Trailer Talk

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)

Progressive Offers Deal on Trailer Skirts, But Ad's Included

A good deal on trailer skirts plus money saved on fuel equals a smile on this trucker’s face.

Is your insurance company out to save you money? It is if it’s Progressive Commercial Auto Insurance, which has a special offer on trailer skirts. READ MORE

Tags: Trailer Skirts

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, March 1, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Beall ‘Bullet’ Survives Bankruptcy

Smooth-sided Bullet belly dump products were acquired from bankrupt Beall by Nebraska-based ShirAul LLC, and continue to be built in the same plant in Washington state.

A unique bottom-dump design widely used in the West and elsewhere is the Beall Bullet, fashioned of aluminum sheeting and interior bracing that is attractive in appearance and aerodynamic in performance. READ MORE

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

Nine Years of Testing Make Gordon Trucking Pretty Sure of its Choice in Skirts

Gordon Trucking Inc. so far has installed Freight Wings on 4,600 of its 53-foot vans and expects the side skirts to last 10 years. The skirts improve fuel economy by 0.3 mpg.

Kirk Altrichter, vice president of maintenance for Gordon Trucking Inc., can tell you more than a few things about trailer skirts and how to choose the right ones. Senior Editor Tom Berg has the story in the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Aerodynamics

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

‘Michigan trains’ productive and safe, with a flaming exception years ago

Last month I spent some time in Michigan, the land of highway “trains.” And I was reminded that in spite of what safety extremists claim in Washington, D.C., high-capacity long combination vehicles, or LCVs, can be operated safely. READ MORE

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

Phillips offers some tips on dealing with wiring

Phillips Industries, maker of wiring harnesses, control boxes and other electrical apparatus for trailers, posts a monthly Quik Tech Tips featur READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:22 PM | » Comments(0)

Ontario revises conditions for 60-foot trailer test

Walmart Canada's long tractor-trailer combination should soon begin in-service testing following the issuing of revised permit conditions by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the province's trucking association says READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans, Walmart, Canada, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, December 27, 2012 5:19 PM | » Comments(0)

'Encapsulated Upper Coupler' prevents internal corrosion danger, trucker-inventor claims

Elvin Knollman tests an Encapsulated Upper Coupler by pumping in air, then listening for leaks caused by cracks or rust damage. If it holds air, it's sound inside, he says. Photo by Tom Berg.

When a badly corroded upper coupler assembly on a tank trailer caused a roll-over several years ago, Elvin Knollman began thinking of ways to prevent that insidious and almost invisible damage READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, November 27, 2012 6:47 PM | » Comments(0)

Police sirens, Quiet-Zone crossing could be factors in Texas truck-train tragedy

Drop-deck semitrailer remains intact after being struck near its rear by the fast-moving train. Chairs are still strapped in place.

Many thoughts went through my head when I first heard about the tragic train-truck collision in Midland, Texas, on Nov. 15: Oh, those poor military guys and their families! How could this happen? How could the truck driver mess up like this? READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, November 19, 2012 1:55 PM | » Comments(0)

Super-cube rig for Walmart Canada might raise some issues

Trailer of this special rig is 60.5 feet long, 7.5 feet longer than allowed in Ontario, but a special permit would allow operational testing. Its COE tractor was built up from a Freightliner Argosy glider kit.

What's this? A modern reiteration of a 1930s truck-and-trailer combination? Sort of. It's a high-capacity tractor-trailer combination recently assembled in Ontario for possible use by Walmart Canada, which calls it a "super cube" truck. And it's generating a bit of controversy READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:44 PM | » Comments(6)

Wabash portable shelters use DuraPlate wall panels

Foldable shelter consists of panels made of Wabash National’s DuraPlate composite trailer walls.

"Just in time for Hurricane Sandy," said a message Monday from Wabash National spokeswoman Celeste Stanley READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, October 30, 2012 6:16 PM | » Comments(0)

Automated trailer inspection idea advances

A driver's visual safety inspection of trailer components would be electronically aided and greatly speeded if a TMC idea becomes reality.

