Trailer Talk

Near High Street in Hicksville, Ohio, is a Really LOW Overpass

Follow the Truck Route or you'll be in trouble.

Here's one warning, but there's a way around it for a driver pulling a tall van trailer.

Sometimes, following the truck route is the only way to stay safe, as Senior Editor Tom Berg finds when he travels through a small town in Ohio. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, February 10, 2015 6:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Metal Coils Snuggle Safely into Cradles on This Specialized Trailer

The heavy loads can't roll off because they're automatically blocked aboard.

Rubber-lined well accommodates big, heavy metal coils, which are usually strapped down. Sliding shelter covers the load.

Most truckers who haul heavy rolls of steel and other metals use flatbeds, but there’s a safer way, in the opinion of those who use Transcraft Coil Haulers. Tom Berg has more in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Cargo Securement, Flatbed Trailers, Transcraft Trailers, Special Specs, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, January 30, 2015 1:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Out-of-Control Doubles Make Spectacular Video

On black ice, all the anti-lock braking systems in the western world can't do much to control a multi-trailer combination.

The truck had gone over the divider by this point coming to rest, only moments before being struck from behind.

This video is so graphic that parts of it, shot by a motorist along the New Jersey Turnpike, were picked up by ABC and CBS in their evening newscasts one day last week. Thankfully, no one was hurt. READ MORE

Tags: Fleet Safety, Double-trailers, Black Ice

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, January 26, 2015 1:47 PM | » Comments(2)

This Trailer’s Smoking Brake Was a Nose Full

Can't he see that smoke? Can't he feel the trailer dragging against his tractor? Apparently not.

Brake smoke from this trailer's tandem is too faint to be seen by the camera. But if it had a nose it would've squaked. Photo: Tom Berg

Senior Editor Tom Berg tries to warn a driver of a burning brake, but without success. Moral: Check the equipment you're driving. READ MORE

Tags: Brakes, Truck Drivers, Vehicle Inspection

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, January 14, 2015 4:23 PM | » Comments(0)

Why Can't Those 3 Upper ID Lights Be Mounted Low?

They'd be safer to reach for repairs, but they're up there for some good reasons.

On the move, they're still visible -- and more artsy. Photo by Jim Park

The three identification lights at the top-rear of the trailer, mounted around the center line of the vehicle, are to alert following drivers that the vehicle equipped with these lights is wider than 80 inches. READ MORE

Tags: Regulations, Trailers, Lighting

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, January 8, 2015 1:15 PM | » Comments(0)

Hess Toy Trucks Awaken Positive Memories

Since 1964 the gas stations have sold Hess Toy Trucks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so this year is the 50th anniversary of the tradition.

Michael Roberto and a Hess Toy Truck -- a tanker.

Since 1964 Hess has sold Toy Trucks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so this year is the 50th anniversary of the tradition. Since Hess is closing its filling stations in a few months the 2014 truck will be the last that can be bought in person. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Tankers, Toy Trucks

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 1:00 AM | » Comments(0)

A. Duie Pyle Bolsters Fleet of Heated, Insulated Vans for Winter

Pyle has added 80 of the special trailers, augmenting its existing pool of more than 400 such units. Most are 48-by-102s for road and city service.

Great Dane built Pyle's latest heated and insulated vans, like the one shown here in warmer days.

Some carriers turn away temperature-sensitive freight during cold snaps. But Pyle has equipment and facilities to handle it, and the business has grown. READ MORE

Tags: Great Dane, Wabash National, Heaters, Insulated van, Vans, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2014 5:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Steel Springs, White Color Among Penske’s Trailer Specs

Not that many cargoes need the protection of air springs, fleets have found.

Penske encourages customers to do a decal wrap rather than colored paint, because white trailers are easier to sell to a second owner.

White sidewalls and doors can bring thousands of dollars more than a custom color at resale time. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Vehicle Color, Suspensions, Color Choices, Trailer Suspensions, Penske

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, December 3, 2014 6:00 AM | » Comments(0)

It's Snowing, Folks. Slow Down!

High speed plus slippery pavement equals a big crash, all caught on video.

