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Michigan Aggregate Hauler Takes on Kenworth T800s

Thu July 31, 2008 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

A young, wide-eyed Lew Hayes often sat on the front passenger seat of his father’s dump truck as he delivered aggregate, sand and gravel to work sites throughout the Detroit area.

“My father drove a 1938 Ford Model AA dump truck when he started this business,” Hayes said. “He had to crank it by hand to get the bed to dump.”

Today, Lew’s late father might be amazed at the durability, payload capacity and driver comfort provided by the 13 Kenworth T800s operated by Hayes Trucking.

Based in Novi, Mich., Hayes Trucking serves the Detroit metropolitan area. Hayes Trucking’s viper red Kenworth T800s carry aggregate and dirt to and from commercial building and residential construction sites and major highway projects. Since Michigan is not a federal bridge formula state, the company hauls loads that gross up to 154,000 lbs. (69,800 kg) on a truck and pup trailer combination.

“We started buying Kenworth T800s five years ago and found that they’ve been the best trucks for our company,” Hayes said. “Kenworth has done a very good job of spec’ing and building these trucks to handle the rigors of our operation. We’re particularly pleased with their reliability.”

The aggregate hauler worked with its local Kenworth dealer to develop specifications for the T800s, which include a 475-hp (354 kW) engine and 13-speed manual transmission. “The higher horsepower and torque enable our trucks to get up to speed even with the heavy weight they haul,” Hayes added. “With the electronics in the engines, we can control each truck’s top speeds and rpms to help maintain good fuel economy.”

The company’s Kenworth T800s feature a set-back front axle to provide optimum wheel cut for greater maneuverability and a shorter 167-in. (424 cm) wheelbase. “The T800s are much easier to maneuver, so drivers don’t have to spend valuable time trying to get them in and out of job sites,” said Ron Lorenzen, shop supervisor for Hayes Trucking. “The shorter wheelbase means that our T800s are much less likely to bottom out, which reduces the chances of damaging the driveline.”

The company also specs the Kenworth AG460 proprietary air suspension for a smooth ride and reduced maintenance. Hayes Trucking operates its own vehicle maintenance and repair facility and Lorenzen noted that anything Kenworth does to make the Kenworth T800 easy to maintain makes a difference in the company’s bottom line.

“Everything under the Kenworth T800’s hood is easy to access, which saves our mechanics about 30 minutes per truck on routine maintenance,” Lorenzen said. “That means our shop can get these trucks back out on the road and earning revenue more quickly.”

According to Hayes, dealer service also is a major reason why Hayes Trucking turned to Kenworth T800s. “The willingness of the folks at Eastern Michigan Kenworth to keep repair parts in stock is crucial to our operation,” Hayes said. “We just can’t afford to have a truck down for two weeks while we wait for parts to arrive.”

Hayes said that driver comfort also is important for running T800s as the company’s drivers especially appreciate the Kenworth T800’s quiet cab, more leg room, and the state-of-the-art dash. “Our drivers occasionally work overtime to get projects completed or to fulfill orders,” Hayes said. “When we’re very busy like that, it can take a toll on drivers. It’s good for driver morale when they can get out of their truck after a 10-hour shift, and not feel beaten up at the end of the day.”

The combination of T800 reliability, serviceability, dealer support and driver comfort are the key reasons why Hayes said he plans to buy additional Kenworth T800s as his company’s older dump trucks come due for replacement.

Hayes and his wife, Dana, also own several other companies, including Hayes Washed Sand and Gravel which operates five local gravel pits.

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