Special fit-outs needed to prepare trucks for tough WA conditions

By: Steve Skinner

Both prime movers and rigid trucks need special fitting-out before taking on the challenges of the Western Australian outback.

Special fit-outs needed to prepare trucks for tough WA conditions
A day-cab Mack Trident with flat rubber guards.


Western Australia has some of the harshest trucking conditions in the world, so truck dealers often have to do a lot more than just put the turntable on a new prime mover.

Take wheel guards. Conventional plastic guards are fine for running around Perth and surrounds, but straight rubber guards are needed for the outback.

Rubber guards allow tyres to stay cooler in the searing heat, and once they are on, they are maintenance-free. 

"If you get a blowout you don't have to worry about replacing guards, you just change the tyre and you're off again," Truck Centre WA vehicle preparation workshop general manager Chris Lake says.

Neither do you want to be wrestling on your own in the middle of nowhere with a damaged guard stuck against a tyre.

Truck Centre WA fits out all sorts of other things for Volvos and Macks, including custom-built fuel and hydraulics tanks up behind the cab, powder-coated fuel tanks to resist dust, snorkel air intakes and bullbars.

Meanwhile nearby TL Engineering services the market for tough rigid body building.

The largest customers for its truck division are mining companies as well as a lot of the offshoot operations that service them, for example drilling and exploration companies.

TL does everything from custom-made rigid truck bodies to full chassis modifications to crane sub-frames. Hydraulics, electrics and painting are all done in-house. 

"WA is fairly unique," general manager Garth Trigwell says.

"The bodies that we build are extra heavy duty.

"The sort of pre-fabricated bodies that come on vehicles are never strong enough. They're not built heavy enough, they are designed to be lightweight. And they're not designed for the roads that we have over here and the abuse that the bodies get from the mining companies. 

"A lot of times trucks are not driving on sealed roads. They're driving on haul roads or rail maintenance roads; they're not graded very often, and the vibrations that they transfer through the truck chassis to the body are immense compared with bitumen." 

For the full feature on fit-outs for Western Australia, get the October edition of ATN. Click here to secure your copy now.

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