On The Job: All-Wheel Drive And 4X4 Trucks In Action
They’re rugged, they’re bold and they’re built tough to ride out the trickiest of terrain and weather conditions. All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and 4×4 trucks have always been popular professional transport options but they are fast gaining traction in leisure spaces—getting people where they need to go, no matter how rough the track may get.
In this second instalment of our two-part blog series celebrating all things off-road, let’s look at the different types of AWD and 4×4 trucks and see them in action, turning mountains into molehills.
Off the beaten track
Here in Australia, 4×4 and AWD trucks are commonly seen in action with emergency services and local councils, working in some extremely harsh environments.
Country and regional fire service fleets are often populated with light, medium and heavy-duty 4×4 trucks, due to their ability navigate all manner of off-road terrain. Check out the South Australian Country Fire Service and their purpose-built fleet of 4×4 tankers, and the Tasmania Fire Service battling nature’s extremes with their 4×4 fleet.
Mining and exploration companies are known to operate 4×4 and AWD trucks, utilising their off-road capability to explore new prospecting sites. They’re also prevalent in civil services, council works, construction and other trade applications like arborists and landscapers who need access to national parks, subdivision sites, and other difficult access areas with less than ideal road conditions.
4×4 and AWD trucks are also popular amongst fleet managers and owners seeking to maximise value from their capital equipment—by offering increased performance in tough conditions, and significant advantages in efficiency and payload over other four-and two-wheel drive vehicles in the same scenario. Have a look at how ABLE Bus and Coach use their unique range of 4×4 trucks to transport passengers on off-outback road adventures.
The best fit: body type
There are many kinds of 4×4 and AWD trucks that meet the needs of different applications. For those requiring a more bespoke build, there are multiple cab-chassis options, which can be customised to suit the task at hand.
In the pre-bodied market, there are specialty options that cover everything from tipper, service bodies and trays– all suited to a broad spectrum of uses.
Extremely adaptable, a tray body type is well suited to everyday trades, council and field service activities, with the long, flat surface offering plenty of space for tool box arrangements and general equipment. Many tray bodies feature integrated load restraint anchor points and, removable drop sides and tailgates, allowing for flexible access while keeping everything tied down securely on the back.
Custom service bodies are an excellent solution for operators who need an on-the-go workshop with tools and equipment in easy (and organised) reach.
The best friend of tradies on call, field service personnel and emergency capital equipment services—who often need to operate in not-so-perfect road conditions—4×4 and AWD service bodied products come into their own in these situations.
The key features of a service bodied truck are secure, lockable storage compartments, storage zones for generators and the like, as well as a capable tow pack for trailers.
The perfect match for rugged applications like construction, landscaping and excavation, the better tipper bodies should include auto release two-way tailgates, drop sides and a fast, smooth tipping function. Also available in three-way, tri-tipping configurations, they can be an incredibly versatile off-road option when paired with a 4×4 or AWD driveline.
AMT cab chassis
A common misconception is that most 4×4 trucks are only available with a manual transmission, but there are many options now available for both pre-bodied and cab chassis trucks with two-pedal Automated Manual Transmissions (AMT).
This two pedal operating ease allows for more drivers to get behind the wheel: extensively demonstrated in volunteer institutions like country fire brigades and services, populated by part timers and volunteers.
An AMT 4×4 truck bypasses driver skill shortages, giving volunteer and multiple drivers the freedom to be behind the wheel whenever the situation demands. A cab chassis 4×4 or AWD truck can be easily customised for almost any application imaginable.
When the track ends
On the clock or on your weekend off, you might see an AWD truck making light work of loose gravel, or a rugged 4×4 tackling sand dunes at the beach. Whatever the scenario, AWD and 4×4 trucks are a great asset for businesses and fun-seekers alike and are adaptable for just about any task that requires mobility in hard to access areas.
Most importantly, with such a huge range of body types and models on the market today, there’s sure to be room (and payload) to spare for transporting everything necessary to complete the job—or adventure!
Want to see more trucks working hard, even during COVID-19? Check out a day in the life with JLM Plumb’n’Gasfit.