We’ve all come to expect MoDOT’s heavy equipment to sport the same shade of yellow, but that is changing. More and more beds on MoDOT’s tandem dump trucks will be a shiny metallic, not yellow.
“We bought 18 dump trucks with stainless steel beds this year and we’re looking at another 15 next year, starting in July (the beginning of the next fiscal year),” said Joey Hinton, Kansas City District General Services Manager.
The new stainless steel beds will steadily replace the plate steel beds that the Kansas City District’s 204-truck fleet has been
using for decades. While the stainless steel beds cost about $1,800 more than the steel beds, they will last far longer because
salt and other road chemicals don’t corrode stainless beds. Those same chemicals will quickly rust out a standard 10-gauge steel bed.
The first three stainless beds have been delivered to the Kansas City District, and represent a first for MoDOT statewide. While they cost more up front, the beds last longer and can be transferred from one truck to another as aging units cycle out and are replaced.
MoDOT’s truck mechanics and maintenance workers have made the old plain steel beds last 10 to 12 years, but only by cutting out rusted steel and welding in patches.
The rebuild costs run about $5,000 to $8,000 per truck, which far outstrip the additional cost of a stainless steel bed that will last far longer without a rebuild.
“We usually rebuild the (corroded) steel beds two times,” Hinton said. “We replace the side rails, the floors, then sandblast and send them out for painting.” That’s why some trucks look shiny and new, and some people seem to think MoDOT has an entire fleet of new trucks when only a few are new and the rest are aging units with fresh paint.
MoDOT mostly uses Navistar trucks with steel beds, and the trucks last up to 12 years or 150,000 to 200,000 miles. MoDOT rebuilds engines on these units, too, and that investment may come as early as 100,000 miles or sooner.
Now the department is expanding its fleet to include other manufacturers: Western Star (Daimler) and Mack trucks, which have different engines than the Navistar units. It will give MoDOT a better comparison of efficiency and durability to help the department determine value when replacing tandem trucks.