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Prime Mover Magazine

Ripper tippers

Ripper tippers

The versatility of Isuzu’s N-Series ready-to-work range has been boosted further with the introduction of a three-way tipper.

The Isuzu N Series range includes factory-fitted conventional steel tipping bodies, and other variations, such as add-on ‘hungry boards’, are available at local dealer level. Another innovation has been the Isuzu Tri-Tipper, which was added to the line-up in 2017. The Tri-Tipper has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 5,500kg, which can be de-rated to 4,500kgs to enable it to be driven by holders of passenger-car licences. The Japanese steel body has a 2m3 capacity and can be tipped to the rear or to either side. The driver can select the direction of the tipping without leaving the cab, and activate the tipping with a simple-to-use lever that connects to a cable system that operates the locks and hinges that determine the various directions for the body to tilt.

A feature of Isuzu factory tippers is their body-lockdown device, which physically locks the body in place on the chassis, rather than relying only on gravity to keep it there. The body lockdown also isolates the hydraulics, eliminating any possibility of the body being raised inadvertently. This innovative system provides obvious safety benefits and also reduces noise and component fatigue by holding the tipping body firm against the rails.

Another feature that exhibits the thought that has been put into the design of these trucks is the mounting of the rear metal mudguards to the chassis, rather than the tipping body, so they don’t lift up with the body. This reduces the chance of damage to the mudguards and the mudflaps. Each body variation includes grab rails and non-slip steps, providing three points of contact when accessing the tipper body to unload equipment such as small excavators and mowers. The two-way tailgate incorporates a simple yet robust locking-and-hinge mechanism.

The engine fitted to the NLR models is a three-litre four-cylinder that provides 150hp (110kW) and 375Nm of torque. The standard transmission in most variations is a five-speed all-synchro manual, with Isuzu’s torque convertor/six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) available for most applications. It provides almost car-like shift quality even when loaded. The use of the full torque convertor effectively increases the engine’s torque by 50 per cent, which is a great benefit when starting off loaded on an incline. Similar to a car, there is a transmission kick-down function when the accelerator pedal is depressed beyond a spring-loaded detent. The shift lever in the TC-AMT models is similar to a passenger car and also features a ‘P’ position for parking that locks the transmission.

The hydraulic pump that drives the lifting mechanism is driven by the engine via a power take-off (PTO), rather than an electric motor. In tippers equipped with the torque convertor transmission, the pump will operate in neutral or park and can also operate when a gear is selected but, as a safety consideration, the transmission will not shift beyond second gear if the pump is engaged. This allows the Isuzu to be able to spread a load while moving slowly and, at the same time, protect the hydraulic pump and the PTO from damage which could occur if the PTO was to be engaged travelling at normal road speed.

The 4x2 N Series has Electronic Stability Control (ESC) across the range as standard, in addition to other electronically controlled safety systems, including anti-lock braking (ABS), electronic brake force distribution, anti-slip regulator (traction control, ASR) and a two-second hill start–hold function on trucks fitted with the manual transmission. The driver and outside passenger are protected by airbags and pre-tensioning seatbelts. The seats provide good support and the cabin has full interior trim, including a padded roof lining and a hard-wearing vinyl floor covering. Air conditioning and electric windows and mirrors add to the list of standard equipment. The 6.2-inch LCD touchscreen on the familiar media system provides controls for the audio – including digital radio – and voice-activated Bluetooth connection, and can be optioned to include satellite navigation as well as Isuzu’s telematics system.

In recognition of the rough work that some of these compact tippers are likely to be subjected to, the front bumper is made from polycarbonate with steel backing frame. The front suspension is based on independent coil springs and provides a smooth ride, regardless of the load on board. Brakes are discs all round, with a drum-style parking brake located at the rear of the transmission case. A wand on the steering column operates the exhaust brake.

Applications for small tippers such as the Isuzu N Series are numerous, and these handy vehicles will be at home in industries including construction, waste and landscaping.

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