Just curious if anyone has some tips or advice for a cement truck rookie. I got offered a position doing local driving a front discharge cement truck in my home town, so im thinking about hanging up otr for good and running this cement gig, only downside is laid off during the winter. But hopefully can find a dump job on the side during the winter. Any tips or experience yall can throw my way would be greatly appreciated.
Front Discharge Cement Trucks
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i never drove a front dumper, but drove a rear discharge for about 8 years. the main thing is be smooth, it is a fluid load and upside down counts against you. never take a contractors word for much of anything, that smooth lot probably has a septic tank, leach lines, holes where trees have been pushed out, and other soft places. they generally don't know about such hazards, and some just don't think about what can happen. look for low places, a big flower pot out in the middle of the yard, a spot where the grass is brown, a flat square spot, all indicate septic tanks. never be hurried along, that is the start of most trouble, look things over. don't speed, don't speed, don't speed, 3/4 of the wrecks i have known of have been excess speed for the conditions or road. those big float tires will slide on a wet road. we run couple hundred trucks, and never have made a profit on a load that never reached the job. some days it is the best job ever, some days the worst.chopper103in Thanks this.
What kind of mixer are you going to be driving? OshKosh, Advance, or Mac.
I don't have any Mac's in my fleet, but their are some in the Company.
My experience (though not driving them) is with the Oshkoshes and the Advances.
You got a foot pedal in both. It is on the left side in each mixer. In the Advance if you move the pedal forward it will charge, and if you move the pedal backwards it will discharge. The Oshkosh is the opposite, forward is discharge in it, and backwards is Charge.
You will have a counter in your truck, this is IMPORTANT FOR STATE WORK. I don't know about your State, but in the State of Kentucky for a State project you must have 70 revolutions before the load is exceptable. The counter counts the revolutions the bowl makes.
You will have a water bowl, the measuring device for this bowl, will be located in one of two ares. I think the OshKosh is on the left side, and the Advance is on the right. I can't tell you for sure, I will have to look in the morning. You have tag Axles learn to use them. There is a button for them.
In order to Load you need to Charge your barrell. In the Advance there is a button you can push, I am not sure about the Osh Kosh. The Osh Kosh is a fancier truck, but the Advance is a better rookie truck.
What kind of advice are you looking for exactly? A 1500 on your Slump meter, (which locatation is also dependent on make and model of truck you are in) is about a 4" slump on most trucks. Learn to read your slump meter, and what it means when it is sitting on certain numbers. I am a Level 1 & 2 Concrete technician so I can offer you advice on the concrete itself.
There are some GOOD class A drivers, that don't belong in a mixer simply because they cannot understand the concept of driving in the middle of the road. So be prepared to drive in the middle of the road on what will fill like a boat. lol
Learn how to use the controls for your shoots. KEEP YOUR FINS CLEAN, and don't forget to grease the ring on your barrell.
If your ambitious try to get into the office eventually, and you won't be laid off in the winter.
I don't know how your plant operates, but I give my drivers an option in the winter, it's not based on experience. Some drivers voluntarily want laid off first, and some want to work, so it works out pretty good for me.
Be prepared to throw ice in your barrell, in the winter, and to have concrete accelerator and hotwater in your mix in the winter.
DON'T leave water in your bowel, that is a rookie mistake. It can also create headaches for the batchman.
You will haul, curb, flowable fill, shotcrete, and many other mixes outside the realm of regular concrete, so listen closely to your plant manager and get the slump right before pulling out.
Yes, yes, the plant manager get's his ### chewed, (and I did yesterday) if a driver get's on the job with the wrong slump, but only YOU can read your slump gauge!!!!!! The plant manager/batchman, should take moistures every morning. It keeps the slump within a better range of control, but sometimes freak things happen, and you get dry rock or wetter rock, than you sampled.
I will have a rookie driver hopefully come monday.
Oh, another very important thing to learn..... remember the foot pedal mentioned above, that controls the direction of your bowl? Well learn to control the speed of the bowl. You can see it in your mirror. You are more than likely going to have to put a sample into a wheel barrell sometime SOONER THAN YOU MAY THINK, and you are going to envitably get several wheel barrell jobs.
I was testings some concrete last year, and it was the boy's first experience with a wheel barrell.... he almost blew out my tire he filled it so full. lol
You are going to get bad pours, it is not your dispatchers/batchman's/plant managers fault..... it just falls in line that way. I have had drivers swear up and down I sent them on the bad loads on purpose, but I never have. You get loaded in the sequence you get get back to the plant/ are needed.
Which brings me to the point that you should come back as soon as legally possible. It will be appreciated.
I have drivers that have been driving mixers for over 30 years and they love it. Some days you will love it some days you will hate it.
If you want anymore advice let me know. I am about to go lay down, it's been a long day, and it's past 9:00. I want to watch some tv, and go to bed.
Just out of curiousity what does a rookie driver get paid in your neck of the woods?
Oh, listen carefully about the directions to the job, and try not to get lost.
If worst comes to worst, sugar acts as a retarding agent.....
Ask some old hands, if they ever saw pop spilled on a slab, and what happened as a result..... it can also kill the concrete, those are the stories you are likely to hear.
Glucose has a chemical reaction with the hydration process.
I keep thinking of more and more things you may need to know. Try to get some sort of container that is capable of measuring by the ounce, and fill it full of air.
Air is like a commericial soap, but don't fill it full of soap. lol.
You're naturally going to have air in your concrete, but what the chemical air does, and create more air pockets. It's like a circulatory system for the concrete. It allows the water that seeps into it in the winter to expand and contract without the concrete cracking all to pieces. If you are on a job where they're are specs. (most specs for air are 6 + or - 2%) and you need to add air to your mix then you will have it. But remember you are a rookie, so look to the wisdom of the more experience, such as your batchman, to tell you how much to add. The batchman will know what the LOI of the fly ash is running, or what else may be causing the air to be low, and he can determine how much to add. If you are curious about the LOI or anything else technical with the concrete, you may also ask me, but you don't really have to know.
Well thanks man very imformative info there. Just looking for any and all advice only worked with concrete twice and was helping someone making sidewalks. Im trying to understand the slump thing more not quite getting it yet. I have a buddy that got me the good word in here and he explained it a little more but I think ill get it more when im actually in the truck looking at it and dealing with it. A rookie up here in minnesota starts out at 12.50 and hour, after 30 days goes to 13.50, and after 100 days of continuous work days it goes to pull pay of 18.00 an hour. I am pretty sure they have oshkosh trucks. They have 6X6 lockable axles, the drop steer tags in the back but thats all I can remember, but I think I remember seeing oshkosh on em. Thanks for the help, oh and that pay rate is in a small town of about 27,000 people. If your in minneapolis area I wanna say start out at 15.00 and full pay rate is around 20.00 an hour. Thanks again im sure ill think of some more questions. Oh and thanks poppy for the things to look out for the septic tanks and low spots.
The rookies around here have been working well before the season started, they got sent out to a federal project to haul fill and aggregate, there might be times when you are figuring on time off that it doesn't happen.
I'd try it if I were in better health, too much farming has made me old too soon.
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