Trailer Talk

Twin 33s Would Be Safer than 28s, U of Michigan Researcher Says

A 33-foot trailer's 5-foot-longer wheelbase would make it more stable when part of a doubles combination.

April 23, 2014

Double-trailer rigs with a pair of 33-foot trailers would be “inherently more stable” and therefore safer than the twin 28s now running throughout the United States, according to John Woodrooffe, director of commercial vehicle research at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.

Tags: Vehicle Safety, Safety, Doubles, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Trace Down Circuits Before Replacing Liftgate Parts

Lower green cord is the “stinger” that carries power and a return ground line to trailer batteries that operate the liftgate. Connector cord should remain plugged in to keep a load on the line while its circuit is tested. Photo: Con-Way Freight

April 14, 2014

Proper methods of testing for voltage drop on the circuits that power trailer liftgates were discussed at TMC’s recent annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Senior Editor Tom Berg has more in his Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: Trailers, Liftgates, Technology & Maintenance Council, Purkey's Fleet Electric, Electrical System, Batteries

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 14, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

X-Ray Van, Old Winnebago Take Doctor’s and Nurses’ Medical Care to the ‘Hollers’

An 18-wheeler and an old RV carry medicine and hope to Appalachia.

April 7, 2014

Senior Editor Tom Berg was moved by Sunday's "60 Minutes" story on Health Wagon, carrying medicine and hope to Appalachia -- and intrigued by the X-ray trailer and the medical director who went to tractor-trailer school to learn to drive the rig. He has more in his Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: Charity, Medical Fleets, Truck Driving Schools, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 7, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Wabash Shows What a 33-Foot Pup Would Look Like

Stretching a 28-foot pup trailer to 33 feet would not be difficult, and Wabash National already has a procedure ready to go.

March 31, 2014

Congress is supposedly inclined to approve a proposal to allow twin 33-foot doubles. If so, trailers like this would probably become common. Tom Berg has the story from last month's TMC meeting in his Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: Productivity, Wabash National, Doubles, Twin Trailers, Pups

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, March 31, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Amber Rear Turn Signals Are Safer Than Red, But Few Use Them

A light flashing yellow means "turn" and one flashing red means "stop." The result is less confusion for drivers behind.

Tanker fleets are more likely to use amber turn signals than other operators. This trailer also has white backup lights.

March 13, 2014

Lights on the rear of most vehicles have all red lights because that's all the regulation requires. Maybe that should change.

Tags: Safety, Trailers, Lighting, Truck-Lite, Wabash National

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

You Don’t Need to Hammer on These Thin LEDs to Appreciate a Bright Idea

Plate-thin, these new lights are the latest thing in light-emitting diodes.

March 10, 2014

Ever hear of Innotec? Neither did senior editor Tom Berg. Now he sees what it does, and so will you.

Tags: TMC, Phillips Industries, Electrical System, LEDs, Innotec, LED Lights

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, March 10, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

‘Fool’ Web Story Notes Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck MPG Number

You can't compare pickups with big rigs, but one writer did.

February 24, 2014

Except for highway wrecks, it isn’t often that the general news media get interested in big rigs. But one online outlet, www.fool.com, now has a story about the SuperTruck project, specifically the Peterbilt-Cummins vehicle recently displayed in Washington, D.C., for President Obama’s announcement about fuel economy standards for commercial trucks.

Tags: SuperTruck, DOE, Cummins, Peterbilt

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Oversize Load Chases Traffic from I-24 in Kentucky

If you had to use US 62 from Exit 40 to Exit 27 between Eddyville and Calvert City, here's the reason why.

February 19, 2014

A huge and heavy boiler aboard a wide platform trailer couldn't squeeze by maintenance equipment on the eastbound Tennessee River bridge, so it moved to the westbound span.

Tags: Kentucky, I-24, Oversize Loads

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

YouTube Videos Show Exactly What Happens at Low Overpasses

Cameras are almost everywhere, so watch what you drive under.

February 18, 2014

You'll cringe while watching trucks and tractor-trailers too tall to pass beneath various bridges but whose drivers try to do so anyway.

