Trailer Talk

Sometimes people keep lightweight equipment from paying off

Investing in lightweight equipment like this aluminum-and-steel landing gear from Jost could be for naught in some situations. (Photo by Tom Berg)

Many truckers seek lightweight equipment so they can carry more payload, and manufacturers strive to cut poundage from their vehicles. But in the real world, how much cargo goes aboard often depends on the guy doing the loading READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, May 1, 2011 6:43 PM | » Comments(2)

From trucker to trailer maker

Jimmy Wink and one of his round-bottom dump trailers at the Mid-America Trucking Show last month.  (Photo by Tom Berg)

There are almost as many stories at the Mid-America Trucking Show as the tens of thousands of people who attend the huge confab in Louisville, Ky., every March. One story is Jimmy Wink, a fleet operator and now trailer make READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, April 22, 2011 2:04 PM | » Comments(1)

'Hybrid' replacing 'composite' in the trailer and body business

R/S Godwin's HybriDump uses an aluminum tailgate and sides with a Hardox steel floor. Should it be the ComposiDump?

Since the advent of fuel-saving hybrid-drive cars and trucks, the "h" word has taken on enough shine that it's now sometimes employed in place of older terms. I notice things like this because I'm a word merchant, see READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 11, 2011 3:06 PM | » Comments(0)

Galvanized Steel Fights Rust While It Glows in the Sun

It was cool but bright the day before ConExpo opened in Las Vegas, and there, gleaming in the sun like a big piece of pewter, was a side-dump trailer whose steel underframe was completely galvanized READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, March 24, 2011 7:32 PM | » Comments(0)

You Can Run, But Sometimes You Can't Get By Good-Guy Truckers

Caught on tape! Fleeing driver tries to edge by a rig but the trucker squeezes him into a guardrail. He ran down the slope but troopers collared him.

Most truckers are good guys and good citizens who appreciate law and order. Their tractor-trailers make good road blocks, and drivers have been known to deploy them to help police officers capture criminals on the run READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, March 16, 2011 10:30 PM | » Comments(0)

Las Vegas Pete Uses an 'Anvil' as a Billboard

Ranco Anvil 34-foot end-dump is part of a demo rig for Paccar's MX-13 diesel.

Most trailers used for product promotion are vans whose broad sides become rolling billboards for truck components of some kind or other. But here we have an end-dump trailer whose message is aimed at construction guys READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, February 25, 2011 11:26 AM | » Comments(0)

Ancra Load Decking System Adds Payload, Cuts Freight Damage, User Says

One worker can adjust Lift-A-Deck II's shoring beams to accommodate cargo below and support freight that will be placed on the beams. Integral securement straps keep freight from shifting and falling.

A second generation load decking system from Ancra International is adding 10 to 30 percent to payloads while reducing damage claims by as much as 50 percent for Con-way Freight, a carrier representative said READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, February 8, 2011 8:11 PM | » Comments(1)

'What Are Those Things?' Liquid Storage Tanks, That's What

"Frac" tanks pause in Ohio en route from Delaware to Colorado. Manufacturer's specs say they hold up to 21,000 gallons and are used at construction sites to store water and at oil and gas wells to hold fracturing fluids.

Every so often I see one of these odd, squarish trailers being pulled down an interstate and wonder, "What are those things?" Last fall, while driving down U.S. 23 near Toledo, I spotted a pair parked in a lot and swung around to check 'em out READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, February 6, 2011 2:47 PM | » Comments(0)

There's a Website for Everything, Including Truck Spills

On January 2, 2009, shortly before 8:00 a.m., thousands of shoes mysteriously appeared on a Miami highway. Who spilled the shoes? Nobody knows. But they disrupted traffic on the Palmetto Expressway for hours.

We've just heard of a website that displays incidents of freight spilled from tractor-trailers onto highways READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, February 6, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Did Jim Carrey Really Heap Praise on Titan Trailers? No, but Jim Carey Did

Carey's fleet includes six Titan six-axle chip trailers, including these two with Western Star and Sterling tractors. Each carries a payload of up to 84,000 pounds from woods to customers in Upper Michigan.

Last week we got a press release from Titan Trailers that described a customer's use of wood-chip transporters in the woods and roads of Michigan's Upper Peninsula READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, January 25, 2011 11:59 AM | » Comments(0)

Where To Go When You've Turned Over That Dump Trailer

East Manufacturing's trailer repair facility will work on all makes.

Imagine that you banged up your car and you've sent it to the factory for fixing. You can't do that, but if you own a dump or flatbed trailer, you can READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, January 5, 2011 9:25 AM | » Comments(1)

England's Containers Travel Far Even Before They Begin Working

C.R. England’s new containers go from China to the American Midwest to be outfitted with Thermo King reefer units. Drayage tractors are Freightliner M2-112s with DD13 engines.

