Dump Truckin

On Thursday morning a couple of us spent several hours hauling excavation materials out of the Schell’s Brewing Company.  Honestly, I have no idea what the project was or what the finished job will look like.  What I do know is that the view is always great when you are on the brewery property.  

Sometimes you just have to put trucks where trucks have no business being. 

If you weren’t aware, Schell’s Brewery is built in the scenic hills of the Cottonwood River on the south end of New Ulm, MN.  

As the construction season nears its end things get a little goofy.  By that I mean there are no longer any major projects requiring large numbers of trucks and many days of work.  At this point of year all that remains to be completed are the small or last minute jobs.  One such small job was a customer satisfaction/warranty asphalt driveway fix.  


After delivering a load of sand the crew asked a coworker and I if we’d go load ourselves with class 5 gravel at a pit just a few miles from the job site.  Even though it’d been more than fifteen years since I had been in the cab of a loader I was able to get three loads on the truck.  –QBall45 

With the construction season winding down dump truck work is starting to get sporadic.  When the Boss indicates that you have two options, either come in late and work for only a few hours or wash equipment, the choice is rather easy.  I washed a pair of dozers and the washbay floor.  (I should have gotten a picture of the dozers side by side.  If I do I’ll add it.)  –QBall45 

The Boss asked if I’d make a run to take a paver track for warranty replacement.  With the torn track unloaded and the new one loaded I was on my way back to the shop.  

The Boss met me outside by the warehouse to help unload.  I asked how he thought we should get it done.  His response was one I’ll not soon forget.  He said “raise the box and let that shit slide, then ease forward a bit.”  

Another easy parts run started with dropping off some parts returns and a clutch core at the CAT dealer.  Once that was complete we loaded up a set of winter tires for a skidsteer.  

Delayed getting this posted.  No apologies.  Life happens.  –QBall45 

This week ended up being filled with a little bit of everything including some new experiences.  

Try as I might I simply am not able to recall what I did on Monday.  I vaguely remember spending a couple of hours at the asphalt plant hauling 1/2″ rock from the quarry.  

On Tuesday I found myself in a 1 ton diesel pulling a goose neck trailer with a ramp.  A fun filled morning of loading a mini excavator and delivering it followed by a few other deliveries and pick ups including 60′ of plastic culvert.  

Tuesday afternoon I switched back to my dump truck.  I found myself in Worthington at Duffy’s Bar & Grill with hot mix waiting for my turn with the paving machine.  

Wednesday morning started with yet another mission in yet another truck.  This one being an F450 dually with a utility dump box on it.   I made a quick stop in Shakopee at the Bobcat dealer for a cutting edge and some other small parts on my way to Savage.  In Savage I stopped by United Rental for a stack of panels used in conjunction with a trench box.  I’m not exactly sure what that’s used for but I don’t necessarily need to know.  I was asked to get the panels, so I did. 

Thursday and Friday were spent with the paving machine crew in Redwood Falls black topping a couple pain in the butt parking lots.  

Saturday morning was spent at Kraft Foods with the Patching and the Paving crews.  My first load was used for patching.  This is interesting in that the crew uses a skid steer to scoop the mix out of the truck rather than using a paving machine.  

All in all, it turned out to be a nice week at work with basically every day being unlike the day previous.  

— QBall45 

After hauling a load of asphalt mix, only using part of the load, toploading the cleanup scrap, dumping off on the recycle pile hours after loading hot mix I went on to haul some class 5 gravel.  I noticed that the first load was a bit heavier than expected but I paid it no mind.  The next load was more than a ton heavy and the third was almost identical to the second.  After getting out and looking inside the box I found that I had a sizable chunk of asphalt setup hard in the front corner of the box. My attempts to clean out the box with a shovel failed.  However, with the assistance of an outstanding excavator operator we were able to get it knocked loose.  

It is no wonder why my weights were off by 1500# or so.  I’ll add this lesson to the file.  When hauling mix always dump the entire load either in the paving machine or on the recycling pile at the job site.  

— QBall45 

Late Friday afternoon the call came across the radio asking for three volunteers to deliver three loads of gravel to a residential customer.  Naturally, I volunteered to stay a bit late to get one of those loads delivered. 

This wasn’t as simple as originally thought.  The customer required delivery in the alley behind the house.  As is almost always the case with residential alleys there were more than plenty of overhead wires to contend with.  In addition to the overhead concerns there was an issue with the slop of the yard.  From the alley the yard sloped substantially down to the house.  

This slope  influenced the angle of the trucks frame which in turn influenced the angle of the box.  This isn’t a big deal so long as you don’t raise the box.  Well, being a dump truck the box needs to be raised in order to unload.  I ran into a problem once I raised the box to full height.  The first load that had already been delivered was obstructing my load from flowing freely and rapidly out of my box.  This caused the weight to shift even more to the downhill side of the box putting further pressure sideways on the hoist cylinder.  When I realized that I had a problem getting the load off I attempted to lower the box unsuccessfully.  The sideways pressure from the partially loaded box on the cylinder caused it to bind.  I made the call to the boss as I knew there was nothing that I could by myself.  With the aid of a bobcat the boss was able to apply some pressure against the box which releaved the forces of gravity just enough to allow the box to lower (albeit suddenly and imediate).  Thanks to the experience and knowledge of the boss no one was hurt although the truck was damaged.  I’ve been informed that the main hoist cylinder is bent and the seals blew out.  The replacement parts will hopefully return the truck to serviceable condition in short order.  I think that I learned a few valuable lessons late Friday afternoon that will not soon be forgotten.  The first is that even if someone else is or was able to make a delivery in a particular location it’s OK to call the boss and let him know that I’m uncomfortable raising the dump box in the requested location as alternative arrangements can be made.  Secondly, never raise the box on a grade if the rig is not perpendicular to the grade you’re on.  If necessary move the truck until it is in the perfect position.  At the end of the day I as the driver am responsible for the safety of the equipment I operate as well as those who may be in my imediate vicinity.  – – QBall45