Matching truck to tank
"Choosing the right truck is important as far as weight and length of chassis is concerned so you can get the proper weight distribution," Rapp says. "Too many people want to put too big a tank on too small a truck."
Mixell agrees. "Weight can be an issue, but it's more likely to be an issue with the smaller trucks than with the larger ones," Mixell says. "People are always trying to put a tank on a small truck and they don't realize that sealer gets very heavy very fast."
But the first thing to consider is the gross vehicle weight (GVW) of the truck. Whether you're mounting a skid system to a flatbed or having a custom system built onto your chassis, you need to know in advance the weight of the entire truck and sealcoating system. Trucks with a GVW of 26,000 lbs. or less do not require a commercial driver's license (CDL) while trucks weighing 26,001 lbs. or more do.
Dye and Rapp say the importance of the CDL requirement cannot be overstated. Once you have trucks that require a CDL to drive you must have licensed CDL drivers to get them to the job. That means a smaller pool of laborers to hire from, and generally higher pay for having a CDL. It also means that not just any employee can hop in a truck and drive it to the next job, to get more sealer, or back to the yard.
Dye says tanks carrying less than 1,000 gal. of sealer can be installed on a truck with a GVW of 22,000 lbs. Because of that, Dye says, Able Industries manufacturers 990-gal. tanks, which are the company's top-selling tank. "We sell about three times as many 990-gal. tanks as 1,500-gal. tanks even though the cost difference is next to nothing," he says. "The CDL requirement makes the difference." Mixell adds Nealco also offers a 990-gal. model to accommodate drivers with no CDL license.
To determine the weight you will be dealing with it's important to talk with the manufacturer of the sealcoating system and tank first.
"You need to talk with the manufacturer to find out the empty weight of the tank, then you need to add the weight of sealer (roughly 10 lbs. per gal.)," Rapp says. "Don't forget to add in the weight of buckets, blowers, sand bags, tools, anything you'll be hauling on the truck. Once you have an idea of the weight the truck will have to carry you can make sure you get the proper truck. You need to provide all that weight information to the dealership so the truck isn't overloaded."
He says overloading makes the truck less safe, wears out tires prematurely, and causes additional wear on the transmission.
"The 1,500-gal. tank used to be our top seller but we're seeing an awful lot of 2,000-gal. tanks these days," Rapp says. "The 2,000-gal. units have really taken off because contractors have recognized that it's better to have as much material as they can on the jobsite."
Another factor to consider when matching the tank to the truck is the length of the tank relative to the length of the truck (from the back of the cab to the back of the truck). Depending on the chassis (or flatbed) size, the tank size, and the options selected, equipment manufacturers need room to position the tank properly, both for safety and for efficiency.
"A skid-mounted system is nice because you have the luxury of moving the tank forward or backward on the truck to balance the weight out as you need to," Mixell says. "Being self-contained offers the option to drop the tank at a site to be used as a storage tank or installed on a new truck quickly if a breakdown occurs."
Rapp says the length of the wheel base is important as some tank weight must be distributed over the rear axle. "A certain amount of weight must be distributed over the rear axle, and if too much of the tank is past the rear axle it makes steering too light," he says. "If there's too much weight behind the rear axle the truck is too light and the driver loses some steering ability."
Dye, on the other hand, says Able doesn't concern itself too much with wheel base measurements. What Able Industries considers crucial for situating the tank is the measurement from the back of the cab to the center of the rear axle. "You have to space the tank properly," Dye says. "You have to have a certain amount of space from the back of the cab to the center of the rear axle, and that space varies depending on the truck and the size of the tank."