Author Archives: Paul Brouwers

closeup of a young man throwing a wet wipe to the toilet, in a white tiled restroom
Coronavirus Update: The COVID Clog

2020 will go down in history as a year with many firsts.  Coronavirus, quarantine, home schooling, essential workers, COVID Clog.  Wait… what was that last one?  Yes, as if we don’t have enough on our overly stressed minds in this time of mass hysteria. It seems we also have a looming sewer system dilemma.  Some are calling it the COVID Clog.  Cleverly named after the COVID-19 toilet paper shortage of 2020.

Let’s not dive down the rabbit hole of why there is or was a toilet paper shortage.  Nobody knows. So let’s not try to understand it, let’s just discuss what it’s doing.

Social media is full of memes about using everything from paper towel to socks in order to…*{cough}*…address the mess.  Though many of us have found these entertaining as we scroll through our days under house arrest, some aren’t laughing at all.  The reality is people are actually flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed.  This is a common problem for the keepers of our country’s over 800,000 miles of public sewer infrastructure, but not to this degree.

There are reports of sewage systems clogging across the country as Americans face a toilet paper shortage. “Toilets are not trash cans,” the Environmental Protection Agency said in a tweet March 24th, using the hashtag #wipesclogpipes.

Most people don’t fully understand or don’t really care what happens when they push the handle on the porcelain god, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.  There’s a serious amount of infrastructure and resources at work to move and treat that flush so that it can be safely released back into the ecosystem.  Americans send over 32 billion gallons of waste to treatment facilities per day.  Nobody wants to block that flow to its final destination.

The inability to monitor or control what is flushed leaves the flow of yesterday to the technology of today.  Municipalities have used Combo Sewer Cleaners for years to maintain their infrastructure.  Now it certainly seems they will be the front line of defense against the “Great COVID Clog” of 2020.

Here at Custom Truck One Source, we have the equipment on hand to help those fighting the fight nobody wants to talk about.  With units positioned at nearly all of our 26 locations, we can help the contractors and municipalities cut through the clog.  Our sewer cleaners provide up to 80gpm move the mess and the most powerful vacuum systems in the industry to remove it.  Contact us today to schedule a demo.

 

Tornado Global F4 EcoLite Hydrovac truck with a positive displacement blower mounted on a Peterbilt 567 chassis
Taking Care of Your Hydrovac’s Positive Displacement Blower

The positive displacement blower – a machine used to move gas or air – is probably the most taken-for-granted component in your hydrovac truck. They usually work quite efficiently. So why fix something that isn’t broken?

It is this very attitude that often ends up costing vacuum truck owners a lot of money. Without regular maintenance, positive displacement blowers are as susceptible to wear and tear as any other piece of machinery. And when it fails, work basically comes to a standstill.

Of course, you should always go through the operating manual so you are up to speed on what to do should your blower start acting up. But below we have provided you with some additional general guidelines on how to keep your positive displacement blower in excellent working condition and how to recognize the signs when something isn’t quite right.

#1: Overhung Load

Excessive overhung load is something you need to watch out for, as it is a common, and often overlooked, cause of drive shaft rotating equipment failure. Rotors are a major component of a positive displacement blower. Excessive overhung load mainly takes a toll on the drive shaft bearing, which tolerates the brunt of side loading. This can be passed on via the rotors to the gears. The end result is massive wear and tear and possible gear and bearing failure. Basically, your positive displacement blower could be damaged beyond repair. Something else to be alert for is excessive loading on the drive shaft. This can cause the rotors to touch each other, and the blower could shake and come to a grinding halt.

# 2: Lubrication

All machinery requires lubrication to stay in perfect working order. In the case of positive displacement blowers, bearings and timing gears need to be kept lubricated at all times. There is also the possibility of too much or too little lubrication, so it’s always good to consult the manual to find out the levels required. The manual will also provide you guidance on the amount of oil needed and the viscosity and quality of lubricant best suited to the blower. Using the wrong kind of oil could cause serious damage, like putting diesel in a gasoline-powered car would. As a rule of thumb, synthetic lubricants are recommended for the gears and gear end bearings of your blower.

