Texas End Dump Trailer Guide

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Texas End Dump Trailer Guide


August 16, 2021


What is an End Dump Trailer?


When you hear the words “end dump”, your brain probably ends up conjuring up images of your good ol’ average dump truck. End dumps are waste transport and disposal vehicles with an open-top box. These boxes are mechanically raised into the air, and their contents are unloaded out the back by lifting the front-most part upward while the rear portion remains close to the bottom. It is important to note that end dumps are rarely used to transport liquids because it is difficult to close the back gate without spillage.


Aluminum vs. Steel


Aluminum and steel are two of the most widely used components in modern appliances. They are used in home and kitchen appliances, electronics, personal devices, and most importantly, why you clicked on this article: end dump trailers. Steel and aluminum both have their own set of benefits; benefits that depend on your taste and needs. If you're not sure which way to go, ask yourself two questions: What am I going to do with my trailer?” and “What am I towing it with?”. If you're going to use it as a daily work trailer and expectit to take a pounding, steel is the way to go. Steel is more robust and heavier than aluminum, as are steel welds. Aluminum is a good option whether you're hauling a trailer over long distances or with a small tow vehicle for it is 30%lighter than steel—making it great for less aggressive ventures.


End Dump Trailers Come in a Variety of Shapes and Sizes


There are several variants, ranging from frames to gates and allin between. Channel, I-beam, and tubular are the three most common frame types for dump trailers. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, it comes down to cost and power.


Channel frame:

This is the cheapest and weakest frame type, but it's common in smaller dump trailers. A rectangular frame with one side missing is known as a channel frame. The supports may now slip inside the frame and be bolted together.

I-beam frame:

Also referred to as a "middle-ground" frame, I-beam frames are used on longer trailers. It's a frame with a mid-price and mid-strength. Two, often three, I-beams are used in these frames.


Tubular frame:

The most durable, but also the most costly, frame type. In terms of shape, tubular frames are almost identical to channel frames, with the exception that they are fully closed. Frequently found in small to medium-sized dump trucks.

Popular end dump manufacturers and brands include names such as Travis Body & Trailer, Inc, Ranco by Western, Midland, and Mac--each the best depending on your personal style, taste, and needs of your project.


What You Can Haul with an End Dump Trailer


Hauling and unloading an end dump trailer involves raising the dump box into the air and dumping it from the back. End dump trailers can hold more weight than a normal dump truck and unload more quickly. They can also transport tough items, such as massive demolition rubble, with ease. They are typically built with a heavy-sided architecture that allows them to withstand certain harsh and abrasive materials. In comparison to their counterpart, the “side dump”, end dump trailers have these higher sides and, as a result, can hold more cubic yardage but not inherently more weight. To optimize payload,newer end dumps are frequently made of aluminum; however, some, on the other hand, are made of AR400 abrasion-resistant material, which is commonly used in "side" dumps. The materials typically carried by end dumps, such as sand, gravel, crushed stone, and asphalt, are relatively gentle on walls,floors, and other surfaces due to the strong built described.


The following items are better to haul in end dump trailers:


●     River rock

●     Crushed concrete & limestone

●     Sand

●     Millings

●     Demolition

●     Road/building construction




Whether for unloading onto a worksite or any personal dump-ventures, end dumps are perfect tools for projects with a lot of content that needs to be moved. They have a quick load/unload time, making them cost-effective for moving massive amounts of building material.


An end dumps carry weight depends heavily on the specific road regulations, the power unit weight, and the composition of the trailer. A steel trailer, typically referred to as a Round Bottom, will be heavier and will have a payload of approximately 21 to 23 tons. By contrast, an aluminum end dump is much lighter and can carry anywhere from 23-28 tons, with some set-ups being able to approach 30-ton payloads. 

End dumps are typically loaded by heavy machinery, such as a front-end loader or excavator, or by a series of conveyor belts. End dumps are top load trailers. An owner-operator with an end dump trailer will uncover the trailer via an electric tarp switch in the cab. With the trailer uncovered, the heavy machinery is free to load from the top of the trailer, being careful to evenly distribute the material. Once loaded, the owner-operator flips the tarp switch, covers the load, and continues their run.  

There are several different types of hydraulic lifts that are usually part of dump trailers. These include telescopic, dual-piston, and scissor lifts, among others. Most dump trailers use hydraulics to automatically lift the dump box and unload the materials in a quick, seamless action.

An end dump is an excellent investment for owner operators or construction companies that transport bulk aggregate on a frequent basis. Depending on your needs, a steel or aluminum end dump will ensure that you are able to reliable keep your customers jobsites and stockpiles full. 

Depending on market timing, a typical aluminum end dump will range between $15,000 to $70,000+, with steel round bottoms priced around $10,000-$50,000+. These trailers are also offered for rent or lease, with trailers available for around $850-$2,000 per month. When renting or leasing, it is typical for all repairs to be the responsibility of the renting owner operator. 


Flex base can be an excellent choice for a driveway but is not often used as a primary input in TXDOT construction. Flex base is best suited for farm roads, driveways, RV pads, and for other foundations that will not receive heavy traffic. Flex base is cheaper than most alternative options, such as asphalt or base that meets TXDOT specifications. Additionally, once set and compacted, a flex base road or driveway is cheaper and easier to maintain.

Yes, road base and flex base are the same material family. That said, the differentiating factor is typically the testing results of each material. When shopping for material, it is important to identify exactly what type of material you are buying. Retailers will categorize Base as a broad category and can leave identification to consumers, which is challenging and confusing. In general, if a retailer is selling a Road Base it can be assumed that the material is of higher construction quality than flex base, meaning it will have a wider range of approved uses. However, some vendors will sell Flex Base as a Road Base; this makes it important to understand if the material you are purchasing is a true Flex Base, is ‘Spec 247’, or is TXDOT approved. With each increase in quality comes an increase in cost, so it is important to identify which material will best suit the needs of your project.

Flex Base is a mixture of loose aggregate and coarse aggregate, can be a wide range of color based on source location, and is composed of materials ranging from dirt to rock that are 1”-3” in size. Most Flex Base, particularly around Central Texas, will range from tan to brown, will consist of a dirt material and rocks that range from 1” to 2” in diameter. There are specialty materials that will include rocks up to 3” in size, but these are typically reserved for heavy construction projects.

Any driveway’s depth should be at least 5” to ensure structural integrity and better load capacity. For road base in particular, experts recommend a thickness of 6-8”.

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