materials in your cargo. It provides more protection than aluminum against potential damage. There are numerous types of steel and they come in many gauges and our McAllen upfitters at Camco Wheel & Axle can help you navigate the extensive options to find the one with the right tensile strength for you. Whether you need a mild steel or abrasion-resistant (AR) variety, there is a steel with the correct psi yield for your truck.
It is better to spec the body of your truck a little heavy than a little light. There will be an added cost but it will be less than the costs of required repairs for a truck that can’t hold up under work pressures. Different parts of your truck will be subjected to varying amounts of weight and this will likely result in the use of different types of steel. As a general rule, the floor of your truck should be made with a heavier steel.
Aluminum is an ideal choice for loads of non-abrasive materials, which can equate to a lighter total weight. However, aluminum does provide a greater payload capacity than steel and increased protection from corrosion. The appearance of a dump truck is another reason why some owners choose aluminum. As mentioned above, the material being hauled is important to consider, as aluminum costs more to install and fix and is more likely to crack than steel.
There are three types of bodies to consider for your dump truck: traditional rectangle, semi-elliptical, and half round.
- A traditional rectangle dump box provides the most room on the floor of your bed, not only for the material you will load and move but any equipment you may carry as well. The lower center of gravity and shorter height on the sides of the dump box provide the same amount of space as the other body options.The main drawback to this body style is the additional weight the braces use to support and reinforce the frame. They do make the truck stronger but add to costs and could cut into load capacity. Additionally, the extra corners of the rectangular shape provide more chances for corrosion to set in, as the edges require more welds.
- The half-round body is able to withstand impact better than the rectangular version, thanks to the steel being shaped into a semi-circle. Force is deflected by the shape of this body style while not requiring any cross-members to help support it, resulting in a lighter total weight and greater payload capacity. The shape also makes it more difficult for material to stick to the floor, making these bodies easier to clean. Any load will also remain in the center of the dump truck’s body, making loading and dumping simpler as the material stays together when dumped.The main drawback is the fact that the floor of the bed is not flat, making it more difficult to load equipment or pallets onto the truck.
- The semi-elliptical body style combines the traditional rectangular shape and the half-round. It deflects force in the way as the half-round body style with sacrificing the flat floors of the rectangular body, although you will not have as much room for equipment. One important difference to note is that the semi-elliptical, because of its design, will raise the center of gravity on the truck, as well as the side-height.
Front End Design
The front end of your dump truck will typically be one of three set-ups, with local bridge regulations on load weight playing a big part on the best choice for you.
One of these options is a straight front with a doghouse for the hoist cylinder. This is a good choice for hauling in the Eastern states, where it is important to get more weight on the front axle of your dump truck.
A similar straight configuration, with a bailmount front hoist, eliminates the need for the doghouse. This is a good option as it gets rid of a corner where material potentially could get snagged and keeps the box free, while freeing up payload capacity, as a larger doghouse requires more space.
A favorite alternative to the straight front box is the sloped front, as it also allows for a reduction in the amount of space used up by the doghouse. In addition, they also help deflect the impact of heavy loads like big rocks.
It can seem like a lot to consider when getting the specs together for your dump truck, especially if your daily workload is not always easy to project. Fortunately, Camco Wheel & Axle will put any concerns you have to rest, as our experienced McAllen upfitters and staff take you through the fabrication process. There is no “perfect” dump truck, just the right one for the jobs you wrestle with each day.