Remember, the blowers you buy come without oil. Forgetting this can lead to catastrophic consequences for this key piece of equipment. As soon as you receive the blower, make sure you add oil before you put it to work. You can imagine what kind of damage failing to add oil could do to your brand new blower. In most cases, that damage is irreversible.

# 3: Pressure

A faulty relief valve in your blower can lead to over-pressure issues, which can seriously damage the rotors. Over-pressure can lead to rotors coming in contact with one another, the cylinder, and maybe even the head plates of the blower. You need to make sure the relief valve is of the correct size and fitted properly, so you don’t have to pay the price later. You could also put in a pressure relief valve to make doubly sure there are no over-pressure issues.

# 4: Vibrations

Your blower should emit smooth vibrations. Too much, and you know something is wrong. Perhaps a part has come loose inside. A part bouncing around in your blower could damage all its components. Think of a stone rattling in a can. An ugly sound or vibration means something is amiss. Stop the machine and check immediately.

# 5: Employee Training

While service centers are always available, they may take time to repair and return your damaged blower. Even routine maintenance takes time. It’s always good to have the employees who will be handling this crucial piece of equipment know how each and every part of the blower operates. This can save time and money, as an employee who is aware of how the blower functions is more likely to take proper care of it.

A blower is not an extremely complicated piece of equipment. You just need to keep your eyes and ears open for anything out of the ordinary, and your blower will deliver a consistently top-notch performance. A daily check of your blower before putting it to work will ensure you are ready to tackle the workday ahead.

* Source: Terry’s Tips, Hydrovac Nation

 

Tornado vac truck with rotating nozzle
How to Get the Most From Your Vac Truck’s Rotating Nozzle

Any piece of machinery that rotates is subject to wear and tear. Think of ballplayers and their frequent rotator cuff injuries.  The rotating nozzle used in a vac truck is no different.  It requires regular maintenance. Though small in size, it is an important part of your vac truck and requires as much attention as larger components, if not more.

A malfunctioning rotating nozzle can cost you thousands of dollars, and not necessarily just for replacement. A defective nozzle can lead to wasted water and reduced performance while potholing, trenching, etc.

Here are some tips on how to best care for your nozzle.

  • Choose the correct nozzle – Using the wrong nozzle for a particular job can lead to a multitude of problems, so it is incredibly important to start off with the right one. A rotating turbo nozzle, for instance, is perfect for potholing due to its flow pattern. A zero-degree nozzle, on the other hand, helps you easily cut through dirt, saves water, and is high impact. Clearly, different rotating nozzles have different functions, so choose wisely.
  • Abide by pressure ratings – These are provided by manufacturers of nozzles, so make sure you comply with the guidelines. Going over the specified rating will permanently damage the nozzle. It’s best to maintain levels below the specs as this automatically extends the life of the nozzle. Think of it as your car and its given maximum speed. Travelling at this speed all the time will cause your engine to burn out.
  • Beware of heat – Being aware of how much heat is the limit for your nozzle is imperative. 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) is typically considered the ideal temperature. Manufacturers give different heat ratings, and some of those may seem high. If they seem too high, they likely are. While the nozzle can operate at these temperatures, it won’t be for long. You need to be alert to your nozzle’s heat tolerance.
  • Do not submerge – A nozzle is not a digging implement like a shovel, so jamming it into water or soil will result in gunk entering, which can seriously damage parts inside. A rule of thumb is to maintain a distance of 2 inches between the nozzle and the surface.

General Operating Issues

The best way to handle any problem with the nozzle is by following manufacturer guidelines. Many companies also have call centers to help you with an issue or, in some cases, social media pages. As you can see, there are plenty of options to deal with any problem with advice directly from the experts.

Flow Rate

Water flow is one of the keys to knowing if your nozzle is working properly. It should always be steady. You don’t want to end up with a trickle while in the midst of a job. Monitor the water flow from time to time to reaffirm that it’s still consistent. Manufacturers usually provide ideal settings, making it easier for you to know if the water flow is as it should be.

