Trailer Talk

WD-40 Among Tools Used by Edwards Crew to Move Massive Transformer

Crew uses extended-boom forklift to place rails under the load on the railcar, which has been jacked off its springs for stability.

Since its initial haul of a transformer to a new electrical substation in Ohio (“Count the Wheels Under This Heavy-Haul Trailer,”), Edwards Moving & Rigging has delivered three more of the huge and heavy pieces of equipment. There’s one more to go. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, November 4, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The Winner of the ATD Commercial Truck of the Year Is…

Who won the 2013 Commercial Truck of the Year award? Sorry, I can’t tell you, even if I knew.

Three heavy duty entries rest at day's end. From left, Kenworth T880 dump, Peterbilt 579 sleeper-cab tractor and International ProStar+ daycab tractor.

Senior Editor Tom Berg writes about his experience judging the ATD Commercial Truck of the Year contest. READ MORE

Tags: Hino, Kenworth, International, Peterbilt, ATD Commercial Truck of the Year

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, November 3, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

YouTube Video Shows Why That Forklift Driver Can’t Destroy Your Trailer’s Liner (Maybe)

Tom Berg has rediscovered on YouTube some of the wonder of watching "Industry on Parade" as a kid, with a video about the technology behind one company's wall liners, which he shares in his latest Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, US Liner

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, October 24, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Just an Old Trailer? No – It’s Part of Intermodal History

Well used trailer is a former Flexi-Van bought about 1968 by the Santa Fe Railway. It was for sale at a rental and leasing company in Omaha in 2004.

This Strick trailer is part of intermodal history going back more than 50 years. It was one of a large group bought by the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway for coast-to-coast Flexi-Van service it ran with the New York Central System. This particular trailer was spotted in 2004 in Omaha, Neb., after it was retired from piggyback service. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers,, Strick, Flexi-Van, CSX, BNSF

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Count the Wheels Under This Heavy-Haul Trailer!

First nine “lines” of wheels are hydraulically steered left and the last nine are steered right as the trailer makes a sharp left turn onto a parking lot.

Sometimes really interesting things happen right near home. A few weeks ago I was on a Sunday jaunt with my wife and a granddaughter, driving through Sunbury in central Ohio, about nine miles from where we live. We spotted something big and heavy being moved through the village on a trailer that seemed to have a hundred wheels. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, October 6, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Quality Parts Should Go Into Trailer Electrical Systems, Updated TMC Recommendations Say

Typical wiring harness for a van trailer and explanations of its circuitry and other details are among the illustrations in TMC’s RP-704C, an update to old equipment recommendations. TMC members recently approved it.

Updated recommendations from TMC for trailer electrical systems say sealed wiring, water- and corrosion-resistant connectors and low-amperage lamp designs are the things to get for long life – not new advice, but information newly included in the group’s Recommended Practice 704. READ MORE

Tags: TMC, Trailer, Trailer Lighting Systems, Trailers, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, September 24, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

47-Year-Old Trailer to Work Again Following On-Line Auction Sale

What’s the oldest working trailer you know of?

Lots of steel went into this ’66 Easton side-dump trailer that just sold on-line for $2,500. The internet has changed how auctioneers do business, but Dan Pate of Pate Auction Service still prefers to personally inspect equipment.

What’s the oldest working trailer you know of? READ MORE

Tags: Trailer, , Easton

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, August 29, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

‘Steer Cars’ and ‘Jeeps’ Bring Up the Rear of Long-Beam Hauls

A 162-foot-long, 168,000-pound concrete beam has arrived at the job site aboard a 14-axle rig. I-5 bridge over the Skagit River is being rebuilt after a section was knocked down by an oversize load aboard a semi. Photos by Washington state Department of Transportation.

Last week we ran a news story about the hauling of long, heavy concrete beams for reconstruction of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in northwestern Washington. You may recall that a section of the aging steel truss bridge tumbled into the water on May 23 when an oversize load hit an upper support beam. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, August 19, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Careful Spec’ing Cuts a Ton of Tare Weight from Beverage Distributor’s New Vans

Wine-toting Great Dane vans use aluminum crossmembers, wide-base single tires and wheels, and aluminum roof sheeting to cut 2,000 pounds from each one. Small portholes along the top of each side let in sunlight that fiberglass translucent roofs do on older, heavier trailers. Cheap natural gas motor fuel lessons the need for heavy side skirts.

