Hard Lesson Learned

Topic 20638 | Page 2

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Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Yeah that hole counting thing you all do has often been a mystery to me lol. My company marks the side of the trailers, in feet, so we can easily tell how many feet the center of the 5th axle is from the kingpin. Much easier to know you're compliant with bridge laws.

I'm glad to see it explained.

Eric G.'s Comment
member avatar

My trainer told me to count all holes open or not. For example if I want 6 I start at the first hole and count six. Usually our 2-4 is the stop bar, but we count that hole as well.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Susan wrote:

My company marks the side of the trailers, in feet, so we can easily tell how many feet the center of the 5th axle is from the kingpin. Much easier to know you're compliant with bridge laws.

I'm glad to see it explained.

Bridge law? I think you meant kingpin law.

The federal bridge law formula (for example) for 80,000 pounds gross weight is 51' from the rear most axle of the tandems to the front steer axle of the tractor is the minimum legal distance for a 5 axle trailer. As the weight is less, the minimum allowable distance decreases. Relatively speaking; for a 53' trailer and a condo-sleeper, the one hole (tandems set all the way to the front of the rails, closest to the cab) is about at the 54'-55' mark. All but impossible to be non-compliant with bridge law for a 53' tractor and trailer combination. However in the one hole, many northeast states will cite for excessive overhang. You can be in compliance with bridge laws and be non-compliant with kingpin setting law.

Where bridge law becomes more critical and enforced is with highly dense, heavy loads in a short trailer, such as 45,000 pounds of gravel in a 30' dump. Typically this type of trailer is a tri-axle configuration because bridge law goes by max weight per axle and distance between each axle and/or a set of axles. It's complicated.

Bridge law was far more relevant when there was greater restriction in overall legal length, 1980s during the COE (cab over) era when 40' and 45' trailers were SOP, and 80,000 pounds gross combination weight was legal.

In addition not all companies mark their trailers like you mentioned, because kingpin law varies from state to state. Walmart does not mark 41' on center, but they do mark maximum hole settings by state that's relevant to kingpin setting law (not bridge law) on the side of each trailer above the tandem area. The maximum hole setting is furtherest from the kingpin to the rear of the trailer.

To be specific; in PA and NJ (where I spend the majority of my time) I can work with the 6-11 holes (I'll push to 12 if need-be) to comply with kingpin law, and get the load legal on the tandems and drives.

Each state's kingpin law is different and some states like Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut are very strict, known to use a tape measure for overhang infractions. This is why I originally posed the question to Unholychaos: "what states are you routed through?"

In my profile photo gallery I have two images relevant to state kingpin law. With a laptop it shoukd be readable, probably not with a phone though. For you Swifties, this information is in the drivers handbook and quick notes binder.

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".

Kat's Comment
member avatar

I was taught to count from the first hole period....

Kurt G.'s Comment
member avatar

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Since we're on the topic of tandems , the numbered holes is every open hole on both sides of the stop bar correct? This trailer has like 5 or 6 open holes in front of the stop bar. Should I not be counting those?

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The holes that you count are only the ones to the rear of the stop bar. The stop is #0, and the next hole back is #1.

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Well that could be my issue. Was always told to count EVERY open hole. So I was actually in about hole 6 or so; that makes a lot of sense now...

This is the way the Schneider says to do it, every open hole. Of course you could count any way you wanted as long as you know what hole corresponds to what rear axle distance in your counting scheme, so maybe other companies use a different method. Unholy, see chapter 15 in Highway to Success (a book Schneider gives to drivers).

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".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Susan. I never really understood that "hole counting" thing. Everyone speaks as if it's a standardized thing you can count on.

Different trailer manufacturers have different lines of trailers with varying rail lengths and distances between the holes. To say "put it in the 6th hole" isn't going to mean the same on every trailer. You have to know how far back your tandems are allowed in any given state and you have to make sure the load is loaded in such a way that you can get your weights and lengths legal.

