Trailer Talk

Wheels Bring 'Thrills' to the Delaware County Fair

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Large electric power generator is housed in a van trailer that's pulled from fair to fair by a late-'90s Volvo tractor that looks new. Gray box contains a transformer.

Youthful riders are unaware that their gut-churning rides are mounted on special trailer chassis. Tom Berg reflects in a visit to the fair in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Specialty Vehicles, Safety, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:30 AM | » Comments(0)

Vehicles in Floodwater? Bendix Offers Servicing Tips

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Depending on water depth and time submerged, a truck or trailer might or might not be fit for service again.  Affected components must be dried out and inspected. Image: Screen capture from ABC News

If heavy trucks and trailers have been in relatively shallow water and circuitry and on-board computers are not damaged, they might still be serviceable. Not right away, though. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance, Flooding, Air Brakes, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, September 13, 2017 11:01 AM | » Comments(1)

Harvey Was One Thing, But Irma's Getting Personal

Blog Commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Gasoline tankers are getting police escorts, like this one in Miami. Florida's governor has asked surrounding states to ease weight and driving-hour restrictions for tankers. Screen capture from ABC News

This monster has a female name but is no lady, what with sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts of more than 200. I've got relatives and friends in her path, and that's really scary, says Tom Berg in his Trailer Talk Blog. READ MORE

Tags: Tankers, Storm Response, Safety, Hurricane Irma, Gasoline Tankers, Hurricane Harvey

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, September 7, 2017 11:08 PM | » Comments(0)

'High-Water Vehicles' Take Many Forms in Harvey Rescue Work

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Most civilian trucks, including this tractor that seems to be hitched to a drop-deck trailer, could not cope with Harvey's deep waters. As winds subsided, air boats joined outboard-motor-powered craft and helicopters in rescue efforts. Image: Screen capture, ABC News

Trucks perform vital work, but explosions at a chemical plant near Houston involved refrigerated trailers that stored temperature-sensitive compounds. Tom Berg also explores some of the various vehicles, including trailers, being used in relief efforts in this Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Military Trucks, Hurricane Harvey, Natural Disaster, Disaster Relief

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 31, 2017 7:11 AM | » Comments(0)

Thin-Walled Fuel Tanks Feed Another Fiery Truck Wreck

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Tractor hits the barrier and begins a violent dismantling. Driver of the small white van really got an eyeful.

One news anchor thought it was a "tanker explosion." But the trailer was a lowboy, and the fire was fed only by the tractor's saddle tanks. READ MORE

Tags: Accidents, Fuel Tanks, Safety, Fiery Wrecks

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, August 21, 2017 12:13 PM | » Comments(3)

‘Oh, Shift!’ What Slamming On The Brakes Will Do

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Stack of steel members slipped forward and rammed the tractor's sleeper. It could've been worse. Images: Tom Berg, from YouTube

What do you do when the load on the trailer shifts, ramming your sleeper just behind you? Thank the Lord that the stack of steel didn’t stab you in the back. Then call for a wrecker. Tom Berg muses on the topic in his latest Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Flatbeds, Safety, Load Securement, Wreckers, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 10, 2017 12:54 PM | » Comments(1)

Quick Feet Help in Parking Trailers with this Machine

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

The Dutch device can move a trailer weighing up to 20 tons, according to the company's website.

V-Move Electrotrekker is a walk-behind (and -ahead) device from Verhagen Leiden, an outfit in Holland. It's electric powered and runs on 36 volts. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Terminal Tractors

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 3, 2017 5:49 PM | » Comments(0)

10 Die in Trailer in Latest Human Trafficking Incident

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Border Patrol agent uses a laser thermometer to read the temperature near the trailer's ceiling. It registered 143.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

It might have been 130 degrees or more inside that trailer. How long can anyone stand that? It’s amazing anyone survived. READ MORE

Tags: Reefers, Human Trafficking

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:15 AM | » Comments(7)

Truck Washing's a Growing Business, Especially at This Company

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Custom-bodied Class 6 trucks are heavy enough to carry water and equipment, but don't require CDLs to operate.

Fleet Clean USA CEO Scott Marr, now 27, ran a part-time washing business and realized that he made more money washing trucks than working at a bank. Learn more in Tom Berg's Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: fleet management, Maintenance Management, Truck Washing

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, July 20, 2017 3:13 AM | » Comments(0)

Old Dominion's Baseball Trailer Promotes Series Sweepstakes

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Trailer was vinyl wrapped for the trip to Miami and the All Star Game. Wraps came off at Marlins Park. Tractor is a Freightliner New Cascadia.

