Maiden Trip to Sydney

Maiden Trip to Sydney from Julian Baker

Remember our Ozzie reporter Julian Baker, based in Seymour, Victoria (down near Melbourne). Julian has now got his new UD mini artic on the road. It has taken a few weeks of converting a rigid chassis into a tractor unit and adding all the bits and bobs before finally getting the new motor on the road.

Maiden Trip to Sydney from Julian Baker

The first trip for the little beaut was a steady trip loaded up with a full load of 6 vehicles.

Load Point: Melbourne, Victoria, Oz.
Delivery Point: Sydney, New South Wales, Oz.
Distance: 870ish Kilometres

What more is there to do, but hit the road Jack! So off Julian went. Heading towards the home of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge Sydney is quite an impressive 1st destination in my book. In a new truck you want to get the first trip under your belt, so after 500km where better to stop than the The Dog on The Tuckerbox near Gundagai. Being a famous place for travellers to stop as its a statue tribute to all Pioneers, Julian could resist stopping on his way past. I dare say the food is pretty good too!

Maiden Trip to Sydney from Julian Baker

Maiden Trip to Sydney from Julian Baker

By all accounts it sounds the little UD has been well specced as it coped with the trip to Sydney with no problems. I asked Julian what he did after tipping in Sydney;

“I actually spent a week working locally in Sydney Ben. The ships carrying the cars no longer come in into Sydney Harbour, that stopped about 10 years ago. Instead they Dock at Port Kembla at Wollongong. Ceva Logistics (who Julian pulls for) has its own yard integrated into the Port Kembla wharf complex and we do direct deliveries from there of Mazda’s and Subaru’s, as well as general wharf cartage from the wharf itself to distributors of other product i.e. BMW’s. So I spent a week in Chateau UD and did local deliveries into Sydney from Wollongong.There is a nasty climb out of Wollongong, Mt Ousley (click HERE for a rough Map “B” is the climb, it’s worth looking on Street View to see just how steep it is!). It certainly tests any truck, let alone my little banger with 6 cars on. One load was BMW’s: an X5, X6, two X3s and two X1s. I would have been right up on my max GCM, back into second gear, but the heavier drive line in the little UD handled it no worries :-)) Headed back to Seymour on the Friday after a profitable and enjoyable week mate!!:-))”

Lets just hope the Little Banger as Julian calls it, has started as it means to carry on. Hard working, reliable and earning money!! Also can you beat this photo?? The new tractor unit parked and posing underneath Sydney Harbour bridge. As you can see the trailer has been dropped off, i’m guessing it’s not the kind of place you want to be taking a trailer of any size, come to think of it you might not be allowed to take your trailer in.

Maiden Trip to Sydney from Julian Baker

Do you want to share a maiden voyage in your new truck?? Email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk –  See if  you can get your new beast in an impressive location and send me a photo.

Alcoa 17.5 Inch Rims

How on earth I have missed this I have no idea! It’s only thanks to my G’day Mate Julian from Australia sending me the Alcoa April 2011 Newsletter I found out. When I went to the IAA Show in Hanover at the end of 2010, I found (and fell in love with!!) a little white MAN TGL which had fitted a set of 17.5 Alcoa wheels. I hunted and hunted about and asked in my best German and could not get any answers. Please read the following short snippet from Alcoa’s April Newsletter;

IAA HANOVER 27.09.2010 122

From April 2011 onwards, the MAN TGL series can be ordered with Alcoa forged aluminium wheels. The 17.5” x 6.75” hub piloted 6 studs on 245 mm bolt circle wheel is available at MAN in two finishes: Brushed and Dura-Bright®. MAN is the first truck OEM offering this new Alcoa wheel for trucks of 6-12 tons GVW. The wheel can also be fitted on the MB Atego, but is not yet available at Mercedes-Benz. Retrofitting can be arranged via the Alcoa distributors. For mounting the wheel on 6-12 tons trucks from other brands, please seek the advice of the Alcoa Sales Managers or contact us on info.wheels@alcoa.com.

