Profile For Robert B. (The Dragon) yes, I breathe fire and other sideshow tricks

Robert B. (The Dragon) yes, I breathe fire and other sideshow tricks's Info

  • Location:
    Indianapolis, IN

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 4 months ago

Robert B. (The Dragon) yes, I breathe fire and other sideshow tricks's Bio

Flatbedder with ELS on their heavy haul division.

Robert B. (The Dragon) yes, I breathe fire and other sideshow tricks's Photo Gallery Group 1 of 6

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Posted:  4 days, 19 hours ago

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Anyone have an alcohol evaporator in their air brake system?

Some of the trucks I drove in the service had them, along with ether start buttons but they were pretty damned rare.

Posted:  4 days, 19 hours ago

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Prime Inc is disabling Manual Mode on their trucks with the D12 Manual Automatic Transmission !

GRS is upset:

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The manual mode "switch" was put there by the manufacturer for a reason. By not having it available, it discourages the use of the Jake Brake because whenever you do use it, the truck wants to immediately downshift by 2 gears and there you are over RPMing. In manual mode, you simply put it in the gear you want and you work the Jakes all the way down the mountain and you maintain a steady speed and RPM. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like out in Wyoming going over Elk Mountain next winter.

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The manual mode switch was put there, and the buyer (Prime, Inc.) ordered it and set it that way. That's the real reason. Why? Manual shift is better on MPG and maintenance. You do like the MPG bonus, don't you?

The engine retarders and the transmission work together and are linked in the computer system. "Over RPMing"? Maybe you should have set the Jakes sooner. The answer to the over-revving is to use the foot brakes to get to the slower speed. Then just as you like to, let the engine do the slowing.

"over Elk Mountain next winter" Do you use Jake brakes going down a grade covered in ice and snow? We'll see your action on Bonehead!

Don't be such a stranger! (3 posts in 5 years)

I use my engine brakes all the time during the winter. Granted, it won’t be on the highest setting and I’ll make sure it’s in the proper gear but it still helps control the speed and as long as you’re paying attention, won’t get you into trouble. I agree with the complaint of disabling the manual mode because using it properly helps maintain downhill speeds and in conjunction with the engine brake, will allow for a controlled descent at reasonable rpm with very little to no use of the service brakes. White bird summit in Idaho is a much bigger challenge than Elk and I’ve taken it in a manual at 147,000# barely using the brakes and at 79,800 in the Volvo I’m now driving without using the service brakes. It’s all about learning to use the equipment but if a company takes away an important aspect, it puts drivers at a disadvantage.

Posted:  1 week, 2 days ago

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Flatbed Variety

Copper out of Arizona

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Nice! Is that out of Buckeye?

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Working load limit for flatbed

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They’re both correct. For securement it’s one half but the first statement started lifting and rigging equipment has different requirements. It’s interesting that the first statement was even in there to begin with because it’s very rare that a roofing company would ever use a drivers equipment to lift and move cargo.

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Since we're on the topic of flatbed securement Robert B what is your take on the indirect vs direct tie down and the prevailing wisdom that a direct tie down only gets credit of 50% toward the aggregate working load limit.

I’m in agreement with OS here although I disagree with the way FMCSA determines their decision. It’s not so much that there’sa reduction in tension on the chain and what it’s covering or attached to but more to the point of where and what forces of motion it’s protecting against. The largest force on the load is going to be forwards motion, followed by side to side and then to the rear. By going all the way across or over the object, you’re providing a restrictive force on the entire object as opposed to sat on something like a transformer with chain points on the sides. Chaining one side is only restricting the one side and if I had to guess, it’s where they come up with half the rating even though in regard to the actual chain and binder that isn’t true but it’s only restricting movement on half of the load. I hope that makes sense. I’ve honestly never had anyone explain why they declare it the way they do but once you’ve secured a bunch of different loads using all styles of securement, you can see how they come up with it.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Working load limit for flatbed

They’re both correct. For securement it’s one half but the first statement started lifting and rigging equipment has different requirements. It’s interesting that the first statement was even in there to begin with because it’s very rare that a roofing company would ever use a drivers equipment to lift and move cargo.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Flatbed Variety

^^^^^^ I LOVE YOU GUYS! I've learned SOOOOO much from this thread.

Thank you.

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~ Anne ~

You’re welcome :)

I’m not a big contributor but try to do what I can when I can. My heavy haul truck had an extra push axle on it and 2 of the 3 on the trailer would lift along with the additional flip. I’m not doing that anymore, took a regional position pulling hopper bottom that gets me home much more frequently and pays what I was making doing the heavy lifting.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Tractor washing at home - tips?

Thank you for all the feedback, everyone.

Laura, with two days off our son has enough time. He doesn't have friends locally, no girlfriend, etc. and it seems that he is pushing hard on the road most of the time to try to squeeze in a truck wash. There is a Blue Beacon not far from our home that he passes by on his way home but he's more interested in getting home and just showering and resting.

I'll tell him to try Dawn but also get some Zep for him if he thinks it needs something stronger. He needs a longer brush than I have now but will look for something softer. I did see a review of one that someone complained scratched their paint and will filter reviews for that sort of feedback.

Robert, I am curious how you are able to wax a truck that is so tall. Seems you'd need scaffolding. I do have a hydraulic lift but don't think it would be very helpful since the basket is pretty small and only made for standing up.

A small kitchen style step ladder will get you up to the top of the doors. You won’t be able to do the full condo without a scaffold or rolling stairs but at least you can get to the majority of the body. The wax will also help make getting bugs and road tar off much easier.

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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Flatbed Variety

There we go. They’re running a lift axle with 19.5 tires to get it off the ground without giving away clearance with the top deck of the trailer. It helps save on tires when empty and gives a little better fuel economy due to less rolling resistance. The trade off is only one drive axle.

