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DLA Distribution Red River Team Increases Performance to 98% On-Time from 87% Thanks to Custom Gull Wing Delivery Trucks

Ledwell serves the material handling industry - Gull Win unloading

The Opportunity

During his 25-year career in the military, Seth Olmstead traveled all over the world—including Japan.

“Japan has a very narrow road network,” he said. “They have to maximize the space they have. One of the things I saw while I was in Japan was delivery trucks that opened on the sides to allow for quick, easy unloading.”

Fast forward to 2020, when Olmstead served as the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Distribution Red River Commander.

He was helping his team troubleshoot moving inventory in inclement weather. DLA services the Department of Defense and State throughout the world, Olmstead said, and when a requisition comes in for material, they fulfill it.

“We were having trouble moving material due to the rain,” he said. “We had $13 billion of inventory, but most of it was stored in cardboard boxes. When it rained, the only thing we had to move the material between warehouse and shipping locations was a flatbed trailer, but you can’t move cardboard boxes on a flatbed in the rain.”

Frustrated with the rain’s impact on his team’s performance metrics, Olmstead knew they needed a better solution—like what he’d seen in Japan.

Ledwell Gull Wing

The Solution: Ledwell Gull Wing

“I told my team to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to get one of those trucks,” he said.

His team researched trucks in Japan and began reaching out to vendors, but those companies would not export them to the United States.

Then, Olmstead’s equipment specialist came to him with good news: not only had he found that type of truck here in the U.S., but it was also made locally at Ledwell.

A meeting was immediately set for him and his team—including a driver and safety personnel—to visit Ledwell and see a Gull Wing, Ledwell’s version of the trucks Olmstead had seen in action in Japan.

Originally developed as a custom product for Wholesale Electric, Ledwell’s patented Gull Wing helped the electric wholesaler revolutionize its distribution model. Its watertight side doors keep valuable cargo dry and make it easier for delivery drivers to unload specific pieces of equipment quickly.

“Steve [Ledwell] and his team were very accommodating,” Olmstead said. “They answered every question we had no matter how crazy or off-the-wall it was. We figured out in about an hour that these vehicles would make a difference. DLA Red River purchased three of the vehicles.”

Adapting the Gull Wings to fit DLA’s unique needs is a process Ledwell is familiar with. Engineer Gary Gathright said several changes and safety features were incorporated into DLA’s Gull Wings, including a safety feature that prevents the truck from moving if one of the wings is open.

“We did the controls differently. We’ve since added those upgrades to all of the new Gull Wing units, whether it be for them or another client,” Gathright said. “We changed how things are operated in the cab, incorporated a greaseable hinge that makes the service life better for the whole unit. A lot of our improvements are customer-driven. We end up incorporating those not just into a unit for that particular customer, but into the unit as a whole, so we ultimately make our entire product line better.”

The Results

With its new Gull Wing units, Olmstead’s team was able to deliver efficiently no matter the weather.

Their performance metrics lifted from 87% on-time to 98% on time in a matter of weeks.

It’s hard to argue with that kind of success. Seeing DLA’s numbers inspired Anniston Army Depot to make their order, which Ledwell is customizing to accommodate Anniston’s lower awnings.

“It was almost seamless,” Olmstead said. “Gary was able to do the calculations for those changes on the fly, and Anniston immediately found confidence in the truck because the engineer gave them the nod that this equipment would work for their needs.”

Founded by a veteran, Ledwell has always had a soft spot for projects that help our military succeed.

“Just being a local source to provide a solution for what is ultimately a local portion of a worldwide provider of support services for our warfighters could, in the future, open up a lot of doors for us to continue our reach as a worldwide company,” Gathright said.

Truck Body Manufacturer Ledwell patented Gull Wing
Ledwell serves the material handling industry - Gull Win unloading

Do you have a unique, custom truck or trailer need? We'll help you find a solution! Submit the form or call us at 888-533-9355 to get started.

Strategic Partnership Helps Lonestar Truck Group, Ledwell Grow Together

Ledwell Water Tanker Truck For Sale

With 24 dealerships in eight states, Lonestar Truck Group isn’t your average truck dealership. If you ask Adam Arrington, Executive Vice President of Sales, there’s one central reason why the company has seen growth and success since it opened in the early 60s: people.

“We have a great team of people that live and breathe this business,” he said. “The culture of this company empowers our people to do their jobs, provide feedback, and make it a nurturing environment where everybody succeeds. Everybody says that, but when you can actually do it, it’s pretty impressive.”

