Consider the chassis design and your personal work preferences when choosing where to place the pump on your next service vehicle


QUESTION:

Which side of the truck is the best to locate the vacuum pump? I’ve seen trucks where the pump is on one side or the other. Is there any advantage either way?

Martin Reddinger

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Related: Truck Corner: Everything in its Place

 

ANSWER:

The location of the vacuum pump on a chassis is determined by one of two things:

• The truck chassis has parts or accessories in the way, so there is little or no choice about where the pump can be placed. Sometimes fuel tanks are in the way or other parts that make mounting the pump on one side impossible.

Related: Association News: The Mystery of the Lost Vacuum

• Some owner/operators insist on having the pump on one side or the other because they work primarily from that side and want to monitor equipment operation. Most prefer the pump on the driver’s side because it is quickly accessible when the driver steps out of the truck. It’s easy to check the pressure/vacuum gauge to see how well vacuum is increasing and finish the job efficiently and profitably.

On the other hand, there are owner/operators who prefer the pump on the passenger side because they pull up to a jobsite and the restrooms are on that side. This makes it easy for the driver to pull up to the side of the units, walk around the truck to the passenger side, grab the hose and begin pumping.

One other note: Just because items are in the way on one side or the other doesn’t mean the owner/operator has no say in the matter. Obstacles including fuel tanks, for example, can be moved. If you are having a new truck built and it will make a big difference in how you operate the truck, ask the builder to put the pump where it will help you the most.

Related: Truck Corner: The Magic of Vacuum

It will cost more money to move things around. But in the long run, if the equipment is where you want it, you’ll operate the way you want to. One caution: Make sure that having components moved around on the chassis won’t void the manufacturer’s warranty. Some truck manufacturers don’t want to warranty work done by others when it comes to the construction of their chassis.

If your routes require you to work from both sides of the truck, consider putting a vacuum hose on each side of the truck. This will eliminate dragging the hose around to hard-to-reach locations and it will speed up the day’s work considerably. Again, it will cost more to have the dual hoses. With two hoses, you can usually locate the pump on the driver’s side for easy access and monitoring.

Overall, every owner/operator has preferences about working on a truck and getting the best use out of the pump. Equipment location can make a difference to some, and for others it is less important.

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Women in the driver’s seat?

QUESTION:

Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s just the natural course of things, but what do you think about hiring women as drivers and pumpers?

Nick Sanchez

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Albuquerque, N.M.

 

ANSWER:

Women are doctors and lawyers. College presidents and professors are women. Why not women working as portable restroom operators? Like anything else, the basic question in hiring always comes into play. Are they qualified to do the job? Do they have the knowledge and skills to drive the truck? Do they have the stamina to drag heavy hoses around day after day for eight hours? Do they have the people skills you would expect from any driver?

If those questions are answered with a “yes,” then go for it.


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