Tough Heavy Hauler

By: Steve Skinner

The saying “Built like a Mack truck” certainly applies to Mark Simpson’s 1986 heavy-duty SuperLiner

Tough Heavy Hauler
The Mack has racked up 1.4 million kilometres and is still going strong.


When a prime mover has a gross combination mass (GCM) of 150 tonnes you know it does some seriously hard work.

This 1986 Mack SuperLiner has been toiling away for more than a quarter of a century, and it’s still going strong.

You only have to look at the front springs to see that this rig pulls some big weights. The springs wouldn’t be out of place on a set of drive axles. The front axle they’re on is rated to a hefty 9 tonnes.

Meanwhile the six-rod rear suspension, hub reduction axles, double-layered chassis rails, heavy-duty turntable and 900 litre fuel tanks give this old Mack the truck equivalent of an Arnold Schwarzenegger physique.

Under the bonnet is a V8 Mack engine putting out 525hp (390kW) and so much torque that the double rails are needed to stop the chassis twisting and breaking the cross-member bolts.

The old SuperLiner has covered 1.4 million kilometres, which isn’t many for a truck this old.

Its main duty is hauling excavation machinery around the BHP Billiton West Cliff coal mine at Appin, near Wollongong in New South Wales. It also does some hire work for earthmoving contractors.

Owner Mark Simpson changes the oil every 250-300 engine hours. Before registration renewal every year he takes the old girl down for a check-up at local Mack dealer Southern Truck Centre at Unanderra.

Mark says the Mack been a very good truck in the 14 years he’s owned it, after buying it from Telstra with 600,000km on the clock.

"I haven’t had to do anything with it," he says.

There’s no emissions equipment, but that doesn’t matter so much in the bush.

There’s no computer either, which is one of the things Mark likes about SuperLiners, which he drove all over Australia in the 16 years he previously worked for Kingston Heavy Haulage in Sydney

"You can rely on SuperLiners," he says.

"You can fix them out in the bush by yourself. You don’t need anyone to run out with a computer and plug into them, you can get them going with a spanner and keep them going."

For more on Mark Simpson’s SuperLiner check out the Used Truck section in the January issue of Owner//Driver.


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