Used Equip­ment Test: Doosan DA40 dump truck

Never one to shy away from climb­ing be­hind the wheel of any type of truck, Matt Wood heads off the roads he knows so well to take a look at the Doosan DA40 ar­tic­u­lated dump truck

Earthmovers & Excavators - - News -

The op­por­tu­nity arose re­cently for me to trade my log­book and bad high­way at­ti­tude for some dirt road desert haul­ing and have a closer look at life be­hind the wheel on the other side of the chain link fence.

So I headed to Kal­go­or­lie and spent some time in a gold mine with a six-wheel drive Doosan DA40 dump truck. As you can see from the pics, it’s not a brand-spanker – this ex­am­ple is a part of ADT’s WA hire fleet. ADT is the West Aus­tralian agent for Doosan ar­tics, so as a re­sult they sell, hire and ser­vice these off-road bangers.

The DA40 has been up­dated a lit­tle since this truck hit the hire fleet. Driv­e­line ra­tios have been re­vised, re­sult­ing in taller gear­ing for sav­ing fuel.

The truck you see here is do­ing 1821rpm at 50km/h. The up­dated truck drops that down to 1572rpm. Also, the new DA40s also get a gra­di­ent me­ter on the dig­i­tal dis­play to help driv­ers keep an eye on sta­bil­ity when tip­ping.

I quickly learnt that out here there are no log books, no speed cam­eras and no driver-fac­ing cam­eras. There are, how­ever, rules, plenty of rules and in­duc­tions – and a breathal­yser.

As I went through the in­duc­tion, I re­alised I looked a bit silly wear­ing my crisp new hi-vis and shiny white hard hat. My boots lacked the red dirt stain of a lo­cal and my face lacked the thou­sand­yard squint of some­one who spends hours driv­ing un­der the hard desert sun.

I was ad­vised that many in the earth­mov­ing in­dus­try call this type of truck a Moxy, which is a throw­back to a brand bought by Doosan in the noughties. The trucks might be Ko­mat­sus, Cater­pil­lars or other brand of ar­tic­u­lated dump trucks, but ‘Mox­ies’ they re­main.


Un­der the bon­net of the DA40 is a 500hp, 13-litre Sca­nia which puts out a pretty hefty 2370Nm of torque. All that grunt is fed into an 8-speed (eight for­ward and four re­verse) ZF torque con­verter au­to­matic which then pow­ers all six wheels.

The front diff is a ZF plan­e­tary drive while the rear uses one cen­trally mounted diff that pow­ers both rear axles.

The rear end of the DA40 is a sim­i­lar setup to a grader, with one diff driv­ing all the wheels through a set of out­board gear wheels. It’s like hub re­duc­tion writ large.

Pay­load is 40 tonnes while the ma­chine it­self weighs in at about 30 tonnes. In gross weight

terms, this truck grosses about the same as a road-go­ing PBS B-dou­ble, but only on six wheels.

To help with steer­ing in the muck, the big unit has a rear-drive torque bias so it won’t pull it­self off the road in slip­pery con­di­tions.

A ba­sic dig­i­tal screen read-out dis­plays all the vi­tal in­for­ma­tion that a driver needs once the key is flicked. The DA40 uses hy­draulic rather than pneu­matic brakes and the park brake is an elec­tric switch on the con­sole. In fact, sur­pris­ingly, the Doosan doesn’t have any air sys­tems at all.


On the day of our test, the truck was em­ployed on a job build­ing a wall for the gold mine’s tail­ings dam.

The boss was on the dig­ger load­ing up the dump trucks as they filed along the dam wall. The loaded trucks then pro­gressed along the top of the dam wall to where a D8 dozer was wait­ing to flat­ten the fill into the top of the wall. It was a round trip of only 3km or so.

I did a cou­ple of fa­mil­iari­sa­tion laps with a Kiwi fella by the name of Don, who’s been liv­ing and work­ing in Kal for the last 10 years.

“It’s all about work­ing hard and sav­ing a dol­lar,” he says. “Hope­fully in a few years I’ll have enough to­gether to build a place back home and live the quiet life.”

The ini­tial strik­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of the DA40 on the haul road was com­fort. While Don was seated on a sus­pen­sion seat, my butt was planted on a flip-down jump seat with lit­tle pad­ding.

