Equipment Type

Repair Shops Specialize in Dump Trailers

Mac Trailers and East Manufacturing operate rebuild facilities to fix their own trailers
and truck bodies, and other makes, too.

February 01, 2011

Banging up a dump trailer or body usually results in phone calls to nearby shops that specialize in repairing the specialized conveyances and do credible work. Then again, who knows that dumper better than the company that built it?

Anyone within reasonable hauling distance of northeast Ohio might consider sending a damaged vehicle to Mac Trailers in Alliance or East Manufacturing in Randolph. The two are rivals, not just in building but in rebuilding. Both make dump and flatbed trailers in various configurations, and both operate repair shops near their plants. Each employs skilled technicians, and each will work on the other’s products, or any product, for that matter. 

Mac Trailer Service started out in one corner of the plant back in 1997, but now has its own building across the street. The service building was erected in 2005 and includes 50,000 square feet with 25 large bays and a broad central aisle. There’s space for 24 mechanics, plus offices for six support and supervisory people, including the manager, Gary Blough, who started as a repairman 13 years ago.

About 70 percent of the work here is on dump trailers, some from local truckers but more from farther away. Mac Trailer Service has a contract with Progressive Insurance, which sends claim work from five surrounding states. Other work comes from individual truckers.

Rollovers are the most common accident type seen, Blough says. Typically a rollover causes about $25,000 in damage, usually to the nose, sidewall sections, and sometimes the frame, hoist cylinder, axles and other running gear. Damaged sections are torched out and new ones put in. This is true of tipovers, which are not unusual with long end-dump trailers, and damage to trailers that have run off the road. If necessary, repairs are also made to axles, brakes and whatever else might have been damaged.

“A lot of these guys don’t want anyone else working on them,” so they arrange to have damaged trailers pulled or hauled here, he said. “I employ a driver who uses a 52-foot Landoll (hydraulic roll-back) trailer to pick them up and deliver them back when they’re repaired, or they’re pulled back. He usually goes out two times a week. A lot of guys want them picked up and delivered so they don’t have to worry about anything. The Landoll’s been as far as Florida,” a thousand miles away.

East Manufacturing’s repair shop was set up especially for dump trailers about 11 years ago, says Charlie Wells, director of dump trailer products. The shop has 24 bays, each with special equipment such as floor tie-downs to hold cables used in frame and body straightening. “We can remove twists and side bowing typical of wrecks. Fixing a wreck is like a big jigsaw puzzle,” he says. 

“A dump trailer is like a spring, and some of that spring gets lost in damage and some repairing. When we repair something here, it goes out really better than new. It’s going to be right; we don’t take shortcuts,” insists Wells, who worked as a welder in East’s factory while in high school.

“We encourage East customers to bring their trailers in here, mainly because we can repair in a manner that’s inconspicuous, which affects resale value,” he says. “We see small shops set up, but we repair so that it really takes a fine tooth comb to see the repairs. If a prospective buyer sees that ‘Hey, this thing’s been turned over,’ that puts a stigma on it. 

East operates independently of insurance companies and makes recommendations based on need, not on what an adjuster might want, Wells says. “It is always the customer’s choice as to where the trailer goes for repairs, but sometimes he’s almost muscled—‘This is a shop you have to go to’—and that’s not the case. He has the right to go to a shop that he feels comfortable with.”

 
 

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