Watch this video and see if you'd have driven into the situation differently. READ MORE

Tags: Accidents, Driving Safety, Snow, Preventable Accidents

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, November 12, 2014 12:43 PM | » Comments(0)

Clever Commercial Celebrating a Boy’s Imagination Includes a Tractor-Trailer

Senior Editor Tom Berg watches the drama and has his imagination provoked, too!

The family comes upon a big rig transporting what looks like a tug or fishing boat, strapped to a special trailer. The little boy looks up at the boat and sees a three-masted schooner, foundering and in peril! READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, In the Media

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, October 31, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

High-Cube Vans Bolster Fast Carriage of Big, Bulky Items

Low floor adds 600 cubic feet to a van's usual capacity.

Low floor is interrupted by wheel wells and step-up at the trailer's nose. So ZCube trailers don't backhaul.

It's "back to the future" in van trailers for one carrier, explains Tom Berg in his "Trailer Talk" blog. The freight is big, bulky and light, with gross combination weights typically at 45,000 pounds, so the ZCube trailers are pulled by single-rear-axle tractors. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Special Specs, Logistics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Solar Panels Can Avoid Run-Down Batteries from Telematic Signaling

Reefer operators can track load temperatures through telematics, but that eats up electricity from a parked trailer's battery.

Carrier's new Thin-Film Flexible Solar Panels are easily installed on the roofs of trailers, truck bodies and refrigerated rail cars chilled by Carrier Transicold or other systems. Photo: Carrier Transicold

Recent announcements by Carrier Transicold and Thermo King, that they’re offering solar panels as options on many reefer units, jibed nicely with discussions during TMC's Fall Meeting near Orlando, notes Senior Editor Tom Berg in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: TMC, Thermo King, Carrier Transicold, Solar Charging, Solar Panel, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, October 7, 2014 10:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Rotting Chicken Brings Attention to Abandoned Trailer

What does rotten chicken have to do with missing household goods? Abandoned trailers, says Senior Editor Tom Berg in his latest installment of the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailer Tracking, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 5:00 PM | » Comments(1)

Using Archimedes’ Lever Principle to Help Propel a Tractor-Trailer

Multiplying the tractor's pulling force could reduce required input and save 80% in fuel, this concept's inventor believes.

1. Floating kingpin  2. Linkage arm  3. Carrier bearing assembly  4. Front and rear levers  5. Trailer chassis 6. Tire-wheel assembly  7. Landing gear  8. Suspension  9. Axle  10. Input pivot (top of lever) 11. Fulcrum pivot at axle12. Output pivot at bracket mount

Archimedes, the scholar and mathematician of antiquity, was quoted as saying, “Give me a place to stand and a large enough lever, and I will move the earth.” That’s debatable, but some pretty big and heavy things can be nudged into motion with a lever – and trailers are among them, says an inventor in Ohio. Tom Berg has the story in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Fuel Economy, Inventions

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, September 19, 2014 5:30 PM | » Comments(0)

75-Ton 9-Axle Lowboy Hauls More, Saves Money for Equipment Dealer

Moving large, heavy machines in one piece avoids the time and work otherwise spent in teardown and reassembly, saving big money.

Trailer includes a 3-axle "jeep" dolly, 3-axle lowboy and 3 flip-down axles. Axles can be removed for lighter-weight loads.

Bill Miller Equipment needed a trailer of higher capacity, with axle configurations and versatility to haul it through numerous states. Talbert built one. Tom Berg has the story in his "Trailer Talk" blog. READ MORE

Tags: Talbert Trailers, Trailers, Heavy Haul

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, September 5, 2014 2:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Here’s to Tequila Patron, Which Made This Trailer Possible

Senior Editor Tom Berg's day is brightened by this clean and colorful van. But what's inside?

Don't the graphics on that clean trailer make you want to sip a bit of Mexican tequila?

“Now why would a trucking company that hauls booze advertise it?” I mumbled. “That’s asking for a hijacking.” Senior Editor Tom Berg investigates in his "Trailer Talk" blog. READ MORE

Tags: Image, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, August 20, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Liquid Nitrogen – How Cool is That?

Guest post: Toss the diesel and pump in some liquid nitrogen for super-cold cooling.

The Cryometrix CB-40 pollution-free reefer.

