Over the years we have run some fairly interesting gritters, mainly Fodens and ERFs but there have been Dodge, Albion, Bedford, Ford and half a dozen Atkinsons in the gritter fleet.
With the Fodens and ERFs we usually buy a well maintained ex fleet vehicle in good condition, a suitable driveline configuration along with the appropriate wheelbase and then convert it to our needs. If the wheelbase is too long then then the first job is to shorten it, then a heavy duty bumper and plough frame is fitted, the chassis is then shot blasted and sprayed with numerous coats of suitable paint. A suitable gritter body will have been sourced and given the same paint treatment, we manufacture a subframe to sit between the chassis and body, fit the body to the chassis and then fit the hydraulics for the body body and plough, lastly the electrics will be waterproofed and all the extra lights and beacons fitted. As a matter of course we fit new drive axle tyres.
The Atkinsons were all 6 x6 motorway gritters, equipped to a high standard but terribly complicated on the actual gritting equipment side. One of the Atkinsons had been converted to 4 x 4 and much simpler gritting equipment fitted (its still sat in a field in Meltham awaiting renovation). Another drawback was the steel cab floor and the whole of the back of the cab was steel, this was to carry the weight of all the valves, knobs and levers for the hydraulics, so although the cab was mainly fibre glass, the steel parts suffered from severe corrosion problems. Generally speaking the Fodens, ERFs and Atkinson dont give us much bother, however however our experiences with the lighter mass produced vehicles was very rarely good. Ford D series needed a steady stream of gear box and dif replacements, the cabs just disintegrated after a couple of years, it was a similar story with the Bedford 4 x 4s, they just aren’t up to the job. The Fodens etc. cost us more initially but would last up to 12 years not two or three.