Lonestar Truck Group is one of the largest Freightliner dealer groups in the country, and it counts third-generation family members among its leadership. With 1,200+ employees at its 24 dealerships, the company provides parts, service, new and used truck sales, trailers, finance and insurance, body shops, and more to its customers.

“We sell new and used trucks and trailers to a single owner-operator buying one truck, and we sell to some of the largest public companies in the country when it comes to procuring equipment and parts and service,” Adam said. 

And at Lonestar, every task is important, no matter how big the order.

“You’ll never hear someone at Lonestar say, ‘That’s not my job,'” Adam said. “Everyone is willing to roll their sleeves up and get involved, whether it’s working after hours to get a customer a part or getting a truck delivered on time. It’s all we do. It’s our livelihood.”

Adam said that between supply chain and staffing issues, this year has thrown its fair share of challenges at Lonestar. 

“This is my 21st year on the Freightliner/Daimler dealer side of the business,” he said. “I’ve never seen supply chains so broken. It’s been a huge disruptor.”

Bulk Haul Feed Trailer for sale by Ledwell with Lonestar Tractor
Ledwell Vacuum Truck DOT Certified

Relationships with longtime customers and partners like Ledwell have helped Lonestar weather what has been a challenging year for the manufacturing industry.

“For our true partners, like Ledwell, they know we’re doing everything we can to get them what they need and when they need it,” Adam said. 

He said his relationship with Ledwell began 20 years ago when he first met Steve Ledwell.

“I always heard stories, but aside from dropping a truck off, I didn’t know who they were or what they did,” he said. “My relationship with everyone at Ledwell has changed drastically over the last six years. Steve and I talk every day except Sunday. Lesley and I talk weekly. I talk to every salesman and engineer in the building at least once a week, whether it’s about inventory, or a project, or trucks that are being upfit for our customers.”

Lonestar Truck paired with Ledwell Feed Trailer
Crash Attenuator Truck for Sale Ledwell

Adam said it’s not just business—it’s personal.

“Ledwell is our largest customer, but on the flip side of that, they’re also our friends,” he said. 

Ledwell buys a lot of trucks from Lonestar, but they count Lonestar as a customer as well—Lonestar buys truck bodies, rigging, PTOs, wet kits, trailers, and more from Ledwell. Lonestar also provides secure financing and lease options for Ledwell customers when needed.

Adam said his customers love Ledwell products because of their exceptional quality, endurance, service, and parts accessibility.

“They just take care of things,” he said. “We’ve had issues before, but every time, without fail, the first thing they say is, ‘Where’s the truck?’ No arguing, no complaining. They exhaust every single resource at their fingertips to get that truck, or trailer, or body fixed in a way that’s hassle-free for the customer.”

Adam hasn’t just worked with Ledwell in his current role. When he sold trucks, he said, he had the opportunity to see Ledwell’s hard work in action.

“It was New Year’s Eve in 2003,” he said. “I had a logger call me from Mena, Ark., who wanted to buy a couple of trucks and had to buy them that day because of tax reasons. Installing logging-specific equipment like trailer rides, headache racks, and digital load scales takes eight to ten hours. I called Ledwell at 10 a.m., and they said, ‘Bring it on.’ They had a team of people waiting for us, got it finished, and got it delivered. The customer was happy. I was happy. That’s the way the Ledwell culture is.”

When you work with Ledwell, he said, you aren’t just a customer—you’re becoming part of that family. 

“At the end of the day, they’re just good people,” he said.

Add Time Back to Your Day – Efficiency in Feed Transportation

Ledwell Feed Trailer Manufacturer Test Every Bulk Haul Trailer

Ledwell built its first steel bulk feed body in the late 1950s. A couple of decades later, we moved into manufacturing aluminum feed equipment, and we even made a few chicken hauler trailers along the way. We’ve learned a thing or two about the poultry industry over the past 75 years, and we’ve compiled some of our top efficiency in feed tips in this article.

Ledwell Original Chicken Transport Cages
Early Ledwell Feed Truck

Incorporating some of these practices and equipment add-ons can help you improve efficiency in feed delivery, adding valuable time back into your day. In this book, we’ll cover technology, delivery systems, hydraulics, safety, and service.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us we’re happy to answer any questions.

TECHNOLOGY

In recent years, technology in automated unloading systems has allowed operators to reduce unloading times and be more attentive to their surroundings while minimizing human error while unloading. An
automated system maximizes efficiency in feed delivery and allows the trailer to run at peak performance. You aren’t relying on the driver/operator to adjust the floor to keep the pressure where it needs to be.

