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Sweeping Industry News Bulletin

Startup Chassis Builder to Offer Midrange Cabovers for Sweeper Mounting

Yakima, WA – May 16, 2014; updated December 15, 2021

Rainier Truck & Chassis LLC, based in Yakima, Washington, is developing a series of Class 4 through 7 COEs that can be customized to suit buyers' needs.



Update, December 2021

In May of 2014 we wrote an article, which is in place below, about what appeared to be an up-and-coming new chassis maker right here in the U.S. In fact, located in the Eastern Washington town of Yakima, WA, across the state from WorldSweeper's location. Recently, we received a call from one of Rainier's dealers, who was disgruntled about not having received the first chassis from Gary Jones, owner of Rainier Truck & Chassis.

In case any sweeper manufacturers or sweeping contractors had ordered the chassis, which seemed like an exciting addition to the chassis marketplace – especially the 'Built in USA' part – we contacted several of Rainier's other dealers as well as Jones. The responses we got went from one side of the spectrum to the other. Without identifying the dealers, here are several of their responses we documented:

  • One dealer had signed up only recently and had no real idea of when any chassis would be shipping.
  • A dealer principal told us, in part: "We filled out lots of paperwork, paid a deposit, and have never seen a chassis. Have a contract [for several] years and have even renewed the contract several times. To date there has been this problem and that problem. The upshot is, to date we have seen no chassis."
  • Another long-time dealer said: "Gary has kept me abreast and he has run into a series of problems. Ford pulled the cab from him, then so did Isuzu. No one produces a cabover cab he can use here in the U.S. By the time he got a cab secured then Covid started and created more snafus. He's promised that the chassis will come to fruition very soon. I don't think Gary is being dishonest; i.e., that he's taking our money in order to then keep the money and not produce a truck."
At the end of our contacting of the dealers, we left a voicemail, and then sent an email, to Gary Jones, Rainier's owner, to see what he had to say. Here's the email we received back from Jones: "We are inching towards pilot production, and to say the least it has been a very challenging past 24 months with Covid/supply chain issues. We have not bailed out of the market like UD or Fuso and left dealers hanging and we have not rebadged our brand either. Isuzu/GM, Isuzu/Hino, etc.

"Our group of dealers / customers all understand our terms and conditions and refund policies on our sales agreements which is public information on our website. Some dealers / customers are more patient and understand better than others exactly what it to start something like this up and some don't. We do not run our company on gossip or spread rumors... shame on the persons that do."

From here on out you will be reading the article we ran in May of 2014. We sincerely wish Jones and his company all the best as they struggle to provide what appears to be a very competitive chassis that will be built in America!

Previous article from May of 2014...

Rainier Chassis

The medium-duty cab-over-engine market abandoned several years ago by General Motors and more recently by UD Trucks will get new products from a start-up company in Washington state.

Gary Jones, president and founder of the company, said he is a mechanical design engineer by trade and has a long history and experience in the industry for buses and motorhomes.

The trucks are designated RT 1600, 1950, 2600 and 3300 to indicate their gross-vehicle weight ratings in pounds. They will feature domestic diesel, gasoline and alternative-fuel engines, and familiar drivetrain, axle and suspension components.

All four models will use the same 86-inch-wide cab, which will be obtained "offshore," said Jones. Frames will be of the same dimensions throughout, with stronger steel for customers needing higher yield numbers. Aluminum frames are possible for those wanting lighter weight.

Eight wheelbases are listed with model specifications on the company's website, www.rainertruckandchassis.com.

"We heard a lot of people wanted custom COE trucks, and current manufacturers didn't want to do it," he said. "They want to do cookie-cutter products. We'll do custom work, like dual-steer for a custom COE street sweeper, which is a neat niche market.

"We heard the market (for midrange COEs) is anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 pieces a year. We don't want the whole pie, we just want to focus on the custom arena. You can do it if you control your costs, control your growth and don't get a big head over it."

The company started up two and a half years ago, and along with design work his small staff has built one prototype from which they "learned a lot of lessons." They'll build another prototype this summer, and plan to begin production in October with one truck a day. That might ramp up to 250 per year.

The initial standard engine is a 200-horsepower Cummins ISB6.7 diesel with seven additional ratings to 325 horsepower. Vertical and horizontal exhaust systems will be available, and fuel tanks can be saddle-mounted or placed between frame rails in back.

Allison 2500 and 3000 RDS (rugged-duty series) automatic transmissions with push-button selectors and PTO mounts will be the only transmissions; no manuals will be offered. Rainier will also use Dana axles and Reyco suspensions, "stuff that people are accustomed to," he said.

"We also found that there was no Class 5 gasoline cabover out there," Jones said. "So we're going to do that," in the RD 1950 and the other models. "The mom and pop business, landscapers, sweeper contractors, others they want to lower their costs. Gasoline is the way to do that."

Six- and 8.8-liter gasoline and natural gas V-8 engines from Power Solutions Inc. are based on GM cylinder blocks, and come as complete, ready-to-install packages from PSI, he said.

Rainier is run by Jones with financial backing from several investors knowledgeable about the automotive industry, he said. It is a privately held company and he prefers that it not go public.

Reflecting on why General Motors got out of the medium-duty business, he added, "Maybe GM wasn't making money, but we can. We'll have about a 35- to 40-person team. That's all you need. We're not part of a big thing. We don't want to be."


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