With tractors getting heavier, Monarch Distributing in Indianapolis needed to lighten up its trailers to recapture payload capacity. Its latest group of 53-foot vans from Great Dane accomplish this by scaling 2,000 pounds lighter than previous units. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers,

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, August 5, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

‘How Durable is TrailerTail?’ Watch This Video

Makers of trailer aerodynamic improvers are well aware of truckers’ suspicions that the devices will be damaged, sooner or later. That’s why many of the latest ones are made with materials that are flexible and impact resistant. READ MORE

Tags: TrailerTail

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Are 2.23% Fuel Savings Too Modest to Sell this Aero Improver? Maybe Not

Tractor AeroKit panels and wheel covers smooth air flow around the tandem. Devices are made of rugged thermoplastic olefin.

It takes a tractor to move a trailer, which is why we’re looking at this new product from a small company: Tractor AeroKit from Flow Below Aero Inc., in Austin, Tex. The kit saves fuel by smoothing air flow around the vehicle’s drive wheels. READ MORE

Tags: Aerodynamics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, July 9, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

Schneider Begins Installing Container- and Trailer-Tracking Devices

By the end of September, a Qualcomm tracking box will be attached to the nose of every Schneider National intermodal container. All van trailers will have them by December 2015.

It’s 11 p.m. Do you know where my load is? That’s a shipper asking a trucker the whereabouts of the trailer or container carrying his cargo. He’s not asking about a tractor and its driver; he wants to know about his load. From that point of view, it’s odd that trucking companies attached the first satellite and cellular-based tracking devices to tractors years ago, when products became available. READ MORE

Tags: Qualcomm, Technology, Trailer, Schneider,

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 28, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Advanced All-Steel Bottom Dump Trailer Claims Light Weight, Smooth Operation

American Carrier Equipment's all-steel, tandem axle, semi bottom dump trailer is the culmination of a two-year research, development and field-testing program aimed at producing a tough, lightweight trailer.

It looks like a common western belly-dump trailer, but this new model from American Carrier Equipment is 30% lighter, has 300% greater structural integrity and accommodates a 12.5% greater payload than competitive offerings, according to the builder. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Hydraulic Ramp Modules Now Convert High-Floor Vans into Auto Haulers

Decking modules are battery powered and contain their own hydraulic equipment. This system is for a low-floor van; the designer is preparing modules for high-floor trailers.

Household goods movers haul not just furniture, but sometimes automobiles owned by the people making the move. This of course enhances truckers’ revenue. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Why Better Underride Guards, and Maybe Other Stuff, Are Worth It

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested underride guards in 2010, one guard failed. That trailer manufacturer has since redesigned its guards, and it worked properly in the IIHS&#39; latest round of tests.<br />

Senior Editor Tom Berg offers some personal insight into trailer underride guards and why they're so important in his "Trailer Talk" blog. READ MORE

Tags: IIHS, Safety, Trailers, Underride

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, June 3, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

TV News Reporter Does a Good Job on an Underride Story

We in the industry are sometimes irked when we see inaccurate or incomplete stories about trucking in the general news media. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Trailer underride guards

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, May 21, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

See-Through Trailer’s Intriguing, Even If Wonder Woman’s Not Inside

Lexan panels in the right-side wall of Ancra&amp;rsquo;s display trailer lets truck show viewers see what&amp;rsquo;s displayed inside. But you&amp;rsquo;ll want to go in there yourself.

Maybe you saw it in March at the Louisville truck show – that transparent trailer in Ancra International’s booth. I spotted it earlier in the month, at the TMC’s annual meeting and expo in Nashville. Story-wise, the why of it is obvious: It’s a rolling stage on which Ancra displays a number of its freight handling and tie-down products. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Ancra

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Over the years, from old pull trailers to multi-axle configurations

Two of three modules of a &amp;ldquo;3-3-2&amp;rdquo; multi-axle configuration were shown by Talbert in its booth at the Louisville show. Missing is the 2-axle &amp;ldquo;booster&amp;rdquo; that would be attached to the rear.