Most variations of an automated system are measuring pressure in the hydraulic circuit and making adjustments to the hydraulic flow, keeping the system running at optimal potential throughout the entire unloading process without the operators’ need to make these adjustments manually. This allows the operator to step away from their valves and gauges to be more attentive to their surroundings, open bottom floor gates, or watch a feed bin while unloading.

By continuously monitoring and maintaining the hydraulic circuit to run at maximum potential, you will see improved unload times, reduce the chances of plugging up the system, and extend the life of all
hydraulic components.

Ledwell Feed Trailer Manufacturer Test Every Bulk Haul Trailer
A benefit of Ledwell’s automated system is that it is easily retrofittable to any existing trailer.

DELIVERY SYSTEM

The two most common floor delivery systems in the marketplace are the auger and drag chain systems.

Over the years, the drag chain floor has proven to be extremely dependable and less maintenance, over time, than an auger floor. The chain and crossbar design of a floor chain simply outlast the flighting of an auger screw. In the event that the chain or sprockets need to be replaced or repaired, the repairs are typically quicker and easier to access than a floor auger and bearing system. This results in less downtime for maintenance and repairs.

The 5:1 Gear ratio used to drive the drag chain floor provides exceptional torque for unloading the heaviest of feeds and the depth of the chain pan allows for more volume of feed to be carried to the rear, in comparison with an auger floor, resulting in a higher rate of offloading. Pit dumping with a drag chain is easily achieved by shutting off the discharge leg of the hydraulic system and unloading from the rear of the trailer.

When pellet quality counts, the drag chain floor is the answer. Studies show that a drag chain floor reduced the destruction of pellets through the unloading process by over 60% in side-by-side comparisons to two other auger floors. This can play a huge factor in feed conversion rate with poultry.

Ledwell’s drag chain floor features flat rack and pinion bottom doors that allow for virtually 100% cleanout and no residual feed left after unloading, which may otherwise require downtime for flushing between loads or products.

HYDRAULICS

Traditional wet kits required a large volume hydraulic oil reservoir to run a feed trailer, typically 60 gallons or more. This volume was required due to heat buildup during the unloading process of the feed trailer. The added weight of such a large volume of hydraulic oil makes a direct impact on the amount of payload you could haul in each load.

With today’s advancements in hydraulic oil coolers, you are able to operate with a much smaller oil reservoir, around 10 gallons, while more effectively controlling the oil temperature. This can result in 400-pound weight savings that translate directly to the added payload in each load, greatly affecting your bottom line over the life of your equipment.

There are several other advantages of reduced volume. With less oil, it takes less time to bring the oil up to operating temperature in cold weather. This reduces the time required once you reach your delivery destination and gets you back to reload quicker.

These oil coolers directly affect your bottom line and are also more environmentally friendly. For example, you could completely drain and replace a 10-gallon system six times more often for the same cost as replacing your fluid one time in a 60-gallon tank. This keeps better oil in the system throughout this duration, extending the life of all hydraulic components it is running through. In the event of an oil spill, you are potentially losing six times less oil to clean up and replace.

Hydraulic oil cooler

SAFETY

Times have changed since we first started building feed trailers. Working smart and efficiently also means being safe. Here are a few features we think are important to implement to enhance safety.

If you have access to the top of the trailer via a ladder, we strongly recommend a catwalk system that incorporates a handrail and/or a tram. With these safety features in place, it makes it much safer when access is needed on top of the trailer. For Ledwell, we have made that a standard feature on all our trailers unless otherwise requested by our customers.

There are also disabling devices and alarms available to notify an operator and/or prevent them from moving their trailer when their boom is not saddled. This can be as simple as an amber strobe light and audible alarm in the cab to a device that disables the tractor from moving without the PTO disengaged and boom in the saddle.

Ledwell Classic Feed Trailer - Drag Chain Feedbody
Hand rails for added safety

Those of you who have been in the industry for a while understand the shoulder fatigue involved with opening and closing bottom floor gates day in and day out. To combat that, Ledwell offers Air-Operated Doors that allow the operator to open and close floor gates with the flip of a switch or the push of a button on their wireless remote. Not only does this greatly reduce shoulder fatigue, but it also allows the operator to stand at their controls and monitor their gauges without having to go back and forth opening gates. Pressure gauges can clearly indicate when a bin is near empty and it’s time to push a button and open the next gate.

Incorporating an on-board bio-security system will save the operator time and energy by not requiring them to get out and spray down your equipment manually. This option allows the operator to disinfect their equipment with the flip of a switch in the cab before leaving a farm. Spray points strategically located around the tractor and trailer provide direct application of disinfectant agent via an onboard pump and reservoir, typically located on the front fender of the feed trailer. This is common practice to minimize the chances of cross-contamination between farm to farm.

