Ontario’s BJ’s Portables loves its new blue Dodge restroom service vehicle
2011 Dodge Ram 5500 SLT with 780-Imperial gallon (936 USG) three-compartment vacuum tank.
BEHIND THE WHEEL:
Portable sanitation route driver Lyle Noble.
BJ’s Portable Toilets/John Noble Septic Services Inc., Creemore, Ontario, Canada.
The standard cab Dodge, equipped with a Cummins diesel engine and 4-wheel drive transmission, was built out by Vacutrux Limited with a 450-Imperial gallon (540 USG) waste/dual 165-Imperial gallon (198 USG) freshwater compartment galvanized steel tank. Vacuum is produced through a beefier-than-recommended Wallenstein 302 HRVPA pump. Side rails and storage boxes are stainless steel for durability. An onboard pressure washer is used for cleaning restrooms and quick-filling hand-wash stations.
SHOWING MY COLORS:
The rig is painted in a simple metallic blue (Dodge color Deep Water Blue Pearlcoat) cab and white tank to match the original look of the company’s first trucks more than 20 years ago. The silver door graphics and simple blue graphics on the tank were produced by Vital Signs. Aluminum wheels shine up better than steel wheels in the four-season Canadian weather. “The steel wheels start rusting after about a year, and the whole trick is to keep the truck looking good three to four years down the road,’’ says Kris Noble, son of company owner Brenda Noble.
WORKIN’ FOR A LIVIN’:
BJ’s lead portable sanitation service truck runs routes Monday through Thursday, averaging 35 services and 150 miles per day, mostly stopping at construction sites and parks. On Friday, the truck is used to deliver restrooms for weekend customers using a fold-down two-unit carrier.
ROLLING THE ODOMETER:
30,000 to 40,000 miles per year.
WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT MY TRUCK:
Kris Noble says the tank capacity in the Dodge is slightly larger than previous route runners, adding 50 Imperial gallons (60 USG) of waste and 70 Imperial gallons (84 USG) gallons of freshwater. “It’s not really a big difference, but you can gain 4-5 more toilets, which can be handy by the end of the day,’’ he says. He’s also happy about a new valve design for the three-compartment tanks. Each water compartment has a separate fill valve for winter, so he can add freshwater to one and salt brine to the other without remembering to redirect the flow from a single valve to one tank or the other, which was the previous design. In summer, a single valve on the passenger side of the truck fills both water tanks simultaneously. This truck also adds an electric water pump, which means the driver can now multitask by pumping a toilet and filling hand-wash units at the same time. In previous trucks all functions worked off the truck’s PTO.
The SLT Series Dodge offers a variety of interior amenities including power seats, air conditioning, cruise and tilt, and stereo with Sirius satellite radio. But Noble opted against leather seats in the new rig. “We went away from leather. Leather seemed like a good idea, but with constant sliding in and out of the truck, it wore the leather down and it didn’t seem worth the money,’’ he says.
The last two Ford trucks bought by BJ’s had similar engine problems and Noble wasn’t confident in a new 6-liter engine Ford was planning to release in the 2011 model year. By contrast, they thought the Cummins diesel in the Dodge was a proven product. “We didn’t want to be the guinea pig with the new engine so we switched to Dodge,’’ he says.
PAMPERING MY RIG:
Located an hour north of Toronto, BJ’s rigs see a lot of slop and winter salt. And handling liquid waste as well, Noble learned a lesson about cleanliness from his father, John, and has kept up the tradition of daily vehicle washing since John passed away in 2009. “If there was a rule with dad, it was that when you come home, you’ve got to clean the truck. Septic trucks have a bad stigma from the start; you’ve got to keep them clean.’’ When each truck returns from a route, it is cleaned with a power washer and pulled into a heated shop for the night. Drivers clean the interiors every week or two.
MY BACKUP SERVICE VEHICLE:
Noble is keeping a 2005 Ford F-550 from Vacutrux with a steel 400-Imperial gallon (480 USG) waste/200-Imperial gallon (240 USG) freshwater tank to fill in when needed. And the company is having Vacutrux build another Dodge 5500 with the same specs as its newest truck. The company also runs a 2008 Volvo with a 3,600-Imperial gallon (4,323 USG) galvanized steel tank and Wallenstein pump from Vacutrux for septic service.
WHEN I’M NOT IN THE CAB:
Work is a constant for the family business with an inventory of 330 PolyJohn Enterprises Inc. restrooms. But when Kris has free time, he likes to hang out with friends and enjoy a barbecue. Brenda works part time at the local Creemore Springs Brewery.
Park it over here!
Do you have a truck that’s a real head-turner on the highway? This feature is your opportunity to share it with readers of PRO. Take a digital photo of your PRO Ride, posing the owner(s) with the truck. Any Portable Sanitation industry truck is acceptable.
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