The Doosan was pretty darned com­fort­able.

The front sus­pen­sion uses ni­tro­gen-charged shock ab­sorbers which do a great job of soak­ing up the bumps.

As I said, there’s no par­tic­u­lar speed limit on this site, it’s pretty much down to com­mon sense and com­fort. You don’t want to spill your cof­fee af­ter all.

We rolled to a stop on the dam wall and wait as the dig­ger dropped ex­cess fill from the wall into the bucket.

Once loaded, we pro­ceeded at a mod­est pace down the road to dump. I’ve got to say that this thing was pretty darned quiet as well.


Then it was my turn to go for a spin, and I climbed up into the cab look­ing every bit like the sev­enth mem­ber of the Vil­lage Peo­ple. Thun­der rum­bled omi­nously in the dis­tance, echo­ing over the top of the scraggy eu­ca­lypts.

Then the heav­ens opened up, which in this part of the world means the day’s work can be cut short at any time. The red West Aus­tralian dirt quickly be­came greasy red clay mud. I’d al­ready grown a cou­ple of inches while walk­ing to­wards the truck.

Driv­ing heavy ma­chin­ery in these con­di­tions can quickly get treach­er­ous but I found that, as an of­froad ma­chine, the DA40 does a pretty good job of keep­ing all its feet on the ground.

Un­like other ar­tic ma­chines, the Doosan’s os­cil­la­tion point is in front of the ar­tic­u­la­tion point. This dis­trib­utes load across the front wheels a lot more evenly when turn­ing in the muck. With­out want­ing to re­sort to wanky sports car lan­guage, it re­sults in flat­ter cor­ner­ing.

With about 32 tonnes of dirt in the tip­per body, the truck feels sta­ble enough. The chas­sis has a 7-de­gree slope up from the ar­tic­u­la­tion point, which gives the big orange beast a pretty low cen­tre of grav­ity when loaded.

The rear-axle group piv­ots up and down on a cen­tral axis, which also makes for some pretty gnarly off-road abil­ity. The rear-axle group alone has a 15-de­gree ap­proach an­gle and a 25-de­gree de­par­ture an­gle. And the front sus­pen­sion has 16 de­grees of wheel travel.

This was the first time I’d driven a ve­hi­cle with an off-high­way-spec Sca­nia en­gine. And I loved it.

Apart from hav­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing pretty tough and fuel ef­fi­cient in in­dus­trial ap­pli­ca­tions, the 13-litre donk has plenty of grunt on tap – it performs like a loud, hairy-chested cousin of its more sub­dued on-high­way sta­ble­mates.

There’s even a bit of cheeky turbo whis­tle.

As I rolled through the site, the rain kept on com­ing and re­ally started to make things greasy un­der the wheels. There was a bit of side­ways ac­tion in places as all six wheels at­tempted to re­gain their pur­chase.

Tip­ping off was a piece of cake. Just pull back a lever to raise the body, and roll for­ward when empty; no tail­gate switch and no air bags to dump. I could get used to this!

Af­ter a bit it was clear that the weather was go­ing to bring the day to an early halt. Every ve­hi­cle on site soon ground to a halt be­fore some­one slid off the wall or the haul road.

But that was ok … I’d had my fun.


There’s a lot to like about the Doosan DA40 ar­tic­u­lated dump truck, and most of that can be ap­pre­ci­ated from the driver’s seat.

It’s a com­fort­able and al­most cos­set­ing beast. In fact, it rides bet­ter than quite a few road-go­ing trucks I’ve driven. It’s also quite sure-footed off the haul road and in the muck.

Haul­ing dirt and ore ap­peals to the big kid in me. Big ma­chines, roar­ing en­gines, mud and dust. But it’s just a lit­tle too far from an espresso ma­chine.

I mean where am I go­ing to get a pic­colo latte out here? And can you even get sin­gle ori­gin beans this far from civil­i­sa­tion? Maybe I’ll have to stick to the black­top.

1. Haul­ing dirt in the desert made for a change of scene for re­viewer Matt Wood 2. As you may have guessed, the 40 in DA-40 refers to the truck’s 40-tonne pay­load 3. The Doosan DA40 ar­tic­u­lated dump truck is pretty awe­some off road 2



The cab is sim­ple but ef­fec­tive

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