Chapter 13
Load-Packer 700 Series

The 700 Series Load-Packer arrived for 1965

    Sharing the spotlight with the TX-30 at the '64 APWA Equipment Show was another experimental model rear loader, which is tentatively known as the Load-Packer X-700. This body appears to have been a testing or display prototype for an ejection-discharge version the LP-600 series. The experimental body, about 20-cubic yards capacity, featured heavy reinforcement braces running horizontally and vertically. By the fall of 1964, Gar Wood was already long overdue in adopting ejection-discharge to their rear loaders, so a re-design of the 600 was not unexpected.

    The new model went on sale as the Load-Packer 700 series in 1965. The version that hit the streets differed from the X-700 shown at Fort Worth the previous year, with a far lighter body reinforcement pattern. It was a simple yet brilliant re-working of the Cyclomatic concept into an efficient compaction-ejection body competitive with anything else in the industry. If the Gar Wood sales organization had any doubts about the T-series, as they surely must have had, then the LP-700 at least provided them with a more mainstream alternative. The success of the LP-700 would be appreciated as the T-series withered in the market during the 1960s.

    John McCarthy was responsible for the re-work, which started in the tailgate. The chain drive rotary sweep panel and control valve setup remained unchanged from the LP-600, but the packing panel reverted to using overhead-mounted cylinders with big 7" bores, similar to the LP-500 series of 1957-59. Like the 500, the new model used a separate pair of cylinders to raise the tailgate, but they were now located outside the body, following the emerging trend in other rear loaders of the time. The enclosed body was angular, without any hint of curvature at any corner, using only thin vertical ribs spaced for reinforcement. The 16-cubic yard body was now the smallest size, along with 18, 20 and 25-yard versions.

Inside the LP-700 with Constant Density Compaction system. This was the the third incarnation of the Cyclomatic series.

    Of course, the big change was the addition of an ejection panel. This was clearly in response to, and worked similarly to the Heil Colectomatic Mark II, which had taken the industry by storm in late 1960. Like the Heil, the LP-700 used the ejector panel to both unload the body and control compaction, moving forward incrementally as the body filled and thereby maximizing load densities. However, Gar Wood developed their own method for controlling the movement of the ejector panel. Called Constant Density Compaction (CDC), it utilized a valve that sensed pressure in the packing blade cylinders. Once the pressure reached a pre-determined level from the resistance of the load, it opened the ejector valve momentarily, which allowed the ejector panel to creep forward. As pressure was relieved, the valve closed and the ejector locked in position once again. The CDC system maintained compaction throughout the entire load, regardless of how many stages of the telescopic cylinder were extended. This differed from units using a relief valve in the ejector cylinder circuit. Resistance pressure is considerably less with the telescopic cylinder sections extended at the start of the load, when packing resistance is most important. With Gar Wood's CDC system, bigger payloads were achieved since compaction pressures never varied, from the beginning of the load to the end. Retention of material also did not vary, as with the squeeze-and-release action of the Leach Push-Out system.

    The LP-700 maintained its always lightning-fast pack cycle, still at ten seconds total with re-loading in just four seconds. The cycle was still fully automatic, but in a nod to future safety concerns, customers could order and optional "dead man" control cam for the rotary sweep panel, which stopped its motion before it passed the loading sill, and required further movement of the control lever to complete the cycle. It was a safety feature that would become mandatory in future years. The optional Load-Lift kick-bar container dumper was carried over from the previous model, for 1-2 yard cans. This was joined by an overhead hydraulic winch option, which would handle containers up to 5-cubic yards.

LP-720 owned by the City of Chicago. Angular styling and vertical ribs identified the new model.

    It was not a true "bulk" packer like the Leach 2-R or Load-Master, but the LP-700 was an outstanding residential unit, which was popular and trusted. It was undoubtedly the best variation of this design to ever emerge from the Wayne factory. The curved ejector panel shape helped to roll the incoming refuse to help eliminate voids within the body. The hydraulic system operated at a low 1,050 PSI, with peak pressures only lasting for about one second during the cycle. Since it cycled so fast, accelerated engine speeds were reduced, which saved fuel and reduced engine wear. The Cyclomatic was designed to pack smaller amounts of refuse more frequently, and in the form of the 700 series, it delivered tremendous loads.

    Although it was probably envisioned as a "second-tier" model, behind the new T-series, the LP-700 wound up anchoring the Gar Wood refuse packer lineup, and quite probably saved the company. It is not difficult to imagine the trouble that would have ensued had the LP-600 been cancelled outright at the end of 1964. Without the 700, the sales force would have been stuck with the "white elephant" T-100, which clearly failed to capture the imagination of the industry. Perhaps most importantly, the 700 would give the division a chance to re-group, and come up with a more viable bulk packer body to succeed where the T-100 ultimately failed.

City of Fresno LP-720 unloads. Telescopic ejection cycle took approximately 25 seconds.

City of St Petersburg, Florida: The low hopper sill and fast cycle of the LP-700 were features that operators loved

Outside-mounted hydraulic control valves first appeared on the 1962 LP-600, and were continued on the 700 series.

Though somewhat small by modern standards, the 700 packed a big punch, and delivered the big payloads


Gar Wood LP-725 on REO WF475 chassis

The Jet truck chassis was a joint venture of REO Motors of Lansing, Michigan, and Western Body & Hoist of Los Angeles. It was conceived as a platform for Western's front loader body, but it was also found to be an excellent rear loader chassis. The short wheelbase gave it excellent maneuverability, and with the steering axle placed behind the cab, unbeatable front-rear weight distribution. The "twin telephone booth" cabs were separated by the engine bay, with a ride-on step with grab handle located at the right front bumper

Gar Wood advertised these almost as package, but the chassis was made by REO. Virtually any rear loader could have been fitted, as was the Heil Colectomatic Mark III. The big advantage was that the chassis could carry a 25-yard packer with a better turning circle than a conventional chassis with a smaller body. Western Body & Hoist sold them as the Wesco Jet for use with the LP-725 or Heil body, and they were also badged as the REO WF475. With the merger of REO with Diamond T Motors in 1967, it became the Diamond REO CF-5542.

For more info on the Jet chassis, see Western Body & Hoist

Western jet chassis with LP-725 body

Calling Squad 51: Gar Wood LP-718 owned by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

1.5 cubic yard hopper was trough-shaped and fairly generous, though the 700 was designed to cycle frequently.

LP-716 on GMC Steel-tilt cabover

LP-716 owned by Peter K. Karras Disposal Service, served the Cape Cod area

LP-720 in the harsh Chicago winter of 1978

A Connecticut LP-716 on an International Harvester R-Series conventional

Front view contrasts narrow width of cab against body

LP-720: Operator starting the pack cycle by depressing the outer control lever

A Gar Wood LP-716 still in use by Country Sanitation of Greenville, Texas.

1972 LP-720 demonstrator equipped with "The Silencer", an ultra-quiet hydraulic pump designed to run at low engine RPM

LP-716 Packing cycle video courtesy of Country Sanitation

Vintage 1972 Chevy C60 with an LP-720 courtesy of Scott Watson


© 2014 Eric Voytko
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Photos from factory brochures/advertisements except as noted
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