New Equip­ment Test: Ken­worth T610 SAR tip­per and dog

An­gry man Scotty Dou­glas gives mud­cart­ing a go in a new Ken­worth T610 SAR tip­per and dog

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents - Pho­tos by Ashraf Knack­ler

26

My fas­ci­na­tion with trucks and truck­ing started in a strangely aus­pi­cious way. It started with a shit-tsunami; it was clearly a sign of things to come.

The irony of that is not lost on me; in fact, ev­ery day on the road or in a ware­house some­where, some numb-nut at­tempts to repli­cate what hap­pened that fate­ful spring day.

POO TSUNAMI

I would’ve been about eight years old and I’d just been given a model match­box truck, a sil­ver sin­gle-drive Ford LNT com­plete with tip­ping trailer.

It was my prized pos­ses­sion, and I al­ter­nated be­tween mak­ing en­gine noise and fic­ti­tious CB ra­dio con­ver­sa­tions with­out drool­ing too much. I was clearly doomed to a life of trucks.

Then one day a brand spank­ing new LNT rum­bled up the drive­way of the fam­ily farm, a real life-sized one, haul­ing a stock crate. I was in awe, my pudgy lit­tle feet car­ry­ing me down the ve­ran­dah steps in a trance as the bon­neted be­he­moth sat out the front idling.

Sun glinted off the chrome ra­di­a­tor grille and the rain caps on the ends of the ex­haust stacks tin­kled in uni­son with the en­gines’ idle. I cir­cled this shiny beast in a daze, the driver clearly thought I was an id­iot and de­cided to ig­nore me. I stood be­side the truck tak­ing it all in.

It was then that the load of Merino ewes in­side the crate de­cided to walk over to my side of the truck for a sticky beak. A tidal wave of liq­ue­fied sheep shit and piss crashed over the side of the trailer with the move­ment, coat­ing me from head to foot in ovine ex­cre­ment.

The driver near pissed him­self laugh­ing; in fact he missed a step on the way out of the cab.

May as well start as you mean to con­tinue, eh?

MUD-CART­ING VIR­GIN

But apart from that old toy LNT tip­per and its ur­gent loads of Lego, I’ve never had a go at be­ing a mud-carter in real life. How­ever, I have been drool­ing over the new T610 Kenny since I first saw it but I haven’t had the chance to have a steer of one. The boss cer­tainly isn’t go­ing to buy me one; he thinks I’m a prick.

But I man­aged to con some­one to let me have a go of theirs. I got to tick a cou­ple of first-time boxes; my first as a mud carter and my first go of the new T610.

Ja­son (Big Jay) Davis was an­other kid doomed to a life of truck­ing, for the vast ma­jor­ity of his work­ing life he has been be­hind the wheel. From lit­tle rigids in the early days to line-haul B-dou­ble and tip­per and dog.

NEW BANGER

The big fella is quite a happy camper th­ese days, though. His bosses, Mark and Linda Anzel­lotti of Sil­verdale NSW-based Sub­bies Tip­per Hire, have just handed Ja­son the keys to a brand spank­ing new Ken­worth T610 PBS truck and dog.

The white 610 makes for a strik­ing-look­ing jig­ger, and with just un­der 10,000km on the clock it’s still be­ing run in. The tip­per body and quad dog are from Bor­cat, and un­der PBS the whole com­bi­na­tion can run at a gross weight of 57.5 tonnes. In pay­load terms this means 39.5 tonnes of yon­nies in the back.

This truck tends to do mainly quarry work, feed­ing sand and gravel into con­crete plants dot­ted around the Syd­ney area. Be­ing a PBS truck means it’s re­stricted to the PBS road net­work.

The good thing about this for the big fella is that it means there’s none of that dirty pokey demo work. It’s pretty much just quarry to plant.

The com­bi­na­tion of a squared-off bon­net SAR and the curvy new 610 cab tends to po­larise a few peo­ple. I, how­ever, ac­tu­ally quite like it.

In the early morn­ing gloom I climbed up the steps into the Kenny’s wheel­house, and I have to say I was pretty im­pressed with the cab. I had my doubts be­cause I ac­tu­ally like the old nar­row cab and I didn’t see the need to adopt a new yank de­sign for Oz. Vis­i­bil­ity out of the day cab was ex­cep­tion­ally good and the mir­ror de­sign and place­ment is a stand­out; no more look­ing around mir­rors at in­ter­sec­tions!

I was also con­cerned that the Amer­i­can-style dash would be a plas­tic fan­tas­tic, but I was in­stead greeted with a mod­ern leather clad lay­out that still had a qual­ity feel. Best of all, the guys down at Bayswa­ter have fi­nally stan­dard­ised the switch lay­out; no more guess­ing what switch does what and where!

FREE­WAY RUN

With the seat ad­justed and the big fella safely strapped into the pas­sen­ger seat I rum­bled out to pick up the first load of the day. I wish I could say the same about the free­way, though; it was packed. This thing has a pretty short wheel­base so it can fit in­side 19m length re­stric­tions. I thought that this may make it a bit twitchy but it ac­tu­ally steered quite well. The dog­gie out back did what it was told and fol­lowed faith­fully.