Stability and center of gravity is another factor to consider when spec’ing your next bulk feed unit. Anti-Lock Braking Systems and Roll Stability Support is a standard feature on any new Ledwell feed trailer. This helps mitigate the loss of control and roll-over situations. Taking stability a step further, we also offer a drop-deck keel design in our bulk trailers that have successfully lowered the center of gravity of the load by up to 30%.

SERVICE

Lastly, the last tip to improve efficiency in feed is often not considered on the front end of a purchase decision, but can quickly become a major factor in the productivity of your delivery program. Service and parts availability after the sale.

Before purchasing equipment there are a few questions you should ask your potential supplier. Ask about parts availability, same-day shipping availability, service, and support after the sale. Ask for references or ask others in the industry for their experience.

Downtime can be extremely costly, and in many situations, you simply can’t wait days or weeks for parts. Same-day shipping on most parts is something Ledwell prides itself in and is known for in the industry.

Download your free Efficiency in Feed Transportation E-Book (.pdf)

Custom Truck Design Helps Wholesale Electric Speed Up Daily Deliveries

Ledwell Gull Wing truck ready for delivery

The Company

Wholesale Electric is a Texarkana-based family-owned electric wholesaler that has grown to 59 branches and counting since it was opened in 1947.

The Challenge

Box trucks and stake bed trucks with tarps were inconvenient and time consuming to load and unload, and they didn’t adequately protect products from rain and moisture.

The Solution

The patented Ledwell Gull Wing Truck, a truck custom designed for electric wholesalers with aluminum sides that lift with the push of a button. The Gull Wing can be loaded from the sides via forklift and protects products from rain and moisture.

The Outcome

Wholesale Electric now has nine Gull Wings in their fleet that make multiple deliveries per day. On average, the Gull Wing truck saves 30 minutes to one hour of loading and unloading time per work day.

“We sell electrical distribution—so, as I like to describe it, anything from the light to the switch and everything in between, we sell. One thing that sets us apart from the competition is that we run trucks to every branch every single day.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric

The Company

Wholesale Electric, a family-owned electric wholesaler that has grown to 59 branches and counting since it was opened in 1947.

When Amos McCulloch Sr. opened Wholesale Electric Supply in 1947, he intended to run just the one store in Texarkana, Texas.

“My grandfather and grandmother started Wholesale Electric Supply,” said Chris McCulloch, Vice President. “My grandfather was the warehouse manager, counter sales, inside sales and delivery. My grandmother was the accountant. They started the company together, and when they started having children, she stayed home, and he kept the business going.”

More than seven decades later, Wholesale Electric has grown to 59 branches and counting in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Missouri. Second and third-generation McCullochs provide the company’s leadership. They serve customers in the residential, commercial, industrial, and utility fields. 

 “We sell electrical distribution—so, as I like to describe it, anything from the light to the switch and everything in between, we sell,” Chris said. “One thing that sets us apart from the competition is that we run trucks to every branch every single day.”

At 4 a.m., Chris said, trucks leave Little Rock and Texarkana to deliver inventory to each one of the company’s 59 branches.

“The way we look at our inventory is that it isn’t just one branch’s inventory,” Chris said. “It’s Wholesale’s inventory. So unless it has already been sold, everybody in the company is entitled to that inventory. Some companies sell materials to their branches—we do not do that.”

If one of their branches needs something, they all work together to ensure that branch gets it.

“If Little Rock has something and Dallas needs it, they might meet in Texarkana,” Chris said. “That’s just our mindset. “When a customer calls on a Saturday night, our people answer the phone and make sure they are taken care of–even if that means making an out of town delivery on a Sunday morning.” 

“For us, obviously, electrical and water don't mix very well. Or actually, they mix too well. That's the problem. And we can't use box or van-style trucks because of conduit. It's tough to load 10 feet of conduit from a forklift to the back of a box truck.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric
Wholesale Electric Gull Wing

The Challenge

Box trucks and stake bed trucks with tarps were inconvenient and time consuming to load and unload, and they didn’t adequately protect products from rain and moisture.

Over the decades, the Wholesale Electric team has tried different methods of shipping products to each branch. 

For 25 years, their solution for keeping their products dry was to use stake bed trucks and tarps. Each time they had to load or unload, they would remove the rails from one side of the truck, secure a heavy tarp, and then put the rails back. Chris said the rails were heavy and prone to breaking, and the tarps were expensive and didn’t always provide adequate protection from moisture.

“It’s very easy on a two or three-hour drive for a tarp to get loose and start flapping,” he said. “And in a heavy downpour, a tarp is not going to cover everything.”

