The yard truck has earned some hard nicknames from the operators who move freight. They’re referred to as “mules,” “goats,” “hostlers” and “yard dogs.” These names aren’t just because of the weight the trucks haul, it also refers to the harshness of the ride. Terminal tractors are built to do a job. But providing comfort hasn’t been one of them. Historically, these vehicles haven’t had any rear suspension. As a result, there have been expensive consequences.
The hundreds of hours of work these trucks endure have resulted in high maintenance costs to the mainframe, cabs, hydraulic tanks, fuel tanks, and other components, not to mention downtime. The ride is equally hard on the operators, resulting in back problems, missed work, and higher health care costs for the employer. When you put it all together, it adds up to a lot of wasted time and money!
Traditional types of rear suspension, such as steel spring and rubber balls have been introduced. But these have proven to cause stress on the chassis of the tractor. “Air ride” cabs, utilizing air cylinders to isolate the cab have also likewise proven to cause problems. There’s a lack of balance between the cab and cargo. At best, the operator gets a better ride, but the rest of the tractor receives no relief from imperfect yard/road conditions and constant vibration.
Capacity has learned from this history and responded with our patented rear air spring suspension system called Dura-Ride®. Available as an option on our TJ 5000 and 9000 models, it isolates the entire tractor, cab and cargo, from road shock and greatly reduces maintenance costs and downtime.
Dura-Ride’s unique design consists of an A-shaped sub-frame, hydraulic lift cylinders, shock absorbers, air springs and a leveling valve. The front apex of the sub-frame is attached to the tractor frame by a universally pivoting or swivel bearing and the backend of the A-frame is rigidly connected to the tractor’s rear axle. The 2-inch swivel pairing allows the axle to oscillate relative to the main frame and the fifth wheel.
Yard trucks with Dura-Ride have received exceptionally high marks from the maintenance officials of companies that chose it for their vehicles. They report a significant lowering of both replacement parts and labor healthcare costs. And this isn’t Johnny-come-lately-information, either. Capacity Trucks has been monitoring vehicles with Dura-Ride and refining it since 1988. Competitors also offer suspension systems, but when operators ride in a Capacity Truck with Dura-Ride, then compare with another brand–they say there’s no comparison.
Dura-Ride also unquestionably extends a yard tractor’s lifespan. So its advantages are numerous: from fewer part replacement costs, to reduced health care costs, to happier operators, to extended vehicle life, there’s absolutely no downside to Dura-Ride. The nicknames of the yard jockey truck may never change, but Dura-Ride is definitely changing the industry. It’s an investment that’ll pay for itself time and time again.