Reflect Scientific says a Cryometrix CB-40 transport refrigeration unit made history by delivering its first commercial load of frozen foods using a new pollution-free refrigeration technology. READ MORE

Tags: Reefers, Transportation Refrigeration Units, Trailers

Author: Rolf Lockwood, Executive Contributing Editor | Posted @ Friday, August 8, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

How Important are Claims About Towing Capacity?

Who's really 'best in class,' and do customers really care?

The latest truck maker to claim towing capacity superiority is Ford, which has upped the horsepower and torque of its Power Stroke V-8 diesel to propel an F-450 pickup and a trailer as heavy as 31,200 pounds.

Senior Editor Tom Berg branches out a bit in his Trailer Talk blog this week to talk about how much trailer load heavy pickups can haul. In a demonstration a couple of weeks ago, Ford pitted a pair of Power Stroke-powered F-450 pickups against a Ram 3500 dually pickup with a Cummins Turbo Diesel to demonstrate towing capacity. READ MORE

Tags: Ford Super Duty, Ram Heavy Duty, Pickup Trucks, Trailers, Ford

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Back a Double-Trailer Rig? There’s an App for That

A demonstration by ZF engineers a couple of weeks ago in Germany was impressive because it wasn’t being done by a driver, but a guy with a tablet computer.

The point is productivity: A vehicle longer and more complex than the single semis normally used in most of Europe could be employed to haul more cargo in one trip. And with little training, its driver could back it into position for loading or unloading. READ MORE

Tags: Productivity, long combination vehicles, Remote Controls, ZF Friedrichshafen AG

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Curved Upper Edge on Trailers Avoids Tree-Branch Damage

The idea came from truck bodies, but Darry Stuart put it to use on trailers.

Tree branches batter top nose rails and corner caps of trailers because they snag on the sharp channels. Tom Berg talks to one fleet manager who found curved surfaces up there let the branches slide past harmlessly. READ MORE

Tags: Vehicle Damage, Hyundai Translead, Trailers, Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Squinty Tail Lights Have a Reliability Benefit

Tom Berg spots an unusual trailer lighting system on the road. Grote LED light bars need only three pigtails to connect to the sealed wiring harness, reducing the chances for corrosion and electrical failures, he explains in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Fontaine, Grote, Lighting, LEDs, Flatbed Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Solar Panels Cure Problem of Run-Down Liftgate Batteries

There are various remedies for weak batteries, but Darry Stuart, a contract fleet manager, looked to the sun for a solution.

A single 100-watt solar panel keeps the trailer's four Group 31 batteries charged and the liftgate operating reliably. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Idle Reduction, Reefers, eNow, Solar Charging

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

Done Properly and Legally, Supplemental Signal Lights Enhance Safety

In heavy street traffic, a flashing light cues motorists to react early by slowing down or moving over to avoid being delayed -- but they also can cause confusion.

The Transportation Safety Equipment Institute reports that its member companies are seeing an increase in requests to add innovative lighting devices, and questions arise about their legality. Senior Editor Tom Berg takes a closer look in his Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Lighting, Auxiliary Lighting, Transportation Safety Equipment Institute, Truck-Lite, Peterson Manufacturing, Trailers, Regulations

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Get to Know Hucktainers, Says Alcoa Fastening Systems

Several manufacturers use it to assemble van trailers and truck bodies, and it claims strength and vibration resistance.

The compact Hucktainer has a head, sleeve and pintail, and is installed quickly with a special tool, clamping together the wall and sill materials and crimping off the excess length of the sleeve in a spiral-locking process. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Truck Bodies

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 6, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Big-Fleet Demand for Vans Leads Surge in Trailer Orders

Switch to 33-foot pups could cause new business, ACT's Frank Maly thinks.

The growth of the dump business could be threatened by the lack of progress on a highway bill in Washington.

Freight growth gives fleets confidence to buy, while low cancellations push backlogs to six months. Tankers are also up strongly, but lack of a highway bill could upset dump-trailer business. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Freight, Tankers, Trailer Sales, ACT Research

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Author Bio

sponsored by

Tom Berg

Senior 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.


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



The expert, Mark Betner from CITGO, will answer your questions

View All



The expert, Rence Oliphant from Hendrickson, will answer your questions

View All