Getting behind the wheel of Pumper's Classy Trucks.
When the state your company is based in has the lowest population density in the lower 48, you’re going to look for specific features in your trucks that might not be as important to a contractor in California or New York.
“In Wyoming, we’re pretty much as remote as you can be in the lower 48,” says Ryan McGuire, owner of M&M Transfer Inc. of Pinedale, Wyoming. “We’re 100 miles from any rail or interstate, so we pretty much do everything ourselves.”
So when McGuire added a 2005 Kenworth T800 built out by Keith Huber to his fleet, tank size was the crucial deciding factor, in addition to it being a Kenworth. “The thing that made it most attractive was the capacity, being the 3,200-gallon tank on the Kenworth chassis. That was pretty much the ticket.”
Kenworth is McGuire’s go-to manufacturer, due to its excellent dealer support — yet another consideration that is heavily influenced by M&M’s remote location. His fleet comprises another Kenworth truck built out by Best Enterprises, and a slide-in unit made by FMI Truck Sales & Services.
A bigger tank means getting to more job sites before off-loading, and with a service area spanning a 100-mile radius, every gallon counts. “It’s pretty much an all-day deal for drivers going out on jobs.”
The steel tank also has an interesting backstory: It was salvaged from a pump truck that was used in the Hurricane Katrina cleanup efforts. “I found the truck on Truck Paper, and the guy I bought it from told me this was a bigger tank that was in Hurricane Katrina and had sustained a little damage, so they shortened it and put it on (this chassis),” McGuire explains.
McGuire tends to stick with steel tanks versus aluminum for a few reasons, one of them pointing back to M&M’s remote location. “I would probably gravitate toward steel simply because we can weld it ourselves easier,” he says.
Longevity is another reason for the steel preference. This particular tank on the ’05 Kenworth is made of SA36 steel, and it has proven durable over the decades. “This tank was made in 1989, and there’s no corrosion inside of the tank, there’s no rust in it — it’s just shiny inside,” McGuire says. “When you wash it down, it still looks like it is brand new, made by Keith Huber. So it must perform better than a mild-steel tank.”
Between an automatic and manual transmission, McGuire prefers manual due to the hilly terrain. Although finding drivers for the manual transmission trucks can be a challenge, M&M has come up with a solution. “What we do is we try to find people without CDLs and train them ourselves. That pretty much eliminates the issue.”
The truck’s graphics were made in-house, made with the company’s vinyl cutter — a process much simpler than taking the trucks out of service to travel to a design company.
Other than adding the graphics, the ’05 Kenworth had everything M&M was looking for. “I bought it completely ready to roll. It came with the Fruitland pump,” McGuire says. “Basically we put the aluminum wheels on it, shined it up, gave it a good detailing, and that was pretty much it.”