If your operation switches 10 or more trailers per day, a yard truck will significantly improve productivity. Yard trucks can hook up or release a trailer in less than one minute. Even an experienced over-the-road truck driver needs three minutes to do the same job.
Saving two minutes per switch may not seem like much, but it adds up fast. If you switch 20 trailers per day, that adds up to 10 hours per month. What could you do with that extra time?
Plus, operators don’t need a CDL to drive a yard truck. Some training is required, but the time and money required is microscopic compared to the 160+ hours and thousands of dollars required to get a commercial license.
In this article, we’ll review the popular Ottawa 4x2 Off-Road yard truck. If you need to move trailers across a public road, check out the street legal Ottawa 4x2 EPA/DOT.
A yard truck, also known as a yard dog, shunt truck or terminal tractor, is basically a single-person cab with a hydraulic fifth wheel. The cab has a back door that opens onto a platform where the driver can hook up or disconnect a trailer.
In other words, the driver doesn’t have to dismount from the cab. They simply:
- Walk out the back door
- Hook up/disconnect the hoses
- Get back in the truck
- Lift or drop the trailer and go
The video below shows how quick and easy it is to use a yard truck. If you’re short on time, skip ahead 39 seconds.
Street Legal vs. Off-Road Yard Trucks
The only time you need a street legal yard truck (aka a DOT/EPA model) is if you have to drive on or across a public road. If you’re only moving trailers around your own property, you can save $6000-$7000 with the off-road Ottawa.
Kalmar Ottawa 4x2 Off-Road Yard Truck Specs
Manufacturer: Kalmar Ottawa
Product Name: T2 Off-Road Terminal Tractor 4x2
Product Page: kalmarottawa.com
Capacity: 40,000 lbs. (can be increased)
Price: Starting at $138,000
Top Speed: 25 mph
Engine: 164 hp standard
Value for the Money: Excellent
Ottawa’s 4x2 Off-Road is perfect for shunting trailers across a yard, port, terminal, or any facility spread out across a large, private property. This truck is designed to operate in any yard, even in conditions that are remote, dirty and fast-paced. It comes with a Cummins Stave V (Tier 4) engine with single module aftertreatment system and a Fleetguard air cleaner with pre-cleaner for off-road applications.
If needed, the truck can be equipped with turn signals and marker lights. It can also be modified to move loads greater than 40,000 lbs.
Lastly, if you move a lot of refrigerated trucks, we can order a model with a longer frame. This modification gives the operator more room on the catwalk.
All Ottawa yard trucks have:
- Step and grab-handle systems for safer mounting and dismounting
- Suspended control pedals for smoother, more responsive control
- A spacious dashboard with room for yard-management system devices
- Intuitive controls and a simplified gauge cluster
- User-friendly rocker switches for easy monitoring and operation
- A tall, wide-opening door for easy entry and exit
- Superior visibility thanks to an XL windscreen and side-mounted mirror post
- A large steering wheel for better control
The trucks are also easy to maintain. Ottawa recently redesigned their yard trucks based on customer feedback. As a result, the trucks have:
- Electric cab tilt for faster access to maintenance points
- Ground-level access for routine checks and tasks such as oil and transmission fluid monitoring
As the name implies, this yard truck isn’t street legal. It doesn’t have ABS brakes and the max speed is 25 mph. All three of these features and a more powerful (up to 250 hp) engine are available on the Ottawa 4x2 DOT/EPA model.
If you’re unsure whether the street legal or off-road version would be better for your operation, try before you buy. The Lilly Company rents Ottawa yard trucks year-round, although inventory can be limited in fourth quarter. FedEx, Wal-Mart and other operations hit their peak season and rent a lot of yard trucks to expand capacity.
Things to Know Before You Buy a Yard Truck
There’s something I probably shouldn’t say, but I think it’s important to be honest with people; yard trucks have a lot in common under the hood. Where you’re going to notice a difference is:
- The cab set up
- The support network
The importance of cab setup cannot be understated. If you’re thinking about buying a yard truck, it’s because you want to get more done in less time, right? To maximize your investment, having everything the driver needs at their fingertips is key. As mentioned above, the Ottawa has numerous features to ensure the driver can work as efficiently as possible.
As for point number two, Ottawas have a reputation for being durable and reliable, but accidents happen and parts wear out. When they do, you don’t want to wait weeks and weeks to have your truck back.
Ottawa has the strongest and largest dealer network. Oher yard truck manufacturers have to contract with auto shops for parts and service. I mean no disrespect to the hard-working auto mechanics out there. The problem is, the shops don’t always have the parts in stock or techs available.
If you have any questions about Ottawa yard trucks or other material handling equipment, the friendly and helpful experts at The Lilly Company are happy to help. We’re an authorized Ottawa/Kalmar dealer and service provider for Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and eastern Arkansas.Ottawa 4x2 DOT/EPA Product Review (1 of 3)
Kalmar Ottawa T2 Overview Video
Kalmar Ottawa 4x2 Off-Road Product Page
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