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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingDecember 12 - December 18, 2018

Dirt Dump Recovered

0-Dumped-TIW-13 3c5cfBy Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

Null's is a family owned business started in 1958 by Charles "Chic" Null. His son Dain has run the company since 1989, and Dain's sons, Latta, Dain and Jared joined him.

In June, 2015, Null's was called to respond to a job site for an overturned dump truck and immediately dispatched Jared in a 2013 Western Star/2013 NRC 50/65 65-ton sliding rotator. They also dispatched operator Jerry Stoltzfus in a Western Star/ NRC 40/50 50-ton sliding rotator.

The dump truck still had approximately half of its load of dirt still on board, with the body in the raised position. The rear suspension on the truck suffered major damage. The truck was lying on the driver's side on a very steep, non-packed, dirt pile. The cylinder, which raises the dump bed and controls how the dump bed lowers, was severely compromised as a result of the overturn.

There was no access to the back of the truck. There were dirt piles to the left and the right of the truck. The construction company had piled dirt in front of the truck to contain any possible fluid spills.

"We advised the crawler loader operator that was on scene of what dirt needed to be moved to allow for the heavy-duty sliding rotator recovery units to make access to the dump truck to begin the recovery," Null said. "While the crawler loader worked to clear the dirt that we had requested, our operators established a rigging plan for the recovery."

Once the dirt was removed, the two sliding rotators were put into position to begin the recovery.

The sliding rotator that was to be placed on the low side was unable to back as far up the hill as initially planned due to a lack of traction on the loosely packed steep pile. The other sliding rotator backed up the hill and positioned in front of the dump truck.

Both rotators were set-up on work platforms. Ice cleats kept the trucks from sliding down the hill.

The rotator on the low side rotated its boom clockwise to spike the suspension on the dump truck. Additionally, this rotator would provide a control line to help lower the dump truck to the upright position.

The rotator at the front of the dump truck rotated its boom clockwise as well. The boom was extended and the mast slid to the rear of the truck.

Rigging began with straps placed around the body behind the cylinder. Edge protectors were put in place between the straps and the corners of the body to prevent any damage to the straps. These straps were connected to the rotator at the front of the dump truck.

Chains secured the rear suspension and axles to the dump truck's frame to prevent further damage during the uprighting process. Additionally, chains were connected from the front axle to the frame to hold it in place for the upright.

"Once all rigging was in place," said Null, "the lines were tensioned. The rigging was checked for proper connections. We then donned our wireless communication headsets and began the uprighting process."

The rotators worked together to lift the dump bed off the ground and begin to collapse the damaged cylinder, as the dump truck was being uprighted. Once uprighted, the dump truck would not stay upright due to the damage to the suspension and the partial load still being on-board.

At that point, the back of the truck was lifted by the rotator at the front of the dump truck to take the weight off the suspension. Once lifted, the other rotator winched the suspension back in place so that the dump truck's frame could be lowered back onto it. Once in place, the dump truck was lowered back to the ground.

The front rotator then hooked to the dump truck and towed it down off of the pile so that it could hook to the rear of the dump truck to tow it from the scene.

"Once off of the pile, one of the rotators then hooked to the rear of the dump truck. We worked to shovel the load in the bed to help level it out. Wireless tow lights and secondary attachments were installed on the dump truck and the exhaust was covered."

(This article originally appeared in the July 29, 2015 edition of Tow Industry Week.)

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Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim "Buck" Sorrenti at; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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