IAA HANOVER 27.09.2010 014

New Ozzie Mini Artic is Nearly Ready

Remember a little while back I introduced you too a new mate of mine from Australia, Julian Baker. He runs a mini artic around Australia delivering cars under the wing of Ceva Logistics. He currently has a new UD tractor unit in the making. Once again I will leave you in his capable hands, so sit back open a stubbie, chuck another shrimp on the barbie and enjoy reading what Julian has to say;

New Ozzie Mini Artic

New Ozzie Mini Artic

The new one is a UD too but is quite interesting. In conjunction with the manufacture we have transplanted a 15 inch diff and housing to replace the 13 inch original. The hubs and drums are interchangeable. The project has been delayed and delayed due to sourcing appropriate ratios ex Japan, as the 15 inch was normally on 22.5 inch wheels in Australia, not 17.5. This truck has 4.111 ratio with 0.78 overdrive 6 speed. Also the local senior UD management and Japanese engineering staff had been stalling approval for a few years. I have a friend who heads up UD engineering for Australia/New Zealand. We share a passion for the small, high horsepower tow vehicle but he has struggled to get traction on this project until recently. This type of vehicle sits conveniently in a GVM range that doesn’t require a speed limiter and doesn’t require a log book/work diary (driving hours) when without a trailer. Combined with the low clearance, high manouverability, low loading height and relatively high payload with high GCM we reckon the variant can be a real money making proposition. This little fella is the first UD to be painted Ceva Burgundy on the line too.

New Ozzie Mini Artic

The stronger diff will complement the already upgraded gearbox, tail shaft, universals, clutch and engine in the new model. The end result is the higher GCM with a higher torque engine. The new truck will also have far greater redundancy in the driveline. The old MK265 has done a wonderful job, but as it is approaching 1 million kms, all major components have been replaced at least once. I generally sit around 20 tonne but have gone to Melbourne-Perth, Brisbane-Melbourne and numerous Melbourne-Adelaide/Sydneys a tonne or two over. Like the rest of the world we have a love of the SUV and unnecessarily large cars in Australia. Although still far more modest than the Yanks.

New Ozzie Mini Artic

It is a little bit of a shame the modified truck isn’t the new, new model with a completely new cab and engine. As Volvo have owned UD for a few years the development of a new medium range took place. The new engine is 280 hp (vs 260) and 883nm (vs 794), still on 235/75 17.5 rubber. GVM is up to 11 tonne and GCM with the big diff will be 23 tonne. I know these numbers aren’t enormous compared to a TGL, LF45 or the 12 tonne Atego sold in Germany with the big rear axle, but Jap trucks are the norm down here. They have sufficient cooling capacity and Jap trucks always deliver what they promise. It’s sort of like ‘under promise, over deliver’.

New Ozzie Mini Artic

Anyway, I’m still thrilled my big axle idea has been implemented. The little buggar is going to cost me a fortune as I’ve got a bit carried away with the accessories, but it’s coming along nicely. Things left to do are the bull bar and driving lights (very similar to the old truck), Ceva livery (I’m thinking of putting a big UD logo on the back window too, and maybe my football teams logo:-)), rectangular alloy fuel tanks with matching separate third hydraulic tank, the Alcoas off the old truck with a polish, chrome axle end trims on the drive, nut covers, water tank, tool box, proper drive tyres and leather upholstery. The tanks are 560mm wide x 510mm high, they should really finish the little banger off. They will send me broke alone!! I am a huge fan of the mini prime-mover, this will be my third. Chassis height and tare weight with my trailer are unique. My total tare weight is comparable to the Ceva 6 car trailers my mates tow alone. Therefore my fuel consumption is 0.4-0.7 kms per litre better. It doesn’t sound much, but can be over $100/day if running highway kms. The other blokes are pulling their 6-9 tonne prime-movers for no extra income. Purchase price, and maintenance are slightly less, but these little trucks are a five year proposition towing trailers, not 8 like they old one is.

Mighty, mighty expensive, but look good

Of course comfort and cabin room are not comparable in any way to European trucks. I have flirted with buying a MAN for 10 years but LEs then TGLs are like rocking horse droppings here. DAF LF45s don’t cool and Ivecos are terribly unreliable in Aussie conditions. Benz don’t bring Ategos to Australia running on 17.5 inch rims, and the chassis height of the 19.5 inch trucks is pretty high. Avia have been introduced recently but a 4.5 litre engine is reason enough not to consider them. Probably the main reason I haven’t taken the MAN plunge though is the odd stud pattern on the wheels. My current setup runs the same Alcoa 17.5 x 6.75 rims throughout. Even the 8 stud used by DAF and AVIA could be replicated here, but the MAN pattern would be custom custom.

