Balance Weight In Trailer

Topic 20958 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
Last Shadow's Comment
member avatar

Well it's been almost 2 years since I became an OTR driver, everyday I still try to learn something that will make me more productive and safe, so question for all of you old timers, how important is it to have a well balance trailer, for the miles per gallon, to wear and tear on tires, to also include the effects of braking during winter, thanks please even if your new to the industry and know facts or experience share so we may learn or informed ourselves, I have been thinking about this subject as I see tandems placement on trailers as I roll down the roads, thanks.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I always felt it was very important for all of those reasons, but mostly because of safe braking. You really want a pretty even amount of weight on all axles so that no one set of axles is so light that it wants to lock up the wheels under braking.

If you can get your drive tandem and trailer tandem within about 2,000 pounds of each other you'll be fine. If one is going to be a little heavier than the other, I would prefer the drive tandem to be a little heavier than the trailer tandem for two reasons:

1) You want to make sure you're heavy enough on the drive tandem to get good traction under acceleration

2) If one of those tandem sets does break loose under braking, you'd want it to be your trailer tandem. A trailer jackknife, caused by your trailer tandem locking up, is relatively easy to notice and correct and it happens rather slowly. A tractor jackknife, where the tractor spins around because your drive tandem locked up, happens almost instantaneously and there's almost no chance of coming out of it once it starts. You're also in total control of the vehicle during a trailer jackknife, but you'll have no control of the vehicle after a tractor jackknife.

So locking up your drive tandem under braking is infinitely more dangerous than locking up your trailer tandem.

The tire wear and fuel mileage thing will come into play a little, also. So it's helpful to have good balance for those reasons too. But for me, safety under braking and traction under acceleration were the big reasons to have a good balance.

Also, you absolutely want to make sure you have as close to 12,000 on the steers as possible once you're above roughly 72,000 pounds. Most trucks are set up this way already. Losing traction on your steer axle during steering or braking can also be catastrophic, of course. So you want to make sure that your 5th wheel is as far forward as you can have it and still remain at about 12,000 pounds when loaded real heavy.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Last Shadow's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett, like always your money bro.

I always felt it was very important for all of those reasons, but mostly because of safe braking. You really want a pretty even amount of weight on all axles so that no one set of axles is so light that it wants to lock up the wheels under braking.

If you can get your drive tandem and trailer tandem within about 2,000 pounds of each other you'll be fine. If one is going to be a little heavier than the other, I would prefer the drive tandem to be a little heavier than the trailer tandem for two reasons:

1) You want to make sure you're heavy enough on the drive tandem to get good traction under acceleration

2) If one of those tandem sets does break loose under braking, you'd want it to be your trailer tandem. A trailer jackknife, caused by your trailer tandem locking up, is relatively easy to notice and correct and it happens rather slowly. A tractor jackknife, where the tractor spins around because your drive tandem locked up, happens almost instantaneously and there's almost no chance of coming out of it once it starts. You're also in total control of the vehicle during a trailer jackknife, but you'll have no control of the vehicle after a tractor jackknife.

So locking up your drive tandem under braking is infinitely more dangerous than locking up your trailer tandem.

The tire wear and fuel mileage thing will come into play a little, also. So it's helpful to have good balance for those reasons too. But for me, safety under braking and traction under acceleration were the big reasons to have a good balance.

Also, you absolutely want to make sure you have as close to 12,000 on the steers as possible once you're above roughly 72,000 pounds. Most trucks are set up this way already. Losing traction on your steer axle during steering or braking can also be catastrophic, of course. So you want to make sure that your 5th wheel is as far forward as you can have it and still remain at about 12,000 pounds when loaded real heavy.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: http://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel

Need help? We have instructions for sharing photos from photo sharing sites



example: http://www.truckingtruth.com/images/header.jpg
Submit
Cancel

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More