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Arrakkis 09-28-2010 09:43 AM

Tandem loaded truck over soft lawn?
I am trying to get a lot of dirt into my back yard to fill some low spots. We tried to drive a fully loaded tandem dumper over my lawn but the soil is so soft that the truck just started to sink in. The driver said that he wasn't going to go in for fear of getting stuck. So now I am not sure how I'm gonna get that dirt back there in an economical way.

I've seen the composite mat and I think they'd work excellent but they are really expensive and I've got a lot of ground to cover, about 120 feet with a hill that's about a 7 foot elevation at a good grade. I called around to see if I could rent some but no one has them available for rent in my area, (Jackson, NJ).

Could I use plywood and if so what type, thickness should I buy? BTW, the driver said the truck is about 70,000 lb so...

Thanks for any help. Brad

Anti-wingnut 09-28-2010 09:59 AM

Labor Ready and some wheel barrows

kredman 09-28-2010 11:24 AM

dump it and start wheeling it in!

Arrakkis 09-28-2010 11:44 AM

I'm talking a lot of dirt here, say 10 to 15 full loads at 18 yards a load. If I truly have to I'll rent a skid steer for a week because wheel barrowing it in is not an option.

47_47 09-28-2010 01:57 PM

That's a lot of dirt. I've borrowed a Brimar dump trailer hitched to my pick-up. Neighbor loaded it with his tractor, drove approx 400' and dumped. Moved 4 tandems worth in 6 hours. Spent the next day grading with the tractor (new area and ruts).

If you have enough room to have all the dirt on site, I'd look at hiring a high lift and operator. You are right about a week with a small skid steer. Either way' its the traveling that will take up most of the time.

kredman 09-28-2010 02:00 PM

That is a lot- good luck!

downunder 09-28-2010 06:30 PM

Skid steer is not what you want for moving this much material. You just don't get that much in a bucket even though you are only going 100 ft. I would go with a front end loader. Do you want to move it all this distance or start filling and smoothing along the way?

I see the plan you used but I think OP would be better served to move it and smooth it as he dumps each load.

GardenConcepts 09-28-2010 07:19 PM

I do this type of work with a rubber-tracked skid steer loader with a 1/2 yard bucket. Yes, it is a lot of trips, but it won't leave bigs ruts like a rubber-tired skid steer or front end loader. You should be able to do a 120' round trip in about 2-3 minutes. I would also make a 'road' of 3/4" plywood if you want to protect nice lawn areas.

frenchelectrican 09-28-2010 08:54 PM

This what I useally do with my service truck in soft ground I used tripled up 3/4 inch plywood with about 20 to 24 inch wide and make a plankway with it most case it work pretty good due it will spread the weight and when ya get done either you can keep it or throw it away or use that for burning pile like outdoor fireplace.

( Mine service truck weight in 25000 KG)

I keep few hevey plankboard on hand where I know it may ruin the grass and that really help to reduce the chance to get stuck in soft ground.

I have driven few hevier truck like Cement truck or hevey equiment trailer and they can wreckhovac if not planned right.

other option is rent a tracked skidsteer loader and make quite few trips I know it will take a while but some case it will make less stress on the ground.


Arrakkis 09-29-2010 08:10 AM


Originally Posted by frenchelectrican (Post 508613)
I used tripled up 3/4 inch plywood with about 20 to 24 inch wide and make a plankway with it most case it work pretty good due it will spread the weight
( Mine service truck weight in 25000 KG)

Thanks for the reply. Now, you say you triple up 3/4 plywood, so how do you do this? just stack it on top of each other or do you glue it together or something? Also, that can get pretty expensive, why not use the composite mats? For me they don't make a lot of sense because I would only use them once and that's why I'm asking about using plywood. Triple skacking 3/4 inch plywood won't be to much cheaper. I was thinking of only using a single layer of 3/4 plywood, how do you think that would hold up for 15 tandem loads? Thanks

frenchelectrican 09-29-2010 09:58 AM


Originally Posted by Arrakkis (Post 508694)
I was thinking of only using a single layer of 3/4 plywood, how do you think that would hold up for 15 tandem loads? Thanks

A single layer of 3/4 inch plywood will only last maybe 3 loads before it rip apart espcally when it fully loaded at 32000KG { APX 70000 lbs } depending on the soil if dry it will be not too bad but once it get wet it complety diffrent ballpark of game to deal with it.

