Articulated Truck Bed Buying and Inspection Guide

Articulated Truck Bed Buying and Inspection Guide

View All Parts From This Machine: John Deere 724J Wheel Loader
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Even the best maintained and best working articulated truck is only as good as the bed it carries over its wheels. From long-term wear and tear to a big box-breaking collision, the dump box on a truck can meet the end of its usability far before the rest of the machine. If that happens and you still have a good working dump truck, you’ll probably be fast off to search for a used, replacement dump box to get your machine back up and running. The good news is that the reverse of your situation — where a bed outlived a truck — can be the case and that means a search can often turn up a suitable replacement.

Like every used part at H&R, a used dump box or bed is inspected early and often during our salvage process. This ensures we know exactly the condition of our used parts and can communicate that with interested searchers. To help you in your search, we’ve put together this short buying guide so you’ll know what to look for or what information to request.

With some quick checks you can get a better idea on the condition of a dump box and if it will work for you and the work you do with your truck. » Click video to play/pause animation.


What to Inspect on a Used Dump Bed

If you’re a seasoned articulated dump truck operator, you might be able to determine the real condition of a dump bed with a few quick glances. But, if you’re not sure what to look for or you just need a refresher, some of the major spots to focus in your search are:

Check Pin Ears and Pin Holes in the Dump Box

Hard or repeated impacts to the side of a dump box can lead to bends in pin ears and damage where they connect to the box. And because pin holes are exposed to frequent, friction-heavy movement, without proper maintenance and care they can become warped, as well. Bent pin ears or damaged pin holes can lead to issues when the box needs to be mounted to the new machine so any issues should be documented and clearly communicated.

Examine Points Where the Cylinders Connect to the Dump Box

The points in the side of the dump box where the bed lift cylinders connect to the box are routinely the focus of intense forces as the bed is lifted and lowered. With every load dumped these connection points can be impacted by overloaded boxes or impacts so extra care should be taken to sure they’re in good working order.

Look Closely at Seams and Welds

Like with most parts, the seams or welds where one piece meets another are often more prone to cracking than other spots. Taking a look at critical connection points in plates can help you spot issues in the box’s future — even if a crack doesn’t mean the box won’t still work for you.

Search for High Rust Spots in the Bed

Most used dump boxes you find will certainly have some rust on them and can always be sanded and painted, if desired. But while a little cosmetic rust won’t affect the box’s performance, a box with a floor eaten away by rust can mean it will need repairs to get it up to a good working level and you should plan for those repairs ahead of time.

Watch for Repair Welds or Welded Plates on the Dump Box

A strong, well-attached plate or an expertly re-welded seam can turn a problem into nothing more than a scar, but care should be taken to ensure the repair work was done well and will stand up to the rigorous work an articulated dump truck gets called to do. An experienced seller will have any visible repairs documented and be able to clearly communicate to you the extents of these fixes.

With a handful of pictures you can tell a simple surface scratch from a more worrisome crack in a dump box like this one for a John Deere 350D.

How Much Does a Used Dump Box Cost?

If you’ve found a replacement dump bed that will work for your machine and early information leads you to believe it meets your own requirements, you’ll probably be on to wondering what you should pay for it. Like most things, the cost of a used dump box comes down to a range of issues from availability to shipping. To help ensure both you and the seller agree on a good price for the box, take the following into account:

Request Pictures of the Used Dump Box

Today, taking a handful of pictures of the entire box, as well as close-ups of areas of the box, is as easy as pulling out your phone and tapping your finger so most sellers will happily send along pictures to demonstrate the condition of the box. And once both you and the seller have clear pictures you can better agree on what each of you considers a little dent or heavy damage.

Learn Shipping Costs Early in the Discussion

Unless the brand you’re researching is Tonka, the large size and heavy weight of a used dumb bed for sale can be significant. Learning what it will cost to actually show up at your door early in the buying discussion can help you ensure the box you’ve found fits your budget. Experienced sellers will have documented the weight and dimensions of the box and be able to quote you shipping costs or, if you prefer to arrange shipping yourself, provide you with that information.


The search for a used articulated dump box can seem daunting at first. Since a dump box generally takes a pounding on the job and dump boxes are also of interest to DIY builders who repurpose them, the demand for a certain dump box can be high. But with some searching, there’s also a good chance you’ll be able find one that works. These inspection tips are based on some of the methods we use to inspect the dump boxes that we salvage, so hopefully they’ll help ensure you don’t just find a replacement box — you find the perfect one to get you back up and running.

As always, if you need help with your search, feel free to contact our Parts Specialists. They can search our inventory as well as our connected national parts network — quickly and simply. Just give them a call.

Dump Box Image and Diagram Gallery

An illustrated diagram of a dump box with key areas to examine.
With a few visual checks (in person or through photos) and a few questions with the seller, you can get a better idea about the condition of a used dump box.
A Volvo dump box
This Volvo A25 E dump box is stored upside down to keep it from collecting water. But this view also gives you a good look at the important pin holes and pin ears on the dump box.
Caterpillar dump box
The inspection process for this Caterpillar 535E II dump box found dings and dents — likely from contact with an anxious wheel loader bucket — but that denting wouldn't affect the overall structure of the box.
A John Deere dump box
A good hard wash and scrub reveals the inside of this John Deere 350D dump bed so the H&R team can take a closer look at welds, seams, and other signs of wear.