Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Best Wishes

Truckfax goes to the end of the earth to take truck pictures. I had to take this picture in Singapore in 2008. There is so much going on I don't know where to start. The obvious pun potential for the shipyard's name was too much to resist.

Then there is the supervisory pigeon on top of the building.

The neat little Kia K2700 tipper. (A one ton diesel sold by Kia all over Asia, South Africa, Australia and elsewhere - but not in North America - yet.)

Then there is the cargo in the tipper - a number of drying tea shirts, and who knows what else.

What has this got to do with Christmas you may ask? The answer is-nothing whatsoever, but I needed an excuse to post it, and what better time for a little fun than Christmas?

Truckfax will be taking a little break over Christmas, and so Best Wishes to All and Happy New Year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bird's eye E-One

1. Engine Company No.2, based at the University Avenue station threads its way along a downtown street. This is 97-108E, a Superior (Emergency-One Canada), acquired in 1997. (See also July 6, 2010.)

2. Halifax runs a number of Superior (Emergency-One Canada) apparatus. This is unit 03-332E, a 1750 gpm pumper with a 750 gallon tank and foam capability. It is operated by Engine Company 6 at the Herring Cove fire station. It dates from 2003.

Most of my truck photos are from ground level (although sometimes the truck is up high - see previous post), but in this case I was up high, and I managed a bird's eye view of one of Halifax Regional Municipality Fire and Emergency engines.

Halifax has a huge array of apparatus, newer ones seeming to come from Pierce or E-One. They still run a number of Superiors, which was a Canadian company that Emergency-One purchased and later shut down.

E-one ran into some financial issues in 2007 and the parent company Federal Signal sold them off to American Industrial Partners in 2008. This year AIP formed Allied Specialty Vehicles to own E-One, Collins (manufacturers of Collins, MidBus and Corbeil buses), Capacity (yard tugs) and a variety of Ambulance makers (AEV, Horton, Wheeled Coach and just recently added Road Rescue, which they bought from Spartan). ASV also has Goldshield, a manufacturer of fibreglasss truck and bus hoods, cabs, sleepers, farings and other components and Lay-Mor which builds walk-behind and ride-on sweepers. (Federal Signal kept the Elgin road sweeper company.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

King of the Hill

The legendary Pacific truck is sadly no longer produced. Once a premier logging truck manufacturer in British Columbia, it was part of International Trucks in its later years, and expanded beyond its original home base territory.

For more on Pacitfic , see the Pacific Truck Club website - go to "My Faves" to the left.

This particular model fitted with an orange peel grab for pulpwood was spotted at Tatro's in Chatham, ON in October. According to their web site it is a 1980 model with 3406B Cat engine and 20 speed transmission. VIN#T80761518. As long as it is listed for sale, there are more pictures on Tatro's web site:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bumble Bee Out of Season

1. November 16, 2010- on the fly.

2. December 11, 2010.

3. December 11, 2010.

Most bumble bees are drowsing in their hives enjoying a winter hibernation. Not Unit #99 of Partners Industrial Crane Rentals, nicknamed the Bumble Bee. This nicely painted Sterling is loaded with crane components and ready for work. Partners has a good many cranes and some boom trucks, but this tractor is rare in their fleet. Usually employed in carrying around boom sections, bolsters and counterweights, it is also pressed into service from time time for other work too, such as moving the large stack in the top photo.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Random Shots #50 - Pair of Macks

What beats a pair of Macks?

This pair of new Pinnacles await delivery at the local dealer (MacKay's). Sadly new models have minimized the size of the Mack letters on the grille, but they still sport the bulldog, and look ready for work.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Atlantic Tiltload and Western Star

1. I caught Western Star #48 this morning delivering a vibratory roller for driveway construction in a residential neighbourhood. Those rollers are full of water, so they are heavier than they look. Even so they did not need to use the third axle on the tractor or the trailer.