Heavy-haul equipment has always fascinated me, ever since I was a little boy watching “steam shovels” dig basements in our then-expanding neighborhood in post-World War II Milwaukee. The shovels (which were actually gasoline- and maybe diesel-powered) were carried to job sites on low-slung pull trailers. The trailers were pulled by dump trucks which, after parking the trailers on the street, also carried away some of the dirt from the new holes. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Mid-America Trucking Show, Talbert

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 29, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Here’s a Really Big Rig in Quebec

In his latest Trailer Talk blog, Senior Editor Tom Berg takes a closer look at what first glance might look like an ordinary equipment trailer. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Heavy Haul

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 22, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Non-profit Firm Hires Vets to Make Trailer Skirts

Military vets build and install the Aerosmart aluminum skirts at SA Concepts&amp;rsquo; plant in Springdale, Ark.

Here’s a novel approach to making trailer skirts: Use reclaimed materials, consult with a veteran fleet executive to be sure you get the design right, and employ U.S. military veterans to assemble them while they attend school. READ MORE

Tags: Aerodynamics, Trailer Skirts

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 15, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

VorBlades Twist Air into Fuel-saving Vortices, Their Maker Claims

The VorBlade Invisible Fairing, the device is combined in rows at the trailing edges of a box trailer, reducing turbulence and the suction effect at the vehicle&amp;rsquo;s rear.

Here’s a new twist on aerodynamics: curved blades inside a rectangular structure that smooth air flow as it leaves a trailer’s surfaces. Called the VorBlade Invisible Fairing, the device is combined in rows at the trailing edges of a box trailer, reducing turbulence and the suction effect at the vehicle’s rear. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Aerodynamics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, April 10, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(5)

Tractor-Trailer Carries Replica Vietnam Wall. Does it Bring Healing?

Healing? &amp;ndash; A veteran of the Army&amp;rsquo;s 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam talks about the war with his lady.

Last week a tractor-trailer carrying a memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War came to town, reports Senior Editor Tom Berg in his latest "Trailer Talk" blog. It was part of ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of the United States’ official withdrawal from Vietnam. READ MORE

Tags: Featherlite, Van Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, April 2, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Integrated Approach Tractor-Trailer Saves Fuel in KW's T680 Advantage Package

The Utility side skirts reduce the amount of wind that gets under the trailer, causing drag, and the TrailerTail reduces drag at the trailer&#39;s rear.

Kenworth designers have turned to the trailer part of their T680 Advantage rig, integrating the smoothly styled tractor's aerodynamics into the lines of a 53-foot Utility van. The tractor has mechanical and electrical equipment meant to save fuel, but reducing air drag across the entire vehicle is almost as important, they said. READ MORE

Tags: Kenworth, Trailers, Utility, Fuel Economy, Aerodynamics, Laydon

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, March 22, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Ratcheting landing-gear handle: Best thing since canned beer?

Forget that headline. Comparing a product to a container for an alcoholic beverage isn’t politically correct on a website that’s concerned about trucking safety, as this one is. But I wanted to get your attention because this thing, called the Sixth Wheel Ratchet, seems like a better idea than a pop-top can, whether or not you’re thirsty. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, March 15, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

TrailerTails’ Adoption in North America Drives European Union to Authorize Them

Short Eco 50 model for Europe will save truck operators about 2% in fuel and CO2 emissions at the comparatively low highway speeds seen there, ATDynamics says.

Andy Smith is seeing more and more of his TrailerTails moving down American and Canadian highways, and soon he’ll see them in Europe. The founder and CEO of ATDynamics on Sunday said that to reporters on the eve of the opening of the Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. It was his latest briefing since he launched the fuel-saving folding-panel device in 2008. READ MORE

Tags: TMC, ATDynamics, Aerodynamics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, March 11, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

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.

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