Reviews

McIntosh 7 & 12-tonne tip trailers

Jaiden Drought tests two robust tip trailers from McIntosh Brothers and discovers that some things dressed in blue can be winners.

I have been sitting here trying to draw a bow between the current Auckland Blues season and the blue McIntosh tip trailers, but then I figure this probably doesn’t bode particularly well for McIntosh as consistency and commitment is actually something McIntosh Brothers excels in in its quest for excellence. However, mentioning the Blues does have its upside: it provides an opportunity to take a cheap shot at Aucklanders. And let’s be honest, everybody south of the Bombays likes to jump on the bandwagon when an opportunity like this arises.

So as the ‘jafas’ do some serious soul searching, wondering what went so horribly wrong in their rugby campaign, the rest of the country are happy to offer some insight, mostly in the form of connotations towards some players (who shall remain nameless) and a fast food franchise. I am writing this as the ‘Canes’ have also narrowly been knocked out of the playoffs by the Sharks so without further adieu, I think we should look at a winning combination in the machinery sense, with both the 7 and 12-tonne tip trailers on offer from McIntosh tested this month.

I specifically looked at these two models because each has a different purpose: one is suited to farmers and the other suited to contractors. Recently, the boys at McIntosh revamped their line-up to better suit their customers requirements, upgrading the 6-tonne to a 7-tonne and the 8-tonne to a 9-tonne and so on. This was done mainly because it is natural to try and put that extra tonne on a trailer regardless of the size.

My advice to any trailer manufacturer is to build the deck exactly to the rated tonnage of the trailer because there are clowns out there, like me, who try to load as much on as they possibly can. But you probably already knew that, given most rams are specced higher than the tonnage because I’m sure I am not the first to do it nor will I be the last.

The 7-tonne

Starting with the smaller of the two, the 7-tonne trailer with one piece sides and tailgate make it easy for farmers to be carting metal one minute and hay the next. For work without the tailgate, the sides slot into the floor to retain the strength in the sides stopping them from bowing out.

The four-stage ram lifts quickly and easily with a high dump angle, resulting in sticky material seldom hanging up on the deck.

The single beam drawbar on both the 7 and 12-tonne models allows for tight turning angles, which is a bonus with some of the 12 foot gateways around the Provence. The walking beams have stoppers which allow for adequate travel even in very rough terrain, yet stopping the front wheels digging in and sledging in soft going. The 400/60 R15.5 tyres are also well suited to this size of trailer, as the self-cleaning properties stop the trailer sliding while offering excellent soil compaction properties.

The only thing I feel could be improved on the 7-tonne model is to have slightly higher tail board with a larger gap, improving the dumping of real clumpy material, as once the ram is up and the tailgate is blocked you are on the shovel chief.

Speaking of the tail board, when filled with runny solid effluent from the feed pad, it is water tight, with no seepage at all – a great bonus that makes for a much cleaner job.

The 12-tonne

The contractor models are built for daily punishment. They are tough enough to do the thousands of tipping cycles that the operators demand of them. You just have to look at this trailer and you can tell that it would be massive overkill to use it for everyday farm use.

The 12-tonne test trailer has been used for five seasons by Marc Gopperth as a bin trailer for silage in the summer and mainly metal cartage in the winter. Taranaki is well renowned for the large, sharp rocks that spewed out of the mountain hundreds of years ago. These rocks can prove to be character building for trailers, with many of them ending up looking like they have been through a blender.

New dairy races are always challenging in the winter as spreading on the wet soil with the odd hidden soft spots can often end up with the trailer needing a ‘right way up’ sticker. Given the amount of work this trailer has done in these tough conditions it is only needing a repaint for cosmetic reasons rather than anything else, which is a testament to the trailers construction.

This particular trailer was built for Gopperth’s specific requirements, including the harsh rock conditions and was one of the first bath-tub-designed trailers McIntosh produced, also upgrading the sheet metal to 6mm for the sides and floor, a double-skinned tailgate, slightly narrower for spreading metal on races and shortened the drawbar for getting in and out of gateways. The beauty of all this is that the tub design allows the whole trailer to be tied together, adding strength and rigidity. The only downside to this added strength is the increased tare weight.

This was initially the only pitfall of this trailer when fully loaded. Changing to fatter low profile tyres has only made this better, as the original tyres were just cutting through the tracks and causing the trailer to sink. The flip side is the original tyres were harder wearing for the road carts, particularly at 50km, and cost about a tenth of the flotation tyres. The softer tyres don’t last as long with the road punishment but are better on the paddock, so I guess you have to find a happy medium for your conditions.

Because these trailers are practically made to order, have a chat to the boys at McIntosh because they will be happy to make something that suits your individual requirements. Gopperth got exactly what he wanted and it has since given him good service, being built specifically for the challenging conditions in Taranaki. As there are different challenges for machinery in just about every region of the country, I would encourage you to do the same.

Verdict

These two trailers are very different to each other. The 7-tonne is an ideal hard-wearing farmer trailer that will last for years carrying out day-to-day tasks, yet is robust enough to cart and spread some of the toughest rock. On the other hand, the 12-tonne is specifically built to handle the daily punishment of the sharp Taranaki rocks, being rolled and righted again usually by an unsubtle digger driver, yet has never given any grief and looks like it never will.

In reality, all you want a trailer to do travel easily with a big load and tip its load cleanly because it is a big task having to shovel it off. Whether you are a farmer wanting a strong all-round performer or a contractor wanting something to handle the toughest conditions, McIntosh is well worth a look.

Standard features

  • Wooden deck with 40mm ship-lapped pine or 5mm steel deck (6mm in this case)
  • Deck pivot is located close to the rear which gives good clearance when tipping. The heavy wall RHS chassis provides rigidity and strength, particularly in the high stress pivot area.
  • Rugged deck construction features 75 x 40mm rolled steel channel cross members at 400-475mm centres, with heavy wall RHS deck runners.
  • Heavy duty multi stage rams provide tipping angles of 58 degrees.
  • Axles are mounted close to the rear of the trailers, which gives a very stable base when the deck is raised for spreading.
  • Removable sides (obviously not if it’s a bath tub), tail gate as well as a swivel drawbar and rope rails are all standard.
  • Spreading chains and auto opening tail gate are standard, although the 12-tonne was specced with a hydraulic opening tailgate which is particularly useful for spreading fines.
  • Sand blasted and painted with two pack paint system.

Optional extras

  • Tyres options
  • Brakes
  • Tail lights
  • Steel or timber deck
  • Deck extension
  • Silage crate
  • Remote greasing for axles

Likes

  • Heavy duty construction
  • Axle placement allows for weight to be transferred to the tractor
  • High tipping angle stops material shelving
  • Strong lift out sides slot into deck to stop bowing
  • Tailgate is easy to remove
  • Grease nipples are easily accessible
  • Narrow drawbar allows for tight turning
  • Cross members are close to prevent any damage to the deck

Dislikes

  • The 7 ton would benefit from a slightly higher tail gate giving extra clearance for bulky material

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Photography: Jaiden Drought

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