The Solution

The patent pending Ledwell Gull Wing, a truck custom designed for electric wholesalers with aluminum sides that lift with the push of a button. The Gull Wing can be loaded from the sides via forklift and protects products from rain and moisture.

Buddy McCulloch—the company’s president and Chris’s father—started looking for a better way to transport products to Wholesale Electric’s branches. He found it on a cocktail napkin. 

Buddy had known Steve Ledwell his entire life. Wholesale Electric and Ledwell & Son had grown alongside each other since both companies were founded by Buddy’s and Steve’s fathers after World War II. One evening, they sat at the bar of a local restaurant, Twisted Fork, and discussed Wholesale Electric’s transportation challenges. 

“They drew it up on a cocktail napkin,” Chris said. “That’s the story.”

Wholesale Electric’s team’s requirements included 24 feet of internal loadable space, the capacity to load six 4-foot pallets on each side, opening on the sides, and protection from moisture.

The result? A truck bed with hinged aluminum sides that lift and lower with the push of a button thanks to a central hydraulic system.

“Working with our customer, we produced several early trucks that were essentially R&D,” said John Crisp, Ledwell Regional Manager. “They’re all different—we tested the cylinders, lifted the doors at different angles, used different hinges, a different waterproofing system. We built this with a lighter structure, but still tough. In the delivery business, the trucks are stressed to their limit every day.”

Chris said the Gull Wing’s lifting aluminum sides were a game-changer for Wholesale Electric. 

“When you have that 4 a.m. truck and you’re having to unload, re-load, then tarp everything down and put the rails back on—well, now we just open the Gull Wing and load it up from the side,” he said. “Unloading is quick and easy. You open it up, and the forklift pulls the material off. We can’t load conduit from a forklift to the back of a box truck, and the rail trucks were so cumbersome to load and unload and had the added expense of replacing the tarps. The Gull Wing is the best of both worlds.”

“Ultimately, I know that with one single text or phone call to Ledwell, I can get whatever I need done, done. That matters more to me than anything else.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric
Wholesale Electric Gull Wing Truck

The Outcome

Wholesale Electric now has nine Gull Wings in their fleet that make multiple deliveries per day. On average, the Gull Wing saves 30 minutes to one hour of loading and unloading time per work day.

“If you think about it, that’s a lot of time over a year for nine trucks,” he said. “Thirty minutes to an hour per truck per day is a huge advantage for us. We’re not having to stay until 6-7 p.m. loading these trucks. Time is the most valuable thing out there. Whatever can save time and get things quicker is always going to be what we choose.” 

He said speeding up the delivery process makes it easier for Wholesale Electric to fulfill their customers’ needs.

“We want to be known for providing the best service,” he said. “Electrical suppliers all sell the same stuff. What matters most is, do we have it? And can we get it to you quickly with a smile on our face?”

The Gull Wing doesn’t require a CDL to drive, which Chris said makes it easier to hire drivers. And unlike tarps, the aluminum sides can be wrapped with vinyl, turning them into moving billboards.

“They’re excellent advertisement,” said Blaire Barlow, Wholesale’s Marketing Director. “One of our locations is on a road that gets about 180,000 cars per day. So when we aren’t using it, we park it right in front of our building. It’s an outstanding billboard.”

Wholesale Electric has recently expanded into the Dallas/Fort Worth market, and the company has seen significant growth over the last decade, Chris said.

He said Ledwell has been a valuable resource for Wholesale Electric since the beginning. 

 “My granddad was a longtime resident, and Mr. Ledwell was a longtime Texarkana resident,” Chris said. “My father and Steve grew up here, and I went to high school with the Ledwell kids. This is three generations of family business working alongside each other.”

But the companies’ shared history isn’t the only reason Wholesale Electric continues to buy Ledwell trucks.

“Ultimately, I know that with one single text or phone call to Ledwell, I can get whatever I need done, done,” Chris said. “That matters more to me than anything else.”

Do you have a unique, custom truck or trailer need? We'll help you find a solution! Submit the form or call us at 888-533-9355 to get started.

Maximum Versatility: The Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer

tilt deck trailer with Ledwell maxtilt

The patent-pending Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer is the powerful, versatile trailer you need in 2021.

When a rental client told us they needed a trailer that could more efficiently haul containers, we re-engineered our patent-pending HydraTilt Truck to take it to the next level. The result? One of our most powerful, versatile hauling solutions with the added benefit of little to no breakover.

tilt deck trailer with Ledwell maxtilt

Highest Tilting Main Deck

Whatever angle you need, the Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer can handle it. This trailer goes higher than ever before with a main deck that tilts up to 32 degrees. But if you don’t need that much height, don’t worry —this trailer can stop at any angle along the way.

