Manager: Bill Dickson
Fleet: William Dickson Industries, Derry, PA
Operation: Aggregate, sand and gravel hauler
William Dickson Industries puts its 42 dump trucks through their paces year-round moving bulk loads of aggregate, shot rock and sand around its service area in rugged, hilly western Pennsylvania.
When deep winter cold settles over the region, the fleet keeps those building materials moving, thanks to heated bodies. Not the drivers — the dump bodies.
“About two months a year,” says fleet owner Bill Dickson, “temperatures here will range between 45 and below freezing.”
And when the thermometer sinks to those levels, asphalt and aggregate will stick to the inside of the fleet's 19.5-ft. aluminum Benson dump bodies.
Talk about maintenance and delivery headaches — or in this case, body aches.
Dickson has gotten around this for some time by having the truck exhaust routed by OEMs and body builders so it can heat the body as needed.
But when his preferred engine supplier, Caterpillar, released its ACERT engines, Dickson learned their use of a catalytic converter exhaust made it difficult to continue doing such exhaust routing, at least in the manner it had been done up until then.
“I'd been a long-time Cat user and wanted to continue to be,” says Dickson. “Kenworth came up with a solution to heat our dump bodies while still using Cat engines.”
So, to keep Cat power, Dickson took in his first Kenworth trucks, a batch of W900B models specially engineered to heat the fleet's tri-axle dump bodies.
According to Kenworth chief engineer Jim Bechtold, the solution the OEM crafted involves having an “independent catalytic converter mounted under the chassis and either single or dual mufflers attached on the side of the cab.
“This enables body builders to mount their exhaust diverter box in a place that allows exhaust to pass through the catalytic converter before it is routed through the dump body,” he explains.
Bechtold notes the special exhaust system is available on T800 and W900 day cabs and is exclusive to Caterpillar C15, C13 and C11 diesel engines.
“If Kenworth had not come up with a solution to heat the dump body with the Cat engine, we would have been forced to change to a different power,” says Dickson.
Now that the KWs are in service, he also reports driver response has been very good. “They've commented about how smooth the ride is and on the quietness of the cab.
“The engineering attention to detail is very evident with this truck,” Dickson adds.
Dickson says he's also impressed in general with the engineering effort put into the fleet's new Kenworths.
“Little things make a big difference,” he remarks. “Mirrors are cowl-mounted and the weather stripping is on the door, not the body, for better sealing. The engineering attention to detail is very evident with this truck,” he adds.
Maintenance Bay presents case studies detailing how fleets resolve maintenance-related issues.