Trailer Talk

Little rig belies owner's big heart toward children

An ambitious and dedicated French Canadian fleet owner has taken a detour with a miniature tractor-trailer that is making the rounds on YouTube READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, May 9, 2012 5:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Witte Bros. plugs in to keep cold cargoes cold

Fuel savings have more than paid for installation of 460-volt, 3-phase wiring and outlets at the fleet's home terminal in Troy, Mo. Trailer TRUs run on electrical stand-by power while they're parked on weekends.

You won't hear many reefer diesels running in the yard at Witte Brothers Exchange in Troy, Mo., because the trailer-mounted units are plugged into electrical outlets and running on so-called standby power READ MORE

Tags: Reefers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, May 2, 2012 10:01 AM | » Comments(0)

Hardwood forests are healthy and growing in Appalachia, trade group says

Hardwood forests now cover 65.7 million acres in 12 states in the eastern U.S., an increase of 300,000 acres since 2007.

"Save a tree," environmentalists preach. That's not an option when you're building anything with wood, like a hardwood-composite floor for a van trailer. READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:26 AM | » Comments(0)

14,000-pound trailer's an easy toss for a twister with 100-plus-mph winds

A Schneider 53-foot van weighs about 14,000 pounds empty. Winds of more than 100 mph lifted the trailers off the ground when tornados touched down in Dallas last week.

How much power does it take to pick up a semitrailer and throw it hundreds of feet through the air? That question must've been on the minds of everyone who watched TV news video shot during the passage of a savage tornado through Dallas last week READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, April 5, 2012 4:33 PM | » Comments(0)

What's inside that tanker? A polyurethane coating

During a stroll through the trailer areas at last week's Louisville truck show, I turned a corner and encountered a chemical tanker. Its rear access cover was open, and people were pausing to peek inside. "What's in there?" I wondered READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:50 PM | » Comments(0)

What are drivers thinking before they get rammed at railroad crossings?

"Stop, Look and Listen." You'd think professional truck drivers, of all people, would heed that warning at railroad crossings, but not all of them do READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, March 9, 2012 10:39 AM | » Comments(1)

Big Kitchen Trailer Serves Thousands in Wake of Disaster

The other night my wife and I were watching a Modern Marvels episode on "food trucks," primarily custom-built catering rigs based on walk-in van chassis. The producers also zeroed in on Manna One, a big kitchen built on a semitrailer frame specifically for disaster relief READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, March 2, 2012 8:55 AM | » Comments(0)

Feds want anti-rollover systems on tank trailers and tractors

The feds have become believers in electronic roll-stability control (RSC) systems, and want tank-trailer operators to buy them, though it won't be right away, reports the American Trucking Associations READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8:26 PM | » Comments(2)

Electronics can cut rollover wrecks; so can structural stiffness and lighter weight, Fontaine says

Box sections replace crossmembers in Fontaine Trailer’s Revolution flatbed, making it more resistant to flexing and rollover.

Rollover wrecks by tractor-trailers are among the worst kinds of accidents, safety people say, because property damage is high and driver injuries are severe READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, February 17, 2012 8:29 AM | » Comments(0)

Underride guards in Japan look weaker but cover more area than here

Like all commercial vehicles of any size, this trailer sports underride barriers on three sides. Its tractor's engine was idling, like all other heavy vehicles at this Japanese truck stop.

Underride guards are becoming topical in the United States as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is petitioning federal safety authorities to toughen the regulation that govern the design on rear bumpers on trailers. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, January 20, 2012 2:09 AM | » Comments(0)

Pickup bed coating wards off corrosion from calcium chloride, this fleet manager finds

Dark blue Herculiner material covers the lower third of this steel tanker owned by Peckham Materials. More than six years later, the coating is still in good condition.

What's the best way to combat corrosion caused by aggressive anti-road-icing salts? One fleet manager has coated the undersides of trucks and trailers with a product used to line pickup beds READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, January 8, 2012 5:44 PM | » Comments(0)

Forget the evils of CO2. It's actually an environmentally safe refrigerant, Carrier says

First NaturaLine units will be for use in temperature-controlled sea containers. Later, the CO2 concept might be used in trailer reefers.

The way that environmentalists bad-mouth carbon dioxide, it should be a four-letter word. Of course it is abbreviated to three characters - CO2. READ MORE

Tags: Reefers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, December 28, 2011 9:33 AM | » Comments(0)

Oil boom needs special equipment on trailers and trucks

Crude oil analyzer was installed on this Heil tanker by Rush Peterbilt's shop in San Antonio as part of its work to support the oil boom in the region, says Service Manager Fred Scott.