Unmatched in Hauling

The Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer is a powerful solution for transporting containers, trucks, and other large equipment. It’s perfect for anyone who plans to use their trailer to carry a wide range of loads, such as rental and construction companies.

Unified Hinge

We introduced our patent-pending unified hinge with the Ledwell HydraTilt Truck, and it makes an appearance in the MaxTilt Trailer, too. This single unified hinge enables you to load and unload low clearance equipment thanks to little or no breakover.

And as always, we can customize your Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer to meet your specific needs.

“Our new MaxTilt Trailer is ideal for unloading containers or dead equipment. It extends up high enough to allow containers or equipment to slide off easily. Everyone needs a MaxTilt Trailer in their fleet.” –Jill Launius, Sales Coordinator

Durability, service draw Munson Lakes Nutrition to Ledwell Feedbodies

Munson Lakes feed truck

When a mineral salesman called on Ray E. Munson back in 1930, Ray got interested in using minerals to create balanced diets for poultry and livestock. In 1935, Munson Feed company—which would later become Munson Lakes Nutrition—was born in Howard Lake, Minnesota.

“We started out making feed with a hand barrel mixer, and we gradually grew from there,” said Dusten Wilking, Maintenance and Fleet Manager for Munson Lakes Nutrition.

In its first year, the company sold 314 bags of feed manufactured in their barrel mixer. Today, with the help of a computerized mill and a team of nutritionists, Munson Lakes helps dairies and other livestock producers throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin formulate feed systems.

Ledwell Truck at Munson Lakes mill

When it comes to transporting feed, Munson Lakes has two big challenges: maintaining pellet quality and unloading heavy minerals.

“We have some customers that take really heavy feed,” Dusten said. “You put that into a typical auger trailer, and it won’t unload it. It’s too heavy, and it plugs up that auger floor.”

Munson Lakes’ solution? Ledwell Drag Chain Feedbodies.

“Ledwell is the best when it comes to pellet quality,” Dusten said. “If anybody out there is ever having problems with fines in pellets or unloading a heavy mineral, they need a Ledwell.”

Munson Lakes purchases new Ledwell feedbodies as well as used Ledwell trailers, which Ledwell completely refurbishes before reselling. Munson Lakes bought their first Ledwell in 1987. The oldest Ledwell equipment they have on the lot right now is a ’94, and the oldest they use daily is a 2004.

“You can’t buy another piece of equipment and maintain it for as little cost as a Ledwell,” Dusten said. “They don’t break down. The cost to repair them when they do is minimal. They always answer the phone when I need parts.”

Munson Lakes feed truck

Dusten said they’ve tried using trailers made by other manufacturers, but they can’t stand up to the toughest jobs.

“We have to make sure the Ledwells go to the hard farms,” he said. “We have to pick and choose which trucks go to which farm, because we know that at certain farms, only a Ledwell will be able to unload. We are working on getting our fleet to be all Ledwells.”

Drag chains also make Munson Lakes’ trailer maintenance easier.

“A lot of people are stuck in their ways and think the drag chain is more complicated,” Dusten said. “I’ve replaced more floors on an auger than I have on a drag chain. And I’ve never touched a drag chain on our trailers. We have a box back here that’s a ’94—I don’t think we’ve ever had to replace the drag chain on it.”

Munson Lakes Feed Truck in action

Munson Lakes’ company values are to manufacture a great product at a fair price, to give great customer service, and to base every decision on fairness and decency. 

“Ledwell excels at that as well,” he said. “It’s good to work with a company that has the same values and end goals.”

They’re able to keep Ledwell feedbodies and trailers in service longer thanks to Ledwell’s parts and service team.

“This year has been very frustrating with COVID,” Dusten said. “Trying to get ahold of companies is very frustrating. It’s like they don’t want my business. But anytime I call Ledwell, I can get the help I need. The product is there. The parts are there. The service is there. It’s the trifecta of a great company. If someone asked me whether they should buy a Ledwell truck, I’d tell them, ‘You don’t have one yet?'”

Want to know more about Ledwell Feed Trucks? Get in touch!

The Ultimate Bulk Feed Trailer Maintenance Checklist

Ledwell Drop Deck Bulk Feed Trailer

A change in season is the perfect time to perform routine bulk feed trailer maintenance. Regularly servicing bulk feed trucks and trailers will help keep your Ledwell equipment running as smoothly as possible. To help, we created a list for you to follow to make sure everything on your bulk haul equipment is running smoothly.

