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CQUni Emerald apprentices resurrect mine rear dump truck

Published:18 October 2018

A group of apprentices have resurrected a previously dormant piece of mining equipment at CQUni's Emerald campus.

Persistence and a passion for their trade has seen CQUniversity Emerald Campus students breathe new life into a former mine rear dump truck, successfully starting the engine for the first time in several years.

The Motor Mechanics (Heavy) third year apprentices put their skills to the test, working on the 777A D348 V12 Caterpillar Off-Highway truck that has posed a challenge for students to get running again since it was delivered to the Emerald Campus in 2015.

Auto Heavy (Diesel Fitting) Teacher Stan Mcfadyen said the truck was donated to CQUni by Yarrabee Coal Mine.

“The truck had been parked up after being used for transporting overburden spoil to a designated dump area,” he said.

“All credit must go to the students for their persistence, as an auto electrical class had previously tried, unsuccessfully, to start the engine.

“The initiative to get the truck engine going involved three or four students, with others looking on from the workshop, but the enthusiasm spilled over to other students when the rumbling of the engine was first heard.

“The deciding factor was a long period of cranking the engine to circulate a fuel bleed out and using an improvised fuel supply to bypass the on-machine fuel tank and lines.

“The engine had been cranked in a series of 30 second bursts, hinting that it wanted to start. This also gave a chance for its life blood lubricating oil to circulate, so all parts would be well oiled when the engine eventually started.

“It was a painstaking effort, but we sensed the engine wanted to start, provided the batteries didn’t lose their charge in the meantime.”

Associate Vice-Chancellor (Central Highlands) Associate Professor Anita Milroy congratulated the students on their efforts.

“Seeing their passion for their trade and having them successfully apply what they have learned in a practical situation was very exciting.

“Having the engine rumble back to life is a huge achievement for them.”

The 777A Caterpillar Off-Highway was built between 1974 and 1984 and, until 1985, was the flagship of their rear dump trucks.

Being dwarfed by later model larger rear dump trucks, the 777 would have been used in shorter haul work, rather than transporting coal.

Watch the truck come to life HERE