Versatile Box Truck Provides California Company Advantage & Style

An eye-catching and versatile box truck is a gift that keeps on giving for California’s Diamond Environmental Services.
Versatile Box Truck Provides California Company Advantage & Style
This 2010 Kenworth box truck is used for equipment deliveries by Diamond Environmental Services in San Diego. (Photo courtesy of Diamond Environmental Services)

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THE RIG:

2010 Kenworth T3 daycab and chassis with a 24-foot aluminum box used for delivery of portable sanitation equipment

COMPANY:

San Diego-based Diamond Environmental Services (www.diamondprovides.com) ordered 32 new Kenworth trucks in 2010, almost identical vehicles except for the wheelbase length. The trucks were then outfitted as box, flatbed, septic service and portable restroom service vehicles. Two vacuum rigs were built out by Southern California Tank and Fabricating with either a blower by Tuthill Vacuum & Blower Systems or a Masport pump, and two of the delivery trucks got new boxes, while the rest of the fleet received working equipment swapped from older rigs. Southern California Tank is the predominant builder of the company's vacuum trucks.

"We were used to running older equipment and fixing it up, but we were to a point where there was not enough used equipment on the market and decided to buy new," says Diamond's president, Eric de Jong. Another impetus for the fleet upgrade was new pollution regulations from the California Air Resources Board that made the older equipment non-compliant.

BEHIND THE WHEEL:

Pablo Flores is dedicated to truck No. 539, and he delivers and picks up portable restrooms and hand-wash stations from Satellite Industries, PolyPortables, Inc. and NuConcepts Monday through Friday. Each of Diamond's trucks is assigned to a specific driver who is responsible for keeping the vehicle clean, well maintained and stocked with appropriate supplies.

SPECS:

The 26,000-pound GVW truck is powered by an 8.3-liter Cummins diesel engine producing 240 hp. Power is transferred to the road through an Allison 3060 auto transmission. The box is 24 feet long and 102 inches wide, and has an aluminum skin over a steel frame and a wooden floor. Equipment load assist is provided by a 4,000-pound, 6-foot by 102-inch Maxon liftgate. The truck is outfitted with a 50-gallon fresh-water tank with a Burks DC-10 wash-down pump put together by Diamond.

"With the Allison auto transmissions, it's just easier driving through town where you can focus on what's around you. It's more user-friendly," de Jong says. "If they're on stick shift, we have to train the drivers to work with clutches and transmissions and braking issues. The modern automatics govern down and you don't have to work the brakes
as often."

SHOWING MY COLORS:

All of Diamond's trucks are now painted a stock Kenworth blue, a shade of navy blue, with a black frame and white-painted wheels. White-painted bumpers were special-ordered as well. "Most people want chrome, but I'm not a chrome guy," de Jong says. "It just gets dirty, smears and smudges, and white is white. It gives you a cleaner impression. The navy blue is the same color as our uniform pants. I didn't want a white truck and I didn't want a blue that's the same color as the restrooms. I just wanted something simple and clean."

The company wanted to avoid showy two-tone paint schemes, favoring a look that is timeless. For de Jong, the dark blue with simple graphics is timeless and he can stick with that look over many years. Where he got a little fancier was with the more elaborate graphics on the side of the delivery trucks, produced by local company National Signs.

His concept was to show a line of people waiting to use a restroom, hitting on a diverse clientele, from young kids to older adults, people of every color, and even a dog waiting with his master. The eye-catching look is finished with a bold company logo and all contact information, the Diamond website most prominently displayed. And for even fuller utilization of technology, he included a 12-inch-square QR code, which passing motorists can scan with their mobile phones and pull up the company website effortlessly.

"I have it (the QR code) on everything, from business cards, to flyers, to the trucks, and toilet decals. It doesn't cost you anything. It's a new technology that the younger clientele like to deal with," he says. "You can pull up to a stoplight and read it with your phone."

WORKIN' FOR A LIVIN':

Driver Flores performs pickups and deliveries up to 10 hours daily and sometimes on Saturdays. It's an urban route in San Diego serving construction sites, municipal locations and events.

A box truck is preferred by de Jong over a flatbed for a variety of reasons. First, anything can be loaded onto the truck without having to tie the equipment down. Secondly, the enclosed box protects equipment from bugs, rain and snow. And thirdly, the box makes a big rolling billboard so Diamond broadcasts its message all over the city.

"There's no littering of paper or risk of units falling off. If I pick up a unit with graffiti from a job, people don't have to see it," de Jong says. "It's more versatile than a flatbed, even though you can't offload from the sides. You see a nice clean truck running down the road all the time."

ROLLING THE ODOMETER:

45,000 miles per year

WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT MY TRUCK:

The way the truck is specced and the attractive graphics, de Jong says. "The overall look is clean and it gets a lot of good comments. The trucks turned out good and we'll probably buy more."

CREATURE COMFORTS:

There's no bling on these rigs, just the basics for local transport, including AM/FM radio, electric windows, comfortable high-back seats, air-ride suspension, air-ride seat and air-ride cab.

WHY KENWORTH?

The company considered several options, including International, Hino, Chevy, Ford, and decided the best two choices were Kenworth and Peterbilt. "After getting quotes and reviewing specs from everyone else, we felt they had the best vehicles for the value. They weren't the lowest price, either," de Jong says. "They had very similar specs; they used the same body and chassis and the only difference was the cab configuration and the name on the dash. But Kenworth came up with a better price than Peterbilt." They were also confident in service availability with Kenworth.

PAMPERING MY RIG:

Drivers maintain their trucks for the long haul. Daily pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection report worksheets are mandatory, including everything from tires and exhaust to electrical and brakes. Issues are addressed in the evening at a dedicated company maintenance shop. Drivers are also charged with washing off the dust every night at the company's three-bay wash center, and an outside company gives a full wash to each truck weekly during the busy season, twice a month or monthly in the winter.

"We want to leave a good impression," de Jong says. "The toilets are always dirty, according to the public, so we want to roll up looking sharp."

MY BACKUP SERVICE VEHICLE:

The company kept older 2002 to 2004 International flatbed trucks to serve as spares for the newer delivery trucks.

WHEN I'M NOT IN THE CAB:

Rarely behind the wheel of one of the work trucks anymore, de Jong still works long hours and escapes the phone calls and relieves stress on several annual hunting trips. He travels to New Mexico, Idaho and even Canada in search of everything from antelope to elk and moose. He also keeps busy with his family, including wife Silva and children Ella, Robert and Niels. Southern California provides lots of recreation opportunities. "The mountains are close by and you can surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon if you really want to do it," he says.



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