Trailer Talk

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)

Trailers do their share to meet stopping-distance requirements, now and soon to come

In three weeks' time, new, shorter federal stopping distance limits go into effect for three-axle tractors, most of them over-the-road power units that pull semitrailers READ MORE

Tags: Regulations

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, June 30, 2011 7:18 PM | » Comments(0)

Ryder orders 1,044 Utility vans - the largest order the builder has ever gotten -- for use by CEVA Logistics

Utility 4000D-X 53-foot dry vans have thin composite walls for high cube and are skirted to reduce air drag and fuel use.

Ryder System says it's expanding its full-service lease contract with a major logistics firm by ordering 1,044 van trailers from Utility Trailer Manufacturing. The order for the 4000D-X Composite dry vans is the largest single order it's ever received, Utility says READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, June 30, 2011 7:17 PM | » Comments(0)

Deadline for CARB trailer rules is imminent; skirts, other aero improves might be needed

Many fleets operating in California have until July 1 to tell the state's Air Resources Board how they will equip their box-type trailers with fuel-saving devices READ MORE

Tags: Regulations

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, June 12, 2011 5:22 PM | » Comments(0)

Must-see video shows twister tearing up a trailer, but driver survives

Tornados that ravaged parts of Oklahoma on May 24 included one that hit a tractor-trailer right where it was on a highway READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 3, 2011 11:43 AM | » Comments(0)

Trailers from Con-way, Prime become storage sheds in Joplin disaster area

Storage is an effective second use for van trailers, which act as long sheds on wheels that can be taken wherever they're needed. One place is Joplin, where a huge tornado recently devastated a large part of the city in southwestern Missouri READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, May 31, 2011 10:14 AM | » Comments(0)

Beautiful custom-built models start with long sheets of styrene

Some truckers are so proud of the equipment they operate that they want scale models to display in their homes or offices. One man who makes that happen is master modeler Kuenn (pronounced Quinn) McClinton READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, May 17, 2011 7:41 AM | » Comments(0)

Here's more scientific and real-world proof that trailer aerodynamics work.

Gina Angsten recently saved 0.7 mpg when she pulled an aero-equipped Duplainville Transport trailer with her already aerodynamic Freightliner Cascadia.

Jack Latimer sells Airtabs, the wishbone-shaped aero enhancers that many truckers apply to the trailing edges of tractors and trailers. He keeps tabs (so to speak) on studies of truck aerodynamics and recently sent us this information READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, May 10, 2011 7:13 AM | » Comments(0)

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)

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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