A special Duraplate van has heavy plexiglass panels to reveal its sporty load. Guess the number of baseballs and win World Series tickets. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor READ MORE

Tags: Equipment, Old Dominion Freight Line, Wabash National

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, July 11, 2017 3:00 AM | » Comments(38)

Be a Virtual American Trucker with New Game from Germany

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Images via astragon Entertainment

TransRoad: USA, Trucks and Trailers, puts players in the executive seat of a virtual trucking company, starting by choosing virtually appropriate equipment for a virtual haul. READ MORE

Tags: Games, Trucking

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, July 7, 2017 7:49 AM | » Comments(0)

Film Promotes Pennsylvania RR's TrucTrain Service in the 1950s

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

The guy on the running board is there strictly for the camera, because drivers in piggyback terminals were very good at backing trailers onto flatcars. Photo: Pennsylvania Railroad/Classic Trains

Trucking is called "a great industry," and footage shows how many trailers were traveling by rail instead of on crowded highways. That's still a good idea. READ MORE

Tags: Piggybacking, Intermodal, Driver Shortage

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 23, 2017 6:14 AM | » Comments(0)

'Bomb Carts' Haul Containers at Busy Port of Charleston

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

TICO terminal tractor and shuttle chassis carry off a pair of 20-foot ocean-going containers. The trailer can also carry  a single 20- and a single 40-foot "box." Photo: Tom Berg

A Pro-Shuttle has a floor of stout steel beams with short, slanted sides that guide a container into place as the gantry crane lowers it. For the short trips within the port, containers are not tied down. Tom Berg has more in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Ports, Containers, Port Trucking, Container Chassis, TICO, Intermodal

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 16, 2017 1:22 PM | » Comments(1)

Smithco's Side-Dumper Is Strictly for Off-Road Running

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Really big rig pauses while Western Star dealers and customers listen to presenters at the Michelin Proving grounds in South Carolina. Photos: Tom Berg

While pulling the Smithco tipper, a Western Star 6900XD acted as a tractor, but it’s really a straight truck fitted with a fifth-wheel kit. This is part of Carco Industries' MBT-40 Multi-Body Transformer system. Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor. READ MORE

Tags: Western Star, Palfinger, Extreme Duty Trucks, Smithco

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 9, 2017 8:36 AM | » Comments(0)

Bicyclists Were Original Advocates for Good Roads

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Rutted dirt was the rule on rural roads, like this one in Arizona. Rains made them muddy quagmires. Tall wheels with narrow tires worked well in these conditions. Photos: America on the Move

Motorists and truckers can thank touring "wheelmen" and isolated farmers for together pressuring lawmakers to improve primitive dirt byways, notes Tom Berg in the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Infrastructure, Highway Trust Fund, Highways, Infrastructure Funding

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 2, 2017 7:45 AM | » Comments(1)

Driver Keeps Hands Off As Eaton System Docks a Trailer

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Dock Assist tractor pushes van toward a simulated loading dock at a creep speed. It’s very slow, but precise. Photos: Tom Berg

Docking was precise and gentle, but it took much more time than an operator would have patience for. However, as development continues, the system should get faster and more capable. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Autonomous Vehicles, Eaton

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, May 26, 2017 8:46 AM | » Comments(0)

Railcar Wins Swedish Steel Prize, But Wabash’s Entry Still Admirable

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, senior contributing editor

External spiral rails grab Helix Dumper's load-carrying tub and smoothly tip it to discharge the load, then set it back on the railcar's frame. This won the annual Swedish Steel Prize for Kiruna Wagon. Photo: Tom Berg, from Kiruna Wagon video

The Helix Dumper is a major advance and worthy of a prize. But I'd have voted for Wabash National's RIG-16 rear impact guard. READ MORE

Tags: IIHS, Highway Safety, Sweden, Wabash National, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, May 18, 2017 2:08 PM | » Comments(1)

Airplane Hits Trailer in 'Amazing' Encounter

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

The airplane left part of its landing gear, including a wheel and tire, near the left-front corner of the 53-foot van. Photo: Sandusky Register

The plane came in too low and its landing gear clipped the top of the South Shore van, tearing off and embedding itself in the roof and side panels. The plane continued on and its pilot put it down safely on its belly. READ MORE

Tags: Collision Repair, Trailers, Safety, Airports

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, May 11, 2017 9:00 PM | » Comments(0)

How Fruehaufs and Whites Once Hauled Unique Steel Houses

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Lustron's fleet included 200 White WC-42s (though the number was probably 160) and 800 custom-made Fruehauf flatbeds with racks and boxes. Vehicles were painted a vivid blue-and-yellow.