Tags: Low Overpasses; Low Bridges; Low Clearances;

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Passing Thru Zanesville: Forlorn Trailers, the ‘Y-Bridge’ and a ‘Telltale’ Warning

Why are all those old trailers parked there? Been over the "Y-Bridge"? Stay off Linden Avenue or....

February 10, 2014

Tom Berg see items of trucker interest in old Zanesville, Ohio, along the historic National Road.

Tags: Trailers, Van Trailers, Bridges, Retired Trailers, Low Overpasses, U.S. 40, National Road

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, February 10, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Nothing Blocks a Highway Like a Semi Whose Skidding Wheels Led It Astray

But on ice, controlling anything becomes really difficult.

January 31, 2014

Recent news photos remind senior editor Tom Berg of some anti-jackknifing training he had a while ago.

Tags: Winter Driving, Driving Safety, Jackkniffing, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, January 31, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Cold in Roanoke, a Shiny Overnite Rig, and a Volunteer Named Wizzy. How About That?

It was really cold when Senior Editor Tom Berg toured the Transportation Museum of Virginia in Roanoke, and found a brighter-than-life Overnite rig.

Stainless steel sides of '47 Fruehauf were so bight it was difficult to shoot a photo.

January 24, 2014

Piggyback and container trains were running on an O-gauge model railroad, and little big rigs were backed into loading docks, just like in the real world.

Tags: Railroads, Mack, Museums, Overnite, Fruehauf, Trailers, History

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, January 24, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

‘Super Cube’ Rig Among Finalists for TWNA Tech Achievement Award

Editor-members of the Truck Writers of North America have nominated, debated and voted for the next recipient of their award for technical innovation. One candidate is a l-o-n-g tractor-trailer.

January 10, 2014

Walmart Canada is testing its high-capacity 'Super Cube' rig in Ontario. Is it neat enough to win a big award? Senior Editor Tom Berg discusses it.

Tags: Walmart, Super Cube, long combination vehicles, TWNA

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, January 10, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

North Dakota’s Cold and Hot, Thanks to Weather and the Bakken Boom

The Great Plains and Midwest are one big ice box right now, but the economy's so heated up in North Dakota that unemployment's nil.

January 7, 2014

Senior Editor Tom Berg looks at a photo of a frigid scene in North Dakota and spots a lone semitrailer, parked perhaps with a load of processed feed, waiting to be offloaded. He wondered, will that trailer even roll? The photo sparked a conversation with a North Dakota trailer dealer for his Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: Trailers, Maintenance, North Dakota

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, January 7, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Portable Vac-Mounted Vibrator Works Where Grain Loads Jam

Vibrator weighs under 10 pounds and is easy to move around. It runs off air from a tractor’s compressor.

December 30, 2013

A frustrating part of being a bulk commodities driver is having a jam occur somewhere in the trailer during offloading, interrupting the material flow and setting him to work trying to break it free. That usually means hammering on a trailer’s side walls, but a Midwestern carrier has found a new product that’s effective, portable, lightweight and easy to use.

Tags: Trailers, Dry Bulk

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, December 30, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Wabash Builds Its 500,000th DuraPlate Van

Duane Acklie, chairman of Crete Carrier Corp. (left), and Tonn Ostergard, president and CEO, receive Wabash National’s 500,000th DuraPlate van trailer.

December 16, 2013

Half a million is a lot, especially when it describes how many big 53- by 102 trailers have been made by one manufacturer. Wabash National Corp. last week said it had produced its 500,000th DuraPlate model since introducing it 17 years ago. Senior Editor Tom Berg has the story in this Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: Trailers, Wabash National, Crete Carrier Corp.

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, December 16, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Snow on the Roof? Knock It Off with Compressed Air, Driver Says

November 26, 2013

Snow is spreading across much of the country, and maybe everyone’s biggest worry is just getting there. But if you’re motoring down the highway and a trailer ahead of you starts shedding sheets of snow and ice, that’ll make your trip even more interesting.