Also, keep a close eye on spray pattern. The last thing you need is for the nozzle to start spraying outside of the targeted area. It may take a bit of work, but bring out your tool kit and measure the spray pattern width. Again, manufacturers are there to help you. If you sense something is not right, report the problem to them, and they will conduct special tests. If anything is wrong, they will gladly fix it for you.

Replacement

The nozzle needs to be thoroughly checked as soon as possible. Any wear and tear can affect performance. Many manufacturers provide a maintenance program which you can follow. Overuse can wear out a nozzle, so be prepared to eventually replace it. It is a good idea to have spare nozzles of the same specs in stock. Having them available can make for quick, simple replacement.

Pressure Control

You can control the speed and pressure of the rotating nozzle. Of course, this depends on what job you are doing. It has been found that a lower liquid velocity out of the nozzle leads to it lasting longer and makes it less vulnerable to rust and general wear and tear.

Feed Liquid

Depending on the job, different kinds of liquids (feed liquids) are used. Some liquids contain harsh chemicals which can seriously damage a nozzle. This calls for dilution. Check the liquid container for exactly what concentrations you should use for the job at hand. Failure to dilute properly could not only damage the nozzle but also the area you are working on.

Clogging

A clogged nozzle is an ineffective tool. The nozzle has to be cleaned out at regular intervals with brushes or probes. Many nozzles come with built-in strainers to trap particles. Clean out the strainers after every job. Once a strainer is full of dirt and debris, your nozzle could suffer serious damage.

Treat your nozzle right and you’ll see the financial returns. Good luck!

 

Source: Hydrovac Nation

 

Hydrovac by Mountains
Hydrovac Truck Payload: 4 Tips To Get It Right

While hydrovac trucks have more than proven their worth in areas like potholing, trenching, directional drilling, and daylighting, their payload capacity can still be tricky. Not having a clear understanding of how much load a hydrovac truck can carry exposes operators to overload-related accidents or getting caught at a truck scale and being hit with a fine that can run into five figures!

Below, we provide some tips to make sure you know exactly how much of a load your hydrovac truck should carry and ways to get it exactly right to avoid any mishaps down the road.

# 1: Trust The Manufacturer

Whichever company manufactured your hydrovac truck would have provided specifications on the payload. Most manufacturers provide the total tank capacity and actual useable capacity. Naturally, you need to go by useable capacity or you could run into problems with overloading. Going through the manual brochures provided with the vehicle or even a calling the manufacturer’s helpline will give you an idea of how much to carry.

# 2: Inbuilt Features In Your Truck That Help

Hydrovac truck manufacturers provide features that help you gauge how much you can carry, for example, a shut-off system to make sure you do not fill your tank above capacity. Once you reach the payload limit, your truck does the work for you and immediately shuts off, much like the flush tank in the bathroom at home.

A float ball in the tank is the key. It floats upward along with the water until it seals the suction pipe at the top of the tank. This not only stops airflow to the blower, but it also stops you from contaminating the cyclone separator.

The float ball is housed in a small cage that dangles from the top of the tank. To ensure there is no way you can go wrong, 18 to 24 inches of tank space is left that cannot be used. When it comes to payload capacity, this is a key feature in your truck and is an absolute guarantee that you do not load to maximum capacity.

# 3: Think Yardage

In football, coaches and players think of yardage in every play. Yards are also important when loading your hydrovac truck. For example, you may think your 12-yard is full to capacity but in reality, the load would be 10.5 to 11 yards. A midsize tank with a capacity of 10 yards would actually hold 8.5 to 9 yards, and so on.

These figures are not to sell you short, but for your safety and ensuring compliance.

# 4: Figure It Out For Yourself

There are some simple steps that will allow you to know the actual capacity of your hydrovac truck. First, you have to make sure your tank is totally clean before weighing the vehicle to determine the empty weight. Jot it down somewhere or save the figure on your phone.