No one wants to haul a load that's going to be rejected, so checking the commodity before loading makes a lot of sense. That's why Rush Enterprise's Peterbilt store in San Antonio has been installing a special piece of gear on tank trailers at a customer's request. READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, December 13, 2011 2:37 PM | » Comments(1)

Strong, versatile van provides two-way haul for truckload fleet

Steel coils are easily supported by the XD-35's strong floor and underframe. The Wabash National van can also carry other dry freight and protect all cargo from theft and inclement weather.

Operations people at Nussbaum Transport had a couple of one-way hauls involving the same customer, and wanted to turn them into a more efficient and profitable headhaul and backhaul on the same semitrailer. READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, November 21, 2011 5:58 PM | » Comments(0)

'Fracking' requires sand, which boosts 'air can' use in Marcellus Shale area

Sidley plans to soon have 50 pneumatic tankers hauling fracking sand to area natural gas wells. Photo by Tom Berg.

A recent visit to northeast Ohio put me face to face with people involved in the production of shale gas that I've been hearing and reading about in the news READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, November 14, 2011 6:34 PM | » Comments(1)

'Monocoque' lightweight flatbed will carry more, maybe more safely


"Monocoque" is a French word that usually describes the construction of an airliner's fuselage (also a French word), whose outer skin adds strength to the inner frame. Remove some of the aluminum panels and the fuselage loses both aerodynamics and strength, and would probably collapse if stressed READ MORE

Tags: Flat Beds

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, October 30, 2011 9:12 PM | » Comments(2)

Werner outfitting entire trailer fleet with tire inflation systems

Werner trailers will soon be sporting the ubiquitous tire inflation system hoses.

Tires are expensive and prices keep rising, so they're worth protecting by keeping them properly inflated. That's not easy with a large fleet's trailers, which can be scattered around the country and don't often pass through its inspection and maintenance stations READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, October 19, 2011 6:10 PM | » Comments(1)

Watching old-fashioned intermodalism at North Milwaukee's 'plastic tracks'

Don Hackl, a driver for Tom Donahue Trucking, monitors the pneumatic transfer of plastic pellets from the railcar to his Heil tanker. The pellets will be molded into squeezable food containers.

First, a confession: Before I was a truck nut I was a train buff READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, October 5, 2011 3:28 PM | » Comments(0)

'Roadability' defects found in 17% of intermodal chassis inspected

Federal and state inspectors are not finding a lot of "roadability" problems with container chassis, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's chief safety officer, Jack Van Steenburg. READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, September 26, 2011 12:23 AM | » Comments(0)

Aging trailers, healthy freight business push fleets into buying new equipment

That commercial vehicles have been getting old has become an adage in the last few years, and here are more numbers to support it READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, September 19, 2011 7:26 PM | » Comments(0)

Liftgate Steps and Lighting: More Complicated Than You Think

Hmm. Just a couple of boxes for this stop. Don't need to use the liftgate. I'll just hop up there...." Delivery drivers do this every day, but how easy or difficult is it for them to climb up and over the liftgate and into the truck to fetch those boxes READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, September 6, 2011 12:10 PM | » Comments(0)

'E-Z Guider' begs the question, Why don't trailers have backup lights?

Ever back a trailer into a dark alley or loading dock? Talk about a black hole! READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 25, 2011 1:33 PM | » Comments(0)

Pre-trip preparations can maximize reefer uptime in hot summer temperatures

If something on a reefer unit is going to fail, it's likely to happen when components are working hard to overcome summer heat READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, August 8, 2011 8:16 AM | » Comments(0)

Skirts built to last 1 million miles, and slide over the gap ahead of the tandem, their maker says

Everyone who sells a product talks up its advantages over the competition. Jim Reiman's claims about his Aerofficient side skirts include some that I've not heard before: 1 million-mile life, and ability to close the gap ahead of the trailer's wheels READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, July 29, 2011 5:25 AM | » Comments(1)

Streamlining a tanker began on a computer screen, and it's saving fuel

The front face of the Polar tanker is reshaped and the cone is lowered to duck out of the way of air coming over the tractor. Supporting interior ribs have transitions to aid cleaning, and exterior remains smooth for easy air flow.

Polar Tank has built an aerodynamically smoother trailer at the request of a hauler of bulk products in South Dakota. In regular service, the trailer is saving a third of a mile per gallon compared to older tankers READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, July 11, 2011 8:29 AM | » Comments(0)

Author Bio

Tom Berg

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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.


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