There's much work ahead if the idea of automating pre-trip inspections of trailers is to become reality. That was the feeling during a session on the subject at the fall meeting of the Technology & Maintenance Council of ATA READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, October 22, 2012 1:58 PM | » Comments(0)

Extensively faired trailers show big savings, skirt maker says

Brian Layfield, president of Laydon Composites Ltd. in Ontario, Canada, read our recent Trailer Talk about the MAN-Krone aero tractor-trailer shown at the IAA show in Germany READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, October 12, 2012 7:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Futuristic "road train" from MAN and Krone Trailer could save 25% in fuel

Futuristic road train from MAN and Krone Trailer.

The huge IAA commercial truck show in Hanover, Germany, late last month included this eye magnet, the "aerodynamically optimized road train" from MAN and Krone, both prominent vehicle builders in Europe READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, October 5, 2012 7:21 AM | » Comments(0)

Weight permits don't come cheap

In August I wrote about Peckham Materials and its use of extra-heavy rigs to gain productivity READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, September 28, 2012 7:32 AM | » Comments(0)

Aero Trailer could save $3,900 a year in Euro fuel, Daimler engineer says

Aero improvers on this Schmitz reefer trailer cut wind drag by 18% and improve fuel economy by 4.5%, says Daimler Trucks, whose research went into the design. It's on display this week and next at the IAA show in Hanover, Germany.

HANOVER, GERMANY - Thirty years of aerodynamic research is behind a streamlined semitrailer displayed this week at the huge Hanover truck show in Germany, says a Daimler Trucks executive who briefed a crowd of journalists on the efforts behind the vehicle READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, September 19, 2012 2:22 PM | » Comments(0)

Follow-up: Preventing over-inflation due to heat

In July's "Trailer Trends" article, we mentioned Hendrickson's new TireMaax Pro automatic tire inflation system, but did not do a good job of explaining it. READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, September 10, 2012 8:17 AM | » Comments(0)

This normal-looking tanker rig's more than it seems

The handsome tractor and shiny tank trailer in this photo are more than they seem. Instead of the typical 75,000- to 80,000-pound, five-axle rig you'd find in many areas of the country, this one weighs 102,000 pounds. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, September 6, 2012 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Reefer makers say they're ready for new emissions rules

Clean air is neither cheap nor simple READ MORE

Tags: Reefers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, August 22, 2012 11:10 AM | » Comments(0)

Plug in pallet jack's batteries right in the trailer with TAPS

Plugging motorized pallet jacks into warehouse power supplies is so old. There's a new solution to the battery charging chore. Leave it in the trailer and charge it right there READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:24 PM | » Comments(0)

Standard on-board trailer scale adds operating value, suppliers say

On-board scales allow users to load to the maximum every time with no need to check-weigh or rework the load,

About twelve years ago, while on a real-life run with a produce-hauler, I watched as he drove 19 miles off route to weigh his load -- at the consignee's request. While he backtracked, I thought that this was a great argument for on-board scales READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, July 25, 2012 4:41 PM | » Comments(1)

Clever images entertain German motorists ... or do they?

German graphic artists are at it again, vinyl-wrapping semitrailers with eye-boggling images of products on their way to market. But wait.. READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, July 11, 2012 8:18 AM | » Comments(0)

Testimonials aren't new, but they're still convincing

Guy Lacasse, who runs a handsomely painted and intelligently equipped rig out of Quebec, says he gained 8.2% in fuel economy after installing ATD's Transtex trailer skirts and more than 7% from a TrailerTail.

ATDynamics in South San Francisco, Calif., is among the most active makers of trailer aerodynamic improvers, both in designing and selling its products and in promoting them via the media. Its website,, now includes testimonials from happy customers, including a Canadian featured below. READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, July 3, 2012 11:57 AM | » Comments(2)

Mack trailer among vehicles at company's Allentown museum

Mack made more than 6,000 semi- and full trailers similar to this one from 1929 to 1944.

Did you know that Mack Truck at one time built trailers? I didn't until last week when, along with other truck writers, I toured the Mack Museum in its recently established Customer Center in Allentown, Pa READ MORE

Tags: Flat Beds

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, June 27, 2012 6:43 PM | » 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.


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