Used_Dump_TruckThe word hydraulic refers to something that is operated, moved or affected through the use of liquids. This technology has become very popular in the construction of heavy-duty machinery including a used dump truck due to the large amount of power that moving liquid can generate as well as the flexibility by which it can be transferred through machine components. It is these components that enable operators to discard heavy loads off the back of these vehicles without ever having to leave the driver’s seat.


The creation of an average dump truck is based on a normal flatbed frame with an open box bed mounted on top of a hydraulic pump. The amount of pressure exerted on the liquid in the pump is regulated by a control valve. The operator empties the dump bed by engaging the pump, which is filled with hydraulic fluid.


The most common dumping mechanism consists of two pistons that are raised when the pump is engaged, lifting the end nearest to the cab. Other mechanisms use a reinforced panel mounted on a vertical axis in the body of the dump bed, which is held in place by hydraulic cylinders. This panel pushes the contents of the box toward the back of the vehicle which dump when passing the hinged tailgate.

The lifting mechanism is preferred by many dump truck manufacturers because it is comparatively easy to produce and maintain, which is why it has become an industry standard. The main benefit of the vertical panel mechanism is that it does not require extra vertical clearance to operate.

Hydraulic vs. Pneumatic

Drivers who have older model used dump trucks know that hydraulic systems are preferable to pneumatic systems which use pressurized gas, as the former avoids many of the compression problems of the latter. Hydraulic pumps operate on the scientific principle that pressure exerted anywhere on a body of confined incompressible liquid is transferred equally throughout the liquid so that the pressure ratio remains the same. This is known as “Pascal’s law,” named after the French mathematician Blaise Pascal who pioneered the idea.

Non-Hydraulic Components

The non-hydraulic components of a typical used dump truck are the same as on any other heavy-duty truck. A short wheelbase gives the vehicle better maneuverability and is a standard feature on most models. The entire machine is powered by a large internal combustion engine, using either gasoline or diesel for fuel. If the vehicle is not running, the dumping mechanism cannot be used. This is because the pumps that drive the cylinders receive their power from the power take-off (PTO) that is connected to the vehicle’s transmission. On most models, the transmission must be placed in a neutral position before the PTO can be engaged.

Hydraulic dump trucks are very powerful vehicles and can be relied upon to get the job done. As most of the specifications listed above are common to all types of trucks, when searching for a used dump truck greater interest will be about which dump mechanism is on the vehicle being considered for purchase. So it is very important to examine each dump truck to be sure it contains the dump mechanism best suited to job requirements. Hopefully this article has pertinent information about the parts and workings of a hydraulic dump truck and that the right vehicle is found!

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