The triple layer which I Have it is bolted not glued type and I make them in sections so if need more all I have to bolt in few more sections and I have a flange that will help to stay in the place unless you make a turn then I leave it float and have small peices to fill in gap or make a overlayer one of the two depending on the situation.

In worst case senirco I used railway tie or monster planks mats which they are about 8X8 by 10 feet or so.


downunder 09-29-2010 10:41 AM

Here's where I'm coming from:
I work for a govt parks dept. I have operated both of these, plus D-4s, 930 front end loader, etc. Plus a Mantis cultivator!:thumbsup:

I see your point, but...
May be presumptious on my part, but most folks don't just jump right in with a skid steer. So I am thinking the learning curve might be little quicker with a front end loader. And tracks take a different handling approach than tires when rough grading, i.e. small bumps/rocks etc. through you off more with tracks than tires. Just my experience both personally and with others I have taught to run each. So, in my hands and yours, tracks are better, but.

My yard was once farmland. Aside from the idiot contractor who graded most of the topsoil away for the house, the rest of the yard is good. I used a turning plow to prep a garden area once and never hit Georgia clay. Good 10-12 inches of soil. I say that for this point- driving over it for a number of years in a pickup was never a problem. One day I brought home a 1 ton load of chips and the truck bogged down at the top of the hill just before I was going to dump it out. This was on high ground and no recent rain. The soil is just that soft there. So where 70000 lbs might be a problem, skid steer with or without tracks or a similar sized tractor might not be.

Come to think of it, a crawler with a bucket would be ideal!:thumbup:

But I would look for a tractor with front end loader and a gill rake/pulverizer or box blade on the back. For a lawn, I think the OP would get a smoother job faster. That much soil, and for filling low spots, I'm thinking that whatever ruts might happen would be smoothed back out in the total picture. Sometimes you have to accept making one mess to get another bigger problem solved. But I will say the less you make, the less you have to clean up! I just think that here ruts are going to be a moot point.

In the very near future, I am redoing my front yard. There are some low spots that need working on but the main focus is on moving some fairly mature ornamentals (crepe myrtles, rhododendrons, etc.). I will do it with a backhoe. My favorite shovel. I will make a mess with stabilizers, turning around, etc but I accept this as part of the job. At the end, I will smooth the yard out and reseed. I'm just waiting for a little cooler weather, which it has gotten this week, and some RAIN.

47_47 09-29-2010 02:22 PM


Originally Posted by downunder (Post 508528)
I see the plan you used but I think OP would be better served to move it and smooth it as he dumps each load.

My plan only cost a couple of cases of beer and fuel :wink:

Arrakkis 09-29-2010 04:53 PM

Thanks for the replies all. Yes, I've got an almost 2 1/2 acres lot and in my back yard their's one low area that becomes a small pond when it rains so I'm trying to fill that in. As for operating a Loader or a Skidsteer, I can do either but I would really prefer to find an economical way to get the dump truck to the back and dump it right around where it needs to be. Would cut down on labor all the way around. BTW, a skidsteer would be quite a bit cheaper to rent, I'm even thinking about buying one to use for about a year then turn around and sell it. I have some other stuff I'd like to do with it, like a large paver patio (about 1,800 sq ft). A concret pad way back by the woods (about 30X22) to park a travel trailer and two smaller tailers. This also presents the problem of getting a concret truck back there too, so I've gotta figure a way. Thanks again all.

47_47 09-30-2010 06:36 AM

How often are you planning on bringing out these trailers and how heavy are they? Have you considered putting in a permanent (stone?) drive.

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