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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Flatbed Variety

Thought I’d post these photos and ask the flatbedders what the heck is going on here? Why are the back axle tires so small? And it’s up in there air guessing it’s a lift axle of sorts? And it’s hard to tell but the fifth wheel was not a normal one. Slanted downward. First time I’ve seen any kind of setup like this. He was delivering a huge refrigeration unit.

I don’t think the photos posted but based on your description, the unit coming off the 5th wheel is called a Jeep. It helps distribute weight by adding another steerable section and extra axles to help spread the weight. The smaller tires can serve a few functions. One is that it gets the load lower so that more travel routes are available and potentially fewer permit restrictions on height. A popular west cost trailer is made by a company called Cozad, they use the low pro tires in conjunction with an angled dovetail on the rear of the trailer allowing equipment to be loaded over the back, saving time.

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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Tractor washing at home - tips?

The Zep is a very good product but as mentioned, it’s strong and will eventually be hard on paint and polished bits. Dawn will clean anything but you need to rinse well or it will leave streaks. Follow that up once dry with a good wax and it’ll make follow up cleaning much easier. I’m a big fan of Ardex brand Flint wax in the paste version or Mother’s California gold.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

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The Effect Of Vehicle Weight On Stopping Distance

I’ll be curious to see the outcome of Errol’s test and prefer a scientific outcome over assumption as many do but I do want to point out a huge flaw in the comparisons some are making on race cars vs passenger vehicles and semi trucks. You can’t even make those comparisons simply because of the factors involved. A race car uses much larger braking surfaces, has a massive contact patch with the road surface in comparison utilizing heat and friction, aerodynamics and downforce as well as special compounds in the tires. If an engineer worked out the math and equipped a large suv identical in every way to the tech involved in a formula 1 or Indy car, the results could be matched. The same would go for a semi but you would see much larger braking surfaces, modified tire compounds to maximize grip etc. The reason a race car decelerates isn’t specifically based on weight alone.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Truck Stops - I hate them already 🤣

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Parked trucks are an easy target for that early morning inspection

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Well at this Florida weigh station, the manager does not permit the taking of low hanging fruit. Officer Hegman encourages the overnight stop because that's safe driving.

Youtube: How Does A Florida Weigh Station Work?

Also the Trucking Truth thread: VIDEO: How Does A Weigh Station Work?

That’s honestly good to hear. Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and a few others should follow their lead.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Owner Operators - Which lane do you prefer to take?

Rather than focusing specifically on lanes, you might be better served by focusing on specific customers, ones you might be able to establish a consistent relationship with which will give you reliable freight vs relying on brokers and load boards. Those relationships come with time but you’ll be more successful having your own “customers”

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Seven tips for drivers to boost their pay

I have to completely agree with Old School on this one. In his own list he contradicts himself in a way when he mentions becoming a trainer. There really aren’t that many companies out there that train when compared to the overall number of trucking companies. There are tons of smaller companies out there who pay very well, work in other “technical” types of freight that he mentions but do not train and have more strict hiring standards along with much lower turnover and a high percentage of tenured drivers.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Truck Stops - I hate them already 🤣

I would err on the side of caution somewhat when it comes to parking overnight at weigh stations. Look to see if the parking area is past the scale itself and if it’s behind the scale, see if there’s a bypass lane to use in the morning when you leave. Granted, if you’re keeping up with truck maintenance, paperwork, logs and everything else you should be doing, an inspection won’t effect you but it will cost you time you may have been counting on when you leave in the morning. Parked trucks are an easy target for that early morning inspection and you may have been counting on that extra hour or so that you might lose by making yourself a convenient target.

Posted:  4 weeks ago

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Should I buy a GPS unit 🤔

Yes, it’sa handy tool but you mention funds being a potential issue. I’d recommend the Co Pilot app for your phone, just make sure you set it up as the truck version. You’ll use it for 5 years before you incur the cost of one of the expensive truck version gps systems. It also uses the same routing software used by most companies to plot and send freight estimates so your mileage will generally be a little closer on miles if that’s a concern. I don’t own a gps but do have the co pilot app and on the rare occasion I need it, it’s just as effective as a much more expensive stand alone system.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Overweight and punished

Lots of good advice on here and I waited a bit before deciding to respond. As a new driver, you absolutely did the right thing by refusing to go over gross. That being said, you mention having a half tank of fuel and we’re only over by 100#. Me personally, I’ll take it and use the fuel burn to get myself down to legal weight but it also depends on just how close that nearest scale is and whether or not I can get around it if I need to until I’m legal. As Turtle mentioned on moving your axles and 5th wheel to adjust the axle weights, he’s absolutely dead on.

Posted:  1 month ago

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List of fines or points

Fines on weight tickets vary from state to state so there’s no real way to find an actual list. Could they have issued a ticket? Sure but it really depends on just how much you were over as to whether or not they’ll issue. Axle tickets only count as a fine to the driver and no points are assessed to you. No CSA points are assessed to the company either as long as an inspection isn’t performed. In general, if you did get an overweight axle ticket, it’s not going to be all that much unless you’re working in oversized or specialized loads, then it gets expensive (don’t ask me how I know)

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Trivia Fun

I also see lines of evergreens planted along hwys, which is probably for the same purpose.

Correct. Out in Minnesota along the state highways and county roads, a lot of the local farmers will leave a row or two of corn up so it helps catch the snow during the winter and help keep the roads from getting covered as quick.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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What will the future of automated trucking look like?

Fuel, hopper bottom, dry bulk, and dump, walking floor, heavy haul, flatbed in general, farm hauling, livestock, there are hundreds of options where physical work and load requirements as well as locations will never see full automation.

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