Here’s two of the toughest 8×4 heavy-duty tippers you’ll find on the road. These MAN TGS and Volvo FMX, run by Thompson’s of Prudhoe, are equally at home ploughing through a tip or a building site
Pic: Steve McCann
We love our eight-wheeler tippers here in the UK. Why? Well, it’s simple; they offer excellent stability and traction, with enough manoeuvrability to squeeze in and out of unlikely spaces. Payloads are still surprisingly good too, even with the advent of bigger cabs and ever more advanced emissions equipment. In days gone by, an operator would simply go and see his truck dealer about which 8×4 chassis was available, and the choice would be fairly simple. Today, every manufacturer will offer you a “standard” chassis, or a jacked up Tonka-toy-tough special edition designed to cope with the rigours of the harder end of the tipping scale. That’s what we’re looking at here, with one of northern England’s most recognisable hauliers – Thompson’s of Prudhoe – which operates 22 artics and over 70 rigid tippers across its quarrying, demolition, excavation and recycling business.
The trucks here are dedicated to demolition and muckshifting work: there’s nothing harder on a road-going 8×4. Volvo and MAN, ever since they began selling trucks in the UK, have had a good understanding of eight-leggers. In the case of Volvo, there are still quite a few old FL10s and first-gen FM12s out earning a crust, some of which are over 20 years old (they’re often spotted by enthusiasts in our sister mag, Classic Truck). If that’s not an advert for the longevity of your trucks, what is?
Meanwhile, MAN has found a lot of favour with muckshifting fleets; the TGA (and the TGS which succeeded it) are a popular choice for fleets big and small, thanks to a well-designed chassis which seems to lend itself especially well to providing excellent traction when the going gets soft. Today, Volvo offers the FMX as its heavy-duty chassis; complete with extra badges, different bumper and grilles on the MAN’s tough TGS is a popular and highly capable muckshifter MAN has found a lot of favour with muckshifting fleets; the TGA and TGS are a popular choice. lights, it is suitably set apart from regular FM models. But the changes are not just cosmetic – there’s a more substantial front end construction, higher ride height and beam axles, plus the I-Shift gearbox features software designed for off-road applications. The truck on test here is one of the last of the ‘first generation’.
Read the rest of this feature in the May 2015 issue of Trucking. Buy the magazine here