Diesel News’ Paul Matthei put a truck through a tilt ’n’ slide test when assessing Hino’s 300 Series Crew Auto fitted with a Kyokuto Slide Tray body. It was part of Paul’s long-held ambition to restore his first car, a 1963 EJ Holden Special sedan, which he has owned since 1985.
With the car stripped down to the bare shell. The next step was finding the best way to transport the various components from his home in south-east Queensland to ReCoat Smash Repairs and Paint Stripping in Wodonga, Northern Victoria, the outfit entrusted to carefully and skilfully remove every skerrick of paint and rust from the components, thus leaving Paul with a base of shiny steel to begin the build.
This is where Hino stepped in and offered the use of a terrifically versatile 300 Series crew-cab unit fitted with a Kyokuto three-tonne slide-tray body. Now, there were a number of technical difficulties involved with removing said body shell from the garage behind my house, not least that it had to come out through an opening with just two metres’ head clearance. Furthermore, with the shed’s internal height of 2.5 metres, once the body was hoisted to the rafters there was barely half a metre of space between it and the floor. In other words, the nifty slide tray unit on the Hino easily accomplished what would have been an impossible feat for a conventional tilt tray.
With the rear of the truck positioned about two metres from the doorway, the tray deployed rearward and then tilted down until the rollers at the rear contacted the floor. It then started to ramp downwards as it cleared the rear of the truck until the entire tray sat horizontal on the floor, thus easily sliding underneath the suspended body. From there it was simply a matter of carefully reversing the truck until the body was positioned over the centre, then lowering it onto the tray.
After strapping it down, the process was reversed and the tray glided effortlessly forwards and upwards onto the truck, just like poetry in motion. As the clearance between the roof of the car and the roller door during the extraction process was only about 100mm, it was vital to be close to the action while the unit was in operation. This is where the handheld remote control unit proved invaluable as it enabled fingertip control from any position around the truck.
The unit is imported and fitted to the Hino chassis by Import Machinery & Equipment Australia (IMAEA), based in Caloundra West, Queensland. According to the company’s brochure, the Kyokuto JN02-45 Slide-Deck Tilt Tray is priced from $44,750 + GST, fitted (truck not included). Body length and width is 5,700mm x 2,070mm.
“It works in the same way as a conventional tilt tray, but [with] with the added advantage of being able to slide the deck level/flat on the ground,” the company says. “This not only has the benefit of to allow loading of low-bodied cars without damage due to the 0.9o approach angle, and also minimises workplace health & safety (WHS) ‘trip and slip’ hazards, as the body is horizontal and at floor level.
“The unit can be fitted to a crew or single cab chassis and comes complete with certified tie-down anchor points, a winch and handheld remote. It’s ideal for applications like contract landscaping for ease of loading ride-on mowers and the ability to carry six people – a complete crew of two mower operators and four line-trimmer operators all in one vehicle. It is covered by a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty.”
Another point worth mentioning is the exceptional low-speed ‘creepability’ afforded by Hino’s automatic transmission, which was a boon for negotiating the tight access around the side of my house. With literally a few centimetres of clearance between truck and eaves, it was necessary to manoeuvre at a snail’s pace to ensure no contact was made between the truck and the house or retaining wall on the other side. With a manual version this operation would have involved a considerable amount of clutch slipping.