Goodyear Big Test Arocs - an all rounder

This is where I really earn my money,” comments Rob Hollyer as he lines up the Rooney Earthmoving Mercedes-Benz Arocs and its four-axle trailer: “It’s about as tough as it can get, especially with the bin on the offside like it is here.”

We’re at a Ballance service centre – a bulk fertiliser store servicing a farming region. This one is at Mayfield, not far off the inland route between Geraldine and Methven. The facility has a row of bins down either side facing a central aisle, and was obviously originally designed for trucks only. With the first two bins there’s more room for the truck, which is largely outside the entranceway.

But the load this time is Sustain, which goes into a bin three down – bringing the truck into the building as well. Consequently, Rob has to get the trailer jack-knifed in at right angles, in a space barely wider than it is long...and working all the time through the left-hand mirrors.

It’s quite a challenge, and calls for a fair deal of careful backward and forward manoeuvring, plus a couple of trips out of the cab to confirm that the trailer is beginning to line up. But eventually he’s done and triggers the hoist lift.
During the whole process the truck’s big, steady mirrors really come into their own, he says, with the two left-side spotters – one at the rear of the passenger window, the other at the front left of the windscreen – especially making life easier.

Now there’s only a couple of things to look out for, he adds: “You’ve got to be careful that the tailgate doesn’t snag on the corner of the bin when you start to move forward to release the load... And of course it wouldn’t be a good look to come out of the doorway with the hoist still up!”

At the store, there’s a key card-operated silo filled with Sustain that can be accessed around the clock by local farmers. Rob also carts bulk loads away from the site to farms as required.

The service centre is a stop on what is a regular run for Rob and the Arocs, which has been in service with Rooneys for six months and has racked up around 54,000 kilometres. It’s one of the first two into the country and the beginning of a replacement programme for Rooney’s largely Merc Axor fleet, now that model has been discontinued.

And, despite the Arocs having impressive credentials as a construction vehicle – including a super-strong chassis, high ground clearance and a complete lineup of all-wheel-drive options – it can also be set up as a very competent road truck.

As Pieter Theron, New Zealand senior manager, Daimler Truck & Bus, points out, the range of options available with the model means that it ideally suits our road-oriented market: “What we’ve done, especially in 8x4 layout, is spec the trucks more for road than construction – but even for Europe the new model has also been designed from the ground up with a broader focus than previous construction models. So, for applications like the test truck we’ve been able to specify...

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