Building contractors prefer compact, heavy-duty trucks that combine decent off-road capabilities with maximum versatility. I spotted this prime example of such an all-rounder and its driver just around the corner. Let’s have a closer look at this Swiss Army knife of the trucking business.
The DAF CF-series chassis-cab is equipped with an HTS cable roll-off system. In short, that’s a tipping frame with two winches at the front. As such, it can put a cargo bed or container (either with or without a load) on and off a truck.
In this case, a flatbed with dropsides was hoisted aboard the truck. Now it can haul all kinds of building materials, implements, scaffolding, you name it. Put an open top container on the chassis and you have a neat dump truck. It all depends on the job what’s on the chassis.
The winch on the truck’s left side.
The flatbed -resting on the tipping frame- sticks out quite a bit, hence the retractable underride guard at the rear. Just look at this whole set-up; light-duty it ain’t. And the bed is clearly much older than the rest of the package.
Mounted directly behind the cab, a PTO-driven Palfinger crane for loading and unloading the freight, palletized goods included (there’s a pallet hook sitting on the right side of the bed).
The DAF is powered by a 10.8 liter MX-11 engine with 270 kW~367 DIN-hp. The transmission is a manual, synchronized ZF 16-speed. The European truck makers that don’t build their own transmissions -like DAF- opt for ZF products. On vehicles for the European market, anyway.
The front axle with super singles is rated at a maximum axle load of 9,000 kg (19,842 lbs). So apart from steering, it can also carry some serious weight, exactly what it’s supposed to do. The whole truck’s GVM-rating is 28,000 kg (61,729 lbs). And that’s a 2007 Renault Mégane 1.6 wagon, in front of the DAF.
When the going gets heavy, rough and tough, this has been the proven concept for many decades: leaf springs and drive axles with hub reduction.
Very all-round indeed. Just like the driver/crane operator, who was about to join his co-workers on the nearby construction site.
Related article (same owner, much older DAF):
Truck Stop Classic: 1985 DAF 2500 Turbo Intercooling 6×4 – An Old Construction Worker, Not Retired Yet
Even though the popular brands are different, there has been a massive convergence of American and European market private cars over the past few decades … overall size, front wheel drive, four cylinder, more recently crossovers, etc. Even vans are becoming more universal, whether large Sprinter, Transit, Promaster/Ducato or the smaller Transit Connect and Promaster City/Doblo. But these heavy commercial vehicles that Johannes shows us are so different. Not just the cabovers, or the dual steering axles, but even the bodies. Are the use cases so different, or is it just tradition?
I can’t tell about the specific truck-body-culture in other parts of the world, but roll-off systems (hook lift, cable, chain) are commonplace here. Chassis mounted, PTO driven cranes between the cab and body: ditto. Both for a very long time now, actually.
You can even see roll-off systems on semi-trailer chassis, see picture below from the HTS website.
Having to navigate narrow city streets laid out before the advent of automobiles would be my guess. I observed massive trucks like these engaged in the business of structural repair on the famous leaning townhouses on the canal streets in Amsterdam, streets that are 20′ wide. It’s amazing how they navigate those trucks on those narrow streets.
Daily routine for many drivers. The DAF was driven by a construction worker (carpenting) who also happened to drive the company truck(s).
Trucks are only 2.5M wide 8ft 2in so a 20ft wide road is plenty.
A couple of feet less than the typical US inner-city street lane width, though. Those Dutch heavy truck drivers are a skilled lot.
There are swap loaders used over here in the states. There are good and bad involved with this equipment. Versatility, one power unit for doing different work. The downside is the additional weight will limit the amount of payload you can haul.
You also need to plan out how you are going to utilize the equipment.
The most common use of the swap loader is dumpster hauler. Drop a empty one and haul away the full one.
We had a boss that travelled internationally a lot. He would come back with tons of photos, many featuring the equipment used for road maintenance. The questions in the back of your mind was what new equipment were we going to be getting now. Most ended up scrapped early or left in the back lot to turn to rust.
One adventure involved five trucks. Three low cab forward Mack’s and two Ford Louisville’s. One Mack and the two Ford’s had swap loaders.
The Ford’s had V-Box sanders, a low side contractor/demo box and flat beds. These also had the usual plow equipment, front plow, wing plow and underbody plow. The V-Box was taller than the usual plow truck and the loaders couldn’t raise the bucket high enough to load salt into the V-Box. The other short coming was the V-Box didn’t hold near the capacity of the usual dump body, about a third less. Truck is also top heavy when loaded. Same problem with the contractor/demo body. The flat bed was envisioned as a replacement for a trailer except most of the equipment typically hauled on a trailer is too tall when loaded on the back of a truck.
The Most successful one was the Mack swap loader. V-box sander, demo box, flat bed and tunnel washing machine. The Mack only had a front plow so the truck had a longer and lower V-Box so it had decent capacity. The demo box and flat bed were rarely used. Tunnel washer did get used but again we have tunnels in the system but not a lot and the tunnels are short and washed at most twice a year. So while the truck was more versatile it still sat most of the time.
The last two Mack’s were plow trucks designed for long routes. Front plow only. Dump body with tailgate sander and a gump box pup trailer also with a tailgate sander.
These two trucks only lasted 3-4 years, the low cab forward with 22,000 lb front axles just beat up the drivers. Too many work comp cases. The pup trailers rarely got used.
The other unique pieces were the plows used on the Mack’s. The front plows were imported from Europe, Norway if I remember correctly. These plows had telescoping ends so you could plow a winder path. This was done because these trucks did not have wing plows. The plows were fragile and there wasn’t any dealers stateside so no parts support either. These plows were all retired after two years.
Additional weight might be a bigger issue in the US than here, given the lower axle loads, thus lower gross vehicle weights. Roll-off systems, frequently combined with a crane, are mounted on road-legal straight trucks up to 110,000 lbs GVM.
Twin steer US trucks are quite awful to drive on anything other than smooth pavement European models are ok usually smooth and comfortable Japanese trucks are somewhere in between, twin steer is the norm here due to axle loading limitations.
Are transfer dump trucks common or even used in Europe, or NZ? A truck with a dump, and a full trailer with a non-tilting dump bin. The driver drops the trailer, dumps the truck load, then a winch pulls the trailer bin into the empty truck bin; they essentially telescope together. Then the driver dumps the second load, and reconnects everything. Those plus roll-off dumpster (trash bin) trucks are pretty much the only “swap” trucks I notice in California. For what it’s worth, I live in an older town by California standards, founded by the Spanish in the 18th century but most of the streets laid out in the late 19th and early 20th century. We have two gas stations near our house supplied by truck and full-trailer tankers, conventional not COE of course, and watching those guys maneuver in the gas station and then on the residential street past our house, makes me think they’d benefit from a COE with twin steer. But no, they’re always conventional Peterbilt or Kenworth.
No transfer dump trucks as you describe them are used over here.
Common is a truck with a roll-off system, pulling a dedicated full trailer, thus carrying two containers in total. The truck’s roll-off system is used to put the container on and off the trailer.
As seen in this video. A fast and efficient move, with an experienced driver/operator, that is.
Can’t say that I’ve noticed these here, only the single container roll-off trucks.
Thanks, Johannes! I always enjoy seeing trucks from Europe and from around the world. How people handle their needs in different mechanical ways worked with American systems when I sold heavy-duty trucks and medium-duty trucks.