2. Meanwhile sister vehicle, #88 was at Lockhart's for maintenance. It makes do with the standard tandem axle arrangement.

Atlantic Tiltload has a pretty fair fleet of Western Stars, ranging from straight trucks with tilt beds to some pretty heavy tractors. An interesting company, it has grown considerably since founded in 1992 with three tilt deck trucks. Learn why by visiting their website at:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grove crane truck

1. This afternoon, slings have been attached to the cranes outriggers by lift boom trucks. The Grove unit is hanging over the face of the wharf with boom in the water, after tipping forward. The four wheel drive/four wheel steer mechanism is apparent.

2. On Sunday afternoon the crane truck was sitting idle next to the ferry. It was being used to lift material off and on the ferry during a refit, with outriggers in position.

Ever wonder what the underneath of a Grove crane truck looks like? I got the chance to see today after one such rig tipped over frontwards while working at Halifax Shipyard. The same unit appeared in a photo I took on Sunday, but then it was sitting on all four wheels as it is supposed to do.

According to press reports, the crane was being used this morning to lift a forklift off the ferry Holiday Island when the crane tipped forward, landing the forklift on the harbour bottom and the truck's boom partially submerged.

Fortunately the operator had only minor injuries.

Recovery operations are underway. A larger mobile crane is being assembled in the yard, but lift out may not be until after nightfall.

Grove, along with National Crane and Potain, are part of the Manitowoc crane company.

Random Shot #49 -Old Dog in the Port

It seems to be old dog week at Truckfax. Another old Mack turned up today, and none other than a DMM model. With its distinctive offset R model cab and multi-wheel drive, it is a classic among heavy duty Macks. This one is likely bound for export, probably to Cuba.

[Go back to May11 for more DMM models]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just when you thought it was safe.........

Just when you thought it was safe to look at Truckfax again because there was so little chance of seeing the dreaded Routemasters, here we go again. I have no idea why nine of them forgathered on pier 24 this morning (more may be following) but here they are in all their glory.

I think Ambassatours has a dozen of these double deckers, which would normally be laid up for the winter. The last one in the line needs a new paint job, but the others were in pristine condition. All have their rear platforms boarded up, making me think that perhaps they are bound for winter storage in one of the Port Corporation's sheds.

All were RMLs, numbered as follows: 2332, 2379; 2365, 2664; 2673, 2309; 2677, 2578; 2534.

Interesting to see the juxtaposition of wide and narrow body models in the first rank.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Old Dog in the Park

You never know what you may see when you go for a drive in the Park. That would be Burnside Industrial Park (bearing little resemblance to any real Park, except for a few spindly trees.)

Last Saturday I spotted this old R model Mack, with a strange axle spread.

On closer investigation it appears that the rear axle is an add-on tag axle. Even then the drive axle looks oddly close to the cab. No doubt it was built for some specific purpose, but it is now just another old tractor.
The R model was introduced in the early 1960s and had one of longest (if not the longest) run of any truck model. [1965-1990]

Monday, November 29, 2010

Random Shot #48 - Out with the Monday trash

What I guess to be Suzuki mini truck (kei) cabs, are carefully put out with the trash in the Burnside Industrial Park, November 27, 2010. Enough said.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


It is time to decorate your house, your Corolla, your truck? - whatever - for Christmas.
In fact I do hope to see some decorated trucks before the Day, and if so I will post them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Big Sterling

This heavy duty Sterling runs for Marid Industries, a steel fabricator. The truck carries it own knuckle boom crane for unloading steel at construction sites. It has to go into some fairly unpleasant places, and perhaps that is why it appears to have some wear, tear and grime on its undercarriage - not to mention a leak! (October 30, 2010, Burnside)

Ford cargo (updated)

1. Ford Cargo cab, badged Freightliner with Johnston sweeper and dual controls.

2. The Halifax Regional Municipality still has this Ford/ Johnston dual control street sweeper on the payroll.

3. The HRM also has a Sterling/ Elgin sweeper, also with dual controls.

4. Shred-it operates this mobile shredder on a Sterling "cargo" October 30, 2010, Burnside.

Some truck cabs survive for years in production. The Ford C and Mack R are notable examples of 20 plus years.