Before inspecting any Ledwell equipment, make sure to set the parking brake, turn on safety lights, and chock the wheels. Be aware of your surroundings while walking around your bulk feedbody.

Bulk Feed Trailer Maintenance Checklist

LIGHTS

  • Lights, wiring, reflectors, and conspicuity – working and adequately mounted.
  • Ensure No rubbing or chaffing and sufficiently insulated. Check the work lights.

BODY

  • Gladhand seals – inspect and replace as needed.
  • Inspect upper coupler, no broken welds or cracks. Inspect kingpin and kingpin
  • Landing gear is straight, with no cracks or breaks in braces and mounting brackets.
  • Check crank handles for proper operation and condition.
  • Inspect the top cover of each leg for holes or missing. Remove all dirt and grease.
  • Plate for wear or damage. Grease all points – lubricate all grease fittings on the landing gear.
  • Mudflaps and mounting – present, intact, and securely mounted.
  • Air hoses and lines – no leaks, cuts, bulges, improper joints.
  • Ensure no rubbing or chaffing and proper routing and insulation.
  • ICC bumper – no cracks, mounted adequately.
  • Power spray dirt and feed from the top of the kingpin plate. Every 30 days.
  • Frame and cross members – inspect, no cracks, bends, broken welds, and end clip fasteners in place.
  • Ladder and Catwalks – not bent, broken, or loose, all fasteners present and tight.
  • Tarps – inspect the condition, replace if damaged. Check tarp rod and grease as needed.
  • Check tension on the pull cord on the front.
  • Top doors – proper mounting, seals and operation, grease handles if applicable.
  • Drain moisture from all air tanks.

WHEELS & TIRES

  • Tires – no flats (75 psi). No cuts, breaks, bumps, bulges, or knots.
  • Free of contact with any part of the vehicle. Air tires to 110 psi and mark per procedure.
  • Record tread depth 32nds: RFI: /32 RFO: /32 RRI: /32 RRO: /32 LFI· /32 LFO· /32 LRI· /32 LFO: /32
  • Wheels – wheel nuts and lugs tight and none missing (torqued to 450-500-foot pounds), no cracks.
  • Valve cap extenders in place; replace it if missing. Valve stems are correctly aligned.
  • Hub oilers-check all hub oilers. No leaks or cracks in the glass.
  • Check oil level and condition. Check for metal with a magnet.
  • Visually inspect wheel seals for leaks.
  • Brakes replace if the lining is less than 5/16″ measured at the center of the lining.
  • Record brake thickness RF: ___ RR· ___ LF· ___ LR: ___
  • Check brake adjustment by checking the pushrod travel. (Max travel on the short-stroke chamber is 2″ and 2 1/2″ on the long-stroke).
  • Lubricate all fittings on brake slack adjusters and all s-cam bushings. The sleeve should be full.
Bulk Haul Feed Trailer for sale by Ledwell

AXLES & SUSPENSION

  • Inspect springs, hangers, u-bolts, and brake drums – none are broken, loose, or cracked leaves, bolts, hangers, or axle housing.
  • No displaced spring leaves.
  • Check air ride suspension, hangers, spacers, bushings, shocks, airbags, and brackets are in good condition.
  • No cracks check ride height and adjust if needed.

DELIVERY SYSTEM

  • Inspect discharge to upright clamp rings—grease weekly.
  • Inspect upright to floor transition—grease weekly.
  • Fill, cycle, and check the operation of the auto-lube system if equipped.
  • Drag chain – remove covers front and rear. Inspect all sprockets, none loose, in proper alignment.
  • Inspect all chain links for wear or breaks – pins and links.
  • Inspect adjusters and lubricate, adjust the chain to proper tension.
  • Vertical auger chain – inspect for wear, adjustment, and loose or broken chain links.
  • Chainguard is mounted correctly and bolts tight. Lubricate chain.
  • Grease all augers, all points. – 5 pumps of grease. Every 30 days.

HYDRAULICS

  • Hydraulic Hoses – inspect all, no leaks, breaks, bulges, rubbing, chaffing, proper routing, insulation, and installation.
  • Hydraulic Motors and Valves – inspect, mounting bolts tight, none missing, no leaks.
  • Check controls – function properly, no excessive slack.
  • Check the oil level in all torque converters and gearboxes. Inspect for leaks and proper mounting.
  • Check bearings. Fill with 7SW90 – 5 pumps of grease. Every 30 days.

We hope this bulk feed trailer maintenance checklist was helpful!

To make it even easier to perform routine inspections on Ledwell Feed equipment – download a copy for your shop.

