Customer Review

183 of 192 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The full story on the "doesn't roll on hard floors" thing, December 22, 2010
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Green Toys Dump Truck (Toy)
After reading the reviews here that said this truck doesn't roll on hard floors, I decided to get it anyway, for all of its other virtues, and encouraged by the idea presented in one of the reviews here that removing the tires and adding lubricant would fix the problem.

Now that I have it in my hands, I can attest that yes, it does have a problem rolling on hard floors. And the lubrication idea mentioned elsewhere doesn't fully address the problem. As it turns out, it's a combination of four minor design flaws that causes the rolling problem. To an extent, they can be addressed.

1) The shafts the tires are mounted on are too tight. This is the most noticeable inhibitor of rolling, and the one issue addressed by the "adding lubricant" idea. Instead of an axle which runs all the way under the truck between two opposing tires, each individual wheel is mounted on its own plastic post. The post is split at the end - think of an old-fashioned clothespin - and the tension causes a little drag on the wheel. Removing each wheel and pinching the ends of each post together pretty much eliminates this problem, loosening the wheels and allowing them to spin.

2) The rolling surface of each tire is not flat, that is, not parallel to the ground. If you look at the tire from the side, you can see that each tire is slightly beveled, with the wider side against the body and the narrower side facing outward. When rolling on a hard, flat surface, only the inner part of each tire's surface is actually in contact with the floor. This leaves each tire more vulnerable to any binding/catching that's happening elsewhere. This issue can't be resolved.

3) The tires aren't perfectly circular. If you take off a wheel and look at it from the back, you see that the flared/wider side of the tire - the part that comes in contact with the ground - is not a perfect circle. Rather, it's very slightly oblong, which creates high and low spots when the wheel rolls. When the truck rolls, some tires can get stuck in a high or low spot and disrupt the rolling motion. This can be remedied to an extent by squeezing the (hard plastic) tires in your hands to even out their shape a bit.

4) The undercarriage of the truck comes too close to the tires. In one spot for each tire, just in front of the front tires and just behind the back tires, the inner "walls" that run behind the tires come too close to the tires, and due to the uneven shape of the tires, they sometimes come in contact with the tire and snag it/bog it down. This can be remedied to an extent by bending the walls of the undercarriage inward at these points, giving the tires a bit more clearance.

Even after doing all these things, the truck still doesn't roll perfectly on hard floors. Much better than when it comes out of the box, yes, but not perfect. But it rolls on carpet and the like very smoothly and easily - no hangups at all.

Design-wise, this would be a snap to fix. I also have a Sprig toy recycle truck, and it has a metal axle connecting opposing tires, which roll flat against the ground. The result: smooth, easy rolling motion on any surface. The Green Toys design, with each wheel attached separately to its own plastic post, a beveled rolling surface, imperfectly round tires, and binding spots between the tires and body, is simply inferior. These things are off only slightly, but enough.

All of this sounds like a bad review. Not necessarily. While I'm disappointed in the poorly-thought-out aspects of the wheel design, this is a solid toy with a great bed - it's roomy, well enclosed, and dumps smoothly and easily. Also, it's made in the USA, uses recycled plastic, and is recyclable itself (has the #2 symbol on the bottom). And it's non-toxic, BPA-free plastic, to boot.

So it may come down to priorities. Do you buy the department-store big-name truck that rolls perfectly smoothly but is made in China with possibly toxic materials? Or do you choose the imperfect toy that's made in the US by an American company using recycled, non-toxic materials? A third option would be the Sprig toys, which combine North American and foreign aspects, and also have non-toxic ingredients, and are designed better.

Good luck with your decision.
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Comments


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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 6, 2011 2:09:07 PM PST
The one additional thing to consider in this decision is whether your child's age demands a truck that doesn't roll well. We've been through dump trucks that roll *really* well and my child has gotten hurt because he is little enough to push too hard to center his weight disproportionately over the truck or to let it get away from him. We prefer the Green Toys, whom we love for the non-toxic, local, trustworthy, eco-friendly reasons, even more because my son can't get this truck to go too fast.
Thanks for your post about how to get it rolling better for people who want that. Maybe as my child ages we'll want to improve the rolling, so thanks for the ideas.

Posted on Jul 7, 2012 5:28:48 PM PDT
Klawsuit says:
I'll buy the truck if this review comes in the package. I have never read such a thorough and thoroughly enjoyable review on any product anywhere. Mr. Gamble must be an engineer.

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 8:17:35 AM PST
avidreader says:
Thank you for taking the time to craft such a thorough and helpful review.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2014 7:36:22 PM PST
Kevin Gamble says:
Thank you for that generous comment, which I have only read well after the fact. I may have delusions of being an engineer, but I am most definitely not one! I'm glad this was helpful. For this Christmas, I bought another Green Toys item, a tractor with a wagon that pulls behind it, and it is free of all the problems I cite here. Thanks again.

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 10:37:39 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2014 10:38:11 AM PST
Wolfman says:
Good review - your review helped me make a decision here. Now that I have this in my hands, I have my own 2c.

1) You are correct in that the flared wheel shape is a problem. But more than that, the "tire tread" pattern causes a problem on my hard floors. Out of the box, the indents give a point that helps gets the tire stuck.

2) The tires do indeed catch against the undercarriage. This is really bad design flaw! They need to extend the 'collar' on the inner part of the shaft out a bit to prevent this.

3) I did not find the tires to be too snug on their shafts; rather, mine were too loose. The looseness caused the tires to wobble into positions where they get stuck.

I don't know if it would make a difference, but if I were designing this truck I'd try rotating the shaft 90 degrees, such that the split in the shaft is horizontal. This would allow the bottom and the top portion of the shaft to have a round surface to avoid catching.

I would also make the wheels smoother (less aggressive tread design) and not beveled.

Having said all this, I found the "add lubricant" idea completely overcame these issues. I didn't even have to disassemble the hub/tire. I took a small can of 3-in-1 lubricant (with an extendable straw) and put a tiny drop in the gap between the tire and chassis. With just a tiny amount of oil, the wheels roll extremely well.

Posted on Mar 5, 2015 11:14:24 AM PST
evsmama says:
I realize you wrote your review a long time ago, but I am currently looking at adding this truck to my kids' collection of green toys. We also have several sprig toys. I think the reason Green Toys didn't use the metal axle is so it wouldn't rust with outdoor sandbox use, etc., and because they always say that their toys are "dishwasher safe". Just thought you might be interested in the "method behind the madness". I do hope it rolls well. We have other green toys with the same wheel system and they roll fine (like the flatbed truck).
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