As we've seen in this very conversation, even different companies describe which holes are being counted differently. Some are referring to the holes from the beginning of the rail, others only behind the stop bar.

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".

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Flat-bedders don't count no stinking holes! smile.gif

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

GTown, it is real complicated which is one reason my employer marks ALL equipment with length markings. It can get crazy so it just helps in standardizing.

West Side Unimited also owns West Side Salvage along with several grain elevators (Shelburg, etc.) and West Side Transport.

Our salvage and grain business does utilize tri axles, dumps, etc and sometimes shares drivers.. strictly voluntary, but for example several transport drivers assisted in a large recovery operaion out in the Hudson Bay very recently. Salvage does major jobs all over.. they were involved in the Exxon Valdez cleanup to give you an idea. It can certainly be an interesting place for drivers who also have crane and heavy equipment experience or are willing to get certified in that.

Matt H.'s Comment
member avatar

Susan wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

My company marks the side of the trailers, in feet, so we can easily tell how many feet the center of the 5th axle is from the kingpin. Much easier to know you're compliant with bridge laws.

I'm glad to see it explained.

double-quotes-end.png

Bridge law? I think you meant kingpin law.

The federal bridge law formula (for example) for 80,000 pounds gross weight is 51' from the rear most axle of the tandems to the front steer axle of the tractor is the minimum legal distance for a 5 axle trailer. As the weight is less, the minimum allowable distance decreases. Relatively speaking; for a 53' trailer and a condo-sleeper, the one hole (tandems set all the way to the front of the rails, closest to the cab) is about at the 54'-55' mark. All but impossible to be non-compliant with bridge law for a 53' tractor and trailer combination. However in the one hole, many northeast states will cite for excessive overhang. You can be in compliance with bridge laws and be non-compliant with kingpin setting law.

Where bridge law becomes more critical and enforced is with highly dense, heavy loads in a short trailer, such as 45,000 pounds of gravel in a 30' dump. Typically this type of trailer is a tri-axle configuration because bridge law goes by max weight per axle and distance between each axle and/or a set of axles. It's complicated.

Bridge law was far more relevant when there was greater restriction in overall legal length, 1980s during the COE (cab over) era when 40' and 45' trailers were SOP, and 80,000 pounds gross combination weight was legal.

In addition not all companies mark their trailers like you mentioned, because kingpin law varies from state to state. Walmart does not mark 41' on center, but they do mark maximum hole settings by state that's relevant to kingpin setting law (not bridge law) on the side of each trailer above the tandem area. The maximum hole setting is furtherest from the kingpin to the rear of the trailer.

To be specific; in PA and NJ (where I spend the majority of my time) I can work with the 6-11 holes (I'll push to 12 if need-be) to comply with kingpin law, and get the load legal on the tandems and drives.

Each state's kingpin law is different and some states like Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut are very strict, known to use a tape measure for overhang infractions. This is why I originally posed the question to Unholychaos: "what states are you routed through?"

In my profile photo gallery I have two images relevant to state kingpin law. With a laptop it shoukd be readable, probably not with a phone though. For you Swifties, this information is in the drivers handbook and quick notes binder.

Can you elaborate on the overhang? Specifically with regard to 53' van trailers. I'm aware of the bridge laws (with regard to axle weights) and king pin laws (I'm under the impression that restricting the distance from king pin to rear axle is in attempt to control and manage the turning radius of trucks)

I haven't found any consistent information about why I shouldn't/can't run with the tandems all the way forward? If the weight permits I usually have them as far forward as possible. Is that also a problem in some states??

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".

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

I too never understood the hole counting idea. If you only haul the same trailer every day then you'll have some consistency counting like that but change trailer manufacturers and it pretty much goes out the window. I'm with Old School on this one and glad I don't have to count anymore or really ever worry. I know my truck will legally scale 51,000 with 3/8 fuel load (yes I've had to make a few of those work without permits) and know where my center point needs to be on the trailer since I run the 5th wheel all the way back and no it's not the center of the trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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