In general, heavy-duty dump trucks with stout bodies are favored by DOTs and many larger municipalities because of their ability to remove heaps of snow in one pass, while also applying grit and liquid to important roadways. These trucks are classified as being Class 7 and Class 8 sizes, with gross vehicle weights ranging from 26,000 lbs. to more than 33,000 lbs. Many smaller towns and contractors, though, operate medium-duty trucks fitted with dump bodies just as tough to tackle ice and snow on the roads.
Rock-solid truck bodies are the cornerstone of any dump-truck application. Their designed toughness allows them to work heroically in all weather — in all conditions — and in all operations. And, make no mistake, snow removal is a severe service that demands durability.
Typically, a dump truck is equipped with an open-box body, ranging from nine- to more than 20-ft. long, hinged at the rear and equipped with hydraulic rams to lift the front, allowing the material in the bed to be deposited where it is needed — unless, of course, a spreader is attached within the truck body for use in a snowstorm.
To make certain you find the right truck body for your operation, it’s critical that you seek the advice of a trusted dealer or manufacturer, as well as research your options via the Internet.
One of the best things about choosing the right truck body for your WSV is that most manufacturers allow you to customize the body to your needs. For example, if you want something other than a standard understructure, which has a crossmember (the right-angle portion of the main truck frame), you can pick a “western-style” understructure, which lacks crossmembers. This style has gained popularity in the snowiest regions because without crossmembers, truck-body undersides more easily shed snow, chemicals and road debris, which helps prevent corrosion.
Without a doubt, the destructive effects of salt and sand on a WSV’s truck body is on the mind of experienced buyers looking for a new dump body for their winter operations. You must consider buying a truck body that battles corrosion, while also keeping a close eye on costs. Often, it comes down to the elements from which truck bodies are made.
Carbon Steel — Truck body designs using carbon steel have been the standard for decades. Long-established contractors and cost-conscious towns running WSVs have tended to stick with carbon steel — chiefly because of cost, which can often be significantly less than stainless steel units. But, coated with corrosive-fighting paint and cleaned regularly to clear them of harmful materials, such as sticky, wet salt and brine, mild-steel dump trucks can last for years.
Aluminum — Technological advances in the strength and durability of aluminum has opened the market for its use on many truck bodies. Much more lightweight than steel — leading to lower operating costs — aluminum is more corrosion- and rust-resistant than in the past. Opinions on the corrosion resistance of aluminum vs. stainless steel are varied, so when researching your next truck body, check each design carefully.
Stainless Steel — In recent years, an increasing number of larger municipalities and DOTs have chosen truck bodies made of super-durable stainless steel because the material saves money over the long-term due to its ultra-resistance to salt-induced corrosion. Put onto the larger-class dump trucks, stainless steel bodies can be less expensive over the long run than aluminum as their application doesn’t require light weight components.
Crysteel — Based in Lake Crystal, Minn., Crysteel is renowned for its line of light-, medium- and heavy-duty dump truck bodies. A classic example of a Crysteel model line is the Paradox Series standard square dump body, made of lightweight, high-strength steel, the result of which is a chassis considerably lighter than those using traditional steel bodies.
The benefit, of course, is more payload dollars per truck load. Paradox dump bodies range from 14 to 21.5 ft. in length and sport capacities from 13 to 26 yds. All are built with a crossmember-less tubular understructure, a straight front, a sloped, air release tailgate and single panel sides.
Godwin — A line of four basic truck body models are made by Godwin Manufacturing that can be used on Class 2-8 truck chassis. But with each as a template, a variety of options are available to customize them to suit your needs. From its home in Dunn, N.C., Godwin’s largest truck body is the 600U/T series, available in lengths from 14- to 20-ft. in 6-in. increments; side heights measure incrementally from 42- to 60-in.
The one-piece body floors are made of super-tough 3/16-in. AR450 steel, an abrasion resistant wear plate ideal for bodies hauling corrosive and high impact materials. This western-style heavy-duty truck body is a great WSV due to its crossmember-less design for keeping snow, salt, sand and liquid gunk from clogging the undercarriage.
Henderson Products — Among the top makers of durable winter equipment, Henderson offers a variety of model lines, including its Munibody 35-degree heavy-duty combination body. This workhorse was specifically designed as a live, conveyor bottom multi-purpose body for optimal handling of sticky or wet material, such as salt and brine.
Its other attributes are that it maintains a low center of gravity, offers ample hauling capacity, is self-cleaning, and handles a wide variety of material for Class 7-8 truck chassis. The Munibody 35-degree design also provides added space for increased liquid capacity.
J&J Truck Bodies & Trailers — Headquartered in Somerset, Pa., J&J gives its customers the option of buying medium- and heavy-duty truck bodies built with either carbon steel, aluminum or stainless steel. Its DynaHauler Heavy Construction HCX model line includes a high-performance aluminum dump body designed for the weightiest hauling applications.
The reinforced side brace adds the extra strength required to withstand heavy loads and the aluminum material maximizes payload. HCX owners have found their dump bodies to be outstanding investments because the units deliver years of hard work and reliable service.
Towmaster — Towmaster bills itself as a truck body maker that “combines what worked well in the past with today’s technology” and has proven that statement with the popularity of its EDGE truck bodies. Another rugged Minnesota winter equipment manufacturer, Towmaster is adept at matching high-tech, high-quality brand name components to build a truck to your specifications.
Customers have the choice of stainless steel or carbon steel materials for either square or elliptical (radius) bodies to fit onto single-axle or tandem-axle trucks. Towmaster’s elliptical truck bodies, for instance, are well-designed for snow removal in that they offer radius sides so material or odd-shaped items “self-center” in the box — with no square corners to stick to — allowing material to flow out easier. The body design incorporates strength without the need for additional supports and weighs less than a traditional square body.