At a glance
Make & model Daf CF 340 FAS 6x2
Engine Paccar MX-11 10.8-litre six-cylinder
Power 340hp @ 1675rpm
Torque 1500Nm @ 900-1400rpm
Gearbox ZF TraXon 12-speed auto
Operator Baileys Horse Feeds, Braintree
When Phil Brown got in touch to say he’d been given a new Daf CF 26-tonner, one look at the pictures was enough to perk us up. When we found out it was an updated version of one he took over seven years previously, however, we couldn’t miss the chance to see how things have changed in that time and arranged to see it in the metal.
Baileys Horse Feeds does exactly what it says on the bag, and the trucks it runs from its Braintree, Essex manufacturing site are there purely to deliver to its customers. There are 15 on the fleet today: four rigids and nine artics on deliveries plus a further two dedicated to bulk collections of grain.
All the vehicles are Daf CFs, the firm having stuck with the Dutch manufacturer since they started buying brand new in the early ‘90s. But there were trucks running out of Baileys for many years before that, as MD Joe Venner explains, “We were a waste bread processor originally, which we turned into breadcrumbs for dog food, and ground bait for fishing, so we had lorries to collect the bread.” A family-owned business, Joe’s father and his business partner loved horses, so they found a way to get into horse feed too. “We got our first delivery truck when that started in 1981 – although we don’t use breadcrumbs now, we’ve moved on somewhat!”
Joe doesn’t know why Daf was chosen as it was before his time, but he can hazard a guess. “I suspect it came down to pounds, shillings and pence. We didn’t have much money to spend back then.” The choice turned out to be a good one. “We’ve always found them a good workhorse,” Joe tells us. “We don’t have many issues, but when we do there’s always a Daf place nearby if you break down away from home.”
Back at base, Baileys has its own workshop, which is well-equipped to look after the trucks. The aim is to stick to one driver, one lorry as far as possible, though there are odd exceptions. Inspections and servicing are fitted around the daily work, but the trucks do come off the road for prep before going for MoT, so the driver might end up in something else for a day or so.
As it happens, Phil has just done a short spell on an artic when we speak to him. When we ask whether he’ll be glad to be back in his own motor, he confesses he’ll miss some aspects of the tractor unit. “It has the MX engine brake, and it’s brilliant,” he says. “Whereas mine only has a standard exhaust brake, which is a bit weedy!”
One man one truck
That aside, Phil is very pleased with the new truck, especially compared to its Euro 5 63-plate predecessor. The first thing he tells us about isn’t the engine though. “When the previous lorry turned up, we noticed that with the forklift on the back and the curtains open, you could physically see the floor bowing,” he explains. “When you did the curtain up it seemed to straighten out, so I reckon it was the floor that was the problem. But it wasn’t helped by just having the standard haulage chassis. The new one’s got a tipper chassis with a much deeper rail, and it doesn’t bow at all.”
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