The old Cum­mins ISXe5 badge has gone, re­placed with the much cooler-look­ing X15 badges. I’m told that this is the only real dif­fer­ence, but ini­tial ob­ser­va­tions are that this en­gine seems to lug down even bet­ter than en­gines wear­ing the old badge. Maybe they’ve just up­dated the fuel sys­tem soft­ware since the last time I drove one.

I pointed the jig­ger to­wards Man­grove Moun­tain to get a load of 20mm gravel out of Kul­nurra. Any­thing with a set-for­ward steer axle like the SAR is gen­er­ally pretty good to steer on shitty road sur­faces. We were go­ing to find out on the way back with a bit of pud­ding in those bins.

Af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing the quarry and the weigh­bridge, and en­dur­ing the oblig­a­tory ho­mo­erotic ban­ter, I pointed the SAR back up the hill and out of the quarry. It’s a de­cent drag, and apart from an overly op­ti­mistic gear change on my part the 610 lugged up quite well.

RIDE TIME

The com­bi­na­tion of a short truck, rel­a­tively big weight and a dog trailer was a pretty good test of the 610 plat­form. The eight-bag rear end kept the thing feel­ing sta­ble and, as be­fore, the dog did what it was told. To pass the time, Big Jay made a con­sis­tent point of trad­ing in­sults with his co­work­ers on the UHF – to good ef­fect.

The 18-speed stick shift is all you ex­pect it to be – easy and pos­i­tive – and the clutch well weighted yet light. Given how green this en­gine is, I was still sur­prised how well it hung on un­der load. We’d left Kul­nurra gross­ing 57.3 tonnes; our destination was Western Sub­urbs Con­crete back in Pen­rith.

What did take a bit of get­ting used to was the laggy throt­tle re­sponse of the X15. I’d blip the throt­tle on a down change and the bloody en­gine would barely reg­is­ter the rpm. So yes, I muffed a cou­ple of gear changes.

Jay just glared at me with silent re­proach at th­ese mo­ments. If there was a thought bub­ble above his head it would’ve read, “You screw with my truck, Buddy, they’ll never find your body.”

OLD MACK

Ja­son only re­cently took de­liv­ery of this truck af­ter hop­ping out of a well-used Mack Vi­sion. “That Mack was a great old truck, it was no pow­er­house but it re­ally had a go,” he reck­ons. That said, he’s over the moon with the 610.

“It’s a for­giv­ing truck, it’s got more grunt than the Mack and it’s just an all-round eas­ier drive.” He’s even logged a bit of wheel time in the com­pany’s In­ter­na­tional Ea­gle: “That old banger sounds great; it pulls like a train but you know you’ve done a shift at the end of the day,.

As far as the SAR goes, he reck­ons it’s a good thing from a driver’s point of view. “You hop out of it at the end of the shift feel­ing a lot bet­ter.”

The next load was fine sand out of Ma­roota back to Emu Plains. Again, the Ken­worth was in its el­e­ment wind­ing along the nar­row as­phalt as we thun­dered through the bush. The X15 still man­aged to im­press; it’s cur­rently rated at 580hp but the way it lugs down makes it very drive­able.

You may get the im­pres­sion that I’m some sort of KW fan­boy. I’ll ad­mit to hav­ing a bent for North Amer­i­can iron, which, of course, means I ap­pre­ci­ate a K-dub amongst others. But I’ll be the first to ad­mit that I’d got­ten the shits with Ken­worth over a num­ber of less-than-im­pres­sive de­signs over the years.

The T610 SAR, how­ever, isn’t one of them. They reckon Ken­worth Oz spent 20 mil­lion big ones de­vel­op­ing this truck.

There are plenty who’ll bang on about this Amer­i­can cab not be­ing a ‘real’ Ken­worth, most likely from the van­tage point of their old cab-over Kingswood. Sure, the ini­tial run of cabs ar­rived flat-packed from Seppo land but that’s only un­til the tool­ing is set up at Bayswa­ter.

The T610 may be a new-gen­er­a­tion Ken­worth but, re­ally, it’s a Ken­worth for a new gen­er­a­tion.

Bug­ger me; I just got all po­etic ‘n’ stuff. If I keep this up some­one may even give me a job!

1. Tip­ping off at Western Sub­urbs Con­crete in the early morn­ing light.

The T610 SAR makes for a mod­ern take on a tra­di­tional look

2. End of the road at Emu Plains, Big Jay reck­ons this thing has a pretty handy turn­ing cir­cle for this kind of work

3. I fig­ured the bloke should be able to at least drive his truck for some of the day

4. See? There are de­cent tip­per driv­ers out there! Jase sweeps all the loose sand off the draw­bar be­fore we leave the site 5. This dash is a big leap for Ken­worth, but the lay­out is very easy to use. It also doesn’t have a cheap plas­tic Yank feel. Still not sold on the bright yel­low grab han­dles though!

6. This joint would have to be one of the busiest con­crete plants I’ve seen; truck af­ter truck streams through the gates

7. This PBS setup still sits in­side the 19m-length en­ve­lope but can take a 39.5-tonne pay­load

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