A Community Problem

Some days I yearn for a simpler time. A time when the local town dump was nothing more than a smoldering, uncovered, rodent infested pile of refuse on the edge town. Back in these days pigs would eat our garbage and we in turn would eat the pigs. As long as you thoroughly cooked your bacon and ham the specter of trichinosis was kept at bay. It the summer it was advisable to keep your pants tucked into your socks to avoid rat bites carrying Murine Typhus or Weil’s disease.

I’m being sarcastic of course but the state of refuse collection of the early 50’s resembles little of the modern and mostly clean methods of the 21st century.

In this period film Caterpillar took a look at the various methods of waste disposal and offered their take on the new method of cut, fill, and cover. Of course, Caterpillar equipment features prominently in the film with an interesting non hydraulic lift bucket setup. I found it interesting that most of the garbage shown in this film would be considered recyclable today.

What an age we live in.

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Where has Color Gone?

Remember the other day when I alluded that I went to an International dealer in Virginia and took some photos but then never posted any? Some of you were probably like “what? this world renowned International homer is acting like he isn’t going to post photos?” LOL, right.

This is what I saw, a new HX620 with pusher axle, Cummins engine and a 18 speed Fuller. 

At the International dealer back home this 5900i has been floating around the lot for awhile now. Pushing four years old this truck has yet to find a home. The dealer has this truck listed as new with 15 miles on it. Presumably under the hood one will find the larger Maxxforce engine which very well might be the reason this truck is still unsold. Like its replacement above, the 5900i has an 18 speed trans, air ride transmission and 19 foot Bibeau dump body. Asking price 119,000 U.S. dollars. Click here for more details. 

And just to break up the white wash of paint jobs here is a Durastar in black with Jerr-Dan rollback.

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Parking Lot of the Future

A building once stood here but now there is nothing but rubble. The Brennan Motor complex demolition is about 94.7% complete with just the hauling of broken bricks and concrete left on the agenda. Some of this material will probably be left behind to bring the lot up to grade and help provide the base for a new parking lot.

Dig. Fill. Repeat.

Why does it always the seem the sun is the wrong place for photos?

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Record Warmth

What better day to post about snow plows than the second warmest February 23rd ever recorded in CNY! Back when I shot this truck from the Town of Dewitt Highway Department two weeks ago such warm temperatures were nothing but a dream.

And just one week ago this past Monday they were still nothing more than a dream when I visited the Trius shop in Fort Edward.

Although when I took a photo of this Freightliner M2 on Tuesday the dream was becoming more of reality. If you zoom in on the photo you can almost make out what appears to be a wing on the passenger side of the truck.

Notes from the gallery below, new International Workstar for the NYSTA, City of Syracuse 4×4 WorkStar, NYSTA Western Star 4700, another angle of Fort Edward International.

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Kenworth in Flames

Kenworth in flames! How about that for a clickbait title. While passing through a seemingly endless run of distribution centers not to far from the B-Model I noticed (how could I not?) a trio of Kenworth W-900’s dressed up with custom paint jobs.

Hauling for Wolf Pak Transport these three are just a few of the many customized Kenworths of the fleet. Even a lowly day cab box truck gets in on the action around here.

No self respecting Kenworth fleet would be complete without a T-800.

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I went to Virginia

After a trip south to visit family I suppose it’s time to get back to the regularly scheduled program.

As you know, I never travel anywhere without expectations of finding something interesting for this website. Finding myself with some free time I figured I would check out some of the local truck dealers of the Richmond, Virginia area starting with an International (surprise!) dealer. I can’t say I was hoping for much but it has been my past experience that certain types of business tend to be clustered around each other. I figured if International was a strikeout there were be something else nearby. As you don’t see any Internationals in this post I’ll let you figure out how that part of the trip went. It wasn’t long until I came across Lawrence Truck and Trailer and pristine B-61 that I presume was for sale.

Taking a quick walk around the truck everything appeared to be in order. In the restored cab I found none other than two stick beast of a 20 speed Mack Quadruplex. It should go without saying that the axles and springs were heavy spec and all Mack.

It was strange to me, as a northern person, seeing road work taking place in the month of February. The orange barrels and cones usually don’t migrate back to our roads until late March at the earliest. Not to far from the B-61 a new bridge was under construction over the Interstate. A fleet of Mack Granites was busy hauling dirt from one portion of the job to the next. I didn’t plan on covering any of this action but while pulling into parking spot a nearby gas station I noticed this poor guy. No, you are not looking at a new style of side dump trailer. I’m not sure exactly why the hoist separated from the frame but it did. Maybe the load stuck? Structural failure? We will probably never know. The driver was taking it easy in the cab while someone else was near the bed working away at the load with a shovel. Talk about a long day.

I came across a few other noteworthy rigs during my stay. If you like W900’s check back tomorrow.

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Where Do Snow Plows Come From?

