Heavy Equipment Transporter

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Phase I Truck Images Phase II Truck Images Phase III Truck Images  


Phase IV Truck Images Phase V Truck Images    


I started this project in the Fall of 2001 when I began my Masters’ program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I chose a heavy truck for my project since these vehicles are custom made which enabled me to get information & specifications on the different components from various manufacturers. I used the Technical Data Manuals, SAE – Motor Truck Engineering Handbook, 4th Edition, by James Fitch, the Tire & Rim Association Handbook -2003, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 658 and other relevant standards to arrive at the current geometry for my truck. I had been using Pro/ENGINNER since 1997 and the first phase of the project which lasted 4 months was modeled using Pro/ENGINEER (release 2000i2 & release 2001.)  Around that time I noticed that many companies were migrating to CATIA and since my department had one license for CATIA, the subsequent phases of the project were modeled in CATIA starting from the Winter of 2002. I am still working on this project in CATIA and I will be updating my website if there are any significant changes in my design. I will now give a brief description of the trucks I modeled in each phase of the project.


Phase I

            This truck was modeled using Pro/ENGINEER. It was based on a Mack Mining Truck – M45SX. I wanted to design a truck which could be used for transporting heavy loads like nuclear reactors and transformers and since some of the heavy-transport companies use former mining trucks, converted to pull semi-trailers and full trailers, I chose the M45SX as a basis for my design. When I started modeling this truck I had to rely entirely on pictures I found on the internet. I had contacted Mack Trucks for more information on this specific model but I was told that it was an obsolete model and they had no information on it. Hence my model differs from the actual truck in that it doesn’t have an offset cab and it has a front-drive axle. A year after I finished the layout for this truck, I contacted the Mack Museum and got a brochure for the M45SX which I used to correct some of the differences in my models.


Phase II

            This truck was modeled in CATIA. I started learning CATIA in the Fall of 2001 and by Winter 2002, I was modeling the second phase of the project in CATIA. The first few designs were based on Liebherr All Terrain Mobile Cranes. I was interested in this design because the location of the cab gave me a lower overall height and a low center-of-gravity. But since most of the components for these cranes were made by Liebherr, I couldn’t find more information on them and I began exploring other alternatives for my truck. I finally decided to model this truck as a Conventional tractor, with the information I had at that time. This model and my subsequent models were greatly influenced by the Kenworth range of trucks.


Phase III

            This was a very brief phase of the project during which I explored the possibility of modeling the truck after Terex / Unit Rig Dump trucks. I had read an article on the internet on the advantages of Diesel Electric Drives and I tried to build a truck using specifications of commercial GE diesel-electric truck drives. But it was soon evident that the truck would be too huge to run on commercial highways and hence this option was abandoned.


Phase IV

            This phase began around May 2003. I had just finished reading the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23 (Highways), Part 658 Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation – which explains the weight & dimensional requirements of vehicles operated on US highways and I needed to redesign my truck. So I attempted to distribute the load on the rear axles by having 4 drive axles in the rear. I also used a forward-set front axle to mount the engine as low as possible on the chassis. But this resulted in a tractor unit which was almost 40’ long. When I showed my design to another graduate student, he suggested that I would require a lot of steering effort with 4 rigid axles in the rear.


Phase V

            This phase began around January 2004. I modeled this truck around the DART 2085. This truck currently has over 1400 parts. I am currently learning ADAMS and I intend to perform an analysis on the steering geometry. I am still studying books & manuals and I will refine my design or design a new truck if I find any deficiencies in my current design.



            I couldn’t have modeled this truck without the help of the employees of following companies. My local Caterpillar dealer helped me in getting the installation details of the engine, I chose. Allison Transmission gave me the installation drawings for the transmission. Axletech International supplied the installation drawings for the front & rear drive axles, Michelin Tire Company helped me in choosing an optimum tire for my application and sent me their earthmover technical data book. Mack Museum sent me the specifications and images of the M45SX truck. Terex Mining sent me the brochure for the DART 2085 and gave me a lot of suggestions & guidance on finding other resources.