Hauling Industry News

Types of Dump Trucks and What They Haul

By Pulltarps Mfg | September 17, 2021

Dump Truck Types

A dump truck (also known as a dumper or a tipper truck) is a truck bed or trailer used for transporting loose material (such as sand, gravel, or demolition waste) for construction, refuse, and agriculture needs. A typical dump truck is equipped with an open-box bed, which is hinged at the rear and equipped with hydraulic rams to lift the front, allowing the material in the bed to be deposited (“dumped”) on the ground behind the truck at the site of delivery. See below for descriptions of various types of trucks, from side dump trucks to off-highway dump trucks.

Standard Dump Truck

A standard dump truck is a truck chassis with a dump body mounted to the frame. The bed is raised by a vertical hydraulic ram mounted under the front of the body, or a horizontal hydraulic ram and lever arrangement between the frame rails, and the back of the bed is hinged at the back of the truck. The tailgate can be configured to swing up on top hinges (and sometimes also to fold down on lower hinges) or it can be configured in the “High Lift Tailgate” format wherein pneumatic rams lift the gate open and up above the dump body.

In the United States most standard dump trucks have one front steering axle and one (4×2 4-wheeler)) or two (6×4 6-wheeler) rear axles which typically have dual wheels on each side. Tandem rear axles are almost always powered, front steering axles are also sometimes powered (4×4, 6×6). Unpowered axles are sometimes used to support extra weight. Most unpowered rear axles can be raised off the ground to minimize wear when the truck is empty or lightly loaded, and are commonly called “lift axles”.

European Union heavy trucks often have two steering axles. Dump truck configurations are 2, 3 and 4 axles. The 4-axle eight wheeler has two steering axles at the front and two powered axles at the rear and is limited to 32 metric tons (35 short tons; 31 long tons) gross weight in most EU countries. The largest of the standard European dump trucks is commonly called a “centipede” and has seven axles. The front axle is the steering axle, the rear two axles are powered, and the remaining four are lift axles.

The shorter wheelbase of a standard dump truck often makes it more maneuverable than the higher capacity semi-trailer dump trucks.

Super Dump Truck (Super 10 Dump Truck)

A Super Dump is a straight dump truck equipped with a trailing axle, a liftable, load-bearing axle rated as high as 13,000 pounds (5,897 kg). Trailing 11 to 13 feet (3.35 to 3.96 m) behind the rear tandem, the trailing axle stretches the outer “bridge” measurement—the distance between the first and last axles—to the maximum overall length allowed. This increases the gross weight allowed under the federal bridge formula, which sets standards for truck size and weight. Depending on the vehicle length and axle configuration, Super Dump can be rated as high as 80,000 pounds (36,287 kg). GVW and carry 26 short tons (23.6 t; 23.2 long tons) of payload or more. When the truck is empty or ready to offload, the trailing axle toggles up off the road surface on two hydraulic arms to clear the rear of the vehicle. Truck owners call their trailing axle-equipped trucks Super Dumps because they far exceed the payload, productivity, and return on investment of a conventional dump truck. The Super Dump and trailing axle concept was developed by Strong Industries of Houston, Texas.

Super Tag

A Super Tag is similar to a standard dump truck but is equipped with a tag axle behind the rear-drive axles. The body is longer and is slanted toward the back, which allows for the load to be placed in the truck bed to maximize the payload.



Side Dump Trucks

Side dump trucks have the fastest unloading capacity with the help of side dumping mechanism. These trucks tilt sideways to dump the material into the ground, which means a large area is available to unload the raw construction material. Side dump trucks have one of the largest capacity for these type of trucks. If your construction site is large and has enough space for bigger heavy equipment to move, side dump trucks are ideal for your project as they are very long and have limited maneuverability.

3 Way 

Typically used for highways work, 3 Way tipping gears offer exceptional operating versatility.

Closely paired together, the combination of body and tipping gear needs to be rugged, easy to use and reliable.

Winter Service Vehicles

Many winter service vehicles are based on dump trucks, to allow the placement of ballast to weigh the truck down or to hold sodium or calcium chloride salts for spreading on snow and ice covered surfaces. Plowing is severe service and needs heavy-duty trucks.



Roll-Off Trucks

A Roll-off has a hoist and subframe, but no body, it carries removable containers. The container is loaded on the ground, then pulled onto the back of the truck with a winch and cable. The truck goes to the dump site, after it has been dumped the empty container is taken and placed to be loaded or stored. The hoist is raised and the container slides down the subframe so the rear is on the ground. The container has rollers on the rear and can be moved forward or back until the front of it is lowered onto the ground. The containers are usually open-topped boxes used for rubble and building debris, but rubbish compactor containers are also carried. A newer hook-lift system does the same job, but lifts, lowers, and dumps the container with a boom arrangement instead of a cable and hoist.

Off-Highway Dump Trucks

Off-highway dump trucks are heavy construction equipment and share little resemblance to highway dump trucks. Bigger off-highway dump trucks are used strictly off-road for mining and heavy dirt hauling jobs. There are two primary forms: rigid frame and articulating frame.

The term ‘dump’ truck is not generally used by the mining industry, or by the manufacturers that build these machines. The more appropriate U.S. term for this strictly off road vehicle is “haul truck” and the equivalent European term is ‘dumper’.

To learn more about various types of vehicle classes, check out our Truck Classifications page.

To buy a tarping system for your dump truck, visit Pulltarps’ Build A System configurator.