Sky High

Purchasing four Isuzu FYJ 300-350 trucks has allowed Height 4 Hire to build further on its well-known reputation for providing reliable, safe and well-maintained equipment for hire.
Ken Bakker.

Since its inception in 2010, Height 4 Hire has become one of Queensland’s largest privately-owned and operated suppliers of access hire and scissor lift hire equipment.

Although electric scissor lifts are one of its most sought-after pieces of equipment due to their flexibility in tight spaces, a small turning circle and solid non-marking tyres, Height 4 Hire also supplies diesel scissor lifts, telescopic boom lifts, and articulated boom lifts which feature extremely fast cycle times to ensure ultimate efficiency in worksite operations.

Electric man lifts, forklifts and trailer mount knuckle booms are some of Height 4 Hire’s many other solutions available for hire. With height access to suit every application of the construction process, Height 4 Hire prides itself on being a one-stop shop for all access equipment needs.

Managing Director, Ken Bakker, has spent over 40 years in the mining, building and construction industries, and by working alongside his team, he has seen the fleet undergo extensive growth from 55 machines in 2010 to over 1,000 today.

“I’m still loving what I’m doing, but I’m 64 and I’ll keep working for a few years,” he says. “I’ve got a couple of daughters that work in the business, whether they want to continue on, we’ll see in a couple of years. But I still love coming in.”

Height 4 Hire also offers three types of servicing, with its most regular one seeing employees complete a half-hour inspection on equipment returning from hire. Next on the list, a checklist put out by manufacturers every 90 days allows Height 4 Hire to complete a more complex inspection for customers. And lastly, in accordance with a more comprehensive checklist, Height 4 Hire also offers an annual inspection which can take over an hour to finish.

Height 4 Hire now has two depots to meet the industry’s demand for rental equipment – one at Richlands on the southern side of Brisbane, and the other on the northern side at Northgate. However, according to Ken, business was much different at the beginning compared to its current state.

“When we started, it was all subcontracted,” he says. “And then we found it was hard to get subcontractors at the right time so that we could deliver to our customers when they needed it. So, we picked up a secondhand Isuzu, probably back in about 2012 or 2013 and just did a lot of small runs around the city to get machines out.”

That soon evolved. From there the fleet acquired a bogie truck before adding a twin-steer according to Ken.

“We eventually kept adding machines, trucks to the point where we now have nine of our own,” he says.

“Six of the nine are Isuzus and the others are just opportunistic buying where we’ve just absolutely had to have one and the Isuzu wasn’t available at the time.”

Of these new vehicles, Height 4 Hire’s most recent additions – four automatic FYJ 300-350s in 8×4 axle configurations – have allowed Ken to achieve another level of productivity and efficiency while keeping the company’s original values in place.

“Our goal is to ensure our machines are always reliable and we want to make sure we are always safely taking our customers to new heights,” he says.

“With our ever-expanding fleet access equipment, we aim to provide machinery and services that ensures customer productivity levels are maximised at an affordable cost. Our latest additions from Isuzu have helped out in this area as they suit our needs more than anything. We cart our machines to various sites around southeast Queensland, and they seem to suit the size of these pretty well.”

A Height 4 Hire telescopic boom lift in operation.
A Height 4 Hire telescopic boom lift in operation.

The increasing reliance on Isuzu was somewhat a byproduct of having a second-hand truck from the brand that proved ever-trustworthy. By default Isuzu has become, when available, first preference.

“They’re very reliable trucks and they are well-priced for the market,” Ken says.

“While we don’t have a lot to benchmark them against, they do seem to work extremely well for us. The product is very simple for the drivers, and the only thing that changes is the size of the truck, which makes it easier to swap our drivers from truck to truck, something we have to do a lot.”

Equipped with Isuzu’s 6UZ1-TCN engine, the 2021 Isuzu FYJ 300-350 has enough heft to back up capacity with a power rating of 345hp achieved at 2,000rpm and generous torque of 1,422Nm available at 1,400rpm. The FYJ also comes in a 10×4 configuration with a choice of three different transmissions, airbag or steel spring suspension, and multiple wheelbase lengths. At the heavier end of the spectrum, Ken’s models have a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of between 30,000 and 35,000kg and a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 45,000kg.

Auto FYJ models akin to Height 4 Hire’s feature the beefy Allison 4430 transmission, which was a significant upgrade on the Allison 3200 transmission. At the time of its release, it was widely considered the industry norm for this class of truck. The FYJ also houses Isuzu’s load-sharing front suspension that allows customers an additional one tonne on the front axle group by evenly distributing weight across both steer axles. This, combined with the low tare mass of the Isuzu chassis, endows the truck with a premium payload capacity for heavier transport and crane operations.

As seen in Ken’s four 2021 FYJ units, Isuzu made several design changes to the predecessor in the successful FY series. Most significant of these is a marginally shorter rear axle ratio for all FY Auto models, which, according to Isuzu, was developed in response to demand from the experienced Isuzu dealer network as well as customer feedback. In addition, the new ratio of 5.286:1 is said to provide improved startability in tricky conditions while assisting in overall performance, particularly at lower speeds.

According to Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) Chief Engineer, Product Strategy, Simon Humphries, who oversaw the fine-tuning of the upgrade, the FY auto models’ overall gearing and on-road performance at cruising speeds is comparable with the manual transmission options.

“It’s now sitting at almost the same as a manual transmission model,” he says. “At 1,830rpm at 100 km/h up from 1,690rpm at 100 km/h with the previous axle ratio — with minimal impact on fuel economy.”

Ongoing refinements in its vehicle technology along with Isuzu’s reputation for product support have been instrumental in making it the leading brand in Australia.

Ken has seen this firsthand himself.

“We have a good relationship with Isuzu,” he says. “We’ve found that they’ve got a really good product for us as they know what we want. Nick at Brisbane Isuzu keeps providing timely information as well as to when the trucks are going to be here, what he’s got coming up and the delivery times. If he says it’s going to be here in February, it’s here in February.”

Quite often, conveniently for Ken, the vehicles are delivered even earlier than expected.

“These days a lot of it revolves around what equipment you can actually get your hands on, but with Isuzu that hasn’t been a problem for us,” he says. “In essence, they’re price competitive and they give us a product we want.”

The Richlands depot in Brisbane.
Send this to a friend