One TOUGH Truck Pacific Forest Salvage Malahat, British Columbia
You think your truck is tough? Rick Hogg might have you beat with his 1981 Pacific 510 short-logger.
“Pacific built these trucks very strong to last. When we first got it, it looked like a Russian tank carrier . . .it was just really old school,” Rick says.
Pacific Truck & Trailer Limited was a Vancouver-based Canadian manufacturer of heavy trucks famed for their durability. Pacific built both highway and off road trucks and trailers. The P-510 trucks came with steel hoods and fenders or fiberglass hoods. Pacific trucks were also used in oilfield work here in the states.
When Rick found the truck it was totally worn out. “We ripped it into a billion pieces,” he says. The restoration process took two years from start to finish.
“I don’t think I’d ever do that again,” he adds with a chuckle.
It’s likely you won’t see one like it hauling logs around the Pacific Northwest. Not only was it originally an expensive truck - with a price tag of $87,000 - it is a bit on the heavy side. Without the trailer loaded on the back, the truck and loader weigh 37,015 lbs.
But for Rick, it works perfectly. Rick and his brother Rob operate Pacific Forest Salvage. Rick does the trucking and Rob takes care of the harvesting. As a small outfit, a self-loader is a valuable piece of equipment.
The provincial governments hold over 90 percent of the forested land in Canada. It is referred to as “Crown timber.” Pacific Forest Salvage logs mainly on the western side of the island, harvesting mainly cedar on Crown land or private parcels, to be used for logs, cants and shake blocks.
There is more than 400,000 kilometers of government roads in British Columbia. So far, all of the wood has been sent to small mills located on Vancouver Island. It’s not uncommon for Hogg to travel a couple of hundred miles round trip to deliver a load.
The logs can be as large as three feet in diameter, and are cut to length so that they can be loaded onto the truck. 24-foot lengths can go on the truck and the trailer will haul as much as 28 feet.
Some of the wood has been down for a hundred years or more and is soaked through. “Of course, its heavier than water,” Rick says. “When you’ve got dry cedar, you can put a lot of it on the truck, but not when it’s soaking wet.
The truck runs 24.5 tires on the back and float tires on the 20,000 lb steer axle. The frame is constructed from 7/16” steel.
“Pacific made this truck with their own cab and steel fenders, or you could buy it with an International cab and fiberglass front end,” Rick says. “When we’re doing salvage logging, the roads aren’t typically kept up, and where we go, rocks will go right through fiberglass fenders.”
Parts are available for the Pacific, but they aren’t cheap. Simple mirror brackets - from bent steel piping - cost $1,000 per side. Rob fabricated one of the fenders rather than spending the money,
The Pacific P510 Tri-drive is equipped with a 400 Big Cam Cummins motor, Pacific 13-speed transmission, 46,000 lb Rockwell triple-lock rear ends and a 2000 Serco joystick operated loader.
The boom and grapple are carried in a forward position when the truck is loaded, with the grapple secured on a bar, known as a “dink” coming off the front bumper. ‘The loader is super powerful,” says Rick, “and you have to be careful or you’ll yank the bumper right off the cab.”
“The visibility is the shits,” he adds, “but there are a lot of them setup this way. We also got guys who will cut them up so that the loader curls back under and hangs on top above the roof.”
While a good amount of the hauling is done off-road, The Pacific 510 is licensed to be on the main roads. And that is no easy task, requiring the truck to be inspected every six months. “It’s a huge test that they go through, and they’re really, really hard on people. We have a Commercial Vehicle Inspection (CVI) branch and they are roving around inspecting vehicles. We have to go through every scale, and they are required to stop every vehicle over 5,600 kg. They will weigh you and then sometimes they’ll come out and start pulling stuff apart.”
Rick’s self-loader is one of the cleanest you’ll ever see - and for good reason. “You can’t have any leaks here. If an inspector pulls you over, and there’s fluids dripping out, you’re done.”
If you think the roads you’re driving on down here are challenging, it’s likely not as bad as up north. “We’re going dead slow. Vancouver Island has some pretty steep roads with lots of switchbacks,” Rick says. “Being a tri-drive, the Pacific doesn’t like to turn corners. You’ve got to go up into the bush and steer back down in. You can’t have all of the differentials locked in if you expect to turn. I’ve had to back up a few times on switchbacks, which isn’t a whole lot of fun.”
Because drop axles are not allowed in Canada, all axles on the rear must be driven. It has airliner suspension all the way around, and Rick says, “It rides like a Cadillac.”
Yes, this is one tough truck. And, when you put two and two together, that just might be why you don’t see any new ones on the road.
“I think what probably killed Pacific (which built their last truck in 1991),” theorizes Rick, “is that nobody would buy a new truck; you’d buy one and drive it forever.”
by / Darin Burt
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