Change in Season: Time For Preventative Maintenance

Ledwell 6 Yard Dump Truck

Season change means different behaviors for your trusted equipment. But you can make sure that this doesn’t affect your work on the job. There are a variety of actions you can take that your equipment needs to stay efficient and running. One of them is preventative maintenance. Not all equipment is as easy as your typical loading ramp – having to grease the landing gear only once a year. But maintenance is imperative for longevity.

We believe wholeheartedly that maintenance schedules will allow your equipment a long, happy life, no matter the piece.

We’ve devised several Preventative Maintenance sheets for your benefit. These outline how you can prepare your equipment for various conditions and what you must do to get the most out of your money. Preventative Maintenance checklists are available for the following equipment:

You can also tune into our social media on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube. We know it’s tough to remember when your equipment needs routine maintenance when you have a million other things happening on the job. That’s why we do our best to provide you easy access, like adding preventative maintenance questions and answers to those above-mentioned social media outlets.

If these aren’t enough for you, and you’re looking for something a little more specific, you can always check out our FAQ page on our website or give us a call. One way or another, Ledwell is determined to gain your satisfaction through equipment performance.

Get Low With the Ledwell HydraTilt Truck

Ledwell custom hydraulic trail truck - HydraTilt Truck
Ledwell custom hydraulic trail truck - HydraTilt Truck

What do you get when you take a HydraTail Truck and add a unified hinge and hydraulic tilt deck? Ledwell’s groundbreaking, patent-pending HydraTilt Truck

“We saw an opportunity to create a more versatile truck. One that takes up less space on the street, accommodates low ground clearance equipment, has a shorter bed height, and has a deck that tilts high enough to unload containers.”

“We’ve had a lot of success in the rental industry with our HydraTail truck, but even those customers were having trouble with getting some of their lower ground clearance equipment over the tail and hinge easily,” said Ledwell engineer Gary Gathright.

The truck’s innovative design centers around what the Ledwell team calls a unified hinge.

“When you hinge the deck and tail off of the same piece, when they’re parallel with each other, there’s no step-down like you’d get with two hinges,” he said. “It’s an easier loading situation, and you can more easily slide things off, like a container or non-powered equipment.”

Gary said the HydraTilt Truck can be positioned to result in a loading configuration similar to the rollback, but it’s 5 3/4 inches lower in transport mode.

“That makes it easier on the drivers loading the equipment and creates a lower center of gravity, so you have a more stable platform when you’re driving,” he said. “And you can haul larger equipment.”

The HydraTilt Truck’s smaller loading and unloading space makes it an asset in urban areas.

“When you’re on a crowded downtown street, you want to take up as little room as possible as you load and unload,” Gary said. “It makes for a safer environment for the driver unloading the equipment, and it’s safer for the public in general because you’re not taking up multiple driveways or blocking the street.”

The Ledwell team ultimately designed the HydraTilt Truck to make customers’ lives easier.

“This is simply an extension of what we have done for nearly 75 years, which is to take feedback from our customers and create the equipment they need,” he said.

Learn more about the Ledwell HydraTilt Truck

Lube Buddy Provides Service On the Go

Ledwell Service Skid - Manufactured in America

When you’re on the go, working a time-sensitive job, or just looking for convenience, you need access to service equipment fast. Ledwell has your quick solution to perform in-the-field equipment PM service and maintenance with a portable service skid – Lube Buddy.

Our Lube Buddies provide an easy and efficient way for you to keep your equipment serviced and ready to go. This equipment can be utilized as a mobile unit or serve as a stationary portable maintenance center at the job site!

Our Lube Buddy, Jr. is suited for light-duty vehicles. Its smaller stature makes it lighter, and easy to move from location to location. Convenient to place. Allows for easy access to air, fresh fluids, and properly dispose of waste. This piece of equipment comes with spill and overflow pans to minimize mess, and non-corrosive pipe fittings to ensure longevity.

If you’re searching for something a little more heavy-duty, we’ve got you covered.

This Lube Buddy option can turn any of your medium-duty hauling vehicles into a skid-mounted, self-contained fuel and lube service center! Much like the Lube Buddy, Junior, the Lube Buddy Max is designed in such a way to prevent excessive spillover and ensure a long lifespan.

Easily move these units with a forklift. Place on a level surface to avoid any spills and to ensure proper operation. Be sure to always read the accompanying operators’ manuals in regard to all pieces of equipment you own.

To learn more about the Lube Buddy, Jr. or Lube Buddy Max and other service equipment, visit our Service Truck page.

Ledwell Lube Skid with Compressor
Ledwell Lube Buddy Jr
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