One which has now come to an end (in North America) with the demise of Sterling in 2009, is the legendary Ford Cargo.

Developed by Ford UK and introduced in 1981, it remained in production in the UK until 1993, even after Ford sold its UK Ford truck brand to Fiat, and became Ford Iveco. Ford brought it to North America somewhat later.

Daimler/Freightliner/Sterling got it when they took over Ford's North American heavy truck line. Some were re-branded as Freightliner and some as Sterling. There are a few left on the road under all three badges, but they are no longer built on this continent.

Production continues today in Brazil, Argentina, India, and Turkey according to various sources.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hino made in Canada

1,2 and 3 all taken today, and three different sizes and varying vintages.

Another Japanese truck maker is on the move. Hino Motors Canada has introduced a newly designed truck for 2011. I haven't seen one in real life yet, but like all Hinos sold in Canada it will be built at their factory in Woodstock, ON.

The plant, which started up in 2006, can produce 2,000 trucks a year, although recent production figures are about half that. Engines and cabs are still built in Japan, but that may change according to recent news. Currently about 60% of the truck is sourced in this country.

Hino is after a bigger slice of the class 5, 6 and 7, with 1 model of class 5 and 2 models in each of the other classes. They have 20% of the Canadian market in the class and looking for 30%.

Internationally Hino builds trucks up to class 8, and last year built 100,000, of which 60,000 are exported from Japan to the rest of the world. They have been the best seller in Japan for 37 years!

Hino is the truck building division of Toyota.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Isuzu joins the mainstream

1. GMC W5500 with Dynamic box, November 23, 2010. The season's first snow is busily melting off the bumper.

2. Isuzu NRR with step side body. (The step side is on the passenger side only.) November 22, 2010.

3. Sears/Budget crew cab Isuzu FSR, June 23, 1993. (Oklahoma plates)

4. Isuzu NPR with Spectra, No-Mar towing gear, Tampa FL April 27, 1994

Isuzu Motors Ltd has been the number one best seller in the low cab forward mid-weight range trucks in North America since 1986. That is when they joined with GMC and Chev to produce the N series. Marketed under the Isuzu, Chev and GMC banner, that arrangement has apparently ended, with Chev and GMC folding their W series into Isuzu. After November 1, 2010 only Isuzu dealers will be supporting the Chev and GMC W series, and all new truck sales will be Isuzus.

The story grows a bit murkier however. Apparently GM built all the Isuzu, Chev and GMC trucks in North America, and have or will close their factory. Isuzu has therefore turned to none other than Spartan Motors Inc (originally founded by Diamond Reo execs when White pulled the plug) to produce the Isuzu LCF models. At the same time Utilimaster (which is associated with Spartan -see previous post on Step-Vans) will develop a new type of step-van using the Isuzu frame and engine (strip chassis.) These will be gas engined trucks.

Isuzu is a major player on the world truck stage, including large trucks, but in North America confines itself to class 5-6 and 7 trucks-no heavies, and has gotten out of cars and SUVs long since. The largest shareholder in Isuzu is Toyota, with Mitsubishi also a shareholder.

The competition in the light LCF market includes Blue Diamond Truck Co (who?) a joint venture between Ford and Navistar, which since 2004 has been building vehicles in Escobedo, Mexico, using Mazda cabs. Thse are the Ford LCF and International CF500.
Also Hino, and UD (formerly Nissan, marketed by Freightliner) are in the LCF game.

For 2011 Isuzu will produce the NPR/W3500, NPR HD/W4500, NOR/W5500 and NRR/W5500 series with crew cab options.