Trailers were loaded with panels and hardware as they left the assembly line, then hauled to their destinations. At building sites, parts that were needed first had been loaded last, so they came off in the exact order required for erection. READ MORE

Tags: Private Fleets, Specialty Vehicles, Fruehauf, White Motor Co.

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, May 7, 2017 7:06 PM | » Comments(0)

Truck Driver 'Didn't Know' He Was Dragging a Car

Blog Commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

It appears the car has been pulled up under the trailer's corner by its spinning tires. Like many truck-car accidents, the car's driver seems to be at fault. But still....

Checking the mirrors should be a normal part of driving, but maybe 'Mike' had other things to look at than the car caught up in his trailer. Tom Berg has more in the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Driver Safety, Driver Behavior, Driver Training, Safety

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, April 26, 2017 5:39 AM | » Comments(5)

Where Did the North Koreans Get Those Missile-Toting Trucks?

Blog commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

Civilian version of Wanshan's WS51200 is meant for off-road hauling of timber, ore and fuel. But paint it olive-drab and outfit it with an erector-launch body, and the rough-terrain truck becomes a military threat.

Where did North Korea get its trucks and trailers to haul weapons? On the internet there are reports that the trucks and tractor-trailers were made in China, with – yikes! -- American and German components. Tom Berg explores the question in the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Cummins, China, ZF, Military Vehicles, Military Trucks, North Korea

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, April 18, 2017 8:20 AM | » Comments(1)

Rear Impact Guard Puts Wabash Up for Swedish Steel Prize

Blog Commentary by Tom Berg, Senior Contributing Editor

HDT's Tom Berg says his friend Mike, who died in a rear underride crash more than 44 years ago, would be happy about recent safety advancements. Read more in the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: IIHS, Rear-End Collisions, High-Strength Steel, Wabash National, Safety, Rear Impact Guards

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:12 AM | » Comments(1)

Drop Decks, Aluminum Transition Radii, and the Romans

Blog by Tom Berg, Contributing Senior Editor

Can you see a Roman arch in the radius under the transition area of this Mac single-drop aluminum trailer? The radius directs weight away from the 90-degree joint above.

I looked at the transition radius on a Mac aluminum drop deck and it occurred to me that the radius is an arc, a portion of an arch – that engineering marvel devised by Roman engineers more than 2,000 years ago. READ MORE

Tags: Aluminum, Dropdeck Trailers, Engineering, Trailers, Steel

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, April 7, 2017 12:10 PM | » Comments(0)

Semitrailer Inventor August Fruehauf to Enter Automotive Hall of Fame

The semitrailer, Hemmings.com says, “triggered the wide-scale distribution of modern consumer goods."

August Fruehauf, a German immigrant and blacksmith, found inspiration for the semitrailer from the horses he shoed.

Fruehauf, as a blacksmith, noted that horses that pulled rather than carried loads were in better shape. He reasoned that trucks would likewise last longer if they towed rather than toted loads. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Trucking History, Fruehauf, Semitrailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:09 PM | » Comments(0)

Second Connector Needed for Tractor-Trailer Communications?

Stopping distances could be even shorter and stability better with more precise signaling between tractors and trailers, which an extra cord or LAN would allow.

Second electrical cable (lower right) on this beverage trailer carries power to charge its liftgate batteries. It coud also carry signals to a high-performance braking system.

Increasing need for electronic communications between tractors and trailers could require use of a second electrical line, say brake-performance specialists. READ MORE

Tags: Brakes, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, Safety, Bendix, Air Brakes

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:21 PM | » Comments(0)

Previous||1234567891011||

Author Bio

sponsored by

Tom Berg

Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

Newsletter

We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.

GotQuestions?
sponsored by
sponsor logo

ELDs and Telematics

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All
GotQuestions?

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All