Have you ever stopped to think about how a bare chassis from a factory is transformed into the snow plows that keep the roads open during the winter? Honestly, I never spent much thought on it. In my ignorance I assumed parts were bolted on over a few days and the truck rolled back out the door. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Over the past couple of years Clarence has sent in some shots of truck upfitting done by the Trius branch in Fort Edward, NY. You might recall a large run of tandem axle Macks for the Pennsylvania Turnpike and an equally large number of trucks for the NYC DEC.

Eventually the good people at the Trius saw these photos and graciously opened their doors for Clarence and myself to take a look around. No more parking lot snooping for us!

Below you see one of the final trucks for another PA Turnpike order. This time around the trucks under construction are single axles with front blade only. Under the hood the trucks are spec’d with the Mack MP7 and the M-Drive automatic manual transmission. In this case trucks arrive as a bare chassis from Mack. The dump bodies arrive from a separate vendor completely devoid of any marking lights or other accessories. It’s up to the crew at Trius to place all required hardware including tarps and load vibrators as requested by Turnpike specifications. The large plow hitch upfront is a design unique to the agency itself and designed to fit any of their plows. Of all of the trucks on the lot none of them will leave Trius with a new blade.

When you think about how trucks are built on an assembly line it’s logical to think that upfitting would follow a similar process but in reality that’s dead wrong. The upfitting process revolves around figuring out how to marry products from a variety of different vendors to a chassis that has it’s own specifications all while meeting the custom needs of the buyer.  For instance, components that usually come mounted on the inside of frame rails need to be moved to the outside a specified by the bid. A heating system that is capable of heating both the cab and engine needs to be spliced into the electrical, cooling and fuel systems of the truck. These are just two bullet points on a six page long document that need to be completed before the trucks are ready to hit the road.

It would be a mistake to think these rigs are nothing more than a dump truck with a blade on the front. The amount of technology that is used to keep a modern interstate open is simply staggering. Mirror mounted sensors measure both the ambient and road temperatures for relay to the spreading system to determine the proper mix of liquid to apply. Hydraulic systems monitor the position of the blade and keep it contact with the ground just enough to provide that perfect pressure for plowing. With joystick controls, flat panel displays, and a multitude of presets and settings the modern plow truck interior would befuddle the average driver. Keep in mind, every mechanical and electrical system you see added to these trucks is done by the skilled hands of Trius employees.

After a thorough review the trucks are shipped to a Trius facility in Pennsylvania for a final review by Turnpike employees. Contracted drivers arrive in the middle of the night to perform a final prep and head off to the keystone state as one big shiney convoy of new snow fighting machines.

Building the modern plow truck requires the highest degree of trouble shooting skills of both the people and mechnical variety. The customer will tell you how they want it. The suppliers will tell how you it can be. The role of the upfitter is to take these often different opinions and make a function truck. The crew at Trius know how to make this happen.

A big thanks to Greg for sending out the invitation and an equally as large thanks to Justin for showing us around.

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Autocar Mondays – 1963 DC75

Today we travel down memory lane in style wit this 1963 DC75 Autocar truck as it appeared at the 2003 ATHS National Convention in Syracuse, NY.

Back in ’63 This Autocar would have been considered the stylish largecar of the day with its many unique features including integral sleeper, drive spot light, ample mirrors and heavy duty radiator guard. I’m not sure if 54 years ago this truck had all those features but I can tell you without a doubt that this truck turned heads with or without them. And what about that period correct Great Dane trailer? What a great looking combo of how OTR trucks used to look. If you stop by Hanks Truck Pictures by clicking here you can see a shot of this truck before it was restored. Can you spot the differences?

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Back Road Binders

Check out this International KB-8 tandem axle spotted by Hayes recently in Kenosha, WI. From what we can see in the photo, red spot lights near the doors and Unit 12 markings, I’m lead to believe this was a fire truck before receiving a stake body in later years. By the way, if you’re interested in seeing more of that Transtar check out these photos from Hayes from a few years ago.

Moving a few decades along the International Harvester time line we come to the venerable Loadstar model line. Still often seen around, especially in country settings, this truck was spotted by Dave while picking pumpkins this past fall. While not registered for road use this truck still is actively employed around the farm.

Nice finds guys! Thanks for sharing.

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At the Dealer – Wintertime Arrivals

The good folks at Stadium International were kind enough to park the two newest International models side by side for easy comparison. On the left, the successor to the Paystar line of trucks, the HX. On the right, the successor to the ProStar, the LT. As I drove by these trucks I said out loud “Hmm, the new Internationals are in early this year” and then I realized I had just quoted the Blues Brothers. I’m not sure why I said this as I really have no idea when new Class 8 trucks show up on dealer lots.

Now that the HX and LT are on the scene that leaves the WorkStar and DuraStar as the oldest models in the lineup. Word on the street is that a refreshed WorkStar will be unveiled later this year. Below, the current offering.

On the Daimler front here is a new Western Star 4700. Sorry, no wing on this one and no idea where it is going. 🙁

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