The next step is to find an open body of water with which to fill your tank. Of course, you need to be sure the water being used is from a legal source, so you need to contact state, province, county or municipal officials for permission. Also, the last thing you need is to run into trouble with a landowner if you try to take water off private property. Be sure it is fresh water and not produced or saltwater, which provide different weights.

With your water source all in order, operate the blower and load your tank until the vacuum stops. The float ball moves up and the suction stops. Then return to the same weighing scale where you got the empty weight. This is essential as scales can be calibrated differently and you could end up getting a misleading weight. Remember, every percentage point counts when it comes to weight!

Just to help you with the math, a cubic yard of freshwater weighs 1,683.85 lbs. Now, all you have to do is take the difference in weight between the full and empty tank and divide by 1683.85 lbs.  An easy calculation and the number arrived at is the usable yard amount of your tank.

Now, with that weight off your mind, you can confidently hit the road!

 

X-Vac X-8 Hydro Excavation Vacuum Truck
Vacuum Truck Maintenance: A Quick Checklist

Vacuum trucks, the clean-up Ninjas of a variety of large-scale jobs, is essentially a tank truck with a pump that pneumatically sucks sludges, slurries etc. and transport these liquid detritus materials by road, from one location to another. Vacuum trucks, such as hydrovacs, combination sewer jetters, coded/non-coded and DOT vac trucks, are an indispensable piece of heavy equipment for cities, municipalities, construction companies or any sort of jobsite for that matter that needs an efficient clean-up solution, but they need proper maintenance to make sure they perform optimally and for the full extent of their expected working life.

Maintenance for these vacuum trucks is a year-round job. Specific upkeep measures have to be taken at certain times, and the list we’re putting down below will help you keep tabs on this without ever dropping the ball:

Daily Maintenance

The equipment has to be shut down fully and properly once the day’s work is complete. The drain valves have to be opened up and you have to make sure the systems are water-free. This is especially important during winter, when any residual water that’s still in the system can freeze and cause significant damage to your vacuum truck. If your truck is not going to be working for longer than a day, the tailgate should be propped open with the rear door support, and the debris body has to be partially raised and blocked.

Monthly Maintenance

It’s extremely important that you don’t skip the task of checking fluid levels on a monthly basis, as when they’re low, you run the risk of springing a leak. Wear and tear on intake hoses is another item on your checklist because they are made of rubber and fabric. Rotate the hose often, to reduce wear on one particular spot. Other tasks include checking the air breather, checking the electrical wiring, cleaning out the debris body, and making sure that the water and air separator cyclone unit is functioning optimally.

Annual Maintenance

Change the hydraulic filters, so that all the remnant fluid from the hydraulic tank and fluid reservoir can drain out. Once that is complete, fill with fresh fluids. If you’re not going to use the vacuum truck during extreme winter weather, it is necessary to clean the body of the vacuum truck and apply a fresh coat of primer to avoid corrosion caused by water and snow damage.

 

Looking to buy a new or used vacuum truck?

Contact us!

Custom Truck One Source is America’s first and true single-source provider of trucks and heavy equipment, and we’re standing by to help you make the best selection from our extensive inventory. Find the equipment that is most suited to your business, and we’ll help you with financing too!

 

X-8 Hydro Excavator - Custom Truck One Source
Hydro Excavation: A Brief History

Hydro Excavation is a very efficient system of digging that targets high-pressure water to break soil masses apart, and then applies a powerful air vacuum to suck up the debris and transport it off-site to a debris tank. And its use is becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons in utilities, plumbing, installation, landscaping and construction job sites.

Compared to traditional digging methods, this system is a lot more cost-effective because it does not require as much manpower (for manual shovel digging, for example) or heavy equipment (like backhoes).

It is non-mechanical, eco-friendly and safe, and it gets the job done faster, with minimized impact on the surrounding environment.

But how did hydrovacs and the concept of Hydro Excavation evolve?