Mighty, mighty expensive, but look good

I have recently come back to Melbourne from almost two years fly-in/fly-out in Tasmania. The little truck didn’t come home once. It was my home during the week. In Australia we have an ADR (Australian Design Rule) which grants the bunk in a truck to be a ‘registered sleeping compartment’. The little bunk in the MK has had this accreditation since this cabin was introduced in the mid 90s and until recently was the only narrow Jap cab to be approved. The Isuzu narrow extended cab now complies. You do not have this cab in the UK I believe. Isuzu UK either sell the narrow cab with no bunk, or the wide cab with a bunk. Anyway, I have wrap around curtains and my passenger seat folds flat so I sleep well. An extra foot of bunk and a foot more head room would be very well received though. And more storage space!!! New truck will be two seater with proper consol vs three seater with shallow consol in the back of the middle seat.

Ozzie Mini Artic Specialist – Julian Baker

My new Ozzie pal Julian left all this info in a comment on the blog, but I feel that it’s just to good and to much not to give it’s own post on the blog. I think Julian may be a regular from all the way over there in BBQ land. These are Julians own words and photo’s of his mini UD Artic. By the way don’t be fooled into thinking that big old Roadtrains are the only ones to transit the great dusty expanses of Australia;

Ozzie Mini Artic

Mini Artics, or semi-trailers as we say in Australia, as a general rule are limited by the GCM (GTW, GCW) of the prime-mover (tractor). Of course there are exceptions to every rule and there may be factors that prevent the GCM being achieved. Examples of limiting factors could be an inadequate hitch/tow bar/turntable capacity, insufficient trailer axle load capacity, insufficient trailer braking capacity or just that the trailer has an insufficient ATM (aggregate trailer mass).

I guess the first thing to consider when setting up a mini semi-trailer is whether the GVM of the prime-mover will be exceeded when the combination is loaded. That is, will the combined axle loads at the ground exceed the GVM of the prime mover. The second consideration is do the trailer axles have enough load carrying/braking capacity to cater for the remainder of the combinations weight. These principals are of course the same for any type of combination, from a motor bike towing a trailer to a road train, but the mini prime-mover generally runs much closer to max. GCM than some other combinations. For example most single steer tandem drive prime-movers have GCM ratings of 70 + tonnes in Australia, but if only operating with a single trailer can only have a combined allowable weight of around 45 tonnes. The limiting factor is the local road rules. Where as with a single trailer it is very easy to load a mini semitrailer to its GCM with a fairly light trailer.

Ozzie Mini Artic

I will set out a scenario based on my vehicle:

GVM: 10400 KGS
GCM: 20000 KGS

steer axle capacity: 3700 kgs
drive axle capacity: 7500 kgs
(but steer + drive can’t exceed 10400kgs)

ATM: 20000kgs

Prime-mover tare weight: 4000kgs
Trailer tare weight: 6200kgs

So, vertical load trailer exerted on the turntable can’t be greater than 6400kgs (10400 – 4000) so the prime-mover is not overloaded. My turntable, trailer axles and trailer ATM cannot be exceeded by loading the combination to its GCM, therefore my payload is 9800kgs (20000 – 4000 – 6200). The replacement of my prime-mover is imminent and the new vehicle will have a GCM of 22000kgs. The same trailer will be used, the new truck carries more fuel and has some additional equipment so tare weight will increase to approx. 4500kgs though its GVM remains at 10400kgs. Once again the turntable, trailer axles and ATM don’t hinder the load capacity in any way. So, this time the vertical load on the turntable can’t exceed 5900kgs (10400 – 4500) and overall payload is 11300kgs (22000 – 4500 – 6200).

As you can see from the two scenarios above, care must be taken when positioning the load on the trailer as to not throw too much weight forward onto the prime-mover.

Ozzie Mini Artic

So now you know!! Hopefully Julian will keep us updated with stories, info and any thing else the Australian trucking industry can chuck at us. We all love Roadtrains, but once again anything the biggun’s can do, the little Tonka toys will be following right behind. So not only are mini artics regularly crossing Europe in all directions, but also Australia. Brilliant. I have photos of Julians new truck, they will be coming soon. Also a another good write up on the troubles of speccing a mini tractor unit in Oz.