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Volvo off-roader for Mark Luck Ltd

Volvo FMX Tridem truck

Company purchases UK’s first new-series Volvo FMX Tridem rear-steer approved for off-road operation

THANKS to exemplary teamwork by local Volvo dealer MC Truck & Bus Ltd, in Maidstone, Volvo Trucks’ sales engineers and bodybuilders Thompsons (UK) Ltd, construction haulage operators Mark Luck Ltd, of Swanley, Kent, are now operating the first new-series FMX 8x4 rear-steer Tridem in the UK to have been fully-approved for N3G category off-road use.

The truck is equipped with Volvo Dynamic Steering and is the first FMX in the UK to go into service with this option.

Describing the new FMX 8x4 rear-steer Tridem as ‘the best vehicle he has ever driven’, Mark Luck, director of the family-owned business, said: ‘It does about 10% off-road work and we’ve never had it stuck. We’ve had no problems with the air suspension off road and the truck drives like a car. It follows a line really well. Volvo’s Dynamic Steering makes it absolutely effortless to drive.

‘The driver loves it,’ continued Mr Luck. ‘You could even drive off-road with just one finger on the steering wheel, if you wanted to. It’s really easy to drive in London traffic too and we’ve had no issues with ground clearance, which is very good from all angles. The rear-steer Tridem compares well with a six-wheel tipper for manoeuvrability.’

As the Volvo FMX 8x4 rear-steer Tridem was the first of its type in the UK, Volvo Trucks and MC Truck & Bus Ltd arranged for the bodied and fully-loaded truck to be tilt-tested on the tilt table at QinetiQ, in Chobham.

The truck was successfully tilt tested to 7°, without air in the rear suspension. It also achieved a 7° tilt with alternative loading distribution, where the load was repositioned.

The rear axle of the Tridem is single-wheeled and there is no sub-frame mounted on the chassis under the Thompson steel tipper body. A top-mounted shear plate has been fitted to provide additional bracing at the rear of the chassis. The wheelbase is 3,700mm.

Specification of the day-cabbed Volvo FMX 8x4 rear-steer Tridem includes the D13K Euro-6 engine rated at 540hp and the I-Shift automated gearbox. ‘I-Shift is virtually maintenance free,’ said Mr Luck, ‘I wouldn’t change from it and we now specify I-Shift on all our Volvos.’

Mark Luck Ltd have been operating a fleet of Volvo trucks since 1996 and currently have a fleet of 40 trucks fitted with a mix of bodywork types, mainly tipper and tippers with grabs.

Mr Luck was invited by MC Truck & Bus Ltd to attend the launch of the FMX Euro-6 in Sweden in December 2013. There, he drove the Tridem and, after trying the truck in demanding conditions in a working quarry, decided to operate one as an off-road tipper.

Speaking of his company’s decision to operate Volvo trucks on construction haulage, Mr Luck said: ‘Volvos are the best truck on the road for construction. We’ve had a 100% Volvo policy for 20 years. We’re very pleased with the service we receive from MC Truck & Bus. For quality, driveability and durability, there’s nothing better than a Volvo.’

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