The Caterpillar 797 is the primary vehicle used in oil-sands extraction and other open-pit mining operations. It was developed, and is manufactured in, the United States by Caterpillar Inc. Since production began in 1998, it has offered the highest payload capacity of any mechanical-drive haul-truck.
A truck this big comes with a price tag to match. Each of the 797's six tires cost $42,500 more than most entry-level automobiles. It also requires far more parts. Whereas regular automotive wheels require anywhere from four to eight nuts to hold them to the axle, the 797 requires 54 nuts on each!
These giant trucks are assembled from parts made all across America, with some parts of the dump bed made in Mexico as well. Assembling one 79 requires 12 or 13 tractor trailer loads of parts; six or seven for the engine, frame, axles and differential, one for the cab, two for the six tires, and four for the dump body. As these trucks are not safe for highway driving, they can only be moved from one job site to another by breaking them down into component parts and shipping them on a convoy of flatbed tractor-trailers.
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