Step Vans duke it out in the streets of Halifax (and everywhere else)

Just as the school bus builders are down to two main competitors (Thomas/Freightliner and Bluebird) so the step van builders are down to a pair of main players.

1. Purolater runs this Utilimaster.

2. Canadian Linen Supply has a Morgan Olson, that carries a Freightliner hood badge - very rare!

3. Canada Post operates a fleet of small Utilimasters.

4. FedEx ground has thisUtilimaster in its fleet.

Utilimaster builds the Aeromaster model. Utilimaster was, until 2009 owned by John Hancock/Manu-Life, the Canadian Insurance giant. They have now found a home with Spartan Motors Inc, which builds chassis/cabs for fire apparatus and entire fire trucks, specialist and military vehicles. Interestingly they do not build the chassis for step-vans! Utilimaster is based in Wakarusa, Indiana and Spartan in Lansing, Michigan.

Morgan Olson (until 2001 Grumman Olson) is owned by JB Poindexter & Co (JBPCo) which also owns Morgan truck bodies, Commercial Babcock truck bodies (Toronto based), Eagle Coach and Federal Coach (hearses and buses) and a raft of truck accessory outfits including Leer, Raider and Pace Edwards and other companies. JBPCo is based in Houston, and Grumman Olson in Sturgis, Michigan.

All step vans are built on"strip chassis" - basically a frame with a drive train. These are made by only three manufacturers: Ford, Freightliner and Workhorse (a division of International Truck & Engine Corp, which is owned by Navistar International Corp)

Both Utilimaster and Morgan Olson offer step-vans built on any of the three strip chassis. There is usually a choice of Diesel or gasoline engines and light duty and heavy duty frames.

On any given day it is possible to see about equal numbers of step-vans from each manufacturer, but it is not always easy to determine whose they are! There is little badging going on, sometimes the mudflaps are used to advertise the step van builder, and very rarely does the strip chassis manufacturer get any credit.

Both builders offer specialist vans for bakeries, linens, utilities and other uses, in addition to the more or less standard vans, but even these are offered with many options. All the big van operators such as FedEx, Purolater and UPS seem to buy from both builders, and all are rather coy about which strip chassis they use. It's a bit of fun to try to guess.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Random Shot #48 Reasonable Pete

If you are Resonable Trucking, you should have a reasonable truck, so this Peterbilt and Kentucky trailer would certainly be a reasonable solution.

Despite their low key name, Reasonable Trucking is a full service moving company, based in Halifax.

You also need a reasonable number of air horns - four on the roof and three under the cab should do it.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cab Extensions (ii)

A unique idea - a woodlands tour in a truck! What's the fun of taking a bus tour if you could take a TRUCK tour? That's the idea that this gentleman and his daughter had, and so they fitted out a Ford Aeromax with a large sleeper box, then converted the sleeper to passenger seating, with overhead and side and back windows, to get a view of the woods.

The tractor was fully fitted out to work as a commercial timber hauler, which it did in the off season, but during the summer it was reserved for tours.

A glimpse in the background shows some other members of the fleet - all days cabs. Transport Janifer, Sacré-Coeur, Saguenay, QC, June 29, 1996.

Cab Extensions (i)

Factory sleepers are back in with most manufacturers these days, so it is not unusual to see extended cabs, and of course there are four-door crew cabs. However non-sleeper cab extensions are pretty rare, except in fire apparatus.
On June 2, 1990 I was passing the Commercial Safety College in Belmont NS, near Truro, and had the presence of mind to take the following series of photos.
In these trucks, cab extensions were built to accommodate student drivers and instructors. CSC had a wide variety of trucks, no two the same, presumably to give students experience on a variety of engines, transmissions and makes of trucks.

1. Ford Louisville tractor.

2. Chev and International Harvester.

3. Freightliner, Western Star and Chev Bruin.

4. Ford Louisville straight truck.