I will tell you of some of my adventures. My employment for some years has been at a limestone fabrication mill where they cut limestone for the exterior of large buildings. Their refuse is tons of random sizes and shapes of stone. My home at that time consisted of a sloping lawn with the home near the top of the slope. I wanted a workshop but these buildings do not work well on a slope. I negotiated to hual some scrap stone from my work to level the area for a building. My commute was thirty six (36) mile and the cost of a large truck to and from work each day would make this cost prohibitive. I had a trailer but parking a two piece rig was often too space consuming so, I developed a solution. Knowing this was going to be a long term adventure I did not want to take the chance of getting a citation for overloads. I researched legal laws to find the average half ton pick up could only haul about eight hundred (800) pounds legally. Small loads seemed too time consuming and overloading such vehicle makes for unsafe swaying and deficeint stopping concerns.
With the purchase of a nineteen seventy four (1974) GMC half ton pickup and some development,the adventure was accomplished. I removed the box bed from the pickup. After careful measuring and design I purchased the rear axle and some frame from a like vehicle. The two truck frames were torch cut in a manner that allowed the curved rise over the back axle to match and strengthen each other. The second differential was mounted on a seperate set of leaf springs just inside of the original. this was to allow a smoother ride than cutting each into short stubby springs like over the road,semi trucks do. By fabricating brackets and shackles the two axles were aligned properly. The main leaf supported the weight first for traction and the additional spring and axle supported weight as the load was applied. Knowing some of the laws that applied to commerical and larger vehicles, I was concerned about the possibility of a citation for the extra axle. I researched extensively through the laws that applied. Internet was not available then so long distance phone calls to locate the correct person was challenging. Finally, a very helpful man named Paul Alexander at the Indianapolis State House helped research. Paul read the decree. The Indiana Interal Revenue ruling, 6-6-4.1-2 states that vehicles with more than two axles must obtain and maintain a fuel permit.
This process consisted of a three (3) page form filed quarterly. All mileage and expenses must be logged and sent into the stateof Indiana four times per year. This seemed rediculous but it was better than receiving a commerial citation for operating illegally . I did this for some period of time until once again talking to Paul Alexander, because the report increased to a thirteen page report. Paul read elsewhere where the word “commercial”was used. He said, you are not using this commercially, are you? Well no, the process of loading tons of rock and unloading it “manually, that is by hand” did was not appealing even for a few dollars. I could not afford a dump system at the time.
My brother Ted came up with the advertising concept that described this vehicle as non-commerical. My nephew Rick King worked for a monument company where they printed stencils. On each door as if it were a company logo was printed, NOBODYS TRUCKING COMPANY – EVERY JOB IS TOO LARGE OR TOO SMALL.
This advertising got a lot of comments. Questions like, who do you work for, what do you do, whose truck is it. During my research I discovered that the early model Toranado auto had the same bolt pattern as this truck. Aw, shucks,I know I shouldn’t do this but with the help of Don Apple and his expertise at a machine shop we made dual wheel adapters. One of the Toranado wheel was bolted to the original lug bolts of the differential. Then the dual adapter and the second Toranado wheel was bolted on but inverted. This provided a deep dish look like bud wheels on the big rigs. Now we had a ten wheeler half ton pickup. That is right, a half ton nineteen seventy-four GMC with tandem duals. I even took the centers out of two Toranado wheels, turned them around and reinstalled them to have the same look on the front of the truck. These wheels have several holes on their center pieces that make them more realistic. Although I did notice that none of the pictures had the conveted wheels on the front axle of the truck.
The stone being thrown in the bed or occasionallly I could get it loaded, was very distructive to the bed. So I located a large metal tank and with the help of Harvey Wittmer, we cut it to about four feet wide, six feet long and three and a half feet high. This made a more durable hauling platform for the material. The extra tire surface sure displayed the rain with a rooster tail of water. I had an old metal livestock waterer that my mind could as fenders. No one manufactured dual wheel, fifteen inch fenders and being low on funding, we developed again.
The waterer sides were made in two pieces and by removing the bolts, I had two pieces about the right length. By laying the metal over two round pieces of firewood and standing in the middle, the metal formed a shape with flats near the center and curves on each end. With proper brackets and bolts, the cost free,scrap material made fine fenders. You will see the fenders in the pictures.
Knowing well that this contraption would get a lot of stares, my family bought a license plate for me that said, “Don’t Laugh, Its Paid for”. You will see this license plate on the rear of the hauling box. The box had no back in it so I built a rear door/ tailgate/ ramp to make it easier to access and unload.The tail gate folded down to help walking up into the bed. This tall height helped to prevent small rocks and dust from flying out of the bed when traveling.
This concept was the beginning of THE TRUCKLER. The hauling capacities of most pickup trucks allow for more weight than can be hauled on its own frame and axle components. This is called its towing capacity. Most owner add a trailer to haul larger and heavier loads. The trailer is a wonderful addition to a towing vehicle but often it becomes inconvenient. As in the ability to park in a single parking space or having to park near the farthest limit of a parking lot and walk. Many haulers express dismay for towing a trailer empty to get something. Insurance issues used to be a problem for some people. The total length of the two piece vehicle is often an issue when attempting to load or unload in confined spaces. Everyone has to eat and while traveling on the roads and highways, parking at fast food establishments is a challenge. Yes, there is the official truck stops but most small transporters do not choose to hassle with the big rigs. Have you ever tried to walk around one of those rigs only to find you must walk the length of another one just to go to the bathroom? After many hours of research and analization, it seemed viable to mass produce this concept to conserve fuel and add convenience to the hauling experience. This allows us to convert small pickup trucks to conform to many needs. For the conservative and low cost transporter, there is the econo model. This is a simple long and wide platform with a slant rear for loading. The econo comes with strong wooden floor and very few frills. Often the econo customer chooses to use the standard wheels that come along with the load bearing axle. The addition is obvious with a white wheel behind his original wheels. Although the ride and capacity is sufficient for his task.
The other end of the spectrum is a totally loaded model with adjustable loading ramps, lighted loading area, full length locking storage compartments , loading winch, custom wheels, extravagant lighting, running boards, custom paint, sun visors, access steps, tie down rings, enclosed van bodies, and much more. Some conversions can be with small economical pickups to transport lawn mowing equipment. While others are tandem dual wheel heavy haulers that transport heavy equipment. If one chooses, the conversion can add up to two more axles, totalling three rear axles. This is dependent upon the total Hunters or RVers can choose to have a TRUCKLER with half house and half open hauling platform. This gives them a cabin on wheels and also room for their RVs behind it.
Construction crews choose to have a crew cab with an enclosed body to secure their tools and transport their workers. These vehicles can have the fold down rear door/ramp along with the inside ramp for walk in access or barn style doors. The limit of the TRUCKLER configuration is only in the customers mind.