Here is a brief history:

Hydro Excavation has a back story that is closely tied with the Gold Rush in California that took place between 1848-1855. A James W. Marshall discovered gold in Coloma, CA, in January of 1848, and the news spread so quickly that over 300,000 people from the U.S. and abroad poured into the state with dreams of discovering gold for themselves.

A total of $ 2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852, and a lot of indigenous excavation systems were tested and tried to work larger areas in the shortest possible time.

One of these systems, called Hydraulic Mining, used steam pump-pressurized water to break up soil much faster than manual digging could ever accomplish.

The Gold Rush started phasing out by 1855, but the idea of Hydraulic Mining remained. Its incredible potential in excavation applications was pretty obvious, and with growing technology, the first Hydro Excavation machine – called the ExcaVactor – was built in 1969.

During the next ten years or so, vacuum trucks and sewer cleaners were adapted for hydro excavation use. The vacuum equipment was removed from these vehicles and installed in all-terrain vehicles, so they could be used in remote, hard-to-reach job sites.

By 1990, Hydro Excavation machines had become more sophisticated as companies began to manufacture trailer-mounted units and trucks to accommodate them.

Today, their utilization has become abundant in the United States and Canada. More and more companies are offering Hydro Excavation services because the advantages of this system are undeniable, and in the coming years, we expect the technology to improve even further to make excavation and soil removal even faster, easier and safer for both workers and the environment.

Need Hydro Excavation Equipment?

Custom Truck One Source has you covered!

We’re America’s first true single-source provider of specialized truck and heavy equipment solutions and we’re standing by to help you!

Call us at 844-282-1838 or email us at info@customtruck.com.

 

Tornado Global Hydrovac - Custom Truck One Source Partnership
Tornado Global Hydrovacs and Custom Truck One Source’s Partnership Brings Big Change to the Hydrovac Industry

Tornado Global Hydrovacs and Custom Truck One Source (Custom Truck) are bringing big changes to the hydrovac industry with their new partnership. By combining forces, they bring a world-class unit to market and dealership network that has been missing in the industry since the inception of hydro excavation.

Typically, when a customer purchases a hydrovac, they are essentially put on an island when it comes to parts and service. It can be a lengthy process for repair and downtime can be staggeringly long, minimizing production gains, and slicing into hard-earned profits. No manufacturer has cracked the code for a complete service solution for the hydrovac industry, until now!

Custom Truck has the geographical footprint, expertise, and financial backing to bring the sales and parts and service solutions to the United States hydrovac industry. Along with 26 locations across North America, and a service force of 500+ employees which includes a plethora of field service technicians who will come to your site, Custom Truck is also a chassis warranty dealership for Peterbilt trucks.

 

Tornado Hydrovac Trucks

 

When asked how this will impact the industry, Tornado’s National Manager of Dealer Development Rich Konkler said, “This really is a great partnership we are developing. Custom Truck’s goal to be the #1 provider of Hydrovacs in the country is not only great for us but is also challenging us in ways we haven’t experienced before. We are very excited to see where this is going to take the industry over the next few years.”

Being from the United States one might ask, who is Tornado Global Hydrovacs? Established in 1984, Tornado is a well-known manufacturer of vacuum trucks in the Canadian Hydrovac Industry. With their ECO LITE series hydro­vacs, Tornado has an operator driven, ready-to-work design that is weight conscious. “We are known for higher production and lower maintenance which gives a customer a higher profit return,” says Rich Konkler.

Paul Brouwers, the National Manager for Vacuum Prod­ucts from Custom Truck, agrees Tornado is a perfect part­ner. “To reach the level in this industry that we desire, we needed to partner with manufacturers like Tornado. In my opinion, Tornado set the standard for what true hydro-excavators are and continues to do so time and time again—an extremely easy-to-operate production machine that keeps on running.”

Custom Truck has put together a complete lineup of vacuum products. They have partnered with Tornado Global Hydrovacs, Cusco Fabricators, and Hi-Vac Corporation.

“We’re just getting started,” Brouwers said.