Dump Truckin

One of our newer dump trucks was purchased a few years ago with a spring ride rear suspension.  This makes for a miserably rough ride both on and off road.  Finally,  after several drivers rotated in and out of #12 the powers that be made the decision to upgrade the suspension system this truck should have had from the factory.

I an looking forward to the opportunity to take this truck out for a test drive this spring.  I do think that the addition of the air suspension will greatly improve the ride and handling qualities of this quint axle dump truck.  -QBall45

Update – I’m told that the addition of the air ride suspension has completely transformed this quint from the truck no one wanted into the perfect dump truck. It’s not surprising really. 

This morning I spent three hours working on cleaning an excavator.  Yes it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  This 325 Cat looks monstrous when it’s inside the shop.  In reality it isn’t all that big.

First things first.  What can be removed from the tracks with a space must be removed.  Why add to what’s already going to be a big ‘ol muddy mess if you don’t have to?

Did I get done washing?  Nope.  I was called away to run the dump truck.  Much of the month of December was spent washing equipment and jumping in the dump truck as needed.  I was very fortunate to be able to stay rather busy right up until the week before Christmas when things dropped off.  Working in the wash bay as a driver is certainly not a glamorous job.  However, washing equipment most definitely pays the bills at the house and for that I am very grateful.  -QBall45

Originally drafted December 7th, 2016

Published January 26, 2017

This week I had the opportunity to jump in the side dump for a while.  The tractor trailer is something I’m extremely familiar with.  However, running a trailer that tips sideways is a new thing for me.  After spending a few minuets getting used to the controls for the trailer I went to load.  I managed to make a total mess of things when I went to unload this first load.  I’m accustomed to keeping the trailer in line with the tractor.  However, when you are dumping something hard like concrete chunks you must jack knife the rig prior to tipping the bin.  With the unit twisted you can easily back up away from the pile thereby voiding and damage to the tires. Being as I wasn’t hearing what I was told that the boss I missed the part about Jack knifing it.  I ended up with concrete all under the trailer around the wheels.  It took about ten minutes to clean up the mess by hand.  Thankfully, the pieces where of a manageable size.  My subsequent loads were unloaded uneventfully.  I look forward to running this rig again.  – QBall45 

Sometimes things just happen.  The first load of 3″ rock was delivered and spread to perfection.  In fact subsequent loads were dumped in a pile as the dozer operator really wanted something to do.  

Sometimes you completely rely on the guy on the ground giving hand signal directions.  Most often this works out very well.  Other times… Not so much.  I’m not certain if he was distracted or simply slow to give me the stop signal.  

Either way I ended up backed up off the rock and in the muck.  It was as if the bottom dropped out from under the wheels.  Axle deep and unable to move on my own.  I guess that the dozer operator found a little something to do.  It didn’t take much effort to free the truck from the grip of yucky muck it was stuck in.  All in all it turned out to be a good day.  – – QBall45 

Wednesday started out washing some equipment. Unfortunately, the key on the dozer we’d left drip dry over night broke when we attempted to start it.  With no replacement part on hand I worked around it the best I could.  

Washing construction equipment is a dirty business.  A nasty combination of dirty, clay, sand and gravel are washed off the equipment and then down the floor drain.  Eventually that floor drain must be cleaned out.  

After much physical exertion and three full skin loader buckets the only thing left to do is replace the drain covers and rinse the floor down.  Messy and nasty yet satisfying.  

Class 5c gravel is a wonderful alternative to class 5 gravel.  What makes it different?  The answer to that is simply C.  C is for concrete which is crushed into an aggregate of suitable size and used in the place of natural aggregate.  Class 5c gravel seems to pack more firmly than natural aggregates providing a very stable layer to build on. 

One interesting thing about class 5c is how it acts on a pile.  The layering is immediately apparent upon first glance.  Take a few steps back from the pile and you’ll notice the sharp vertical walls of the pile.  This is dramatically different than a natural aggregate pile which tends to flow and fill in when you remove a scoop with a loader.  

Am I some sort of geological scientist?  Hardly, I’m simply a driver that enjoys the art of observation.  – QBall45 

Sometimes the view in the mirror just forces me to stop what I’m doing for a moment.  Sometimes that momentary pause is required to simply enjoy the unbelievable beauty of the surroundings.  Sometimes I find that I need to stop a second to actually comprehend the complexity of the visual stimulation of current situation I find myself in. 

 Thanks for taking a moment to check out the view this afternoon.  This view is ridiculously complex when you consider that the truck is nose up tail down box fully in the air.  The brain begins to process what it’s actually seeing, the stomach begins a small flip… 

OK that’s enough… Time to lower the box as I ease out the clutch on first gear.  Let’s get on to the next load!  -QBall45 

This is my last load of asphalt in the paving machine for this year.  

Photo credit goes to Bill the HR guy. I never get pictures of myself working for some reason.

The last load of the 2016 paving season ended up going back to the recycling pile to be crushed and recycled into new asphalt.