Kenworth K104 does the job for Childs Earthmover Tyre Service

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk


Steele Childs operates Childs Earthmover Tyre Service with his wife Angie Steele Childs operates Childs Earthmover Tyre Service with his wife Angie. Steele Childs operates Childs Earthmover Tyre Service with his wife Angie
Steele Childs 2005 K104 10x4 Steele Childs’ 2005 K104 10x4. Steele Childs 2005 K104 10x4
The IMT Tyre Handler on the K104 The IMT Tyre Handler on the K104. The IMT Tyre Handler on the K104

Moving big tyres to mining sites requires tough gear, and a Kenworth K104 is up to the task.

 

When you are operating a body truck with a tare weight of 29.5 tonnes, you’re talking about a decent piece of machinery.

Steele and Angie Childs own and operate a fleet of three trucks that service the earthmoving, mining and civil industries changing tyres on their heavy equipment.

Based in Emerald in central Queensland, the Childs Earthmover Tyre Service fleet consists of a 420hp (313kW) FH12 Volvo and two 2005 K104 Kenworths.

"There’s a bit of weight in them. The 8x4 Kenworth tares at 28-tonne and the 10x4 at 29.5-tonne," Steele says.

"All the large tyres we service are delivered straight to site and we cart them around the site occasionally. Some hang over by a metre either side, they’re that big."

The 8x4 K104 has a 550hp (410kW) Detroit, and the other a 10x4 is powered by a 550hp Cat.

The Iowa Mold Tooling (IMT) tyre manipulators on the trucks can swing tyre and rim assemblies weighing up to 7.8 tonnes.

On average they can change out four tyres on a 240-tonne dump truck in about 12 hours, which includes travel to and from site.

All this is done with only one operator as Childs’ trucks are remote controlled, which they argue is the safest way to change the big pieces or rubber.

Although the Volvo has been a good little truck, Steele is a Kenworth devotee.

"The simplicity of the Kenworths is what I like the best," he says.

"Because we are always so far from home, if we have a problem it’s normally a quick and easy fix.

"Anyway, more people wave to the big Kennys."

But they are expensive machines, with the 10x4 Kenworth owing Steele close to a $1 million on the road.

"I wasn’t to popular when that bill come through," Steele admits.

He would love a brand new K200 but he reckons he’d better wait a while yet.

"I’ll sneak one in one day," says.

One thing is for sure, Steele loves great looking machinery.

"I don’t think people understand the addiction of trucks," he says.

 

You can read the full story in the August edition of Owner//Driver magazine.

 

One thing is for sure, Steele Childs loves great looking machinery."I don’t think people understand the addiction of trucks."

Posted by Owner Driver on Tuesday, 25 August 2015

 

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