Tags: Trailers, Winter, Safety and Compliance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

Nice Trailer, and It’s Ready for Somebody to Just Hitch Up and Haul It Away

Empty but well-equipped flatbed sits in plain view on a lot along a highway in Ohio, its kingpin bare and waiting for a trucker-thief to back on and pull away. However, most thieves steal trailers for their loads, says a maker of kingpin locks.

November 18, 2013

Senior Editor Tom Berg writes about an parked trailer he recently happened upon while on a Sunday drive.

Tags: Trailers,, Carrier Security Corp., Kingpin locks

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, November 18, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

WD-40 Among Tools Used by Edwards Crew to Move Massive Transformer

Crew uses extended-boom forklift to place rails under the load on the railcar, which has been jacked off its springs for stability.

November 4, 2013

Since its initial haul of a transformer to a new electrical substation in Ohio (“Count the Wheels Under This Heavy-Haul Trailer,”), Edwards Moving & Rigging has delivered three more of the huge and heavy pieces of equipment. There’s one more to go.

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, November 4, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The Winner of the ATD Commercial Truck of the Year Is…

Who won the 2013 Commercial Truck of the Year award? Sorry, I can’t tell you, even if I knew.

Three heavy duty entries rest at day's end. From left, Kenworth T880 dump, Peterbilt 579 sleeper-cab tractor and International ProStar+ daycab tractor.

November 3, 2013

Senior Editor Tom Berg writes about his experience judging the ATD Commercial Truck of the Year contest.

Tags: Hino, Kenworth, International, Peterbilt, ATD Commercial Truck of the Year,

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, November 3, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

YouTube Video Shows Why That Forklift Driver Can’t Destroy Your Trailer’s Liner (Maybe)

October 24, 2013

Tom Berg has rediscovered on YouTube some of the wonder of watching "Industry on Parade" as a kid, with a video about the technology behind one company's wall liners, which he shares in his latest Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: Trailers, US Liner

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, October 24, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Just an Old Trailer? No – It’s Part of Intermodal History

Well used trailer is a former Flexi-Van bought about 1968 by the Santa Fe Railway. It was for sale at a rental and leasing company in Omaha in 2004.

October 15, 2013

This Strick trailer is part of intermodal history going back more than 50 years. It was one of a large group bought by the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway for coast-to-coast Flexi-Van service it ran with the New York Central System. This particular trailer was spotted in 2004 in Omaha, Neb., after it was retired from piggyback service.

Tags: Trailers,, Strick, Flexi-Van, CSX, BNSF

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Count the Wheels Under This Heavy-Haul Trailer!

First nine “lines” of wheels are hydraulically steered left and the last nine are steered right as the trailer makes a sharp left turn onto a parking lot.

October 6, 2013

Sometimes really interesting things happen right near home. A few weeks ago I was on a Sunday jaunt with my wife and a granddaughter, driving through Sunbury in central Ohio, about nine miles from where we live. We spotted something big and heavy being moved through the village on a trailer that seemed to have a hundred wheels.

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, October 6, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Quality Parts Should Go Into Trailer Electrical Systems, Updated TMC Recommendations Say

Typical wiring harness for a van trailer and explanations of its circuitry and other details are among the illustrations in TMC’s RP-704C, an update to old equipment recommendations. TMC members recently approved it.

September 24, 2013

Updated recommendations from TMC for trailer electrical systems say sealed wiring, water- and corrosion-resistant connectors and low-amperage lamp designs are the things to get for long life – not new advice, but information newly included in the group’s Recommended Practice 704.

Tags: TMC, Trailer, Trailer Lighting Systems, Trailers, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, September 24, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

47-Year-Old Trailer to Work Again Following On-Line Auction Sale

What’s the oldest working trailer you know of?

Lots of steel went into this ’66 Easton side-dump trailer that just sold on-line for $2,500. The internet has changed how auctioneers do business, but Dan Pate of Pate Auction Service still prefers to personally inspect equipment.

August 29, 2013

What’s the oldest working trailer you know of?

Tags: Trailer, , Easton

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 29, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

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Author Bio

Tom Berg

Senior Editor

Truck journalist 35 years; joined us in 1978. CDL-licensed; conducts road tests on new trucks, specializing in light and medium-duty, vocational and hybrids.

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