The domestic refrigerated containers used by C.R. England in its award-winning TempStack intermodal operation enter service only after a long journey from Asia to the American Midwest. And their typical hauls are likewise lengthy READ MORE

Tags: Reefers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, December 13, 2010 7:03 AM | » Comments(4)

England's Double-Stack Operation Saves Fuel, Cuts Emissions, Wins Energy Award from TK

C.R. England is building a fleet of 53-foot-long refrigerated containers that will total 300 by early 2011

Long-hauling of perishable commodities by rail using advanced temperature-controlled 53-foot containers last year saved C.R. England more than 3.5 million gallons of fuel compared to over-the-road operations. For that, the carrier won Thermo King's Energy Efficiency Leader Award, with a ceremony set for today READ MORE

Tags: Reefers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, December 7, 2010 8:30 AM | » Comments(0)

Tracking Trailer Trends

Wabash dry van trailers were the top brand in new registrations tracked by Polk.

New commercial trailer registrations for the first nine months of the year were up 42 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Polk's quarterly Commercial Vehicle Market Intelligence Report READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, November 30, 2010 12:02 PM | » Comments(0)

High-Tech Trailer Aero Systems

A couple of new, sophisticated trailer aero add-ons were on display caddy-corner to each other on the show floor at the recent American Trucking Associations management conference and exhibition READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, November 12, 2010 6:19 AM | » Comments(1)

Minnesota to Honor Thermo King's Fred Jones, Who Invented Early Mechanical Transport Reefers

Weight was a problem even when Fred Jones invented his early transport refrigeration equipment, and he found ways to wring out many pounds from Thermo King units while making them hold up to road vibrations.

It's been 72 years since Fredrick McKinley Jones devised what is claimed to have been the first successful mechanical refrigeration system for truck-trailers, and his story goes beyond invention READ MORE

Tags: Reefers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, November 3, 2010 6:27 AM | » Comments(0)

How to Move 1.98 Million Pounds

Reader John M. King Jr. sent us this description and photos of the hauling of a massive load in the Carolinas. The contractor employed a pair of "multi-line" platform trailers from Mommoet in Holland, with each line being a row of hydraulically suspended and steered wheels READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, October 27, 2010 12:26 PM | » Comments(2)

Rising Demand for Trailers Should Go into 2013, Forecaster Says, But Beware of New Regs

Trailer merchants listened to good news about their immediate business prospects from forecaster Eric Starks, who predicted steady sales increases into 2011 and through '12 and '13, though he observed that a dismal 2009 will make percentages larger and better than actual production numbers READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, October 18, 2010 9:43 PM | » Comments(1)

Like Late-Blooming Perennials, Trucks and Tractor-Trailers Appear for the Harvest

Harvest-service rigs with hopper-bottom trailers pause at sunset along U.S. 23 in northwestern Ohio. Tomorrow they’ll resume working, hauling grain that eventually will arrive at far-away markets. (Photo by Tom Berg)

'Tis the most glorious time of year, when the air turns cool and crisp, tree leaves turn red, gold and yellow, and trucks and tractor-trailers begin working with cutters and threshers to bring in the harvest READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, October 10, 2010 2:57 PM | » Comments(0)

Hello, Dolly! New TMC Recommendations on Dolly Details

Large handles on a dolly’s tongue help a driver raise it without undue strain. Tongue jacks eliminate most lifting, but jacks need safeguards to avoid damage.  (Photo courtesy TMC)

Converter dollies have been around so long that you'd think every one on the road is built about as correctly as can be. But some lack handles that drivers can grasp to lift dollies' front ends, and those might also be the ones that don't have enough counterbalancing weight READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, September 28, 2010 8:24 PM | » Comments(0)

Vanguard's Mudd Sees Extra Strong Trailer Sales

Vanguard Trailer's president, Charlie Mudd, agrees with industry economists in repeating sales forecasts of 90,000 dry vans for 2011 and 120,000 for 2012. READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, September 19, 2010 11:57 AM | » Comments(0)

Innovative Fleet Installing 3,500 Sets of Trailer Aero Improvers

Mesilla Valley Transportation, known for its efforts at saving fuel, is equipping its entire fleet of 3,500 long-haul trailers with side skirts and a folding boat tail that together claim an economy betterment of almost 12 percent at highway speeds READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, September 15, 2010 8:31 AM | » Comments(0)

Dealers Offer Maintenance Tips for Neglected Trailer Brakes

Dealers caution trailers owners to use good-quality brake chambers; this is one from TRP Aftermarket Parts, made with 10-gauge reinforced stud-mounted housing.

With more freight moving as the economy revives, fleets are pulling dormant trailers away from fences and putting them into service. But those trailers probably sat through at least one harsh winter and summer, and maintenance on them may have been neglected. READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:17 AM | » Comments(0)

Trailer Side Skirts Save This Trucker 8.94% in Fuel

Greg Decker says his Windyne skirts save him about $4,400 a year in fuel. They fold up for access to the trailer's undercarriage. (Photo by Jim Park)

Some truck owners have begun buying trailer side skirts because they need them to legally run in California READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2:49 PM | » Comments(1)

Federal Program Helps Interstate Install Aerodynamic Skirts on 2,058 Trailers

Interstate Distributor Co. will install Freight Wing AeroFlex skirts on 2,058 reefer and dry van trailers as part of a grant program. More trailers will follow, the fleet says.

After several years of testing showed trailer side skirts save considerable fuel and therefore cut exhaust emissions from tractors that pull them, Interstate Distributor Co. has begun installing them on 2,058 reefers and dry vans at its maintenance facilities in the Pacific Northwest READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, August 20, 2010 8:20 AM | » Comments(0)

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.


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